|Student challenges incumbent|
|Posted May 19, 2006|
If you are a resident of Rancho Cucamonga the name John Kera will be a name to remember over the next few months. Kera, a junior political science major at the University of La Verne is running for mayor in the city.
The elections take place in November, and Kera will be running against the existing mayor, Bill Alexander.
A resident of Rancho Cucamonga since he was nine, 27-year-old Kera has confidence that he has what it takes to become mayor.
“Mayor Bill Alexander has been in city hall for many years,” he said. “He has been a former fire-fighter to the city of Ontario and has also played favoritism with the local fire department for a long time. I think its time for a change in direction.”
Kera works part-time at the Senior Center in Rancho Cucamonga and was encouraged to run for mayor by his campaign manager Chris Hodnick.
“Facility managers and bureaucrats wanted to make the new Senior Center into a rental facility for church services and banquet style parties, instead of providing services for seniors like transportation, information on senior housing and physical activities to help maintain their livelihood,” Kera said.
This kind of mistreatment to the senior residents of Rancho Cucamonga made Kera want to do something about it. He said that the state of the economy in the city is another reason why he is running for office.
Kera believed that while housing is important, there is too much housing in Rancho Cucamonga and not enough high income jobs to support it. He said that residents have to commute to Los Angeles and Riverside just to earn enough money to put their kids through school, and this is something he wants to change.
“We need white collar jobs and jobs for the environment, newer technology in computers, software, engineering, small businesses, and government relations jobs,” he said. “The city just built a brand new mall, and that's fine, but many cities should not rely on sales taxes in order to sustain economic stability, it is not consistent with the economic wave length pattern.”
Kera is also concerned about the state of schooling in the city. He wants to work with parents and teachers to help children get a better education.
“Politicians tend to point fingers at teachers for failing many kids, but that's not the answer, politicians have to work with them, like helping schools get better materials for the classrooms,” he said.
He also hopes to educate parents in the importance of healthy eating for children and thinks it is vital for the younger generation to understand the significance of a balanced diet.
This is something he hopes to do if he gets elected.
His ULV classmate and fellow political science major Soraya Husain has faith that Kera would do a good job as mayor.
“I was surprised (that he was running for mayor) because of his age, it was shocking,” she said. “But he’s always had an interest in this kind of thing. He has the personality for it and knowledge, he has leadership qualities.”
Husain has no doubt that Kera will succeed.
“He knows what he’s talking about,” she said. “He’ll give a younger perspective on politics in Rancho. He may have a lack of experience but he’ll bring new ideas to the table.”
Kumol Somvichian, professor of political science at ULV agrees.
“He’d make a very good mayor, he’s very mature for his age, he looks good, he’s very elegant, he’s like a statesman,” he said. “I am optimistic that he’ll make it, maybe not the first time but the second. He has a good chance of winning.”
There is an 18-year-old mayor in a city in Minnesota so Kera does not worry that his age is against him. He was a member of La Verne’s Model United Nations for one year, and although he may not have as much experience as Alexander – who has been mayor in the city for eight years – he has the determination to make it.
“I am always fond of history and I would like to make some,” he said.
Husain comments on how difficult it can be for newcomers in elections.
“It’s hard for new candidates,” she said. “But there are a lot of people that support him and Rancho has problems that John can deal with, like removing the bureaucracy that exists at the moment.”
Kera does not worry about the outcome of the election.
“If I don't get elected, I will concentrate on graduate school and I
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