Who’s on fourth?: an overview of Whittier’s District 4 candidates

Who’s on fourth?: an overview of Whittier’s District 4 candidates

Autumn Dixon

Fernando Dutra

Fernando Dutra is the incumbent District 4 candidate for the Whittier city council race. Dutra was first appointed on Aug. 21, 2012, after Greg Nordback resigned his seat midway through his term. 

Dutra attended California Polytechnic Institute, where he studied Planning and Urban Development. He is currently the President of Allwest Development Company and holds licenses for general building contractor and general engineering. Dutra has lived in Whittier with his family since 1987. “I learned English at the age of 11, and I watched my mother, a teacher, and my father, a welder, work hard to get our family to this land of opportunity,” his website, www.dutra4whittier.com, says. “With a great deal of pride my folks now see their son serving this great city of Whittier.”

On Dutra’s website he writes, “I believe the city should, to the extent that its financial resources allow, give the highest priority to public safety, education, and the improvement and maintenance of public facilities — including streets, sidewalks, sewers, parks, landscaping and, of course, filling potholes.” 

Dutra’s website further details his goals and values for the city of Whittier. He hopes to make Whittier more inclusive, saying on  his website, “I am looking forward to starting a ‘listening tour’ among all Whittier community groups.” Dutra also wishes to be an ethical leader, pledging not to do business in the city of Whittier to avoid conflicts of interest. 

Dutra is fiscally conservative, stating on his website: “Our city needs to treat its budget as if it were the people’s money.” He also believes in preserving the hills. “I value keeping our hills free of real estate development for future generations,” his website states. “My work in preserving and protecting historically significant buildings is key and shows my commitment to the importance of preserving our past.”

Dutra has been endorsed by the incumbent mayoral candidate Joe Vinatieri, Mayor Pro Tem Cathy Warner, incumbent District 2 city council candidate Bob Henderson, and Whittier College Trustee Ruth B. Shannon.

Lizette Escobedo

Lizette Escobedo is running for the District 4 City Council seat for the upcoming election on April 10. Escobedo received two Bachelors of Arts Degrees from the University of California San Diego in Communications and Ethnic Studies. She also initiated a Masters in Management Degree from the University of Redlands.

Escobedo was elected to serve as a Democratic delegate representing the 57th Assembly District at the state level. For the past 10 years, Lizette has also served and participated in various mentorship programs for young girls.

Escobedo has taken a stance on issues of environmental justice by serving as a contributor to Moms Clean Air Force — a community of mothers concerned about air quality, water quality, and the preservation of natural resources. 

Escobedo states her reasons for running on her website, www.lizetteforwhittier.org, writing: “I am running to bring the voices and great creative ideas of District 4 into City Hall.” On her website, she also lists the main points of her platform. 

“My main concerns are working toward better public safety, solving local homelessness intelligently and with compassion, and working to make Whittier small businesses prosper,” she says on the website, “so we can all enjoy our community more.” 

In addition to her own concerns, Escobedo hopes to hear from the community on what they feel needs to be improved. In order to have this communication, Escobedo wishes to have intentional community outreach and engagement. She not only stresses the importance of this open communication, but the transparency of it, as well. “We need leaders that will lead with us, not for us. Whittier is ready for greater transparency, accountability, and putting people first.”

Escobedo stresses the importance of public safety and has published on her website: “I am committed to working closely with our law enforcement professionals to ensure they are well resourced to take on increasing public safety concerns in our communities.” Escobedo was endorsed by Michael Warriors Community Watch Group Whittier, a group of retired law enforcement. See Opinions page 2 for an endorsement of Lizette Escobedo.