The City of Ontario has five candidates running for three, tentatively four, open City Council seats this November. No incumbent candidates will be on the ballot as Norm Crume, Marty Justus and Ramon Palomo have all chosen not to run for council seats. Council President Dan Capron announced in early September that he is planning to move to a residence outside of city limits and will have to resign his appointment, which would have expired in 2022. All terms are for two-year appointments.
The five candidates running are Sam Baker, Maria Z. Fisher, John D. Kirby, Eddie Melendrez and Kevin Petross.
The Argus offered a chance for all candidates to give an introduction to the community. As of Sept. 25, only three responded. The responses follow.
John D. Kirby, age 72
DOB January 23, 1948
Occupation: Semi-retired hardware merchant
St. Alphonsus Medical Center Board of Directors Ontario 2002-2019
Board Chair 2019
St. Alphonsus Health System Board of Directors 2018-2019
Co-Founder Four Rivers Cultural Center-Board chair for first ten years
St. Peter School Board
Pacific NW Association (Hardware& Implement Dealers) Chair 2003
Ontario Chamber of Commerce Chair 1985
Ontario Jaycees Chair 1973
Registered Republican. I also chauffer my wife to Central Committee meetings where I sit in the back row.
Why are you the best candidate?
I have served this community most of my life. I interact with the public daily and feel that I understand the concerns of the community. We have a changing community and new ways need to be adopted to address the changes. I feel that I can help shape a vision to make this city prosper.
What do I see as the main issues for the city?
With the housing boom coming our way after years of stagnation, we need to be ready. This will cause challenges we have not dealt with for years. We will continue to have issues with public works as our infrastructure ages. Social ills will plague us as well because other cities in valley push the homeless to Ontario.
Have you ever been charged with a felony? NO!
Eddie Melendrez, age 37
Occupation: Maintenance/Transportation Specialist
Volunteer experience: 2003-2006 Boxing Coach/Mentor Bakersfield Police Activities League, 2006-2014 Boxing Coach/Mentor Ontario Boxing K.O. Rats, 2015-2020 Boxing Coach/Mentor Treasure Valley Boxing Club, Ontario Serve Day mural for DHS, Treasure Valley Relief Nursery mural, FRCC Children’s Theatre Camp, StORy Time.
Political background: [NO RESPONSE]
Why are you the best candidate?
Eddie Melendrez for Ontario City Council is the best candidate because I will bring new ideas with a fresh perspective to co-create a bright future for Ontario.
What do you see as the main issues for the city? Public Safety/Positive Youth Development/Economic Development/Rural Development
Have you ever been charged with a felony?: No
Kevin Petross, age 43
Occupation: Property Manager
For the last three years, I have hosted a Christmas event for local children, we provide gifts, free pictures with Santa, and refreshments. Also, for the 2019 Christmas Parade I designed and built the float for Saint Alphonsus.
I have never served in a political office. I consider myself an independent, I have the capability to see both sides, listen to other’s ideas and concerns, and make decisions that practical and not necessarily “Republican” or “Democratic”.
Why are you the best candidate?:
I don’t know that I am the “best” candidate. However, the future of this community is important to me. I believe I have very well developed communication and interpersonal skills. My life experience, work history, and knowledge of the community will allow me to bring new ideas to the table.
What do you see as the main issues for the city?
I think the City of Ontario can improve on its communication with the residents of Ontario. Transparency on budgeting, infrastructure, and what life will look like for this city after COVID are all things I have concern about, but also have ideas for improvement.
Have you ever been charged with a felony? [NO RESPONSE]