A Filipino American is the incoming mayor pro tem of Sierra Madre, California for a second time.
Rachelle Arizmendi, who was re-elected to the city council in 2018, was selected by fellow councilmembers during their meeting on Tuesday, February 11 for another term as the city’s second in command.
She was first elected to the council in 2014 — becoming the first person and woman of color to serve the city — and was chosen for the year-long mayor pro tem position in 2017.
“I don’t think anything compares to winning your first election! But with that being said, to be selected as mayor pro tem for the second time…is both promising and invigorating and of course, a privilege,” Arizmendi told the Asian Journal in an email.
Located in the foothills of the San Gabriel Valley and east of Pasadena, Sierra Madre is home to 10,917 residents, about 8% of whom are of Asian descent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The five-member city council is responsible for general city policy, as well as for the appointment of the city manager, city attorney, and members of the city’s boards and commissions. It also serves as the governing body for the Successor Agency and Public Financing Authority.
Sierra Madre has continually been ranked among the top 25 safest cities in the state and has taken a lead in water conservation efforts.
“For my upcoming term, the biggest question is how do we maintain and sustain our progress. We want to continue being ranked as one of the safest cities for residents — as well as for wildlife since bears, coyotes, and mountain lions continue to be part of our every day,” Arizmendi said. “We want to ensure our financial health including our work in funding pension liabilities and sustaining our full-service city delivery. Additionally, we are focused on our environmental sustainability goals with alternative energy powers for city facilities and services, as well as supporting our efforts in bringing clean energy to our residents through the Clean Power Alliance.”
A California native, Arizmendi is the vice president and chief operating officer of the Pacific Asian Consortium in Employment (PACE) in Los Angeles, a non-profit community development organization based in Los Angeles that serves over 40,000 people annually in the areas of job training and employment, business development and early childhood education, among others.
Outside of Sierra Madre, her leadership roles include being a governor’s appointee on the California Department of Food and Agriculture board and board president of the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council.
She had previously served on Sierra Madre’s Community Services Commission for five years before she was first elected to the city council. She and her husband, Fili Arizmendi, have been living in Sierra Madre since 2006.
Arizmendi encouraged more Filipino Americans to come visit the quaint city for its dining and shopping options and free celebrations, such as concerts in the park and community parades. It has also been the filming location of many movies and TV shows, the most recent titles being “Big Little Lies” and “Good Girls.”
For those who love flowers and nature, Sierra Madre has the Guinness World Records’ largest blossoming plant, the wistaria, which can be viewed by the public once a year in March.
“I’d love to see and welcome you to any and all of our celebrations in the lovely village of the foothills: Sierra Madre,” Arizmendi said. (AJPress)