A NEW DAY FOR EAST BAY PARKS!
My parents came to the United States from the Philippines in search of opportunity and a better life. My father served in the US Army in World War II, and then worked as a cook at the Oakland Athletic Club and later at the Leamington Hotel. My mother raised eight children, sending us to school in Oakland, San Leandro, and Hayward. I attended Chabot College and California State University, Hayward. Due to a family crisis, I had to leave CSU during my last quarter and, as head of our household, I had to find a full-time job to support my younger siblings. In the summer of 1975 I got a temporary job as a Groundsperson with the East Bay Regional Park District. It turned into a permanent position in March 1976. From then on, working to bring a new day to East Bay Parks has been my life's work.
I spent more than 37 years working for the Park District as a Park Ranger, a Park Supervisor, and a Fire Lieutenant. The last 17 years of my career I was the Park Supervisor at Redwood Regional Park, where the redwood forest became a part of me. I always saw my job as not simply maintaining the park, but healing the creeks, forests, and meadows – bringing things back to nature. This is the background and philosophy I want to bring to the Park District Board – the perspective of someone who worked hands-on, boots on the ground for the Park District my entire career.
At Redwood Regional Park I initiated the creation of the Resource Protection Area along the entire length of Stream Trail to restore, enhance, and protect the habitat for the native rainbow trout. The project entailed building crib walls to stabilize creek banks, re-vegetation of the banks, and fencing to prohibit access to the creek. The rainbow trout now spawn in over one mile of the creek.
I am particularly proud of being able to start a vigorous volunteer program to pull the invasive French broom from the ridge trails and yellow-star thistle from the Serpentine Prairie. I worked with the Park District Stewardship Department and the local California Native Plant Society to enhance and protect the Serpentine Prairie. This has helped restore native vegetation and has reduced the risk of fire. I would like to expand these programs District wide, promoting resource protection using non-toxic measures.
TRAINED AND HONORED AS A FIREFIGHTER
Specialized training as a Firefighter allowed me to serve the people of the East Bay, fighting fires, including the 1991 Oakland Hills Fire, preventing fires, improving fire safety, and responding to medical emergencies in the Parks. I was an Industrial Firefighter for 18 years, and I attained the rank of Fire Lieutenant.
- I managed a 1,838-acre park, including 38 miles of multi-use trails with 8 staging areas, 10 acres of recreation area (day-use picnic sites and overnight group camps), two equestrian concessions (Piedmont Stables and the Redwood Arena) and three park residences.
- I participated in the Park District’s budget process, developing, preparing, administering, and monitoring an $800,000 annual budget.
- I worked with neighbors bordering Redwood Park, monitoring encroachments, public safety, vegetation, and access issues.
COMMITTED TO SERVING A DIVERSE PUBLIC
Continuing Environmental Education
- I oversaw the recruitment, training, and mentoring of seasonal staff and hundreds of volunteers and. I planned, scheduled, and oversaw projects for special crews and volunteers.
- I worked with the Park District’s Recreation and Naturalist Department staff in planning restoration projects to augment environmental education. I also nurtured multiple ongoing outreach programs involving non-profit organizations, including AIM High, The Student Conservation Association, and the East Bay Civicorps which provide hands-on job skills and environmental education to students from local East Bay high schools using Redwood Regional Park as an outdoor classroom.
- I coordinated special events with the Park District’s Reservations Department, including day camps, multi-tiered foot races, trail rides, weddings, bicycle races, llama hikes, and recreation programs. I also managed reservations for four day-use picnic sites and three overnight group camps.