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John J. Aguilera: councilman brings clarity, analytical mind to Vista CA

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Deputy Mayor John J. Aguilera chose Memorial weekend to officially announce his intention to run again for Vista City Council. He sat down this week to discuss what his own background and efforts in elected office brings to the community.

Aguilera believes it is his connection to the community and his education that sets him apart and positively affects his decision-making.

Community Roots

With nine decades, Aguilera's roots are well-entrenched here, he says. "I was born, raised here in Vista. My dad was born and raised here in Vista. So our roots go way back. My grandfather came here -- well, to Oceanside -- in the 1920s." Aguilera states that he attended local schools as well, and even did his college study at the University of California at San Diego, where he earned a Bachelor's in Quantitative Economics and Decision Science.

"I graduated from local schools, then I went to UCSD and studied economics. I feel the degree that I received there helped to prepare me for some of the decisions we have to make [on the council], at least budget-wise," he says with a slight smile, better defining the statement. "So I feel like the degree I received [from UCSD] helped."

Indeed, his resume highlights positions in the financial industry in addition to the city council work. He is owner of Advanced Financial Solutions at 4755 Oceanside Blvd, Oceanside, CA 92056.

Regarding his family, he says that they are really the reason he began thinking about running for elected office.

"One of the reasons I ran for city council in the first place was to make this a better place for my children, and the rest of my family down the road. I don't want them to move away to a better city." Aguilera considers this statement and then adds this:

"I think probably that's the biggest thing. I'm raising my family here, I plan on retiring here and hopefully having grandchildren, one day, who live here."

Of his family, his wife Hollie Aguilera in 2010 once participated in a candidate forum at Vista Cascade Mobile Home Park, 1600 E Vista Way, Vista, CA 92084, for him, as he faced a scheduling conflict with a Planning Commission meeting but still did want to particpate and meet voters. She did well, and she seemed to impress some as being well-spoken and a excellent informational surrogate for her husband until his other meeting ended.

Of his children, Aguilera seems a pleased father. He says they are all involved in sports.

"I have three children, and they each play sports." The eldest son plays baseball primarily, according to Aguilera. The younger son plays that as well, but he also enjoys basketball, football and volleyball, while Aguilera's daughter is enjoying basketball and volleyball in school, he says.

Laminated goals

When asked about his goals for the City, he mentions the official 2014/16 objectives of the council. The top three on that list include:

  • Fiscal Sustainability: Completely eliminate structural deficit. Build emergency reserves.
  • Public Safety: expand grants/partnerships/staffing efficiencies/community partnering.
  • Beautification: Reduce blight, vacant lots, façade improvements (business/shopping centers). Continue improvements on Paseo Santa Fe Avenue.

To make certain he would focus on those goals, Aguilera printed them up and had them laminated, he laughs. He then pulls them right out of a binder to show.

"I had those laminated. So it's in my car all the time. If I go to a meeting ... and I wanted to bring that, I just slide it in there and when things start coming up I just go down the list."

He then asks himself 'where does this fit on my set of council goals?' Anytime someone wants something, the laminated list comes out.

Local business

Whenever guests come into the city, Aguilera takes them, depending on the time of day, to a Vista business. He also highlights to them three basics about the city: "weather and location and affordable."

"Peppertree," is a favorite place says Aguilera, mentioning the popular "Peppertree Frosty" establishment at 270 S. Santa Fe Ave, Vista, CA 92084 which has been owned by the Villaseñor family since 1960. It used to be a Tastee Freeze franchise, opened in 1953. But Joe(a.k.a. “Chuy”) and Velia Villaseñor bought the business in 1960 and then changed the name to the Peppertree Frosty.

For breakfast meals, he enjoys taking guests to Sunrise Cafe at 1250 S Santa Fe Avenue, he says decisively. If it is later in the day, however, two other favorite places are Ciao Ristorante Italiano at 2015 E. Vista Way or La Paloma at 116 Civic Center Drive.

"People always enjoy themselves," he adds wherever he takes them in Vista.

Decisions and Campaign 2014

His very first campaign effort, for city council, was in 2008, which he lost, but recognizes as being the year and the beginning of "tough" times for many with the financial crisis. Writer Wendell Cox of CityJournal described it, and California’s struggling economy, in a 2011 article as "The Long Stall." Vista residents, employees and businesses also felt the pain.

Because he lives in the north section of Vista, Aguilera states that most people know him there, so he intends to make an effort to visit residents in the south section of Vista. As to having any campaign strategy, he says he just wishes to connect with new faces who don't really know him. He wants to tell people about his council work and explain his mindset as well, which he then explains:

"I feel like any decision that I make, I'm representing the city as a whole. Even though I do live in north Vista ... I always look at decisions based on the city as a whole. So if it has to do with fire, sheriff, I always look at what that brings to the city in general."

Anyone wanting to talk with him, he invites them to call his Vista City office: (760) 639-6130 extension 1435.

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