Mayor Dr. Yxstian Gutierrez began his tenure on the Moreno Valley City council in September 2013. He’s lived in Moreno Valley for more than 20 years, and received his Associate Degree at Moreno Valley College, his Bachelor’s Degree from California Baptist University, a Master’s from American InterContinental University and his Doctoral Degree from Northcentral University. Currently, Mayor Gutierrez is a 3rd and 4th grade special education teacher for the Moreno Valley Unified School District. Prior to joining city council he owned Berrybean Café. He also served as a member of the Moreno Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Moreno Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Mayor Dr. Gutierrez is Moreno Valley’s youngest mayor.
As an elected official you must balance your job, your duties as an elected official and family obligations, not to mention trying to find personal time for yourself. How do you balance all these duties and obligations? Is there a secret to doing this well you can share?
I calendar a lot of events. So everything is based on my calendar, which keeps me organized. I always try to rest on Sundays and go to church. I rely on my spiritual side to help build me up as well and I try to exercise regularly. I exercise three or four times a week. I think it helps me from becoming tired or stressed out. I also utilize the skill of ‘delegation.’ I delegate tasks to staff members and that helps to maintain balance in my life. I get better at it the longer I’m in the position.
Who was your political mentor—someone who guided and supported you and prepared you for public service? Name the person—your campaign manager, your spouse, parent, another political candidate. What kind of advice did they give you that was the most important/useful to you? What did they teach you?
Victoria Bacca, who served as city council member (of Moreno Valley). Actually I worked on her campaign prior to being on the city council myself. She served as a mentor for 3 years and she helped me to get on the city council. She warned me about politics and taught me perseverance and to just keep going, even when people knock you down. She also taught me I’m not always going to make everybody happy. There are people who don’t like me, but they’ve never met me before. She taught me to persevere and keep working in a positive direction.
What was the one thing no one told you about being an elected official that you wish you’d known before you were elected?
No one told me about the amount of public scrutiny, how people want access to my everyday calendar. As well as people making public records requests for my e-mails. I never knew anything about that until I got in office. I have nothing to hide. (Someone) wants to see my e-mails and my calendars about ever other week. I didn’t know this was going to happen.
Describe a project you spearheaded or supported that you’re proud of. Why was it successful and what did you learn from it that helped you be a better policymaker?
I’ve really extremely proud of “Hire MoVal,” which is a local jobs program. It’s one of a kind. It’s a game changer. I authored and presented it to city council. It encourages local businesses to hire Moreno Valley residences. Pasadena has a similar program as well as San Francisco, but our program provides a utility discount to businesses that hire Moreno Valley residents. When a business hires 20 percent of their workforce from Moreno Valley they receive a 22 percent discount on their utility bill. If they hire 40 percent (workforce) they receive an additional 2 percent on top of the 22 percent. The program has attracted Amazon who has hired 80 percent of their workers from Moreno Valley. We also won an award for Hire Moval from the Inland Empire Economic Council.
The program is such a success because 80 percent of our residents commute outside of the city for work. Now they are closer to home and it allows them to spend more time with their families and it’s reduced the congestion on the freeway.
While creating programs like Hire Moval, I learned the art of compromise. To get things done you have to learn to compromise. Which is a great skill to have. When you compromise and treat your staff and employees right they work hard to get the job done in a positive way.
What was the most memorable day of your life?
Getting elected to city council in 2014 was amazing. My parents helped out so much with the campaign. They were really hands on and put in so many hours. A lot of people said I was too young. They didn’t think I could win.
Who will be the next President of the U.S? Who should be the next President?
I think Hillary Clinton will more than likely win. She is getting a lot of support from her party, but then she is also getting support from the other party. There are a lot of people flocking to her support. Hillary has the temperament and the leadership capacity to lead our country.
Interviewed by freelance writer/producer Octavia McClain.