Mayor Mark Pulido, the ‘One to Watch’

Cerritos Mayor Mark Pulido (Photo courtesy of the City of Cerritos)

Cerritos Mayor Mark Pulido (Photo courtesy of the City of Cerritos)

The constant cacophony of the I-5, Artesia and 606 freeways treats the residents of Cerritos, California, to a man-made form of tinnitus. It's almost natural that a city so intimately connected with freeways would be best known for a conglomeration of 22 car dealerships known as Cerritos Auto Square. If Mayor Mark Pulido, age 45, has his way, Cerritos would continue to be known for auto sales. Cerritos was formerly known as Dairy Valley, but its dynamic mayor is determined to drive his city’s image further from the dairy farms that put it on the map.

“In Cerritos, we are very proud that the Cerritos Auto Square continues to be the largest auto mall in the world,” Mark says. “Today, the car dealers have invested greatly and worked with the City to remodel their dealerships, attracting more customers and leading the way to increased economic vitality for the future.”

Ironically, it may turn out that the past and future achievements of the young mayor may make Cerritos best known as the town where Mark Pulido grew up and started an amazing career in public service.  

Mayor Pulido at KellerWilliams' "Red Day," an annual day of service of the realty company (Photo courtesy of the City of Cerritos)

Mayor Pulido at KellerWilliams' "Red Day," an annual day of service of the realty company (Photo courtesy of the City of Cerritos)

Born for the Job

Voters elected Mark to Cerritos City Council in 2011. In 2013 his Council colleagues appointed him Mayor Pro Tem and a year later, they made him Mayor of Cerritos. He was born in Bellflower, California and at age five, moved with his late father, Rudolfo, mother, Esther, and two brothers and sister to Cerritos. Clearly, being mayor of his hometown of 40 years is the job of his dreams. As much as his fellow Filipinos would like to project bigger titles, such as U.S. Senator, on his shingle, his claim of “no political aspirations beyond Cerritos at this time” isn’t political posturing.

Mark’s preparations for the mayor’s job date back to college when he was the student body president of the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), whose student population of 42,000 is close in size to Cerritos’ 50,000 residents. Nearly 62 percent of Cerritos residents are Asian.

“UCLA and Cerritos are similar in that they are both diverse, having attracted people from all over the world to be part of their respective communities,” Mark says. “Both have long traditions in achieving their respective missions – UCLA as a leading global research university and Cerritos as a premier suburban community of choice in southern California. Both cultivate a culture that views diversity as a strength, value community service and the arts, and promote wellness, healthy, lifestyles and lifelong learning.”

Starting in 2001, Mark was elected to three terms on the ABC Unified School District Board. His tenure on the School Board included two years as Board President and the award of “Board Member of the Year” by the Los Angeles County Office of Education in 2009. In 2013, he joined the California Volunteers Commission upon the invitation of Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.

Mayor Pulido comments during a Cerritos city council session (Photo courtesy of the City of Cerritos).

Mayor Pulido comments during a Cerritos city council session (Photo courtesy of the City of Cerritos).

A True Filipino with an American Accent

Over 7,000 Filipinos call Cerritos home. They give the Mayor a voter advantage, but the Filipino culture itself has an even greater influence on his success. “I am proud to be an American of Filipino ancestry. My family’s history of military and public service has inspired me to commit myself to a life of public service and community leadership,” he states for the record. “My grandparents and parents immigrated to the United States in the 1920s. My paternal grandfather served in the U.S. Navy during World War Two and the Korean conflict. After serving in the Philippine Scouts before and during World War Two, my maternal grandfather served in the U.S. Army.”

Mark adds, “As children, my parents joined my grandparents on the East Coast. In the 1950s, my parents met in college, married and moved out to California in the 1960s. After serving in the U.S. Navy, my father worked for Caltrans as a civil engineer, building many freeways throughout southern California.”

Go East, Young Man!

With all the gridlock and partisan politics stirring doubt about the significance of Capitol Hill, people are relying more on their local governments for leadership. Elected officials from town halls to state capitals are called to fill the leadership void. Mayor Mark Pulido accepts the reins without hesitation and is a shining example of what a government leader can still accomplish by staying unjaded.

“There is a saying that ‘all politics is local’,” he quotes late Speaker of the House, Thomas Phillip “Tip” O’Neill. “I take this [saying] to heart in that I believe what matters most to people is to have safe communities where they can live, raise their families and enjoy their retirement. My role as Mayor of Cerritos is to try my very best to help others achieve a high quality of life for them and their families.”

Now, doesn’t that little speech sound congressional, if not presidential?

Anthony Maddela

Anthony Maddela

Anthony Maddela helps build family and job programs for underserved communities as the grant writer for the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles. He and wife Susan are raising their two children in Los Angeles.  

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