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April 12, 2016 — April Regular Elections
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City of WhittierCandidate for MayorTwo-Year Term

Photo of Joseph A. Vinatieri

Joseph A. Vinatieri

Mayor Pro Tem Attorney
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Top 3 Priorities

  • For the first time in Whittier’s history, the people will vote for their Mayor. The Mayor’s responsibility is to lead the City Council and its four district selected council members while looking out for the best interests of the WHOLE community….to



Profession:Business Owner / Councilmember
Partner, Bewley, Lassleben & Miller, LLP (1983–current)
Member, Whittier City Council — Elected position (2006–current)
Chief Deputy, Ernest Dronenburg, retired Member of CA Board of Equalization and Assessor, San Diego County (1978–1983)


University of San Diego School of Law Juris Doctor (1977)
Westminster College Bachelor of Arts (1974)

Community Activities

Board Member, YMCA of Greater Whittier (1984–current)
Board Member, Whittier High School Alumni Association (1998–current)
Member, Plymouth Congregational Church (1960–current)


Whittier has been the HOME to three generations of Vinatieri’s. Joe was born and raised in Whittier, attended Whittier schools and is a partner at the Whittier law firm of Bewley, Lassleben and Miller.  Joe and his recently deceased wife, Sandy, are proud parents of three married children: Sarah, Joe and Susanna who attended some of the same Whittier schools as their father.

Joe is an expert in California state finance and taxation. His knowledge of state government is a timely resource  as Whittier continues to seek new opportunities such as the Nelles/Lincoln Project as well as new fiscal challenges due to state mandates and economic uncertainty. Joe is an appointed voting delegate to the California League of Cities, Revenue and Taxation Committee.

Locally, Joe is active with the Greater Whittier YMCA, HOT (Hispanic Outreach Task Force), Boy Scouts of America, and teaching Kid’s Church at Plymouth Congregational Church.




Southeast Area Social Services Funding Authority, Member

- Southeast Water Coalition, Alternate

- Gateway Cities Council of Governments, Alternate, SR91/I-605 Corridor Cities 

- LA County Division of the League of California Cities, Alternate

- League of California Cities Revenue & Taxation Committee, Delegate



- Nelles Sub-Committee

- All-America City

- Central Library


Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • Honorable Fernando Dutra, Mayor, City of Whittier
  • Honorable Cathy Warner, Whittier Council Member
  • Honorable Bob Henderson, Whittier Council Member

Organizations (3)

  • Southeast Lincoln Club
  • Pacific West Association of Realtors
  • Los Angeles County Business Federation (BixFed)

Elected Officials (3)

  • Honorable Bob Huff, State Senate
  • Honorable Don Knabe, LA County Board of Supervisors
  • Honorable Michael Antonovich, LA County Board of Supervisors

Individuals (8)

  • Anthony De Rosa
  • Stan & Marisa De Genaro
  • David Chavez
  • Robert Calley
  • Rob & Ginny Ball
  • Joe & Ethelyn Baima
  • Yvonne Aceves
  • Keith and Paula Abbott

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters (4)

  As Mayor how will you work to unify the Council members and residents in the newly created districts to work together for the good of Whittier?    
Answer from Joseph A. Vinatieri:

Mayor role will be different.

Teamwork: Mayor and Council working as one team.

Mayor will work with each council member in different ways.

·         Meet with each member to ascertain their district needs.

·         To the extent the council member has a function in the district, support the council member by being there.

o   For example, if the council member has an event at a church, be there to support the council member and listen to the constituents' needs.

·         Mayor and City Manager formulate City Council agenda

o   Mayor works with council member to make sure district issue is agendized.


o   But citywide issues are also agendized.

What proposals do you have to encourage the residents and the City administration to adopt more environmental programs to improve Whittier's energy and water independence leading to greater sustainability?
Answer from Joseph A. Vinatieri:

The City has been quite active on the renewable energy and water fronts and needs to act as a model for its residents.

Renewable Energy/Electricity

·         Solar

o   Those desiring solar permits go to the front of the line in getting their permits over all other projects.

o   City looking at solar - costs & benefits.

·         State/local energy codes have been updated.

o   Our codes are the most stringent in the nation.

·         Energy Network contract for $2.4 million.

o   With this contract, we are replacing 1600 street lights to LED.

o   City Hall and other City buildings will be LED.

o   City Hall will change out the HVAC to make it more energy efficient.

o   Four year pay back on the money expended.

·         Looking at new Uptown parking structure to go solar.

·         Cover at landfill

o   Go green with the use of a solar blanket as we phase closure of the landfill

§  Solar blanket will have solar voltaic cells in the blanket which will generate electricity


·         Our new water pumping plant is energy efficient

·         We are moving towards more efficient water meters.

·         Water Infrastructure Replacement Program

o   We are actively replacing the infrastructure to repair pipes and closeout any leaks.

·         Water Conservation

o   Whittier must reduce water usage by 20% (statewide is 25%).

o   For the last 3 months we have been at average of 20%.

·         Recycled Water

o   Use of recycled water at Palm and Guirardo Parks.


o   Looking at using recycled water for the green belt on the north side of Whittier Boulevard as well as on the Greenway Trail.

.   How can the City provide more services and funding to aid in the transition of the homeless to permanent supportive housing?  
Answer from Joseph A. Vinatieri:

We, like all other Southern California communities, have a homeless problem, but the homeless population is varied with different needs for different solutions.

·         Mentally ill

·         Substance abuse

·         "New" homeless


 Mentally Ill / Substance Abuse/Recovery

·         State initiative - recent new legislation

·         County coordinated homeless strategies with cities (2/9/16)

·         Bigger problem than the City

·         Recovery

·         VA - stepped up big time and now providing homes for our homeless vets

·         Award winning First Day for those who want to change and get off the street - great program


"New" Homeless

·         Mothers or fathers with children living in vehicles - lost job, etc.

·         Abused mothers

·         Whole Child

o   Temporary and permanent housing

·         Women and Children's Crisis Shelter

o   Temporary housing and support


What does City of Whittier do?

·         $180,000 to fund these three wonderful organizations

·         No more redevelopment money - straight from general fund

·         Gateway COG and LAHSA (Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority)

·         New WPD / County Mental Health "PET" Team

·         Specialty trained PD officers ride with County Mental Health workers to assess the individual and put them in a recovery system and out of the criminal justice system.


Local churches working together to provide physical, social & spiritual needs of the homeless

·         Just getting going


So Whittier is actively working the issue but there continues to be so much more to do.

In light of the current state of inaction on the Nelles site development, what would you propose to make the project Into a more positive neighborhood especially considering historical significance, public access, ease of access to schools, green space and neighborhood services? 
Answer from Joseph A. Vinatieri:

The Nelles site has been anything but inactive. Let's recap…

Lincoln Specific Plan

·         Originally only two buildings saved but City pushed for more buildings.

·         Went through

o   HRC

o   Planning Commission

o   City Council

o   Days of testimony and thousands of pages of analysis.

o   Entitlements approved.

·         Now in litigation

o   Suit against Brookfield and State to trial in April.

o   Suit against City and Brookfield possibly to trial next fall.

o   I hope that all sides will sit down and discuss resolution.

·         But developer has an approved project.

o   Not up for negotiation to change project unless developer wants to do so.

·         On a very large project such as this, we must balance ALL the competing concerns.

o   City and school district revenue needs

o   Housing needs for singles, young families, active adults

o   Historical preservation needs

o   Job needs

·         On the historical vs economic balance:

o   At one point we had redevelopment money that could have been used to backfill for more buildings.

o   When money was gone, the project had to stand on its own.

o   we had an analysis from Brookfield, from the City's consultant and my own analysis

o   It became clear that economically on the plan in front of us, only 4 buildings could be preserved without a subsidy

o   And there was no refutation of this analysis

o   Do I wish we could do more? Yes!

·         At the end of the day with all the balancing of these difficult needs, we end up with a very nice project for Whittier

o   No more blight; a productive asset for us.

o   Close to GWT, close to Uptown, close to PIH

o   And what about a people more system from PIH, through Nelles, to Uptown and the College?


o   It will be a very attractive, cohesive, "green" project where people will be able, at one location, to Live in Whittier, Work in Whittier, and Shop in Whittier.

Political Beliefs

Position Papers

Public Safety and the Issue of Homelessness


Keep the public safe and reduce homelessness.


Joe Vinatieri believes strongly that public safety is our #1 responsibility. The people of our community, and especially families with children, must feel secure and protected.   


Whittier is fortunate to have its own police department, and Joe is proud of the men and women of the Whittier PD who keep us safe.  Joe has always given top budget priority to our police, fire and paramedic services.  He is also proud that under his leadership our officers were able to move into a new and modern police facility.


One of the challenges we face is growing homelessness.  This is a complex issue, and we cannot confuse homelessness with crime.


But homelessness can affect our feelings of security.  Joe has advocated for cooperative responses by the police department, community organizations, such as First Day, The Whole Child and Salivation Army, and County mental-health services to respond effectively and compassionately to the problem of homelessness in Whittier.


Re-Inventing the Unused Prison Property


Development of the Nelles property.


Happily, Whittier is no longer the location of a California State Prison.  But the “Nelles prison property” has sat unused for more than a decade and it is now an unsightly, overgrown, and blighted property.


The development of this property will raise property values of nearby property owners and will have a positive impact on Uptown. And more importantly, this formerly blighted property will provide housing for singles, young married couples and seniors, as well as jobs and new opportunities for Whittier’s citizens.  Schools will benefit from enrollment growth and developer fees. 


Joe understands the concern expressed by some groups that historic prison buildings not be torn down.  The joint plan with the developer and the City, after much effort, preserves the most historically important buildings, while putting them to new and better use. 


The City is now defending its plan in court, in response to a lawsuit in favor of even more preservation efforts.  Ultimately this lawsuit hurts our City by delaying an important project that will bring new residents and growth to our city.  As Mayor, Joe will continue to work with both sides to balance historic preservation with Whittier’s future needs.




Whittier's Budget


The people of Whittier put a premium on sound fiscal management and I want to continue to push our strong fiscal tradition.


If the residents have to live within their means, why shouldn’t the City?  


Balancing the budget, while assuring public safety and needed services, will be the new Mayor’s most important job.   


The latest revenue figures show increases in our tax revenues.  As new businesses open, more tax dollars will help us continue to climb out of the recession that started in 2008.


We welcome good news … but we know that we have to be prudent in our budget, so that we are prepared for future challenges.


Candidate Contact Info

Campaign Name: Joe Vinatieri for Mayor 2016
Contact Name: Joe Vinatieri

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