New mayoral candidate plans to bring ‘fresh leadership’ to Sacramento
The 2012 race for Sacramento mayor just gained another candidate: Edgar Hilbert.
Hilbert, a tax preparer in Oak Park, said Wednesday that he was motivated to run for office by a desire to serve the Sacramento community in a meaningful way.
“It will be my duty and goal to not just protect the quality of life in Sacramento, but to improve it,” he said in a press release Tuesday.
Hilbert, 45, is married and has three children. He was born in Mexico City and moved to the United States in 1993. He has lived in Sacramento since 2001.
Hilbert’s wife, Leticia, ran for City Council District 5 in the 2010 election, and Hilbert acted as his wife’s campaign manager.
One of the biggest issues that Hilbert said he sees in local government is the need for “fresh leadership” and leaders who listen to the ideas of the people more than simply doing things their own way.
“It is clear to me that the need for a new leadership focused on people is more important now than ever,” Hilbert said.
The city budget, economic development and infrastructure are the three big-ticket items that Hilbert said he wants to focus on as mayor.
Hilbert said his experience on the Oak Park Redevelopment Advisory Committee has given him a good perspective on housing issues in the area, as well as new ideas about how to enhance the economic development of the city.
One idea that Hilbert expressed is turning some of the downtown corridor into a miniature version of Venice, Italy – water, gondolas and all.
“There are a lot of restaurants along there,” Hilbert said. “Wouldn’t it be nice to draw visitors to something interesting like that?”
Hilbert is also no stranger to volunteerism.
For the past nine years, he has been actively involved in raising money for homeless services in his Oak Park community, and he is the coordinator for a youth group at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament.
Hilbert has also served as the executive chairman of California for Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) in 2007 and 2008, assisting low-income individuals with tax preparation, and he is the co-founder of the Stop Human Trafficking Today Pronto effort in Sacramento.
Hilbert is building a campaign support team with an international flair. His team will include advisers from San Diego, Mexico City and Madrid.
“These are cities that are similar to us in a lot of ways, and we can learn a lot from them,” Hilbert said.
“I think people want someone to lead the way,” Hilbert said. “The mayor is there to see that the people are represented.”
“I always try to be balanced and honest and just,” Hilbert said. “In the end, it comes down to what the people want. My goal is to listen to them.”
Marichal J. Brown, co-owner of Master Barber and Beauty Shop in Oak Park, said he has known Hilbert for nearly nine years and he has a lot of respect for him.
“Edgar is an excellent person – a trustworthy person,” Brown said. “When you are in need, he would be the person to call.”
Brown said he and Hilbert worked together on a variety of community projects, including writing for a community newspaper that Brown publishes, The Master Report.
“We have done a lot of advocacy together,” Brown said. “If (Hilbert) is mayor, I think he’ll bring community issues to the forefront.”
Calling Hilbert a “fighter for the people” and “a dependable individual,” Brown added that he has “nothing but praise for him.”
Hilbert will be running against incumbent mayor Kevin Johnson. Johnson’s campaign manager, Steven Maviglio, said Friday that the Johnson camp is ready for the competition.
“The mayor will run a campaign at full throttle no matter who the opponent is,” Maviglio said. “We welcome debate about the issues facing Sacramento.”
Maviglio said that Hilbert will not have an easy race, however.
“Every poll shows that the mayor is extremely popular, and (he is) off to a very strong start in this race,” Maviglio said. “Any candidate will have an uphill battle running against (Johnson).”
Hilbert said that he does not support the notion of a “strong mayor” initiative, preferring instead to negotiate and work with others on the City Council.
“Every one of (the council members) represents a different area of the city, and they know what their area needs,” Hilbert said. “I prefer to talk to (them) about the people in their areas and see how we can work together.”
Another opponent that Hilbert will face is longtime Sacramento resident and previous mayoral candidate Leonard Padilla.
Padilla, owner of Lorenzo Patino Law School in Sacramento, said Friday that he is happy to hear that there will be another candidate in the race for mayor.
“The more the merrier,” Padilla said.
The candidacy filing period for the 2012 city elections opens Feb. 1. Edgar said he will have a campaign kickoff in the coming weeks and then will focus his energies on fundraising for the campaign.
Melissa Corker is a Staff Reporter for The Sacramento Press. Follow her on Twitter @MelissaCorker.