City Council winners Tim Hepburn and Charlie Rosales plan on guiding La Verne toward a successful future
by Veronica Orozco
photography by Jolene Nacapuy
Within the walls of a small room near the corner of Foothill and D Street, the La Verne City Council deliberates on countless approaches to keeping its values and small town charm while enabling growth. Similar to a stick placed behind a delicate orchid for guidance, these five people serve as the support and voice of the city, voting towards its best interest and that of its constituents.
Council positions typically open up every four years and allow incumbents to gain and maintain voter approval, as well as allow new blood to join the elite club should voters deem them qualified. This term was different than recent others due to the fact that there were two seats up for re-election and one member, Ron Ingles, chose to step down from his position as a result of the work load from his job as chief law-enforcement liaison for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
This opening spiked interest in the council and allowed promising members the ability to join the fold. Running alongside incumbent Charlie Rosales was business owner Tim Hepburn, water industry executive Gilbert Ivey and state assemblyman Mathew Lyons. Despite the qualifications of each runner, Tim Hepburn and Charlie Rosales emerged on the top spots alongside unopposed Mayor Don Kendrick, whose position was also up for re-election.
When looking at retiring from his more than 30-year career as an officer at the Covina Police Department, it was only natural for Charlie to gravitate towards La Verne as his permanent home. Being everything from a police officer, hostage negotiator and undercover agent, moving to a place where work was nothing but a distant memory seemed ideal. “I love the values that we have here, people here take care of each other,” says Charlie Rosales, second-term City Councilman. “We have more retired fire and police personnel than any other city in L.A. County and that’s saying something.”
The love that Charlie demonstrates toward La Verne does not originate as a result from being a native La Vernian, he developed his devotion as an outsider appreciating the small town values it has maintained since its founding nearly 130 years ago.
As a budding police officer, Charlie looked at Covina for its reputation as one of the most progressive police departments at the time; it being a beautiful and small community was just a plus. But, as the years flew out the window, so did the small town charm. “It happened so fast, I saw it go from a quiet bedroom community to having Covina High School shot up. I would never want to see it happen here and I want to make sure it doesn’t,” Charlie says. “I saw more chest wounds in Covina than I did in Vietnam, the world that I lived in was a violet world,” Charlie adds. “We don’t have that violence here, La Verne is not a violent place. What is here and what was there are two different worlds. That might be why I hold on to the values of La Verne.”
Charlie also came to La Verne to expand his family, and it was important to him that he was able to go to the park and walk his dog with no fear or reservations. Walking past white picket fences, flowered window boxes and friendly neighbors is a reality for most of La Verne, and even though his marriage was short-lived due to the stresses of being a spouse to a police officer, La Verne still seemed like a perfect fit.
With availability in his schedule and desire to help develop the city of La Verne, the 66-year-old retiree has dedicated most of his time to his position and even circulates his personal phone number to his constituents in case they have any pressing matters. “I have the opinion that as a representative I need to be available. My biggest contribution is being involved, 90 percent of the time people have a valid question or concern and as a representative I believe it is important for them to get ahold of me,” Charlie says.
Having served three years in the United States Army, with a background in public service and a college education in public administration, his ability to take charge in crisis situations and work under pressure has worked to his benefit, giving him unique qualifications for the position. Public safety has been and still is his number one priority.
With the title of former business owner on his repertoire, Charlie also looks at ways into growing economic development, constantly on the lookout for great new restaurants to add to the map and ways to draw in more people from surrounding communities. “La Verne is known as San Bernardino’s best kept secret, and its time the secret got out,” Charlie says.
A La Verne resident for nearly 30 years and a father to three children who have all graduated from the Bonita Unified School District, City Councilman Tim Hepburn has cemented his roots in the city. Constantly volunteering for various committees with the city and BUSD, his knowledge of La Verne and its inner workings is vast and only growing. “The families we met, sports, schools, we all grew together and that was the neat part. Our families are planted here and as our kids grew we grew and as we grew we met more people and had visions to keep it like it is, keep it wonderful,” Tim says.
Being a business owner on top of the stockpile of commitments he has with the city would usually seem like an overload, but Tim only looks to help La Verne grow and develop. Previously a member of the planning commission, Tim often voted on decisions that were later sent to the City Council for final say, and wanted to be a part of that final say. “I think some quality retailers would suit the needs of our community, making sure we have a strong police and fire department and keeping our school system ranked as one of the best,” Tim says.
Getting the city to better financial stability and creating a transparency for residents when it comes to the business sector is all on his to-do list now that he has been elected as the council’s newest member. “We are nestled in the foothills and can almost sustain ourselves with our restaurants and businesses, anything else we need is close by in neighboring cities,” says Tim.
He looks at helping the city grow with not only businesses in mind, but also employment and employees. Maintaining the quality of services provided to seniors in the community is also important on his list and keeping community safety is high on priority too.
A reflection of Tim’s voter approval can be seen in his 2,014 votes, most among the candidates in the elections held back in March. “The fact that I have been here for a long time and have invested both time and money says a lot, I have a reputation. I’ve been a coach and watched over children, I’ve spent many hours at schools and on boards, I care about la Verne,” Tim says. “When you are involved and engaged you have a say so and I wanted to make sure things maintain in tact and values stayed the same.”
Tim reinforced the importance of being a part of such a tight knit community and reiterates the friendliness of La Verne residents and how that sets the city apart from many others. “We have an abundance of churches with any denomination and we just have a welcoming attitude,” Tim says. “Everyone has their specific niches, everyone has their love or passion and helping the city grow is mine.”
Both council members have different backgrounds and different reasons for selecting La Verne as their home, but one thing they do share is their love for the city. The well-being of it and its residents are number one on their priority list and growth and community values are close seconds. “You are elected to represent the community as a whole. We represent everyone’s best interest,” says City Council Member Donna Redman. “Because of that we are going to make decisions based on what is best for the majority of the population and as a council member you are supposed to look at the entire picture and make decision you might not agree on and but are best for the community.”
Like intertwining roots to an orchid, a city often needs expansion for success and the La Verne City Council, much like the stick behind a budding beauty, guides the city toward safety and stability. La Verne pride lies within Tim and Charlie, and it is alive and growing within the walls of the small room near the corner of Foothill and D Street. It is available for display at council meetings twice per month.