Name: Ling-Ling Chang
Occupation: Diamond Bar Councilmember/Educator
1. Please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your background and why you should be elected or reelected to the Diamond Bar City Council.
Through my work on the city council, I have helped improve city services, built a new library, increased law enforcement funding, improved recreational opportunities and stretched city tax dollars. I have also helped bring about new, innovative solutions to improving communications/accessibility between the city and our residents through technology and social media (Diamond Bar was one of the first cities to have an interactive App). Prior to that, I served on the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission and helped keep utility rates low as a member of the Walnut Valley Water District board.
In addition to serving on the city council for the last four years, I have worked to improve educational opportunities in the area by having served as President/CEO of the Youth Science Center for the past 10 years and also improved teacher training programs as a Boardmember of Cal Poly Partners-in-Education.
As the city’s first homegrown Mayor/Councilmember, it would be an honor to continue to serve the city I’ve called home since I was a little girl.
2. What are the most pressing issues facing Diamond Bar?
Through good planning and hard work, Diamond Bar made it through the recession far better than many other cities. While other cities cut vital public safety programs, we increased funding for law enforcement. However, we need to continue our efforts to improve economic opportunity in the region and bring new jobs and commercial activity to Diamond Bar. We also need to continue efforts to reduce traffic congestion.
3. If elected or reelected, what would be your top 3 priorities in the upcoming term?
The city must continue efforts to strengthen the local economy and help local employers through these tough times. The council must continue and expand upon efforts to reduce traffic congestion. We need to keep neighborhoods and schools safe from crime.
4. Part of a council member’s job is to make sure the city’s budget remains balanced and money is spent wisely. What is your experience in working with budgets?
As a member of the Diamond Bar City Council, I have helped balance every budget and maintain a $17 million reserve while increasing funding for public safety, building a new library and bringing two new parks on line. To help the city stretch its tax dollars, I cut my own city council pay and benefits. The council also used the economic downturn to Diamond Bar’s advantage by building a new library and other city facilities at costs far below pre-recession prices.
5. Many residents say that there aren’t enough of the businesses they want in Diamond Bar. What types of businesses would you like to see locate in the city and how would you go about bringing them to town?
The City Council has been working very hard to bring businesses into Diamond Bar. Right after I got elected to City Council in 2009, I went straight to work on bringing in more retail/restaurants into Diamond Bar. The City Manager and I have met with a variety of retailers in the past few years; it was an eye-opening experience. We found out retailers tend to have a very specific formula that they follow, a major component being population density. They’ve mentioned that Diamond Bar is unique in that we lack the population density that is required, pointing out the open space between Diamond Bar and Chino Hills, Diamond Bar and Brea, Diamond Bar and Walnut (freeway and warehouses in between Diamond Bar and Walnut). Our traffic counts are high, and our average household income in Diamond Bar is extremely desirable; however, we are lacking in population density. Despite these challenges, we were still able to attract some great new restaurants such as the Ranch House,Yojie Japanese Fondue (which also holds art exhibits occasionally in their space), and Diamond Fresh Farmers Market, to name a few. We also have quite a few gems in Diamond Bar that are still open after 30 years, such as Sushi Koyo (they draw people from all over the country) in the north end of town.
I would like to see a variety of innovative restaurateurs and/or retailers in town that could enhance the charm of Diamond Bar living (I do miss the old Jolly Bagel!). I will continue to talk to (and entice) retailers and restaurateurs about opening up shop in our wonderful city of Diamond Bar.
6. Traffic is another key concern in Diamond Bar. What solutions do you have for easing gridlock on city streets? Is that an issue that a council member can do something about?
I have traveled to Washington and Sacramento at my own expense in an effort to gain support for efforts to alleviate congestion on the 57/60 interchange. Recently, we were able to work closely with Congressman Ed Royce on this issue, which resulted in a visit from Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
On the council, I have
also helped implemented some advanced traffic calming programs that have helped
relieve some congestion on city streets, such the Neighborhood Traffic
Management program which engaged neighborhoods to
address local traffic issues in partnership with the residents. We also implemented our new Traffic Control System which allows us to set timers and pavement sensors at intersections to control the flow of traffic, ensuring the safe and efficient transport of both vehicles and pedestrians.
If reelected, I will continue fighting to fix the 57/60 interchange and advance efficient Traffic Management programs.
7. What is your vision for developing the vacant Diamond Bar Honda property? What kind of businesses would you like to see go in there?
I have always believed in responsible, innovative development that would benefit the entire community; an upscale hotel with an excellent restaurant would be ideal.
8. What is your vision for revitalizing the city’s north end?
9. Many cities, including Diamond Bar, are struggling to keep up with the rising costs of maintaining Lighting and Open Space Maintenance Districts (LOSMD). What do you think needs to be done to generate more revenue to fund them? Would you be willing to seek an increase in assessments from residents and business owners? If not, why not.
As for maintaining the Lighting and Landscaping Assessment Districts (LLADs), we should continue to utilize cost-effective/conservation methods to lower our water and landscape maintenance bills. I am not willing to seek an increase in assessments from our residents and business owners.
10. Please share anything else you think readers would be interested in knowing about you or your campaign.
I am so proud and honored to be serving our wonderful City of Diamond Bar – the City I’ve called home since I was a little girl. I am also proud to have earned the support of Senator Bob Huff, Congressman Ed Royce, Supervisor Don Knabe and Supervisor Mike Antonovich; as well as Diamond Bar Planning Commissioner Tony Torng; Diamond Bar Traffic Commissioners Ted Carrera and Peter Pirritano; Diamond Bar Parks & Recreation Commissioners Dave Roberto, Lew Herndon, Benny Liang; Diamond Bar Friends of the Library Immediate Past President Rosette Clippinger; Diamond Bar Community Foundation President Raul Galindo; Diamond Bar Community Foundation Immediate Past President Jody Roberto