California Cities for Self-Reliance Joint Powers Authority (JPA) comprises five member cities with local card club operations that include the cities of Bell Gardens, Commerce, Compton, Cudahy and Hawaiian Gardens. The JPA’s mission is to empower communities and leadership statewide to advocate for card rooms as vital resources to cities and local services such as police, fire, schools and transportation. We achieve our mission by educating and engaging community, lobbying, communications and legal action.
Victor Farfan was born and raised in Hawaiian Gardens. After graduating from Artesia High School he went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Occidental College. Victor has always had an affinity for his home town and has been committed to its betterment. Prior to his election to the City Council, he served as chair of the Hawaiian Gardens Public Safety Commission and as a trustee of the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District. Councilman Farfan has also served as a member of the Gateway Cities Council of Governments and the Cities for Self Reliance Joint Powers Authority. He is a Commercial Insurance Broker with Spectrum Risk Management and Insurance Services. Council Member Farfan and his wife Arlene are proud parents of two sons, Troy and Cole Farfan.
Emma Sharif is the Mayor for the City of Compton since July 2021. Prior to her Mayoral victory, she was elected to represent the 4th District of the Compton City Council in June of 2015. Emma has been a resident of Compton for over 20 years, proudly raising her children and working in the community throughout that time. No stranger to hard work, Emma has always had a passion for education and public service. She demonstrated her passion for students through her time as a public-school teacher, and a Youth Development Director in Compton. Observing the need for more qualified and dedicated teachers Emma became a staunch advocate for student success and their overall well-being.
As a result of her passion and advocacy, in 2001, Emma was appointed to the Compton Unified School District (CUSD) Board of Trustees, filling a Board vacancy. In 2003, Emma successfully ran for the full term and served as Trustee of CUSD Board of Directors for 14 years. In her time as Trustee, Emma successfully championed the efforts of bringing the Emergency Repair Program (ERP) to the District. The ERP program yielded over $40 million to repair 28 schools within the District. As Trustee, Emma continued to exemplify her leadership by serving in various capacities, including President, Vice President, Clerk, and Legislative Representative.
In 2015, Emma ran a successful campaign for Compton City Council District 4. Since serving on the council, Sharif has championed many projects. As a freshman, Emma was given the task of continuing and enhancing the existing scholarship program awarding over $10,000 to the city’s scholars in most need. She has championed and supported the Collaborative Court, which was implemented at the Compton Courthouse. Emma coordinated efforts with partnering cities to address the growing concerns of human trafficking in Compton, Long Beach, Lynwood, etc. Emma has been leading the charge to address the growing concerns of Homelessness in Compton with partnering cities and agencies. She also coordinated the redevelopment and renovation of South Park. As Councilperson for the 4th District, Emma served on several regional and statewide committees. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science/Sociology; and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration.
Emma’s future vision is to make sure Kelly Park receives the same updates and renovation. Her strong community ties and independent thinking led to a strategic and systematic effort of cleaning up the city. Mayor Emma Sharif is dedicated to addressing quality of life issues, government transparency, and equality for all residents in Compton and its neighboring cities. Mayor Sharif proudly represents Compton when building relationships with other cities and counties as well as State and Federal Legislative Leaders. She works to create a professional and respectful business culture.
As Mayor, some of Emma’s priorities are to:
Martin U. Fuentes is a prominent figure in the Cudahy community, serving as a council member for the city. Born and raised in Cudahy, Martin has a deep connection to the community and is committed to making positive changes for its residents.
Martin went to Bell High School before earning his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from California State University, Sacramento. After college, he worked as a public servant for several years before being elected to the Cudahy City Council in 2022.
As a council member, Martin has been a strong advocate for community development and has worked tirelessly to improve the quality of life for Cudahy residents. He has prioritized the needs of families, small businesses, and underserved communities and has championed initiatives that promote economic growth, affordable housing, and public safety.
Francis De Leon Sanchez was recently elected to serve the residents of Bell Gardens, in November of 2022. Currently, Francis is an Assistant Principal with Hacienda La Puente Unified School District, where she has worked for the past 6 years. As a result of her stellar work, she has received several accolades including Administrator of the Year for Hacienda La Puente Unified and was considered for state finalist for the ACSA XV region in 2021.
Prior to her role in education administration, Francis served as a teacher within Montebello Unified School District (MUSD). During her 10 years at MUSD, specifically, Applied Technology Center High School and Schurr High School, Francis worked tirelessly as an Activities Director, English Teacher, ACE Pathway Lead, and participated in other leadership roles. Education has always been her passion as she comes from a family of educators, including her mother, siblings, and even cousins.
In terms of her own education, Francis earned both a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Education and a Teaching Credential in English from California State University, Long Beach. She pursued graduate school and earned a Master of Arts Degree in Educational Leadership from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, where she also participated in the Administrative Leadership Program earning her Administrative Credential as well. She is currently a doctorate student at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, where she is pursuing a doctorate in Educational Leadership.
Aside from education, Francis is dedicated to serving her community. Most recently, Francis held the position of Commissioner of Education where she actively attended city events. She strongly believes that experience prepared her to become aware of our current city’s needs and actions needed to further improve our community. She truly is a public servant. In fact, Francis has been involved in the community since her youth. This includes: serving the St. Gertrude Church community, mentoring students for the Collegebound program within MUSD, and working with youth within Montebello Unified School District and After-School All-Stars, Los Angeles.
Francis has dedicated her life to public service, and she is invested in her community, as she has called Bell Gardens home her entire life. Furthermore, her family has resided in Bell Gardens for about 50 years. Not only does she reside in this city with her husband, but her parents and siblings also live within the city. She truly cares about families and the community itself.
Francis is a highly qualified and dedicated public servant who advocates for her students, families and the community. She is honored and humbled to serve her hometown and community. She takes pride that Bell Gardens is her hometown, and she is proud to advocate and represent her community with grace and humility.
Mayor Hugo A. Argumedo moved to the City of Commerce in 1994 and was elected to the City Council in 1996 to fill the unexpired term of Ruben Batres. He was reelected to the City Council in 1997, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2015 and 2020.
Mayor Argumedo has played an active role in the City and is committed to improving community safety, education and employment. Among his accomplishments are helping to initiate the City’s Education Commission; restructuring the City scholarship program resulting in more money being raised for Commerce students with college expenses; and initializing the Citadel expansion project, doubling the number of stores at the Citadel and creating many jobs and added revenue to our City for years to come. In addition, he helped pass the Hotel Visitor Tax, which generates an estimated $2.3 million annually; negotiated a new fire department contract, saving the City of Commerce over 11 million dollars; oversaw new homes being built in the Bristow and Veteran Park areas; and is a strong advocate of community-based policing and the Neighborhood Watch Program.
In addition to his duties on the City Council, Mayor Argumedo served as a member of the California Contract Cities Association, I-710 Oversight Policy Committee, Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District and also served as a representative with the Southern California Association of Governments.
He also served as a member of many community-based organizations, including the Model City Democratic Club of Commerce, the Commerce Sister City Association, and the Rosewood Park Elementary School PTA.
Mayor Argumedo is the proud father of four children and has 30 years of work experience as a computer/network technician for Northrop Grumman Corporation.
Juan Garza is the Executive Director. He is also Principal at Six Heron in Southern California, a strategic communications & relations firm where he is engaged in and has advocated on behalf of a broad variety of industries including cardrooms, international trade, beverage, housing, land use, public transportation, telecommunications, horse racing, security and infrastructure at the local, regional, state and federal levels. Additionally, he has successfully engaged in industry-leading environmental initiatives and capital improvement projects in areas that include water, waste, development, and technology.
Juan is also a policymaker, previously serving as Mayor of the City of Bellflower and as President of the Los Angeles County Division of the League of California Cities, representing 86 of its member cities. In these capacities, he has engaged in issues that include transportation, homelessness, air quality, fiscal education and housing solutions at the state, regional and local level.
As manager of operations in the private sector, he has been responsible for annual operating budgets up to $90 million, generated annual revenues up to $120 million, successfully lobbied and obtained over $350 million in public funding and managed headcounts up to 350 employees.
He has a Master of Public Administration, a Bachelor’s Degree in Geography and a Certificate in Urban Studies, all from California State University, Long Beach. He and his wife Mayra, Educator, have three young sons.