The Elk Grove Tribune will be interviewing local candidates for the elections. If you haven’t already, please register to vote as your vote counts. Elections will be held on November 3, 2020. The deadline to register to vote is October 19, 2020.
Let me introduce one of the candidates running for Mayor of Elk Grove, Brian Pastor. Pastor is 43 and has lived in Elk Grove since 2005.
Interviewer: So tell me a little bit about yourself. What do you do for your day job? What hobbies are you into?
Pastor: So I am what you call a clinical documentation consultant. I review medical charts after the doctor sees the patient. I make sure everything is correct before it goes into the database: medications, birthdates, dates of diagnosis. Let’s say we have a patient who has had asthma when he was 7, but he is now in this twenties and hasn’t had an asthma attack. I would remove that from their records because it’s outdated and redundant.
Even though I was born in New York, I grew up in Sacramento. I went to Christian Brothers and graduated from high school there. I graduated from USF and then I went to medical school in the Philippines. Even though I did rounds at the hospital, I didn’t have the qualifications to become a doctor here. And I came back to the States in January 2014. I came back because all of my family is here, and I was raised here.
But also, I was in a hurry to come back here because my dad had gotten diagnosed with lung cancer. He got diagnosed with it in December of 2013. I managed to get back and take care of him for a few months before he passed away.
In terms of hobbies, I’m a foodie! I love to cook and occasionally I will order out for me and my mother. But most of the time I cook. I can cook Chinese, Japanese, Filipino — because I’m Filipino — but the majority of my dishes are Japanese or Thai. I love spicy food.
When I was younger, I used to DJ a lot. I still do it occasionally for house parties and the like. I know people are moving to digital, but I still prefer having the records.
Another hobby of mine is cars. I collect cars and I’ve been to trade shows from San Diego to Las Vegas. Most of the cars I collect are Japanese and German.
Interviewer: What is your reason for running for the position of Mayor of Elk Grove?
Pastor: I want to help our sandwich generation, and incubate the systems to match our needs. I also want more civic engagement from our youth.
Interviewer: What do you mean by the sandwich generation?
Pastor: I’m middle-aged, I’m 43. So in a sandwich, I would be the meat. The seniors or the elderly would be at the top of the sandwich, whereas the youth and children would be at the bottom of the sandwich. All of us together compromise the sandwich. I use this term to explain the multi-generational demographics of Elk Grove.
I want to do more for each of the generations, including the youth and the elderly.
Interviewer: What changes do you want to see happen in Elk Grove?
Pastor: We have a lot of elderly living in Elk Grove, but we do not have enough services for them. I have to take my mom to a lot of places because she is still recovering from a stroke. She is about 90% recovered, but she relies on the bus for traveling. Sometimes the buses are late, but there are not enough of them to cover the city. Some seniors want to return back to the workforce and we need to provide them with that opportunity. If our seniors are stuck at home, they are known to get depressed. They love to socialize and they are missing out on that. There are a lot of activities for the youth, but there are not enough for seniors.
Traffic and public transit is something I want to see change. As you may know, many of these houses built in Elk Grove are meant for single families. Yet there are many houses that are multi-generational. The median age of Elk Grove is 36, the median income is $60,000. Of course, this varies, but this does not include the elderly who are retired and own their homes already. But most houses have at least three cars, sometimes with more than two people leaving the house to go to work. With 1,000 homes, that equals to about 3,000 cars. That is a lot of traffic, and some of that can be mitigated if Elk Grove had better public transit. If there were more buses in Elk Grove, our seniors and our youth could be more independent.
Another thing I want to do is to protect our local businesses. There are a lot of businesses that are closing because of the pandemic. I was at Happy Lemon on Sheldon, and I talked to the owner about his struggles. He applied for a loan, and it probably covered the wages of his employees. A lot of these properties are either privately owned or corporate-owned, and business owners are renting. I asked the business owner if he could get any leeway or some aid for his rent, and the owner said no, he has to pay full rent.
And what I’ve found out is a lot of local businesses are minority-owned. Many of them don’t realize they can get aid, and a lot of them do not know how to fill out these applications. For some of them, there is a language barrier when filling out applications.
Finally, I want to get our youth more active in civic engagement. I want to provide programs that will give them more life skills or job skills. I want to bring more programs and keep our youth active.
Interviewer: These programs for the youth, do you see them happening on-campus or off-campus? How do you think it will work?
Pastor: These programs can be on or off-campus. It would be great if local businesses would offer these types of programs for the youth as well. Oh! And I want to get our youth to vote. I ask them if they are registered to vote, and some say yes, some say no. Many of them believe that their vote doesn’t count — believe me, it does! And it’s one of the most adult things you can do!
Are You A Good Fit?
Interviewer: Why do you think you’re a good fit for Mayor?
My education. My work experience, and I have a deep passion for helping my community. When I was in medical school, I did tons of medical missions. I would help the less fortunate with medicine and medical care. I want to help people.
As a Filipino, the family is a big part of who I am. It’s made me care about my community. I’ve lived in Elk Grove since 2005 so I’ve seen the city grow and evolve. I want to do stuff for the city and I have so many ideas. I want to interact with everyone, the seniors, the businesses, and the youth.
Interviewer: What do you think are the biggest challenges facing Elk Grove?
Pastor: We don’t have enough local solutions to reduce the social and economic strains on households. There are not enough jobs to support households. Traffic and congestion is another huge problem. If we could get more public transit, we wouldn’t have as many cars on the road. Our seniors and our youth could rely on public transit to get to where they need to go.
As a medical professional, I am also concerned that Elk Grove does not have a trauma center. We do not have a way to rapidly respond to emergencies. Kaiser is the closest thing we have to that in Elk Grove, and they are in South Sac. We do not need something big, but we do need some kind of trauma center because Elk Grove is getting big.
I do think Elk Grove could also address social injustices. I know people are asking to defund the police. Elk Grove is a relatively safe city. Personally, I would rather see more community officers. These people would help direct traffic if there was an accident, they would respond to non-violent crimes. This way police officers would be able to respond to violent crimes.
Interviewer: Thank you for your time, and I wish you luck.
Pastor: Thank you!