San Pablo not only has a new mayor. The 71-year-old city also has its first Latino mayor.
Arturo Cruz, a lifelong San Pablo resident and longtime community advocate who was most recently elected to council in 2016, was unanimously selected by his colleagues on the San Pablo City Council on Monday to serve a one-year term as mayor.
Every December in San Pablo, the council votes to select amongst its members who will serve as mayor and vice mayor.
Cruz succeeds former Mayor Rich Kinney, a councilmember since 2012 whose current term expires in November 2020. Elizabeth Pabon-Alvarado was selected as vice mayor.
Cruz was sworn in as mayor by former longtime Councilmember Genoveva Garcia Calloway, who was the the city’s first Latina mayor.
“I’ve known Arturo Cruz for a very long time, since I was a teenager in high school,” said Councilmember Abel Pineda, who made the motion to select Cruz as mayor. “I’m honored to be serving on the same dais.”
Following his selection, Cruz paid tribute to his grandfather for having the courage and wisdom to come to the U.S. in 1948 via the bracero program, part of a farm labor agreement between the U.S. and Mexico.
“I grew up here in San Pablo, which was always overshadowed by its neighboring city of Richmond,” Cruz said Monday. “But today we put San Pablo on the map by swearing in the first Latino mayor.”
According to city code, the mayor’s duties are to preside at all meetings of the council, preserve order and decorum, and have general direction of the council chamber during meetings.