Newly elected Mayor Lisa Motoyama with the newest member of the City Council, Carolyn Wysinger.

EL CERRITO, Contra Costa County — Mayor Pro Tem Lisa Motoyama was elected mayor of El Cerrito on Dec. 20.

Also serving on the City Council are Mayor Pro Tem Tessa Rudnick and Councilmembers Paul Fadelli, Gabe Quinto and Carolyn Wysinger. Councilmember Janet Abelson retired after 23 years of public service.

When Quinto and Motoyama became mayor and mayor pro tem, respectively, in December 2021, they were the first AAPIs to serve in those positions in El Cerrito.

Motoyama was first elected to the City Council in 2020 and her term expires in 2024. She is also East Bay Division delegate to the Cal Cities Housing, Economic and Community Development Policy Committee, API Caucus delegate to the Cal Cities Revenue and Taxation Policy Committee, Contra Costa County Mayor’s Conference delegate to the East Bay Economic Development Alliance Executive Board, and a member of the Housing California Executive Board.

Mayor Pro Tem Lisa Motoyama and Mayor Gabe Quinto in 2021.

When running for City Council, Motoyama gave the following self-introduction: “I am a 14-year resident of El Cerrito, moving here when our children were babies. As we raised our children, we enjoyed nearly all of the city’s parks, and programs, from ECYB (El Cerrito Youth Baseball) to the swim center, afterschool programs, and adult enrichment programs. Our children have attended the public schools. We shop and dine local. I love El Cerrito!

“I have a master’s degree in city and regional planning from UC Berkeley and served two terms on the El Cerrito Planning Commission. I supported the approval of the San Pablo Avenue Specific Plan and advocated for the preservation of the Contra Costa Florist building, which is now part of the Hana Gardens senior housing development. As a Japanese American, I was very proud to help save this historic building and story.

“Most of my professional career has centered on affordable housing development. I’ve worked primarily with nonprofit affordable housing developers, as well as the City and County of San Francisco’s Mayor’s Office of Housing. I currently work for Community Economics, a nonprofit that provides affordable housing finance support and technical assistance to further the creation and preservation of permanent affordable housing throughout the state.

“I’m running for City Council this fall because I want to ensure that El Cerrito continues to be the welcoming place to live and work that it has been for me and my family.”

The city’s website includes the following description: “El Cerrito is a small city with big city tastes eager to welcome new businesses to its growing, changing, easily accessed commercial neighborhoods. It is a evolving city with a unique blend of well-established residential neighborhoods and growth of multifamily residences along San Pablo Avenue that are welcoming new families and residents of all ages. The commercial districts are extremely accessible, served by two BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) stations, the Ohlone Greenway, San Pablo Avenue and Interstates 80 and 580.”

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