A public Celebration of Life for Council Member Martinez will be held on Saturday, November 2, 2019 at 11 a.m. The event will be held at the Montclair Senior Center, 5111 Benito Street, Montclair (behind City Hall).
Honorable Mayor, City Council, fellow employees and the Montclair community:
It is with great sadness that the elected and appointed officials, employees and citizens of Montclair are informed of the passing of Montclair's beloved Council Member, Trisha Martinez, at the young age of 48. Trisha went to our Heavenly Father yesterday evening, Saturday, September 21, 2019, at approximately 11:30 p.m. after fighting a courageous battle with cervical cancer. At bedside were her husband, Manny, and daughters Corysa and Nicola. Trisha is also survived by her grandson Roman Cisneros, and his father and Corysa's fiancé, Nick Cisneros.
Montclair City Council Member Trisha Martinez
September 8, 1971 to September 21, 2019
Before and during her tenure as a member of the Montclair City Council, Trisha served as a fierce advocate for the City she dearly loved. She looked within the borders of Montclair and saw a people bustling with inspiration, heart, and purpose. Trisha drew strength from the community, and used that strength to promote an agenda for a greater Montclair. It was her personal formula of passion and commitment to the residents of Montclair that elevated Trisha, allowing her to work tirelessly to achieve her goals for the community.
A resident of Montclair since 1992, Trisha volunteered for numerous organizations prior to her decision to run for City Council in 2014 ─ the year she was first elected to serve in the City Council seat vacated by former Council Member Leonard Paulitz.
Trisha served with the Women's Club of Montclair for 12 years; volunteered for Montclair's Senior Nutrition Program for over 12 years; and volunteered for various assignments with Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School in Montclair.
During her first four years as City Council Member, the Montclair City family witnessed Trisha develop into a strong representative for the community, serving Montclair as a member of various committees and on regional bodies, including the City's Public Works and Code Enforcement Committees, and as representative to the Inland Empire Utilities Agency (IEUA), Omnitrans, and as alternate member to the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA).
She developed a close working relationship with the Chaffey Joint Union High School District (CJUHSD) and Ontario-Montclair School District (OMSD), assuming the role of Education Coordinator and advocating for issues such as school-pedestrian safety, child welfare, and college access programs including Montclair's award-winning and first-of-its-kind, Montclair to College program ─ a City-sponsored free tuition and books program for graduating Montclair High School students to attend Chaffey College for up to two years.
In the area of child welfare and school pedestrian safety, Trisha advocated for approval of Montclair's second-in-the-nation Distracted Walking Law ─ an ordinance adopted by the City Council in 2018 that prohibits the use of an electronic device, such as a smartphone, while crossing a public street.
Trisha also advocated for increases to public safety personnel to ensure community safety, and promoted community-based policing as a means to reduce overall crime in the community and redirect juvenile behavior in positive ways, and towards good citizenship. Instrumental to this latter cause was her promotion of Montclair's Police Explorer Program for youth between the ages of 14 and 20.
Because her heart and commitment always steered toward the people, Trisha served as a prominent supporter of the City's Recreation, Human Services, Youth and Senior Services programs. Her passion for the welfare of people evolved from avocation to vocation, and from volunteerism to a way of life.
Trisha's commitment to Montclair's senior citizen population was unparalleled. As a Council Member, she advocated on behalf of seniors on issue after issue that was relevant to improving their lives in the community they called home. Through her efforts, Montclair's Senior Nutrition Program earned recognition as one of the region's stellar programs. Trisha also worked to ensure senior citizens would continue receiving a variety of free or reduced-cost services, including micro-transit and discounted refuse services.
Trisha recognized that for a community to thrive, economic development is a central component of a planned economy. She supported and advocated for Gold Line light rail service to the Montclair Transcenter, understanding that its arrival is vital to the development of Montclair's emerging transit district. In addition, within the City's transit district, Trisha encouraged the development of new housing projects that would support the City's migration toward a sustainable community, with public transit serving as the backbone for the City's ongoing development prospects and expression of its environmental awareness.
Development of the Montclair Place regional shopping center was also central to Trisha's vision for the City's future. She encouraged City staff to work closely with the owner of Montclair Place to develop a specific plan that would address not only the changing retail environment, but would also promote best uses for the property. The Montclair City Council anticipates considering adoption of a specific plan for the Montclair Place District in early 2020.
Trisha also promoted development throughout Montclair, including the new Cardenas Center now under construction in south Montclair.
To tie Montclair's larger plan for economic development together, Trisha advocated for improvements to the City's infrastructure. In the last few years, Montclair embarked on a program to pave all residential streets and major thoroughfares. This week, the new Monte Vista Avenue Grade Separation opens to the public; over the next few years, construction is expected to begin on a new Central Avenue Bridge over the Union Pacific Railroad tracks; and re-construction of Central Avenue is expected to begin in October 2019.
In November 2018, Trisha won re-election to her second term on the City Council. Residents of Montclair demonstrated their appreciation and commitment to Trisha by giving her the largest vote total of any candidate for Montclair City Council office that year, and one of the largest vote tallies ever received by a candidate for Montclair City Council. Prior to her re-election, she was endorsed by a wide field of federal, state, regional and local elected representatives, and unions representing a range of different labor groups.
Trisha was proud that Montclair is one of only 61 cities in California to have a women majority city council [according to a 2018 report released jointly by California Women Lead and the Women's Caucus of the League of California Cities] ─ a Montclair bragging right first achieved when former Mayor Ginger Eaton was appointed by the City Council in July 2018 to fill the unexpired seat vacated by her husband and the late Mayor Paul M. Eaton [Mayor Paul Eaton's term of office expired November 2018]. Upon Ginger Eaton's appointment, Mayor Eaton, Mayor Pro Tem Carolyn Raft and Trisha represented a solid female majority on the 5-member City Council, and Trisha committed to encouraging residents to maintain this distinction. When Council Member John Dutrey became Mayor in December 2018, replacing Mayor Ginger Eaton, Trisha and two of her City Council colleagues, after interviewing 13 candidates, appointed Montclair Planning Commission Chairwoman Tenice Johnson to fill the City Council vacancy created by the elevation of Council Member Dutrey to Mayor, thereby maintaining Montclair's women majority City Council.
In April 2019, Trisha was diagnosed with the disease that would redirect her energies. Despite spending nearly all of these past months in hospitals, Trisha made every effort to attend City Council meetings and other local and regional board meetings whenever her health permitted. This kind of professional commitment is rare, and attests to her devotion to office, duty and the people of Montclair.
God and her family were always first in Trisha's life; but her thoughts and concerns for the people of Montclair were always at the front of her mind and prayers. During each of her Montclair City Council election cycles, Trisha would walk to nearly every residence in the City reaching out to voters and non-voters alike, asking them what they loved about the City, and how she could help to make the City a better place to live, work and play. This personal outreach is what brought Trisha wide-ranging support from Montclair residents.
Trisha and husband Manny were married for 10-years and co-owned Law Docs, a paralegal service. Trisha attended Chaffey College from 1992 to 1994 where she studied Liberal Arts; the University of Southern California from 1995 to 1999 where she studied Psychology; and California Southern College of Law where she studied law. In 2015, Trisha received Chaffey College's Alumni of the Year Award.
Trisha possessed an abiding faith in God, and carried His ministry in her heart at all times. She used this devotion to faith as a central lesson to living life. As faith is His gift to the world, Trisha amply gave in kindness to all who welcomed her into their lives. In her final years, she attended Calvary Montclair.
Trisha's passing follows exactly 14 months after the passing of Montclair Mayor Paul Eaton on July 21, 2018. Mayor John Dutrey ordered City flags be lowered to half-mast starting today, Sunday, September 22, 2019, through the day of internment.
The family has asked that in-lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Montclair Community Foundation, 5111 Benito Street, Montclair, CA 91763, to support youth services, including the Montclair to College Program. Donations can be made online at http://www.montclaircf.org/donate (please select Trisha Martinez Memorial).
Trisha, the Montclair community has been honored for your service; and as you pass this day to the care of a Greater Power, there is no question that you will continue as protector of the town you loved, and that loved you back.
The memory of your service will always remain within the heart of the Montclair community; and the proof of your service will continue to develop on Montclair's streets and avenues, in its parks and commercial centers, and to the four corners of this town you made home.
In Memoriam of Montclair City Council Member Trisha Martinez.