Policy Council - About Us
The creation of the San Joaquin Valley Regional Policy Council is a key partnership that exemplifies the Regional Transportation Planning Agencies’ approach to working on regional issues.
This sixteen member Regional Policy Council was established to discuss and build regional consensus on issues of Valley importance. The Council consists of two elected officials and one alternate appointed from each of the regional planning agencies’ policy boards. The Council is positioned to have a unique and potentially pivotal position in further Valley collaborative efforts and improving the quality of life for all Valley residents.
The Policy Council provides guidance on common interregional policy issues and also represents the San Joaquin Valley at public forms such as the California Transportation Commission, the Governor and his administration, as well as State and Federal legislative bodies that require a common voice from the San Joaquin Valley.
Mayor Amarpreet "Ruby" Dhaliwal, Fresno County Representative - As a long time resident of the City of San Joaquin located in Fresno County, he has served on the San Joaquin City Council for the past 10 years and is currently the Mayor for the City. Not only does he support local government but is active in participating with local agencies serving on various boards such as: San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District for 4 years, Fresno Council of Governments for 7 years and League of California Environment Policy Commission for 2 years. Ruby was born and raised in Punjab, India and in 1983 at the age of 20, he migrated to California and completed a B.S. in Business Administration from Fresno State University and passed the CPA exam. He has operated a small business in San Joaquin for over 18 years and is married to Raj and is the father of two daughters, Pawanpreet who graduated from Harvard University and 8-year-old Jasleen who is a student at San Joaquin Elementary School. His hobbies include soccer, hiking, skiing and mountain biking.
Mayor Gary Yep, Fresno County Representative -
Born and raised in Kerman California, Mayor Yep graduated from Kerman High School. He has a A.S. degree in Real Estate from Fresno City College, a B.S. in Marketing from San Diego State University and a Joint MBA, International Finance and Law Degree from University of San Francisco. Mayor Yep also attended The University of Paris, Sorbonne Institute and Trinity College in Dublin Ireland focusing on Legal and International Finance issues of the European community prior to the conversion of the Euro. His adventures and education continued even further when he spent a summer completing a MBA Program in Hong Kong, comparing Asian Business practices with the American and European Markets. Mayor Yep was admitted as an attorney in California in 1995.
He serves as the current President of Valley Food Super Center; co-owner with his brothers Mark & Jerry Yep. Their Kerman business was established in 1955 by his parents Henry & Jean Yep.
Mayor Yep and his wife Stephanie have been married for 9 years and have 2 children, Jake & Sydney. He was first elected in 2010 as Mayor and re-elected in November 2012.
Mayor Manuel Cantu Jr., Kern County Representative -Mayor Manuel Cantu Jr., Kern County Representative – Mayor Cantu holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration with a Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management. He is currently employed as an Assistant Principal at San Joaquin High in the McFarland Unified School District. Before entering his Administrative and Teaching career he was employed as a Risk and Safety Manager for Paramount Citrus and Select Personnel Services. He also served as a Plant Manager for Guy Chaddock Furniture Co. His first career job was as an Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic for United Airlines after completing his A.S. degree in Aviation Technology.
Council Member Cheryl Wegman, Kern County Representative - Cheryl Wegman is a native of Wasco and is dedicated to improving the quality of life of residents. She has represented the City as a Council Member since 1998. In 2001 she had the distinct honor to serve as the City's first female Mayor. She served a second term as Mayor in 2005 and third term in 2008. Council Member Wegman is on the Board of Directors of the Association of California Cities Allied with Prisons (ACCAP) and serves as President. For the past ten years she has served on the Kern Council of Governments Board of Directors. She is also the past President of the League of California Cities South San Joaquin Valley Division. She is the Board President of the Citizen Advisory Committee at Wasco State Prison.
Supervisor Joe Neves, Kings County Representative - A lifelong Kings County resident, Joe Neves has served on the Board of Supervisors since 1994. Joe is dedicated to his community and serves on countless agencies including KCAG, Cal Vans, the Kings County Public Transit Agency, First 5 Children & Families Commission, and the Kings County Farm Bureau. A fourth generation farmer, he is among the first in his family to obtain a bachelor's degree, which he holds in Business/ Administration.
Supervisor Doug Verboon, Kings County Representative - Doug Verboon is a lifelong resident of Kings County and a 3rd generation farmer of Gold Top Ranch located in Hanford, California. Supervisor Verboon began his farming career alongside his grandfather and father and since 2005, has been involved with commercial property management. Before serving as a Kings County Board of Supervisor, he was a trustee of the Pioneer School District for 16 years, and was instrumental in helping Pioneer become the first charter school district in the State of California. Supervisor Verboon is a member of Kings County Farm Bureau, District Advisory Council for Sequoia Walnut, and Future Leaders Board for Diamond Walnuts among other organizations. He enjoys spending time with his wife and four adult children when not restoring and painting classic cars.
Council Member Robert Poythress, Madera County Representative - Robert is currently serving as Mayor of Madera and will serve through the end of 2011. Robert previously served as Mayor in 2006. Robert is a native Maderan who graduated from Madera High School in 1974. After high school, he attended California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, California and in 1978 graduated with a Bachelor of Science (BS) Degree in Agricultural Business Management; and in 1998 he earned his graduate degree from Pacific Coast Banking School, University of Washington. Robert has been in the banking industry since 1979. He is currently Vice President and Manager of Citizens Business Bank in Madera, California where he has been for 4 years. He is also a partner in Teco Hardware and Poythress Farms.
Supervisor Tom Wheeler, Madera County Representative - Tom Wheeler has been a resident of Eastern Madera County for five decades, having moved to the area as a teenager in 1958. His family settled in North Fork a year later, and he has lived there ever since. Tom is the proud father of three and grandfather of two. For 30 years, Tom managed the 4,500-acre Frank Wyle’s Circle W. Ranch. He also owns and manages his own private business. For more than eighteen years, he served as a trustee on various school boards including Sierra High School, North Fork Elementary School, and the Chawanakee and Minarets Boards. Over the last thirty years, Tom was elected President of the California Association Resource Conservation District and President of the Coarsegold Resource Conservation District. He has been a member of the Eastern Madera County Water Oversight Advisory Committee, the General Plan Update Committee, the North Fork Community Development Council, Farm Service Agency Advisory Board and the Board of Directors of the Mountain Area Youth Soccer League. Tom was elected to the Madera County Board of Supervisors in 2006 and currently serves on a variety of committees and boards.
Mayor Mike Villalta, Merced County Representative - Born and raised in Los Banos, Mike Villalta is a lifelong Los Banos resident and businessman. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art and teaching credential from College of Notre Dame, and a Master’s degree in Educational Administration from the University of San Francisco. Over the past 31 years, Mike was employed with the Los Banos Unified School District as an elementary and secondary teacher, Administrative Assistant/Counselor and Principal at the Junior High, and most recently District Director of Human Resources retiring in 2005. For the past 32 years, he and his wife Leslie have owned and operated “The Frame Shop”, their local retail business in downtown Los Banos. Currently, Mike is serving in his second two-year elected position as Mayor of Los Banos.
Supervisor John Pedrozo, Merced County Representative - Supervisor Pedrozo has served on the Merced County Board of Supervisor and MCAG Board since 2004. Born and raised in Merced, Supervisor Pedrozo has served in many capacities as a Board member, including: Merced Union High School District Board, San Joaquin Valley Rail Committee, Merced County Dairy Advisory Committee and Area Agency on Agency to name a few.
County Supervisor Steve Bestolarides, San Joaquin County Representative - Supervisor Bestolarides was born in Lodi and raised in San Joaquin County. He is the son of Greek immigrants; he earned his baccalaureate degree in Business Administration from the University of the Pacific and went on to complete his Masters in Finance.
Bestolarides was elected to the Board of Supervisors in June 2008. He sits on many committees including the Retirement Board, Council of Governments, Mental Health Advisory Board, Caltrans Rail Task Force Steering Committee, San Joaquin Flood Control Agency, Ad Hoc Green Belt Policy Committee, San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission, Farmington Dam Recharge Executive Coordinating Committee, Health Care Services Review Project, and Deferred Compensation Committee. Steve and his wife, Doreen have been married for 21 years. They have two sons, Danny and Paul.
Council Member Chuck Winn, San JoaquinCounty Representative - Mayor Winn was born and raised in the Central Valley. For over 45 years, he has served the residents of California, first, as a member of the California Highway Patrol for over 37 years and 11 years as a member of the Ripon City Council. He spent 11 years on patrol in Los Angeles County before serving over 6 years in Internal Affairs. He was in charge of the Employee Relations office in Sacramento for 4 years before commanding the Modesto Area office for 15 years. As a member of the City Council, he has been a staunch advocate for the residents of Ripon and San Joaquin County on various boards and committees. He has served as a member of the San Joaquin Council of Governments (SJCOG) since 2005 and currently is on the Executive Committee. He previously held the positions of Chairman and Vice-Chairman. He has a Bachelor’s degree from Chapman University in Organizational Leadership. Chuck and his wife Karon have been married for 43 years, have 3 children and 11 grandchildren.
Supervisor Vito Chiesa, Stanislaus County Representative- A lifelong resident of Hughson, Supervisor Chiesa graduated from Hughson High School, attended Modesto Junior College, and graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture.
Vito works in a family farming operation with his parents and brother. In addition to growing walnuts, almonds and peaches, the family operates a commercial walnut hulling and drying business.
Currently in his second term as Stanislaus County Supervisor, Vito serves as Chairman of the Board. He is the Vice-Chair of the Stanislaus Council of Governments (StanCOG) Policy Board and serves on the StanCOG Executive Committee. He is also a member of the California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley, and a Member of the San Joaquin Valley Rail Joint Powers Authority.
Mayor Luis Molina, Stanislaus County Representative - Luis Molina was elected Mayor of Patterson in November of 2010. He is originally from Union City. Following his high school graduation, he attended Chabot College to play baseball. After sustaining an injury, he enlisted as an active-duty United States Marine, and participated in the first Gulf War – Desert Shield/Storm. Luis returned to the Bay Area to work for the Department of Veterans Affairs. As a reentry student, Luis began his new educational journey by committing to the Puente program at Chabot College. Luis quickly learned about the leadership opportunities that existed on campus, and jumped in with both feet and became Chabot M.E.Ch.A.’s President. The following year, Luis was elected to President of Chabot College Associated Student Body. Luis currently works with Stanislaus County facilitating workshops on Bridging Diversity, Mental Health First Aid, and Building Better Relationships for Stanislaus County residents. He is currently the Chair of the Stanislaus Council of Governments (StanCOG) Policy Board and serves on the StanCOG Executive Committee
Mayor Rudy Mendoza, Tulare County Representative- Rudy Mendoza is a native of Woodlake, CA, a farming community on the eastern stretch of Tulare County. A first generation Mexican-American, Rudy labored in Central Valley fields alongside his family early on in his career, having picked oranges and grapes among other crops until his early twenties when he was named the youngest farm manager of a well-established farming operation in Porterville, CA.
Rudy was re-elected to serve his second term on the Woodlake City Council this past November and currently presides as Mayor of the City of Woodlake. Rudy is active on several boards and commissions in his capacity as Mayor, currently serving as the Vice Chair of the Tulare County Association of Governments, Tulare County Water Commission, LAFCO, Small Business Advisory, San Joaquin Valley Policy Council, and the CALVans Authority just to name a few. Rudy works as a Field Representative to Congressman Devin Nunes (R) Tulare, who represents California’s 22nd Congressional District. His day to day role is being a liaison between the constituents of the 22nd Congressional District and the Federal Government.Supervisor Allen Ishida, Tulare County Representative - Allen Ishida was elected to the Board of Supervisors in 2004 and was re-elected in 2008. Supervisor Ishida is a third generation citrus farmer from the Lindsay-Strathmore area. He is a graduate of Strathmore High School, and graduated from California State University, Fresno with a degree in business administration and a minor in agriculture. Supervisor Ishida's work experience includes managing county offices in California for the United States Department of Agriculture (Farm Services Agency), sales for the Xerox Corporation and approximately 20 years in the commercial real estate industry -- mostly with Coldwell Banker Commercial Real Estate Company. Ishida was also a full time farmer before being elected to the Board of Supervisors.
Seyed Sadredin ( ’say-ed sad-red-in’ ) became the Air Pollution Control Officer / Executive Director of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District in March of 2006. In this position he oversees the functions of a 300-person staff agency with an annual budget of approximately $150 million (including pass through grant money).
Sadredin has nearly 30 years of experience in directing, developing, applying, and administering air quality improvement programs. When the Valley’s eight counties unified under one air district in 1992, Sadredin took the duties of Director of Permit Services until being promoted to Deputy Director in 2004. Prior to that he was the Assistant Director for San Joaquin County Air District where he served for 11 years. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from California State University, Sacramento and enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters.