Candidate for Eastvale City Council
What the Pakistani-American Community Can Do for Anwer A. Khan
Anwer A. Khan, a Pakistani American running for Eastvale City Council in Riverside, was interviewed by Pakistan Link. His answers to questions about his candidacy were convincing and reassuring. Here is an opportunity for the community to have a Pakistani in public office. Anwer needs your support and vote.
PL: Could you tell us something about your family background?
AAK: My mother and father both came from Pakistan. My father came to the US in January, 1966, and my mother joined him in 1969 after marriage to him. My father was an engineering executive and is now retired from a regular job. Presently, he is on the Faculty of University of Phoenix Graduate School of Management, and is the Associate Dean for the School of Business of American Heritage University. I was born in Houston, TX and have been raised in Placentia and Yorba Linda, where my family presently resides. I am the youngest of the three children of a very loving family. My family has always been supportive of my activities and decisions.
PL: Your academic attainments and acquisitions
AAK: I earned my Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where I majored in Political Science and Sociology and minored in Public Policy. I earned Chancellor’s Student Honors, Provost’s Honors for eleven quarters, was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa, Alpha Kappa Delta, and Golden Key honor societies, and graduated cum laude. I then attended and graduated with a JD degree from the Arizona State University College of Law (subsequently renamed the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law). There, I received Pro Bono Distinction for assisting poor and underserved individuals and the International Academy of Trial Lawyers Award, among other awards.
PL: Your professional background and milestones in life so far
AAK: I am an attorney for the government and a member of one of the largest law enforcement agencies in the nation, targeting transnational gangs, drug traffickers, human traffickers, foreign fugitives, and human rights violators. I previously worked for the United States Department of Justice and then various civil litigation firms, where I represented individuals with matters in district court, in circuit courts of appeals, and before federal administrative agencies.
PL: What office are you running for and when will the elections be held?
AAK: I am running for a council member seat in the city of Eastvale. Eastvale is located in Riverside County, California. Council members in Eastvale serve fou- year terms that are staggered so that either two or three seats are up for election every two years. This year, three seats are being contested. The election will be held on Tuesday, November 4, 2014.
PL: Give details about what this position entails in layman's language
AAK: The city council is the decision-making body of the city. This means that council members pass city laws or ordinances, decide how the city will spend its money, and set the policy directions for the city staff to follow, including what projects the city should undertake to help the city’s residents. Council decisions influence several aspects of life within a city, including police and fire protection, code enforcement, traffic, and how land can be used, among other things. As a result of this, though people may not realize it, the decisions of council members affect the residents of a city every day. Council members also serve on various commissions or boards that make recommendations to the county on issues that impact people throughout the area such as traffic and public transportation.
PL: Why did you decide to run for this office?
AAK: Several factors contributed to my decision to run. Based on data from the 2010 census, there are a minimum of 3.1 million South Asians in the United States, with the greatest number residing in California. Though we have become more politically sophisticated, with more South Asian lobbyists and political actions committees than ever before, we remain grossly under-represented. Pakistani-Americans, as a subset of this group, have fared even worse than our Indian-American counterparts so it is important that we be involved politically and seek public offices. Eastvale has a large number of South Asians. I believe, with my professional background, I could successfully attract voters from both within and outside of the South Asian community and win a council seat in this election.
I am also running for local office because I do not believe that the current city council is adequately addressing the issues currently facing the city. For example, it has not taken action to address the budget shortfalls that are projected to appear as early as 2018, threatening the city’s police and fire services. The council has also failed to assist the school district in addressing the capacity issues in the city’s schools. In addition, a city councilman, who recently resigned, alleged collusion and insider politics among the councilmen. I believe that my service as an attorney for the government and as a member of the law enforcement community will restore honesty and integrity to the city council. I also want to create a city council that seeks out and considers public opinion as opposed to the current council’s practice of often ignoring public comments or of responding negatively to speakers who are critical of them. City government must by inclusive in order to create a sense of ownership and pride among the city’s residents. Eastvale deserves better. I have dedicated my every day to serving this community, state, and country, and I am the only candidate offering specific plans as to how I intend to address the city’s issues.
PL: What will you do if you get elected?
AAK: I am running for the residents of Eastvale and their children, as well my own. I want people to feel safe and to actually be safe. I want their children to have places to go to school within the city. I want their voices to be heard in the decision-making process. I want to create a city government that is open, honest, and fair. I want to build a city that is worthy of its citizens.
I have laid out plans to expand Eastvale’s revenue base, shore up city services, and to enhance public safety through the development of business space for employers to locate within the city and to drive the sales tax revenue on which the city relies for services including police protection. We must do our part to address the capacity problems in the city’s schools through zoning, for improving the accessibility of city government through expansion of our online presence and permitting public comments to be submitted online, and for increasing transparency by reforming the city commission system and the institution of term limits for council members.
If elected, I also intend to make use of my position to help promote the next set of Pakistani-Americans who seek office within Southern California in the way that Ali Sajjad Taj, a council member from the city of Artesia, was willing to do for me.
PL: What can the Pakistani-American community do for you?
AAK: On a broader scale that benefits not only me but all Pakistani-Americans, our community can begin by voting. By becoming a voting bloc, candidates and politicians will be forced to recognize the needs and opinions of our community. More specific to my campaign, I would appreciate the vote of anyone living Eastvale. If you know someone who lives in Eastvale, it would be helpful if you contact them and encourage them to support me. Regardless of where you live, you can always volunteer your time or contribute financially so that I can make a final push before the election. Your vote, your time, or your contribution may be the difference in winning this council race.
If anyone would like to contact me or learn more about my campaign, they can visit my website at www.EastvaleUnited.com or my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AnwerKhanEastvale.
PL: What is your message or advice for the other members of our community who may wish to follow in your footsteps - especially our youth?
AAK: Whether or not I am successful in this campaign, I hope the fact that I dared to try encourages others. Campaigning is not easy or inexpensive, but if you believe you have something to offer, if people can believe in your message, and if you are willing to put in the time and effort, then you have the basic components to run. The mere fact that we are running and engaging our communities can change public perception. Finally, even if you experience things like me, such as the targeted vandalism of signs, that you suspect to be racially or religiously motivated, do not be deterred. Interpret it as one of the reasons that it is so important for you to run for public office.