John Valdivia

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John Valdivia
34th Mayor of San Bernardino
Assumed office
December 19, 2018
Preceded byR. Carey Davis
Succeeded byHelen Tran
San Bernardino Mayor Pro Tem
In office
San Bernardino City Councilman from the 3rd Ward
In office
March 2012 – December 2018
Personal details
Born (1975-07-19) July 19, 1975 (age 47)
San Bernardino, California, U.S.
CitizenshipUnited States
Political partyRepublican[1]
SpouseBethany Valdivia
Alma materEvangel University
Fuller Theological Seminary
Azusa Pacific

John Valdivia (born July 19, 1975), is an American politician serving as the 34th and current mayor of San Bernardino, California. Valdivia was unsuccessful in his bid for re-election in the 2022 San Bernardino mayoral election.[2] In 2021, Valdivia became the first elected official in 20 years to be censured by the San Bernardino City Council for alleged misuse of public funds.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

John Valdivia was born on July 19, 1975, in San Bernardino, California. He received his bachelor’s degree from Evangel University. His graduate studies include a Masters of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary and a Master of Business Administration from Azusa Pacific University.[citation needed]

San Bernardino Councilman[edit]

From March 2012 to December 2018, Valdivia served as the Councilman for the Third Ward in San Bernardino. The ward includes the Auto Center, the Inland Center Mall, Hospitality Lane business corridor, the restaurant row, and the entertainment corridor.

In November 2011, Valdivia was elected with nearly 70% of the total vote, he was sworn into office March 2012.[4]

In February 2014, Valdivia announced his candidacy for California's 31st Congressional District with the Republican Party.[5] Valdivia dropped out of the race one month later citing timing issues and a desire to work on city issues.[6]

Transient Occupancy Tax during his tenure increased from $2.2 million[7] in 2012 to almost $5 million[8] in 2018 by the end of Valdivia's term as Councilman. The transient occupancy tax pays for San Bernardino's police officers and firefighters.[citation needed]

Voters in his third ward district elected him for another term in November 2015.[9]

Mayor of San Bernardino[edit]


On July 6, 2017, Valdivia announced his intention to run in the 2018 election for Mayor of San Bernardino against the incumbent R. Carey Davis.[10] In the June 5, 2018 primary election Valdivia finished first place with 36 percent (35.8%) of the vote; Davis was the runner up with 28 percent (27.8%).[11] As no candidate received a majority of the primary votes to be elected outright Valdivia and Davis advanced to a November 6 runoff election. In the election held on November 6, 2018, Valdivia received 19,155 votes (52.5%) to Davis's 17,327 (47.5%).[12] Valdivia was sworn in as mayor on December 19, 2018.


Valdivia's four main objectives as mayor were "pro-growth, pro-development, pro-safety, and pro-business".[13]

Valdivia has been a supporter of community-focused policing, in March 2019 the Mayor and City Council voted to reorganize the police department into a five-district policing structure, paving the way toward reopening police substations in the future.[14]


John Valdivia is currently the President of the San Bernardino International Airport Authority (SBIAA); he was originally appointed on February 27, 2019,[15] and was re-appointed on October 23, 2019.[16] Valdivia's focus as the president of SBIAA is to increase economic development in the area surrounding the airport resulting in more jobs and revenue for San Bernardino.[citation needed] Valdivia's other goals are to bring a commercial passenger airline to the airport, and encourage more cargo and logistics operations.[citation needed]

Valdivia is a member of various other boards these include:


In February 2020, former city employees filed complaints against the City of San Bernardino claiming that Mayor John Valdivia had subjected them to a hostile work environment and would direct sexual comments and innuendos toward them. Valdivia rejected the claims and said they were "politically driven."[22]

In March 2020, a field representative for the city filed a complaint stating that Valdivia had instructed his chief of staff to falsify performance evaluation forms, giving negative reviews to the two former employees that filed sexual harassment claims against Valdivia in February.[23] On March 12, 2020, Assemblymember Eloise Reyes called on Valdivia to take a leave of absence until the claims were proven to be true, and, if they were proven, to "resign immediately."[24] As of June 2020, Valdivia has not taken a leave of absence.

In April 2020, a fourth complaint was filed by another former employee, also claiming Valdivia created hostile environments and accusing him of sexual harassment. Valdivia was accused of insisting that he and the employee develop a personal relationship outside of work or he would fire her if she refused.[25] This was the third sexual harassment claim filed by a former city employee.

Also in April 2020, Valdivia requested $50,000 from the City of San Bernardino to go toward the legal fees incurred from the claims against him. At the April 15, 2020 Regular Meeting of the Mayor and City Council, the City Council voted 4–3 in favor of tabling the decision to fund legal representation to Valdivia. Council Members Theodore Sanchez (Ward 1), Fred Shorett (Ward 4), Henry Nickel (Ward 5), and Jim Mulvihill (Ward 7) voted in favor of tabling. Council Members Sandra Ibarra (Ward 2), Juan Figueroa (Ward 3), and Bessine Littlefield-Richard (Ward 6) voted against tabling.[26]

Additionally, the City of San Bernardino has paid $50,000 since February to an independent investigator over the claims brought forward against Valdivia. In May, the investigator requested an additional $30,000 to continue the investigation.[27]

On December 2, 2021, San Bernardino City Council voted to censure Valdivia after an investigation commissioned by the Council found that Valdivia misused public funds for a private promotional event. The investigation also concluded that between September 2019 and April 2021, Valdivia requested reimbursement from the city for travel and hotel costs that overlapped with large financial contributions to Valdivia's reelection campaign.[28] City Council has suggested that it will consider additional penalties for Valdivia, including possible criminal charges and removal from regional boards.[29]

Personal life[edit]

Valdivia resides in San Bernardino with his wife, Bethany, and their two children.[citation needed]

Electoral history[edit]

City Council[edit]

2011 San Bernardino City Council Ward 3 election[30]
Candidate Votes %
John Valdivia 826 69.24
Tobin Brinker 367 30.76
Total votes 1,193 100
2015 San Bernardino City Council Ward 3 election[31]
Candidate Votes %
John Valdivia 719 100
Total votes 719 100


2018 San Bernardino mayoral election
Candidate First round[32] Runoff[33]
Votes % Votes %
John Valdivia 6,747 35.75 19,155 52.51
R. Carey Davis (incumbent) 5,243 27.78 17,327 47.49
Danny Tillman 2,964 15.71
Rick Avila 1,414 7.49
Georgeann "Gigi" Hanna 1,324 7.02
Karmel Roe 732 3.88
Danny Malmuth 448 2.37
Total 18,872 100 36,482 100


  1. ^ Folmer, James. "Party affiliation of the mayors of the 100 largest cities".
  2. ^ "Helen Tran leads Jim Penman in San Bernardino mayor's race". San Bernardino Sun. 2022-11-08. Retrieved 2022-11-26.
  3. ^ "San Bernardino City Council censures Mayor John Valdivia, saying he misused public funds, resources". San Bernardino Sun. 2021-12-02. Retrieved 2021-12-03.
  4. ^ "Poll results". San Bernardino Sun. 2011-11-09. Retrieved 2019-12-19.
  5. ^ "San Bernardino Councilman John Valdivia announces bid for Rep. Gary Miller's seat". San Bernardino Sun. 2014-02-14. Retrieved 2020-07-29.
  6. ^ "John Valdivia drops out of race for Rep. Gary Miller's seat in Congress". San Bernardino Sun. 2014-03-13. Retrieved 2020-07-29.
  7. ^ "City of San Bernardino FY 2012-13 and FY 2013-2014 Proposed Budgets and Cash Flow Transmittal".
  8. ^ "City of San Bernardino Annual Budget Fiscal Year 2018-19".
  9. ^ "Puny turnout decides San Bernardino's future". San Bernardino Sun. 2015-11-05. Retrieved 2019-12-19.
  10. ^ "Councilman John Valdivia announces he's running for San Bernardino mayor". San Bernardino Sun. 2017-07-06. Retrieved 2019-12-02.
  11. ^ "San Bernardino County | Registrar of Voters | Current Elections | Election Results". Retrieved 2019-12-02.
  12. ^ "San Bernardino County | Registrar of Voters | Current Elections | Election Results". Retrieved 2019-12-02.
  13. ^ "'It's our turn,' San Bernardino, Mayor John Valdivia proclaims". San Bernardino Sun. 2019-04-06. Retrieved 2019-12-02.
  14. ^ "San Bernardino 'is not safe,' so city will reorganize its police department". San Bernardino Sun. 2019-03-22. Retrieved 2019-12-02.
  15. ^ "San Bernardino International Airport Authority | February 27, 2019 Minutes" (PDF).
  16. ^ "San Bernardino International Airport Authority | October 23, 2019 Minutes" (PDF).
  17. ^ "IVDA Minutes - February 12, 2019" (PDF). IVDA JPA.
  18. ^ "SBCTA Board of Directors Agenda - February 6, 2019" (PDF). SBCTA.
  19. ^ "SBCTA Metro Valley Study Session Agenda - February 14, 2019" (PDF). SBCTA.
  20. ^ "SBCTA Transit Committee Agenda" (PDF). SBCTA.
  21. ^ "OmniTrans Board of Directors Agenda Minutes - February 6, 2019" (PDF). Omnitrans.
  22. ^ "Claims against San Bernardino detail mayor's alleged abuse of power". San Bernardino Sun. 2020-02-14. Retrieved 2020-06-18.
  23. ^ "Field rep alleges San Bernardino mayor instructed top aide to fabricate records". San Bernardino Sun. 2020-04-04. Retrieved 2020-06-18.
  24. ^ "Assemblymember Reyes' Statement Concerning San Bernardino Mayor John Valdivia". Official Website - Assemblymember Eloise Gómez Reyes Representing the 47th California Assembly District. 2020-03-12. Retrieved 2020-06-18.
  25. ^ "Third sexual harassment claim filed against San Bernardino mayor". San Bernardino Sun. 2020-04-28. Retrieved 2020-06-18.
  26. ^ "04-15-2020 M&CC Minutes". City of San Bernardino. Retrieved 2020-06-18.
  27. ^ "$30,000 needed to continue investigation into San Bernardino mayor". San Bernardino Sun. 2020-05-18. Retrieved 2020-06-18.
  28. ^ "San Bernardino mayor misused public funds, investigation finds". Los Angeles Times. 2021-11-25. Retrieved 2021-12-03.
  29. ^ "San Bernardino City Council Unanimously Votes to Censure Mayor John Valdivia". Empire KVCR. 2021-12-02. Retrieved 2021-12-03.
  30. ^ "San Bernardino County Consolidated Election November 8, 2011" (PDF). San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters. 22 November 2011. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  31. ^ "* * * Consolidated Election: November 3, 2015 * * * Final Certified Election Results". San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters. 9 November 2015. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  32. ^ "* * * 2018 Statewide Primary Election * * * Final Certified Election Results". San Bernardino County Elections Office of the Registrar of Voters. 2 July 2018. Retrieved 11 October 2019.
  33. ^ "* * * 2018 Statewide General Election * * * Final Certified Election Results". San Bernardino County Elections Office of the Registrar of Voters. 6 December 2018. Retrieved 11 October 2019.