John Valdivia

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John Valdivia
Mayor of San Bernardino
Assumed office
December 19, 2018
Preceded byR. Carey Davis
Personal details
Born (1975-07-19) July 19, 1975 (age 44)
San Bernardino, California, U.S.
CitizenshipUnited States
Spouse(s)Bethany Valdivia
ResidenceSan Bernardino, California, U.S.
Alma materEvangel University
Fuller Theological Seminary
Azusa Pacific

John Valdivia (born July 19, 1975) is an American politician serving as the 29th and current mayor of San Bernardino, California. John Valdivia defeated the incumbent R. Carey Davis in the runoff election on November 6, 2018, with a 6% margin.[1] A former member of the San Bernardino City Council, Valdivia served as the Councilman for the third ward from March 2012 to December 2018, and served as Mayor Pro-Tem for the City of San Bernardino from 2016 to 2017. Mayor Valdivia holds many firsts as Mayor for the City of San Bernardino: he is the city’s first male latino Mayor, the first Mayor from the third ward, the youngest winner in 65 years of the primary in his bid for mayor, and the first mayor from below 210 Freeway an area which is known to be a socioeconomically disadvantaged area in San Bernardino.

Early Life and Education[edit]

John Valdivia was born on July 19, 1975 in San Bernardino, CA. Valdivia grew up in San Bernardino, attending city schools from K-12. 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.


Prior to his election as the Mayor of San Bernardino, John Valdivia was involved in various capacities within the pharmaceutical industry. Valdivia worked for major pharmaceutical companies such as, Solvay S.A., GlaxoSmithKline, Schering-Plough, Merck & Co., and Amgen. Through his work Valdivia gained experience in pharmacy benefit managers, prescription drug laws, prescription drug marketing, legislation, and public policy in the pharmaceutical industry.

He currently operates a consulting firm in San Bernardino.

San Bernardino Councilman[edit]


John Valdivia became involved in city politics in 2012. From March 2012 to December 2018 Valdivia served as the Councilman for the Third Ward in San Bernardino. In November 2011 Valdivia was elected with nearly 70% of the total vote, he was sworn into office March 2012.[2] Voters in his third ward district returned him for another term in November 2015.[3]


During this time Valdivia focused on reducing blight, promoting civic pride, and keeping a careful eye on the city’s finances. In August 2012 the City of San Bernardino declared bankruptcy, during this time Valdivia had more roads paved, park lights and park benches installed, trees planted, and concrete sidewalks repaired.[4][5]

San Bernardino's Third Ward is the breadbasket of the City of San Bernardino. The ward includes the Auto Center, the Inland Center Mall, Hospitality Lane business corridor, the restaurant row, and the entertainment corridor.

One of his main goals was to revitalize the Hospitality Lane business corridor by attracting new businesses. Through Valdivia’s efforts, he was able to assist in the opening of many new businesses and five major hotel chains (Garden Inn, Homewood Suites, Doubletree, and Hampton Inn and Suites).[6] This initiative helped raise the Transient Occupancy Tax 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 is a crucial revenue source for the City's general fund as it pays for San Bernardino's police officers and firefighters. Valdivia was instrumental in bringing JCPenny to the Inland Center Mall, this provided over 200 jobs and increased the city's sales tax revenue, JCPenny also completed $21 million in tenant improvements to the mall.[9]


As Councilman of the Third Ward John Valdivia served on various boards and committees while Councilman. Valdivia served as the Chairman for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Ad-hoc Committee, the Personnel Commission, and the Public Safety Committee. Valdivia was on the board of the Budget Ad-Hoc Committee, and the Audit Ad-Hoc Committee, he advised in setting strict budgetary guidelines assisting the city through the bankruptcy process.

Mayor of San Bernardino[edit]


On July 6, 2017, with well over 150 supporters in attendance at the Inland Center Mall 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 the November 6 runoff election. In the runoff election held on November 6, 2018, Valdivia received 19,155 votes (52.5 percent) to Davis’s 17,327 (47.5).[1] Valdivia was sworn in as mayor on December 19, 2018.


Mayor Valdivia’s four main objectives as mayor are “pro-growth, pro-development, pro-safety, and pro-business”[12]

Since becoming mayor, Valdivia has advocated for the revitalization of Downtown San Bernardino. In July 2019, the City of San Bernardino released a request for qualifications for interested parties to develop the former Carousel Mall.[13] Valdivia has also pushed to reduce the red tape to encourage and expedite the process of establishing new businesses and homebuilding.

In Mayor Valdivia's first year he was able to bring a $25 million full service Hilton Hotel to San Bernardino's Hospitality Lane corridor, this project is proposed to generate more than $500,000 a year in transient occupancy tax alone, with an additional $250,000 annually from property and utility taxes.[14]

Valdivia follows the Broken Windows Theory, he pushes for the reduction of blight and vandalism within the city to help further reduce the crime rate. Valdivia is a proponent for reformation in city hall and accountability in city services, ensuring that potholes are filled, graffiti is removed, litter is picked up and various other issues within the city are resolved in a timely matter.

The City of San Bernardino had previously implemented a Community Oriented Policing and Problem Solving (COPPS) program in the 1990s, this program led to a sharp decline in homicides by the end of the century. Due to a myriad of factors, this original program was eliminated in 2012.[15] Valdivia championed the success 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.[15]


John Valdivia is currently the President of the San Bernardino International Airport [1] Authority (SBIAA), he was originally appointed on February 27th, 2019[16] and was re-appointed on October 23rd 2019[17] 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. Valdivia’s other goals are to bring a commercial passenger airline to the airport, and encourage more cargo and logistics operations.

In November 2019 Valdivia was appointed to a newly created Prescription Drugs and Safety Committee as the Vice-Chair for the US Conference of Mayors due to his many years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry.

Valdivia is a member of various other boards these include:

  • Inland Valley Development Agency (IVDA)[18]
  • San Bernardino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA) - Board of Directors[19]
  • San Bernardino County Transportation Authority - Metro Valley Study Session[20]
  • San Bernardino County Transportation Authority - Transit Committee[21]
  • Omnitrans Board of Directors[22]
  • Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG)
  • Southern California Association of Governments Energy and Environment Committee (SCAG EEC)
  • San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District/ San Bernardino Regional Water Resource Authority
  • Advisory Commission on Water Policy
  • US Conference of Mayors - Transportation and Communications Committee
  • US Conference of Mayors - Latino Alliance of the U.S. Task Force
  • US Conference of Mayors - Ports and Exports Task Force
  • League of CA Cities - Transportation, Communication & Public Works Policy Committee

Personal life[edit]

Valdivia resides in San Bernardino with his wife, Bethany, and their two young children.


  1. ^ a b "San Bernardino County | Registrar of Voters | Current Elections | Election Results". Retrieved 2019-12-02.
  2. ^ "Poll results". San Bernardino Sun. 2011-11-09. Retrieved 2019-12-19.
  3. ^ "Puny turnout decides San Bernardino's future". San Bernardino Sun. 2015-11-05. Retrieved 2019-12-19.
  4. ^ "2012-2013 CIP Budget". City of San Bernardino.
  5. ^ "CIP Budget 2014-15". City of San Bernardino.
  6. ^ "New Hilton brand hotel to replace Crabby Bob's Seafood Grill in San Bernardino". San Bernardino Sun. 2018-08-21. Retrieved 2019-12-02.
  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. ^ "What San Bernardino's new JCPenney store means for the bankrupt city". San Bernardino Sun. 2016-10-22. Retrieved 2019-12-10.
  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. ^ "'It's our turn,' San Bernardino, Mayor John Valdivia proclaims". San Bernardino Sun. 2019-04-06. Retrieved 2019-12-02.
  13. ^ "San Bernardino gives developers 6 weeks to submit plans for Carousel Mall redevelopment". San Bernardino Sun. 2019-07-11. Retrieved 2019-12-02.
  14. ^ "$25 million Hilton-branded hotel planned for San Bernardino entertainment corridor". San Bernardino Sun. 2019-08-31. Retrieved 2019-12-10.
  15. ^ a b "San Bernardino 'is not safe,' so city will reorganize its police department". San Bernardino Sun. 2019-03-22. Retrieved 2019-12-02.
  16. ^ "San Bernardino International Airport Authority | February 27, 2019 Minutes" (PDF).
  17. ^ "San Bernardino International Airport Authority | October 23, 2019 Minutes" (PDF).
  18. ^ "IVDA Minutes - February 12, 2019" (PDF). IVDA JPA.
  19. ^ "SBCTA Board of Directors Agenda - February 6, 2019" (PDF). SBCTA.
  20. ^ "SBCTA Metro Valley Study Session Agenda - February 14, 2019" (PDF). SBCTA.
  21. ^ "SBCTA Transit Committee Agenda" (PDF). SBCTA.
  22. ^ "OmniTrans Board of Directors Agenda Minutes - February 6, 2019" (PDF). Omnitrans.