Leroy Holt: Moreno Valley Council Candidate District 2
By Dianne Anderson
Leroy Holt has seen the highs of the Moreno Valley way back when it was considered the second coming of Orange County, and he stuck it out through the 2009 economic plunge when homeowners lost $100,000 or more off their property values.
It was an absolute rough patch after the economic crisis. For a while, he wondered if the city would ever regain housing value.
“That’s because there’s nothing here, people just bellied up and got out of here,” said Holt, a Moreno Valley resident for 19 years and a City Council candidate.
But he noticed that same sharp decline in home prices wasn’t happening everywhere. Some places, even inland, avoided a long-term downturn.
“In Newport, the properties dropped $30,000 if they even dropped that much,” he said.
Locally, things are starting to bounce back. He is seeing all the signs of new life, smaller franchises moving in. Developers are starting to build up again.
For Council District 2, his priority is jobs, education and public safety, which he feels are all tightly connected to positive development and growth.
If elected, he hopes to find ways to push for smaller classroom sizes. Because a percentage of school resources come from property tax revenue, avenues to create more local homeownership could help alleviate cramped classrooms.
As a real estate agent for the past 15 years, the first questions he typically hears when people look to buy a home is if the community is safe, and what are the school test scores. As more houses go up, he said the uptick in growth could lead to better housing values and subsequently more families signing on to support better schools.
He is concerned about low test scores compared to the rest of the state and region.
“I look at Newport, Tustin, Rancho Cucamonga, they have 30 per class. We have about 43,” he said.
While the Inland Empire is not Orange County, there are cities that survived the recession and had a faster recovery. Rather than reinvent the wheel, he looks to successful expansion models, like Rancho Cucamonga to see how they’ve implemented growth.
Cities that absorbed the hit without a tremendous loss had predictable factors that helped them stay intact, he said, such as jobs and good development. If properly monitored, he feels growth can lead to more jobs to help boost the community.
Holt also thinks some good may come out of the recent judicial ruling on the World Logistics Center, such as an environmental solution to address pollution concerns. That ruling banned any decisions going forward on the center, the nation’s largest warehouse, until it falls in line with California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA.
As more businesses become carbon neutral, he thinks the center can eventually meet the compliance mandate. These days, many systems are upgraded on emissions standards, with advances in technology to help companies comply with green goals.
“We’re conserving water now, we’re conserving energy. You almost have to have solar panels on your house,” he said. “Things are changing. It has to be energy efficient, and efficient for the community.”
That center is projected to span 700 football fields, and has the potential to bring local jobs, he said.
“[Families can ] raise their children, and not be on the freeway for two to seven hours a day, and they can be home in the evening,” he said.
Over the years, Holt has coached, and started a little league and a basketball league, which is now a travel league, as well as many volunteer years with youth community activities. He has raised his son in the area, and said his business in real estate has given him a purview on how cities grow, build out, and generate revenue.
He said he doesn’t have a huge platform, and he’s not a politician, but his run for the council seat is about helping the community find ways toward local economic growth.
“I’m just a resident that has a voice that sees a different picture. I understand economics and what drives and builds a community.”