Elito Macapagal Santarina was elected into the Carson City Council on March 4, 2003, to serve a four-year term, was re-elected in March 2007 to a second term, on March 8, 2011 to a third term, and recently on March 3, 2015 to a fourth term. He has also served as Mayor Pro Tem in 2007, 2010, and 2013-2015.
Long before being elected into public office, he has been an active member of the City family and the Carson community through his service on many of the City's commissions and boards, and as a volunteer for various city projects. Santarina is a retired educator, whose teaching career spanned for more than four decades. He currently works at Lynwood Unified School District as a Certified
"As Needed" Teacher.
Santarina was born and raised in the Philippines where he obtained his Bachelors and Post Baccalaureate degrees in Education, Linguistics and School Administration. The colleges and universities that are responsible for his successful educational career are the College of the Immaculate Concepcion, St. Louis University, Philippine Normal University, and the Ateneo De Manila University. He began his teaching career in 1967 and became a school principal from 1969 to 1973, before migrating to the United States in the early-70s. Santarina also completed the Harvard Executive Education Program for local government officials from the John F. Kennedy School of Government in Harvard University.
While working as a school teacher in Southern California, he pursued graduate studies in such interests as Administration, Educational leadership, and Advanced Studies on Teaching English as a Second language. In 1980, he completed his Master of Arts Degree in Special Education from the California State University, Dominguez Hills and immediately built a strong solid career as an educator in various schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District, teaching middle and high school English, Bilingual Math and multicultural studies, and coordinating ESL program in adult education. He taught Spanish and History at the Andrew Carnegie Middle School in Carson and has served on the LAUSD's Professional Bilingual Competency Test Committee for 5 years.
On June 28, 2005, he officially retired from LAUSD after completing his 30 years of service in the public school system. However, because of his great passion for teaching, Santarina still serves as a substitute teacher on-call/resource teacher at schools at the Lynwood Unified School District.
Santarina's community involvement began in the late 1980s when he decided to use his achievements as a successful educator to help make a difference in the Carson community. He has served on the City of Carson's Planning, Parks and Recreation, Senior Citizens Advisory, Citywide Advisory commissions and briefly on the Economic Development Commission. He is responsible in creating an appropriate name for the Fine Arts Commission to Cultural Arts Commission. He also served as co-chair of the City of Carson's 30th anniversary celebrations, and assisted in the City's summer youth jobs selection process. He likewise served as commissioner of the Asian/Pacific American Education Commission. Santarina has either held leadership positions or has been actively involved in many local organizations such as the Gardena-Carson YMCA, Carson Sister Cities Association, Knights of Columbus, The Order of the Knights of Rizal, Torrance University Lodge No. 394, St. Philomena Parish Lectors and Commentators Group, Kayumanggi Lions Club, Kiwanis International, Filipino Community of Carson, Philippine Independence Day Foundation, Martin Luther King, Jr. Democratic Club, Progressive Democratic Club, Mexican American Democratic Club, Gardena Valley Democratic Club, and en elected delegate to the Los Angeles County Democratic Club. He also earned a rank of First Lieutenant in the Infantry of the American Volunteer Reserve and a Board Member of the Pacific Islanders Learning and Support Center.
Santarina founded the Safety First, Act Now (SFAN) Program, a community safety survey aimed at improving safety in the City of Carson. SFAN allows information about community safety to be derived directly from Carson residents who, through a survey, will assess the safety of their neighborhood/community, express views on safety issues, and air out public safety concerns and suggestions. In addition, Santarina authored the Carson Literacy Partnership Program where he collaborates with the youth, parents, and community volunteers to promote literacy and reading competency.
As a member of the Council, Santarina has outstandingly completed the Leadership Training Institute Programs developed by the U.S. National League of Cities in the subject areas of Leadership, Diverse Community Relations, Creating Sustainable Communities, Performance Budgeting in Government Affairs, and Building Personal Cultural Competence. During his term, Santarina created and/or sponsored the enactment of various legislations, including but not limited to, the creation of the Senior Citizens Technology Center, the resolutions declaring the City of Carson as a Drug-Free City and a
"Human Trafficking-Free City", the ordinance regulating smoking in certain outdoor places in the City, and the Carson Social Host Liability Ordinance which seeks to eradicate underage drinking in the City of Carson.
He is a recipient of numerous recognitions as an outstanding educator and a community leader. These include the Mayor Tom Bradley Cultural Award, the California Department of Education Exceptional Leadership PTSA in Public Schools Awards, the LAUSD Asian Pacific Educators Commission Leadership Award, the Asian Pacific Islander Educators Association �Torch of Service� Award, the Lions Club International�s Outstanding Educator Award, the Kiwanis Club's Outstanding Educator Award, Outstanding Awards from the Community Interethnic Association, the Historic Filipinotown Lifetime Achievement Award in Government Service, the Carson Sheriff�s Station Support Foundation�s Humanitarian Award, Gawad Amerika Lakandula Award, to name a few. He was also awarded the Outstanding Cabanatue�o title by his hometown, Cabanatuan City, Philippines.
Santarina has been married to Anita Cruz-Aves for 45 years. They have two daughters, Ann Mairah and Ann Rea, and a son, Francis Camilus, a U.S. Navy Corpsman who has served in Iraq twice. Francis Camilus also served in Afghanistan and Kuwait. Santarina has two sons-in-law, Joseph and Glenn, and five grandchildren Neil Anthony, Frankie, Joseph Elijah, Chloe and Capri Pearl.
Last Update: March 3, 2016 ~