Fil-Am elected mayor; another named to top judicial post
LOS ANGELES—Two Filipino-Americans have recently assumed top local government and state judicial posts in Los Angeles County.
Tzeitel Paras-Caracci has been elected mayor of the City of Duarte while Judge Rob Villeza has been appointed by California Governor Edmund Brown to the Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Duarte City council members voted unanimously to elect Paras-Caracci as mayor during the council’s annual reorganization on Nov. 25 (Wednesday in Manila).
Paras-Caracci was first elected to the city council in 2001. She served as mayor in 2005 and 2010.
She is also a board member for both Foothill Transit and the Gold Line Construction Authority, and previously served as president of the Asian Pacific American Municipal Officials and board member for the National League of Cities and League of California Cities.
Duarte, with a population of more than 22,000, is home to City of Hope, a leading cancer research and treatment center. It is located about 23 miles from downtown Los Angeles.
The Asian Pacific American Bar Association (Apaba) of Los Angeles County yesterday (Thursday in Manila) lauded the appointment of Villeza to the state court.
“We came to know Rob as a highly respected, intelligent, hard-working figure in the legal community, with the calm demeanor required for the bench,” said Christina Yang, Apaba cochair of the public appointments and judicial endorsements committee.
Villeza, 52, is one of four Asian Pacific Americans appointed to the state judiciary in Southern California.
“Judge Villeza’s appointment is deeply significant to us,” said Hildy Aguinaldo, president of the Philippine American Bar Association (Paba). “As a skillful and experienced lawyer committed to public service and justice, he represents the very best of our community.”
Villeza was the recipient of Paba’s Trailblazer of the Year Award in 2013.
He has served as an assistant US Attorney in the Central District of California for more than 20 years. A veteran federal prosecutor, he has served as deputy chief of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Section, investigating and prosecuting drug trafficking and money laundering cases.
He is also currently a director of Filipino American Law Enforcement Officers (Faleo)-Los Angeles.
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