Council Member Maria Teresa Santillan-Beas
For a decade the City of Lynwood City Council did not include women members until Maria Teresa Santillan-Beas was elected in 2003. She also made history as the first Latina to be elected. In 2005 she was appointed by her colleagues to serve as Mayor Pro Tem, followed by her long term appointment as Mayor from 2007-2010.
Santillan-Beas continues to be committed to providing quality services. Her main initiative has been to provide affordable housing opportunities for low-income families and senior citizens. This has been accomplished in part by forming partnerships with non-profit developers such as Habitat for Humanity, who build affordable homes for first time home buyers. In addition to the development of new homes, her leadership is a major component in the development of new programs to improve the City’s current housing stock, such as the Brush With Kindness and White Picket Fence Programs. These types of programs beautify homes and the City’s exterior. She has supported new commercial development projects to increase the City's tax base such as Plaza México, Atlantic Crossings and the Long Beach- Pluma Shopping Center, Oakwood Plaza, and the Superior Warehouse expansion. She continues to pursue commercial and residential projects along Long Beach Boulevard to encourage development that will connect with and be served by the freeway and the Green Line Metro Rail Station.
Santillan-Beas has also been an advocate for public safety programs. She notes that the City’s successful partnership with the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department has resulted in the lowest crime statistics in the City’s history. The strength in the City’s partnership lies in the installation of surveillance cameras known as the Advanced Surveillance Protection Program. The program assists in the fight against prostitution, gang activity, and graffiti. ASAP is also instrumental in the continued safety of residents at Yvonne Burke/Ham Park.
Santillan-Beas is determined to bring the fiscal stability and has taken the lead within the City to ensure that the City’s budget is balanced each year. Since 2008 she has supported expenditure reductions in order to adopt a balanced budget. Given the economic challenges of the time, she continues to press for efficiencies in the provision of quality services to residents and businesses and at the same time aggressively seeking additional development that will increase property and sales tax revenues in the City.
In addition to serving on the City Council, Santillan-Beas also is an active participant in community and service organizations, including League of United Latin American Cities (LULAC), the National Women Political Caucus (NWPC), the Lynwood Lions Club, and the Big Brothers Big Sisters Club as a Big Sister. Previously she has served as a Commissioner for Lynwood’s Neighborhood Services Commission, Public Safety Commission, and the Personnel Board. She also served as the Vice-President of Lynwood Block Watch Captains, the St. Emydius School Parent Teacher Organization, Lynwood Youth Baseball League and as a hospital volunteer. Through numerous committees and organizations her voice can represent the people, but it is her service on the City Council that enables her to be one on one with the residents of Lynwood.
Santillan-Beas expresses gratitude to her esteemed colleagues for their support for her as a council member, and she looks forward to the continued collaborative effort to inspire positive change in the City.