Mayor of Pasadena
Born in Zacatecas, Mexico, Victor immigrated to the United States with his parents as a young child. The oldest of six, Victor grew up in Pasadena and is a proud product of the Pasadena Unified School District. Both of his parents worked two jobs. Victor’s father was a dishwasher and cook at Ranchero's Mexican Restaurant for 50 years. His late mother, who died when his youngest brother was four years old, was a seamstress. From age nine until he was 17 years old, Victor delivered the Pasadena Star-News newspaper every day before school and every weekend.
Victor played football, baseball, and soccer at Pasadena High School and received a number of athletic honors including All Pacific League honors and All San Gabriel Valley Ambassadors Co-Athlete of the year. The Pasadena High School faculty awarded him the George Stewart Memorial Scholarship established to “honor the graduating senior whose character, determination, and quiet leadership best reflect the memory of George Stewart.”
When Victor enrolled at Pasadena City College, he became the first person in his family to attend college, continuing his education at Azusa Pacific University, studying business management and finance. Shortly after his mother passed away, Victor was forced to postpone his college dreams to help raise his siblings. As his siblings got older, Victor was able to continue his formal education while still working full-time. He worked his way through school as a waiter and restaurant manager (at the Rose City Diner and at Ranchero’s) to help contribute to his family.
Victor worked as a Program Director for Pasadena’s Day One Community Partnership where he brought together over 100 agencies to create Youth Month, an effort which provided Pasadena young people with free daily activities during the month of August. He also worked closely with City staff and residents to rid neighborhoods of problematic bars and liquor stores. As a result of his efforts with Day One, Victor was asked to work with the Los Angeles County Children’s Planning Council to help develop a system of Service Area Planning Councils aimed at making Los Angeles County government more responsive to local needs, as well as more efficient and effective in delivering services to children, youth, and families.
Victor began his direct service to the City of Pasadena in 1997, when then–Vice Mayor Bill Crowfoot appointed him as the field representative for District 5. Pasadena’s District 5 is one of our City’s most ethnically and socially diverse districts, and includes several of its most important and notable historic landmark districts—Bungalow Heaven, Garfield Heights, Washington Square, and Orange Heights. In his capacity as field representative, Victor successfully handled many types of constituent issues, from problems affecting a small number of residents or businesses to issues of citywide concern.
While working as the field representative for Vice Mayor Crowfoot, Victor undertook the grueling task of attending law school at night, commuting 4-5 nights a week to the University of La Verne College of Law for classes and spending weekends in that institution’s law library in order to compete with students who did not work. He excelled at his studies and graduated with honors one year ahead of his class. Victor passed the California Bar Exam on his first attempt in July, 2001.Following Vice Mayor Crowfoot’s retirement from City service, Victor was elected to represent Pasadena’s District 5 on the Pasadena City Council in March, 2001. In 2009, he was selected by the Pasadena City Council to serve as its representative on the Rose Bowl Operating Company (RBOC) and was its longest-serving President/Chair, leading the Stadium’s successful renovation efforts. Victor has served on the Council’s Finance Committee and as Chair of the Economic Development and Technology Committee of the City Council.
Throughout his time as Councilmember, Victor has focused on fostering an improved quality of life in District 5, promoting safe, family-friendly environments throughout the District and the City as a whole. He advocated for economic growth and stability in local business districts, opposed overdevelopment, championed a living wage, fought for efforts to improve educational outcomes for our children, supported our public schools, and pushed for increasing government transparency and accountability.
Once again, Victor led efforts to combat nuisance liquor stores that were negatively affecting residential neighborhoods, chairing a work group that developed a process for dealing with this issue, which had plagued the City for decades (adopted by the City Council, the Deemed Approved Ordinance withstood legal challenge in 2012). Utilizing the City’s Deemed Approved Ordinance, Victor was successful in ridding the District of two nuisance liquor stores and, more critically, working to replace these nuisance businesses with quality affordable housing.
Professionally, Victor serves as the Business Manager and attorney for the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) Local 777. Victor enjoys a wonderful family life in Pasadena’s District 5 with his wife Kelly, an elementary school teacher in the El Monte Unified School District, and their two children— Michael and Emma.
Victor was elected Pasadena’s third Citywide-elected Mayor on November 3, 2020.