The good neighbor

Zaneta Encarnacion

Thu August 27, 2015 7:20pm

Ranch family

Visit Pizzo’s in the San Miguel Shopping Center and you may just bump into Humberto Peraza. It’s one of his family’s favorite places to eat together. A favorite date night restaurant is Via Lago in Village Walk. Peraza lives in a newer community in Rolling Hills Ranch, but he is far from a new resident. He has lived in Chula Vista for 15 years and has been involved civically just as long.
Being civically involved is important to Peraza, who currently serves as a Board of Trustee for Southwestern College and board member for the League of Conservation Voters. Between being a husband, dad, consultant, and a student pursuing his masters at SDSU, Peraza knows first-hand how time constraints can make it difficult for residents in our community to get involved.
“Whether it’s our schools, the conditions of our roads, traffic, how the council is deciding on land use or changing it, how our city is spending our tax dollars, the lack of jobs in our community, the lack of a supermarket or gas station in our Rolling Hills neighborhood, all have an impact on our way of life. Getting involved helps make our community stronger and let’s our leaders know exactly what they should focus on.”
Peraza is intentional in building community around him and his family. His two boys are heavily involved in local sports, and he volunteers as coach. His neighborhood holds an annual block party, and game nights and gatherings happen regularly.
“I love the people. They make this city great. The diversity of this community is really special as well; a great environment and community for our children to grow up in.”
Over the last few months, a group of residents living in our Eastern neighborhoods have created an informal networking group for residents – Eastside Neighbors. Peraza and two of his close friends Mike Najera and Patty Chavez were the catalyst behind bringing people together for the first meeting on August 13. More than 30 residents brainstormed speaker ideas for the monthly mixers. Peraza sees the mixers as an opportunity to network and get to know other community members, while hearing from leaders on the issues most important to those in attendance.
“We meet the 2nd Thursday of every month at Savoie Eatery at the Otay Ranch mall. It’s meant to be loose, fun, a way to get to meet your neighbors and talk to local leadership. Some organizations have one or two people that just sit at a table and pontificate for a couple hours. We don’t do that because it’s not supposed to be about us; it’s supposed to be about our community. So we plan to have leaders come to our meetings and talk for a little bit and answer some community questions publicly but then have them stay so residents can really talk to them one on one.”
Sweetwater Union High School Superintendent Karen Janney will be the next speaker at the next Eastside Neighbors mixer on September 10, and I look forward to mingling and mixing with Peraza and all of you!