Less familiar is his older brother, Isaac Grajeda, a music teacher, writer and musician. However, this may change if the elder Grajeda realizes his goal of becoming the next Lancaster City Council Member.
Isaac Grajeda, 29, describes himself as an advocate for reformed felons, minorities, the working class, and the younger generation. He said he is running for Lancaster City Council because he is fed up with the current administration.
“It’s made up of business tycoons and millionaires that are all friends,” Grajeda said. “It’s only for the in-crowd.”
He said if elected he would fight to ensure that city policies benefit the entire community and not just a select few. He said he would also fight to control spending.
“I thought these people were conservatives, but nothing that they’ve done is conservative at all because they’ve been splurging in a down economy,” Grajeda said. “They seem like college frat boys that just got a credit card called the ‘redevelopment agency’ and just ran it all the way up.”
Grajeda admits to having no political experience or public service background, but says these factors should not be an issue because government should be of the people, for the people and by the people.
Grajeda believes the three biggest issues facing Lancaster are unemployment, violations on First Amendment rights, and heavy-handed law enforcement.
“Unemployment is at a 17% rate, which is more than double the national unemployment rate,” Grajeda said. “I would affect change in this matter by opening the bidding process.”
Grajeda said for the past four years, local contractors have rarely received the opportunity to bid on development projects for the city, particularly projects involving The Blvd. He believes this factor has contributed to the city’s high unemployment rate.
“Local contractors that could have gained didn’t have the chance to because they give everything to Scott Ehrlich,” he said. “Any public development will go to open bid for me and I would have a three tier system.”
Grajeda said his three tier system would mandate that the city solicit bids from only Lancaster businesses first. If no qualified contractors are found in Lancaster, they would open the bidding process to Palmdale contractors. Finding no qualified contractors in Palmdale, the bidding process would be opened to all other areas in the Antelope Valley.
“So that we keep it in house rather than hiring friends who take away free market from the people,” Grajeda said. “Free market should give us the ability to choose where we spend our money.”
Grajeda said the City Council refuses to broadcast nonagendized public comments and places many other restrictions on public comments at city meetings, which he believes violates the First Amendment rights of residents. He believes this to be the second biggest issue facing Lancaster.
“They restrict public comments down to three minutes at the end of the meetings, but yet you see them expediting three meetings at once,” Grajeda said. He said the Council, the Housing Authority, and the former Redevelopment Agency are three separate entities, therefore residents should be allowed three minutes of public comment per entity.
Grajeda believes the third most important issue facing the city is its overly aggressive approach to law enforcement.
“I know people are ready for ‘Eye in the Sky’ and stronger law enforcement, but I don’t think that approach has worked,” Grajeda said. “Now we have discrimination issues, lawsuits coming out the woodworks, and DOJ and Housing Authority investigations just because of how heavy handed we have enforced crime.”
Grajeda said if elected he would push for the city to scale back its aggressive stance on law enforcement in favor of criminal rehabilitation and reform programs.
“We need to reach out to the community and help instead of trying to lock everybody up,” he said.
Asked about similarities between him and younger brother, David Grajeda, he says: “I love my brother, and I am my brother’s keeper, but on everything else I would like to say that we are completely different people.”
Isaac Grajeda said he may not be as vocal as his brother but that doesn’t mean that he is any less effective.
“I can be effective for this community in making the changes that will be best for everyone,” said the 29-year-old. “I am young and I represent change.”
*This is the fourth in a series of profiles The AV Times will be publishing featuring Lancaster city council candidates, as well as mayoral candidates. The first profile featured council candidate John Kiramis, the second profile featured council candidate Michael Rives, and the third profile featured incumbent council candidate Ken Mann. Profiles are published in random order.