Lakewood Mayor Joseph Esquivel, Donaldsonville native, retires

Staff reports

Lakewood Mayor Joe Esquivel, a 21-year veteran on the city council, has retired from city government. Esquivel will conclude his fifth consecutive term on the city council on March 22.

Esquivel was appointed to the Lakewood Recreation and Community Services Commission in 1972. He served six terms as chairman before being elected to the city council in 1990.

He city council colleagues praised his service to Lakewood. “As our colleague,” they wrote, “we know Joe best as a dedicated city council member and five-time mayor of Lakewood. His years on the council were years of extraordinary growth for our community. Joe pitched in to preserve our values and traditions, expand the range of programs and services that benefit every resident, and keep Lakewood safe. But he did more. Joe always brought joy to every aspect of his civic life – as volunteer coach, Rotary and Jaycees officer, city commissioner, and council member. Joe’s smile, generous heart, and genuine compassion brought us together to make Lakewood a great place in which to live and work.”

Following his first victory in 1990, Esquivel was re-elected to the city council in 1994, 1999, 2003, and 2007. He ran unopposed in the municipal election of 1999, a first in the city’s history. He was chosen by his colleagues to be Lakewood’s mayor in 1994-1995, 1999-2000, 2003-2004, 2005-2006, and 2010-2011.

Esquivel also is a former president of the California Contract Cities Association (a statewide organization of cities that contract for most of their municipal services). He served as legislative chairman and secretary-treasurer of the association before becoming its president. In addition, he served as president of the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District and the Private Industry Council of Southeast Los Angeles County.

One of his joys as a resident was serving as a volunteer coach of 8- and-9-year-old youngsters in basketball and football at Bolivar Park. He received the Mayor's Award for 11 consecutive seasons of volunteer coaching.

Esquivel is a member of the Rotary Club of Lakewood and served for many years as the coordinator of the club's annual Project Shepherd holiday assistance program for families in need. Esquivel became famous for rounding up enough frozen turkeys so that each Project Shepherd family could enjoy a traditional holiday meal.

Mayor Esquivel and his wife Pat have lived in Lakewood since 1963. They have three children and three grandchildren and a great grandchild.