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Candidate profile: Wijaya Perera

He wants Rocklin’s parks, roads and natural resources protected and improved
By: Jon Brines, Placer Herald correspondent
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Real estate agent and mechanical contractor Wijaya “VJ” Perera is in the race for one of three open seats on the Rocklin City Council.

Perera, 51, an independent, has an electrical engineering degree from Transworld Education College in the United Kingdom. He is a business services engineer for San Francisco State University and owner of a Rocklin-based heating and air system business.

Perera hopes his unique experience will allow him to successfully advise the city on critical public works projects.

“I have over 28 years total experience of facility management and grounds, construction, operation and maintenance,” Perera said. “I am a very practical man. I have constructed buildings, roads, installed mechanical and electrical systems to the facilities. (I bring) experience to manage facilities.”

Perera said if elected he wants to see the city give Rocklin businesses the first crack at any public works project.

“The city of Rocklin businesses and taxpayers (such as) small businesses, contractors, suppliers, manufacturers, other businesses (should be) given the first preference for city of Rocklin’s yearly budgeted outsource work,” Perera said.

That could be significant to Rocklin businesses. Over the next five years, the city has announced it will pour $33.8 million into capital improvement projects around town.

“I will also care about maintaining and improving the quality of parks, natural resources, roads and public landscaping areas,” Perera added.

Perera supports oak tree preservation, but did not elaborate on how far the city should go to protect them. A community group is calling on the city to use its oak tree mitigation funds to buy preserve land to save existing heritage oaks.

Perera feels the city should “focus, follow up and support” downtown development. His priorities include having the city embrace the business community for the sake of all.

“I will create very close relationships with the private sector, because I can help and support the business and create jobs (for) the Rocklin residents,” Perera said.

While others in the race have been critical of the council’s support for a 15-percent raise for Rocklin’s new Police Chief Ron Lawrence, Perera said Lawrence should be supported for his ability to save the city money and keep the crime rate low.

“(In) this economy, somebody saves the city money, (they should be) given some percentage of incentive for that,” Perera said.

During the recession, Rocklin has lost nearly one-third of its employee base and nearly 25 percent of its annual general fund budget, according to the city.

Perera said the council with his leadership will continue balanced budgets and cost-savings measures as well as bring the city’s unions back to the bargaining table for more pension reform.

“I will make smart financial decisions, as well as cutting down if there are any unnecessary expenses from the city budget,” Perersa said. “I would make it my priority to upkeep our facilities, parks, streets and infrastructure.”

This summer, a Rocklin nonprofit offered private and group swim lessons at area pools after the city cut lessons from the recreation budget as a cost-saving measure. Perera believes his experience could help the city run its own program better than before. He said his knowledge about pools would give insight into how to maintain pools at low cost.

“I will reinstate swimming lessons for limited hours at Rocklin High and Whitney High schools,” Perera said.

Despite its designation on the National Register of Historic Places, Perera believes the city was right in calling for the Big Gun Quarry’s demolition last year.

“The downtown quarry and work sheds both look like they are in an unsafe condition,” he said. “I think those should go.”

Perera is married and has two school-aged daughters attending Rocklin Unified School District schools.

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Wijaya Perera

Age: 51

Degree: Electrical engineering, Transworld Education College, United Kingdom

Occupation: Real estate agent and mechanical contractor

Political affiliation: Independent 

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City Council Candidates Forum

What: Each candidate vying for three seats on the Rocklin City Council will make opening and closing statements, and answer questions about issues facing the city

When: 7:30 p.m. today

Where: Rocklin Event Center, 2560 Sunset Blvd.

Cost: Free

Sponsored by: Placer Herald and Placer County League of Women Voters