Sandra Emerson, Staff Writer
Created: 11/05/2010 12:34:21 PM PDT

UPLAND – The City Council will soon have a new voice.

Gino Filippi on Tuesday was chosen by voters to join the council along with Councilmen Brendan Brandt and Ray Musser. After 20 years of service, long-time incumbent, Tom Thomas, was voted out.

“My opinion is that in many reasons, not just Upland, there’s a discontent by residents and they want change,” Filippi said. “I heard also that people sense complacency and, at times, a sense of entitlement by electeds, so a combination of all those factors, I think, brings results that are different.”

Thomas said he has enjoyed his 20 years of service as a councilman.

“No one is irreplaceable,” he said. “We’ve got a great staff. They’ll continue to carry on just fine.”

Although Filippi’s namesake is in Rancho Cucamonga, as co-owner of the Filippi Winery, he is no stranger to the city of Upland. He was born in San Antonio Community Hospital and is an Upland High School alum.

“It’s a real honor to be able to help the residents of Upland and I look forward to it,” Filippi said.

Some of Filippi’s passions as a councilman will include restoring services at the Upland Public Library, learning more about the George M. Gibson Senior Center, restoring parts of the city below Foothill Boulevard and encouraging small businesses.

Filippi has been involved with local libraries as a member of the Rancho Cucamonga Public Library Foundation. He often visits the Upland Public Library to use the technology center, which he hopes to expand.

But first, he’ll have to learn the ropes.

“I’m well-versed in working on committees and different organizations, but, of course, Upland city is a bit different than most groups I’ve been on, so there’s going to be a learning curve,” he said.

Filippi said he hopes to soon meet with City Manager Robb Quincey.

Thomas was well-integrated in the council and committees, but Mayor John Pomierski said the transition with Filippi will not be a challenge.

“I think to bring one person up to date is going to be very easy to do versus bringing two, if not four new people up on what’s going on,” Pomierski said.

Filippi is also joining the council at a time when city business is under control, Pomierski said.

As far as the federal investigation Pomierski is concerned, Filippi said he is unsure if he’ll find out more details once he’s sworn in.

“I don’t know what will happen,” Filippi said. “I’m not in the loop certainly.”

Thomas will continue to work with various organizations that he’s involved with that do not require him to be a councilman. He is president of the San Antonio Water Company Board of Directors, which does not require him to be a councilman. He is also part of several other organizations, including the Upland’s Community Foundation, Police Foundation and YMCA. He is also one of the founders of the Tour de Foothills bike ride on Nov. 13.

Thomas said he is not yet sure if he would consider another run for public office.

“I truly loved serving the city and being involved in planning for the future and making decisions,” he said. “Some other people could do that for a while. Whether I come back or not remains to be seen.”

Musser carried the most votes. Brandt, who was elected in 2002, followed closely behind Filippi.

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