Meet the Mayor and Council
Elected to Council November 2018
Elected as Mayor November 2022
Term expires December 2024
Tyller grew up in a military family. His mom served in the Navy for 20 years so they moved around the country and never lived anywhere long enough to grow roots. His military upbringing was a formative experience, and led him to seek long-term connections and community on the beautiful Monterey Peninsula.
For the last eight years, he has worked at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS). He also earned a bachelor’s degree from Cal State Monterey Bay in 2013. Currently, he is enrolled in a Master’s of Business Administration program at NPS.
When he arrived here on the Central Coast, he did not know how much this area would mean to him. He realized that he had finally found a community that accepted and loved him; and he knew he would never want to live anywhere else. He and his partner, Ivan, bought their first home together in Monterey because of the beautiful environment — from the climate and landscape to the amazing community activists they have grown to love. Through his community work on the Monterey Peninsula, Tyller has truly found a lifelong home. His work with fellow community members was fundamental in the decision to run for Monterey City Council.
Tyller has a proven track record of bringing people of diverse backgrounds together to accomplish common goals. As an organizer for President Obama’s re-election campaign out of the San Francisco headquarters, he managed 30 staff and over 500 volunteers in a successful endeavor.
More recently, Tyller worked to bring that same sense of purpose as a co-founder of Monterey Peninsula Pride, the first pride event in this community for over a decade. This unifying and inclusive event enjoyed support from diverse community organization such as churches, synagogues, LGBTQIA+ organizations, legal groups, healthcare groups, mental health organizations, and numerous public officials. It was a powerful event with over 700 people in attendance united by their commitment of respect for all — and regional solidarity!
As a member of the Monterey County Housing Advisory Committee, and a past Committee Member on the City of Monterey’s Architecture Review Committee, he has seen firsthand the difference an active community makes. As a city councilmember, he will work tirelessly to foster, grow, and encourage productive civic participation.
Tyller envisions a future for our city as a leader in public engagement. He believes by better utilizing modern forms of communication, we can move Monterey forward by seeking robust community input to drive decision making in our local government.
On important challenges like increasing access to affordable housing, improving transportation infrastructure, and providing a sustainable water supply, Monterey is not alone. Tyller will collaborate with regional partners to tackle these tough issues in order to improve our quality of life on the Central Coast.
COUNCILMEMBER Kim BArber
Represents Council District 1
Elected November 2022
Term expires December 2026
Bio coming soon.
COUNCILMEMBER GENE "GINO" GARCIA
Represents City of Monterey at large
Appointed December 2022
Short Term expires December 2024
Gino has lived in Monterey for twelve years with his wife and three children. He reflects: “Monterey has offered us its natural beauty, its tranquility and peaceful setting for raising a family, and lots more.”
Gino is a first generation Guatemalan American. Born and raised in the heart of the inner-city of South Central Los Angeles, Gino always carries with him the spirit of working hard and perseverance, a spirit inspired by his parents’ hard work and determination to provide a better life for their children. The continued moral support from his family encouraged young Gino to graduate high school and look at what was beyond his neighborhood. It was on a college-bound trip with his high school senior class that he visited Monterey for the first time, not imagining that one day he would be calling Monterey “home”.
After graduating high school, Gino attended a private liberal arts college in Pennsylvania which opened his mind to travels, both domestic and abroad. It was during his senior year in college that he studied in Florence, Italy for a semester. This trip proved to be a special and very significant experience for Gino. It was during this semester abroad that Gino met his now wife, Emily, who happened to be a Monterey native. It was in the stars that Gino and Emily would one day set down deep, permanent roots in Monterey.
As an Assistant Planner with a local nonprofit, Gino works on the implementation of Safe Routes to School Plans throughout Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties. This work has provided Gino with the platform to advocate more widely for bicycle and pedestrian facilities with the goal of increasing safety in our neighborhoods not only for students but families and the community in general. This work has also provided the platform for Gino to work directly with community, moving forward efforts that bring to the forefront issues revolving around inclusion, tolerance, equity, and socio-economics. Gino was recognized for his work in Monterey County in 2021 with a TAMC Transportation Excellence Award. He was also appointed the same year as the representative for the City of Monterey at the TAMC Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee.
Gino believes that addressing local issues such as aging infrastructure, housing, homelessness, water scarcity, etc., must be done in ways that are unique to Monterey. Monterey has a population that is diverse in many ways, and he brings strategies to create the spaces in which to have constructive conversations, even with polarized views, so that we can move away from tension and closer to a solution. Gino fosters safe spaces that will promote working together and enhancing our collaborations with partners and stakeholders. It is Gino’s hope that his presence in the City Council will also inspire Monterey’s Spanish-speaking citizens to have that confidence to speak up about their concerns and be included in important discussions about their quality of life. Espero conocerlos y que juntos colaboremos para un mejor mañana para todos.
VICe MAYOR ALAN HAFFA
Represents City of Monterey at large
Elected December 2012, Re-elected November 2016 and November 2020
Term expires December 2024
Appointed Vice Mayor for 2023
Alan Haffa learned about leadership and service as an Eagle Scout. He met his future wife, Arlene Haffa, when both of them worked as Camp Counselors at Tomahawk Scout Reservation. Arlene and Alan have been married 26 years and have two children, Ben and Elizabeth, both graduates of Monterey High School. When the family moved to Monterey in 2003, Haffa wanted to help out in the community. He joined the Kiwanis Club of Monterey, and he and Arlene helped out at the High School by writing a grant for the Band Boosters to replace the piano, and helped reinvigorate the Cross-Country Booster club.
In 2004, the local school district, MPUSD, was divided and lacking direction. When one of the board members stepped down, Haffa stepped up. He stood with the board members who questioned the district consultants, who were recommending 11 new schools in the former Fort Ord. Haffa and the board majority questioned where the new residents would work and how many children they would have. Their skepticism was well founded, as the housing bubble burst and none of the new construction materialized. Had the district sold bonds to build all those schools, the district would be in debt today and would have had to close schools in Monterey. The leadership that Haffa displayed, questioning out of state consultants and corporations to protect the students and citizens, is the kind of leadership and independence he will bring to the city council.
Haffa was proud to work with local parents and volunteers who wanted to remodel Dan Albert Football Field. When the football booster club and other supporters asked the board to show commitment and leadership by allocating $200,000 toward the football field renovation, Haffa voted "yes." The boosters were then able to raise the remaining money and today the field is a testimony to what our community can do when dedicated citizens and supportive public servants work together.
In addition to his community service, Haffa has taught at Monterey Peninsula College and directed the Gentrain Program, an interdisciplinary, team taught course in civilization. At MPC he has served on the Faculty Senate and for the past two years he has been co-chair of the College Council, which is the highest advisory board to the college president. Haffa has also fought for lifelong learning at the college, and in 2011 he was the MPCTA faculty union co-negotiator. Haffa and his faculty colleagues negotiated a two percent salary cut in recognition of the desperate financial situation of the state and as sign of good faith and commitment to the long term viability of the college.
Haffa says: "One of my natural skills is helping to bring a group to consensus. If you can find a solution that works for everyone, where everyone wins, that is a better solution than where one party wins and the other loses. But if a spirit of reason and compromise are not met half way, I will ask the tough questions and I will stand up for what is right."
COUNCILMEMBER ED SMITH
Represents Council District 2
Elected November 2014, Re-elected November 2018 and November 2022
Term expires December 2026
Ed was born at the old Carmel Hospital, raised on the Monterey Peninsula, and attended local schools, graduating from Pacific Grove High in 1971. He married his high school sweetheart, Sharron, who graduated from Monterey High School, also in 1971. They recently celebrated 41 years of marriage.
His parents, originally from Georgia, fell in love with the Monterey Peninsula when his father was stationed at Fort Ord with the U.S. Army. They settled their family here in 1945 after WWII ended. Ed has one younger brother, Doug, who served in the U.S. Army. His older brother, Phillip, also served in the U.S. Army and was killed in action in the Vietnam War in 1969.
After graduating from Monterey Peninsula College in 1973, Ed and Sharron were married and departed for college. He graduated from Sacramento State with a BA in Criminal Justice in 1975. After several years, Ed returned to college at Golden Gate University, attending night school to work on his Masters Degree. He graduated in 1983 with a Master’s of Public Administration in Federal, State & Urban Governance.
Ed and Sharron have two adult children — daughter, Amy Baj (married to Chris), lives in Florida where she is a Public Relations Director for Dell; and son, Peter finished serving in the U.S. Army in 2013 and currently is a full time student at Wichita State in Kansas. They have two grandchildren, Liam Smith, five-years-old, and Hadley Baj, 5-months-old.
Ed started his exciting law enforcement career beginning with the Seaside Police Department in 1976. In 1980 Ed transferred to the Monterey Police Department and rose through the ranks serving as a police officer, field training officer, detective, and as a police Sergeant serving in every division within the department as a supervisor. Ed was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in 2003 and retired from Monterey in 2006.
After a brief retirement Ed returned to duty in 2007 with the Desert Hot Springs Police Department in Riverside County, and retired in 2011 as a Division Commander. During Ed’s police career he served five different police chiefs and served for a total of 34 years.
Ed’s Service, Community, and Leadership
- Co-owner On Base Leadership Training and organizational leadership consulting
- Formerly owned and operated a retail business in Monterey, est. 1991, sold in 1998
- Past board member of a community church & past board member of a private school
- Past president of the Monterey Police Officers Association
- Experienced with special events, project management, construction & technology
- Former part-time Instructor at MPC Police Academy and State of California Peace Officers Standards & Training, (P.O.S.T.) in supervisory and leadership courses
- Volunteer team captain for AT&T and 1st Tee tournaments
- Member of Rotary Club of Cannery Row, vocation chair
- Member of the Monterey County Hospitality Association, education committee
- Pacific Grove High School Graduate 1971
- Monterey Peninsula College, Associates of Science Degree 1973
- California State University Sacramento, Bachelor of Arts Degree, Crim. Justice 1975
- Golden Gate University, MPA in Federal, State and Urban Governances 1983
- Police Academy, Supervisory and Management P.O.S.T Certificates
- State of California Life-Time Teaching Credential
- Monterey Peninsula Leadership graduate
- Family time, gardening, good movies
- Reading: world history, modern leadership & organizational management
- Remodeling and home improvement - power tools!!
- Golf, football (49ers) and baseball (Giants)