Any mayor has a number of jobs, from running city council meetings to addressing community issues.
Daly City Mayor Mike Guingona decided that just wasn’t enough for him. When he’s not sitting in his corner office at City Hall, Guingona is a criminal defense lawyer, a father and a television host.
Despite the long list of projects to which he devotes his time, Guingona is just a regular guy. He keeps a stock of sodas in his office, walks in wearing jeans and a casual button-up shirt and isn’t afraid to laugh or end a sentence with, "man.”
The 44-year-old was born in San Francisco but spent almost all his life in Daly City. A graduate of Westmoor High School, Guingona dedicated much of his time in school to wrestling. His athletic interests didn’t stop in the wrestling ring, Guingona was involved in football, track and swimming as well.
"I was never a big guy so I gravitated toward sports which didn’t require the ... ,” he stopped as he filled his cheeks with air and puffed out his shoulders.
He continued wrestling at Skyline College for two years before heading down south to University of California at Los Angeles where he majored in history. He finished his education at the University of San Francisco law school.
"I always wanted to be a lawyer. Those were the guys who looked like they were doing the best, had the most freedom. And they had nice cars. They made money and it looked like they had fun doing it,” he said.
The original plan was to become a sports agent but Guingona soon turned his sights on criminal defense. A three-year unpaid internship allowed him to get his feet wet in that industry before he got his first job as an attorney with the public defenders office in San Francisco. He opened his own firm in 1999.
In the midst of his legal career, Guingona made the decision to run for office. His first attempt at running for office in 1992 was a failure but each round since was a success. Guingona was first elected to the council in 1993 and has since held the position of mayor four times.
"You can either lead, follow or get out of the way. I had let other people do stuff for a long time. And I was having a lot of fun. ... But I felt guilty,” he said.
Not only did Guingona decide to get involved with his community, he decided to give television a shot. His aunt called him up one day and asked if he wanted to be on the tube, an offer he couldn’t refuse. He became the moderator on "Citizen Pinoy,” a show dealing with issues of the day among Filipinos in the community. Guingona’s job was to go to the home of whoever called with an issue. He then explained the issue in one sentence for discussion on the show, which has ran for three seasons so far.
This time around, Guingona decided to pitch his own show. Based on an idea he and his brother concocted, "Pinagmulan,” which means roots was born. Guingona follows people as they go to the Philippines to meet loved ones and explore their cultural past.
The reunion type show focuses on sending those who haven’t been to the Philippines in five or more years, if ever. Guingona follows people along for the ride.
The hour-long show debuts in August on The Filipino Channel, a network available on both Comcast and DirectTV.
Along the way, Guingona’s 6-year-old son Kai was born. The second grader is already tackling his dad’s legacy of athletics head on. He was named the California state Judo champion in his weight class and will be heading out to the U.S. championships soon.
Even with his busy schedule, Guingona looks forward to November when he’s up for re-election and four more years of serving his hometown.
Heather Murtagh can be reached by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 105. What do you think of this story? Send a letter to the editor: email@example.com.<