Owner of Sorrento Italian Market has turned life around 180 degrees
By Gary Luster
Business owner and Culver City resident Albert Vera will seek election to a seat on the Culver City Council in next month’s election.
Vera attended St. Augustine Elementary School and St. Bernard High School while working in Sorrento Italian Market, which was owned by his parents. While continuing to help his family run their restaurant, Vera found time to serve as a Culver City Police Department reserve officer, a position he held for 15 years.
Vera, a Culver City native who owns and operates Sorrento Italian Market, is running for Council as a way to give back to the city that supported him and his family throughout the years, especially when his life took a dark turn after his brother died and his mother fell sick with a terminal illness.
To cope, Vera turned to drugs and after a few encounters with the police and jail time, Vera checked into rehab and vowed to turn his life around.
“That was a dark time, but I learned a great deal about both myself and my community,” Vera said. “Everyone in Culver City was so supportive of me and my family that I knew, even then, that I wanted to give back to this city.”
One of the ways Vera plans to give back is through economic development.
Vera has the background to follow through on his promise to improve Culver City economics thanks to the many years of working alongside his parents at Sorrento as well as overseeing the day-to-day operations of his family’s 26 olive oil and vegetable ranches located near Lindsay, California.
“I am anxious to bring my business experiences to City Hall,” Vera said. “We need to be smart about our city’s finances, but we also have to focus on important issues like attainable housing for working professionals, public safety for all of our residents and intelligent ways of dealing with traffic, transportation, and mobility.
Vera has already brought his business savvy to Sorrento, making numerous upgrades and improvements, including the introduction of new imports from all over Italy and the creation of the restaurant’s Italian wine department, which has become famous all over California.
In addition to economic development, Vera also wants to improve public safety.
“We need to look out for everyone who calls this city ‘home,’” Vera said. “Culver City should be a safe and welcoming environment for families at all levels of the economic spectrum, and I am committed to making sure our schools, our police department, our fire department and our parks system have the tools and resources they need to create that environment.”
Recently Vera received the endorsement of Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson.
Wesson, a long-time Culver City resident who represented the city as Speaker of the California State Assembly, said that Vera is the right man for the job.
“I’m urging everyone in Culver City to vote for Albert Vera on April 10,” Wesson said. “Al Vera is the type of man who knows how to get things done. He’s the type of man who puts ‘we’ first … He understands that we all need to work side by side. He will help bring the city together and accomplish the things that this great city of Culver City needs to get done.”
Vera is a member of the Culver City Exchange Club and has served on both the Culver City Landlord/Tenant Board and the Culver City Civil Service Commission.
Vera also serves on the Culver City Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and the Culver City Palms YMCA Board of Managers.
For more information on Albert Vera and his campaign for Culver City Council, please visit www.veraforcouncil.com.
This is the first of four profiles on Culver City Council candidates leading to the April 10 general municipal election.