THE ALI SALEH STORY
THE COMMON GOOD
Ali Saleh is the son of Lebanese immigrants who migrated to Southern California in the early 70s fleeing the political violence and economic upheaval of their homeland. While Lebanon is commonly known as a land afflicted by political and sectarian strife, the truth is that for hundreds of years Lebanon was a shining example of human tolerance and cooperation.
It was not uncommon in Lebanon to have communities where Muslims, Jews, and Christians lived side-by-side and celebrated birthdays, mourned deaths, and helped each other out in times of need. These friendships ran deep. For instance, Ali’s mother Teresa was given a Christian name to honor a family friend while the friend’s Christian family gave their son a common Muslim name, "Ali" to honor the friendship.
WORKING HARD TO ACHIEVE THE AMERICAN DREAM
In 1973, Ali’s parents, Husni and Teresa, moved to Southern California to begin establishing a new life for their family. Ali’s father first worked as a door-to-door salesman and went on to eventually open a mens sportswear shops in Lynwood and Paramount. While his family grew their business, Ali was working hard in school. He attended southeast schools Corona Elementary, Nimitz Middle School, Bell High School, and finally Cerritos College. While attending Cerritos College, Ali became more involved in the family business and eventually began working there full-time. Today, Ali and his brother own and operate multiple businesses.
ACTIVISM, ACCOUNTABILITY y BASTA!
As the city of Bell was rocked by continued headlines of corruption and abuse of power by city elected officials and administrators, Ali organized the Bell community to develop new community leaders that would restore Bell residents’ faith in city government. Ali believed that a united community voice was crucial to restoring community control of the city.
Ali joined with other grassroots leaders and helped found BASTA (Bell Association to Stop the Abuse). Ali worked diligently with BASTA and other local leaders to organize the community and started a historic grassroots campaign to take back the city of Bell from the corrupt politicians that were bankrupting the city.
After months of community organizing, Ali felt compelled to enter public service as part of this effort. Running on a platform of restoring ethical leadership, transparency and fiscal reforms, Ali and other BASTA candidates swept to victory in a historic election in 2011.