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Cesar Zepeda: President of the Hilltop District Neighborhood Council

Cesar Zepeda: Putting Hilltop back on the map

on September 29, 2020

Being president of a District Neighborhood Council requires initiative in the face of bureaucratic obstacles. So, Cesar Zepeda doesn’t take no for an answer.

“I just give them some time,” said Zepeda, who’s originally from Guadalajara, Mexico. “And I ask them the question again, but a little differently, until they tell me yes.” The strategy is paying off. 

As president of Richmond’s Hilltop District in 2019, Zepeda built disability accessible sidewalks and installed new light poles in areas people feared to walk at night.

 “He put Hilltop back on the map,” said the former police Chief Chris Magnus .

credit: Hilltop District Homeowners & Stakeholders Association
Credit: Hilltop District Homeowners & Stakeholders Association

Beyond infrastructure, Zepeda raised $100,000 to revive music programs at Richmond High School and Kennedy High School. And co-founded Richmond Rainbow Pride, the first LBGTQI community of the city, which meets monthly to support and promote visibility and solidarity by participating in events.

“Cesar is a public servant in the truest sense of the word,” said Richmond City Councilmember Jael Myrick. “He sees a need and pulls together the resources and people needed to fix it.”

Zepeda’s priorities are now affordable housing, preventative measures to tackle crime, and promoting local hiring – especially now, during the pandemic. “With Covid-19 people are out of jobs,” says Zepeda. “They’re having a difficult time paying the rent.”

But his gaze is also focused on the future of environmental sustainability, with a new project for water recycling. The project would filter and reuse water for secondary purposes such as cleaning or watering plants.

Zepeda is confident about Hilltop’s future.“Sometimes people don’t see your vision,” he says. But, “Share it with them. They’re going to see it.”


  1. Craig on September 29, 2020 at 8:33 pm

    This is a welcome story. Thank you. I have worked there. I ride bikes through the area. I really appreciate the efforts of this young man.

    • Eleonora Bianchi on September 30, 2020 at 2:00 pm

      Thank you very much Craig! I agree with you, Cesar Zepeda is a very interesting and involved member of the community.

      • Carol Macon on September 30, 2020 at 8:32 pm

        Perhaps Cesar might be able to tell us if the current owners of Hilltop Mall gave the city any warning before they decided not to re-open, and basically throw the small business owners out on the street!

  2. Marion Abdullah on September 29, 2020 at 8:56 pm

    What’s going to happen to Hilltop plans now that the Pandemic has halted progress? Thanks for all your work.

  3. Ritchie Cook on September 30, 2020 at 6:40 am

    I want to thank Cesar for the instruments at Richmond High. A great program that has benefitted many of my students.

    • Eleonora Bianchi on September 30, 2020 at 2:11 pm

      Thank you for your thoughts, Ritchie. Music is an essential element of our lives.

  4. Tasha Smith on September 30, 2020 at 12:39 pm

    What’s going to happen to Hilltop Mall?

  5. Gdmann on September 30, 2020 at 1:53 pm

    Back on the map ? I see no improvements in the hilltop area & I lived there the last 20 yrs. it could use a walking side walk or bike trail on side of hilltop mall rd the street that circles the mall.other than hundreds of amazon trucks & closed businesses nothing has changed for the better ? Fake news

  6. Susana Basulto on September 30, 2020 at 7:13 pm

    What’s going to happend to hilltop mall know??? We need a mall here in Ricmond, what do we need to do as a community.

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