New MSRC Member Linda Krupa Has Always Been a Public Crusader


Hemet City Council Member Linda Krupa has been working for decades to serve her community. As a Southern California resident for more than 50 years, she has seen the area grow and change, and has played a role in the progress.

She grew up on a farm in North Dakota and lived in Connecticut for a number of years. She then journeyed out West to San Diego for a short time before settling in Hemet in 1976. When she got there, the City was a small, senior-retirement, agricultural community. Now there are about 175,000 people in the Valley.

“When I first moved here the air quality was so bad that you couldn’t see the mountains,” she said. “We have a 10,000-foot mountain basically in our back yard and there were days you couldn’t see it. I have three kids who loved to play outside and there were days that they couldn’t be outside because the air was so bad. They were active and wanted to run and play and it was really hazardous to their health. I’m very happy that it’s gotten better over the years, but when I was elected to office, I had the opportunity to get involved. In fact, I used to go to the South Coast AQMD meetings every so often just to hear what was going on because I thought it was so important. As a citizen, it’s always been important.”

Linda has always been committed to public service. “I’ve always been community-minded,” she remarked. She was involved in saving one of the area’s old train stations and she worked for the Chamber of Commerce. But her real test came in the early 2000s when Hemet built a new public library. “I was President of the Hemet Library Foundation and we raised a lot of money in the community to buy amenities for the library. But in 2010, there was a downturn in the economy and the City was hit very hard economically. I went to a City Council budget meeting, and to save money and balance the budget, they wanted to close the library. And I just came unglued,” she quipped.

At that time, the new library had only been open for seven years and it was the jewel of the downtown area. At the meeting, she talked with the Council Members during a break and explained that they couldn’t close the library because more than 16,000 people a month visited the library to utilize its services. She received a very flippant answer from one of the Council Members and this sprung her into action. “I immediately went over to the City Clerk and asked what I had to do to run for City Council.” The City Clerk told her that the deadline to file was the next day, so she collected the needed signatures in less than 24-hours and was elected to her first term as a Council Member that fall. She has been in office ever since, serving as Mayor in 2014 and 2016. And the best part is – she was able to save the library!

She was selected to be on the Riverside Transit Agency Board, and when there was an opening on the Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC) Board, she joined that too. “Because we are a commuting city, I want to help people find better modes of transportation, keep our air clean, take the congestion off our roads, and reduce their travel time – all of these things are so important. I really enjoy it because it is such a challenge – how do you move people effectively and timely without creating pollution and congestion,” she remarked. Her commitment to transportation issues has led to her serve on the SCAG Regional Council and Transportation Committee, as well as the Transportation Committee for the League of California Cities.

Linda likes to seize opportunities when they arise, so when there was an opening for an RCTC Alternate on the MSRC in 2021, she jumped at the chance to serve. “I said, I need to know more about what is happening with air quality. With the logistics centers that are opening in Perris and Moreno Valley, I’m seeing all of these smoke-belching trucks stopping in our Valley and there’s a risk that our air quality would deteriorate so much, that we would be back to where we were in the ‘70s, ‘80s, and early ‘90s,” she commented. “I thought if I can help in any way and contribute anything - even if it’s just the voice of the people here in the Valley and raising the concern of how these big warehouses and trucks have the ability to put us back twenty or thirty years with air quality - that I want to be that voice. I want to stand up and say we need to do something better and rely on better technologies so that we can have the jobs and the logistics centers, but the people don’t have to suffer with health issues and bad air.”

She said almost every day is an educational experience for her about air quality. A few years ago, she toured the California Air Resources Board facility in Riverside and was blown away by the technology used to measure mobile sources. Her experience learning about mobile sources helped her make that connection with the MSRC. “So now I know how they do it,” she laughed.

She became an MSRC member in May. One of the issues she would like to work on is helping grant recipients implement their projects more quickly. “Time is of the essence to get these projects done. The longer we push out deadlines, the longer it is going to take to solve some of the problems we must solve with air pollution,” she said.

Linda also wants to work together with the trucking industry and with the Ports to make deploying cleaner technologies not so burdensome on them. “We don’t want to drive business out of state, so we need to enlist their help on what they can do that is financially sound for them.”

She is looking forward to collaborating with her colleagues on the MSRC. “The work of the MSRC is important because it’s more grassroots. We are closer to the entities that can actually get the work done and we have more direct contact with our constituents because we interact on the local level. When there’s a bad air day, without even knowing that I’m on the MSRC, people have no problem asking me to do something about the bad air quality.”

With Linda’s new position on the MSRC, she is certainly working on it.