Ryan Johnson is offering himself as an establishment candidate on the Redlands City Council in the race to represent the residents of newly drawn District 5 in the 72,000 population city.
In November, the first election using a ward system in Redlands will take place. Previously, members of the city council were elected at-large. In District 5, the geographically largest and southernmost of the city’s five districts, two candidates are vying this year: Johnson and the city’s current mayor, Paul Foster. In Redlands, the mayor is not directly elected by the city’s residents but elevated to that position from among the council by a majority vote of the council.
Despite his ambition, Johnson was in no way critical of the man he is seeking to unseat, Foster. Instead, he framed himself and his candidacy as a younger and more energetic continuation of Foster and what the mayor has already accomplished.
“My career as a public servant with the State of California and my experience in the private sector as a former business owner gives me the passion to give back to my community,” he said. “I am committed to protecting the history, beauty, and integrity of the City of Redlands. I believe that the City of Redlands is heading down the right path; I want to continue to build upon the positive direction that the City of Redlands is heading.”
Johnson pointed out that he has already proven himself as a creature of government.
“I currently serve on the City of Redlands Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission as vice chairman and as a board member for the Friends of Prospect Park, a non-profit organization which partners with the City of Redlands to maintain and improve the natural beauty of Historic Prospect Park. My experience gained from my tenure with three State of California agencies – the California State Teachers Retirement System, Franchise Tax Board, and Board of Equalization – and my private sector small business experience uniquely qualifies me to serve as a Redlands City Council Member for District 5.”
Johnson said he believes the major challenge facing Redlands at present to be “continuing infrastructure improvements. The following is my top list of current and proposed infrastructure projects for the City of Redlands: finishing the repaving and maintenance of roads throughout the city that were not included in the current phases of the pavement rehabilitation project, continuing the effort to replace outdated sewer pipes and water lines, and building a new safety mall for our valued police force, who have been without a permanent home since 2008.”
Johnson said, “In order to pay for the infrastructure improvements, I plan to empower members of the city council and city officials to think out of the box for funding solutions, such as increasing revenue generating events within Redlands, and increasing efforts to obtain grants, and working on small business development in order to increase sales tax revenue.”
In 2005, as he was leaving college to head out into the real world, Johnson obtained his contractor’s license and started a business, RJ Coatings, which remained active through 2011.
In 2012, Johnson began working for the State of California as a business taxes representative with the Board of Equalization. “During my tenure at the Board of Equalization, I further strengthened my communication, customer service, and public speaking skills through my daily communication and outreach events with California taxpayers, business owners and tax professionals,” Johnson said. “After a brief tenure with the Franchise Tax Board, I accepted a promotion with the California State Teachers Retirement System. As a benefits specialist with the California State Teachers Retirement System, my time is spent conducting individual and group retirement sessions with retiring California educators. What I enjoy most about my current position at the California State Teachers Retirement System is facilitating outreach events throughout the Inland Empire.” Johnson remains employed with the State of California as an analyst.
Johnson has lived in Redlands for 19 years and attended and graduated from Redlands East Valley High School as a member of the Class of 2000. He obtained an associate of arts degree from Crafton Hills College, a bachelor of arts degree in administration from California State University San Bernardino and a master of arts degree in management from the University Of Redlands School Of Business.
Johnson told the Sentinel he is “married to my loving and beautiful wife, Helen, who is an 8th grade history teacher. We currently have no children.”
Away from work, Johnson said, “My hobbies consist of boating, cycling, hiking, riding motorcycles, working on home improvement projects, and spending time with family and friends. On weekends, I enjoy a good cup of coffee from our downtown coffee shops, and can relax with a nice cigar or glass of whiskey from the local distillery and cigar lounge. My home is Redlands and I enjoy being here.”