Bunck Bucking The System In Apple Valley Council Race

(September 22)  Richard Bunck said he is running for Apple Valley Town Council because there is too much self-dealing among its current members.
“Two of the guys on there right now are doing business with the city,” Bunck said. “Scott Nassiff owns Napa Auto Parts and he recuses himself when the city issues warrants but the others vote to give business to him. Larry Cusack owns Apple Valley Communications and warrants have been issued by the town to his company. The other members of the council are going along with this. Town politics has gotten corrupt. We need a mindset change. Every politician makes political promises. I will make a very specific political promise. I will not take money from the city. I am a contractor. I won’t bid on any jobs with the town. My brother who is also a contractor will not bid on any jobs with the town. I will have no self interest in what will come before the council. I can go onto the council knowing it won’t affect my life. I will have no vested interest in the votes I make.”
Dealing with the regional water shortage and reducing the pricing structure on water is a basic challenge Apple Valley needs to address, Bunck said.
“Water rates are a big issue in Apple Valley,” he said. “It has become a political football. People understand they are paying high water rates, so some city officials are talking about buying the water company. I don’t know if that is the best option. There is a history of cities taking over water companies and then the rates go up, not down. I think a better approach would be a consumer-owned utility company as opposed to the town owning it.”
Bunck was critical of the town’s rush to take money from the state and federal government in conjunction with accompanying mandates that he said are disadvantageous to the town and its residents.
“Town council members should be dedicated to stopping the quality of life from deteriorating in Apple Valley,” he said. “One problem goes back to the town getting money in block grants or carbon tax and other federal programs where we end up having to let a lot of low income housing into town or we have to build things that eventually turn into low income housing. The city has opted to take the money as opposed to saying no to the federal government. The federal government does not offer money without strings being attached. They are saying, ‘If you want this money, then you have to have these programs.’ If you are going to be on the town council, you have to look after the quality of life of the town first. It is an easy thing to take the money, but once you take the money, they inform you about the strings. Those strings take the quality of life down. This is an underground issue that people don’t talk about to the council, but they have told me about it. I say if there is a program that will give the town money but it is going to cause things to deteriorate and bring down the quality of life, increase crime and cause other problems, then the town should have the guts to say no. Everything is not based on money. Some things are more important than money. Some of our council is ready to sell out the town for money. They will trade the money for having more low income housing. That is wrong thinking, the wrong mindset.”
Bunck continued, “People always talk about generating tax revenue. I am all for funding the town, but the conversation should be about how do we get money into the city’s coffers without strangling the taxpayer. Out of every dollar a taxpayer makes, in the end he pays sixty cents of it in taxes. Either income tax or sales tax or gasoline tax or other taxes. And when the taxing ends, the fees start. You pay fees to the city. That is just another form of tax.. To me it is double taxation.”
The solutions to the challenges and issues facing the town, Bunck said, are elusive and will require patience and focus.
“It’s hard to turn the clock back on something already done,” he said. “Some things are very hard to change, but you can certainly not continue down that road. You can put the brakes on. With regard to the water issue, the city should facilitate what the best solution is. What I would do is expedite forming a citizen owned water agency or company. That is better than having the town own it. We can stop taking federal grant money if the strings are unacceptable. We can pass an ordinance that no one on the council can do business with the city and no one in their family or the companies they work with or own can do business with the city. This is going to require a mindset change. I realize if I get elected I might be a lone wolf on there, but if I get elected I want the town’s citizens to help me put pressure on the other council members to make those changes. I believe in heavy citizen involvement in government.”
Bunck said there is something akin to religious fervor in his candidacy.
“Christians and Catholics talk about having a calling,” he said. “I have a calling to be on the town council. I don’t relish being a big fish in a small pond. I want get on there so people will be allowed to come to the council and say what is on their minds. Right now you can’t address the town council and have them respond. You can address them, but it is a meaningless exercise. People are frustrated about it. The current council is doing things that are not popular among the electorate. A big fancy Town Hall building may look good but if you go down to the other end of town, what is it like there? People tell me they are paying $700 a month for water. That is obscene. I have been a businessman. I have dealt with numbers and budgets. From that viewpoint I can look at what the town is doing and see the problems. I have the background for that. What distinguishes me from the other members of the council is I have the courage to make decisions that are in the best interest of the town by not taking money. I will be one of the people opposed to the gravy train. Scott Nassif has been on the council for four terms. He is like the career politicians in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., getting things for himself. He has the inside track, flying around in planes and going to parties and he stays in office and people are frustrated and they have given up. I am not giving up. I say we get rid of the politicians who maybe when they started out had the right intentions but now they’ve been on the gravy train so long they are hurting the people who elected them.”
Bunck grew up in Downey and graduated from Pius X High School. He majored in economics at the University of California at Irvine. He is an electrical contractor in California and a general contractor in Nevada. Divorced, he has two grown children.

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