FD Merger Prompts San Antonio Heights Leader Petschow Into Board Run

San Antonio Heights resident Ken Petschow is challenging Second District San Bernardino County Supervisor Janice Rutherford in this year’s election.
Petschow, 54, is a pilot with American Airlines, for which he has flown since 1993. He previously worked as a pilot with Kemp Bros, W.F. Probst, Calico Industries, Wells Aviation, Upland Freight Lines and Rogers Aviation. He currently has 29,259 hours of flight time, 22,747 of those with multiengine craft.
He holds a bachelor of arts degree in English, a bachelor of science degree in aerospace engineering and a master’s degree in aerospace engineering, all from Cal Poly Pomona.
The home Petschow lives in was built by George Hostetler, who constructed an electrically lit star on the San Antonio Heights property at the top of Euclid Avenue, which he first illuminated for the Christmas season in 1958. When Petschow purchased the house in 1996, he continued the tradition, interrupted only when then-Upland Mayor John Pomierski, upset by Petschow’s support of Pomierski’s opponent in the 2008 Upland mayoral race, used his political reach to have county code enforcement officers shut it down.
Petschow’s effort to reestablish the Christmas Star was his first foray into bare-knuckled politics. His next major political battle was that waged by the San Antonio Heights Association against the move by Upland and the county to shutter the Upland Fire Department and force all of Upland’s and San Antonio Heights’ property owners into a fire assessment district/county service area under which all property owners were assessed $154 yearly to cover the cost of the county fire division providing those communities with fire protection service. Petschow was the president of the San Antonio Heights Association from November 2006 until November 2017. It was during the last year of his tenure as president that the unsuccessful effort to prevent San Antonio Heights from being annexed into the fire service district reached a fever pitch. With few exceptions, the residents of San Antonio Heights deeply resented being forced into the fire service area, and they faulted Rutherford for failing to represent them in the face of the takeover. Rutherford’s siding with Upland’s elected leadership in the fire service changeover, which was roundly opposed by a wide cross section of Upland’s residents, is a major impetus in Petschow’s candidacy.
He decried the secrecy and duplicity of the fire service takeover, the way in which it was sprung on residents without adequate opportunity for community discussion or consideration of alternatives and the stratagem used by county officials that did not give the residents impacted by the change an opportunity to vote on it.
“I have worked with local communities for over two decades in the county,” Petschow told the Sentinel. “With this rich history of knowledge and local affinity, I feel motivated by the opportunity to represent San Bernardino County constituents by driving a platform for transparency and trust.”
Petschow also lays claim to previous elected official status as a board member, from January 2010 until January 2016, with the Devore Water Company.

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