Rejuvenation of Local Economy Crucial, Redlands Council Candidate Frasher Propounding

Planning Commissioner Steven Frasher said he is seeking election to the Redlands City Council because “Redlands is a dynamic city balancing its historic community character with a changing economy, compounded by the current public health closures and resulting economic impacts, and social justice concerns that demand immediate attention. I believe a people-centered, steady but determined problem-solving approach is what’s needed to guide the city through this turbulent emergency period. I think we get through this with cool heads, imagination, a sense of shared purpose and long-term vision.”
He is qualified to hold the position of city councilman, Frasher said, by his accumulated knowledge as both a resident and appointed city decision-maker, along with his viewpoint. “Experience and perspective are the biggest assets, I think,” he said. “Locally, I’ve been a member of the Redlands Planning Commission, guiding land-use decisions that shape the city, since 2012. A previous mayor appointed me to a Blue Ribbon Committee exploring budget priorities to get the city through the last economic crisis. Many of our biggest issues are not new to me. In my professional work, I’ve been a senior staff member to mayors and a chief of police in Riverside, a school superintendent in Glendale, and for a major infrastructure agency in Los Angeles County. These experiences working closely with and for residents in other jurisdictions gives me unique perspectives on best practices and how agencies interact to maximize effectiveness.”
Frasher is one of four candidates vying for the council position representing the city’s Fourth District. The top vote-getter among himself, Ivan Ramirez, Lane Schneider and Jenna Guzman-Lowery in November will take up the Fourth District position on the council in December, in essence replacing Councilwoman Toni Momberger, who in 2017 was appointed to replace late Councilwoman/Mayor Pat Gilbreath and then won a special at-large election held in 2018. Frasher said he was reluctant to contrast himself positively or negatively with Ramirez, Schneider or Guzman-Lowery.
“Respectfully, I believe the other contenders can and should make their own cases,” he said. “I don’t claim to be the most active or involved person in a town with lots of community pride, service and volunteerism, but I believe I have the combination of experience and the commitment to public service, resilience and accountability that is relevant, right now.”
In addressing what he considered to be the major issues facing the city, Frasher said, “Redlands is proud of its heritage but we need to go beyond the friendly façade. Everything is impacted right now by the current health/economic emergency. A city is all about people. We need to support our local businesses, with all appropriate care during COVID-19, but with the long-term goal of creating opportunities, jobs and an attractive community that local people and visitors want to support. Make no mistake, COVID-19 is deadly serious. I want to offer all support to our businesses that take the dangers and guidelines seriously. But, we’ll get through the COVID-19 emergency. Within the budget constraints we have to expand police/community connectivity and accountability so Redlands can be an example of justly pursuing justice and public safety. Affordable housing is needed; building the same types of tract neighborhoods doesn’t provide the diversity of housing options that grow a family-friendly community for all, not just the well-established. Homelessness needs a compassionate approach involving a lot of partners; complaints solve nothing. We still need to plan and build for a more sustainable future.”
Frasher said his formula for redressing those issues was “economic development” and to “keep drilling down on ‘shop local’ with innovative promotion of neighborhood economic zones and the historic downtown.”
In terms of jobs, Frasher said the city needs to “encourage diversity in new businesses and strategize how to maximize job recovery as businesses are allowed to fully reopen.” He said that maintaining the city’s municipal workforce is critical. “Public services are critically important to residents,” he said, stating the city should “work with labor groups to maintain as many jobs as possible until revenues recover.”
With regard to public safety, Frasher said the city should endeavor to “ensure the police and fire departments are properly trained and resourced for our public safety demands, within our budget, and are partnering for the best social justice outcomes.”
In order to redress homelessness, Frasher said the city should “work with the county, churches and nonprofits to learn from current experiences and connect as many as possible with services.”
To expand housing opportunities, Frasher called upon the city to “develop plans to diversify housing options and develop transit villages with broader public discussion.” He said city officials need to “allay fears” that many residents have about high density housing being located in multi-use districts near downtown within a walkable distance from boarding and disembarking stations for rail lines offering transportation westward.
The city needs to emphasize accountability, Frasher said, by “continuing and expanding outreach education steps, inviting residents to more fully interact with police, parks, water resources, to understand needs, responses, concerns.”
How the city will pay for those solutions, Frasher said, is “the question that will dominate every decision, at least for the next two years. Prudent fiscal management sounds like a trope, but it’s true. Cities need to live within their means and all local communities/local families have taken a tremendous hit from the COVID crisis and the necessary steps to try to effectively contain the virus, and that impact hit all cities, too. We can’t proceed as if nothing has happened. Redlands’ leaders managed pretty well and saved reserves for rainy days, but this is a deluge. Ambitious plans are the vision we have to keep our eyes on in terms of long-term planning as we inevitably manage painful cuts that I hope can be only temporary.”
Frasher said, “Redlands has a 1% sales tax measure that was placed on the ballot to meet visionary needs beyond daily maintenance, such as a new safety hall, any expansion of services, etc., before the current COVID-related budget emergency. Now, that measure will be a crucial bulwark against devastating cuts/destruction of what the city provides, if voters chose to adopt the increase at such a difficult time. That outcome will shape any decision elected officials can make for the coming years.”
In summarizing his experience relating to government, Frasher noted that in addition to his local service as a Redlands planning commissioner since 2012, he is currently employed as a public information officer involved in community relations, emergency communications response and media liaison for Los Angeles County Public Works, which also manages the Los Angeles County Flood Control District.
Frasher has lived in Redlands since 2001 and in District 4 since 2003, having moved to Redlands as an adult. He has a bachelor of arts degree in political science from the University of Washington.
He and his wife, Sharon, a kindergarten teacher, have two adult sons.
Frasher said, “The Redlands Bowl, the city’s historic outdoor theater, has a phrase from Proverbs inscribed above the stage: ‘Without vision a people perish.’ That can’t be an empty slogan that fulfills itself. Past generations built and preserved a vision of Redlands in their time. It’s our time to envision, build and preserve a sustainable and welcoming city, for today, especially guiding it through this extraordinary emergency and to have our community emerge whole on the other side of the recovery.”

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