Ramirez Says His Government Work Will Inform His Council Service

He is running to represent District 4 on the Redlands City Council, Ivan Ramirez said, “because we need responsible and reasonable people in office with a people-centric approach. We also need people who know how a public agency works. I have over nine years of experience in local government, serving the people of this county in various capacities. I started at the bottom and worked my way up to positions with a high degree of responsibility, including managing a $55 million dollar budget and key information technology contracts for the County of San Bernardino’s Information Services Department. During the course of my career as a public servant, I have taken all my roles seriously and have always put people first. Unfortunately, not everyone in public service shares my same passion and motivation to promote quality public service. For years I have preferred positions in government that allowed me to do actual government work and serve the public, not elected positions in local government. I thought that somebody else with a different kind of passion should do it. Eventually I realized that I am that somebody. Having personally seen what bad decisions from elected officials can do to local government, I realized that they are the last barrier to achieving quality governance and public service.”
He is qualified to hold the position of city councilman, Ramirez said, because the nine years of experience he has in local government serving in various capacities has provided him with a skill set that corresponds to the areas the council oversees.
“As a former budget and contracts administrator for the County of San Bernardino, I have had experience managing multi-million dollar budgets and key information technology contracts critical to countywide operations,” Ramirez said. “As a contracts administrator, I have negotiated with companies of all sizes to ensure the best terms were in place to protect the people of San Bernardino County. During the course of my career as a public servant, I have always put people first, taken all my roles seriously, and never accepted the status quo. ‘That is how we have always done it’ has never been acceptable to me, and because of that, I have managed to make each place I have worked in more productive and efficient.”
He is distinguished from his opponents, Ramirez said, by the governmental experience he possesses and the budgeting responsibility he has been entrusted with.
“As far as I know, none of the other candidates has ever been directly involved in the administration of a government agency or has ever managed a government budget,” he said. “When you hear about how “staff recommend” certain action regarding budgets at a city council or county board of supervisors meeting, they are referring to staff like me, who perform budget analysis and present our elected officials and executive staff with options regarding the budget. Having been on the administration side of a county department and now the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority, I have developed extensive knowledge about the bureaucratic side of government. I believe this is good knowledge to have if you are going to be making decisions regarding the budget, as the decisions you make will ultimately have an impact on government operations and ultimately the services we offer the public. Redlands is facing a budget crisis worse than what we saw during the Great Recession. That’s why on day one Redlands is going to need someone who has had experience with a budget, understands city staff language, and someone who has made tough decisions regarding the budget and understands the impact of those decisions. I think that person is me.”
Ramirez said, “The single most important issue facing the city right now is the budget crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Right now, the city council and staff are making difficult decisions regarding the budget and those decisions are going to have an impact on the quality of city services. Like the rest of the state, Redlands is also struggling with housing affordability.”
In coming to terms with the COVID-19, budget and housing issues, Ramirez said, “The city is going to have to make some tough decisions regarding the budget. The budget will ultimately have to be balanced as required by state law, but it is going to require sacrifices. The city will need to work with residents and our labor groups to determine how to prioritize the budget. Redlands won’t solve the housing affordability crisis that is plaguing the entire state on its own, but it will have to do its part by supporting housing projects while respecting Redlands’ slow growth approach.”
To defray the costs of dealing with Redlands’ ongoing challenges, Ramirez said, “The city will have to work with residents and labor groups to prioritize the budget. The city recently completed a resident survey, so we know what the residents’ priorities are. Sacrifices will need to be made in order to balance the budget, but I am hopeful that this will be temporary. Redlands also has a 1 percent sales tax measure on the ballot. If voters choose to pass this measure, this will create additional revenue to meet the needs of Redlands.”
Ramirez went on. “In addition to the sales tax, I believe the city should be exploring other sources of revenue,” he said. “Currently Ordinance 2851 does not allow cannabis dispensaries within city limits. The ordinance cites negative effects of cannabis on public health, safety, and welfare as the reason for the ban on cannabis dispensaries, manufacturing, and cultivation. I believe the ordinance is largely based on antiquated ideology rather than facts. The city also doesn’t operate in a vacuum; residents can easily purchase cannabis in surrounding cities or have it delivered straight to their homes. All the city essentially accomplished with this ordinance is to surrender precious revenue to surrounding areas in favor of ideology. Now is not the time for that. Every dollar will count towards balancing the budget. A vacancy tax could also yield additional revenue to help tackle some of the issues residents have expressed as being high priorities, including graffiti and homelessness. In my district there are several single family homes and multifamily homes that have been vacant and blighted for years. Blighted properties attract criminal activity like graffiti. Owners of these properties need to be held accountable for the neglect, and currently code enforcement is not enough. In addition to using vacancy tax revenue to address the negative effects of blighted properties, a vacancy tax could also encourage owners of these properties to make the properties habitable again or sell them to someone who will. In addition to generating revenue, a vacancy tax is a step towards addressing housing affordability if it leads to the creation of additional housing units.”
Ramirez has lived in Redlands since 2011. He has a bachelor of arts degree from the University of California Riverside in History/Law & Society. He has also obtained a master’s degree in public administration with a concentration in public financial management from California State University San Bernardino.
Currently, he is employed as a management analyst with the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority.
Ramirez is married to Melanie Eckstein. “We have no children but have our cats and dogs,” Ramirez said.
Ramirez said, “During the course of my career as a public servant, I have taken all my roles seriously and have always put people first. Friends and family will tell you that I am a highly motivated public servant committed to excellence and always look for ways to improve and promote quality public service. I want the people of Redlands to know that no matter how big or small their problem may be, they can count on me being their voice in City Hall to solve it.”

Leave a Reply