His Family & Personal History In Multiple Roles Merit A Return To Hesperia Council, Bird Says

Hesperia Mayor Larry Bird associates the city where he is now seeking reelection to the city council with his family.
“My family has lived in the community for over 60 years, starting with my grandfather and grandmother, Larry Bird Sr. and Pauline Bird, my father and mother Larry Bird Jr. and Jane Bird, and now my wife, Julie, and me. We have served here in a variety of ways – as educators, pastor, radio programmers, youth coaches, officiant for weddings, with local churches and service clubs and organizations. My wife and I are so grateful for the tremendous ways our family has benefited from living in our Hesperia community. Our children graduated from Sultana High School, having attended Hesperia Unified School District schools for all thirteen years. Julie and I have been educators in Hesperia for over thirty years. We want to give back to our community by protecting our children, building our infrastructure to support our growing city, and ensuring that all citizens can live, work, play and serve here. By working with our schools and local and county businesses, we need to prepare our students for jobs that we are able to bring here through partnerships.”
After selecting its municipal political leadership through at-large elections for the first thirty years after its 1988 incorporation, Hesperia in 2018 switched to district elections. Bird, who was first elected in 2016 in the city’s last at-large election and was elevated to the position of mayor in December 2018 as part of the city’s policy of rotating possession of the city council’s gavel among its members, was reappointed to the mayoral post in December 2019. He is now standing for election in the city’s first District 5 balloting. He is competing with Hesperia Unified School District Board Member Mark Dundon.
He is qualified to remain in the position of city councilman by virtue of his acquired knowledge relating to the city both while in office and in his other capacities within the community, Bird said.
“Having been blessed to be able to serve for the past four years, I have a good understanding of what our community is asking us to do – provide jobs, build infrastructure (roads, traffic lights, sewer, recycled water, street lights, curbs and gutter), reduce crime, ensure quality of living, and address the homeless concerns that are developing throughout the valley.”
He is distinguished from his competitor, Bird said, by his understanding of how City Hall functions and what the city’s residents want from local government. “These past four years, I have served as a council member of our city, mayor for the past two years,” he said. “Julie has been a great First Lady. We have listened to our neighbors, our friends, and citizens about what they want and need from their community. We have worked hard to ensure that we have provided this support over four years, and we are asking for another four years to complete what has been started.”
The major issues facing the city, Bird said, is “providing for the infrastructure to support our current city and the expansion that the previous council voted for in the Tapestry Development. My home overlooks Summit Valley. While I wasn’t a big fan of the project before my election and voiced my concern, I pledged to mitigate the effects of the project. Our city will receive $12 million dollars as soon as the project begins to take care of the roads and other needs that will come. Potentially tens of thousands of dollars will come through development impact fees over the length of the development. We will use this money to make sure our current citizens are not taxed or expected to contribute to the development of this project. The Ranchero Road project, including a $16 million bridge over the aqueduct, will be paid with some of these monies, as well as money from other county and transportation sources.”
Bird continued, “As the homeless concerns spread from neighboring communities, we must work with other local cities to address the underlying issues for these people that have moved into our area by supporting local valley efforts to focus on drug/alcohol rehabilitation and mental illness. While we want to give these folks a hand up, we must also protect our Hesperia citizens’ safety.”
Additionally, Bird said, “We need more jobs here in our city so that our citizens do not have to continue driving down the hill, and so our children will want to stay here or come back here after furthering their education.”
Economic development and wise expenditure of the financial resources the city has are important functions that have to be overseen at City Hall, Bird said. “We need to expand our revenue sources through attraction of new businesses that can provide a steady stream to ensure support of our infrastructure needs and our safety agencies,” he said.
Hesperia’s current population has eclipsed 95,000 and will soon pass 100,000. As such, Bird said, the city will need to feature a hospital within its city limits to provide its residents with medical care.
“We are opening up a new Kaiser Medical Facility,” Bird said. “The plan is to eventually expand up to and including a hospital. Hesperia needs to have a hospital. I am working toward the expansion of local hospital systems to support Hesperia, as well.”
Bird sequentially spoke to how those issues should be redressed.
“In terms of infrastructure,” he said, “we already have a master plan for our city for roads, wastewater, sewer, and safety. We hold workshops each year to discuss current needs and areas our citizens are requesting we address. We have on our website reporting avenues for us to address potholes and other immediate safety issues.”
To deal with the homeless challenge, Bird said, “We must work with neighboring cities to address underlying issues of our homeless, connect them to family if possible, and provide treatment, medical, health and other. We should ensure our citizens are not placed in danger.”
Pertaining to jobs and employment, the mayor said, “Before COVID, we were ready to announce some major revenue-producing opportunities that provided local jobs. We are working with our local school district to train our students in a variety of fields to address shortages locally and to attract businesses with a ready job pool. By addressing key sewer, water, roads, safety issues, labor pool, and lower start-up costs, we will create an environment that is attractive to businesses.”
On the subject of safety in the City of Progress, Bird offered, “We should continue to attract revenue-producing businesses and secure federal, state, and county grants to support our contracted agencies to continue to bring crime down and ensure rapid response to fire and medical needs.”
With regard to medical issues, Bird said it is his intention to “help our current medical facilities with reducing the ‘red tape’ and bureaucracy that gets in the way of expansion.”
Hesperia can defray the cost of the solutions he is suggesting, Bird said, through sensible growth. “By attracting new businesses and revenue sources to our area, we can pay for infrastructure, safety, medical, address the homeless situation, and help create new jobs,” he said. “We are on our way to doing just that after being sidetracked due to COVID.
“We can apply for and secure federal, state and local grants and money sources,” he continued.
He and the council of which he is a part are fiscal conservatives, Bird insisted.
“We are the only city without a new tax proposal on the ballot,” he said in reference to the High Desert’s cities. “We took a 10 percent cut to staff pay and city council stipends. We have the best financial books of any city in the valley. Fiscal solvency and adding new revenue sources will ensure addressing all areas of focus.”
Bird said he had experience relating to government beyond his stint on the city council.
“I worked in Washington D.C. as an intern and then in other positions for 1½ years after college,” he said. “I also worked on the Naval Base in China Lake in various responsibilities during summers when in college and then for almost a year after my time in Washington, D.C. City council is the only political office I have held, but I have led schools as principal at the elementary, middle school, and high school level. I have been director at the district office level as well. I have served as an elder in my church. I have been the president of Kiwanis.”
Bird said, “I have lived in Hesperia for 30 years and worked in Hesperia for 33 years. I was born at St. Mary’s Hospital and lived in Apple Valley until I was ten. I moved back at 25 to teach in Hesperia and lived there for 3 years until marrying my wife in 1990 and moving to Hesperia. My grandfather was a pastor in Hesperia from 1970 until 1990. My dad taught at Hesperia Junior High from 1966 until 1971. I went to Burroughs High School in Ridgecrest where my parents were teachers. I have been principal of Sultana High School for over ten years.”
Bird graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in history/political science at Point Loma College in San Diego. He received his masters degree in teaching and learning at Point Loma Nazarene University.
Bird and his wife, Julie, have been married for 30 years. Julie has been a teacher for over 30 years in the Hesperia Unified School District. She attended Point Loma and received her bachelor of arts degree in elementary education and her masters degree in teaching and learning.
“We have three children – Lainie, Cassie, and Wesley,” Bird said. “All three graduated from Sultana and attended school Kindergarten to the 12th grade in Hesperia. Lainie and Cassie graduated from Point Loma Nazarene University. Lainie graduated from UCLA Law. Wesley is in his senior year as a business student at Point Loma. Lainie is an attorney and Cassie is a nurse.”
Bird said, “I love my city and have been blessed to have received such an outpouring of support for over thirty years. I love being there for business openings and supporting our community at different events, including Eagle Scout ceremonies and being the officiant to marry former students. Julie and I are invested in Hesperia. We want to see it continue to be the wonderful community that it is. As different organizations that do not represent the values of our city try to gain access, we will continue to stand at the ready to protect our citizens and community.”

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