Chino Hills civic leaders this week took a giant step backwards from their previous intrepid position at the cutting edge of a statewide uprising in resistance to the mandates handed down from on high in Sacramento, orders which require that they and the residents they represent, like all other officials and citizens in the individual confines of the Golden State’s various municipal jurisdictions, accommodate further and more densely packed residential development in their city of 82,213.
By the end of a special meeting held on Tuesday, August 16, the council agreed, rather reluctantly, to send a signal to the California Department of Housing and Community Development that the city will go along with allowing the development industry to construct 3,720 residential units within the 44.7-square mile city over the next eight years.
Nevertheless, what was put on display for both the local population and that of the entirety of the State of California is the inadvisability, indeed what some have come to perceive as the absurdity, of allowing Sacramento to dictate land use policy throughout the 163,696-square mile state. Continue reading
By Mark Gutglueck
Intrigues known and unknown and the planned and unplanned events relating to the seamy underbelly of governance in San Bernardino County involving deals that are cut to benefit insiders and members of the region’s political establishment loomed into public focus this week as the board of supervisors prepared to take calculated and belated action in the aftermath of Assessor Bob Dutton’s death last month.
At stake in what the board of supervisors is to do are tens of millions of dollars’ worth of their political supporters’ capital and assets in the short term, hundreds of millions of their political donors’ dollars in the midterm and more than a billion dollars’ worth of land, buildings, equipment, investments and holdings controlled by their political benefactors in the long term.
On display for those quick-eyed and discerning enough to see it is the degree to which supervisors Curt Hagman, Paul Cook, Dawn Rowe and Janice Rutherford – the controlling majority of the board – have used in the past and are looking forward toward continuing to utilize their political ties to the assessor to fatten their electioneering accounts along with how feckless and overmatched Supervisor Joe Baca Jr. is in preventing that from occurring.
A 67-year-old man who was roughed up during a confrontation he had with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputies who were evicting him from his rented residence in Upland on Tuesday died while in custody following the incident.
Kenneth Harold Wolfe had lived for some time at 279 W 11th Street, which is described as a 20-unit apartment/condominium complex not too distant from Upland High School. He had fallen behind on his payments, and foreclosure proceedings against him were initiated.
On Tuesday, August 23, 2022, a deputy with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Court Services Division served an eviction order to Wolfe. Continue reading
Floyd Clark is one of six candidates seeking to fill the vacancy created on the Rancho Cucamonga City Council that came about with the death of District 1 Councilman Sam Spagnola in May.
Clark, Mary Hannah, Erick Jimenez, Lawrence Henderson, Ashley Stickler and Rose Stephens Olmsted are running to hold the District 1 position for the two years at the end of Spagnolo’s term from December 2022 until December 2024.
“With 38 years of service in federal and local government, I have gained the necessary acumen to make decisions that would help this community,” Clark said. “Difficult and challenging times require leaders that are poised, reliable and trustworthy. I have a proven track record of coordinating with local, state, and federal partners and would help this city to be a reliable source for intergovernmental participation.” Continue reading
Bob Harriman is one of two District 4 residents vying to serve on the Victorville City Council in November, the first by-district election in the city’s 60-year history. That change to the means by which Victorville chooses its municipal leadership came about when an attorney from Northern California, Scott Rafferty, threatened to sue the city earlier this year if it did not alter its at-large voting process. The city hastily complied with that demand by switching to a by-district voting system, drawing districts that put each of the members of the council in separate districts and sequenced the elections such that each incumbent will see her current at-large term end just as the election for the district she has now been placed into is held.
Harriman and his opponent, Liz Argulo, are vying, essentially, to fill the vacancy on the council created in March 2021, when Mayor Debra Jones, Councilwoman Leslie Irving and Councilwoman Elizabeth Becerra voted to remove Rita Ramirez Dean from her position as councilwoman, on the basis of their contention that she was no longer residing in the city. Continue reading
Saying he “supports fiscally conservative views with socially pragmatic policies,” Rodgir Cohen explained that “I am running for city council because I feel that public policy can be done better in Redlands.”
Cohen, along with Andrew Hoder and Tom Berg, is vying in the November 8 election against Redlands First District Councilwoman Denise Davis, who is nearing the end of her first term in office after she was initially elected to the city council in 2018.
“As a combat veteran, I am a seasoned leader with the vision needed to stimulate the economic growth of Redlands,” he said. “Redlands needs bold leaders that envision economic prosperity for our city. I believe in freedom and liberty, and abhor government overreach.”
Cohen said he believes he is qualified to hold the position of city councilman because “I am a data-driven person. I don’t want to make decisions based on party agendas or personal whims. As an author of political science books in California, I believe in the importance of data. How one interprets that data is essential. As a seasoned combat veteran and academic, public service is important to me.” Continue reading
Mike Saifie has shown an uncommon degree of determination to become a political player in Redlands.
He ran for the city council at-large in 2010, 2012, 2016 and when the city changed to by-district elections for city council in 2018, for the District 3 council post.
In 2020 he ran for election to the Redlands Unified School District Board of Education representing that entity’s Area 5.
Once again he has entered the political fray, again running for the District 3 berth on the Redlands City Council.
In his last effort to get on the city council four years ago, Saifie competed against incumbent Councilman Paul Barich, Planning Commissioner Joe Richardson and Enrique Estrada. Barich essentially ignored Saifie and Estrada during his campaign, reserving all of his firepower for Richardson in what many considered to be an underhanded electioneering effort. Barich prevailed. With the redistricting of Redlands that occurred after the 2020 Census, the section of the city Barich lives in now falls within District 5.
According to Saifie, he remains on good terms with Barich, who is currently serving as the council’s appointed mayor. Saifie said Barich encouraged him to run again in District 3 this year.
“I was asked by the Mayor of Redlands to run for this position, to serve the Redlands community,” Saifie told the Sentinel. “My academic and work experience with public safety and public policy is a valuable asset that the current council needs.”
Saifie said he is qualified to hold the position of city councilman.
“I have a master’s in public administration and public policy,” he said. “I have over 20 years of public policy-making experience and 21 years of running and owning small businesses throughout California. Now, as a veteran from a county job and semi-retired, I am giving back to my community where I have lived for long time.”
Saifie said he is distinguished from his opponent in District 3, Mario Saucedo, “in every aspect. Academically, I have a master’s in public administration and public policy. I have worked with the county board of supervisors in making public policies and have been an executive administrator, handling multimillion dollars budgets for cities and the county. As a successful business owner, I have created over 70 jobs in the Inland Empire alone and over 200 jobs throughout multiple states. I am duly recognized by the California State Senate and the US Congress for my community and public service.”
In sizing up the major issues facing the city, Saifie said, “The Public Safety Department is not fully funded and is working as a reactive agency rather than a proactive one. Public safety and homelessness issues are the two biggest challenges the city is facing that need immediate attention.”
Saifie said, “Police and fire contracts need to be fully funded. We need to fill and budget all police vacancies. They only have 3 or 4 officers to cover the entire city at any given time. They need to have adequate staffing to address the city’s growing drugs, homicide and house invasion issues. Equally, we need to work closer with county public social service agencies to handle the growing homeless population in Redlands.”
To pay for the solutions he is suggesting, Saifie said, “We have funds from Measure T. That fund was allocated to address shortfalls in public safety budgets. In addition, as a business owner myself, I like to promote and help local businesses to grow to generate more revenues for the city.”
Saifie, who was a business systems analyst for the County of San Bernardino, said he has previous experience relating to government.
“I have worked for the County of San Bernardino and the County of Riverside, managing multimillion dollar funds for the county and cities. As a county executive, I managed contracts and made public policies for the department. I worked with state and federal agencies to get funding for specific programs for cities and the county. I am currently serving the LA County Sheriff on the business advisory council. Where I help the LA County Sheriff is to make polices that help small and local business to grow in our communities.”
Saifie said he has lived in Redlands, “a very long time; 20 plus years.”
Born in Karachi, Pakistan, Saifie lived in Malta until he was 7, then moved with his family to England. He came to America when he was 12. He attended high school in Los Angeles, and obtained a bachelor’s degree in management from California State University Los Angeles, and a master’s degree from California Baptist University in public administration and public policy. He also attended UCLA, where he studied management and auditing.
He was an administrator of MB Food Inc., a system administrator for McCargo Transportation and a Del Taco restaurant franchisee.
“I am business owner and have over 200 employees in multiple states,” he said.
Saifie said, “I am married for 20 years, and I have 3 children and am looking forward to being a grandfather in the near future.”
He is a long-time member of the Redlands Family YMCA, Friends of Smiley Library and he served as board member and elected division governor for Toastmasters.
Matthew Rutledge said he would make a good civic leader in Apple Valley because his approach to governance goes beyond the staid confines of the existing political establishment.
Rutledge is running against incumbent Councilman Curt Emick in District 4.
“I am running for town council because I would like to make a difference in my community,” said Rutledge. “I want to make things in my community more accessible for those in wheelchairs, senior citizens, and people who ride bikes. I also want my constituents to know that their concerns and voices are truly heard, that their concerns won’t be ‘swept under the rug.’”
Rutledge said, “I believe I am qualified to hold the position of town councilman because I have the ability to put myself on the front lines. I would fight for the rights of my constituents but also ensure that issues in town are handled correctly and properly the first time when the issue is brought to our attention. I also believe I’m qualified because I’m always up for a challenge, and I’m not one to back down. I’m willing to go above and beyond when situations require it, and when I tell you I’m going to do something, I’m going to follow through on my word.”
Rutledge said, “I believe what distinguishes me from my opponent is that I am younger. I am 28 years old. I have many new ideas for improvement in the town. I’m willing to meet one-on-one with my constituents, and I’m willing to follow up on concerns that are shared with me. I also will not shut out someone’s opinions about town issues, even if they conflict with my own. I’m always willing and ready to hear from my constituents.”
In sizing up the challenges Apple Valley must come to terms with, Rutledge said, “The major issues that I believe that the town faces are road repair, crime, accessibility and traffic safety. I believe these issues should be redressed by looking into their main causes, starting appropriate studies to find ways to address problems brought to my attention, and ensuring that my constituents are satisfied with the final results.”
He said the town can defray the cost of the solutions he proposes using existing revenues and available money for specific purposes, which can be obtained by making successful grant and funding applications with the State of California and the federal government.
“I propose that the solutions will be covered out of community improvement grants, state funding, and if necessary out of the town budget but not until other resources have been exhausted,” he said.
Rutledge acknowledged, “I don’t currently possess government experience, but I have personally witnessed and experienced individuals fighting for civil rights and have attended many town council meetings.”
His lack of hands-on experience should not be seen as a detriment, he said, but an opportunity to embrace innovation and new ideas.
A resident of Apple Valley for seven years, Rutledge attended high school at Grace Academy PSP, a private study program. He studied at Victor Valley College and Cerritos College before attending UMass Global, formerly known as Brandman University, from which he obtained a BA in liberal arts. He was formerly employed as a special needs paraeducator, and is now seeking employment
“I am not currently married, nor do I have any children or grandchildren,” he said.
Rutledge said, “I am a person of high morals and values, and my constituents can feel free to reach out to me, regarding their concerns.”
For the first time in its 34-year history, the City of Hesperia will not conduct a city council race this election cycle.
No one emerged to challenge incumbent District 3 Councilman Cameron Gregg and incumbent District 4 Councilwoman Brigit Benington, who were due to stand for reelection this year.
This year as well, the four-year term of District 2 Councilman Bill Holland is set to expire in December. Because of redistricting that took place last year based on the 2020 Census, the borders for District 1 were moved to include Holland’s residence. In Hesperia, elections are sequenced so that districts 1 and 5 hold their races in years corresponding with presidential elections and voters in districts 2, 3 and 4 select their council representative in conjunction with the gubernatorial general election.
In this way, Holland is to be redistricted out of office. His only options at present are to bring his political career in Hesperia to a pause or a close and/or wait until 2024 to run in District 1, where currently Rebekah Swanson holds the council position. Holland, who was first elected to the council in 2010, could not have opposed her in 2020, as the configuration of the city electoral map at that time yet had him living in District 2.
Perhaps out of apathy or perhaps because a significant number of the city’s residents who might have contemplated running for the District 2 council post incorrectly but understandably believed that the position was held by an entrenched incumbent, no one surfaced to run for the District 2 slot on the council this year. Continue reading