Having Shaped Much Of RC’s Development Over 22 Years As Its Planner, Henderson Vying For Council

Lawrence Henderson, who in his professional capacity as the lead planner in Rancho Cucamonga played a behind-the-scenes role in shaping the city’s present character, a decade after retiring is now seeking to take on a more prominent leadership position by running to fill the gap on the city council that came about with the unanticipated death of Sam Spagnolo in May.
Henderson, along with Floyd Clark, Mary Hannah, Erick Jimenez, Ashley Stickler and Rose Stephens Olmsted, is vying to complete the last two years of the term representing the city’s District 1 to which Spagnolo was elected in 2020.
“I am running for city council to provide active representation for the citizens in District 1, assure fiscal equity for all city areas regardless of specialized funding sources and ensure proper maintenance and development of city parks and trails,” Henderson said.He is qualified to hold the position of city councilman by virtue of his training and more than a third of a century of professional experience relating to planning for how development is to be coordinated at the municipal level.
“My education in urban planning and architecture and 34-year work experience in government service has given me an inside view of how a city works,” he said. “The over 30 years of volunteering with groups such as Alta Loma Little League, the Etiwanda Historical Society, the Alta Loma Riding Club, the Sam and Alfreda Maloof Foundation and my 27 years as a San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department volunteer has allowed me to work with the Rancho Cucamonga Community.”
He is set apart from the other candidates largely on the basis of his understanding of how local government works and his hands-on experience in Rancho Cucamonga, Henderson said.
“What distinguishes me from my opponents is my experience working in city government,” he said. I have worked for the City of Rancho Cucamonga for 24 years as principal planner in the planning department. My past planning activities involved long range planning, current planning, historic preservation, trails and open space. During that time, I dealt with budget preparation and management for the department. I understand this city’s government structures, processes and procedures.”
Henderson said, “The major issues facing our city are the erosion of ‘home rule,’ greater challenges to budget management and the retention of open space and trail access.”
Elaborating, he said, “A general law city, such as Rancho Cucamonga, should have the power to make its own policies and laws to fit its unique situations. State mandates often do not recognize these situations and create a ‘one size fits all’ type of solution to area problems. Our voters should have a greater say in the laws enacted within our city.”
Henderson said, “Creating a balanced budget that includes fiscal equity for all city areas has become more challenging. Taxation measures have not been favorable with the voters of District 1. To turn this around, funding priorities should be established by the citizens themselves. Automatic increases should be avoided, relying more on better communication with the citizens. That, and a steady effort to restore trust in city government.”
In addition, Henderson said, “Open space and our trail system need to be seen as finite resources that give our community great value. Any development in the city should seek to include or enhance this resource as an important amenity to the community. Red Hill Park has had improvements made to it recently but Heritage Park is in need of infrastructure repair and maintenance. Both parks are used by the entire city as well as people outside our borders. We should strive to keep them in good condition not only for our enjoyment but for our safety as well.”
To pay for the solutions and innovations he envisages, Henderson said, “I propose that the city apply for and use federal, state or private grants when funds are required. I advocate living within our means. No new taxes.”
Emphasizing his depth of experience relating to government, Henderson said, “Before my employment with the City of Rancho Cucamonga, I worked for the cities of Oceanside, Fullerton and Fontana. Each city had their own philosophy and goals, giving me a chance to develop skills and have experiences that were beneficial to my understanding of city government.”
Henderson and his family have lived in Rancho Cucamonga for 33 years.
A graduate of Mar Vista High School in Imperial Beach in San Diego County, Henderson graduated from California Polytechnic University, Pomona, with a Bachelor of Science degree in urban planning. He retired from the city of Rancho Cucamonga in 2012.
Henderson has been married, he said, “happily” for 44 years. He and his wife have three children and two grandchildren.
Henderson said, “I believe in fair and honest government with citizen involvement. I have a great respect for volunteers. They are the glue that makes a city a community. I encourage everyone to participate in their city in some volunteer capacity. We all have talents that are worthwhile and needed. I appreciate you giving me this opportunity to connect with your readers. If any of them are in District 1, I ask that they consider voting for me on November 8.”

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