Time for a New Chapter in Beaumont

I believe I can help lead the city in a new positive direction. This is why I am excited to announce my candidacy for the Beaumont City Council.

Marti, my wife, and I have been married for 27 years. We have two children, our daughter Caitlin will be going in to the 7th grade at Mesa View Middle School and our son Riley will be a fourth grader at Brookside Elementary next year. Riley and I are active members of the Beaumont Cub Scout Pack 322 and both my kids are members of the Pass Area Stingrays swim team where Marti and I volunteer. We love living in Beaumont.

I earned a degree in economics from UCLA and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Redlands. I have worked for GIS Software Developer Esri in Redlands for 16 years. I am employed as a GIS Business Analyst, developing web applications for sales analysis. Before Esri, I spent five years managing restaurants, five years in real estate financing and two years selling securities and estate planning.

Over the last 7 years I have attended or listened to almost every Beaumont Unified School Board meeting, writing about what I have witnessed. I’ve done more than just complain and criticize. I have offered my time and resources to improve educational opportunities for Beaumont’s children. I have served on the district’s Budget Review Committee and Technology Planning Committee. I also served on the Brookside Elementary School Site Council and PTA executive board, gaining a perspective on the BUSD board’s influence and effectiveness at different levels.

Two years ago, when I became aware of the financial issues facing our city, I turned my focus to how our City Council and City Administration are addressing the challenges facing them. I have not been happy with what I have witnessed. The city is using deficit spending to balance their budgets and recently has been hit with a $43 million dollar judgment. The interest accrued at an annual rate of 7%, the maximum allowed by the judge, on this amount means our city owes our neighbors more than $60 million. Our council, following the advice from the same City Manager and City Attorney whose actions, or failure to act, created this crisis, have decided to appeal the decision generating more legal fees and two or three more years of accrued interest.

We have to end the “go it alone” strategy promoted by our City Manager and City Attorney that our council has been following for the last 20 years. We need a new strategy.

I believe my educational background and work experience give me an advantage in addressing the serious financial issues facing our city and positions me best to develop a strategy to move our city in to a new chapter.

We need to replace an administration that talks about everyone paying their fair share and then puts our city’s resources at risk in order to enable developers to avoid paying their fair share.

We need to replace council members whose first response to the $43 million judgment, a result of the failed growth strategy of their administration, is to ramp up the Mello-Roos financing, creating new areas in order to have future Beaumont residents pay for our mistakes.

We need to work to attract developers that will not only grow our city’s population but will provide the services and goods needed to support the existing 40,000 residents. We should only work with developers who recognize the promise of the future in Beaumont and are willing to invest upfront in our city and our communities.

We should focus on improving the I-10 interchanges we all use daily, Oak Valley and Cherry Valley, before going it alone on an $80 million interchange on Highway 60; an interchange specifically developed for logistics which will increase truck traffic on our local streets.

Once our financial house is back in order, I will work to improve our technical infrastructure, providing the bandwidth to attract the high tech firms and the quality jobs and careers. At the same time we need to work on bringing the higher educational programs to Beaumont that will prepare our children to qualify for these and other skilled jobs.

Our community is lacking sufficient health care services for our citizens, forcing many of our seniors to drive long distances for the medical care they need. Improving the local health services industry will be a focus of my work on the city council.

I will work to bring more transparency to the business decisions and activities of our City staff. Without a sufficient level of transparency, citizens are unable to effectively do their job and vote for the right candidates and hold them accountable when they fail to perform the oversight of their administration and good stewardship of our resources.

I want to develop a path to build a city we can all be proud of ten to twenty years from now. A city that treats all their citizens with respect and dignity. A city that works well with, and is respected by, our neighbors. A city where our children and grandchildren will want to remain, or return, to raise their families.

If you want to know in detail where I stand on any of the issues facing our city or our school board, all you have to do is visit my site, OurFocusOurKids.com, enter a key word in the search field and you are likely to find I have written in detail about my positions. If you are still unable to determine my position from the hundreds of posts I’ve made over the years, send me an email to OurFocusOurKids@gmail.com.

Let me close by telling you of an experience I had when I was canvassing neighborhoods two years ago while running for the Beaumont Unified School Board. I knocked on the door of Councilman Brian DeForge and, after he politely told me he would be voting for two of my opponents, he told me he hoped I would run a clean campaign. I did.

I hope all the candidates, incumbents and challengers running for office this year in Beaumont, will follow Mr. DeForge’s sound advice. I will not hesitate to criticize the actions and records of my opponents but I won’t abandon my integrity to make personal insults and character assassinations. This may work well for others but it’s not how my parents raised me. I will earn your respect and, with it your vote.