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Our Yucaipa, October 2014

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14 OUR YUCAIPA | OCTOBER 2014 By Pamela Emenger I had the pleasure of interviewing all four Yucaipa City Council candidates running for office this November. The two incumbents Councilman Greg Bogh and Mayor Pro Tem Tom Masner as well as David Avila, retired Battalion Chief for Cal Fire and Tom Powell, retired engineer for Cal Trans. I asked them all the same questions and their replies are printed below. I encourage all business owners and residents of Yucaipa to vote this election. Let's put the best, business friendly candidates in office who will work for you, the residents and the business owners of Yucaipa. This is just one way your chamber of commerce helps to educate and inform our members. 1. How important is it to you to be involved in your community? David Avila: It's very important to me. I was a public servant for over 32 years and now receive a public pension so this is my way of giving back to my community. I want to serve the people of Yucaipa. Greg Bogh: It's very important to be involved in my community. Tom Masner: It's really important. Tom Powell: It's very important. 2. How involved are you? Avila: I am very involved in my community. I am a member of the General Plan Advisory Committee, an Ambassador for the Yucaipa Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Yucaipa Historical Society, Vice President of the Past Pleasures Car Club, and a member of the Knights of Columbus. Early on I was involved in Yucaipa Valley Youth Soccer Association and the Boy Scouts. Bogh: I am involved with City Council, my kids' sports, Boy Scouts, and my church. Masner: I believe in working to get the deal done instead of running around to every event just to get my picture taken. I'm involved in the ICSC Conference trying to bring business to Yucaipa. If I'm re-elected I will work hard to be more involved. Powell: I have been involved with the Yucaipa Calimesa Democratic Club for three years. I used to be very involved and as a matter of fact, started the Historical Society in Crestline where I lived for over 30 years. I was also involved in the water company in Crestline and have campaigned for other candidates in the past. 3. How important is it to you to be involved in your chamber of commerce? Avila: It is very important to be involved in the Chamber of Commerce because it's important to have a vibrant business community. Small business is the economic backbone of the city. Bogh: It's important to have a good relationship with the chamber. The chamber advocates for business and the city wants to see businesses grow. Masner: I am disappointed in the chamber for not being more vocal at council meetings when it comes to bringing business into town and supporting growth. The chamber should be at the Planning Commission meetings and helping business every step of the way from starting a business to expanding a business. Every business in Yucaipa should be a member of the Chamber of Commerce and the Chamber of Commerce should be advocating for all businesses in town. Powell: The Chamber of Commerce does a wonderful job in the community, provides a lot of great events. The chamber and the city should work together. 4. What incentives do you think should be offered to entice business expansion and attraction to Yucaipa? Avila: I'm not in favor of offering incentives to big box stores. The people of Yucaipa wisely voted against having a Wal Mart here. We have the resources to build the Performing Arts Theater and I think we should get it done now. It will be the key to bring people and business to the uptown. Bogh: We need to create areas of opportunity to bring business to town. A good opportunity is the intersection at Oak Glen and the freeway. We need to expand on those opportunities with road improvements and encourage the property owners to get their land prepared for development. Masner: We should use every tool we have to bring major retailers to Yucaipa. We are ready to develop the freeway corridor, but I would not want to give up our sales tax to entice big retail stores to locate here. It would generate 10 million a year in sales tax revenue from big box stores, not counting the jobs that would be created and over 200 high-end homes would be built generating property tax for the city. If we don't get major retailers here we will end up having to eventually impose a utility tax on everyone just to keep the city's budget in the black. Powell: Business incentives should be offered to help current businesses expand and to entice new businesses to locate here. 5. Where do you stand on the Wilson Creek aka Casa Blanca development and rezoning? Avila: I am against rezoning, but I am not against development. I think general plan amendments should be used sparingly. It should be developed within the vision for the city. Bogh: The density should stay the same, there is no compromise on that. I'm not willing to say whether I am for it or against it. Masner: It should stay one acre lots if that's what the people want. It makes more sense to have half acre lots because it would mean more open space and the stream bed wouldn't be touched. Anyone that looks at the plan would understand that. I have 2/3 of an acre and it's difficult to keep up. I'm concerned people wouldn't keep the lots looking nice if they're kept at one acre. Powell: I do not have an opinion on the Casa Blanca project at this time. I need more information and education on the project. I have dealt with Cal Trans as a civil engineer and I have dealt with developers of this sort. 6. What do you offer over the other candidates running? Avila: I have always been held to a higher standard than most people because of my position with Cal Fire. Throughout my career I have worked for the public. As a Fire Marshall, I learned the importance of business. I have experience in writing grants, budgeting, management and I have the knowledge of how local city government works and how it works David Avila Greg Bogh Tom Masner Tom Powell Meet the Candidates for Yucaipa City Council

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