Our interview series with the candidates for Mayor of San Bernardino continues here with this online Question and Answer session with Rick Avila.
Mr. Avila took the time to discuss with us his views on the city’s financial problems, bringing businesses and jobs to San Bernardino, and making our community safer.
Now, here’s our exclusive interview with Rick Avila:
Mr. Avila thank you for your time today.
What do you believe the top priorities of the City of San Bernardino should be?
Because of San Bernardino’s unique demographics, sprawling size and low income Safety is the primary concern. Without an adequate number of first responders and their supporting staff our City cannot maintain it residents and businesses.
If you are elected mayor, the City of San Bernardino will exit bankruptcy during your term in office. What policies need to be changed or implemented to ensure that a financial crisis like this does not happen to our City again?
It is most important for the City to decrease debt and maintain its businesses and residents. We have been on a downward spiral for several years.
A combination of financial responsibility and a safe and secure environment will encourage the residents to stay and business to invest in our city. We have a lot of positives. This combination will work for us as it does for other California Cities.
In addition to the City’s financial problems, San Bernardino has an extremely high number of jobless residents. What do you believe the City should be doing to help residents find employment and bring jobs to San Bernardino?
There is no quick fix. It will take time. I am the prime Contractor on Kendall Plaza, a large retail complex in the North End of San Bernardino currently providing hundreds of jobs.
I am directly employing over 100 individual employees over the course of my contract. The plaza of over 50 stores will attract and employ over 200 permanent jobs. (Please drop in and see me at the project site 2999 W. Kendall Dr. San Bernardino) This is the type of project that will impact unemployment in our City.
The Developer gambled with this project through the recession with a belief that the foundation of San Bernardino although weakened will flourish. We have a great geography, a proud University, a good junior college, admirable weather and most of all competent first responders that I find our citizens respect.
It is important for our politicians to stop bickering and provide the confidence our people and businesses need.
Public safety is also a major concern in San Bernardino. Unforatunately both the San Bernardino Fire and Police Departments have been hit hard with cuts and loss of staffing. What types of public safety complaints are you hearing from the voters?
Frankly the comments I hear reinforce my belief that San Bernardino has a good law enforcement community.
Let’s face the fact that we have gone through a great recession. We were hit hard and our City has had to cope with financial hardship and a lot of desperate individuals – some just plain criminals.
I think our leadership should ride-along from time to time with Police and Fire to see firsthand the work of our public employees. All of the service exacts a toll on the first responders and their families. With every call a little something is left that cannot be recovered.
What do you think the City of San Bernardino should be doing to improve safety for its residents and families?
It is not what I think. It is what the collaborative effort of the agencies charged with Public Safety thinks. Safety is a process of concerned citizens, politicians, first responders and traffic engineers, etc. It is hard work.
The city council should be prepared to spend long hours engaging smart hard working employees to find solutions. It must be done there are no alternatives.
My family goes back over 100 years in this valley and I relish the opportunity to help find solutions to our basic and obvious problems.
Staying with the issue of public safety, in 2006 the voters approved a 10 year tax by passing Measure Z. Many residents and city employees are questioning whether Measure Z funds are being used as demanded by the voters when they also approved Measure YY, directing the Mayor and City Council to use this tax revenue to enhance public safety. Do you believe these funds are being used in accordance with the voters intent?
I do not know the answer to the status of Measure Z and Measure YY. However the funds should be used as the voters intended. When I am elected I will direct the City staff to immediately contact the stakeholders (public safety interests) and City Attorney to determine if the Measure Z and Measure YY funds are being used pursuant to the law.
Is there anything else you would like to say to our readers?
Yes, let’s go to work and I encourage everyone to see me and my employees working building one of the largest Commercial Developments in decades. It can be done and sincerely thank you our first responders for your service to the city.
End of Interview
All of the candidate’s seeking to serve San Bernardino as our next Mayor have been asked to participate in our online interview series. Candidate’s answers to our interview questions are published in their entirety and in the order they are received.
At this point only Rick Avila, Draymond Crawford, and Chas Kelley have submitted their answers to these important questions about the future of San Bernardino. The remaining candidates have until 5pm on September 3rd to participate in the interview process.