There are three seats up for grabs in the upcoming election for Yucaipa City Council. Since there are only five councilmembers in total, this constitutes a majority. It takes only three votes to pass any item. The thought of three brand new councilmembers scares me.

I served as a planning commissioner for five years and was then elected to city council for eight years. I made some decisions out of inexperience that I now regret. Fortunately, my vote was always balanced by the votes of the more experienced members of the Commission or the Council and nothing catastrophic was ever implemented.

I carefully studied each and every item prior to my vote, but I didn’t have the history to draw upon initially to make wise decisions.

Will new councilmembers understand the importance of the Development Impact Fees? What if a very persuasive speaker talks them into waiving important fees? All it takes is three votes …

Do they understand the importance of our General Plan?It will only take three votes to change it. How about CAL FIRE? We all saw the fantastic job they did recently. It only takes three votes to replace them.

I think you understand my point. Dick Riddell needs to retain his seat in District 5 on the city council to ensure continuity. He’s the most experienced of all the Councilmembers we’ve ever had. He knows how to balance budgets, get grants, and how to protect our citizens. He guards our open space like a hawk.

Of all the elected officials that will be on the ballot, city council has the largest impact on our day-to-day lives. Please vote carefully. Don’t be tempted to vote for someone because of his or her gender, his or her job, or his or her choice of pet. Vote for the person who will keep Yucaipa headed in the right direction. Study their candidate statements available online. Send them an email and ask for their opinion.

You will surely come to the same conclusion I have reached: Dick Riddell is the most qualified candidate in District 5. Please give him your vote!

Diane Smith

Yucaipa

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