Choice by 20-year veteran could shake up LL council
Stephen Wall, Staff Writer
Posted: 02/21/2010 06:02:37 AM PST

LOMA LINDA – City voters head to the polls June 8, but it’s unclear if a longtime councilman will seek another term.

Floyd Petersen, who has served on the council for 20 years, won’t say whether he will run for another four-year term.

“I haven’t pulled papers yet,” Petersen said. “That’s the only comment I would make now.”

Councilman Robert Ziprick’s seat is also available. Ziprick, who was first elected in 1998, has taken out papers to start the nomination process. Verne Miller also has pulled papers to run.

Candidates have until March 12 to turn in papers, unless an incumbent does not file. In that case, the deadline is extended until March 17.

Ziprick and Petersen, who are allies on the council, have been criticized for their ties to developers, support of high-density housing and their position on red-light cameras.

Opponents say it’s time for them to go.

“Loma Linda is still in need of new leaders who will place voters first over developer interests,” said Councilman Ovidiu Popescu. “Mr. Petersen and Mr. Ziprick have been there too long and have lost touch with the residents.”

Ziprick said the council is in danger of moving too far in one direction. Popescu and Councilman Rhodes Rigsby generally favor a more moderate approach to development.

“In government, it’s not a bad thing to have more than one viewpoint represented,” said Ziprick, a 58-year-old attorney. “If everybody represents one viewpoint, is that healthy?”

Ziprick said he would like to continue his efforts to protect the South Hills. The council took a big step in that direction by voting in 2008 to purchase nearly 1,700 acres in the hills. Voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure that year to lock up the land as permanent open space.

Another area of contention is what to do with the roughly 300 acres of undeveloped land south of Redlands Boulevard and west of California Street.

Ziprick and Petersen supported two large mixed-use projects that died a year ago after a lengthy legal and political battle with a citizens’ group opposed to high-density housing.

Ziprick said there is still a need for housing if that’s what residents want.

“If homes are not desired, I would try to find clean industry that can go in an area like that,” he said.

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