Chantal M. Lovell, Staff Writer
Posted: 08/22/2010 09:49:16 PM PDT

With eight in the running, the Redlands City Council race could prove to be an expensive one, but not if all follow the lead of one candidate.

Bob Gardner, Cal State San Bernardino vice president for administration and finance, challenged his fellow candidates last week to adhere to a voluntary fundraising and spending limit.

“This cap would be $20,000 and would cover all campaign expenses excluding filing and ballot statement fees,” Gardner, who is currently out of town, wrote in an e-mail. “This cap would cover expenses paid by independent committees as well.”

Gardner said he came up with the idea after looking at the city budget and realizing he and others should practice the same fiscal responsibility in their campaigns as they promise to do for the city if elected.

“How can any of us say we should control Redlands city spending if we are not willing to control spending in our own campaigns,” Gardner wrote. “It provides an excellent example to Redlands voters and others that campaigns should be about candidates’ skills, experience, and leadership qualifications, not how much money can be raised and spent.”

In 2007, five of the seven council candidates spent more than $20,000 on their campaigns. Gilberto Gil spent more than $66,000 but was beat by No. 2 and 3 spenders Pete Aguilar and Jerry Bean, who spent more than $64,000 and $48,000, respectively.

Candidate Mike Layne, a resource development consultant, said during
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this economy, a spending cap makes sense.

“I think it’s bad taste to raise that kind of money on a city council race when you’re laying off tons of people and making significant cuts to public safety departments,” Layne said.

Layne said he will agree to the spending limit if the other candidates do, but said if he is able to raise substantial money during the campaign he needs to be allowed to spend it.

Retired pharmaceutical sales manager Doug Pew, Jr. said he will also abide by the limit if everyone else does.

“(A limit) would show people we’re holding back on our spending and working on a limited budget,” Pew said.

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