Six out of eight city council candidates speak at chamber of commerce monthly luncheon
October 18, 2010 5:02 PM
Beau Yarbrough

HESPERIA • For city council candidates eager to prove their business-friendly credentials, the monthly Hesperia Chamber of Commerce luncheon was very friendly territory.

Six of the eight candidates running for the three open seats on the Hesperia City Council attended the candidates’ forum, held at the Courtyard by Marriott Monday.

Candidates Russ Blewett, Dennis De Hay, Bill Holland, David Holman, Don Parkman and Mayor Thurston “Smitty” Smith fielded questions relating to business climate in the city before a crowd of chamber members. (Candidates James Madison Blocker and Sean Wright had to work but submitted written statements posted at the chamber’s website,

Wright is the only candidate to actively oppose the city’s policy of financial incentives to attract businesses to Hesperia, and in his absence, the candidates were more or less in agreement on what they thought the relationship between business and the city of Hesperia should be.

“I have a long history as a pro-business, pro-development, pro-growth councilman,” said Holman.

“I would want more of the city councilmen be actively involved in the chamber of commerce,” and working with new businesses, said Holland.

“I bring business sense to the table,” said Parkman. The city should “work hand-in-hand with the chamber.”

“We have to grow the economy,” said Blewett. “We have to solve the problems that are causing the problems.”

“I think we’ve got to be more friendly and change some of the rules and not bother businesses with fiddly things,” said De Hay.

The only incumbent in the race, Smith rebutted some accusations that the city wasn’t business-friendly enough as-is, pointing to “numerous incentive programs” for businesses and that Hesperia is the only municipality open five days a week, despite economic pressures that have caused neighboring cities and towns to cut back. He also urged chamber members to support Prop. 22, which would restrict the state legislature’s ability to borrow or take property taxes, which normally fund local governments.

“If we can keep the state out of our pocket, that’s going to be key,” said Smith.

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