Two challengers showing interest
Josh Dulaney, Staff Writer
Posted: 08/08/2011 08:39:45 PM PDT

SAN BERNARDINO – Few challengers thus far have pulled candidate papers to run for the four City Council seats up for election on Nov. 8.

With the filing deadline looming at 5 p.m. Friday for races in the 3rd, 5th, 6th and 7th wards, two challengers had pulled paperwork as of early Monday – one in Ward 3 and one in Ward 5.

Larry A. Lee, a 60-year-old pastor, has pulled papers to run against 5th Ward Councilman Chas Kelley.

Lee, who worked as a postman for 14 years, said 5th Ward residents share the citywide concern about crime and blight, and he believes mismanagement and divisive politics have kept developers from doing business in the city.

A key issue is partnering more with Cal State San Bernardino, he said.

“I think for me personally, I’d love to see the 5th Ward rally more around Cal State San Bernardino as a center of economic development and progress,” Lee said.

Kelley said that since his election in 2003, he has helped bring more than 550 new homes and six parks to the ward.

He also pointed to the fire station in Verdemont and the near completion of a community center there as major accomplishments during his time in office.

“Working together with our neighborhood association and the residents of the 5th Ward, we’ve been able to achieve a great deal since I first was elected,” Kelley said.

He said there has been no greater champion for Cal State San Bernardino, citing as examples his work to alleviate congestion and bring faculty housing to the area.

John Valdivia, a multimedia sales executive for The Sun, pulled papers to run against 3rd Ward Councilman Tobin Brinker.

“Frankly, we have a gap in leadership in the 3rd Ward,” Valdivia said.

Valdivia characterized Brinker as a passive leader.

He said he wants to bring auto dealerships back to the city and restore the business that has been lost on Hospitality Lane.

He opposes the SBX rapid- transit bus route that would connect the Cal State San Bernardino and Loma Linda University areas through the E Street Corridor, saying it will do more harm to the area economically.

“We need to protect that and build that back up,” Valdivia said.

Eliminating bureaucracy at City Hall is key to economic progress here, Valdivia said.

Brinker said he has worked to bring in jobs, including medical office jobs surrounding the 10 Freeway and at the relatively new Hilton Garden Inn on Waterman Avenue north of Hospitality Lane.

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