Josh Dulaney, Staff Writer
Posted: 09/20/2011 10:13:19 PM PDT

SAN BERNARDINO – Three incumbents on the City Council faced their challengers in the Nov. 8 election during a candidate forum Tuesday night at City Hall.

John Valdivia, a pharmaceutical representative, is taking on 3rd Ward Councilman Tobin Brinker, while the 5th Ward race pits Councilman Chas Kelley against Larry A. Lee, founding pastor of the Gathering Place Church.

In the 7th Ward, Councilwoman Wendy McCammack is defending her seat against Jim Mulvihill, an urban planner and professor emeritus of geography and environmental studies at Cal State San Bernardino.

The roughly 90-minute forum focused on issues such as attracting businesses to San Bernardino and the city’s relationship with the San Bernardino International Airport.

Each candidate was given two minutes for an opening statement, two minutes to answer each question and two minutes for a closing statement.

The Governmental Affairs Division of the San Bernardino Area Chamber of Commerce hosted the forum, with board member Brad White acting as moderator.

Concerning how to attract new businesses, creating a safe and clean city was cited as a top priority among the candidates, with Valdivia adding that regulations and excessive fees need to be reduced.

Mulvihill mentioned business incentives for job training and employment.

On how to get businesses to comply with city codes, McCammack said the city needs to enforce the laws on the books, while Lee suggested better communication between city departments, including fire and police, will help gain compliance.

Brinker said “good, new businesses” will “out-compete” bad ones.

Kelley cited his opposition to low-income housing projects, saying family-friendly neighborhoods attract the types of good businesses for which the city is looking.

Candidates spoke about the need for more transparency at the airport.

Lee said the city needs to build better relationships at the airport, while Kelley said the airport’s spending authority ought to be reduced.

Brinker said the airport has the potential to provide benefits in the future, but the city needs to balance its budget and reform employee pensions.

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