By Sandra Emerson, Redlands Daily Facts
Posted: 01/21/15, 12:01 AM PST | Updated: 1 min ago

REDLANDS >> John James is the newest member of the City Council.

James, 68, was appointed Tuesday evening by the council out of a pool of 13 applicants to complete the two years left in former Mayor Pete Aguilar’s term. His first meeting will be Feb. 3.

“Obviously, there are a lot of things I’m going to do. I plan on being very, very active on the council,” James said Wednesday.

James, a Redlands graduate, has lived most of his life in Redlands. He has served in the Redlands Chamber of Commerce and on several city committees. He served two full terms on the Planning Commission. He founded GEM Power LLC in Redlands in 2000.

“I want to extend my congratulations to Mr. James who is someone I’ve known for many, many years and had the privilege of serving on the Planning Commission with,” said Mayor Paul Foster after James’ appointment. “I look forward to his contribution to this team.”

The council voted in December voted to fill Aguilar’s seat via appointment instead of a special election.

Aguilar resigned in December to take a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he represents California’s 31st Congressional District.

Over the course of Tuesday’s four-hour meeting, each council applicant gave a three-minute presentation. The council had up to 10 minutes to ask the applicants questions. The applicants had two minutes to give closing statements. The council then held three rounds of nominations before ultimately selecting James.

The other applicants were: Judith Ashton, Robert Dawes, Jane Dreher, Luis Estrada, Steven Frasher, Mike Layne, Ensen Mason, Michael Reiter, Mike Saifie, Colton Smith, Terry Vines and Renea Wickman.

Council members asked the applicants about their ideas to address homelessness in the city, an adequate amount of reserves, whether they plan to run for election in 2016, infrastructure priorities, Measure U, economic development and what types of transit-oriented development is appropriate in downtown to support with the Redlands passenger rail.

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