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2018 Needles City Council candidates answer questions

October 13, 2018

NEEDLES — Five candidates compete for three seats on Needles City Council in the Nov. 6 general election: incumbent Councilor Louise Evans and challengers Barbara Beard, Zachary Longacre, Edward Paget M.D. and Timothy Terral. Term limits forbid Paget, the current mayor, to run for that seat again in this election. Jeff Williams, a former mayor and current councilor, is running unopposed for the mayor’s seat.

The candidates were asked:

• Why do you want to run for council, what experiences do you have that will help you and, if elected, what are three things that you would like to accomplish?

• It’s often said that businesses have a perspective that California is too expensive. What could you say to change that perspective to interest businesses like a grocery store?

• The preservation of a Needles Downtown has been a topic of discussion. What are your thoughts on that issue?

• What are your thoughts on the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s department contract?

• How approachable are you going to be by your constituents? The press?

Candidates are listed in alphabetical order.

Barbara Beard

I can communicate well with the council, city manager and attorney and can add a different perspective. I have 36 years experience as an attorney so I can get to the heart of the issue. I would like to get new housing, create a downtown area for new businesses, expand on the idea of Needles being a destination resort.

A grocery store would open in a city of 10,000 people so if the city puts housing as a priority, whether buying or rental, the businesses will follow that demand.

It is important to designate and design landscape for an attractive downtown area and we can utilize both old and new buildings and businesses. I encourage people to voice their opinions for the downtown area including youth.

I voiced my opinion on this issue (sheriff contract) quite thoroughly at the council forum. The city council candidate forum story is on the Oct. 3 issue of the Needles Desert Star.

I will be very approachable to both my constituents and the press. (To contact Beard call toll-free 877-711-6429 or through email at listentolaw@gmail.com.) My goal is to encourage more people to make their voices, opinions and needs be heard at the council meetings.

I believe there’s a lack of transparency in the agendas which may be one reason people don’t get up to voice their thoughts. We’ve tried to get our road repaired north along Needles Highway for 15 years or more and we keep hearing promises but nothing happens. We lost our courthouse five years ago and if our people need access to justice it’s burdensome to go all the way to Joshua Tree. This is something that we may be able to accomplish and more as a city and city council.

Louise Evans

I’m running again because I want to see citizens protected and not get hit with additional increases to their bills. The things that I would like to accomplish are (1) finishing the Riverwalk project. (2) Putting the Needles Chamber of Commerce in the El Garces so they can promote our city and Route 66. (3) There’s a housing development that has had interest in the city and I would like to help make it possible for them to come in.

I’m hoping John Cox gets into office (running for California Governor) and makes an impression on California’s legislature to make it more of a friendly atmosphere for businesses. If Cox wins we might be able to get away from prevailing wage and we can get more for our buck.

I’m all about the history of Needles and having the township preserved.

I used to work for the sheriff’s department so I’m partial on the issue but I do want the sheriff’s department more involved with the community and showing respect to our town. So I’m in favor of a local police department if that’s the way we need to go.

I will be very approachable to my constituents and to the press. (To contact Evans call 760-326-3630.)

Zachery Longacre

I have no political experience but I’m running because I’m a concerned citizen and I think I can add a new perspective to the council. I would like to see our infrastructure (improved). I would listen to the public and work for them and I would like to see new businesses in town.

Unfortunately, we don’t have the numbers to entice a grocery store but if we get enough money and people to come here we can start enticing new businesses.

As soon as they find what is to designate as a downtown I’m all for doing it right, with trees and making it look nice. Right now they’re talking about having an area as a downtown that has almost no businesses in it. I do like the idea of not putting any marijuana businesses on the main street, Broadway, if that’s going to be downtown.

My thoughts are that we need to renegotiate the contract and if need be to get our own police force like it was when I was a child in this town. I feel like the sheriffs don’t know the community that they work in and I think we’re spending too much money for the amount of policing we’re getting in the city.

I will be very approachable to my constituents and the press. (To contact Longacre call 760-903-3108.)

I’m not a politician I’m just a citizen who would like to invoke some change and I encourage people to apply for committees or run for city council because this city needs all of us.

Edward Paget, M.D.

I’m running because I want to continue to serve and improve our community. There are projects that are under way that I would see completed and those include Needles Highway, improving sidewalks and streets, and completing our general plan in the city.

I think the fact that Needles has had a small increase in population (means) if we stay the course then a grocery store is possible. We have lowered our impact fees and are working with the school to lower theirs so we can be more businesses friendly. We have made some progress working with the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC).

I do think that the history of Needles needs to be preserved. I would like to see an area designated as old town Needles.

The safety of the citizens is of the upmost importance despite the high cost of the sheriff’s contract. I think they do a good job.

I will be very approachable to my constituents and the press. (To contact Paget call 760-326-0083.)

It’s been a pleasure serving as the city’s mayor for eight years and throughout those years I have made contacts throughout Southern California to promote Needles the best that I can.

Timothy Terral

I’m running because I love this town and I can bring in a new perspective. I have run businesses and know how to handle budgets and locate the bottom line. I would like to see a grocery store and other retailers in town, get our infrastructure fixed and get our roads fixed.

To get businesses here all that is stopping us is demographics because it’s expensive to do business anywhere. It will also help if we can find ways to get more people to stop in our town that are traveling on the freeway. I do like what code enforcement is doing in cleanup but we need to clean up the whole town not just focus on one area.

I’m all for a downtown area but not sure where downtown should be located. For example, there are cities that have an old town and have where the new downtown is located. Once we get a downtown area located I’m not against making it look good and cleaning it up.

I do think that we need law enforcement to be more involved with our community, whether that be with the current sheriff department or with our own city police department. If the numbers make sense for us having our own police department then I’m all for it.

I’m very approachable and I’m willing to talk to anybody. (Terral can be contacted at timterral4citycouncil@yahoo.com.)

The city has lots of issues that need to be addressed but having a dedicated city council that has the best interest of the city and the citizens (at heart) would be the best way to resolve the issues.

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