Youth 4 Ruth in San Dimas (San Gabriel Valley Tribune link): Unfortunately, you won’t be reading much about the San Dimas mayor race. It might have something to do with the national newspaper reporter shortage we’re suffering through. While different from the baby formula shortage, it will leave you hungry. So let’s crack open some news and shake it up.
San Dimas’ reputation is that it’s a nice-enough place. But when it comes to innovative new ideas? Not so much. The same pool of well-vested and mature dudes has been running the place for decades. It’s that kind of club where all the members have known each other for a long time, and don’t feel any need to change.
Ruth Luevand, who is running for mayor against Emmett the Venerable, is an honors chemistry instructor at San Dimas High School, and mom to five boys. She is enormously popular with students, and gets deserved credit for her success. The “Youth 4 Ruth” phenomenon is happening, which explains the earnest door-knocking students handing out campaign flyers. That also includes parents, who see in Ruth the fresh outlook San Dimas has long needed.
Luevand also serves as treasurer for Mt. San Antonio College. She has considerable involvement with budgets that extend out for years. At the recent candidate forum, the emerging debt problem in San Dimas was raised. This is in a town that never had debt before. Here Ruth explains how things went south:
“Next year San Dimas is expected to see a rise in costs from staff retirement pensions, the Sheriff’s Department, and maintaining roads and buildings … What jumps out is San Dimas has about $15 million in unfunded CalPERS pension obligations, plus $8 million in deferred road and maintenance costs. Tax revenue is flat because while inflation is running at about 7%, property taxes increase 1% a year.”
Throw in some aging bond debt obligations and you could see San Dimas heading for financial woes similar to other SGV cities. You can’t just sweep that under the City Hall carpeting, either. It might also cost San Dimas taxpayers as much as $23 million to build a Gold Line parking facility. Metro is methodically laying tracks, yet little is being done to account for people who won’t be taking any Ubers to the train.
The only remotely monetary solutions spoken of by Badar’s campaign have to do with a Traffic Motor Deputy program, and a “FLOCK Safety System,” both actually products of Sacramento. Emmett shouldn’t be taking any undeserved credit.
At that candidate forum, a question about what to do about the homeless problem came up. Living in the shadow of Los Angeles where the catastrophe is medieval, that concern is understandable. However, it is important to remember the homeless count in San Dimas is just 15 individuals. Which makes Luevand’s idea of collaborating with similar neighboring cities financially savvy.
One puzzling homeless solution Badar pushed recently is removing bus benches, something that is not likely to be popular with cleaning ladies and other low-wage workers.
On Emmett Badar’s campaign postcard it states, “Supported our citizen soldiers by providing housing to our National Guard during civil unrest.” While nobody I know recalls any civil unrest in San Dimas, maybe he is referring to 1992’s Rodney King riots?
That was the last instance of civil unrest in L.A. County. Thirty years ago.
Mod: This column appears in this morning's edition of the Pasadena Star News, Whittier Daily News plus the hometown paper of San Dimas, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.