Here Are the City Council Candidates for the November 8 Elections
8/15/16 – In the upcoming November 8 elections, voters will choose one council member each for Districts 1, 2 and 3. The emerging election scenario is beginning to reflect the profound changes caused by dividing the City into 5 electoral Districts.
3 DISTRICTS, TWO UNOPPOSED CANDIDATES, AND A SUN LAKES INCUMBENT RACE
On August 12 the qualification period for Council candidates ended. District 1 and 2 have only one qualified candidate each, while in District 3 two incumbents are running for the same seat.
DANIELA ANDRADE WILL BE THE COUNCIL MEMBER FOR DISTRICT 1
District 1 resident Daniela Andrade is the wife of Banning School Board Trustee Alfredo Andrade.
She is the only candidate on the ballot for District 1. Running unopposed, Daniela Andrade will be the elected council member for this District.
INCUMBENT COUNCIL MEMBER DON PETERSON WILL BE THE COUNCIL MEMBER FOR DISTRICT 2
District 2 has only one qualified candidate as well : incumbent one term council member Don Peterson will be the only candidate on the ballot.
Running unopposed, Peterson is therefore assured another 4 years on the council.
INCUMBENTS ART WELCH AND ED MILLER COMPETE FOR SUN LAKES – DISTRICT 3
Sun Lakes, District 3, will have a contested race between two incumbents : Mayor Art Welch and council member Ed Miller will be competing for this District’s seat.
DISTRICT 3 CANDIDATE ART WELCH
As Banning’s Mayor, Art Welch has been in and out of Banning Politics for well over a decade ; he must be considered a professional politician. Particularly during his latest term, Welch has been the subject of substantial controversies due to a variety of issues:
- Mayor Welch’s use of profanity during a recent City Council meeting is well documented (view article here and listen to recording)
- Welch has shown contempt for members of the public, stating that it is “good” that they are “all leaving” the Council meeting (see story and listen to recording)
- Welch’s alleged alcoholism earned him the nickname Art “Vodka-tonic” Welch (see article here). A City Planning Commissioner who publicly questioned Welch’s sobriety was subjected to harsh retaliation and immediately fired from his position.
- Welch has shown to be incapable of making even simple percentage calculations (watch him do the math in this video)
- Welch played a major role in trying to sweep the Banning Chamber utility scandal under the rug – until a Grand Jury finally forced the council to collect payment of the outstanding debt (more in this article).
There are many more issues haunting Welch : for example, Welch bears full responsibility for the “Banning Business Center” disaster, which today has turned into a deteriorated homeless encampment of epic proportions, located on 8th and Lincoln.
Ten years ago, Welch voted to fund the project with $500,000 in taxpayer money, without demanding any checks and balances to ensure that the project would be completed – and it never was.
If Welch had not authorized taxpayer funding for this ill fated project in the first place, chances are Banning would not be impacted by the huge homeless disaster that followed.
But the controversy does not end there. Welch is also responsible for the controversial decision to bring the Probation Department to Banning’s premier downtown retail location, “Paseo San Gorgonio”, wasting taxpayer funds of over $ 4,000,000 in the process.
Welch has also been accused of dismantling Banning’s rural character, by overriding Banning’s General Plan and approving tiny, “postage stamp size” residential lots as small as 7,000 square feet. Welch is on record of receiving campaign donations from associates of the project’s developer (more in this story).
DISTRICT 3 CANDIDATE ED MILLER
Elected for the very first time in 2012, Ed Miller is a one term council member.
A retired engineer, Miller is known for his accountability and for questioning contracts submitted to the council for approval. In one instance, which involved the building of a City warehouse, taxpayers saved a 7-figure dollar amount due to Miller demanding the re-bidding of the project.
Miller enjoys great popularity with his constituents, mainly because he listens, but also because he does not carry around the “good-ole-boy” image of his opponent, Art Welch.
Miller’s opposition to the downtown probation project is well documented, as is his profound dislike for those small 7,000 sqft. lots, which were recently pushed through by Art Welch, George Moyer and Debbie Franklin. As it turned out, all three of them received money from sources that trace back to the project’s developer.
Unlike his opponent, Ed Miller is a candidate that is 100% free from scandals or accusations of wrongdoing.
The future council members for Districts 1 and 2 are already in place.
Sun Lakes voters (District 3) will for once have a real choice in this election: Art Welch and Ed Miller are not interchangeable – they could not be more different. Welch stands for the corrupt status quo Banning is so famous for, while Miller is a force of reason and accountability, a force that has proven it will not be compromised.
For anyone paying attention to what is going on in City Hall, the choice should be clear.
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