Redlands voters have some important choices to make on Election Day.
There are three seats on the Redlands City Council up for election on Nov. 8. Voters also will be asked to vote on two ballot measures, including one that would shape future development in the city.
Here’s a look at the candidates for City Council, based on public information and candidate statements filed with the San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters, as well as the two ballot measures:
Redlands City Council, District 1
Civil engineer Tom Berg pledges to bring a “balanced approach” to the office.
“Having been a registered civil engineer working on public works projects my entire career, I have always believed that public works are a public trust,” his candidate statement reads. “That translates to fiscal accountability, balanced growth of the city’s infrastructure, preservation of Redlands’ unique character, protection of small business rights, and active support for the health and safety of the city’s first responders and homeless.”
Cohen is a college lecturer in political science and ethics at Mt. San Jacinto Community College and Chaffey College.
In his statement, Cohen says he “strongly believes in restoring government power to the grassroots level and empowering people locally.” He “defends justice and equality for all people and believes them to be guiding principles that create a healthy and vibrant community,” his statement reads in part, and he “supports fiscally conservative views with socially pragmatic policies.”
Earlier this year, Cohen ran in the 50th Assembly District primary race, coming in a distant third behind Assembly Majority Leader Eloise Gómez Reyes, D-Colton, and Republican Sheela Stark.
Davis has been a member of the Redlands City Council since 2018 and is the director of the Women’s Resource Center at UC Riverside.
In her ballot statement, Davis touts her efforts to reduce homelessness, improve public safety response times, investing in public art and helping businesses recover from the pandemic.
“Redlands is an incredible community and serving on the city council has been the honor of a lifetime,” Davis wrote. “I’m proud of the progress we are making – especially as it relates to making city government more responsive – but plenty of work remains to be done.”
Hoder is a retired airline pilot. He made unsuccessful bids for council in 2016 and 2018.
“With major developments on the near horizon, we need enlightened leadership more than ever. It’s short-sighted vision that exchanged the vintage La Posada Hotel for the now-defunct Redlands Mall,” Hoder’s ballot statement reads in part.
“This time we need to get it right,” his statement continues, “not just for the present but for a vision that carries us into a prosperous and sustainable future. And leadership with a sensible long-range vision is my commitment to the people of Redlands.”
Redlands City Council, District 3
Saifie has unsuccessfully run for seats on the Redlands City Council in 2010, 2012, 2016 and 2018.
Saifie owns a number of restaurant franchises, including Del Taco and Hooters restaurants. According to his ballot statement, he employs 150 people.
“In the past, I have served as a senior administrator for the San Bernardino County in the Department of Public Works, managing multimillion dollar flood and infrastructure funds for cities and county,” his statement reads in part. “I have also held a senior administrative position in Riverside County for the Department of Public Social Services, addressing homelessness issues, public safety, senior citizens needs and children protective services.”
In Aug. 2020, Saifie was sued by two employees at his Moreno Valley Hooters restaurant. One employee accused Saifie of wrongfully terminating herand another accused him of groping and attempting to kiss her on multiple occasions. As of Oct. 31, a case management conference is scheduled for Nov. 15.
Saucedo is a retired employee of the city of Redlands. He currently serves on the Redlands Planning Commission.
“Keeping our communities safe, lowering cost for families, and preserving Redlands’ deep history are top priorities of mine,” his ballot statement reads in part.
“As your city councilman, you can count on me to prioritize public safety and support law enforcement, work with community members to combat homelessness, cut red tape for small businesses and provide them with more tools to succeed, be responsible for taxpayer money, (and) make smart choices about future growth and development,” Saucedo added.
Redlands City Council, District 5
Barich, a lifelong resident who was first elected in 2014, is running for a third term in office. He runs his own insurance agency in downtown Redlands.
Barich moves from District 3 to District 5 in the 2022 election, following redistricting earlier this year. He currently serves as mayor.
When he sought reelection in 2018, Barich said “there is no other city I would choose to call my home and it is my duty to serve and uplift Redlands.”
Barich did not file a candidate statement with the San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters.
O’Donnell qualified as a write-in candidate for the Nov. 8 ballot, filing the required paperwork the last week of October and meeting the signature requirements with the county registrar, according to Redlands City Clerk Jeanne Donaldson.
In 2017, he was one of the 17 people who sought to replace Council member Pat Gilbreath after her death.
A retired logistics manager, O’Donnell said at the time that the city’s biggest challenge was maintaining the quality of life that attracted many to Redlands, and that the council must work to prevent blight and set reasonable standards for expansion.
Building heights are on the ballot once again in Redlands.
Measure F would cap buildings in the downtown and university areas to three stories, except for the buildings within a quarter-mile of the University Street Transit Village, which would include some four-story buildings, along with buildings in the New York, Alabama and California transit villages, where there are already four-story buildings. Elsewhere in the Downtown and University Street Transit Village areas, buildings are capped at two stories in existing single-family residential neighborhoods.
Warehouses, a hot topic around the Inland Empire, would get taxed more heavily in Redlands, if voters approve Measure J.
Under the measure, the business license tax for distribution centers would more than double, generating an estimated $530,000 annually to defray the costs of providing city services and supplement the city’s general fund. The measure requires a simple majority to pass.