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San Bernardino City Council Races Heat Up with the First of Four Candidate Forums

KVCR - Elizabeth Kelly
Moderator and KVCR Executive Director, Connie Leyva and San Bernardino City Council Ward 3 candidate, Christian Shaughnessy

The League of Women Voters is sponsoring four candidate forums in the City of San Bernardino, called People’s Forums, to allow candidates running in city council races to speak directly to voters.

KVCR hosted the first event Thursday evening [Jan. 25]. Both candidates running in the San Bernardino Ward 3 race were invited – the incumbent, Juan Figueroa AND his challenger, Christian Shaughnessy. Here’s KVCR Executive Director and forum moderator, Connie Leyva as she opened the event with one empty seat on the stage…

I do have to make a statement because we do only have one candidate who is here today. So the League of Women Voters has withdrawn sponsorship of tonight's forum, because the league rules prohibit them from taking part in a forum when only one of the two candidates is present. And just so that everyone knows every attempt was made to make sure that the other candidate Juan Figueroa was able to be here he received a certified letter. I personally called him and he is not here.

Christian Shaughnessy repeated his stance on taking money throughout the forum…

I am never going to steal from you. I am never going to take anything away from you. I am never going to look you in the eye and tell you that I care about your issues and then take some money on the side that convinces me to do otherwise.

Shaughnessy, a housing community organizer, talked about his platform of people first and smart development which includes affordable housing and public transit to create pathways for people to rise above poverty. Violence intervention was also in his plan.

We need to double down, defend and expand our violence intervention and prevention program. I actually work next door at Operation New Hope and I've seen the good work that people like Terrance Stone, and so many other people in this community have put into changing the lives of young people. And I know it’s a great psychological and spiritual fact that human beings can be changed from the ways that lead people down to violence, and oftentimes, it just takes somebody being there. And when we keep funding that mentoring, when we keep funding that mentoring, no matter what people say the next time a recession happens, we'll be able to stop those causes of violence. Now with the end of the question, law enforcement has to deal with the violence occurring now. I think our law enforcement should focus on violence, they should focus on the most heinous of crimes. I don't think Teamsters going on strike are a productive focus of the San Bernardino Police Department. I honestly don't think street vendors are an effective focus of the San Bernardino Police Department, and I don't think that homelessness itself should be treated as a crime.

The next People’s Forum takes place on February 1st at the Seventh Day Adventist Church with candidates from San Bernardino’s Ward 6.

There’s more information and a registration link for these free events at the Just San Bernardino website at JustSB.org.