Lori Acton

Spotlight on the Candidate: Ridgecrest City Council

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

Lori ActonLori Acton, field representative for 1st District Supervisor Jon McQuiston, said that she is seeking one of the two seats on the Ridgecrest City Council because she loves public service.

“When I took the position I’m in now, I realized that this is what I enjoy doing — solving problems and helping people on a large scale. And I’m effective.”

Acton said that her job is serving as the public interface to help people resolve their issues. In her current capacity, she serves on numerous community boards and attends many meetings and other public functions. “I am basically the eyes, ears and feet on the ground for McQuiston.”

Her reason for choosing the council as her platform, she said, is because “It is important to build a council that the community can have trust and confidence in. I feel people are lacking that.”

She noted, however, that “I don’t think that is necessarily all the council’s fault. Part of the problem is that people need to be more involved. A lot of people sit on the sidelines and complain, but they don’t engage.”

She recalled, as a teenager in Ridgecrest, learning that her paperboy [Kevin Corlett – who, at age 18, was our town’s youngest councilman] had been elected to City Council. “I thought — if he can do it, so can I.” Since then she been inspired the careers of Assemblywoman Shannon Grove and state Sen. Jean Fuller. “This is just the first stop for me.”

If elected, she said, she will take a hard look at the issues and help determine priorities. For her, those start with infrastructure and the police department. “Those are the two issues that need to be addressed. Parks and rec also has a place on that list, because it is a part of our quality of life. It’s all about finding that balance.”

She said she would like to see the city approach road maintenance proactively. “The roads drive me crazy. We need to identify revenue that is dedicated to our streets so that we’re not just reacting to the problem.”

That leads to the importance of economic development, which helps to create, identify and capture new revenue streams. “I don’t want to reinvent the wheel on this, but economic development is huge because that’s our tax base.”

When she was growing up here, she said, local shoppers had more choices — particularly for things like clothing. “We had Millers’ Outpost, we had Mervyn’s, we had Corney’s Shoes.” Recruiting clothing stores does not just offer a convenience to the residents, but also helps create a tax base to fund city services.

Acton said she wants to ensure that Measure L funds are spent on streets and safety as promised. “I agree with how the money is being spent as far as infrastructure and roads. I have a problem with it being spent on parks and rec.”

She said she would like to appoint a city manager who exhibits leadership.“You manage things, you lead people. We need someone to bring things together. We need to have consistency in communication and a process for people who need to find the answers they are looking for. We have to do a better job of getting the message to the people.

“But, again, part of this also goes back to the public getting more involved.”

Acton’s husband is due to be transferred from his current China Lake tour, but she said that as a native of the valley she will be staying here.

“I feel very fortunate to have been raised here and to know the community like I do,” she said. “I am also incredibly grateful to have been able to learn from Jon McQuiston — because he may not always make the decision that is popular, but he will always do what is right.”

Story First Published: 2012-10-10