City Council candidate Steven Morgan

Spotlight on the Candidates

City Council candidate Steven Morgan “The council appears lost to me,” said Steven Morgan, who is seeking a seat on the city council. “In all the years I was previously on council, we were accused of losing the public trust because of the decisions we made. But I never felt that we had lost the public trust. I think that is different now, with the in-fighting and lack of decorum.

“This council needs to be straightened out for the public’s sake. I’m an up-front, straightforward kind of guy and I think we can get us on a more public path to the future of this city.”

Morgan spent 17 years on the council, plus three as a planning commissioner. He will be appointed to a second term on the IWV Airport Board of Directors in November (no ballot item, since incumbents had no challengers).

“There is no conflict of interest, since they are two completely separate boards and they do not make agreements with one another.”

He said that between his prior experience and his increased availability now that he is retired, he can hit the ground running as a city official. “I have a working knowledge of the council, I have worked with the League of California Cities, I’ve worked with Kern Council of Governments, I have a good relationship with Supervisor Mick Gleason and I have been paying attention to the issues at the city.”

Morgan said he believes that his strength as an elected official is in taking in information to make a good decision. “I think that’s needed now more than ever. And all my experience doesn’t just go away. I think I am still a good fit for council.”

He noted that tertiary treatment arose as an option for water management during his prior time on the council, and he still believes it should be looked at as part of the solution for bringing our basin into sustainability.

“Water is the most critical issue this valley faces,” he said. “Yes, the city is a player, but a lot of the issues are county-driven. We know that there is a large influence outside of the city limits in terms of usage, and that usage is being looked at.”

He said he does not believe that the basin can achieve sustainability and maintain current agricultural operations. “I would like to be an active player in those conversations. We know we have to be equitable and fair to [agricultural] property owners, and they need to be able to recoup their investments,” said Morgan.

“Not everyone is going to have buy-in. It’s impossible. Water is going to cost more, and everyone needs to come to grips with that. We need infrastructure to import water, which is a piece of the solution, and we need to treat water. So the cost will go up. But if we do this correctly, we can also provide a benefit.”

Morgan supports the casino because he believes it will be an economic development driver. “It’s no secret that I hate where it is going,” he said. “I look at this as a positive. We need to look at the future of Ridgecrest and not the past. A lot of folks looking at the casino are just looking backwards.”

His priority in public safety is re-opening the jail. Sheriff “Donny Youngblood literally promised to do this during the campaign, and I’m going to hold him to that.”

Morgan said that the city is better off, in terms of public safety, with the passage of Measures L and V. “But I’ll be darned if I’m going to subsidize the Kern County Sheriff’s Office. They are going to have to step up.”

Story First Published: 2018-10-12