Meet the Candidates: Steven Morgan

Ridgecrest City Council

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

Meet the Candidates: Steven MorganSteven Morgan moved to Ridgecrest in 1984, when he was brought here by the Navy. He purchased a home in the community in 1987, and worked as an air traffic controller before retiring. His service to the community includes four terms on the City Council, three years on the Planning Commission, eight years on the IWV Airport Board and various other clubs and committees.

“I believe in community service. I manage to do it either privately, nonprofit or publicly because I think it’s something everyone should do in some way.”

While his last elected term on the council ended in 2012, Morgan said that he has kept up with city business.

“I don’t think this council is doing a good enough job for the community … It is definitely apparent that some people have some very particular interests and they have pushed those interests not to the benefit of the entire community. They look at things from a blinders view that I believe I no longer have because I have been there and seen it and understood that there is no one direction.”

Morgan has two unsuccessful bids for election — including a 2014 run for mayor and 2018 for council. “Well … I got blamed for everything under the sun,” he said.

“You can’t blame everything on me any more, if they don’t think I have the qualifications or the passion to serve this community, I won’t get elected.”

He said that he thinks the differing views about the groundwater authority are “perfectly fine.” However, “if you are not in there every day and you are not reading that material and you are not studying that material and you are not absolutely on top of it, the passionate plea to ‘do something different’ may not be the best course of action.”

He said that personally, “not knowing everything there is to know because I have not followed it dog and pony style … it appeared there was a large portion of the community against [the fee] but I can’t say it was a majority.”

Morgan said his solution would be to “make a deal with the devil,” and get an agreement with LADWP for importation. “People say it’s not possible. I don’t know it’s not possible.” The city could purchase water in wet years and store it for dry years. “Don’t tell me it won’t work. Let’s actually go talk to people.”

He said that although he opposed the placement of the casino in the business park, citing his promise to Dr. Bill McLean’s widow to develop its proposed location as a memorial to the China Lake legend. “We did everything we could. It just didn’t work.”

He said that “you have to trust the developer and the tribe that they, in their negotiations and renegotiations of the contract, will follow through on everything they said they would.”

He said that he believes the casino will generate at least $500,000 a year that will benefit the city’s general fund.

“There is not enough money in Fort Knox to provide all of the services the citizens of Ridgecrest want. It’s not possible. Everything costs money,” said Morgan. “This revenue that the casino will bring is critical to balancing a city governmental budget.”

He also criticized the city for not investing in economic development. “Our economic development department does not exist,” he said. “We have a city manager who is taking up many tasks in the city instead of delegating tasks.”

Morgan said that he would like to use the casino revenue to facilitate more economic development. “Whether you like it or not, you are going to have to incentivize someone to come to Ridgecrest. That means you’re going to have to have some available dollars, which I hope the casino project brings.”

He said he does not believe Ridgecrest is any less business friendly than any other city in California. “Contractors are always going to say it’s ridiculous to have to pay fees. The city of Ridgecrest is in the position it is today because we were so business friendly that we waived fees. Now we are behind.

“Some people will say that I am out of touch or I don’t understand the community. I think I do and I have kept in touch. I have a passion and I would like to serve four more years. If they decide that someone younger and inexperienced and new will be a better fit for this community, go for it.”

Story First Published: 2020-10-02