Editor’s note: After 40 years of serving Victorville, Terry Caldwell stepped down from the City Council this week. Mr. Caldwell has agreed to become a regular contributor to this space and we are honored to have him. I am confident readers will find Mr. Caldwell’s columns very informative and helpful to connect where we have been and know where we are going as a community.
By Terry Caldwell
Victorville Mayor Emeritus
Guest Sunday Column
I think that the change in these things that we are going to see can be predicted by Tuesday’s night’s Council. On one hand, you have newly elected Councilman Jim Kennedy talking about the importance of unity. One of the hallmarks of the City of Victorville has been that since its inception in September of 1962 all five of the City Council members have consistently worked together as a team-they didn’t always agree on everything, but the were respectful and they put their personal differences aside to work for the good of the City.
Jim Kennedy’s comments this past Tuesday night have encouraged me that his contribution will be made in the spirit of cooperation for what is best for the our City, the same way council members Rudy Cabriales, Mike Rothschild and new Mayor Ryan McEachron have operated.
I did not see that sense of cooperation and collaboration with (new council member) Angella Valles. I think she slapped the face of the City of Victorville by refusing to have the City Clerk swear her in. Sure, it is her choice to have whoever she wants swear her in, but if you are looking at indicators of unity, cooperation and collaboration that very first step of not having Carolee Bates swear her in represents to me a sign of a different approach to governance.
Valles’ comments about restoring transparency and integrity to the City Council is a direct shot at all council members, Jim Cox, Doug Robertson and the rest of the department heads of Victorville. Statements like that are not indicative of collaboration. The very negative comments that Valles made are those of a rival gunning for his/her enemy.
It is unbelievable to me that she would make such statements in what was mostly a ceremonial and festive meeting. This was a move that draws the line in the sand to the very people that she needs to work with to move Victorville forward.
I was also dismayed that an elected official for another city (Rita Vogler) tried to tell the council members how they should vote to elect the mayor. In my forty years of public service, I had never seen such an orchestrated attempt to try to influence a vote that only belongs to our city council.
Having said that, I left the dais of the city council feeling very confident that we have the leadership that we will need to guide Victorville. I have the utmost confidence that new Mayor Ryan McEachron will have the support of at least three other votes, my hope is that, more often, he has four votes.
One of the reasons why Victorville has moved ahead of our other sister cities is because we have mostly had a united council voting unanimously to help grow this city.
During the campaign things are said and promised that do not necessarily translate into what you are going to do when you become a council member. This gives me the hope that there will be a unanimous movement. Three votes gives you a majority in the council, but a unanimous decision shows a council that is united and engaged.
I have a high vote of confidence that Victorville will continue to move forward as a pro-growth, pro-business community.
I also hope that the two new council members realize what tremendous assets they have in Jim Cox, Andre de Bortnowsky and the rest of the department heads at City Hall. Take advantage of that level of expertise to help you realize your goals for the good of the city. I consider myself lucky that I had such a wonderful team of professionals by my side.
As for me, I am not going away, I must say I feel somewhat unconstrained about the topics that I can touch upon now. Whether it involves speaking during public session, meeting with groups or by running for another public office, I intend to stay engaged.
Terry E. Caldwell.