Our Choice for Mayor
Enthusiasm, Experience, Effectiveness
Ridgecrest is a community built on incredible people who appreciate conservative values while respecting the voice of the best interests of all. Our candidate, Eric Bruen, has demonstrated this resolve for Ridgecrest for the last sixteen years in his service, dedication, and tireless wiliness to make our community better.
Who is Eric Bruen?
The Leader we need to unite the community
I have been a community leader and resident for the last 16 years. I have been involved with numerous community organizations including serving as President of the Chamber of Commerce twice. During my time in Ridgecrest, I have lead the rebuilding of Desert Valleys FCU from an $11M institution to a $52M organization with a focus on community. My unique experience in rebuilding an organization will be a critical need of the city in managing the post-COVID challenges.
My goal is to bring greater transparency in our current issues with a focus on building our economic base within the City of Ridgecrest. Our community needs to build our economic base to ensure the future of China Lake but also to ensure that the services and quality of life our citizens count on grow and expand.
I respectfully ask for your support in bringing my leadership, experience, and enthusiasm to the role of Mayor to ensure our community both rebuilds and thrives from our last two years of challenges.
What are your economic development plans for the City of Ridgecrest?
August 20th, 2020
When we talk about economic development, we must remember that the key component to development is making the desirability of the city the first priority. I believe that over the past four years, we have accomplished the exact opposite on several occasions. We have demonstrated a willingness to block development (casino), halt development (Warren’s), and impede development (Housing). We need to close the book on this approach and open ourselves to opportunities.
So, I think we need to need to look at five key economic factors in which we can advocate, promote, and stimulate economic development.
First, it is my opinion that the current brand of Ridgecrest reflects these bad decisions. We need to heal the perceptions of developers. This is done by changing our community perspective. All too often we take an isolationist approach to the “new” opportunities. This is not entirely the fault of the City of Ridgecrest but rather an overwhelming community issue. We must strive to change our mindset to welcome economic development. The brand of our community as a “secret city” must change to be a “hub city” where developers want to capture opportunities which not only lie in Ridgecrest but also lie in outlying communities.
Second, for Ridgecrest to begin to develop a hub mentality, we need to bring the city to Highway 395. We have thousands of travelers daily passing our community with little or no knowledge of what is accessible. Bringing our city to the highway will fill a critical branding need and draw in additional consumer spending. The most effective way to accomplish this is to find a means to annex into the city the southern portion of the community to Highway 395. This is no small action. It is an extensive action but it would accomplish so much to change our future economic opportunities.
Third, we must consider how we can use abatement and economic incentives to remove or reuse unused commercial and residential properties. I know everyone loves to scream about all the empty commercial property while we are building new ones. But here is the facts, bringing an older commercial property to code can be more expensive than having a property built for the purpose of the business. Likewise, the property owners of these properties may have tax incentives to leave the properties abandoned. This leaves the city in a position where to solve the problem requires an incentive of some form. Similarly, we have many residential properties which have been damaged (in many case by the earthquake) in which the property owners have no means to repair the property. In both of these cases, the most effective way to develop these properties is by using a combination of abatement and economic incentives. For example, if we have a substantial commercial property which is unused, we need to consider economic incentives for a developer to consider using it rather than building a new location. Additionally, on the residential side we need to determine the options available through an effective survey of the properties. Ultimately, getting the properties used will produce additional property taxes, sales tax, and economic spending. The city’s lack of an economic development manager is hampering these efforts and would be one of my first priorities.
Fourth, if the city receives the $6M in RDA funds currently in litigation with the state, we should allocate some portion of this to springboard economic change. An example is the California Welcome Center initiative being worked on by the RACVB. Another is the cooperative signage program of the Chamber of Commerce by Walmart. We need to begin to invest in those groups working to build the community. The City currently provides no economic development support to the RACVB, IWVECD, China Lake
Leaders Stand with Bruen
Congressman Kevin McCarthy
Congressman Pete Aguilar
Assemblyman Vince Fong
Kern County Supervisor Mick Gleason
City Councilman Mike Mower
Diana Dykstra - CEO / California CU League
Pamela Easley - CEO / AltaOne FCU
Nathan Ahle - CEO / Fresno Chamber of Commerce
Steve Renock - CEO / Valley Strong FCU
Frank Wasson - CEO / First Entertainment CU
Jon Hernandez - CEO / Calcom CU
Rob Greaff - CEO / Delta Schools FCU
Barry Roach - CEO / Water & Power CCU
Linda White - CEO / Upward CU
Bernie Mondragon - Chairman / Ridgecrest Chamber of Commerce
Steve Morgan - Former Mayor - City of Ridgecrest
Mary Lundstrum - President / China Lake Rotary Club
Denny Kline - Former Field Representative - Kern County Supervisor
John Watkins - Publisher / Daily Independent
Yusef Odeh Bail Bonds - Yusef Odeh
Raw Media - Nick Wakley
KSSI/102.1FM - John Perrige
H&R Block - Debbie Eck-Stonebarger
Cordell Construction - Chuck Cordell
Ridgecrest Cinemas - Kelly Walden
A&L Tire - Mike McGee
Double O Shamrock - Tom O'Gara
C.A.T.S. - Pam Grattan
Ephen Tacos - Craig Zurn
Flight Tap Room - Jake Whitfield
Ewings by the Kern - Neal Preston
Stafford's Pest Control - Deanna Ferguson
Casa Corona - Luis Corona
Packwrap - Mary Boster
High Desert Air Ductor - Jerry Newbury
Kennedy Meadows General Store - John Cross
Romancing the West - Kim Metcalf