On the Issues

My family has deep roots in Southern California reaching back six generations.  I am running for reelection because there is still work to be finished and during these uncertain times I provide stability, experience and a steady hand as we navigate choppy waters.  Cathy and I became full time Big Bear residents almost 30 years ago when we built from scratch K-BEAR Radio. I’ve served as the Big Bear Chamber of Commerce President, Chairman of the Department of Water for the City of Big Bear Lake, I currently serve as the President of the Big Bear Area Regional Wastewater Agency, Chairman of the Nay Charitable Foundation, I sit on the Big Bear Fire Board of Directors and the San Bernardino County Transit Authority in addition to serving as the current Mayor.

As a small town we have faced many challenges that other neighboring cities may never encounter.  Harsh winter weather, droughts, road closures, earthquakes and of course wildfires.  The two greatest threats are wildfires and prolonged droughts.  We have been blessed when it comes to wildfires, blessed with extraordinary safety personnel, fire and law enforcement.  As a community we’ve created defensible space, thinned the forest, built shaded fuel brakes, strengthened access to vast resources in collaboration with our county, state and federal partners. The droughts and dwindling statewide water availability can not be ignored and I will fight to keep our lake and groundwater healthy, intack and abundant.  In order to preserve our water I will continue my efforts to keep our water here in the Big Bear Valley where it originated and where it belongs. With that said, I completely support the water Replenish Program. Using our water to grow alfalfa in Lucerne Valley is not the highest and best use of this precious and limited resource. I believe that collectively, we have the grit and tenacity to get this project done.

Serving your community and others is rewarding and at times challenging.  Every person in Big Bear has a voice in the direction our small rural resort town takes.  I practice listening to everyone in order to help develop ideas and solutions that best fit the needs and desires of our community with a collective result. My experience, knowledge, patience, compassion and calm leadership is my commitment to our community as we look forward to brighter days ahead.

I support elements of the Short Term Rental Ordinance but not in its entirety.  For instance it’s difficult to reconcile that if the measure passes the only remedy to correct or make changes to specific line items will be to go through the lengthy, confusing, and expensive public revote process. This will tie the hands of all future city council members to react quickly as circumstances change or evolve over any number of years.  Putting a limit on the number of permits is a reasonable measure and should have been adopted by the council previously.  Limiting the number of contracts per year will put undue pressure to rent only during the holiday season which will concentrate even more STR visitors in a shorter period of time.  And if approved the measure will not address the issue which concerns many residents and that is the high concentrations of short term rentals in some neighborhoods or some blocks.

Rick Herrick