Sid For Upland
For the past several years, my articles in 909 Magazine have focused on the craft beer industry. This story is a little more sessionable – to use a craft brew term – although I’m sure there will be plenty of people who think it’s hoppy and delivered with a much-too-high ABV.
This time I’m writing as a candidate for Upland City Council. I’m running for office to try to make a difference in a city I deeply care about that is currently faced with enormous challenges.
My wife Beth and I have lived in the same Upland home for the past 30 years, where we raised our two grown sons, engulfed ourselves into the community and nurtured deep roots and lifelong friendships.
I’ve also been able to serve our city on the Planning Commission and on boards for the Upland Veterans Monument Project Committee, Upland National Little League, Upland-Fairplex Community Committee, Upland Chamber of Commerce and Inland Valley Recovery Services.
Having spent a career working in both the public and private sectors, I now own my own strategic communications and public relations firm here in Upland. That has allowed me to also write about topics that interest me, working both with clients and on my own. My columns in 909 are intended for your entertainment, education and enjoyment.
My work as a strategic communications consultant has also allowed me to contribute to 909 and to write for and serve as editor of the Inland Empire online “fun guide” IEShineOn.com. And most recently, I’ve added the role of adjunct faculty member at Cal State San Bernardino, where I was previously associate vice president for public affairs for nearly 12 years before leaving to start my own business in 2014.
Through all of my endeavors, I have gained a keen understanding of the serious challenges currently testing Upland and those that are in our immediate future. I sincerely believe that my open-minded, rational and collegial approach will help bring stability to our City Council so that our city is able to move forward once again.
Everything we do and all of our decisions must be for the greater good and overall benefit of Upland. For our entire council to operate in that manner, we must have a shared common vision for what we want for Upland. We don’t have to agree on issues, and, in fact, our greatest value is in the different perspectives we each bring to the conversation. But we will be much more effective and efficient in solving our vast challenges if we are operating with a shared vision and principles that drive our process.
For Upland to thrive again, we need stable, cohesive leadership and smart management. Moreover, leadership must embrace open dialogue with staff, businesses and residents in making hard decisions. Our focus must always be about the big picture – our city.
Our quality of life is dependent on a collaborative, city-focused council that sets aside personal gain and glory, and truly works together. Vital city services must be adequately funded so that Upland is safe, our residents are protected, our streets and sidewalks are maintained, our trees are cared for and businesses want to be part of our community.
At the core of Upland’s future will be the manner in which we manage our budget. We cannot continue to cut people and services. We need to be more creative, more flexible and more entrepreneurial in generating new revenue sources. We must increase city revenues through economic development and other means. Again, we have to think differently from what we’ve done in the past.
That solution is NOT through medical marijuana dispensaries. Please don’t misunderstand; what people do for their own pleasure is none of my business. But as they exist today in Upland – illegally – medical marijuana dispensaries are selling high-potency drugs that essentially do little more than get people very stoned. Measure U will effectively eliminate all regulation on what would become a medical marijuana monopoly controlled by one ownership group. There is no protection for our city to deal with the unintended consequences, including the health, safety and additional law enforcement issues that will unquestionably follow. Most importantly, these dispensaries won’t add to the greater good of Upland. I stand firmly against Measure U.
I am more than happy to meet with any resident or business owner to discuss the many other issues facing Upland. We are all in this together, and your input is valuable. You need to be heard and that’s something I can and will bring to positively impact the change Upland needs.