Development, easy access to alcohol, and youth programs were among the topics five candidates for two slots on the Redlands City Council faced Tuesday night at a forum hosted by the North Redlands Visioning Committee.
The forum was held at the Redlands Community Senior Center on West Lugonia Avenue, less than four blocks from where a 21-year-old Redlands man was found fatally injured four days before on a sidewalk in the 1200 block of Webster Street early Saturday Oct. 20.
Moderator and committee chairman Mario Saucedo did not ask the candidates specifically about the homicide investigation or the arrest of another 21-year-old Redlands man the same day. But Saucedo tried to keep the candidates focused on other matters of concern for north Redlands residents.
The candidates as they were seated Tuesday night were Michael Layne, Lane Schneider, Mike Saifie and Pat Gilbreath. Incumbent and current mayor Pete Aguilar arrived late, and candidate Don Wallace had a prior commitment and was unable to attend, Saucedo said.
"The reason why we as a community organization felt it's important we hear from the candidates is not only because of our need to improve and sustain our community, but also for the future," said Saucedo, who is a 25-year employee of the City of Redlands Water Department.
"We have economic growth, the community of north Redlands has the most potential for future growth," Saucedo said after the forum. "We think it's important it's done right, it's done in a managed and thoughtful way so the right businesses go in the right areas. They don't impact the neighborhoods negatively. They offer opportunities, but they also re-invest back into the community.
"We believe that's the most important thing, is to be able to sustain for the community, for healthy neighborhoods, for healthy young people. . . . We know that another component of our neighborhoods in the city is our youth."
Saucedo asked the candidates their views of "nuisance-related activity associated with the bars and clubs in downtown Redlands" on nights and weekends.
Schneider and Saifie pointed out one reason downtown Redlands bars and clubs are popular is because the prestigious University of Redlands is nearby.
"I think what it did was open up an understanding of a dialogue of where the community is at, and hopefully we can get there," Saucedo said. "As you know, the other organization, the Common Vision Coalition also has a social host ordinance that is coming before the council. . . . They're waiting to hear from a stakeholder and some tweaks in the ordinance itself.
"We're trying to address the aolcohol-related businesses, as it relates to population and the census data. The over-saturation of alcohol outlets, throughout the city, especially downtown. The past few years there's been some issues that come up, fighting at times. We feel there needs to be a little more regulation, tighter regulation, self-regulation. What we're looking for is healthy businesses, not businesses that contribute in a negative way."
Every registered Redlands voter will be able to vote for two council candidates on Nov. 6, according to the San Bernardino County Elections Office.
All six candidates took part in two previous forums, Oct. 11 presented by the Redlands Chamber of Commerce, and Oct. 15 presented by the Redlands Conservancy.