To many, the city of Barstow is known as the stopping point between Los Angeles and Las Vegas to fill up the gas tank, hit the outlet mall and grab a bite to eat. Those that live there, however, know it as the “little city with a big heart.”
Barstow is full of history and full of future opportunity. Six residents are vying for two positions on the city county, hoping to shape its future. Rich Harpole is one of those candidates. This is part two of his interview. The first part can be found here.
Q: What marketing strategies can the city implement to attract business and investment from the private sector?
Harpole: Our marketing strategy has to begin with a focus on what we what to achieve. “We want new business” is not a strategy, it is a dream.
We must develop a specific plan of what we want to accomplish, identify the type of businesses we want to attract, and then target our efforts in those areas. We must develop a community “brand” that invites investors.
Additionally, we must have a knowledgeable staff member who can spearhead the effort, and every City department must be willing to seek a role in this process. We must embrace 21st century technology and media.
Traditional media, social media, data mining are all tools that must be used to create a specific strategy to help Barstow find new economic partners. We must identify and build upon the positive characteristics of Barstow and tailor our efforts in a proactive manner to meet the needs of our target audiences.
Q: Would you support cuts in public safety in order to balance the city budget?
Harpole: Before a community can prosper, it has to be safe. I believe that we have to keep safety as a primary consideration; but, safety has to be balanced against other needs. I am aware of some ways we can trim the public safety budget, without having a negative impact on the safety of our community. I will work to insure the safest community we can while balancing our safety needs against other important needs such as economic development.
Q: What is your overall vision for the city?
Harpole: Barstow IS a great community, but it seems that as a community we have forgotten who we are. We need to stop looking back and we need to stop complaining about missed opportunities. We need to work together, develop the attitude we can overcome the challenges we face and work to move Barstow forward. Success comes from a positive outlook.
We have good people in our community working hard to make Barstow better. We have a brand new hospital, the college is finishing work on a performing arts center, and our roads are being repaired. These are but a few of the good things happening in Barstow, and are positive steps we can build on.
We need to celebrate when our friends and neighbors find success. We have to work everyday to create opportunity in employment, opportunity in education, and opportunity in life. Every day we must focus on Helping Barstow Become Better.
Q: How transparent should city government be in providing information to its residents and dealing with sensitive political issues?
Harpole: In the past, I have worked to maintain a positive, cooperative relationship with the media. I believe the People have a right to know what is being done in their name. Recognizing of course, there are some limited issues that must be handled behind closed doors to protect the greater public interest.
Q: Are you in favor of building a casino in Barstow? Why?
Harpole: Yes. I have been in favor of building the casino from the beginning. Barstow sits at the “Crossroads of Opportunity” and with 60 million travelers passing through Barstow each year, we are perfectly situated for this project.
The location selected will keep casino activities away from our residential areas while helping to promote economic activity and business growth in the Lenwood Road business area. The jobs this project promises to create can serve as a springboard for other opportunities in our community and can create additional revenue for the City to support services for our residents.
Voters can contact Harpole or get more information at:
If you enjoyed this article, you might like one of these:
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- Focus on the Victor Valley College Board of Trustees: Joseph Brady
- Focus on Sheriff 2014: Paul Schrader on CCWs
- Focus on Hesperia City Council: An interview with David Holman
- Focus on California’s 8th Congressional District: Paul Cook
If you are a candidate for public office in California and would like to be interviewed before the November election, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.