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City Council to welcome three new members
BARSTOW • The City Council will soon change more than half of its members, as the group takes on two newly elected members and seeks to fill a spot that will be left vacant at the start of the new term in December.
City Planning Commissioner Carmen Hernandez and former Barstow Police Lieutenant Rich Harpole were elected Nov. 6 to replace council members Timothy Saenz, who was not re-elected, and Willie Hailey, who chose not to run again.
“I know they have an interest in the city and they both have a good idea of what the city needs,” said current council member Timothy Silva about the two newly elected members. “They’re both long-time residents of Barstow.”
Silva said he supported both Hernandez and Harpole in the election and said he saw them attend more meetings than any of the other candidates.
Hernandez, who has worked as the City Planning Commissioner since 2005, said her top priorities coming in will be accountability within the council, economic growth in the city, ensuring the completion of the new hospital and ensuring the city streets are maintained, as written on her Facebook page.
Harpole, who will begin his council term in December with Hernandez, said his priorities will be improving development to increase jobs, protecting the city’s financial health, improving the quality of life in Barstow and ensuring public safety.
“We would like to see people be proud of their community and enjoy living here and improving the livability of our community is important to the overall strategy of bringing growth and business to Barstow,” Harpole said. “I’m looking forward to doing what we can to impact all of those areas.”
Saenz, who is finishing up his council term, said that one of the biggest challenges the former council incurred was personality differences, saying some members took council comments personally.
“You’re an ear for the community — you shouldn’t take it personally,” Saenz said. “We’re working for the general good of the whole city.”
He said with the newest members’ work experience that he thinks they will help the council to continue to improve the city.
“I think they’ll move forward with a lot of positive momentum,” Saenz said.
Julie Hackbarth-McIntyre holds the fourth City Council seat and serves as mayor pro tem for Barstow. However, since she ran uncontested to become Barstow’s next mayor when Joe Gomez bowed out, her seat on the council will now be vacant.
Come December, when the four-member council begins its term and Hackbarth-McIntyre takes over as mayor, the group will choose who will fill the vacant City Council seat for the rest of Hackbarth-McIntyre’s two-year term.