There were far more winners than losers this past Tuesday in the cities and communities that make up the High Desert’s Victor Valley. The results of Tuesday’s election at the local level should be considered an indictment of the area’s fringe element that has wreaked havoc on the local economy for several years now. The newly elected council and board members are on track to return some level of cohesiveness and sanity to local governing bodies.
The biggest losers are Rick Roelle, Angela Valles, Barb Stanton, Al Vogler and Chris Bentley. The winners are the residents who have been held hostage for years due to the incompetence, in-fighting, backstabbing and bullying by power-hungry electeds bent on destroying job opportunities, micromanaging staff and setting agendas that are out of touch with the electorate.
Residents in the city of Hesperia voted out Paul Bosacki and Chris Bentley. Bosacki has been a polarizing figure on the Hesperia City Council. Although his muckraking website served a positive purpose over the years, his relationship with Al Vogler, a community activist and husband of the city’s former mayor, has divided the council. With the election of Eric Schmidt, a clear council majority will exist that can move projects along instead of stalling them in a quagmire of political minutia and personal agendas.
Chris Bentley, one of the area’s most controversial political figures, was handily defeated by 20-something-year-old Cody Gregg. Bentley’s tenure on the Hesperia Unified School District Board of Trustees can only be described as a “rein of terror.” He openly bullied staff members, students, administrators and fellow trustees. He finished fourth in a field of four, a very poor showing for an incumbent.
In Apple Valley, the two vacant seats were filled by top vote getters Larry Cusack and Art Bishop. These wins will make for a strong 3-2 or 4-1 majority.
Barb Stanton, current mayor of the town of Apple Valley and another polarizing and bullying local elected whose no-growth stands have put a stranglehold on creating new jobs in the area, will be neutralized. Stanton, who courted the Tea Party vote two years ago, immediately turned her back on the movement once elected and reneged on campaign promises.
Some town staffers say they are terrified of her, claiming she is a bully and creates a hostile work environment. Plans are already underway to make sure she is defeated in two years.
Victorville has had similar problems with Angela Valles, who is said to treat city staff very poorly. She was able to get only one of her three candidates elected, which will leave her on the losing end of most 3-2 votes.
As with Stanton, business leaders say Valles’ grandstanding has cost the city businesses that would bring with them jobs. She is also on the target list for replacement in two years.
At the county level, union favorite Rick Roelle was defeated by businessman Robert Lovingood for the First District Supervisor seat. Roelle serves on the Apple Valley Town Council and is a Stanton ally who supported no-growth and a negative business environment. Roelle is also romantically involved with Valles, another no-growth, anti-business council person. His term expires next month.
Overall, some business leaders are already feeling more optimistic about the local economy. The area has been hit especially hard due to lack of job opportunities. Removing or neutralizing those officials who are anti-growth gives them hope that there will be improvements sooner rather than later.