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In Q&A, Councilman talks about water, sidewalks and more
APPLE VALLEY — With two seats on the Town Council dais up for grabs in November 2016, Councilman Art Bishop announced his candidacy for re-election Sunday.With that announcement in mind, the Daily Press sat down with the former chief of the Apple Valley Fire Protection District to discuss the issues facing Apple Valley in the coming year.
Daily Press: Was there ever a moment during which you considered not running for re-election?
Art Bishop: No. I‘m extremely passionate and committed to our community. My wife was a school teacher here in the Apple Valley school district for decades. I’ve always truly loved serving our community. My wife and kids — who were raised here — think this is the best place to live in the High Desert. For me, being on the Town Council is my way of giving back to the community. All the people I come in contact with as a Councilman — I love doing that. I love being able to help and assist people in our community.
DP: Why should voters re-elect you?
AB: I think over many many years I’ve proven myself as a person who’s really committed. A lot of people — when they run for office — they run for one reason. One of the things that I think makes me a good councilman and a good candidate is that I look at Apple Valley on a whole. I am so proud that in the three years I’ve been on the Council, the readers of the Daily Press have chosen the Town of Apple Valley as the best place to live in the High Desert. And I think that is the result of the town, its staff and Council’s guidance. I think we have a tremendous staff working toward the betterment of our community. This is a very good Council and I’m blessed to be a part of it.
DP: What is the most important issue facing Apple Valley in 2016?
AB: It’s water. For a whole bunch of different reasons, and those reasons are growth, economics, cost. We want to see people want to come to Apple Valley and help develop a town we can be proud of.
DP: What is your view on the concern over the lack of sidewalks and streetlights in Apple Valley raised by Apple Valley resident Matthew Fairchilds?
AB: It’s public safety. You know, our development plan calls for sidewalks in new developments. Apple Valley was designed as a rural community. We are in a transitional period. We didn’t have the traffic back then that we do now. As we continue to grow, sidewalks will become part of the norm and that’s a big change for Apple Valley because you’re transitioning from that more rural lifestyle. Every community is going to change, but you have to make sure you control that change in the right direction.
DP: Apple Valley Ranchos has remained above its water conservation standard of 28 percent since the State Water Resources Control Board began tracking conservation in June. The municipalities, on the other hand, have struggled for the most part. Ranchos would argue that the implementation of Stage 2 of their drought plan has helped to allow their customers that conservation success. If the town’s eminent domain action results in town ownership of the water system, is the town willing and able to make decisions similar to Ranchos amid California’s historic drought?
AB: Most of the water we use is imported. For every acre-foot of water we can save that’s less water we have to rely on being imported from Northern California. People have to remember that this is a desert and I will always argue on the side of conservation. On the other hand, I don’t want to remove our parks. There’s a fine line, but water conservation is critical to the growth and future development of the High Desert. This is the reality of a drought and in the state of California water is cyclical. If we have a great El Nino we’ll start to refill that aquifer. And this is a huge area so water conservation is extremely crucial. The more water we can save the more water we can put into agriculture and farming. You will always have drought periods in California and you need to be prepared for them year round. I’m proud the people in Apple Valley are conserving water. A lot of people in Apple Valley do it because they think it’s the right thing.
DP: In the 2014 race for state Assembly, you received 14 percent of the vote in the primary election. Do you still have any political ambitions that reach beyond the town’s borders or can voters expect you to devote yourself solely to Apple Valley?
AB: I really felt at the time the best thing I can do was to run for Assembly. I think our current Assemblyman (Jay Obernolte) is doing a great job. I believe the best form of politics is local politics, and that’s what I was hoping to take to Sacramento. A lot of Sacramento is being controlled by special interests and I’d rather see more people there who came from local government. With that said, this is our home and this is where my focus is. I believe I’m one-fifth of a great team and I know we’ll continue to do what’s best for Apple Valley.
Source: Matthew Cabe, Daily Press