As reported by Victorville Daily Press on Nov. 14, 2020
Paul Courtney said Barstow residents should be prepared for some significant changes inside City Hall after he’s sworn in as mayor next month.
Although ballots are still being counted, Courtney maintains a sizable lead in the race, with nearly 43.7% as of Friday, according to the San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters.
If voting trends hold, he will replace two-term Mayor Julie Hackbarth-McIntyre — who has about 32% of the vote — and become the first African-American to hold the city’s top elected position.
Although Courtney did not specify in an interview Thursday, it appears the changes will be focused on switching up the leadership in the city’s administration.
“The only way we’re going to move our community forward is we’re going to make significant changes at the top. We have to,” he said. “Initially it’s going to be some work, and some significant decisions are going to be made and people are going to be alarmed at the decisions that got to be made. And as long as I can get the three votes, myself plus two, I’m not worried about it.”
A Dec. 7 swearing-in ceremony will likely see two new City Council members on the dais, if not three, and all were endorsed this year by the Barstow Professional Firefighters Association: Courtney, District 3 candidate Barbara Rose and District 4 candidate Marilyn Dyer-Kruse.
Rose is the projected winner in her race. She has received about 63% of the total vote, according to Daily Press election results.
The race remains close in District 4, though, where incumbent Mayor Pro Tem Carmen Hernandez and Dyer-Kruse are separated by a thin margin. On Thursday, Dyer-Kruse took the lead by 18 votes. By Friday, she increased that to 21, amassing 546 votes, or nearly 37.7% of the total vote.
Courtney said he supported Dyer-Kruse, despite some differences in the past. He has known Rose for a “long time” as both work at Barstow Community College.
“We want accountability. No doubt about it,” he said while discussing his and Rose’s perspectives moving forward.
As part of improving transparency, Courtney said he would propose establishing a citizen oversight committee that not only publicly reports on Measure Q tax revenues, but Barstow’s finances as a whole.
After the one-cent sales tax measure passed in 2018, a Measure Q Resident Oversight Committee was created to quarterly review expenditures and prepare reports.
Courtney called it a “joke,” however, and suggested the new proposed committee would ensure greater accountability.
He said he also intends to develop 90-day plans, which he compared to “report cards,” for the City Council. The plans would contain a set of goals for those three months and allow for feedback from the community on whether or not the goals were accomplished, and to what degree of efficacy if they were.
Courtney said the first plan would likely focus on improving the aesthetics, or “cosmetic problem,” of the city by cleaning up streets and trash. The mayoral candidate believes that is the first step in attracting possible new businesses and economic development to Barstow.
“We’ve got to get ourselves cleaned up, fixed up and shined up,” he said.
Courtney said he felt “very proud” in likely becoming the first Black mayor in the city’s history — to be able to represent not only himself “but the underserved people that feel they have no voice.”
“I think for the first time in Barstow,” he said, “everybody is being represented.”
Daily Press reporter Martin Estacio may be reached at 760-955-5358 or MEstacio@VVDailyPress.com. Follow him on Twitter @DP_mestacio.