Exclusive: Neil Derry to run for Redlands City Council [Redlands Daily Facts, Calif. :: ]
(Redlands Daily Facts (CA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Aug. 04--Redlands -- Former San Bernardino County Supervisor Neil Derry announced Monday that he will run for Redlands City Council.
He says there are opportunities for economic development that have gone untapped, and that he is eager to help his city prosper.
"I'm running with new ideas and new opportunities the city has not taken advantage of to date," he said.
Derry, 45, moved to Redlands from San Bernardino in 2009 with his wife and 9-year-old son because he wanted his son to be in the Redlands Unified School District. He was serving as supervisor for the 3rd District at the time.
He said that during his term the county gave more than $1 million to the Redlands YMCA, supported the Redlands Community Music Association and the Shakespeare Festival, and contributed to the Redlands Fire Department's ladder truck.
"These are all things the county hadn't done before," he said. "I made a large commitment to this city, and we followed through and I hope to do that on the Redlands City Council."
Derry said he has been approached for the past month and a half by a number of people, both in the Republican party and people who've previously run for Redlands City Council.
"They told me I had a lot to offer to the city of Redlands," he said. "They're looking for a candidate to represent what they believe and think."
This is far from Derry's first race. Over the past 15 years he successfully ran twice for San Bernardino City Council, and he ran twice for the supervisor post. He has served on the Republican Central Committee three times, including as executive director.
His first involvement in politics was volunteering for the county Republican party in 1991.
"I've got quite a bit of experience in my private sector work," he said. "I worked in Legislature five years, and a private public relations firm that dealt with labor unions. I've been involved in just about every type of development project you can imagine from major business parks to housing developments. I was a region manager for Southern California Edison for almost eight years."
He currently works for the public relations firm Desmond & Louis as senior vice president of public affairs.
He was a corporal in the Marine Corps serving from 1987 to 1991. He went on two overseas tours, including the first Gulf War.
If he joins the City Council, his first priority will be economic development, he says.
"The city has tremendous opportunities. The redevelopment of the Redlands Mall shows great promise if it's done properly. I think the city needs to have an active role in that project."
He said he envisions a Citrus Plaza-type project with a housing component.
"That would fit in with the young professionals coming into the area. We have a tremendous opportunity to attract younger professionals who are coming out of Loma Linda and graduating from the University of Redlands."
He also sees the new courthouse in San Bernardino creating a window for bringing law firms to Redlands.
"There are not a lot of places for them in San Bernardino; we're the next best, closest thing," he said.
"The biggest opportunity for the city, though, is to increase our revenue for public services -- fire, street paving, infrastructure -- by leveraging the many cultural aspects that the city of Redlands has," he said.
"We need to openly market and partner with the business community and the non-profit agencies that are putting all these wonderful events together in our city. There's a tremendous opportunity not only for the cultural aspect, but to bring people into our city to fill up our restaurants and shop in our town."
He urges putting elbow grease into pulling everyone together in the business and arts communities for the benefit of both.
In July 2011, he pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of failing to report a campaign contribution, but he says that has been stricken from his record.
"That was a technical mistake that should have been handled much differently, which is why the judge cleared the charge," Derry said.
He also said he's looking forward to serving Redlands.
"I think the city of Redlands is a great place to live, and I hope to help the city avoid the travails other areas have a had. Everybody running understands Redlands is unique with tremendous assets and community involvement. If there's anything I can do to help my city prosper, I want to do it."
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