Steve Frasher, vice chairman of the Redlands Planning Commision,

Steve Frasher, third from left, works as a public information officer for Los Angeles County.

Serving on the Planning Commission is one of the best ways to prepare for serving on the City Council.

This gives Steve Frasher the edge in our recommendation for council District 4. He leads an impressive field of four candidates seeking to fill the position being vacated by Councilwoman Toni Momberger, who decided not to seek reelection.

Frasher joined the commission in 2012, but his service to the city goes even farther back. He served on the Business and Economic Business Development Advisory Council from 2005 to 2010, and on then-Mayor Jon Harrison’s Blue Ribbon Committee on the Budget in 2007-08. No other candidate comes close to that level of civic involvement.

He works as a public information officer for Los Angeles County. He’s articulate and understands what Redlands is all about.

“Redlands has a sense of place, identity and community because of our schools, university, Esri headquarters and our rich artistic and historical legacy,” he said. “It is our job to maintain it.”

Lane Schneider, his strongest opponent, has similar views. She was one of the leaders of the campaign to defeat Measure G in March, which would have eased housing development rules in transit villages planned around Redlands’ three train stations under construction.

Frasher and Schneider both questioned the city’s support of a housing project across from Citrus Valley High School, one of the few large parcels of commercial  land with easy access to State Route 210. Frasher was the only planning commissioner to vote against it.

Frasher and the two other candidates, Jenna Lowery and Ivan Ramirez, support Measure T, the city’s 1-cent sales tax increase proposal on the Nov. 3 ballot. And although Schneider founded the Redlands Tea (Taxed Enough Already) Party a decade ago, she said she is not 100% sure she’ll vote against it.

While Frasher concedes there’s never a good time to raise taxes — especially with Redlands unemployment rate at more than 10% — Measure T will help restore a portion of the budget cuts caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Not maintaining our city would leave us in a hole we can’t recover from,” Frasher said.

Lowery, 30, who plans to become a marriage and family therapist, spoke passionately about getting more young people active in city government, Ramirez, 32, is a management analyst with the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority — a useful skill set for anyone involved in government.

We hope both of them will become more involved with the city, perhaps on the Planning Commission. There could be an opening soon.