Wednesday, September 20, 2006

My Top Six Campaign Platforms by Larry Halstead


There are a host of issues that come up in the running of a city. At any given City Council Meeting there is usually a fairly lengthy agenda with a wide range of items on it. I believe I have the skills necessary to deal with those issues in a way that is both responsible and responsive to the will of the people. I am a firm believer in public participation in government which is why I attend the City Council Meetings whenever possible.

In studying the issues that face Barstow today, there are certain challenges that stand out as the driving force of what has convinced me to run for City Council. I have narrowed those down to six issues that will be the primary platform for my campaign. In the near future, I intend to write a more in depth statement on each one of them but for now I want to introduce those platforms in outline form so that Barstow votes can clearly see the choice that they have on November 7. In no particular order, my top six campaign platforms posted below:

PLATFORM: Government Clean Up


Clean Up

“Let’s Take Back Barstow” is the main theme of this grassroots campaign. For way too long the City Council has been unresponsive to the needs of the people of Barstow. The challenges we face are difficult and complex. Jobs, city growth, law enforcement, street repair, youth programs, education, crime, drugs, gangs, water quality, are just some of the more notable problems that need strong leadership. All too often those needs are ignored or mismanaged by our elected leaders. Corruption, conflict of interest and incompetence have become the status quo at City Hall. Currently there is no vision for the future of our City. I intend to fight for working families and work to improve the quality of life for all residents and not just the special interest. There is a small group of mostly local developers that are largely responsible for keeping the Mayor and his cronies in power. Those developers are needed and deserve to make money in Barstow but they should not be the sole force in the leadership of the City. It is high time that “We The People” unite as in the movie “Network” and join together in a chorus of: “We are sick and tired and we’re not going to take it anymore!” Together we can do this! Together we can “take back Barstow.” The Mayor and his cronies have a total disconnect with the vast majority of people who live and work in Barstow.

PLATFORM: Economic Development



For much of it’s history, Barstow has suffered as an economically depressed community. Almost a year ago, the City of Barstow received the State designation of the “Enterprise Zone”. This is a wonderful program that could bring an influx of new business and jobs to Barstow through various incentives such as tax credits. Yet a year later, the City has little to show for having secured this designation except a WalMart warehouse. After the WalMart store came to town, it became the end to the Barstow Mall and we lost Sears, Kmart, and many “mom and pop” businesses throughout the City. That Mall has sat empty and boarded up ever since. Recently the Mayor went on a junket to China to try and convince the Chinese to make Barstow a dumping ground for cheap plastic products. Still he secured nothing for his efforts except a vacation while the Outlet Mall continues to suffer from declining business. Downtown Main Street is suffering and in desperate need of redevelopment and yet no plan exist that has the vision to make this happen. There are many vacancies up and down Main Street and the current businesses are struggling. With a little vision and innovation we could and should be bringing in some environmentally friendly industries. We should definitely be giving preferences to industry that favors the American workers. We should also play off our image as a “Route 66” City and focus on Barstow as a tourist destination. As part of the Mojave River restoration we could create a recreational lake/reservoir such as were created by the Feather River project. This could add water recreation activities including fishing, boating, and camping such as was created at Lake Silverwood, Perris Lake, etc. But again this takes vision and innovation while currently, there is a total disconnect between the City and the business community.

PLATFORM: Public Safety



The Barstow Police have been losing good officers due to being paid 25% less than the average for law enforcement throughout the County. As someone who is aware of the importance of good community policing, I spoke out in favor of the need for the raise. The raise was opposed by Mayor Dale and his “ditto” friend the recently recalled Councilman Luellig. Many believe the Mayor has a hidden agenda of doing away with the Barstow Police and replacing them with the S.B. County Sheriff’s Department. This change would run contrary to the concept of community policing. We were told that the City could not afford the raise and that it would create millions in red ink but as soon as the raise was passed we learned that it would not have that effect after all. Recently the City Council voted to sell its used telephones to the Fire Department. Sell? Why wouldn’t we give them the used phones? The old hospital has been condemned because it fails to meet earthquake standards. We could have already had the ribbon cutting on the new hospital but instead the ground breaking is still two years away due to needless delays by the City. The deal that was finally approved with the City was the exact same deal that was on the table before millions of dollars and years of studies. We do not have an adequate emergency plan to deal with the inevitable major earthquake. At the end of July there was a fire at the El Rancho Motel. This relative small disaster demonstrated major deficiencies in our preparedness. Still there is a total disconnect between the City and all issues relating to public safety.

PLATFORM: Youth Activities



The most important investment we can make is in our youth. Law enforcement will tell you that it is the best way to combat gangs and drugs. For over a decade now the Virgil Swim Center has had an Olympic size pool that remains empty. Then suddenly in the middle of a summer day this August, the Henderson pool is closed without notice. A few days later it is reopened on a limited basis with classes cancelled for the summer. Thomson Elementary has an enormous play field on the West side that is divided into areas for basketball, baseball, football and other activities but it is so run down as to make it largely unusable. There are many community groups that would like to use it but there is no program to do so even if it was restored. We desperately need more after school activities. Our Sports Park is an excellent facility but its use is often limited by it’s location on the outskirts of the City. We have public schools that are located through our city which would be more conveniently accessible to a larger number of children. The City should work with the School District to utilize existing facilities and invest in those facilities for that purpose. But again there is a total disconnect between the City leaders and the School District.

PLATFORM: Water Quality and the Mojave River


Water Quality
and the
Mojave River

In this new millennium we have all come to realize the importance of our environment. Global warming, air and water pollution, food contamination, and other aspects of our environment have all become primary concerns that we share in common. While many environmental issues are such that they need to be dealt with on a state, national or even international basis there is things like recycling that we can do as individuals. But on the local government level, water quality is not only the most important issue we face, it is a critical issue for our survival. Yet it is our City and its policies that have had the biggest contribution to the deterioration of our water quality. With an obsolete sewer plant that is only now being considered for replacement, it is no wonder that we had 1.5 million gallons of raw sewage spill into the Mojave River. Until recently the City was spraying its alfalfa fields next to the Mojave River with 1.5 million gallons of sewer water every day. The City just sold property next to the river to Pacific Holt for less than they paid five years earlier despite back up offers for substantially more. Now the City is allowing the developer (Mayor Dale’s buddies) to build three hundred homes there using septic tanks while the nearby residents of Old Soap Mine Road are already experiencing elevated nitrate levels. We live a short distance from where the Erin Brockenvich story is still unfolding but Mayor Dale is unconcerned since that is a “different separate plume”. The City of Barstow should be leading a major effort to "Save The Mojave River". Instead of being the major polluter, we should be working to save and restore the river to its former glory. There is a total disconnect between the City government, the Mojave Water Agency and the need to preserve the Mojave River.

PLATFORM: Energy Independence


Solar Power

I am working with the leaders in the solar industry to develop a plan for the solarization of Barstow. There are several factors that make Barstow an ideal location for being the first energy independent city beyond just the political climate being ripe. The city has as high a number of sunny days as anywhere in the country. With a population of 22,000 Barstow is an ideal size to make the city small enough to be feasible and large enough to be significant. But one of the best features of a project here is that Barstow just recently received the decade long fought for and much coveted designation of Enterprise Zone. This would enable us to attract the solar industry to locate manufacturing facilities here which could give them incredible tax advantages which in turn could help make solar power more affordable. Currently there are both federal and state rebates available for the installation of solar panels. Technological breakthroughs are making manufacturing cost come down. As the government continues to promote the use of solar energy it is predicted that we will start making a transition to renewable resources. Barstow has the advantage of both an abundance of sun and wind. When combined with the Enterprise Zone and a factor of vision, Barstow can and should lead the nation as a model for energy independence.

Friday, September 15, 2006

My Campaign Philosophy

My Campaign Philosophy

As a Political Scientist, a community activist, and a person that is passionate about politics and public policy, I have never been at a loss for words or opinions about issues that we face on a daily basis. As a citizen of Barstow, San Bernardino County, the State of California, the United States, and most importantly, Planet Earth, we find ourselves at a critical time in the history of civilization. The decisions made by our leaders now will determine the future of our existence, the quality of our lifestyle, and even our survival as a civilization.

A leader who makes policy decisions that affects the way we live must have the experience and background to deal with a wide range of issues. On the local level there are many issues that are considered routine and non-controversial. Other issues are of great significance and pose certain consequences. Some of those issues may suddenly appear on the political landscape without any precedent or warning. On a regular basis, your leader face issues that are of major importance and can have lasting consequences for the quality of life we enjoy.

I am running for a seat on the Barstow City Council because I believe I have the educational background and life experience that is necessary to make the critical decisions necessary to lead Barstow forward in a way that will bring about a higher quality of life for all residents. Still there is another critical ingredient in leadership that I believe sets me apart from all of the other candidates and from the current leadership in City Hall. That ingredient is VISION. Over and over again we see the effect that lack of vision has wrought on our community. To say it in other words, there is absolutely no evidence that any vision exist for how Barstow could become a better place to live or better yet a model community throughout the country.

Experienced leadership combined with a vision could have meant we avoided spilling 1.5 million gallons of raw sewage into the Mojave River. It could have meant that we didn’t sell land to a developer for less than we paid for it or that the developer would not be allowed to use septic tanks right next to the river where high nitrates are showing up in local water wells. It could have meant that trucking businesses would not have been located on the same side of the 15 Freeway next to the Outlet Mall where they create traffic congestion. It could have meant that the pool at the Virgil Swim Center wouldn’t have been allowed to remain unused for the past decade or that the Henderson pool wouldn’t have been suddenly closed in the middle of the season and classes cancelled. It could have meant that the Barstow Police would not have had to fight Mayor Dale and Council Luellig to be paid the same as other law enforcement throughout the County. It could have meant that we were already enjoying our new state of the art hospital rather than waiting for another two years for ground breaking. The list goes on and on but these are all problems that could have been avoided.

On the flip side is what this City could become when some vision is introduced into the equation. By working with the school district, the parks and recreation, and the police, we can develop youth activities to divert our youth from gangs and drugs. By working with the Mojave Water Agency, state and federal agencies, and local developers, building a new state of the art sewer plant, we can clean up the Mojave River. Through the development of some recreational lakes and reservoirs such as were created from the Feather River project, we could make Barstow a water recreation tourist destination and restore the Mojave River to flowing above ground all year long like it did just a few decades ago. With vision we can restore and develop our Route 66 heritage to infuse local business and further add to the tourist attraction of Barstow. With vision we can set a goal to make Barstow the first ever energy independent city in the country. With our overwhelming abundance of sun and wind we could very well get off the energy grid and even be a electric producer for other communities. There is so much that could be done if only we had some vision in our local leadership!

Barstow is a great City! It has an ideal location with gorgeous desert topography. The people of Barstow are the friendliest and outstanding citizens of any community anywhere. Barstow has an abundance of Community Based Organizations (CBO) that do a phenomenal job of serving the needs of our community. For too long it is the City government that has lagged behind in moving the City forward. For too long it is the City that has represented the special interest, developers, and land speculators, to the detriment of the people of Barstow. The City has an official “Vision Statement” that reads:

The City of Barstow - A progressive high Desert community with small-town advantages that preserves and promotes a quality environment in which to live, work and play.

This Vision is being carried out everyday by the citizens of Barstow while it is being largely ignored by the leaders at City Hall. It is time we take back our City. As a grass-roots movement, we can do just that and we can live up to the Vision of that “progressive small-town community promoting a quality environment.” On November 7, the people of Barstow have a clear choice. We can continue the do-nothing attitude of the current leadership or we can move forward on a new path, with a new Vision for a truly progressive community with a real quality environment.

On November 7, I am asking for your vote so that together we can live up to that “Vision Statement” and provide that “Quality Environment”!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

"In YOUR Own Words" [PLEASE!]

"In YOUR Own Words"

To my friends and supporters: I noticed that a couple of you took the time to write some kind words of support and endorsement as a comment on this blog. While I was quite touched and appreciative, it gave rise to an idea to that I should start this post and highlight those comments here on this post where they can be more visible. I still plan to create a website just as soon as I am able and will use those comments on there as well as on my campaign literature.

So now I am just coming out and soliciting your words of support and endorsement. I would really appreciate it for you to take a moment to write a line or two and give your comments about my run for Barstow City Council. You can either contribute your words by clicking on the comment button at the bottom of this post, or send me an email and I will add it to this post as I recieve them. I have created a new email address for this campaign. You can now contact me at:

Here's what the PEOPLE are saying:

In the name of the entire campaign staff I would like to congratulate you on your decision to run for city council. Like you, time and time again I was disgusted by what I saw my representatives doing while in office. When I saw Buck McKeon vote yes for the Medicare Part D bill, something inside of me snapped. We can't let these people get free rides anymore. I commend you for having the courage to run and hopefully we can work together to assure that the people of our hometown are finally represented.
Thank you for all of your input and support. If there is anything I can further assist you with, please let me know. We're in this together. Best of Luck,
Robert Rodriguez, Candidate for 25th Congressional District

Barstow needs some new "blood" and Larry Halstead is just the guy to bring it on. Not only is he a great guy and devoted family man, but he also has a vision for this town that can be either the jewel of the High Desert or it can remain the joke that it always has been. My vote is for "Halstead for Barstow". Keep up the good work Larry!
Michelle Curry

I don't know Robert Rodriguez, but I do know Larry Halstead. The reason Larry was proud to post the (Robert Rodriguez) article is because he truly believes with all his soul that politicians should serve the people, not the other way around. I know that he will do this for Barstow. We need him so that the voice of the people of Barstow can finally be heard!
Wayne Bonlie, M.S./M.D.

Your fight is the people of Barstow's fight.
When you win Barstow wins.
Then We the People win!

The city council and city fathers have always stymied the growth of the area since we've been here (1968). Thank goodness also for the activists who have bought matters to the public eye on a regular basis. The wealthy of Barstow have always ruled Barstow. This town is at its worst, in my opinion, the bitterness of wanting or not wanting a casino has put us all at risk. Now, the casino projects are on hold in Sacramento!
I wish you good fortune and very much luck as you pursue your way in the city council election!
Keep up the good fight!

Pretty Cool! I got a chance to check this out today. For too long, this community has suffered for lack of leadership with a vision. You have excellent leadership, a dedication to serving your community and a great vision. You're going to be a great Councilman. Go Larry!
Paul Mallory

Thank you for caring that our kids have after-school activies. You certainly have my vote! Here's to cheering you on in your campaign!
Lu Parneau

Friday, September 08, 2006

Rodriguez Holds Press Conference

On 9/7, I participated in a press conference and rally with Robert Rodriguez who is a candidate for the 25th District.

Robert explains his tax plan to supporters and the media.

(That's me standing directly behind his outstretched hand.)

The event which was held in front of H&R Block was to call for tax relief for working class Americans. Robert, the son of a rail road worker, was born and raised in Barstow and understands the plight of working class families in Barstow on a first hand basis. He called the press conference to introduce his new tax plan. He told the crowd gathered that: "Median incomes have come down by $1,500 since 2000 while congressional salaries have increased $20,000 in that time. We are calling on Congress to give up their $20,000 in raises."

"They are supposed to be representing us, but if we're making tough choices with higher gasoline, education and health care costs, they should feel the pinch, too. And they are not. They get their salaries increased while real Americans can't vote on that; we're not fortunate enough."

The plan calls for everyone earning under $75,000 a year to get a tax credit averaging $1,500 and to take the money out of the pockets of people in Congress. He is calling on members of Congress to roll back their pay increases to help pay for the tax credit. "For Americans who make $75,000 or less, middle class America, a $1,500 tax credit would help restore that $1,500 in wages they lost since 2000. Congressional salaries," he said, "go up every year, but ordinary Americans see their salaries flat or going down."

"That's not fair," he said. "People work hard in this community, and it's our taxpayer money that's funding those congressional salary increases. That's wrong when those in Congress say they are representing up."

Robert Rodriguez, 29, is a 1995 graduate of Barstow High School. He recieved a Political Science degree from UCLA and a master's from Harvard in 2002. He got some valuable experience working for Senator Boxer and Representative Sanchez. He is running against the incumbent "Buck" McKeon for the 25th Congressional seat.

I feel that Robert is a great candidate in general but especially for the people of Barstow. Robert really understands the people of Barstow and the issues that face our community. His opponent, "Do Nothing Buck" has done nothing for the citizens of Barstow. We face major water quality challenges which is a federal issue but "Buck" has done nothing to improve our water quality. He has done nothing to improve the quality of life for our military community. Barstow is home to the CA Veterans Home and yet what has "Buck" done for our vets? Recently, "Buck" was named Chair of the House Education Committee. But if you look at the deteriorating condition of our schools in Barstow, it's easy to see that "Do Nothing Buck" has done nothing for our schools. He did just raise the interest rates on student loans after getting major donations from FannieMae.

In general, here in Barstow and throughout the 25th Congressional District, voters should be asking:

Where's Buck? What's Buck done for Barstow? What's Buck done for the 25th District?

What the BUCK?

"Buck" has no Congressional office in Barstow. He comes through every blue moon. But have you ever seen him? He may be friends with our "Do Nothing Mayor", but that doesn't help us. He periodically has his PR field representative come to a Council meeting and hand out plaques. Big deal. The last time was for the photo op recognition that Mayor Dale had for his recently recalled buddy ex-councilman Luellig. "Buck" sent his field rep Lew Stults to give Luellig a proclamation. Now I ask you, are we suppose to line up and vote for "Do Nothing Buck" because he sent his PR agent to join Mayor Dale in praising the ex-Councilman that voters just threw out of office? This is not representation! We need more. We must demand more out of our elected officials!

The BUCK stops here! The BUCK stops now!

Please Join Me in Voting Robert Rodriguez for Congress on November 7!!!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

TEN Ways YOU Can Help!

Please Help Take Back Barstow!

I need your help to take back Barstow. There is so much that needs to be done here in Barstow. I intend to fight hard for all Barstow residents. Issues relating to economic development, crime, youth activities, clean water, and putting an end to government corruption and the grip of special interest over our City, are all top priorities on my agenda. But first, I need your help to get elected. Together, we can make a difference! Will you please help me take back Barstow?

Here is a list of Ten Things YOU can do to help with this campaign:

  1. Contribute – Flyers, signs, mailing, and advertising are all important elements in winning this election but they do cost money. $20 to $2000, what ever you can do to help will really make a difference and secure a victory on November 7.

Please send checks payable to:

Committee to Elect Larry Halstead
P.O. Box 2073
Barstows, CA 92312-2073

  1. Endorsements – Your endorsement, your club, or civic organization will help let others know that this is a campaign worth supporting.
  1. Signs – Help display and/or distribute campaign signs at your home and office. Let people know about the candidate for change that you are supporting.
  1. Phone Calls - We will be phoning voters in an effort to get out the vote. Would you be willing to make calls to your friends and people in your precinct? You may work from home or your office with as little or as much time as you can offer.
  1. Walk Precincts - We need to get people involved and voting in this election. We need people to walk their neighborhoods to contact voters and distribute campaign materials. We also would like help recruiting volunteers.
  1. House Party - Would you like to invite your friends to a "house party" to talk about Larry's Campaign and raise money on his behalf? This could be a coffee klatch, a bbq, a pizza feed, or any other kind of get together. These events are key to allowing your family and friends a chance to meet the candidate, ask questions, and offer input for the changes they want to see in Barstow.
  1. Administrative - Would you like to help out with data entry, mailings, and other administrative functions? All kinds of help is need for a successful campaign. Any amount of time and effort will be greatly appreciated.
  1. Voter Registration - Would you like to help organize or work at public voter registration efforts? A few hours in front of Stater Bros, WalMart, or door to door is real helpful. New registered voters can be a critical element in any campaign.
  1. Speaking Engagements – Larry is available to come and speak to any size group, club, and organization. This is the best way for any group to discover the ideas that are part of the plan to take back Barstow.
  1. Your idea(s) - Please tell us in your own words about ways you would be interested in helping. You may very well have an idea that could make all the difference. Your input and suggestions are greatly needed and appreciated.