Claremont city council candidate Ed Reece
Mr. Reece is the CEO of ISN Global, an information technology group that is based in Claremont.
“We haven’t seen a business person on council in a long while,” he said. “And I think I can bring skill sets and knowledge as an employer, as one who manages a budget, a P&L, a balance sheet—I think I can bring those skills to council.”
He has also been heavily involved in public safety, serving as the current chair of the Police Commission and as co-chair of Partners for a Safe Claremont, the group that got out the vote for Measure SC. That measure failed this past June, and Mr. Reece has ideas on what the next ballot measure could be.
When asked what could have been done differently for SC to get over that 67 percent threshold, Mr. Reece had one quick answer—more time.
“By the time the measure was selected, we basically had less than three months from that point to success,” he said. “And I just think there was an opportunity for more community education, more community outreach.”
But ultimately, he felt Measure SC was successful in changing people’s minds about the need for a new station and creating more dialogue. “I do believe there was some success in the campaign,” he said. “It just didn’t pass.”
As far as a college contribution is concerned, Mr. Reece was happy the Colleges pledged $750,000 in the first place.
“They had no obligation to give, and I’m happy they gave at all,” he said. “Would I have liked more? Absolutely. Because the more they could give, the better it would be in our community in regards to those overall costs to our residents and property owners.”
The budget has been at the forefront of Mr. Reece’s campaign, and he touches on his experience in business to help balance a budget.
“I think there’s a number of things you can look at. Itt’s revenue—are we getting all the revenues we should be getting, is there opportunity for additional revenue streams?” he said. “And then we can look at other items like expenses—what do we need to cut in regard to certain items that are possible, that may or may not impact the community?”
Mr. Reece pointed to cuts within internal operations that would not have a direct impact on the community.
“So I think there’s a number of ways to look at that and really try to be good stewards of the community’s money,” he said.
In a similar vein, Mr. Reece vowed to “chip away” on the city’s $50 million unfunded CalPERS liability. He noted the unfunded liability was something that past administrations should have seen coming.
“Quite frankly, this was a problem decades ago that somebody should have seen and started making a course correction then,” he said. “Now we’re chasing behind the eight ball in some of this course correction. But we, as a community and more specifically as a city, still should chip away at it, and I know the city is doing that to the tune of $300,000 a month.”
He also said the CalPERS crisis that is affecting numerous cities across the state as well.
“So the question is, how do you stay competitive? How do you recruit talented people to work in our city and still try to figure out how to be fiscally sound and look at other options?” he asked.
Development will be a hot topic for the next council, especially in the upcoming Village South. Mr. Reece touted his plan for an “innovation hub” as something that could bring prominence not only to Village South, but also to Claremont as a whole. This innovation hub, he said, would attract new start-up businesses and a younger workforce to the city, as well as help bridge the gap between town and gown.
In terms of tree care, Mr. Reece noted there was “definitely an opportunity to improve our tree priorities and how we deal with tree maintenance,” specifically addressing the dying jacarandas on south Indian Hill Boulevard.
“I think there’s ways to look at those items, but a specific plan would require collaboration with our internal experts,” he said.
Mr. Reece touched upon his experience in business when asked how he would be forward thinking as a city councilperson.
“I think there’s plenty of opportunity in which to think about how we’re going to impact the future with our current decisions,” he said. “It’s also asking the right questions, and thinking about how we are executing the current vision and what that visionary path looks like. Are we continually going back to that vision and those goals?”
One aspect he would like to look at while on council is refreshing numerous master plans that were passed years ago, including the Senior Master Plan and the Youth Master Plan.
“I think there’s plenty of opportunity to look at these plans and make sure they fit within the vision or the umbrella of our community,” he said.
In his free time, Mr. Reece likes to scuba dive, watch movies and spending time with his friends, family and dogs. He is also the board president of the Inland Valley Reparatory Theater.
If he gets elected to council, Mr. Reece pledged to scale back on his role at ISN and resign as the chair of the Chamber of Commerce.
Ultimately, Mr. Reece wants to lead a city he has been involved in for over 20 years, starting with volunteering on the July Fourth committee in the 1990s.
“I want to take all of that experience, and my decades of experience as a business owner and bring it to council,” he said.