CALIFORNIA CITY – Ron Smith is filling the position on City Council vacated by Tami Marie Johnson following appointment Saturday. Smith, who is pastor and founder of Victory Baptist Church in California City was one of six applicants vying for the position.
“There were some other great candidates that here and I appreciate those that put their name in the hat,” said Smith following his selection. “I’m honored to be able to serve my city and I certainly hope I will make Councilmember Johnson proud.”
Smith has been living in California City since 1991, first visiting in 1983 while serving in the Air Force as a weather observer at Edwards Air Force Base. He serves volunteer prison chaplain at California City Correctional Facility and volunteer fire chaplain for City of California City Fire Department.
The vote came after a nearly 7-hour long meeting during which candidates who submitted letters of intent were allowed to make their case for the position. Candidates were given five minutes to present to the City Council and the public their thoughts as to why they should be appointed. One applicant, Albert Mendoza, did not attend the meeting and was disqualified from consideration.
“What would differentiate me from the other candidates is I am a small government guy,” said Smith during his presentation. “I am a fiscal conservative, to the point that our church after going into minimal debt, we paid it off in seven years. And in more than 21 years, we’ve only gone as a pay as you go. We believe in fiscal responsibility and I have presented a balanced budget for 28 years, certainly not on the city scale. I know many of my fellow citizens, have been wanting to have election (for this position). One of the benefits of having an appointment for a very short period of time, is it whoever will be appointed is not beholden to anyone who assisted them in the campaign.
I know there’s going to be, I’m sure, there’s going to be questions on my position on cannabis. When things started off, I was anti marijuana. My personal opinion is not important. The position has been established by the city that we will have cannabis in the city. If appointed, I believe that things need to be done fairly. Things need to be done to the point that everyone has a has a fair chance. My goal would be as we’ve been told, there’s only one train in town. Typically, when you see a train, there’s a bunch of other cars and my goal would be to establish and encourage other train cars to come.”
He added that he has been attending council meeting regularly for 28 years.
The other nominees were:
• James Creighton - retired Air Force senior master sergeant and retired Edwards Air Force Base civil service employee who currently serves as chairman of the California City Planning Commission.
• Carolinda Fleming - community youth volunteer, writer, web designer and desktop graphic arts technicia, vice chair of the park and recreation commissioners board member of the Mojave Unified School District Parent Advisory Council, board member of the California City Community Club, member of the California City Host Lion’s Club, board member of California City Chamber Of Commerce and team mom for California City High School varsity boys back-2-back CIF championship basketball team.
• Kathryn Efford-Floyd - real estate broker, mortgage broker and paralegal and founder and senior pastor of California City Christian Center and Eagle’s Way Academy.
• LaMiya Patrick-Walker - data entry specialist, former personal care assistant and medical assistant and former private security dispatcher and customer service representative.
Following the presentations and questions from the public, only three nominees were put forward for consideration. Councilmember Don Parris nominated Smith, Mayor Pro Tem Eugune Stump nominated Fleming and Mayor Chuck McGuire nominated Creighton.
Smith was appointed with a vote of 3 to 1, McGuire casting the dissenting vote.
Johnson resigned the council on June 25 citing medical concerns. Smith’s appointment will stand until the next general election in November 2020.