By Peter Coonradt, member of Reading for Redlands Editorial Board
I don’t know whom I’m going to vote for in the Redlands City Council election. But I do know whom I’m voting against: Ken Hunter.
He doesn’t want it widely known, but he’s an active member and poster child of the Redlands Tea Party Patriots.
The positions espoused by the RTPP reflect racial and religious bigotry, conspiracy theories and fanatical ideology wrapped in a cloak of pious conservatism.
Regardless of where you stand on issues facing the city, electing a man with Hunter's viewpoints to the council would bring only discord and disruption to city government.
If you think I’m exaggerating it can only be because you haven’t seen how, at council and planning commission meetings, RTPP members, including Ken Hunter, disrupt civil community input with relentless rants that often include baseless accusations of corruption and malfeasance by council members and city staff. They see government, even local government, as the oppressor and their strategy is to cripple it to the greatest extent possible.
Here are some of the core ideas promoted by the RTPP:
Is it fair to stick council candidate Ken Hunter with the views of the RTPP? Until he unequivocally disavows those views, yes.
His writings are featured on their website.
He’s their recommended candidate.
He has derisively referred to two of his election opponents as “the Muslim candidates,” as though their religion and ancestry disqualify them from serious consideration. However I doubt he ever refers to himself as “the white Protestant candidate.”
It would be one thing if Ken Hunter advertised his association with the Tea Party Patriots in his campaign materials and defended their views as his own. His avoidance of that association speaks volumes.
He probably knows those views won’t play well outside the RTPP echo chamber. So it’s up to the rest of us to make sure voters know where he’s coming from.
Crazy talk aside, the stand on development that Mr. Hunter espoused in the Sept. 27 Daily Facts isn’t just conservative, it’s archaic. He writes, “We have too high of a ratio of rental and multi-family residences. I am against high-density residential and ‘mixed-use’ development for Redlands.”
What’s the alternative? More sprawl. More of the same approach to land use that’s bad for the environment and degrades the qualities that make Redlands special. More development that turns Redlands into the United States of Generica.
The Harmony project in Highland exemplifies the kind of development Mr. Hunter applauds. It eats up huge amounts of our vanishing open space and wildlife habitat. It makes residents drive long distances to work, shop and go to school, increasing traffic and air pollution.
“Mixed use” integrates residential, business and cultural amenities in walkable, transit friendly neighborhoods. It is not an Agenda 21 plot to undermine everything we hold dear.
And why doesn’t Mr. Hunter like rental and multi-family residences? Because they attract lower-income people who can’t afford to buy a home. Young, unmarried people. Racial minorities. Young men who wear their baseball caps backwards.
They’re counting on our votes being diluted among the other eight city council candidates, so if RTPP members vote as a bloc for Ken Hunter he’ll be in.
There’s no other candidate I’m recommending as the preferred alternative to Ken Hunter.
I only know it’ll be bad news if he gets elected.
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