Our three picks for council have much in common. All are hardworking, approachable, and honest to a fault. They may not agree on all issues, but their commitment to our community is undeniable.

Mayor: Peggy Breeden

Incumbent Peggy Breeden is running for her third term as Ridgecrest’s second elected mayor. (That is two more years on top of four, for anyone who is keeping track.) The Daily Independent once again endorses Breeden as our pick.

Breeden has shown tenacity and grit during her most recent term. She handled the scaldingly controversial casino issue with grace and patience, yet managed to reign in the frequently heated discussions within stated time limits while keeping everyone mostly under control. She has weathered personal attacks without changing her position on this and other dicey issues. She truly does appear to vote with the best interests of the city in mind.

She has also been consistently open with her reasons for her council votes. She is known to be approachable to members of the public and gives out her personal cell phone number at virtually every event. If you want to know how Breeden stands on an issue, just ask.

In addition to moderating council meetings, Breeden is also exceptionally good at acting as the public face of the community. She attends so many events, it is hard to keep up with her sometimes. She, for example, has rarely missed even a Planning Commission meeting over the past several years. And she is always approachable, smiling, compassionate and supportive of her community. Her commitment to the community is obvious and impossible to miss.

Breeden is also a heavy-hitter when it comes to water issues, probably the most important issue confronting the Indian Wells Valley. Over the past year, when she chaired the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority, her expertise and knowledge in this area have been indispensable.

She is also hardworking, seemingly always prepared for every agenda item, despite her numerous other appearances. She almost always keeps her cool during council meetings, and even when she is critical she does it in a calm way. The Daily Independent once again endorses Peggy Breeden for mayor of Ridgecrest.

Council seats: (two vacant seats)

Michael Mower

The Daily Independent endorsed incumbent Michael Mower for his current seat on the council and we would do it again. So we are. Mower has consistently shown himself the voice of reason of the current council. He occasionally gets a little angry, but it is usually for a good reason and he always calms down quickly after explaining his point.

Like Breeden, Mower’s commitment to the community is obvious. His championing of the Downs Street Project, his so-called “pet project,” exemplifies this. This project, which may finally be getting underway, will serve to upgrade the experience of driving through Ridgecrest by bringing one of the most travelled roads in Ridgecrest up to a better level. Mower has said that if he were a developer looking at investing in this town, Downs Street as it is would not make a good impression so it should be fixed. This is a sharp, insightful observation and the sort of smart-business thinking the council needs – and Mower excels at it.

He has also shown himself to think clearly and rationally on issues of great public contention, such as the casino. Mower does his research, explains his reasons calmly and―for the most part―sits patiently through the endless debates.

Like Breeden, Mower also obviously does his homework. He comes to council meetings prepared and asks pertinent questions. His shrewd business sense is usually obvious, as is his sense of humor – which can be a blessing in the midst of some meetings.

The Daily Independent is on board with Michael Mower, once again, for the Ridgecrest City Council.

Steve Morgan

Sometimes it is better to go with the devil you know. And former Mayor and Councilman Steve Morgan has a good enough sense of humor to appreciate that in this case that would be him. The city is entering what may be challenging times. Morgan brings many years of experience to his candidacy, which is obvious to anyone who has attended any of the recent candidate forums.

Morgan not only understands many of the projects and issues currently facing the city, he was around when they first came up. As with Breeden and Mower, his commitment to the city is undeniable and unquestioned. He has served in a volunteer capacity for the Lions Club putting on fireworks for years and is currently active in the efforts to get Pinney Pool reopened.

Prior to the current city council, Morgan may have held the record as the most passionate councilman in living memory. Compared to the occasional ugliness of some recent council discussions, however, the “Morgan meltdowns” of yesteryear seem tame indeed. Morgan cares deeply about his community and that is obvious, but he never stooped to unpleasantness or name-calling in his years on the council.

His depth of corporate knowledge stands to benefit the city immensely, and the Daily Independent also applauds his plans to use the committee structure more effectively to better direct the city council meetings.

As mentioned above, Morgan is honest to a fault. He will tell you what he thinks whether you like it or not. This is a good thing in a councilman.

The Daily Independent endorses Steve Morgan for Ridgecrest City Council.