After a very tight race with incumbent Henry Nickel, Ben Reynoso has been elected as San Bernardino’s 5th Ward City Councilman.
Reynoso, 28, is a Loyola Marymount University, Southern Miss., and Cajon high graduate and community organizer is fighting for career employment, a living wage, and better air quality for the people of San Bernardino by working to reign in developers who build without ensuring any type of community benefits.
“My biggest priorities are to engage the community, implement regulation on warehouse development and improve the health of our community members,” said Reynoso.
First and foremost, Reynoso plans to walk door-to-door over a few months period (COVID-safe, of course) to engage with each constituent in the 5th ward to introduce himself as their representative, and listen to what residents envision for the future.
“One of my biggest priorities is to not only engage the community in a way that has never been done before, but to also strengthen their stake in our community. There are over 30,000 people in this ward, so it’s important to visit every single door to let people know that I represent them,” continued Reynoso.
Along with engaging the community, another priority of Reynoso’s is to increase smart development, by implementing regulations on warehouse development.
“I want to visit the idea of a warehouse moratorium, in terms of policy. There are so many areas within our community that cannot afford another warehouse,” said Reynoso. “These warehouses can no longer be filled with temporary employment, starvation wages, and sweatshop conditions; this is unacceptable. I want a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) with any and every major development.”
The acquisition of a community benefits agreement would ensure local hires first, a limit on temporary employment and also assist in the health of the city, another pivotal area of interest to Reynoso.
“There’s an irresponsible logistics movement happening now. Our city literally makes America’s e-commerce possible, and people outside of this county fail to realize that laborers (our people) are not being treated well. There are tens of thousands of diesel trucks running through our neighborhoods everyday releasing toxic emissions into our air…it’s not the drivers’ fault, it’s the city’s fault. Everyone is not being protected as much as possible. People over profit, always,” Reynoso declared.
He also anticipates to lead a shift in bringing more skilled jobs into the city that pay a livable wage, to navigate away from dead-end jobs that cannot sustain economic advancement.
In-regards-to the tight election, which was officially certified on December 1, Reynoso held 52 percent of the votes, while Nickel obtained 48 percent.
“I am grateful. Initially I was anxious…when the first numbers were reported I was down by 25 votes, then two hours later I was down by only 4 votes; and then the next morning I was leading by over 40 votes. It honestly still feels surreal and I’m so proud of how I ran this grassroots campaign with only a good friend as my treasurer. I was not competing at the same level financially, as my opponent. I didn’t even have a campaign manager, just passion,” concluded Reynoso.
Final certified numbers of the election indicate Reynoso garnered 5,772 total votes, while incumbent Nickel 5,172.
Reynoso will be sworn in as San Bernardino’s 5th Ward Councilman right before the San Bernardino City Council meeting on December 16.
For more information on the elections, visit https://www.sbcounty.gov/rov/elections/Results
To learn more about Councilman Reynoso, visit https://www.votereynoso.com.