Dan Flores is no stranger to residents of the county’s 5th Supervisorial District, the Chief of Staff to Supervisor Josie Gonzales is driven by the determination to advocate for policies and deliver services that will improve the quality of life for residents, and his commitment to the community is what inspired Dan to run for the office for which he has worked 15 years, since 2005.
“I feel most myself when I get to listen (to the community), talk with them, and, driven by our values, make decisions on what we believe,” Dan shared. “I know the community, and I want to speak for them – the decisions are based solely on what’s best for the community. I’m not interested in anything other than that.”
Dan, a third generation Colton resident and Colton Joint Unified School District board member since 2012, expressed an obligation he feels to protect the community, one in which his wife and three young children reside.
“I’m not going to let anyone take advantage of this place; corruption tends to victimize low income and working class communities, and I refuse to let that happen on my watch in the 5th District,” Dan, who lives one block from where he grew up, declared. “I literally have to live with the decisions I make, they affect me and my family.”
Dan observed that he’s at an age where he’s facing the same issues as the majority of the community (30 – 35-year-olds), walking and breathing it, and believes it is generationally time for young blood to represent the district.
“I have the most experience in county government – I’ve earned the respect of the administration and department heads, and professionally speaking, no one is more prepared to step up and do the job than me. Period.”
Dan’s top priorities are supporting youth in education, increasing services for the mentally ill, and continue to solve the homelessness/housing issues.
The key to changing the trajectory of poverty within the community, Dan believes, is through education. He expressed his commitment to support youth by partnering further with school districts to raise the bar by increasing graduation rates, college attendance and vocational training.
“It’s important that we restore the pride in (vocational careers) –they’re as valuable, as noteworthy as any college degree,” remarked Dan, whose father was a Teamster truck driver for Stater Bros.
According to Dan he would ensure wrap around support such as social services, housing and workforce resources would be readily available to help or further stabilize families in order to create a home environment for youth conducive to learning.
A crisis Dan will also prioritize is that of mental health, noting that there can’t be a discussion on homelessness without addressing mental health. It was, and in some cases still is, standard procedure for law enforcement to respond to individuals suffering from mental health issues, but they are not equipped with the necessary training to effectively provide assistance.
The County’s Department of Behavioral Health has been making great strides in its outreach to the population suffering from mental health through its Community Crisis Response Teams (CCRT), Crisis Walk In Centers, and Crisis Stabilization Units, providing effective interventions as opposed to a jail cell.
“We can’t arrest ourselves out of the mental health crisis,” Dan remarked. “We have to decriminalize mental health – law enforcement can’t be the de facto way to react.”
Dan will also continue to work vigorously with the Housing Authority and other agencies to increase affordable housing stock to alleviate the homeless crisis the county faces. Dan recently announced a four-point plan, called Operation Crossroads, to reduce the number of chronic homeless on the street. The plan calls for a Homeless Outreach Team, expansion of psychiatric beds at the county’s hospital, the implementation of Laura’s Law, and expansion of the Medicated Assisted Treatment program at county jails.
“I truly believe we are at a crossroads. We cannot continue to spend money on programs that do not solve the problem. We need real solutions that treat the root cause of repetitive incarceration and chronic homelessness, which is typically mental illness and addiction,” added Dan.
Dan is endorsed by the San Bernardino County Public Attorneys Association Prosecutors PAC and California’s Firefighters, CAL FIRE Local 2881.
Other candidates running for San Bernardino County 5th District Supervisor are Rialto Councilman Joe Baca Jr., Fontana Councilman Jesse Armendarez and Nadia Renner.
Election day is March 3. If no one receives a simple majority, a November runoff will take place.
The 5th District includes the cities of Colton, Fontana, Rialto, and San Bernardino, and the unincorporated communities of Bloomington, El Rancho Verde, Glen Helen, Arrowhead Farms, Muscoy, Little Third and Rosena Ranch.