Meet the Third Ward City Council candidates

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The November election is just under three weeks away, and local elections are on the forefront.

The Third Ward is generating conversation this election season after incumbent Ken Weir, who has represented the ward since 2006, was challenged by local businessman Boyd Binninger and retired electrician Lonnie Daddow.

Ward three includes Northeast Bakersfield, Westchester and the 34th Street corridor. The department consists of over 54,000 residents and over 35,900 registered voters, including 15,339 Republicans and 11,222 Democrats.

The biggest problems are crime and homelessness. The third ward has high rates of both.

Weir is running for a fifth term and says he has a plan to address both issues if re-elected.

“I gave the city manager an open slate, a blank slate and I’m going to meet with him soon and we’re going to talk about it, but it’s all going to be addressed at the Oct. 19 meeting, we’re going to look at that first,” Weir said.

Weir is 68, a conservative Republican born in the Midwest. He moved to Bakersfield 40 years ago and served on the board of the Bakersfield City School District from 1992-2006.

Weir says solving the problems facing Ward Three is drawing on the experience he gained on the school board and council.

“I have thirty years of experience in elected office. I believe that I progressed in those positions. I think I did a good job, I contributed to the function and efficiency of organizations, I saved the city. millions of dollars, and I don’t think there is another competitor that will be able to match those tasks and achievements,” Weir said.

His challenger, Boyd Binninger, believes otherwise. He has no elected experience, but is a 66-year-old born-and-raised Bakersfield resident with 25 years in commercial real estate.

Binninger is involved in local charities, such as serving on the board of the Flood Ministry, a non-profit organization that provides access to the local homeless. Which, he says, gave him an insight into the growing problem of homelessness in the third ward.

“I think sometimes when you’ve been in a position for a long time, you seem a little jaded, and I feel, and people I’ve talked to, just feel like we’re neglected on the East Side,” Binninger said.

The third candidate is also the first candidate. Lonnie Daddow, a 78-year-old retired electrician, says he takes a personal approach to the campaign. “I talked to people in my department. I asked them if they were concerned about anything, and I got a lot of concerns,” Daddow said.

A native of Utah, Daddow has lived in Bakersfield for more than 15 years and says he understands what the department needs.

“Security … I was there five days, I never saw a police car, I was there morning, night, and I never saw a patrol car,” Daddow said.

Everyone agrees their priorities are crime and homelessness, but Binninger says Ward Three can’t wait any longer.

“I’m not going to mention the address because all you have to do is drive by and see it. There’s always homeless people in front of it, and I understand that those people are homeless for a reason, but still, you just have to make sure they don’t hinder the growth and our neighborhood,” Binninger said.

Another priority for any candidate is to make Ward Three more family-friendly. One change that will happen for Weir is the creation of City Lights, a new shopping center that will take the place of the former East Hills Mall.

“It’s going to be a big draw for the Northeast and a great addition because we don’t have a lot of shopping and dining there. It’s definitely needed,” Weir said.

One thing each of these candidates could say to those living in Ward Three:

“There’s a lot of things I’d like to do, there’s a lot of things I’ve done and I want to continue that process,” Weir said.

“We’ve seen things happen downtown, on the west side, fortunately down in the southeast and southwest, but we really haven’t seen a lot of it come back to East Bakersfield, so I think that’s a difference I could make,” he said is Binninger.

“I think a person like me who’s not in government, I’m a man who lives on the street who works for a living, and sees all the things that are going on, and wants to change everything for the better, I think I’m probably more diverse in my work than is a politician at his job, and I think you should vote for me for that reason,” Daddow said.

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