Bishop City Council Re-Appoints Members Schwartz and Muchovej

Dear City of Bishop Residents,

At the end of their previous terms on the Bishop City Council, Karen Schwartz and Stephen Muchovej have been duly re-appointed by the Bishop City Council to continue representing the residents of the City of Bishop for another term. No challenging candidates emerged for this year’s election, so the remaining City Council has unanimously voted to re-appoint these Council members for another term. This avoids the time and expense of resources for a ceremonial election process in which the outcome was to be known in advance and is why you won’t see a field for Bishop City Council in your ballot this year. Though it is a boon and a blessing for the City and its resources to forgo the election process, the appointment removes a valuable public forum of interaction between the residents and their Council representatives. The purpose of this letter is to give them a chance to express, in their own words, their gratitude for allowing them to serve another term and their vision for Bishop’s future. They intend this letter to invite further dialog as they move into another term of service.

From Stephen Muchovej

The last four years serving you on the City Council have been a roller-coaster ride: exciting, full of ups and downs, and extremely rewarding. During my first term, I learned how to navigate the complex (and oftentimes slow) process of local government – and when faced with a decision, always asked myself  “will this lead to a sustainable and prosperous future for our town?”, “is this what is best for the citizens of Bishop?” I know my fellow council members share the same guiding principles, and together we acted accordingly. We’ve focused on housing from various angles: changing our zoning laws to enable more land to be converted to housing (via the downtown-specific plan); improving our relationship with LA to create a path for land releases for housing, and setting a foundation to limit vacant property ownership in town. We developed a plan for the economic revitalization of downtown and have started to relax some obstacles preventing entrepreneurs from opening new businesses.

When the pandemic struck, we jumped into action to help our local businesses while balancing the health needs of the general population. We used the “emergency declaration” to relax cumbersome state legislations to allow restaurants to do outdoor seating, applied for relief funding for local businesses, and advocated at the state level to relax some of the onerous restrictions that didn’t make sense for our region. We appealed to the CA Department of Public health, explaining how the colored tier system was biased against rural populations and suggested a way how to fix it – calls that resulted in a change in policy at the state level that allowed us to host Mule Days in 2021. We weathered Covid and came out strong because of our sacrifices.

Economically, we’ve been fiscally responsible – prioritizing expenditures based on a cost-benefit analysis for the community. We’ve tackled the long-term debt the City is facing and implemented a plan to address it; we’ve expanded our community services programs, and we’re happy to say the City’s budget is much healthier now than it was four years ago. We currently have a fully staffed public safety department and set a solid foundation for growth and development. To grow our services, we’ve also been proactive in securing federal funding for street and sidewalk improvements and infrastructure.

Even though we’ve managed to accomplish so much in a relatively short time, there is still A LOT of work to be done — and I’m committed to see many of the projects we started through to completion.  In the past few years, we’ve set a foundation to grow Bishop sustainably and responsibly – and we are committed to putting those plans into action in the next four. Let’s tackle our housing shortage more aggressively; let’s implement our downtown specific plan and revitalize our downtown area with sustainable businesses and make a more walkable area; let’s improve the mobility around town (especially for alternate modes of transportation); and let’s come up with a solid plan to address our aging infrastructure. I look forward to serving you in the next four years as we try to help our small town with a big backyard reach its full potential.

From Karen Schwartz

Serving you on the Bishop City Council over the past eight years and currently as your Mayor has been an honor and an enriching experience for me. Bishop residents are passionate, extraordinary, and productive in family, community, work, and play. In the last few years, we demonstrated the resilience of our community—the people of Bishop have shown a willingness to support one another and invest in our future together.

One example of this is our strong support of Measure P. As a result, we have fully staffed public safety departments to help our residents and business when they require our services. We are on track with our maintaining our roads and adding sidewalks to our residential streets. We have plans to add more pocket parks. Soon, our downtown will have a more cohesive and updated feel as the signage ordinance takes effect. Additionally, the City of Bishop worked with our neighboring agencies to find a meaningful solution to bring regional reliable air service to our region, and commercial air service in Bishop proved to be a resounding success. The City of Bishop will continue to engage in regional solutions to improve the quality of life for Eastern Sierra residents and visitors.

From my first term in 2014 to the present, the City of Bishop’s revenues increased by 65%. During the next four years, we look forward to achieving safer routes to school and expanding our pedestrian and biking routes.  We continue to strongly advocate for additional housing by maintaining partnerships with neighboring agencies to work together and find solutions to the housing crisis. We continue to support organizations that give back to Bishop through recreation, art, music, and education. We look for all avenues of cooperation between the city, county, state, and land agencies to bring the best possible services to you. I look forward to an amazing four years serving you and the City of Bishop.

 

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