It was the beginning of 1989 when I began writing for another weekly newspaper in Hesperia, covering city council meetings, chamber events and the like. At the time, I was busy journaling the news of a fledgling city. But I had no idea then that what was happening around me would become an important part of Hesperia history years later.


Earlier I had worked as a business reporter, and before that I covered music and wrote feature stories and personality profiles. Attending Hesperia City Council meetings in the city's temporary digs at Main and Seventh was a new experience for me, but I wasn't the only one who was learning on the job. Also finding their way were Hesperia's five founding council members, Bruce Kitchen, George Beardsley, Percy Bakker, Val Shearer and Howard Roth.


Those five men seemed sincerely determined to do the right thing for the residents. They successfully brought a police presence to the city, started the unending task of improving city roads, and worked long hours on the city's master plan. Perhaps it was a cub reporter's innocence, but I truly believed that politics wasn't a dominating force in those days, at least not at first. Hesperians had chosen five extremely worthy men to do their best for their city. And that's what they did.


Through the years, political factions have come and gone. Each has tried its darnest to secure that coveted three-person majority on the council. Some have succeeded. Many have failed.


People band together because there is strength in numbers, but in the Hesperia City Council's first few years there were just five individuals. They certainly didn't always agree, but they seemed to vote their conscience.


Hesperia has changed dramatically since 1988. Not only does the city have more residents - about 90,000 and counting - but it looks different and its cultural makeup is changing. It used to be made up of retirees looking for some acreage and wide-open skies or servicemen stationed at George Air Force Base taking advantage of a friendly housing market. Hesperia has never been a town for the wealthy, but the number of people finding it hard make it through the week seems to be growing.


Leading a city with such as dynamic community of divergent issues and challenges certainly isn't easy. But this and future councils would be wise to occasionally look back on Hesperia's first council. Surely not every decision that group made was letter perfect, but they always seemed to keep one thing at the center of their minds: the heartfelt desire to do what was best for Hesperia and its residents.