Hesperia City Councilman Mike Leonard will run for a second term in 2008, he said Thursday.

"I think because the city is on such a positive upswing, I guess," Leonard said Thursday. "It's like everybody is saying 'the city's doing great things, the commercial, the paving.' It's kind of nice to be part of it, to be part of a positive change in the city. ... Let's face it, for a number of years, things were pretty bad in the city."

Leonard made the decision when he was on vacation with his wife in the Sierra Nevadas in late August, he said.

"The city's in a positive upswing," Leonard said. "The new police station, the two new fire stations, the other commercial that we've been working on like Wal-Mart and Home Depot. There's more stuff there, we just can't talk about it, because they haven't signed the paperwork.

"And let's face it, the Ranchero [Road Underpass] project is almost there. Of course, they've been saying that for years."

From the beginning, Leonard's term has been a learning process, he said.

Former Mayor "Jim Lindley told me when I got in ... your first four years are like your learning experience. Your next four years, if you get reelected, are when you actually understand what's going on."

Leonard ends every council meeting thanking the city staff, and he attributes his success on the council to the city's employees.

"With the staff we have, it's a very, very easy learning experience. ... You get your agenda, you go home and you read it. If you have questions, you call [Principal Planner] Dave Reno or [Deputy Director of Development Services] Tom Harp or whoever, and you get an answer right away."

When Leonard was first elected in November 2004, the retired firefighter said he would be a one-term councilman only. Three years later, he's changed his mind, but with nearly empty campaign committee coffers -- less than $1,000, according to the councilman -- he's going to be starting almost from scratch for his reelection campaign.

"I want to put up a few signs and maybe a mailer, I don't know."

But he will be going up against at least one well-financed opponent in the race for two open seats. (Councilman Tad Honeycutt is also up for reelection, but is not expected to run for a third term in office.)

Former planning commissioner Russ "Blewett's going to run for city council. He's already established his committee," Leonard said.

Planning commissioner Paul Bosacki and Mark Kirk, the son of Hesperia Unified School District school board vice-president Robert Kirk, are also rumored to be preparing 2008 runs for the city council.

"There's two seats. If he gets one, he gets one," Blewett said Thursday. "I know they're going to try and run Bosacki with him, but it won't work, because I'll run ahead of both of them."

Leonard's decision wasn't a surprise, Blewett said.

"I knew he was going to run the day he did the God thing."

In June of this year, Leonard proposed the idea of adding 8-inch high letters reading "One Nation Under God" to city council chambers at city hall.

Another obstacle Leonard may have to contend with: No sitting mayor has ever been reelected to another term of office. In December this year, Leonard, who currently serves as mayor pro tem of the city council, is expected to be named mayor.

"I think I stand a good chance," Leonard said. "I think, as a council, we've done a good job."

Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com.