Councilman Charley Glasper says Adelanto is where he will hang his hat “until the good Lord calls me home.” When talking with him it doesn’t take long to realize how much this 79-year-old really means it. He loves his city and has dedicated himself to making it a better place to live for all of its residents.
The councilman entered the crazy world of politics after reading about an embarrassing incident involving a former mayor in 2002. He lost his city council race that year by just 67 votes but that did not deter him from trying again in 2004 where he came out on top. Since then he also served as mayor for a time and is currently serving the second year of his 2014 four-year term on the council.
Glasper says the current council is paying for the sins of its forefathers. He says a lot of mistakes were made, including the misuse of redevelopment money. Those mistakes are handcuffing the current council as it tries to make things right.
“Our elected officials in the 90s were wrong in what they did,” he says. “And that is why we are doing what we do to this city on a more constructive path of recovery.”
Councilman Glasper, like most of his fellow councilmen, is sensitive to the criticism he has received over the prison issue. “We do not live in a utopian society. As long as we have two humans on this earth, they will try to kill one another. That’s the way we are. It goes all the way back to Adam and Eve.”
“Any civilized society must have schools, churches, hospitals, and prisons,” he continues. “But everyone forgets the largest of the prisons in the area, the federal prison, is not in Adelanto. It is in Victorville.”
Glasper is equally sensitive to the medical cannabis issue and he takes a well-reasoned approach to it. He says he was against allowing medical cannabis at all but now is “middle of the road” with it since the state enacted guidelines for such facilities last year. It was his idea to put the facilities in the industrial park as he is completely against any growing, even for personal use, in residential areas. He is against any type of grow that cannot be fully regulated.
“The federal government has taken a step back. They are not going to raid facilities. They will let the states governs the cities,” says Glasper. “But there are authorities that will step in and shut us down if we don’t do this right.”
“No children will be in the industrial park,” Glasper points out. That comment led to another point in reference to those who think children will be affected by the decision to allow medial cannabis cultivation in the city.
“Parents should step up to the plate and start raising their children. They need to get involved like they were when I was a child growing up,” says Glasper. “There is no discipline. You could speak to a child when I was growing up. A child didn’t even act like he or she wanted to give you some lip.”
Glasper is hoping residents will give the council a chance to make things right. “I think we need to let the citizens of Adelanto see what is going to happen. If we mess this up, they have every right to recall us and shut it down. But they need to give us a chance to do it right first.”
When asked about how things are different now than perceived before being elected as a city councilman, his response is much the same as others on the counil. “We have a charter that allows you to do certain things. You have to go through the city manager. An elected official cannot go to staff,” Glasper says. “Once you learn what the rules are, you will get there. The workers know they have one boss. And that boss is the city manager.”
Also like the others, Glasper wants to attract new businesses to the city. But he is quick to point out that in his book those businesses must have a point of sale within city limits. Without a point of sale, the city stands to only make $50 a year for a license.
“Anyone who wants to set up a manufacturing business will have a point of sale,” says Glasper. “I will vote against you getting a license when all you are paying is $50 a year. Jobs don’t mean anything when the income they produce is not buying products in your city.”
Being elected to the city council is not the only way Glasper gives back to his community. For him, giving back is a way of life. “You have to stop being so self-righteous. Love your neighbor. Love, work, and interact within this human race to make it better.”
“I have to ask myself what I am doing to help make society a nicer place. I am being watched,” he says. “I have to watch what I do and say, and my behavior has to be up to a certain standard or I will be defeating my purpose.”
Among his volunteer activities, every year Glasper leads of a team of 18 senior volunteers as part of AARP to help prepare taxes for those who need help. “I think that what it is all about. It’s what you do with what you have.”
Recently, the council surprised Glasper by naming the new community center after him. “I didn’t see that one coming. I feel honored,” the councilman says with a smile in his voice. “I’m going to do what I can do within reason to get some sponsors to run that as a community center without it being a burden on the city. I want to see a lot of citizen participation in the center. I want to see a nice place for adults and children.”
The councilman hopes to see a learning center or computer center housed in the facility. He also wants it used to feed the hungry and perhaps a community garden where residents can grow their own vegetables. “It should be an ongoing center that will help the community through the community helping itself,” says the councilman. “I want to see a team running the center. I want to see everybody involved.”
Overall, Councilman Glasper is happy with the new direction of Adelanto. “This is a good city. It just needs the right leadership. I stand behind Mayor Kerr. He is very aggressive and is a get-the-job done kind of person,” concludes Glasper. “I can’t think of anyone else I would rather be working with right now.”