San Bernardino City Council’s Third Ward Election: A Battle of Perspectives

San Bernardino City Council’s Third Ward Election: A Battle of Perspectives
Moderator and KVCR Executive Director, Connie Leyva and San Bernardino City Council Ward 3 candidate, Christian Shaughnessy. (KVCR - Elizabeth Kelly)


The upcoming March 5 race for the San Bernardino City Council’s Third Ward features an intriguing match-up between a housing community organizer and a first-term council member. Christian T. Shaughnessy is challenging incumbent Juan Figueroa, who secured his seat in a 2019 special election following former council member John Valdivia's mayoral victory in 2018.

The Third Ward's Significance

The Third Ward election is one of the key contests on the March 5 ballot, highlighting issues crucial to the ward and the city at large.

Juan Figueroa's Vision

Juan Figueroa, a medical social worker and California State University San Bernardino graduate, views public safety as the city's top issue. He emphasizes reducing crime and addressing homelessness as key priorities. Figueroa advocates for restoring police officer positions lost during San Bernardino's bankruptcy and increasing police patrols. He also supports initiatives like the city's Navigation Center to provide comprehensive support for the homeless population.

Christian T. Shaughnessy's Perspective

Christian T. Shaughnessy, a housing community organizer with a background from San Bernardino Valley College and UC Santa Barbara, identifies corruption as the city's top issue. He proposes measures such as cracking down on bribery, fair bidding on public projects, and campaign finance reform. Shaughnessy advocates for ambitious investments in affordable housing and mental health services to tackle homelessness effectively.

Figueroa did not respond to the Carousel Mall redevelopment. In contrast, Shaughnessy envisions a community benefits agreement that includes local hiring practices to create good, middle-class jobs and foster an affordable housing renaissance in the downtown area. He also advocates for increased code enforcement to address blight and the legacy of slum lords.

Campaign Strategies and Endorsements

Figueroa highlights his deep roots in the Third Ward, citing his upbringing and community involvement as key strengths. He emphasizes his role in securing funding for local park improvements. Shaughnessy, on the other hand, emphasizes his refusal to accept corporate PAC or developer donations, emphasizing his commitment to campaign finance reform and term limits. He boasts endorsements from numerous organizations, unions, and elected officials.


The Third Ward election presents voters with a choice between two distinct visions for San Bernardino's future. Figueroa's focus on public safety and collaborative initiatives contrasts with Shaughnessy's emphasis on combating corruption and promoting affordable housing. As voters head to the polls on March 5, they will decide not just the representative for the Third Ward but also the direction of San Bernardino's governance and development.

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