Two mayors are pitted against two former members of the state Assembly in separate races to fill supervisorial seats in Riverside County on Nov. 6.
Calimesa Mayor Jeff Hewitt is squaring off with former Assemblyman Russ Bogh for the Fifth District seat being vacated by retiring Supervisor Marion Ashley, and Corona Mayor Karen Spiegel is in contention with former Assemblyman Eric Linder for the Second District seat that Supervisor John Tavaglione will leave in December after almost 25 years on the Board of Supervisors.
Hewitt is running on an anti-establishment platform, stating in campaign literature that “establishment politicians have nearly bankrupted our county.”
“Our families, our schools, our roads, our jobs and our very way of life must have at least one supervisor who will work for Riverside County’s interests first,” he said.
The mayor has criticized Ashley and other board members for the nearly $40 million KPMG contract, under which the Netherlands-based professional services firm conducted audits and issued recommendations about how to streamline and improve operations in public safety and general government agencies.
“As county supervisor, I will not duck behind consultants,” Hewitt said. “There are some issues that need an expert to look at and advise us on, but most of what a supervisor must make decisions on is just not that complex. I will save us tens of millions a year with one simple moral act: I will take full responsibility for my decisions.”
Bogh has illuminated his crime-fighting credentials in the race, noting his recognition by a victims’ rights group as a favored legislator while in office.
Bogh has also emphasized the need for preservation of quality of life and improving the county’s transportation infrastructure.
“Riverside County’s infrastructure needs serious improvement — especially mid-county infrastructure,” he said. “I’ll build a coalition of mid-county elected officials that will work closely with the Riverside County Transportation Commission to deliver smart, innovative projects that modernize our transit services and improve transportation for residents in the county.”
In the Second District race, Spiegel has promoted her business-friendly attitude and support of transportation improvement projects in campaign ads.
“I serve on the Riverside County Transportation Commission, where I have helped deliver over $3 billion in funding for transportation projects in Riverside County,” the mayor said on her website. “I have worked tirelessly to reduce traffic congestion, improve infrastructure and expand public transportation.”
She has taken aim at the county’s annual deficits since the Great Recession as a priority, citing the need for “a new approach that will restore fiscal responsibility.”
“Balancing the county budget will require a community-based approach, and we must have open dialogue in order to find realistic solutions,” Spiegel said.
Linder, who has a background in real estate and served two terms in the Assembly, has made jobs, public safety and ending homelessness key themes in his campaign.
“It’s the first job of government to keep us safe,” the candidate states in his platform. “I’ll make sure that our deputy sheriffs and fire personnel have all the training and equipment they need to get the job done right. I’m strongly opposed to the current state law that gives dangerous felons a `get out of jail free’ card and lets them loose on our streets.”
His multi-point plan to end homelessness includes expanding transitional housing opportunities for dispossessed veterans, women and children, and he believes in developing or enhancing programs that provide a means for homeless adults to acquire job skills that enable them to be participants in the regional economy.
Linder was raised in the Corona area. Spiegel has been a resident for three decades.