Former Assemblyman Ross Bogh and Corona Mayor Karen Spiegel were holding onto slim leads Wednesday in their bids to claim two seats on the Riverside County Board of Supervisors.
With 100 percent of precincts reporting from Tuesday’s election, Bogh was leading Calimesa Mayor Jeff Hewitt by just 360 votes in the battle to fill the 5th District seat being vacated by retiring Supervisor Marion Ashley. Spiegel, meanwhile, had a roughly 1,000-vote lead over Assemblyman Eric Linder in the race to claim the 2nd District seat that Supervisor John Tavaglione will leave in December after almost 25 years on board.
According to the Registrar of Voters’ Office, over 250,000 vote-by-mail and provisional ballots have yet to be tallied. The registrar’s staff was additionally working Wednesday to decipher about 5,000 damaged ballots. The next election update, during which results will be posted at www.voteinfo.net, is slated for 6 p.m. Thursday.
Bogh illuminated his crime-fighting credentials, noting his recognition by a victims’ rights group as a favored legislator while in office. He also emphasized the need for preservation of neighborhood 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.”
Hewitt ran 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 a 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.”
In the 2nd District race, Spiegel 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 took aim the county’s annual deficits since the Great Recession, 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, 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 stated 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.