Three battle for 3rd District seat on Riverside County Board of Supervisors – Press Enterprise

Feb 6, 2024 | Canyon Crest Guide Newspaper | 0 comments



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Chuck Washington’s winning streak is once again on the line.

The Riverside County supervisor, who served on the Murrieta and Temecula city councils before joining the county’s highest-elected body, has never lost an election. He’ll look to continue that trend as he seeks another four-year term representing the Board of Supervisors’ 3rd District.

Standing in his way are former Cudahy councilmember and 2022 Republican state treasurer candidate Jack Guerrero and former Murrieta councilmember Jonathan Ingram. All three are on the ballot in the March 5 primary election.

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Someone will win the seat if he gets 50% plus one of the total vote. Otherwise, the top two vote-getters will face off in the November election.

At stake is one of five nonpartisan seats on the board, which oversees public services for 2.4 million in the nation’s 10th most-populated county, one roughly equal in land area to New Jersey. County government has more than 20,000 employees and a roughly $9 billion budget that’s grown dramatically since the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 3rd District represents about 500,000 people in Aguanga, Anza, De Luz, East Hemet, French Valley, Green Acres, Homeland, La Cresta, Lake Riverside, Menifee, Murrieta, Sage, Temecula, Wildomar, Winchester and part of Valle Vista.

Jack Guerrero

Guerrero, who got 41% of the vote statewide — 53% in Riverside County — in his unsuccessful treasurer bid, moved to Temecula in March 2023. The Stanford- and Harvard-educated economist and certified public accountant promises to be an independent and vigilant fiscal watchdog.

It’s a vital role, he said, for a county with a number of flashing financial red lights, from drastically underestimated pension debt to too many half-million dollar-earning executives and a lack of internal controls that open the door for fraud and corruption.

Jack Guerrero, who ran as a Republican for California state treasurer in 2022, is running for the 3rd District Riverside County supervisor seat in the March 5, 2024, election. (Courtesy of Barnet Photography)
Jack Guerrero, who ran as a Republican for California state treasurer in 2022, is running for the 3rd District Riverside County supervisor seat in the March 5, 2024, election. (Courtesy of Barnet Photography)

“If we can address those things very efficiently, then we prime the county for great success across all kinds of urgent matters like infrastructure development and accommodating growth and promoting private sector, job growth, et cetera,” Guerrero said.

“All of those things are very important. But we need to find the foundational slate of good government and best practices in the way we organize our county’s affairs.”

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Guerrero, who supports a two-term limit for supervisors, also wants county departments to justify every penny they ask for, rather than go into every budget cycle with a certain amount of money already guaranteed to them.

“I also want to focus on election integrity,” he said. “That’s part of this broader environment of internal controls that really matters in the county. Very few people are talking about that and I think that we need to investigate the county’s election process and I will go wherever the evidence and the facts take me.”

Jonathan Ingram

Ingram served on the Murrieta City Council, including a stint as mayor, from 2014 to 2022.

“I am deeply committed to addressing the pressing issues that affect our district,” Ingram, a former county GOP chairman, said via text.

“I firmly believe that by focusing on local well-paying jobs, improving traffic and infrastructure, fostering transparency and addressing homelessness and mental illness, we can create a district where everyone can thrive.”

Ingram said he would “work tirelessly to attract industries that align with our district’s strengths, ensuring that residents have access to fulfilling careers close to home.”

He also wants to reduce traffic congestion by expanding public transportation options and “implementing smart traffic solutions.”

Jonathan Ingram, a former Murrieta mayor, is running for the 3rd District seat on the Riverside County Board of Supervisors in the March 5, 2024, election. (Courtesy of Ingram campaign)
Jonathan Ingram, a former Murrieta mayor, is running for the 3rd District seat on the Riverside County Board of Supervisors in the March 5, 2024, election. (Courtesy of Ingram campaign)

“I am committed to establishing a clear and transparent process that empowers residents and businesses alike,” Ingram said. “Rather than focusing on what people can’t do, I will prioritize informing them about what they can do.”

Ingram also promised to work with law enforcement and mental health professionals “to develop innovative strategies” to deal with crime, mental illness and homelessness.

“By providing adequate resources for mental health services, affordable housing, and supportive programs, we can help individuals overcome their struggles and reduce the correlation between homelessness, mental illness, and crime,” he said.

Chuck Washington

The county’s first Black supervisor, Washington was appointed to his seat in 2015 by then-Gov. Jerry Brown to fill a vacancy. He was elected to a four-year term in 2016 and reelected in 2020.

During his tenure, Washington said the county has balanced its budget, built up its savings, stabilized its pension costs and bolstered spending on public safety, mental health and other services.

“The reality is our budget has grown because revenues have grown,” he said. “Funding from state and federal sources has grown. The county itself has grown in population. We’re serving more people.”

Riverside County Supervisor Chuck Washington is seeking reelection in the March 5, 2024, election. (File photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)
Riverside County Supervisor Chuck Washington is seeking reelection in the March 5, 2024, election. (File photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

“If that was a warning sign … what you would see increased deficit spending. But actually, what you’re seeing is (a) balanced budget and growing reserves.”

Washington said that, unlike his opponents, he doesn’t need on-the-job training.

“Coming to the county Board of Supervisors (from Temecula), I realized, ‘Wow, I had no idea what counties do. I had no idea what a county supervisor does,” he said. “It’s not just like being a councilman but for more people.”

If reelected, Washington, who would be the board’s senior-most supervisor with Kevin Jeffries not seeking reelection, said he’d work to support social workers “so that we can retain them (and) not overburden them.”

He also wants to reduce the amount of time ambulances spend offloading patients at hospitals. Long waits to offload patients keep ambulances from going back into service.

“I can lead towards the next four years to make sure that we have the right kinds of solutions in place and investing in the services and departments where we get the best return on investment, not just, ‘Oh well, we’ve always just put money into this department,’” Washington said.

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