Have you heard? There’s an election going down Tuesday, and as far as the IE goes, the most entertaining one is certainly the battle over the Riverside city council—at least that’s the one using up all the bandwidth on the Craigslist message boards. So if you live in Riverside and haven’t mailed in your ballot yet—procrastinator!—the Weekly offers up our expert analysis of the candidates (accomplished via copious hours of Google hunting) for your democracy-practicing pleasure. Unless you want to spend your Tuesday getting sloshed at Lake Alice, like we always do.
Does anyone remember anything about Martin Van Buren’s presidency? Probably not, considering that he was the least opinionated, least ambitious president of them all. He wasn’t so much a flip-flopper as he refused to hold an opinion himself and relied on the American people to choose for him. Thesier wants to be like that—if you think that’s what he should do.
A homeless old woman used to collect money out in front of Kmart when I had my first job there. She would use the money to buy chocolate milk and cat food, and would often tell donors about her 15 “little babies” waiting for her at home. So Pepper is more of a crazy dog lady instead of a feline-obsessed one—but a little eccentricity never hurt anyone, right? She takes credit for helping to establish Riverside’s first dog park and prides herself on not being Dom Betro. In fact, she compared him to Benito Mussolini. And who could justify a vote for him?
Dom “Il Duce” Betro
Perhaps comparing Betro to the “other white fascist” isn’t completely accurate. Sure, he loves to use eminent domain to push out Riversiders who don’t fit in to his idea of a perfect city, but the comparison to Mussolini was a little underhanded. Not only did Letitia Pepper use it to capitalize on the deaths and oppression of millions of people for short-term political gain, but also it was a knock against Betro’s heritage, even though Il Duce is probably the “nicest” fascist dictator of the WWII bunch. So Betro isn’t Mussolini, but maybe he could be like Mussolini-Lite—not quite as effective as the original, but with the same bitter aftertaste. He seems to have a knack for approaching activists and political opposition with the grace and tact of Richard Nixon, further lending credence to our theory that Riverside desperately wishes to be Orange County.
There isn’t too much controversy surrounding this Riverside truck driver whose politics seems to be a mix of talk radio gobbledygook and socialist rhetoric. He’s all about the working man, whom he feels is being neglected by the powerful, elite minority on the Riverside City Council. He’s so fervently in favor of the working man that he probably didn’t get upset when the man working on his website neglected to finish it. Olmos wants to build city infrastructure, synchronize traffic signals, and he’s against abusing eminent domain. Maybe that’s why he doesn’t have a stamp of approval for any of the sitting council members.
A lot of accusations swirl around Bailey. Like the one floating around the blogosphere that says he’s an active member of the National Guard, but has somehow managed to avoid being sent to Iraq or Afghanistan while other National Guardsmen are on second and third tours. Strange, right? We don’t know anything about the rumor, but we do know that he’s been endorsed by four members of the city council and Mayor Loveridge because incumbent Art Gage is too difficult to work with. That probably means a vote for Bailey is a vote for the status quo. But we’re thinking that a lack of fresh, challenging ideas isn’t something to be proud of.
Gage prides himself on being against the city’s use of eminent domain, and feels that it should only be used in cases of truly blighted properties. But under the city council’s definition of “blighted,” incumbent Dom Betro’s own residence would be considered attainable (check the Internet. There are photos!). We’re not sure if he’s using those same standards when he recommends the city acquire “truly blighted properties.” He also cast the only vote against ending the public’s right to ask for a discussion of items on the council meeting’s consent calendar, which is usually voted on as a group, and without discussion. Maybe that’s why he lost endorsements from four city council members and the mayor.
Following in the footsteps of do-nothing IE politiker Joseph Turner, MacArthur seems a little put off by illegal immigration, and he’s using the xenophobic sentiment in the debate as a smear tactic. He’s accused opponent Donna Doty Michalka, a marketing veep for Altura credit union, of catering to illegal immigrants because Altura allows them to open bank accounts using Mexican consular cards, although that’s a credit union policy, not Michalka’s personal view. He says that it’s a “reasonable assumption to make.” Hey, MacArthur, remember that speech about what you make when you assume things?
Donna Doty Michalka
Apparently, Michalka has a lot of experience where business and government meet, having been active in the chamber of commerce and serving on a lot of community boards. At least that’s why the Press-Enterprise thinks you should vote for her. We like her for having the wherewithal to not smack the holy hell out of Chris MacArthur.
Kurani was slammed by MacArthur for moving to the ward in order to seek election. Kurani’s response? Well, it was a little more tactful than a blatant “So what?,” but that was the basic sentiment. He’s planted a little bit more than roots in the ward. He’s run a business there for the last 16 years.
We scoured the Internet trying to find something—anything!—about this guy. We couldn’t find much, except that he’s the only guy to not be attacked by MacArthur. C’mon, man, can we get a little bit of effort? Please?
Gressman’s all about getting things done. And, as he’s running from the highest crime-rate area in the city, he should be. His solution? He wants to build a stronger sense of community and encourages people to “look out for one another.” Take that, small city government that recklessly shells out our hard-earned money on wasteful things like police officers!
Everyone seems to be jumping on the anti-eminent domain bandwagon these days. In fact, the council did pass restrictions on the use of eminent domain this year, but in 2005, the same bill, proposed by Gage and seconded by Adams, was voted down by everyone but those two council members. He’s been criticized by other candidates for abandoning his post to run for state Assembly.
He’s a veterinarian, and he has a cute photo of him and his dog on his web page, but no photos of his family. (Priorities?) He’s passionate about revitalizing the ward and bringing in more Riverside Renaissance dollars to the area, and he promises not to run for state Assembly. But we think he’s great because of his immaculately-groomed goatee. Facial hair of that caliber requires serious attention and commitment. Hopefully as much commitment as he wants to give Ward 7.
Remember Miss Frizzle from The Magic School Bus books? This isn’t her.