The deadline to declare candidacy for November’s city office elections is getting close. Candidates who have pulled papers to run for office have until Friday to submit the required number of signatures and be certified for the Nov. 6 election.
In cities throughout Southwest Riverside both incumbents and new candidates are either on the books or still gathering signatures to meet Friday’s deadline.
Here is a run down of current happenings in Lake Elsinore, Menifee, Murrieta, Temecula and Wildomar, as well as a few key issues the candidates may face.
There are a total of four city offices on the ballot for the Nov. 6 election, including three city council seats and one city treasurer seat.
City council Incumbents Bob Magee, Peter Weber and city treasurer incumbent Allen Baldwin have all qualified. Incumbent Melissa Melendez has qualified for the run-off election for the 67th Assembly District also to be held on Nov. 6.
Additional candidates include Jerry Carlos, William Park, Natasha Johnson, Steve Manos, Craig Turner, Rick Morsch and Thomas Buckley.
In March, the Lake Elsinore City Council fired Bob Brady, its city manager of seven years. Last month the council agreed with a 3-2 vote to start the search for a new city manager immediately, despite a recommendation by a consultant that hiring be done after the election.
Bill Zimmerman, current chairman of the Planning Commission, is the first candidate to officially qualify for the November ballot for Menifee’s city council election. Zimmerman is running for city council seat in District 3, which represents the southeast portion of Menifee.
Seven others have pulled papers to run for either city council or the at-large mayor position.
Former councilman Scott Mann recently announced his plans to run in the city’s first mayoral election. Councilwoman Darcy Kuenzi also announced several weeks ago that she intends to be a candidate in November’s election.
In the past, the mayor has been chosen by a council vote, but an approved referendum in 2010 means mayor will be elected this year by an at-large vote of the city for a two-year term.
Three potential candidates for Murrieta City Council have pulled papers but not filed yet: Harry Ramos, John Paul Serbin and David Mueting.
Two seats are on the Nov. 6 ballot, and the term of Mayor McAllister is also expiring. Mayor McAllister, who has been on the council since 2004, announced Sunday he won’t seek reelection.
A recent trigger point for the city of Murrieta has been a battle over red light cameras. As of Friday, a Riverside County Superior Court judge formally ruled a voter initiative banning red-light cameras in Murrieta is illegal and can’t be place on the November ballot.
According to Temecula City Clerk Susan Jones, Mayor Chuck Washington, Councilman Mike Naggar, Walter Wilson, Jamie White and Paul Jacobs have qualified for candidacy.
“There are a couple who have pulled papers that haven’t filed, so I could have a couple more by the end of the week,” Jones said.
Seats held by Mayor Washington and Councilman Naggar are being contested this year.
Candidates will face difficult controversial issues such as the Liberty Quarry in Temecula. Liberty Quarry, the open-pit mine proposed for a 414-acre site west of Interstate 15, just north of the San Diego County line, has been a point of contention for Temecula throughout the year.
A second lawsuit was filed Friday to block certification of the quarry’s environmental impact report.
“As I sit here today I have no candidates,” said Debbie Lee, city clerk for Wildomar. “It’s a first in my career. I’ve never been here in the last week and had no candidates.”
But both council members Bridgette Moore and Bob Cashman have appointments scheduled for Tuesday. And four others have pulled the papers for candidacy, so by Friday’s deadline Lee hopes to see several people qualified for the November ballot.
On Wednesday, Wildomar City Council members will review a new ballot measure for November that would ask city residents to pay $28 per year to maintain the city’s three parks.
A previous park tax measure failed two years ago, but council members hope the inclusion of annual independent financial audits to ensure funding stays local will help the new ballot pass.
Jennifer Dean is a local writer and regular contributor to SWRNN.
*Editor’s Note: Gary Stein, who was recently discharged from the U.S. Marine Corps for anti-Obama remarks, is no longer considering taking part in the Murrieta City Council race, according to Kay Vinson, Murrieta City Clerk.