Hemet City Council race draws eight candidates

City of Hemet Mayor Bonnie Wright, addressees the council and guests attending a July 26, 2016 City Council meeting at the Hemet Public Library.  Shane Gibson photo
City of Hemet Mayor Bonnie Wright, addressees the council and guests attending a July 26, 2016 City Council meeting at the Hemet Public Library. Shane Gibson photo

Eight Hemet City Council candidates, two incumbents and six hopefuls vying for three open council seats and an unopposed city treasurer candidate will appear on Hemet City ballots in the upcoming Nov. 8 General Election.

Hemet City Council consists of five members elected from the city and it is the first year the council will be selected by districts. The councilmembers serve four-year staggered terms. There are five districts in Hemet. The ballots will show the candidates from each district. The top vote-getter in each district will take his or her post January 1, 2017. Following the election, the new City Council will select the new mayor and vice-mayor who will serve one-year terms. Under the Hemet’s manager-mayor city government rules the city manager does not have a vote on the Hemet Council, and is appointed by the council.

District 1 candidates

City Councilman Robert Youssef representing District 1 completes his four year term this year and has decided not to run again. The candidates running for his soon to be vacated council seat are Karlee Meyer and Chuck Moore.

Karlee Meyer says she is a lifetime resident of Hemet, grew up in District 1, married for 22 years and has four children whom she has homeschooled. “From my experience defending my children and my home from an intruder grew a mission to make of Hemet safe,” she said.

As a candidate, she says “Hemet cannot continue on a trajectory that fails to retain quality residents, businesses and staff. For a safer and prosperous Hemet, elect a qualified person to make tough long-range choices.”

Her priorities are to “fully staff and support public safety departments. Improve relations with community economic development strategies for quality industry/retail. Streamline processes for operations efficiency. Foster communication among city, citizens and business and set policy with logic and intergrity.”

Chuck Moore arrived in Hemet in 2011 with his wife of 43 years. They have two grown sons. He is a fiscal conservative with a degree in Business Administration and is a proud military veteran. He says he is determined to “put Hemet back on its feet. I do not subscribe to ‘political correctness.’ I say what I mean and mean what I say”

“The City of Hemet has a leadership problem—not a revenue problem. New taxes are not the answer. When the city council keeps increasing the salaries of employees without requiring results it’s no wonder that they find themselves nearly broke and demanding more money from our already overburdened citizens. We pay enough taxes.”

He says “If the City of Hemet is to survive and prosper, we must elect new leaders with a fresh business prospective who will place the interest of its citizens first, not those of the city employees. I am committed to making Hemet the wonderful community that my wife and I chose over many others.”

District 3 candidates

There are four candidates for Hemet’s District 3. They include Patty Axelrod, Bryan Hash, Cameron Scott Boderick and Michael Perciful. The seat for District 3 opens without an incumbent will fill the former at large seat occupied by Shellie Milne who lives in eastern Hemet now considered District 1. Milne is giving up her seat to run for 3rd District Supervisor of Riverside County.

Patty Axelrod is a Hemet resident and ran for the city council in 2014 against Paul Raver, current councilmember. She is a local businesswoman.

She has long supported local businesses and would like to see the city provide better service to low income residents and the homeless in the community. She has helped served meals at Valley Restart and is active in her church.

She has been an advocate to keep the Hemet Fire Department local and in the past said she believed Riverside County Fire that would like to see a contract with the city in the future are “mercenaries” wanting more and more money. She has felt that the council doesn’t always listen to its constituents and would better like to serve those in her district.

Bryan Hash has lived in Valley since 2009 with his family and sees himself as a regular working person who believes Hemet is a great city to live in. He said “I got involved in politics because of my Christian faith.”

He cited his experience of feeding the needy and homeless through the Community Pantry brought him to believe “the greatest issues facing Hemet are crime, homelessness and unemployment.”

He said he favors Measure U and would seek to look at housing as the first option for the chronically homeless and “by bringing in more services to help those get off the streets, which will also create jobs along with it.” He sees a great opportunity for Hemet with the rerouting of Highway 79 that will bring more commerce and jobs to the area.

Michael Perciful a local business owner the vice chair of the Hemet Planning Commission, a Realtor and a retired reserve Police Officer, said he believes in “Putting Hemet First.”

Perciful, who has lived in Hemet for the past 16 years with his family, has been endorsed by the Southwest Riverside County Association of Realtors where he served as the local president in 2017.

As a city planning commissioner he knows the needs of developers and of the city who wants to make Hemet more “business friendly.”

He says he will put his proven leadership to work to bring more business and commerce to the city and remain active in the community.

Cameron Scott Broderick is a security Professional and has lived in the Hemet/San Jacinto Valley all of his life. He believes there are other means of solving the city’s budget problems than raising taxes.

As a security professional he is well aware of the crime and homeless issue facing the city and says he will be able to help solve those issues. He says he will make sure the most critical issues will be prioritized in the budgets.

He thinks the city pays too high of salaries to its public employees and thinks more of them than they do of the average Hemet citizens.

District 4 candidates

Bonnie Wright is the incumbent for what is now District 4 and is currently the Mayor of the council.

She has lived in the valley for 23 years and has owned a successful optical business for over 17 years.

She has been the recipient of the Chamber of Commerce “Citizen of the Year” award in the past and is active in the Hemet Kiwanis Club.

She sees the current issues for the city are increased crime, lack of jobs, lack of revenue and the homeless. She said solutions are “improving public safety service levels,” “reducing crime by re-implementing the Safety Task Forces” and passing Measure U.”

Paul Valenzuela is a business executive and an ex-Marine who believe that “a new direction is needed in Hemet.”

He believes that the high-ranking city employees are overpaid and that someone, like himself, on the council needs to make the hard decisions to turn the city around. He believes the city’s taxpayers are not getting the proper value for the money they pay in taxes and working with the county in the public service arena will provide much better police, fire and medical service.

He sees jobs for the community and taking back the city from the unproductive homeless is the best answer to its problems.

Candidate statements compiled from written questionnaires, public forums, social media and candidate campaign information.

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