RIVCO: Menifee fills vacant City Council seat in recent election

MENIFEE

A city planning commissioner claimed a vacant seat on the Menifee City Council, besting three challengers for the seat.

Lesa Sobek emerged victorious in the four-way race for the Third District seat left vacant following the May death of Councilman Wally Edgerton, who was among the first council members to win a seat at the same time the city incorporated in 2008.

During the campaign, Sobek underscored the need for improving transportation infrastructure and reducing traffic congestion. Sobek said she’ll advocate “smart” business development and improving the management of water and energy resources.

Among those vying for the seat was former Councilwoman Darcy Kuenzi, a longtime aide to Riverside County Supervisor Marion Ashley. She touted a record
of “common sense solutions” and said she would work to attract jobs to the city and improve the school district.

Businessman Stu Blaze said he ran in the interest of improving “the quality of life for our citizens” by focusing on reasonable growth and development initiatives and getting traffic congestion under control, while retiree Neil Winter made public safety the centerpiece of his campaign.

NORCO

In Norco, Councilman Berwin Hanna was re-elected, while retired Riverside County sheriff’s Sgt. Ted Hoffman and agricultural scientist Robin Grundmeyer won seats on the City Council. Councilwoman Kathy Azevedo decided not to seek re-election, while Mayor Herb Higgins was rejected in his re-election bid.

Businessman Lance Gregory finished a close fourth behind Hanna, raising the possibility the election outcome could change depending on the number of
provisional ballots left to be counted — but such a change would be a longshot.

Jason Bemowski, a 35-year-old Chino police sergeant, and Lisa Campbell, a mother of two, both fell well short in the race.

PERRIS

In Perris, former Councilman Mark Yarobrough bested a field of six candidates looking to finish out the first term of ex-Councilman Julio Cesar Rodriguez, who resigned in May under a plea agreement with the District Attorney’s Office after he admitted one felony count of possession of drugs for sale. The conviction stemmed from Rodriguez’s weekend tryst with two men that culminated in allegations of theft and methamphetamine use.

In a campaign statement, Yarbrough expressed concern that since his departure last year, city government has slid “back to the old ways.”

“There’s indecisiveness, too much spending, not enough responsibility,” he said, adding that if elected, he’ll work on job growth and preserving property values.

Not all jurisdictions within the county held elections. Only about 16 percent of the total number of residents on the county’s voter rolls had elections in which to participate.

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