Editor’s note: There are nine candidates for the three Hemet City Council seats opening as listed on the Nov. 3 general election local ballot. This week, readers have the opportunity to meet the candidates for that council’s District 3.
Incumbent Michael Perciful is a Hemet real estate broker who resides in District 3. Perciful said that during his first term he has “been instrumental in getting many projects off the ground and completed” including the Stetson Bridge project.
“I pushed the city managers to get it done,” he said. “It has been an ongoing safety concern up to the point we had to close it, do it for safety.”
Perciful said another project he helped to facilitate was the Seattle Basin project.
“Year after year Cawston Avenue would get closed to through traffic at Seattle Street,” he said. “The winter after I was first elected I had staff find a way to get the water pumped from the basin without having to close Cawston Avenue for weeks causing residents in the area to have to find alternate routes and for the parents and children going to Cawston Elementary School to go out of the way just to get to the school.”
Perciful said while he was mayor in 2018, he was able to get $500,000 in grant funding from Riverside County Flood Control to get temporary flood control measures in place until the permanent solution to the constant flooding was found.
“I continue to push the city manager to streamline the process for development within the city to encourage economic development so businesses can get up and running faster,” he said, adding that he supports the allocation of Measure U funds to continue to be used for public safety.
“Unfortunately, I am currently in the minority on council that have continued to abide by the resolution,” he said.
Perciful said that the 2020-2021 budget, which passed 3-2, took away vacant, funded police officer positions and reduced staffing in the fire department, something he was not in agreement with.
“I made my concern with the current budget at the council meeting that it did not conform to the resolution that was passed by the city council,” he said.
Perciful also touched on the Florida Avenue raised curb median project and how the city of Hemet provided no funding for the project which was paid for by the state.
“That project was in the works for years before I was elected in 2016, and the city was railroaded by the state of California to get the median in,” he said. “I fought with Caltrans to be reasonable with the median to lessen the negative impact it would have to no avail, and we are starting to see the negative effects that I told Caltrans would happen, now happening.”
Candidate Malcom Lilienthal is a family therapist who resides in District 3.
Lilienthal seeks to preserve Hemet’s quality of life if elected to the city council.
“I am a husband and father of three children,” he said. “I will fight to preserve our quality of life while leading us forward to a better future. Like our city, diversity is at my core, and I believe my multicultural upbringing will help me to best represent the shared values of hard-working everyday families.
He said his focus will be on public safety and improving the economy in the city.
“I will apply my education and experience when making city council decisions and will focus on funding opportunities that increase public safety, job creation through economic development, supporting local businesses, addressing homelessness and increasing opportunities to engage our youth,” Lilienthal said. “Public safety problems are commonly addressed through a combination of responses. Seldom is a single type of response sufficient. Increasingly, however, police and others are discovering that it is not only the police who have the authority and expertise to respond to many public safety problems; consequently, the police have come to depend heavily upon others to aid them in responding effectively to crime and disorder.”
Lilienthal said he will seek the underlying reasons that create crime.
“There is growing evidence that by addressing the conditions that underlie crime and disorder problems, rather than merely looking to arrest offenders, police can more effectively prevent and control such problems,” he said. “When it comes to economic development, the end game is not just growing the economy but growing it in a way that improves the quality of life for everyone in the city. Rather than projects benefiting a few investors, a successful economic development project would benefit investors, companies, and people in need of economic relief. By doing so, this will have a positive effect on the city and indirectly business and citizens who live here. This means a focus on innovation, skills and infrastructure, as well as overall economic growth.”
He said he will help find more support to help the homeless.
“For homelessness, if I am elected, with a collaborative effort, Hemet will work with its neighboring cities to standardize ordinances for panhandling, shopping carts, camping and trespassing provide services that meet the needs of the local homeless population to help balance the provision of services across the city, advertise local resources for the homeless, identify housing opportunities that are affordable in the Hemet and encourage faith-based and nonprofit organizations to be responsible and compassionate when helping the homeless,” Lilienthal said. “As your councilman, I will always strive to make it safe, attractive and prosperous. Together we can build and sustain a stronger community.”
Tony Ault can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.