City Council Candidates square off in Riverside’s June election
May 20, 2021
Riverside Wards Two, Four and Six all have City Council elections on June 8. This election will be entirely by mail without any physical polling stations. All registered voters in these wards will be mailed their ballots which must be mailed back by the June 8 deadline. The deadline to register to vote is May 24. Runoff elections, which are expected for Ward Two, will be held on Nov. 2 of this year if no candidate wins over 50 percent of the votes.
Currently the council member who serves this ward is Andy Melendrez who ran for Riverside Mayor in 2020. Melendrez has decided not to run for his council seat again after having this position since 2006. There are six people running for this city council seat.
Aram Ayra is running on his platform to “Reform our city budget and government processes, Rebuild our economy and local infrastructure, Reinvest in Riverside’s working families, small businesses and communities,” according to his campaign website. Ayra founded the Riverside Mutual Aid Network, was the Commissioner to the Riverside City Human Relations Commission and has worked to improve higher education through his work with The University of California Riverside. During the COVID-19 pandemic Ayra served on the city’s response team and has said that he would work to have hero-pay for frontline workers, increase accessibility for COVID-19 resources and stabilize the city’s economy.
Jose “Tony” Huerta is a soccer coach for the Riverside City Football Club who was born and raised in Riverside’s Eastside neighborhood. Former Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey has endorsed his campaign. His plan for addressing homelessness in Riverside is to work with local non-profits, build mental institutions and to invest in youth prevention programs. Huerta additionally wants to invest in education and youth enrichment programs.
Clarissa Cervantes is endorsed by Melendrez as well as a variety of assembly members. Cervantes previously served as Melendrez’s chief of staff. Her plans for the city include assisting small businesses with loans, to improve emergency service response times, better public spaces (parks, art installations, sidewalks) and create higher quality senior services. Cervantes was a Legislative Field Representative for a previous Ward 2 council member and was the chair for the Riverside’s Transit Agency’s Greater Riverside Transportation NOW Chapter.
Joe Paredes is Executive Vice President and a Real Estate Broker for DAUM Commercial. His platform is to put “people before politics”, “invest in our neighborhoods” and “expand local labor opportunities” by encouraging businesses to form and stay in Riverside. Paredes’s campaign also includes improving the homeless situation in the ward so businesses can thrive and bring more jobs to the local area.
Anthony Tyson is a real estate agent. His platform is to increase public safety measures, create jobs by supporting local businesses and improve youth programs.
The North Star could not find sufficient information or a candidate statement on candidate Austin Skipper.
The incumbent City Council Member is Chuck Condor who’s term began in 2017. His current platform is “More cops, less crime”, “re-open Riverside” and “holding politicians accountable”. Condor wants to hire more police officers and has continuously deflected efforts to reform police departments.
Monrow Mabon is a Democrat who is Condor’s sole competitor for this position. Mabon is an attorney for the Riverside NAACP, an associate pastor for Allen Chapel Church, a veteran, and a retired police officer. He believes that warehouses should be prevented from moving into Ward Four which has been a major issue facing the ward with Amazon facilities being built in nearby areas. His platform also includes making COVID-19 vaccinations and tests more accessible as well as stabilizing the city budget.
Jim Perry is currently running unopposed and is the incumbent in this election. This is currently Perry’s second term in this position. However there is still an opportunity for write-in candidates to oppose Perry.
Because the City Council elections are occurring in the midst of a pandemic, with many businesses eager to open up once again the voters of Riverside have an important choice to make on June 8 over who is best to lead the city out of this economic and social turmoil.