RIVERSIDE – Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone will take another stab at trying to win a state Senate seat because he believes he can ”do some good” as a state lawmaker, his right-hand man said today.
”Jeff has thought for a long time that the state is totally dysfunctional,” Verne Laurtizen, Stone’s chief of staff said. ”When he tried running back in 2010, he received a good reaction. But there wasn’t enough time and money to really get the message out.”
Stone will round out a field of three candidates vying for the 2014 Republican nomination in the newly drawn 28th Senate District. Former Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia and former Indio Mayor Glenn Miller announced their candidacies earlier this year.
Garcia has received endorsements from all of Stone’s colleagues on the Board of Supervisors.
Stone said his main focus is fiscal reform and rolling back state laws that have increased burdens on local governments.
”He wants to bring some common sense to Sacramento,” Lauritzen said. ”The Legislature and governor have been robbing and stealing from local jurisdictions, taking whatever they can, and we’re feeling the effects.”
Lauritzen referred to Assembly Bill 109 and Senate Bill 89 as examples.
Under AB 109 — the Public Safety Realignment Act of 2011 — so-called ”non-serious, non-violent” offenders convicted of felonies that do not stem from a sex crime are to serve their sentences in local detention facilities. Proponents of realignment suggested that jail sentences would be capped at three years, but some convicts in local jails are serving terms in excess of 10 years.
AB 109 also made counties responsible for prosecuting and, often, incarcerating parole violators. In 2012, the sheriff released nearly 7,000 ”low-level” inmates early for lack of space. Regional public safety officials blame the law for a surge in criminal activity.
SB 89 took $15 million in vehicle license fee revenue that was supposed to go to Jurupa Valley, Eastvale, Menifee and Wildomar and instead placed it into a ”Law Enforcement Services Account” established to assist agencies statewide impacted by public safety realignment. The four cities all incorporated in the last five years and were counting on the funds to cover basic services.
Jurupa Valley, where Lauritzen serves as a city councilman, is facing the possibility of disincorporation due to its dire financial condition.
”Jeff believes it really makes sense for him to go for a legislative seat and get to Sacramento to see if his personality can do some good up there,” Lauritzen told CNS.
Stone, a pharmacist and real estate investor, lost a 2010 bid for the GOP nomination in the 36th Senate District, which then encompassed a large part of San Diego County and most of southwest Riverside County. Joel Anderson, R- Alpine, won the four-way primary election.
A year after losing the race, Stone proposed splitting California in half and having 13 counties form a new state of South California, which would have a part-time legislature, with lawmakers earning half what they do now, as well as fewer regulations and lower property and sales taxes.
The idea had early traction but fizzled when Stone’s board colleagues rejected using any county revenue to promote the proposal, and representatives from other counties didn’t rally to it.
The 28th Senate District, which was formed as part of redistricting that followed the 2010 census and becomes active next year, stretches from the Temecula Valley all the way east to the Arizona state line, encompassing the entire Coachella Valley.
The primary election is June 3, 2014.