Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment, “Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican,” was violated last week in the local race for State Senate District 28. Nasty and personal attacks dominated the political debate in the final weeks of the campaign.
Bonnie Garcia wants an investigation of her opponent Jeff Stone, 3rd District Supervisor. She requested both Attorney General Kamala Harris and the California Fair Political Practices Commission look into Stone’s campaign financing and board votes.
In her May 12 letters she wrote, “Stone is a well-known political bully …” and believes she is his “… newest target.” While these charges seem personal, her investigation request suggests possible inappropriate behavior.
Specifically she is alleging that Stone has traded votes on the board for donations to his campaigns. She relates these allegations to the recent County Grand Jury report objecting to the supervisors’ use of discretionary or Community Improvement Designation Funds.
In the letter she repeats several past incidences such as a 2011 FPPC fine from his 2010 state Senate campaign, but she also attached a list of six examples of what she calls “questionable behavior.”
These include contributions that appear to exceed legal limits and also contributions from individuals who received contracts from the county.
Later that week, both Stone and fellow Republican candidate Glenn Miller held press conferences focused on the sources of Garcia’s campaign funds. They argued that interests from outside the district are supporting and promoting Garcia.
“To date, 98 percent of the money going to support Bonnie Garcia has come from Sacramento-linked political action committees or from a billionaire donor from the San Francisco Bay Area. Of the $1,107,000 supporting Garcia, only $23,700 can be attributed to Riverside County donors,” Stone wrote in a press release.
Every candidate gets some support from outside the district, whether the money is from political interests or friends. For example, since the March 17 finance reports to the Secretary of State, Stone has received several thousand dollars from donors in Los Angeles, San Diego and even Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. But the vast majority of the $82,000 received since the middle of March comes from district residents such as those in Temecula, Murrieta and Hemet.
Garcia’s funding during the same period totaled $68,000, of which only one contribution from the Riverside County Travel Zone Center is for $1,000. The remaining amount came from outside the district including $35,000 from Sacramento interests and even Texas, Tennessee and Georgia donors.
Thursday afternoon, after Stone and Miller’s press functions, Garcia distributed her release which said, “Today Jeff Stone wants to divert attention away from his long rap sheet and conviction record …. He doesn’t want to talk about the votes-for-cash scheme where big checks landed in bank accounts supporting his political ambitions. Glenn Miller wants you to forget … why as management he didn’t speak up when $28,000 of our tax dollars were spent on a party instead of saving employees that lost their jobs.”
The primary election is Tuesday, June 3. Besides the three Republicans, there are two Democrats — Phil Drucker and Anna Nevenic — on the ballot. The two candidates, regardless of party, with the most votes will be on the November general election ballot.
Nearly two weeks prior to election day, as of Monday, May 19, more than 35,000 mail ballots have been submitted to the County’s Registrar of Voters Office. Nearly half a million vote-by-mail ballots have been distributed.
Early voting is available at the registrar’s office in Riverside from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, May 26, through Saturday, May 31. From May 23 through May 25 the following locations will also have early voting: the Galleria at Tyler in Riverside, Westfield Palm Desert in Palm Desert and The Promenade in Temecula.