Joe Scarafone, Hemet, is challenging incumbent Supervisor Jeff Stone for Riverside County’s 3rd Supervisorial seat. Whoever garners a majority of the vote will be the next supervisor. This election will not continue onto the November ballot.
Scarafone, a retired border patrol agent and current contractor, is a relative newcomer to electoral politics. Nevertheless, he has strong views on how to improve the county’s operations as well as those of all other levels of government.
“I believe I can bring a solution,” he said proudly. “My first plan of attack is to improve jobs or commerce. You can’t conduct commerce with licenses or permits at maximum cost.”
Scarafone’s solution is significant relaxation of the county’s building permit and regulation apparatus. He believes, based on personal experience, that setting fixed and stable fees, rather than those dependent on deposit-based, work involved schedules, would create a level of certainty for housing and commercial construction.
If assured of the total permit cost, Scarafone argues that banks would lend more and builders could begin working knowing what their sales points would need to be. “Why should any money go to code enforcement?” he asked.
He also believes money can be saved through pension reform. As a former federal employee, he advocates a shift in the pension program to one more similar to the current federal employee program, like a 401(k). “We can’t afford to pay retiree’s 95 percent of their salaries,” he added.
He wants government to attend to fundamental government services such as public safety and education and step out of the exotic and, perhaps, private sector roles. As an example, he referred to the county board’s approval of an export finance assistance center at last week’s meeting.
In Scarafone’s view, the federal Export-Import Bank can handle this function or, better, private financial institutions.
“Rich people put up the investment, but it’s the government that guarantees it,” he said.
Despite the potential merits of his message, Scarafone lacks the political capital to share it throughout the district. While Stone has collected nearly $100,000 in contributions, Scarafone has less than $5,000 and that came from a few close friends, he said.