Editor’s note: The supervisor’s seat for Riverside County’s 3rd District will be on the ballot on Nov. 8. Incumbent Chuck Washington, who was appointed in March 2015 to complete the term of former Supervisor Jeff Stone, is seeking a full four-year term. Shellie Milne, Hemet City Council member, is challenging Washington.
Both candidates have agreed to come to Idyllwild for a Candidates’ Forum, 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6, at the Idyllwild Nature Center.
The Idyllwild Town Crier, which is sponsoring the event, interviewed both candidates prior to the forum. These interviews are in this week’s paper and available on our website.
Shellie Milne was elected to the Hemet City Council in November 2012. She and her husband Kevin own a small business — dirt excavation. They have six children ranging in age from 9 years to 25 years.
What are your priorities for the county and the district?
While Milne believes government — national and local — has encroached and expanded into areas that individuals and the private sector can effectively manage, she still believes in the role of government.
However, that means she will strive to “re-prioritize where the tax dollars are spent. The scope and breadth [of government] has grown so large it has to be reigned in.”
She wants to raise the priority of public safety, especially law enforcement. “But it is not just the priorities, government is too big, it needs to shrink down.” In her opinion, budgets grow because officials believe that the solution to problems is “throwing money at them.”
The county is growing, how would you raise revenue?
Milne argues that the county budget is big enough to respond to the county’s future growth. Re-assessing priorities is one step, but just as important is finding processes to improve the efficiency of the county’s workforce.
“We must ensure that they have the tools they need and the money must be spent efficiently,” she said. “Unfortunately we continue to do things that we do not need.”
As an example of how the public can help, she related an incident on one of her company’s job sites. A tractor was stolen. But rather than calling for a deputy and waiting for his appearance, Milne chose to go the station and report the crime.
“They couldn’t fingerprint anything, so why take them off the street,” she said. “We need people to feel empowered, not victimized.”
What about jail capacity?
Her first reaction was to state, “If there are no consequences for crime, it will continue to escalate.” But her point was that many inmates belong in state prison or deported rather than filling county jail cells. Thus, some criminals spend less time behind bars. “If there are no consequences, crime increases.”
Do you see a conflict or competition between the county and the joint fire authority, which IFPD and San Jacinto City have created?
“There has to be a lot of community input,” she replied. When she was elected to the Hemet City Council, it was faced with a budget deficit and the choice to contract with the county. While not an identical issue, she urged the community to be involved in its evaluation.
Do you see a role for county assistance for Idyllwild recreation?
Milne said this project is an example where people need to look at the basic principles of government. “We have to prioritize funding, thus we’ll never please all the people all the time,” she said.
A nonprofit organization is demonstration of people stepping to the plate to help the community. “Remember when you asked government to get involved, was that a good choice?” she said.
“Residents of Idyllwild take pride in their own involvement and our goal should be to empower them,” she added.
In closing, Milne said if she were the local supervisor she would review the business plan before deciding whether to direct money to them. “Our first job as supervisor is to remove the road blocks,” she said.
The latest voter registration data for District 3 show that about 43 percent of the voters are registered Republicans, 30 percent are registered Democrats and 24 percent have no party preference. The candidates were asked if that might affect their election strategy?
“People in the district will support people who share the same values and ideologies,” Milne stated. “I would not run in a very Democratic district. There is no doubt that we are the most conservative district.”
Her independent ideas are a positive, Milne believes and will attract voters who are “tired of the ruling political class … they resonate with people whether they are Republicans, Democrats or Independents. I’m here to represent the taxpayer.”