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Kevin’s Corner                                             April 2021 - Volume 9, Issue 4

Kevin's Corner

The Bumpy Road to Voting - The planning and logistics involved with coordinating the efforts to facilitate 1 million voters casting these votes across Riverside County is an unbelievably complex effort that relies on professional staff, temporary staff and trained community volunteers. The primary end goal, of course, is always "accuracy.” But the process leading up to casting our votes and the counting of the ballots is thick with state regulations that are constantly changing. Throw in the occasional partisan battle and any actual campaign disputes and you might just get an ulcer trying to make everyone happy.  There has not been any evidence of fraud or corruption here locally, but I've been advocating for a standing Citizen’s Commission in Riverside County, with representatives from the major parties, “3rd parties” and independent voters. Not because we need more fingers in the pie, but because we need informed citizens who understand the process, who can offer thoughtful input into the planning, training, staffing, budget needs, and frankly offer an independent point of view to the Registrar of Voters and to the Board of Supervisors. They could independently review the challenges and the possible ways to improve (and no, they wouldn't need or receive access to confidential voter information). At a minimum, a group such as this could provide confidence to residents that our elections have been free and fair.  A report is due back soon to the Board of Supervisors regarding some of these challenges and issues from the past election. Hopefully, it will also address the proposal of creating a “Citizen’s Commission on Election Integrity” as I proposed a year ago. Stay tuned.

Fire Season and Weeds – It is hard to believe that fire season may actually be just a few weeks away (not that it ever really ends in Southern California). During my volunteer firefighter days (when I was much younger and in better shape), Riverside County had some very large grass/vegetation fires as early as April. It really makes a difference for firefighters chasing fast moving fires when the weeds around properties and fence lines are cleared/mowed down. All Riverside County fire engines have 3-person Firefighter staffing 24/7 from our State contractor CAL FIRE. Let’s make sure our firefighters have a fighting chance to save homes and property by getting weed abatement done early this year. For information about weed abatement, or to report a dangerous property visit:

Growing Communities - In the simplest of terms, the State of California provides specific "direction" to all 58 counties in California as to how they can conduct county business (land use, healthcare, emergency services, budgeting, etc.). What the Legislature approves and the Governor signs becomes the lawful rules for all counties (and often all cities) to adhere to and carry out until rescinded by the Legislature or the Courts.  Some years back the State adopted legislation that has made it difficult for cities to annex large areas of unincorporated land and made it nearly impossible for large unincorporated (non-city) communities to incorporate and become their own cities. In the First District, we have two communities with large and growing populations. Mead Valley (west of Perris) has somewhere near 20,000 residents, and the Temescal Valley (between Lake Elsinore & Corona) has somewhere around 27,000 residents. Each of these communities is larger than several current cities in Riverside County. They are distinctly different communities with very different lifestyles and standards. The County sometimes struggles to provide these growing communities with basic community services and infrastructure. Similar to the sweeping criminal justice reforms that have already occurred, the State has also essentially changed or eliminated typical single-family home zoning (one home/one lot) and replaced it with the right to build multiple units at current or future single-family homes or home sites. The State has also made it nearly impossible for locals to stop high density housing projects in many neighborhoods. That means the land use and landscape of our traditional bedroom communities is likely to look and feel much different going forward (the land use issue applies within cities as well). For our non-city residents, the overarching issue will quickly become "local control."  Simply put, to be or not to be a City. In this future debate, the locals will have to fight for that control.

Your Opinion Matters - If you live outside of city boundaries in Riverside County, please take a few minutes and go online and complete a survey about unincorporated community needs (infrastructure, services, etc.). Information about the “Unincorporated Communities Initiative” and the survey can be found here:


Kevin Jeffries

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