Roelle Maintains His Service Makes Him Best Board Choice

Apple Valley Town Council Member Rick Roelle said he is running for First District supervisor as a reform candidate.
“I believe the supervisor’s office today is in disarray with corruption,” he said. “If you look at the number of scandals and what has happened, it is an obvious problem. I think I can bring ethics and integrity to the board. Now that there is an open seat, I think I can run and win. I believe I am well qualified for the job.”
A thirty-year veteran of the sheriff’s department who has risen to the rank of lieutenant, Roelle said that the major issue in the race locally “For me is the rising alarming crime rate in the First District, which has a detrimental effect on job creation in the area. I believe it has hampered businesses from locating here. Crime makes this a less desirable place to do business. Law enforcement and economic development go hand in hand. In the last year we have seen a 30 percent increase in crime in the unincorporated areas.  The majority of the land in the High Desert is unincorporated county area. Over that same period, the board of supervisors have cut the law enforcement budget, eliminating 200 sworn positions. That has forced the sheriff to make cuts to the department, mostly in the unincorporated areas. That has resulted in the 30 percent increase in crime, which makes the whole High Desert a less desirable location for people to locate and operate a business.”
The solution, Roelle said, is to eliminate the self-interested wheeling and dealing on the board of supervisors.
“Look at the $100 million payout to the Colonies, the FBI investigations, other federal investigations going on,” Roelle said, referencing the board of supervisors’ 2006 decision to settle a lawsuit brought against the county by the Colonies Partners over flood control issues at the Colonies at San Antonio project in northeastern Upland by conferring a $102 million payment to the development company. Prosecutors allege that decision was tainted by extortion and bribery of two of the former members of the board of supervisors and the former chief of staff to a third supervisor. Those bribes allegedly consisted of $100,000 contributions to political action committees controlled by the elected officials involved or their associates. Two of the former supervisors – Bill Postmus and Paul Biane – were indicted and Postmus has entered guilty pleas to 14 counts of bribery, conspiracy and perjury. Charges remain pending against the other alleged participants in the graft, all of whom have pleaded not guilty. Investigations by the FBI, IRS, Securities and Exchange Commission and other agencies into that matter and others involving the county and other local governments are ongoing.
“The solution is changing the priorities of the board of supervisors,” Roelle said. “The board of supervisors needs to put an emphasis on quality of life issues rather than staying in office. The first government priority has to be the safety of its citizens from domestic or foreign threats. Local government needs to concentrate on ensuring the safety of its citizens and letting the free enterprise system work. Everything will fall into place if we do that.”
Another issue facing the First District, Roelle said, is the “falling home prices. Up to 50 percent of the value of homes has decreased. I think of the High Desert as a blue collar community. We need more emphasis on education to have high technology job opportunities come in here. We need to have an educated and skilled work force. Thirty percent of the people who live in the High Desert have not attended a college class.”
At the larger county level, the major challenge, Roelle said, “is obviously the budget crisis. A part of the budget problem is the lack of growth of the economy. But the other is the ethics of the board of supervisors. When you have the types of payouts and legal fees we are paying, we have to clean up the ethics of the board of supervisors. Their low standards have affected the county as a whole.  It has cost money.”
Roelle said he stands out from the crowd of other candidates for First District supervisor because of his track record as a sheriff’s officer and elected public official.
“I think my experience in local government distinguishes me,” he said. “At the local level, as a member of the town council, I was elected twice by the largest majority in the history of the High Desert. I received nearly  12,000 votes each time. I am a man of my word and I look out for the benefit of the people and do not bow down to special interests. Outside interests have come in and that is the basis of the scandals we have in this county now. I have been on the town council for two terms, which is almost eight years now and served one year as mayor on each term. I have a background in law enforcement. I understand how government works and why it does not work.  I am now and have been a member of SANBAG [San Bernardino Associated Governments, which serves as the county’s transportation agency, which has all five of the county’s supervisors and one council member of each of the county’s 24 cities as board members] for nearly eight years. I understand transportation, the need for transportation and how it is funded. That makes me qualified to step into this job and hit the ground with both feet running.”
Roelle, 52, grew up in Covina, attending his first two years of high school there. He graduated from Apple Valley High. He has completed 70 units at East Los Angeles College, Victor Valley College and San Bernardino Valley College. Divorced, he has two grown children.

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