Marquez, Leone & Measure W Victorious In Chino Hills, Yucca Valley & Rialto

Results of three special municipal elections in San Bernardino County held on March 5 were speedily posted this week.
In Chino Hills, Ray Marquez outpolled Rossana Mitchell, Debra Hernandez and Jesse Singh in the race to succeed former councilman Wilburn “Bill” Kruger, who resigned in September. In Yucca Valley, former mayor and councilman Bob Leone handily outdistanced Jennifer Collins, and Michael Hildebrand to replace councilman Isaac Hagerman, who resigned last summer.
In Rialto, Measure W, a utility tax measure, was passed with well over 60 percent of the vote.
With 30 of 30 precincts reporting in Chino Hills, the semi-final results had Marquez with 3,360 votes or 45.36 percent, Rosanna Mitchell with 2,413 votes or 32.57 percent, Debra Hernandez with 851 votes or 11.49 percent and Jesse Singh with 784 votes or 10.58 percent.
Marquez will need to step down as a board member with the Chino Valley Independent Fire District as well as from his positions as a member of the California Special Districts Association’s legislative and finance committees. Those posts are held to be incompatible offices with that of city council member under the California Government Code. His positions as a county airport commissioner, and a member of the California Institution for Women advisory board and the Carbon Canyon Fire Safe Council are being examined for incompatibility issues also, prior to his scheduled swearing in next Tuesday.
Marquez told the Sentinel, “I’m happy to have been elected. It’s nice to get a breather after I have been campaigning for almost nine months now, for this election and the one in November. I want to do some good things. I am looking forward to the challenges, such as the encroachment issue involving homeowners and city open space. We have also had for years now the equestrian overlay pending. I want to restart the dialogue on that and come up with a resolution.”
In Yucca Valley, Leone pulled down 1,235 votes, or 46.89 percent, to best Jennifer Collins, with 776 votes, or 29.46 percent, and Michael Hildebrand, with 531 votes or 20.16 percent. Claude Short, who qualified his candidacy but then dropped out, received 92 votes or 3.49 percent.
Leone said, “I am only one of five people elected to represent their community and I am looking forward to working with the rest of the council in carrying out the first phase of our wastewater treatment project. The wastewater system connection fees will be harsh for many of our residents. I do not want to put additional taxes on the people who live in town, but I will get behind establishing a half cent sales tax or putting something in place for whatever number of years to complete the first phase.  There are people in town who feel they are not represented on the council and I want to represent them and everyone else. I am aware that in this economy people are hurting and we have to meter our growth in town. We need to support our merchants and make our town more wide open and friendly to people starting businesses.”
In Rialto, Measure W was passed with 2.627 votes in favor, or 62.97 percent, and 1,545 opposed, or 37.03 percent.
Measure W imposes for five years an 8 percent tax on electric, gas and other utilities.
In promoting its passage, city officials maintain the utility tax would fund 24 percent of the city’s operating budget  and would prevent the withdrawal of $5.3 million from the police department and $2.9 million from the fire department, thus preserving 20 police officers who would have otherwise been laid off and keeping a fire station slated for closing from being shuttered.

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