Chino Hills & Hesperia Appoint Mayors To Head Cities In 2021

The city councils in Chino Hills and Hesperia have made early mayoral appointments, in each case delegating the youngest member of their respective panels to preside over their meetings for the next year.
On November 24, the Chino Hills City Council elevated Brian Johsz as mayor going forward into 2021. Johsz’s appointment was unanimous.
In Hesperia on December 1, Cameron Gregg was made mayor on a 4-to-1 vote of the city council.
In most of San Bernardino County’s municipalities, the mayor is directly elected by the residents. In the cities of Chino Hills, Loma Linda, Highland, Yucaipa, Twentynine Palms, Big Bear Lake, Hesperia and Victorville and in the towns of Apple
Valley and Yucca Valley, the city or town councils select from among their ranks a mayor to wield the gavel during meetings and serve as the ceremonial head of government.
The 40-year-old Johsz is something of a creature of government. At the age of 22, shortly after graduating from the University of California at Berkeley with a degree in political science, Johsz began a one-year fellowship with the California Assembly, which lasted from November 2002 until October 2003. A Republican, he went to work as a district representative for then-Congressman Gary Miller in October 2004. He remained in that position until September 2007. He immediately began working in the office of then-San Bernardino County Fourth District Supervisor Gary Ovitt, staying with Ovitt’s office for seven years, rising to the position of Ovitt’s deputy chief of staff. In 2014, then-Assemblyman Curt Hagman, who was being termed out of the state legislature, seized control of the San Bernardino County Republican Central Committee, from which position he withdrew political support from Ovitt as a power play in his successful effort to persuade Ovitt not to seek reelection so that he,Hagman, could take up the Fourth District supervisoral office himself. Because of the bitterness within the Ovitt camp over the fashion in which Hagman had disenfranchised Ovitt and was seeking to dominate politics in the Chino Valley, Johsz departed from Ovitt’s office in September 2014, two months prior to Hagman being sworn in as Fourth District supervisor. Directly thereafter, Johsz went to work for Athens Services as government lobbyist.
While with Ovitt’s office, Johsz was elected to the Chino Valley Independent Fire District board of directors.
In 2016, the City of Chino Hills was pressured by the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund to transition from an at-large voting system in selecting members of its city council to a by-district arrangement. Johsz, working with Richard Austin, drew up an electoral district map for Chino Hills that was considered by the city council along with three other council district maps, one drawn by Democratic Party activist Jim Gallagher, another by resident Luis Esparza and one drawn up by the National Demographics Corporation. Ultimately, despite the city paying National Demographics Corporation over $30,000 for its work, the city council selected the map drawn up by Johsz and Austin to form its council districts.
Later that year, the city council appointed Johsz to the council to replace Ed Graham, whose term was not scheduled to end until shortly after the November 2018 election. Johsz left the Chino Valley Fire Board to accept the council appointment. In 2018, Johsz was elected to a four-year term representing Chino Hills’ District 4, where he resides. That district encompasses Fairfield Ranch and Los Serranos.
Johsz, 40, remains employed as the director of government affairs with the trash hauler Athens services, a position which involves his seeking to keep the company on good terms with local municipalities, particularly ones where Athens has trash hauling franchises conferred upon it by city councils, as well as with those cities where Athens has designs on competing for future franchises.
In addition to his degree from Berkeley, Johsz holds a masters degree in public administration from Cal State University, Dominguez Hills.
This week, the Hesperia City Council at its regular council meeting on Tuesday selected Cameron Gregg to lead the city as its next mayor, succeeding Larry Bird in that role. Gregg, 30, has been on the city council since he defeated former Mayor/Councilman Paul Russ in 2018. The move to elevate Gregg to mayor came on a 4-to-1 vote, with Councilwoman Rebekah Swanson dissenting. Swanson is supported by and is a member of the political machine headed by former Hesperia Councilman Jeremiah Brosowske. Brosowske was once in favor with the Hesperia political establishment, and he was appointed in July 2018 to succeed the late Hesperia Mayor Russ Blewett after Bleweett’s death in office in May 2018. But a power struggle ensued subsequently in which Councilman/former Mayor Bill Holland, who had militated to ensure Brosowske’s appointment in 2018, came to loggerheads with Brosowske. Brosowske defeated Brigit Bennington in the November 2018 election, but in September 2019, Holland joined forces with Gregg and Bird to vote to remove Brosowske from office, based on their contention that Brosowske was not living in Hesperia. Swanson sided with Brosowske on that issue, and Swanson opposed the move by Gregg, Bird and Holland to appoint Bennington to replace Brosowske.
This year, Bennington was unopposed in a special election called by the council to select someone to serve out the final two years of the term Brosowske was elected to in 2018; Swanson was reelected; and Bird, too, was reelected. Thus, Gregg is part of the ruling coalition on the Hesperia Council that includes Bird, Holland and Bennington.
An Army veteran, Gregg is the chief executive officer of True Liberty Protection Services, a company founded by his father, Kelly Gregg, who is on the board of the Hesperia Recration and Park District. Cameron Gregg’s younger brother, Cody, is a board member with the Hesperia Unified School District.
-Mark Gutglueck

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