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City Council Candidates Faceoff

During the past decade over 42% of the jobs created in California were created right here in the Inland Empire. Today our unemployment rate is among the highest in the state, higher than the state average, and second only to Detroit for areas over 1 million in population. Yet Sacramento is fixated on creating more government jobs, more green jobs and more tech jobs – all of which bypass the manufacturing, construction and logistics jobs that benefit our region and the state.

What that means is that we will increasingly be dependent on our local leaders to attract new businesses and nurture and grow our existing employment base. With that in mind, The Valley Business Journal this month is featuring statements from candidates for local City Councils highlighting their approach to jobs creation and our business community.

As the leading business publication in the region, we believe you need to hear what these candidates have to say about business and jobs growth. You can find out all about their other agenda items elsewhere, or take some time to meet the candidates in person and ask them the questions that are important to you. But lack of jobs is keeping our region from prospering, job growth is what will drive our economy into the future. If our local leaders are deficient in their understanding of that single element, it could be highly detrimental to our region’s recovery. Graffiti, horse trails, parks, the quarry and other issues are surely important to our community but those issues pale if there are no local jobs.. 

You will note that statements are not available from all candidates. You may assume those candidates were either too busy to respond or simply have no position to declare on business in our region. As always, we encourage you to get as much information as you can about the candidates and their positions and qualifications before casting your vote on November 2.


jeff-comercheroThe one question I am asked most often is “What makes Temecula such a successful city?”  My number one answer is the strength of our business community.  Until 1978, property taxes in California kept escalating.  Providing services was easy for most cities because they had the money to pay for them.  But the taxes were killing our citizens, and something had to change.  Along came the Jarvis-Gann initiative, better known as Proposition 13.  The measure capped taxes for all homeowners and that was terrific, but city services started to slide.

 It became apparent that to replace the lost revenue, smart city leaders needed to look to increase their sales tax base.  Temecula being a new city had the advantage of starting from the very first day, of recognizing the value of its business community.  It’s not just encouraging new retail outlets and supporting their success, it’s also realizing that customers need to be grown and nothing does that better than retaining jobs and fostering an environment that allows for the creation of new ones.

 It is the understanding that business drives the success of Temecula that makes it essential that your city leaders continue to support your efforts.   Where would we be without the ability to fund our aggressive ratio of 1000 sworn police officers?  Where would we be without the funds to remain one of the few cities in the state with our own paramedics on fire engines?  Parks, recreation program, libraries, museums, senior centers and other facilities all get a portion of their funding from our well above average sales tax base. 

 I know the importance of business in our community, and because I do I remain highly motivated to continue supporting you.   Jeff Comerchero


paul-runkleI am a 13+ year resident of Redhawk/Temecula who knows and cares about the issues important to Temecula, especially on the south side of town where no councilmembers live.  I have a history of service to my community, with 7 years on the Redhawk Community Association Board leading Redhawk’s successful annexation effort into the City of Temecula, and 13 consecutive years as a recreational and club soccer coach.

I am a former aerospace engineer, who for the past 23 years has worked in the field of commercial real estate.  We need to bring good jobs to Temecula, and my two decades in commercial real estate gives me tremendous insight into business activity, retention, and growth.  My career has also allowed me to witness and experience the best and worst of development and redevelopment throughout Southern California.  Let me bring my business expertise to the Temecula City Council in an effort to attract jobs and grow our business community.  I am a licensed California real estate broker, a member of the Urban Land Institute, and I maintain my business office in Temecula.

Temecula is a wealthy, well-planned and relatively well run city, but it can be better.  The three incumbents seeking re-election have been on the City Council for 5, 13, and 18 years respectively.  New ideas, fresh energy and diverse perspectives are important on our City Council.  It is time for a pro-business fiscal conservative who will control government spending and is not part of the typical power structure of Temecula.  Let me be “A New Voice” for our great city.  I ask for your vote on November 2nd.  To learn more about me, my position on important issues, and my broad coalition of support, I encourage you to visit


ron-robertsWhen Temecula incorporated in December 1989, I was appointed the Chairman of the city’s first Traffic committee and as a CHP  Supervisor, put together a traffic director program over the Rancho California and Winchester Road bridges over I-15 to alleviate rush hour gridlock traffic.

Later on in 1992, I ran for City Council and was elected to my first term of office.  Some of my accomplishments over the years include acquiring our beautiful duck pond from a private developer at NO cost to our city and later working with now Riverside Supervisor Jeff Stone to negotiate the Forest Cities original mall agreement in 1998.  In 2004, after travelling to Sacramento and testifying before the State Library Bond commission on three separate occasions, I was finally able to convince the commission on the third try that we were in dire need of a new larger library. We received the bond funding and our City Library opened in 2006.

Our new City Hall and Civic Center in Old Town will be dedicated and opened before the end of this year, and Cal. State University San Marcos at Temecula’s campus on Margarita Road has opened, providing undergraduate and graduate studies in nursing and allied health care fields.

I will be strongly pushing the start of construction of the Temecula Parkway at I-15 ultimate interchange improvements and our French Valley interchange improvements to alleviate the dangerous traffic congestion we have on I-15.

And lastly welcoming UHS and/or Loma Linda Hospital to their new homes in Temecula.

Strong leadership and correct decisions have led to what Temecula is today and that strong leadership needs to continue.  I ask you to support me for re-election to the Temecula City Council. 


Ron Roberts  

maryann-edwardsStrong leadership built Temecula, and our vibrant business community will sustain Temecula.

Temecula’s businesses are the economic engine that drives our success. Drawing patrons from hundreds of miles away, they provide jobs, goods, services, and the sales tax revenue that funds our outstanding quality of life. They are the bedrock that supports us during tough times, and the launch pad for economic growth during good times.

The City of Temecula must continue to support local business by addressing issues that impact local business – traffic circulation, public safety, and economic growth.

 As your City Council Member, I supported the French Valley Parkway Interchange between Winchester Road and I-215 to ease traffic and speed freeway ingress/egress. My council colleagues and I approved construction of our Community Theater and Civic Center to stimulate economic growth and turn Old Town into downtown. On budget and near completion, the Civic Center project has provided 2000 local construction jobs and stimulated millions in private investment – restaurants, services, retail, and housing.

Expansion of Abbott Laboratories, Professional Hospital Supply, the Promenade Mall and Cal State San Marcos at Temecula has added hundreds of jobs and marked a turning point toward high tech manufacturing, high end retail, and higher education in Temecula. We have also funded two new motorcycle officers, a new Police Storefront in the Old Town Civic Center, and are planning a full service police station in the existing city hall building.

 It has been an honor to serve on the Temecula City Council where the City, Chamber, and local business have created a strong foundation for success and a high quality of life for Temecula residents.  I will continue to be an advocate for business, and I appreciate your support for my re-election to a second term on the Temecula City Council on November 2nd.   Maryann Edwards



patricia-lynesThe local business community should vote for me because I am a fresh voice and will offer a new perspective to the Temecula City Council.  A city council member should be an unbiased representative of the people.  I want you to know I have no conflict of interest with business or special interests and therefore, I will be that unbiased representative our council needs.  I will listen to the residents, represent and be responsive to the residents of Temecula.  I am the right candidate for Temecula right now.

    Patrice Lynes






david-landriscinaWE THE PEOPLE: If you choose me to serve you, I pledge to:

Meet or exceed our shared goals of adequate public safety by adding substations to reduce response times, and by updating communications technologies to enhance our limited resources.  I also pledge to add additional firemen to meet NFPA requirements of 4/vehicle once the economy rebounds.  

I believe Murrieta has a bright future ahead given the groundwork established during the general plan updates in June of this year. This groundwork called for better use of our land for economic development including new technology businesses favored by public surveys returned along the I-215 business corridor.  Area economists, local principals, small businesses, veterans groups all agree.

Education that will prepare our youth for 21st century jobs (a commitment made by our Superintendent for the MVUSD: Dr. Stan Scheer who supports the Murrieta First Campaign-Landriscina for City Council) and press for a new local university. Propose a constitutional form of local government. Collaborate regionally to update traffic control technologies for improved flow. Push for a senior advisory committee.

The 10-year Parks and Recreation master plan passed in June of 2009, for which I supported and the proponents who rode in on their horses asked for, had included equestrian trails and a specialty facility for housing them be constructed. This includes city-wide connecting trails, swim centers, sports fields and dog parks. The Skate Park is now open.

I began my public relations campaign going back to the year 2001, and have never been shaken under close public scrutiny of these proposals during good economic times. I have stayed on focus for a vision whose time has come.   If you’ll support my candidacy, such as those mentioned above, I in unison with the others on council, will provide the leadership in a partnership of trust based upon shared values – the glue that binds us. David Landriscina

doug-gibbsI believe that government’s role should be limited to only the necessary functions to secure and protect our rights. The more government is involved in our lives, the less liberty we have. Therefore, as a long-time resident and concerned citizen of the fine City of Murrieta, I pledge to do all that I can to limit the ever increasing expansion of local government. In connection with that pledge, I support the Murrieta Initiatives that will be on the November 2010 Ballot. These initiatives will institute term limits for elected officials, as well as limiting city stipends and salaries without extraneously limiting police, fire, and emergency personnel salaries. With these initiatives, and my election to the Murrieta City Council, I aim to give the government back to the people, and I will be a statesman (rather than a politician) that is truly representative and responsive to the citizens of Murrieta.  Douglas Gibbs




rick-gibbsWith 3 decades in Aerospace Industry Business Development and 5 years of government acquisition experience in the Pentagon, I know that it is business that will lead the nation out of our economic morass. As a city policy maker it is my job to set the conditions that will enable you the business owner to succeed and then get out of your way.  Here is what I have helped accomplished to assist business in these trying times:

  • Ensured council placed a priority on aggressively pursuing measurable economic development.
  • Hired an economic development director who could function as an ombudsman to help business through the bureaucracy.
  • Kept fees at last year’s levels.
  • Created a fast track process.
  • Published a concise list of incentives for new business
  • Recommended council investment in our future by self-funding Environmental Impact Reports for the Antelope and Jefferson Business Corridors. 
  • Fast tracked the Loma Linda University Medical Center – Murrieta which will provide 500 direct and many more indirect jobs.
  • Started a federally funded survey to assess business needs, including ability to export.
  • As a Secretary of Commerce appointee to the California Inland Empire District Export Council (CIEDEC), formed a partnership to provide export training to those businesses which lack expertise.
  • Funded $155M for infrastructure projects within Murrieta using Federal and State sources.
  • Fostered a “Twin Cities” approach with Temecula to target industry recruitment and job creation.
  • Participated in Murrieta Business Connects to hear directly from you what improvements are needed to be a business friendly city.
  • Started the process of trying to attract a 4-year university to our area.

At the end of the day, a city needs to be in partnership with its business community. Your success is Murrieta’s success.  Richard Gibbs

gary-thomasianMaintaining a quality of life is my number one goal.  Public safety, fiscal responsibility, health care, job creation, higher education and recreational opportunities for residents are my priorities.

A recent FBI poll names Murrieta as the second safest city in the USA with a population of over 100,000.  My commitment to public safety is unwavering. 

As a small business owner for 25 years, including the past 18 years in this valley, I recognize the importance of a balanced budget and making fiscally smart decisions.  Financial responsibility coupled with transparency is essential, and I led the effort to transform the budget format to include an increased level of detail and readability for the public. 

I’ve worked hard to bring new businesses to Murrieta as the revenue generated from sales tax is vital to fund city services, including public safety.  New, high paying jobs are necessary in order to eliminate residents’ long commutes.  Loma Linda University Medical Center, Murrieta, will soon open, bringing not only much needed high quality medical care to the area, but also 500 new jobs. The Murrieta Education Center has funding in place and is moving through the city planning process.  This higher education center will provide diverse educational opportunities and also high paying jobs.  Murrieta continues to open new businesses as investors have confidence in Murrieta as a quality community with a stable local government.

Murrieta continues to provide superior library programs, safe, well maintained parks, numerous recreation activities, and many areas of open space for residents’ enjoyment. As I complete my first term on the Murrieta City Council, I am proud of my accomplishments and look forward to build on this success over the next few years.  With residents, businesses and city government working together, Murrieta will continue to be a great place to live.  Gary Thomasian

kelly-bennettIn 2006, I was elected to bring positive change to the Murrieta City Council, opportunities to Murrieta, and to restore our reputation.  That has happened!

Despite the worst recession in 80 years, Murrieta’s last four years have brought significant results.  Since 2006, the Council has secured more jobs, healthcare and educational opportunities to Murrieta.  We jealously guarded city finances and reduced expenditures without compromising safety or community services – Murrieta was deemed the “second safest city in the nation” by the FBI for 2009.  

I am a “doer” rather than a talker.  Accomplishments include:   Initiated negotiations for a four-year university;  created the “Fast-Track Planning” business attraction program; established Murrieta’s Youth Court to rehabilitate teen offenders; the Abandoned Property Ordinance requiring banks to maintain foreclosed homes; fostered international trade for Murrieta manufacturers; intervened with local hospital management to prevent closures; started the Mayor’s Salute to Military Mothers’ event supporting military families; founded the regional Heaven on Earth food drives; and founded the three-acre Produce for People Community Garden (private-public partnership providing fresh produce to needy families and seniors).   

A working and pro-active Council is key to Murrieta’s progress.  I represent Murrieta regionally through the Southwest Cities Coalition, and as Chairwoman of Western Riverside Council of Governments.  I have worked hard to “set the table” for more jobs and quality development to flourish as the economy rebounds.  Murrieta’s General Plan update is near completion.  As part of the process, we required completion of environmental impact reports (often left to businesses) for our new medical and education land-use zones.  This incentive will make land “shovel ready” to attract key employers to those corridors.   

Progress does not happen without common sense leadership and the cohesive teamwork.  I request the privilege of continuing to serve you as a member of your City Council.  Kelly Bennett

alan-longWhile I support future economic development, I equally support businesses that have already invested in Murrieta. We can have an acute positive impact on our current business owners.  A business and resident-friendly environment must be created at City Hall. A can do attitude must be adopted and customer service shall be second to none. Business license incentives, permit fee reductions and a streamlined consistent approval process are just a few items that City Hall can do for you.

Business owners, private property owners and taxpayers need to be protected. Fiscal responsibility needs to be applied in all aspects of government. Every budget line item needs to be scrutinized for efficiency and necessity. Government should be creating more ways to put money back into your pockets.

Development, jobs, open space and Murrieta’s heritage must exist cooperatively. Individually, each of these improves a certain aspect of our quality of life. Together, they create a synergy that compliments each other and our community. With a clear and concise vision, supported by a consistent interpretation of our development code, we can bring quality development to Murrieta.

Protect our future. As Murrieta becomes the future of Southern California issues such as traffic, uncontrolled growth, lack of public safety, and overcrowded schools, all have the potential to undermine the best of plans. Every project approved and policy created must keep these issues in mind in order to keep Murrieta a desirable place to live, work, play, and stay. 

My name is Alan Long.  I’m a husband, father, fire captain, commissioner, counselor, coach and I want to be your next council member.  Alan Long

susan-vombaurAs your next city councilwoman, I will bring personal knowledge of where our city is heading and the experience to guide it in the right direction.


As we talk about our candidate goals, it is obvious to point to job creation given our current economic climate.  The city is in process of updating our general plan.  This is the document that provides guidance and balance to ensure coordination between public safety, land use, traffic, utilities, air quality, housing, noise and economic development.    It is not an individual candidate who can bring those jobs, but rather one that can provide foresight and experience to the general plan that will allow for streamlined processing of development, job creation and potential for high-speed rail while maintaining our quality of life.  I have the technical experience and knowledge to do this.


I have worked closely with our police and fire departments as well as the MVU School District to improve conditions in our community providing safer, more efficient traffic flow.  As a resident of Murrieta for the past 13 years and being a professional engineer, my goal is to protect the interest of the community at large without catering to special interest groups and without using the position as a rung on the political ladder. 


Having worked for the city for 4 ½ years, I possess the unique perspective and knowledge of the current city issues and challenges.  I look at this as opportunity to continue serving the city, but in a more effective way as a decision maker rather than merely making recommendations to others.  My experience in engineering, development processing, transportation planning and traffic engineering for the past 12 years provides me the knowledge of local and regional issues that directly affect the City of Murrieta, its business owners and its residents.  Susan Vombaur

krisin-lloydWildomar was built on the foundation of independent business owners. With the economic downturn, those businesses are struggling to keep their doors open, keep their employees and trying just to survive. We need to develop a shop and dine local incentive campaign as well as make hiring local businesses for contract work with the city a top priority.

I can relate with challenges of the small business owner and home based businesses. As an owner/operator of JFK Enterprises for the past 15 years, I was fortunate enough to work with a former employer and work directly from home while my children were young. I have personally experienced a decline in work for the past several years with the saturation of personal computing and computer graphics software programs that make my skill set nearly obsolete. I know that I am not alone in my efforts to look into the future and increase my skill set. We need to see that our citizens take advantage of the resources available from higher workforce development organizations like those in the surrounding cities.

As your city council representative, I will work with our Economic Development Committee to guarantee that we are fostering a business friendly environment. Governance should never burden our local citizens or the business community, and I will never vote to create items in ordinances that will add layers of bureaucracy, additional costs or time delays for businesses.

Wildomar is at 50% build-out. It’s not a matter of if we will develop but when and how. We need to engage community members, land owners, developers and business leaders and encourage their participation in developing our General Plan. Only then will we have a solid foundation for a successful economic forecast.  Thank your time and for more information please visit

Kristan Lloyd

marsha-swansonI have made my home in Wildomar for the past 36 years; I am a Mother, Grandmother, Wife and Businesswoman.  My heart and five generations of my Family reside in Wildomar.  I have served on Wildomar City Council for the past two years helping to form our community into a City we can all be proud of.  We have made major progress, but we have more work to do to get the job done.  For this reason I have decided to seek a full term. 

I WILL….keep a balanced budget, be a strong voice for the people, listen to your concerns.

Wildomar is a City in progress; we need to improve our roads, keep our parks open and have strong police and fire departments – and one day our own community center.

My experience as a businesswoman and my service on Wildomar City Council, has taught me to balance budgets, manage staff and respond to problems and challenges.  I live and work in Wildomar.  I will listen to your concerns; I will put my experience and knowledge together to help create a city we can all be proud of.

Make the choice for experience and proven leadership – Re-Elect Marsha Swanson.  Marsha Swanson

martha-bridgesWildomar’s citizens should look at the promises incorporation was supposed to deliver; true local control, financial responsibility, better police and public services, and governance that includes true democratic ideals. Two years into Wildomar’s city-hood, we have gained little of these things.  The city needs new council members with adequate time and skills to get us back on track, while preserving Wildomar’s small-town character and unique sense of community. 

My experience as a businesswoman has equipped me with essential financial management skills. At Kaiser Permanente I negotiated multi-million dollar contracts, administered complex service and support agreements, and managed budgets far larger than Wildomar’s.  I truly understand the need to be financially conservative and get maximum value for taxpayers’ dollars. With my extensive healthcare background, I’m also prepared to seek solutions to our area’s critical lack of healthcare facilities and services.  The availability of quality healthcare, along with better public safety protection is fundamental to taking care of our current population and attracting good development. 

Retirement has allowed me time to volunteer in the community. I’m a lifetime member of The Friends of the Mission Trail Library, current President of the Butterfield Trails Committee, a former Director and Treasurer of Habitat for Humanity Inland Valley and a member of many other environmental and civic groups. After living here 22+ years I’m very familiar with the community and Wildomar’s current operations, and well-prepared to serve on the council.  Being retired, I have adequate time to devote to doing that well.

I’m truly independent, owe no political paybacks to developers or special interest groups, and will not use Wildomar as a stepping-stone for other political ambitions. I’m dedicated to serving the best interests of all the citizens of Wildomar.   Martha Bridges

ben-benoitIn running for city council I have talked to a lot of Wildomar residents, and there are plenty of ideas out there about what people want to see done in our young city.   We have people that want dedicated trails, better code enforcement, speed enforcement, improved roads, historical downtown district, street sweeping (or in some cases a street to start with), and many other ideas.  


All of these proposed projects have their supporters and detractors, but all of them have one thing in common… a need for Wildomar to grow its tax base.  I am opposed to any new taxes for our citizens, but we have the opportunity through improved commercial growth that will allow the citizens of Wildomar to start spending their money at home and supporting their own city.  


Now, I am not naïve to the fact that we are not seeing much growth in our large commercial building sectors, and I know it will take a lot of work to bring the larger commercial entities to Wildomar.   One thing Wildomar has going for it right now is that we do have three relatively undeveloped off ramps on Interstate 15, all of which are slated for improvements.  These areas can provide us with the commercial growth we need and the ability to say something that you can’t say now, “I bought this TV in Wildomar,” among many other things.


I will work hard for the residents of our City to make sure that when the region’s larger commercial businesses start to grow again that Wildomar will be on the top of their list.   Ben Benoit