Wednesday , July 24 2024
Councilman Juan Figueroa introduced the idea of having city council candidates fill out, in essence, a job application and background document when they file to run for city council.

Councilmember proposes candidates provide background for transparency

At the most recent city council meeting, Councilman Juan Figueroa introduced the idea of having city council candidates fill out, in essence, a job application and background document when they file to run for city council.  He referenced that when people apply to be commissioners on various assignments for the city, they have a document that he estimated is about three pages to fill out, and that council candidates in the future should be required to do the same.

Ms. Rocha, the city clerk, acknowledged the current requirement for candidates to provide backup for their ballot designation. She expressed her commitment to thoroughly evaluate the proposal, consult with the city attorney, and present her findings to the council at a later date, underscoring the necessity of legal review in such a significant matter.

When asked about the rationale behind his proposal, Councilman Figueroa responded, “I believe this is a matter of transparency.  In the past, we’ve seen candidates run for office, only to discover later that there were significant details in their background, such as financial issues, work problems, or criminal records, that could have influenced voters’ decisions. On the flip side, there could be potential positives. Perhaps they possess a strong financial background and a track record of public service. I see no reason why gaining a deeper understanding of our future candidates wouldn’t be advantageous.”

Many organizations regularly back politicians for office and have the information forms they require for those seeking their funds.  Lou Desmond, a long-time Inland Empire-based political operative, referred numerous organizations from which he had sought support in the past that requested such forms to be completed before offering their financial support, including trade organizations, labor unions, and other individual donors and political action committees as standard practice.

“Part of the vetting process is getting to know the candidate, including work history, financial history, stances on political issues, and any other information that might affect their electability,” Desmond said. ”Knowing who you are supporting is reasonable due diligence.”

It is likely too late for the city to require such background information from council candidates this election cycle. However, that does not mean they can’t voluntarily disclose the information.

“I think it would be great for the voters of all of the remaining council candidates to voluntarily supply the same information that is required of the commissioner candidates,“ said Figueroa.

Those candidates are Kim Knauss, facing off with the once-unelected councilman Henry Nickel, and local activist Treasure Ortiz, who is facing long-time city attorney Jim Penman.

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