Political Action Committee pays for emails, text messages and social media ads attacking Bianco
RIVERSIDE COUNTY — A political action committee comprised of some of Sheriff Chad Bianco’s fiercest critics has formed, looking to oust the sometimes controversial — and unapologetic — sheriff when he’s up for reelection next year.
The Riverside Alliance for Safety & Accountability has paid for emails, text messages and social media ads attacking Bianco, campaign finance records show — and is actively seeking donations.
“Chad Bianco is failing all of us, and he is a real threat to the future of our public safety,” according to a statement on the group’s website, biancomustgo.com. “We cannot allow Chad Bianco to steamroll our community with his limitless power for another four years. The safety of our community is at stake.”
Some Democratic leaders have long been unimpressed with him. In December 2020, the Democrats of the Desert Board of Directors & Palm Desert Greens Democratic Club Board of Directors sent a letter to the Board of Supervisors saying that Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco is “arrogant, non-compliant and negligent,” In the letter, the Democratic groups implored supervisors to censure Bianco.
Bianco “ignored and disregarded science and facts” regarding the coronavirus pandemic, according to an alliance news release.
During his tenure, concealed weapons permits “have tripled … putting thousands of additional guns on our streets,” the release read, noting the ACLU has filed a complaint with federal agencies accusing the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department of misusing more than $4.6 million in COVID-19 relief funds.
Bianco could not immediately be reached for comment.
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Association has remained solidly behind Bianco.
Bianco, a former sheriff’s lieutenant who unseated Sheriff Stan Sniff in 2018, Bianco has been outspoken and controversial since taking over the county’s largest law enforcement agency. While the office of sheriff is nonpartisan, Bianco, a Republican, has publicly criticized Gov. Gavin Newsom’s criminal justice policies and handling of the pandemic.
The sheriff, who contracted COVID-19 in January after earlier stating he would not get the vaccine, refused to enforce mask orders and business restrictions and ignored calls to release jail inmates early to prevent the virus’s spread.
In a Dec. 4 YouTube video that gained national attention, Bianco — while asking the public to mask up and socially distance — accused Gov. Gavin Newsom of trying to strongarm counties into enforcing his stay-at-home order, which went into effect in Southern California on Dec. 6.
In June 2020, about 40 protesters held a “Boot Bianco” rally outside the Robert Presley Detention Center and sheriff’s headquarters in downtown Riverside. Protesters demanded better treatment of jail inmates and the shifting of money from the Sheriff’s Department toward other community needs.
Joy Silver, a gay Palm Springs Democrat who twice ran unsuccessfully for state Senate, is the anti-Bianco PAC’s co-chair. The PAC is supported by “a group of individuals and like-minded organizations” and 20 people make up its leadership council, Silver told the Press-Enterprise via email.
The PAC is not recruiting a candidate to run against Bianco, “but the goal of our work is to help carve a path for a credible challenger,” she said. Silver did not respond to requests from Uken Report.
The committee officially formed in March. As of June 30, it had raised about $6,600 from seven donors and spent about $3,400.
The sheriff’s election is in June 2022, with a possible November runoff between the top two vote-getters if no candidate wins a simple majority. While Riverside County’s electorate is trending blue, defeating Bianco won’t be easy.
State law requires sheriff’s candidates to have either an advanced certificate from the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training or a certain level of law enforcement experience depending on their educational background.
Any Bianco challenger also will have to contend with the deputies’ union, which spent six figures on Bianco’s 2018 campaign and has defended its preferred candidates with mailed attack ads against their opponents. As of June 30, the sheriff had more than $481,000 in his campaign fund.
- Sheriff Chad Bianco: FOX 11 / foxla.com (Used with permission)