Ten months after being appointed Riverside County Fourth District Supervisor, V. Manuel “Manny” Perez has accomplished what some describe as “remarkable,” even “unprecedented” for a county Supervisor in such a short amount of time.
With just two months until the June 5 Primary, Perez is being heralded not only for what he has done but also what he has not done in his short tenure.
Perez is seeking election to the seat he now holds in the June election. Gov. Jerry Brown appointed Perez to the District 4 seat, which covers the Coachella Valley, until the November 2018 election. He was appointed in May 2017 to fill the seat left vacant in the wake of Supervisor John Benoit’s death in December 2016.
Perez is being challenged by Jan Harnik, a Republican and a member of the Palm Desert City Council.
Lupe Ramos Watson, a member of the Indio City Council and a registered Republican, said rather than detailing Perez’s accomplishments, focusing on what he has not done would make a bigger impact.
Ramos Watson is one of more than 100 appointees for Riverside County’s Fourth District. She has served for Supervisors Roy Wilson, John J. Benoit and now Perez.
“Supervisor Perez has not played partisan politics but rather reached out to each of us in our commissions and offered his assistance to our cause, something that the challenger has never attempted,” Ramos Watson said. “Supervisor Perez has not played partisan politics but rather reached across party lines by protecting full funding for sheriff and district attorney’s offices. Something the challenger cannot claim.”
Furthermore, Ramos Watson said, “Supervisor Perez has not played partisan politics but rather united our development community by establishing a Blue Ribbon Commission on planning and entitlements to reduce unnecessary regulations on developers and added staff and extended hours to assist with developers. Something the challenger cannot claim.”
Perez, Ramos Watson said, has demanded that the state increase the allocation for increased Veteran Service Officer staffing and the proposed North Lake solution to the Salton Sea.
“Something the challenger cannot claim,” Ramos Watson told Uken Report.
Still, there are those who like lists, especially lists of accomplishments.
Some might argue – and they have – that what Perez has done in the past 10 months is politically motivated. He has fought for equal pay for equal work and won unanimous support from his colleagues for an amendment. He fought to create a Medal of Valor to recognize citizen heroes for their risk of life. Riverside County, home to more than 130,000 veterans, never had such an award.
Perez introduced, and received support for, Job Creation and Investment Incentives to create investment opportunities and jobs in the county — the first of its kind. He introduced legislation to create veterans internships, a veterans in-depth needs study, veterans hiring preferences and has fought to increase funding for Veteran Services Officer positions in Riverside County and across the state.
The list goes on.
Getting things done is his trademark. Perez served the desert region in the California State Assembly for three terms between 2008 and 2014, rising to the role of majority leader. In the Assembly, Perez authored more than 60 pieces of legislation that were signed into law, including bills that helped to create jobs, make neighborhoods safer, improve public schools, and jumpstart the local renewable energy industry.
Thomas S. Freeman, chief of public policy for Perez, has worked with and under 14 different supervisors of both political parties in the past 25 years.
“Supervisor Perez has had a remarkable 10 months representing the Fourth District,” Freeman told Uken Report. “He has passed a number of polices benefiting his district residents and businesses. He has hit the ground running and is making a great contribution to the county and board of supervisors as well. Health care, veterans issues, jobs and the economic development, investment incentives, Salton Sea, homeless, and education and job training — and he is just getting started.”