With the June 2010 election rapidly approaching, its time for us to start taking a closer look at some of the political campaigns that should be very hot and competitive races.
One of those race will likely be the one for the office of Riverside County County Sheriff/Coroner/Public Administrator.
Stan Sniff, who was appointed to finish the term of Sheriff Bob Doyle in October 2007, will face one of his former Chief Deputies, Frank Robles. Robles quit after Sniff was sworn in as Sheriff.
Former Sheriff Doyle resigned his office in disgrace less than a year into his second term amidst the controversy that surrounded his office in the "badges to supporters" scandal.
This race should be a hot one, but the advantage clearly goes to Stan Sniff.
On paper, Frank Robles may look good, but he brings a lot of baggage to the race. Before joining the Riverside Sheriff's Department, Frank Robles was the Chief of Police for Desert Hot Springs. Crime was so bad in Desert Hot Springs during Robles' time as Chief, that the City disbanded its Police Department and decided to contract with the County Sheriff for law enforcement.
Frank Robles has the support of Bob Doyle for his campaign against Sniff. This should raise a lot of questions as to why Frank Robles is really running for Sheriff. Is it to do the job or to have revenge? We'd put our money on revenge.
Robles seemingly has the backing of a group of rich donors calling themselves "The Rangers" that rumor has it wants their badges back. That combined with Robles having the support of Doyle is very disoncerting. It also shows an incredible lack of judgment on Robles' part for his campaign to use Bob Doyle as a prominent supporter.
And we here at Inside Riverside question the ethics and integrity of anyone that would solicit or accept the support of the Royal Doyle in any political campaign.
When Robles says "our Sheriff's Department demands independent leadership, rock-solid integrity and a leader who knows how to get the most out of limited taxpayer dollars," it sounds more like he's endorsing Sheriff Sniff than criticizing him.
Stan Sniff on the other hand has a long and distinguished career in both the Riverside County Sheriff's Department and the United States Army. Sniff as you may recall from our earlier reporting, retired from the Army at the rank of Colonel. The man is no slouch. The only mark against him was his firing by Bob Doyle.
But when Sniff became Sheriff he opened his confidential personnel file to the public and the media. A review of Sniff's service record did not uncover a single blemish, proving that Doyle's firing of Sniff was purely a political move meant to prevent Sniff from running for Sheriff.
Sniff has the support of the rank and file members of the Riverside County Sheriff's Department. The coveted endorsement of the powerful Riverside Sheriffs' Association brings with it a vast amount of money that Robles' Rangers will not be able to match, at least not legally. At last report, the Riverside Sheriffs' Association had close to $1 million in it's political action accounts.
Robles is obviously aware of this and has helped to recruit Deputy Mike Murray to run for President of the Riverside Sheriffs' Association. Murray, who blindly supported Bob Doyle despite the way Doyle mistreated his fellow deputies, is clearly seeking the office of RSA President in order to pull the organization's endorsement away from Sheriff Sniff. If that coup is successful, look for Murray to attempt to then get the deputies to endorse Robles so he can funnel hundreds of thousands of dollars to him.
Murray and Robles' endeavor to take control of the Riverside Sheriffs' Association has the quiet support of the County Executive Office, which wants a weaker and more complacent union leadership in the next round of contract negotiations. That should prevent most of the unions members from supporting Murray's campaign and subsequently stop Robles from getting his hands on their union dues for his campaign account.
As always dear readers, we'll keep you posted as things develop in this race.