No one has ever accused Riverside County Supervisor of being a man of high intelligence or effective leadership. Instead many who know Jeff Stone joke that his frequent hare-brained schemes may have been formed after experimenting with substances in his the pharmacy he owns.
But make no mistake dear readers, whether you think Stone's crazy or just under the influence of some substance, when it comes to seeking publicity Jeff Stone's is a master. We need look no further than his current publicity stunt to create a new state.
Stone's plan may be appealing on its surface but it ludicrous to propose the State of South California while excluding the majority of Southern California's population in Riverside County. That's because Jeff Stone isn't serious about creating a new state. He's interested in creating publicity to divert attention from the growing list of problems that are likely to end his political career in the next year.
What are those problems you ask?
1. Money Laundering
In February, San Jacinto billionaire Larry Minor was convicted of illegally laundering over $40,000 to Jeff Stone's failed 2010 State Senate campaign. While Stone was not implicated in the scheme, it's hard to believe that Minor would have taken such legal risks without either direct or indirect pressure applied by Stone for Minor to give him more money than state law allowed.
2. Hiding Political Contributions
Last month California's Fair Political Practices Commission leveled a $16,000 fine against Jeff Stone's 2010 Senate campaign for failing to report $84,052 in contributions. Stone's accountant, Joseph Kuebler agreed to pay the fine saying the fault for the violation was his. But didn't Jeff Stone have a legal responsibility to understand California's campaign finance laws when he sought a seat in the State Senate? Shouldn't he have reviewed disclosure requirements before he signed his campaign reports under the penalty of perjury that they were true and accurate?
3. Pay To Play Politics
Jeff Stone introduced and passed Riverside County Ordinance 884 that undermines the First Amendment by limiting protests outside of the Church of Scientology by its dissenters. While Stone likes to quote Thomas Jefferson and other founding fathers, when there's money on the table Stone appears to be willing to ignore the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Scientologists are reported to have given the Stone's failed 2010 Senate campaign at least $50,000 in contributions.
4. The Six Figure "Volunteer" Sister
Lori Stone, the Supervisor's younger sister is an albatross around his political neck. Sadly, Stone placed this her around his own neck. He has no one else to blame but himself. After getting elected to the Riverside County Board of Supervisors in 2004, Stone brought little sister Lori on to his county staff. Nepotism laws prevented him from putting her on the county payroll, but that did not prevent Stone from giving his sister use of county cars, county phones, and county computers.
Stone defended this saying Lori was a volunteer and a bargain for to the taxpayers. However, he failed to mention that he was paying his sister a six figure salary out of his campaign account. Over the course of three years Jeff Stone paid his sister over $330,000 to work in his county office. Many question the legality of Stone having a campaign staffer working in a government office. To avoid an investigation by District Attorney Paul Zellerbach whom Stone opposed in 2010, he ended little sister's employment.
There are many more reasons for this stunt, including Stone's goal to reinvent himself as a small government conservative to fend of a challenge from former State Senator Dennis Hollingsworth or to challenge Republican Ken Calvert for Congress next year.
As you can see dear readers, there are many motives behind the madness of Jeff Stone who we see once again is willing to say and do anything to get headlines and raise campaign cash.