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Get to Know Sean Mill, Candidate for Ward 5

Sean Mill, candidate for Ward 5 City Council in the March 2024 election, answers 14 questions about why he is running for election.

Sean Mill is challenging Gaby Placenscia for the Ward 5 City Council Seat (Courtesy of Sean Mill for Riverside City Council Ward 5 - 2024).

As a part of our mission to publish news helpful to Riversiders, The Raincross Gazette is expanding our 2024 Election Guide with a series of interviews with each candidate running for a city office in the March 5, 2024 election.

Each candidate had several weeks to answer the same questions written in response to the nearly 500 questions Gazette readers submitted in a survey about their priorities for Riverside in the coming election. These answers have only been edited to fix minor grammar or spelling errors to ensure a fair representation of each candidate.

Get to Know Sean Mill

I’m a husband, father, and successful business owner with deep roots in Riverside. I served on Riverside’s Planning Commission and was a local high school football coach. I’m a board member of the Arlington Business Council and Commissioner on the Riverside County Flood Control and Water Conservation Management District. I actively volunteer in Riverside because I’m committed to serving our community.

My wife, Trenna, is a Riverside native and a graduate of Poly High School. My daughter Hailey also graduated from Poly. We have two dogs, Poochie and Tigger. We are proud residents of Ward 5!

Why are you running for office?

I’m running to enhance our quality of life and address the needs of residents. My priorities are public safety, solving the homeless crisis, and improving our neighborhoods.

What is Riverside's city government currently doing well?

Riverside's Police Department is our city's crown jewel. I attribute the department's success to the amazing leadership of Chief Larry Gonzalez, the first-rate professionalism of the department's rank and file, effective community engagement, and a commitment to transparency and accountability.

What is Riverside's greatest challenge, and how will you approach it if elected?

Homelessness. The problem is only getting worse, but we can solve this crisis by implementing proven housing, mental health, and substance abuse programs. It’s time to stop wasting city resources on programs that are not working – we need results. We also need to enforce our laws and hold criminal offenders accountable.

If elected, how will you improve the political discourse in Riverside?

Several of our City Council members are distracted by partisan politics. They are more concerned about climbing the political ladder than serving the people they represent. My answer is simple – focus on the needs of residents. There’s plenty of work to do in Riverside; leave the political agendas out of it. We need to get back to basics – repaving roads, tree trimming, park maintenance, graffiti removal, routine trash collection, etc. – it’s time to roll up our sleeves and get to work!

What past personal collaboration that demonstrates risk and compromise are you most proud of?

Serving on the Riverside Planning Commission.

How many hours a week do you expect to put into serving as a councilmember, and what is your commitment to responding to constituents?

City Council members need to treat the position as a full-time commitment to be effective. Working nights, weekends, and long hours is part of the job. Fortunately, as a business owner, I can structure my schedule to dedicate the necessary time to be responsive to constituents and get the job done for our community.

What will you do to address the City's homelessness challenges?

No one should be living on our streets. The problem is only getting worse, but we can solve this crisis by implementing proven housing, mental health, and substance abuse programs. It’s time to stop wasting city resources on programs that are not working – we need results. We also need to enforce our laws and hold criminal offenders accountable.

What are your plans to help Riverside's growing senior population?

Affordability is a big issue for seniors, especially those on a fixed income. I will oppose higher taxes and city fees. I will also work to enhance our senior centers and provide more resources and services to seniors in need.

How do you plan to deal with the trash collection issues Riversiders have been contending with since early 2020?

Accountability. Trash collection is a basic city service. If employee retention and reliability is the issue, we need to create incentives and enhance recruitment, or consider alternative options to get the job done.

Would you support making City Council roles full-time jobs?

No. Serving on the City Council is a privilege. Making it a full-time job will bring out people with bad intentions. I think you need to be motivated to serve the people of Riverside, not collect a paycheck or use the position as a springboard for higher office.

I hope the legal shops will bring in the amount of revenue we’re hearing about and drive out the illegal shops across the city.

Pending General Fund Transfer lawsuits may reduce the City’s annual budget by over $40 million; if elected, how would you respond to a 14% reduction of the City’s operating budget?

If and when that happens, we need to take a hard look at our City’s finances. We will have to consider ways to increase efficiency and cut costs without sacrificing services for residents. We also need to focus on growing our local economy and fostering new businesses to increase city revenues. The key will be in economic development by creating a truly business-friendly atmosphere that will attract folks to bring their businesses to Riverside and bolster our economy.

What would help reduce crime in town, and how do you plan to advocate for safe communities?

Public safety is my top priority. I’ll make sure Riverside’s Police Department has the resources, equipment, and staffing they need to be effective.

What is your position on the Riverside Transmission Reliability Project?

Riverside needs a second connection to the power grid. We can’t have a repeat of the citywide power outage back in 2007. We need to have access to a second connection. It’s crucial that we come together to agree on the best path forward on this project. I believe that the best path forward is for the power lines to be undergrounded. We cannot be a city committed to environmental and social justice and then allow a huge power line project to be installed over a nature preserve and the Arlanza community.