With statewide elections approaching in March of 2024, the political season in California is quickly accelerating, and over the next few months, all of us will undoubtedly feel its effects. But this particular time in our political calendar is fundamental to who we are as Riversiders, Californians, and Americans. The opportunity to express our beliefs through our right to vote is a privilege that we must not take for granted. Many servicemen and women—including those from Riverside—have fought and died for these sacred rights; through exercising our franchise, we express our gratitude and follow in their footsteps to continually secure the values we pledge to uphold: freedom, liberty, and opportunity.
With the onset of political activities, it is important to recognize the developments that are changing or will change, the landscape of governance. Over the next year, elected officials representing Riverside will be transitioning to new positions, exiting office due to retirements or term limits, or will represent new constituencies as a result of redistricting. These changes will directly impact Riverside in the months and years to come, but they should not affect our ability to ensure responsible governance during a time of political change. Riversiders deserve leaders who will act in the best interest of their people, deliver tangible results, and ensure smooth transition periods for new leaders. Politics can be polarizing, but we should not weaponize the democratic process to disrupt the work of responsible governance.
Riverside is at an inflection point. Over the past few years, we have seen record growth, and we have designed solutions to address issues like homelessness, infrastructure, and economic development.
Every day, my administration is working to ensure these solutions are enacted seamlessly and effectively, and our work has yielded significant results for the city. This summer alone, we have strengthened our relationship with our Sister City of Gangnam, South Korea, bolstered our city workforce through Youth Jobs Corps program hires, completed three major projects for the Beautify Riverside initiative, launched a public user guide to inform residents on planned street repaving projects, began Project Connect to prevent formerly-incarcerated individuals from becoming homeless, and met with business leaders to discuss the issues and opportunities that are defining Riverside’s economic outlook. The progress was made possible by leaders, stakeholders, and volunteers who are interested in one goal: a better Riverside.
Government will never be perfect, but at the very least, it should be accountable and well-intentioned. We may not always decide correctly on every issue, and sometimes, we may move slower than anticipated; that is the nature of any large system. But progress is incremental, and solidifying progress results in improvements that all of us can recognize and experience.
Our role—and duty—as elected officials is to operate with responsibility and with the utmost integrity, using our positions not to impose power but to steward a new era of growth, innovation, and stability that will guide Riverside forward into a better future.