As county election primaries begin, five potential candidates will run for the Kern County 5th District Supervisor position.
Kern County’s 5th District covers all of metropolitan Bakersfield, popularly identified areas being Downtown, East, and Southeast Bakersfield, and is currently supervised by Leticia Perez.
Perez was elected in 2012 and has since held the position of supervisor, but not without controversy.
In July 2018, Perez was charged with two misdemeanor conflict of interest charges in regard to the local marijuana industry. Her husband, Fernando Jara, exchanged texts with local marijuana dispensary owner David Abassi offering to release information regarding the regulation of marijuana in Kern County that had not yet been released. Jara and Perez took payments for months from Abassi in 2017 totaling $25,000 before Abassi decided to cut off the deal.
Despite the questions of character following this incident, Perez is still taking her shot at the race. One of her opposing candidates is none other than David Abassi.
In an article written by Sam Morgen for The Californian titled “David Abbasi intends to run for 5th District supervisor,” Abassi said, “We need to bring ethics to the local government and to restore power to the people. We need leaders who won’t sell us out to special interests.”
Abassi’s concerns empowered him to run in the 2020 elections, although he has never run for office before.
The three opposing candidates are also running their first race.
Ben Valdez, youngest of the four candidates, is a Bakersfield native who attended and earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy – law, justice and social policy from CSU Bakersfield.
“When I ask myself ‘Is my district better off today than it was eight years ago, I don’t think it is,” Valdez said.
According to Valdez, he wants to implement good paying jobs, a good education for children, apprenticeship programs in various trades, to remove debt, and take action on the homelessness epidemic.
Valdez keeps an online presence and is the only candidate in the 5th District Supervisor race with a website to promote himself, ValdezForSupervisor.com. He has spent his time developing a list of necessary improvements for the district.
Ricardo Herrera is a University of California, San Diego alumnus with a doctorate in history from Arizona University. He is currently the owner of a local restaurant called El Zarape Mexican Food Restaurant.
Herrera’s main concern is making better use of the county’s budget, going towards raised salaries of government workers and paid overtime for first responders.
In The Californian’s story titled, “ELECTION 2020: Slew of candidates will attempt to take down Leticia Perez in Fifth District race” by Sam Morgan, Herrera said, “This is getting out of hand […] So I would just go over the $2 billion a year budget and make sure the Fifth District gets it’s fair portion of funds.”
Herrera also hopes to also implement term limits for supervisors if elected.
Ronnie Cruz is the fifth and final candidate for the 2020 Kern County 5th District Supervisor primaries.
Cruz has interest in the rising rates of homicide in the 5th District, and wants to key in on public safety and homicide.
Crime rates listed on city-data.com show that the 2018 crime rate in Bakersfield, CA was higher than in 90.4% of U.S. cities, with 0.2% of all crimes being murders.
The Bakersfield 5th District Supervisor election has the most candidates running at five, while the other districts average about three candidates.