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Two Supervisors Say Public Would 'Do Well' If Either D.A. Candidate Elected

"These are two people I like," county Supervisor Kevin Jeffries said. "They're both very honorable, professional and dedicated public servants."

Patch file photo by Guy McCarthy
Patch file photo by Guy McCarthy

By Paul J. Young, City News Service:

Residents of Riverside County will be well served by whoever prevails in the Riverside County district attorney's race, whose two candidates are both "impressive," supervisors who have endorsed both men said this week.

"These are two people I like," county Supervisor Kevin Jeffries said. "They're both very honorable, professional and dedicated public servants."

Supervisor John Benoit expressed similar feelings, acknowledging that "co-endorsements" are not common in politics, but sometimes it can't be helped.

"I endorsed District Attorney Paul Zellerbach when he came to me a year ago," Benoit said. "Mr. (Mike) Hestrin came along later, and I had a chance to see him in the community. I could see he had a lot on the ball, a lot to offer. I have friends and neighbors who hold him in very high regard. So I decided to co-endorse."

Zellerbach, a former judge, is seeking a second term as the county's top prosecutor. Hestrin, a 15-year deputy district attorney who until 2012 handled capital homicide cases, initiated a grassroots campaign roughly a year ago with the goal of unseating his boss.

The challenger has assailed Zellerbach's leadership style, internal policy decisions and the general direction in which he's taken the office over the last 3 1/2 years, at a time when plea agreements have surged while state- imposed public safety realignment measures have saddled the county with a higher number of felons to squeeze into local jails.

Zellerbach has defended his record, underscoring that under his management, the D.A.'s office budget has been consistently balanced, the courts are functioning under less strain and inter-agency relations have improved.

"What competitive campaign doesn't get a little testy?" Jeffries told CNS. "The candidates have to contrast themselves. Politics is a contact sport, for better or worse. I haven't had to live in Paul's house of business. I don't know first-hand the challenges going on over there. But I still feel he's a capable D.A., and I'm glad to support him."

Jeffries noted that Zellerbach did not back him when he ran for supervisor in 2012, while Hestrin did, yet he still felt obligated to split his endorsement between the two men.

"To some degree, a dual endorsement does dilute the whole concept of an endorsement," Jeffries said. "But it's also a statement, at least in my case, of knowing both these candidates. I believe the public will win either way. You can do well with either man. So it's up to the individual voters to decide on the qualities of these two candidates and vote appropriately."

Benoit praised Zellerbach for "turning the D.A.'s office around," pointing specifically to the incumbent's success in helping clear a backlog of several hundred untried felony cases that had accumulated under his predecessor, briefly forcing the suspension of civil hearings at the Riverside Historic Courthouse.

"We had cases going back seven years," Benoit said. "I had friends on jury duty and others familiar with the justice system expressing frustration."

The supervisor said he believes either Zellerbach or Hestrin would "be successful" in keeping the judicial apparatus running smoothly.

"A co-endorsement is something you do when you're faced with tough choices," Benoit said. "It's a tough choice selecting just one of these two. Both are impressive. So Mr. and Mrs. Voter -- it's up to you."



Murrieta Council Corruption April 22, 2014 at 10:48 PM
Yes Lake Elsinore Resident tell us why Hestrin is the best when even Hestrin cannot even articulate why he is the best
Rae Anne Resident April 23, 2014 at 10:20 AM
If my nefew says Hestrin is the best that all you need to no. they aint no reason for more detale then that.
Concerned Person April 23, 2014 at 01:29 PM
I say dual endorsement is a good idea where both candidates appear to be well qualified.
Concerned Person April 23, 2014 at 01:49 PM
I dislike it when DISTRICT ATTORNEY CANDIDATES MAKE PUFFY CLAIMS "VOTE FOR ME. I AM HARSH", "I WILL TAKE ALL THESE DANGEROUS AND VIOLENT CRIMINALS OFF THE STREET AND KEEP THE PUBLIC SAFE." That is paraphrasing the DA in a nearby county at a press conference announcing the arrests of raids where some respectable medical marijuana patients had delivered SMALL LEGAL QUANTITIES OF MEDICAL MARIJUANA ONLY TO OTHER PATIENTS AND ONLY AFTER PERSONALLY VERIFYING THEIR ID AND THEIR CURRENT DOCTOR RECOMMENDATIONS ACCORDING TO STATE LAW.
Steve Grasha April 23, 2014 at 04:26 PM
County Supervisor's Jumping on the Band Wagon... Let the record reflect that I was the first civilian to endorse Mike Hestrin Publicly in Riverside County...I am Kind of proud of that! A few weeks later Zellerbach showed his appreciation and I was charged with multiple felonies he created literally out of thin air. It took a few months for my case to wind it's way through the court system. In the end, THREE separate judges ruled "NO CRIME WAS COMMITTED! ALL charges have been dismissed. I as Chairman of The Riverside County Leadership Forum, Zellerbach must have felt that my support for Mike Hestrin, his opponent might perhaps be the beginning of his undoing. When I sent out a memo to campaign donors that I was going to be supporting Mike Hestrin and that I suggested they wait to start writing checks to Zellerbach's campaign until they were able to meet Mike and get a better understanding of him, that they might also decide he was the better of the two candidates. A few days after that email went out, Zellerbach was forced to cancel a fundraiser due to lack of interest. Less than a week later, I received a letter from the DA telling me to turn myself in to the court and answer to Felony Death Threats and Stalking charges, ALL of my firearms have been confiscated by Zellerbachs orders and I am still to this day left defenseless in my very own home because of Paul Zellerbachs abuse of his authority. I will expand on this in our next newsletter that will be hitting email inboxes across Riverside County in a few day's Learn more about The Riverside County Leadership Forum here: http://www.riversideforum.org/

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