■ Kyle Selby / Reporter
Former Palm Springs Police Chief Gary Jeandron is one of San Jacinto City Councilman Andrew Kotyuk’s opponents in the race to unseat current California Assemblyman Chad Mayes (R-42).
Kotyuk, a Navy veteran, former small business owner, and self-described “family man,” has served three terms on the San Jacinto City Council, and hopes to unseat Republican Mayes for “betraying our principles in joining Jerry Brown and Assembly Democrats to pass the tax-raising Cap & Trade bill.”
Jeandron recently criticized Kotyuk, claiming that the San Jacinto city councilman and former mayor is “unelectable” because he had once been forced to declare bankruptcy, has “cheated” local businesses, refused to pay his bills leading to an arrest warrant, and has twice supported a utility tax. Jeandron urged Kotyuk to remove himself from the campaign.
Kotyuk responded on Nov. 20 with a lengthy statement, examining Jeandron’s opposing words.
“I was very disappointed by the content and tone of Gary Jeandron’s attack on me,” wrote Kotyuk. “It was low and unnecessary in a race where all Republicans should be focused on ‘Repealing and Replacing’ Chad Mayes.”
In the statement, Kotyuk refers to Jeandron’s attacks as “shameful,” claiming that Jeandron lacks understanding of the challenges facing the community. One of Kotyuk’s campaign taglines is that his conservative views will “seek to restore principles over politics.”
“It is true, our family was forced to declare bankruptcy more than 15 years ago,” responded Kotyuk. “Returning from my service in the U.S. Navy, I worked two jobs to provide for my young family while attending college. Unfortunately, I was laid off from both jobs during the economic downturn. Struggling to pay our rent and make car payments, we made the very difficult decision to file [bankruptcy] and start over with the chance a part-time minimum wage job gave us.”
Kotyuk believes the liberal presence in Sacramento, and their consistent tax hikes, are putting many California families in similar situations today, forcing them to move elsewhere, typically out of state.
Kotyuk announced his campaign to unseat “turncoat” Chad Mayes in the 42nd Assembly District back in August of this year. Having served as mayor for San Jacinto twice, Kotyuk was initially elected as a reformer that could right the wrongs done by the previous City Council, four members of which were indicted as part of a bribery scandal in 2009.
“When I was elected to the San Jacinto City Council, we were in the midst of a terrible scandal with four indicted council members,” wrote Kotyuk. “I inherited an annual operating deficit of $4 million that would require cutting police, fire and other services by 50 percent along with closing some public parks to balance the budget. In order to do so, I joined my colleagues and other civic leaders in allowing the public to vote on a tax option. I never approved a tax. The measure failed and we steered the city to firm financial footing with the reductions. I’m proud of efforts to save our city from bankruptcy.”
Kotyuk remains confident in the strength of his campaign against his opponents. Jeandron previously ran for Riverside County Supervisor in 2010, and for Assembly against Mayes, who ultimately won the seat in 2014.
“Mr. Jeandron is clearly desperate, having run three times for public office and failing in each campaign. His tactics show his desperation but also show how out of touch he is with the struggles of California families,” stated Kotyuk. “What we need in Sacramento are people with real life experiences who will put taxpayers’ interests ahead of their own interests, not more [people like] Chad Mayes and Gary Jeandron.”