■ Melissa Diaz Hernandez / Reporter
Tuesday night’s appointment of Russ Brown filled K. Paul Raver’s vacant seat on the Hemet City Council, from which he abruptly resigned in December. Raver represented District 2, which geographically encompasses the northwest-end of Hemet.
Russ Brown, who lives in District 2, was a police officer and currently serves as the HOA vice-president of the Four Seasons community. Prior to the interviews, a resident from the Four Seasons community spoke in favor of appointing Russ Brown, stating that he is “hard working and unselfish.” Mr. Brown wrote in his candidacy statement that “key among my core values are integrity and credibility, which define my character.”
Brown was sworn into office by City Clerk Sarah McComas just after council approved him as Raver’s replacement in a 3-1 vote. Councilwoman Meyer voted against the motion appointing Brown to the vacant seat. Mayor Linda Krupa, Mayor Pro-Tem Michael Perciful and Councilwoman Bonnie Wright all voted in favor of Brown becoming the fifth member of the council. Just after the appointment, all five council members went into a closed session meeting. Councilwoman Meyer explained her no vote.
“There is no doubt that Mr. Brown will be great on City Council,” said Meyer. “My no vote was in support of out-of-the-box thinking that would include the youth of our valley.”
A total of nine candidates were interviewed by the Hemet City Council in front of a packed council chamber. The nine candidates were asked the same six questions, keeping the interview fair and consistent. Some of the questions asked pertained to the resolution promising that all Measure U funds be directed to public safety, running for the council seat after the two-year term expired and what got them involved in the community. Homelessness, panhandling, crime and blight were topics addressed by almost every candidate.
After the interviews were completed, the council wrote their top three choices, except for Mayor Krupa, who only had two, and submitted them to the city attorney, who read them aloud. The top two candidates, both receiving three votes each, were Cami McGargill and Russ Brown. City council members asked impromptu questions to both candidates requiring additional follow-up questions ultimately leading to Brown’s appointment.
McGargill, who describes herself as “a native of Hemet with strong family ties to this community” was primarily asked questions on how to bridge the gap between seniors and the younger families now residing in Hemet, as well as how she would reach out to her constituency. Whereas Russ Brown was asked questions primarily regarding his knowledge and background. Both candidates discussed the importance of public safety and economic development.
Brown is active in the local community and is a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and served as past post commander. In 2012 he was selected by Hemet’s Police Chief to serve as a representative on the Community Focus Group. He has served on the board of directors of the American Red Cross, Claremont chapter, for six years.