By Erik Galicia
James “Warren” Avery kicked off his campaign for Ward 3 City Council at an event in the Victoria neighborhood of Riverside on March 2.
Ward 3 is the central part of the city that stretches from the Riverside Municipal Airport area in the west, through the Magnolia Center, to the Victoria neighborhood in the east. It also includes the Hawarden Hills, Alessandro Heights, and Canyon Crest neighborhoods.
Avery has lived in Riverside for 28 years. He studied political science at UC Riverside and earned his bachelor’s degree from Columbia College.
Dozens of Ward 3 residents attended the event in support of Avery. Some of his supporters said his background as a business manager is the reason they are going to vote for him.
The issue that many of his supporters were concerned with is homelessness.
One local business owner named Carolyn Patterson stressed the effect of homelessness on businesses in Riverside.
“We own several businesses and the solution for homelessness does need to be addressed in a more positive manner,” Patterson said.
Avery has also drawn the support of Mayor Rusty Bailey, who was in attendance at the event. Bailey is a former Ward 3 council member and has walked the precinct with Avery. “I am supporting Warren because I trust that he will have the best interest of Riversiders in mind,” Bailey said.
According to Bailey, he plans to work with the city council to provide housing, job training, mental health and substance abuse services to the homeless.
“We can’t just hyperfocus on enforcing the law on a part of the population that is down and out,” Bailey said “We can’t enforce away homelessness.”
Avery’s plans for Riverside will focus on the city’s finances, making neighborhoods safer and helping the homeless.
“We have to use our resources better to increase outreach. We need to get professionals out there to engage (homeless) people to see if they want help and provide them with housing first,” Avery said.
Additionally, Avery stated that he plans to help guide the city’s finances by implementing accountability for spending.
“We have to spend what we have, instead of spending money we don’t have. We have to make decisions that are going to benefit Riverside in the long run,” Avery said.
Mike Soubirous, the current Ward 3 council member, has announced that he will not run for re-election at the end of this term.