By Samantha Bartholomew
Andy Melendrez, who’s served on the Riverside City Council since 2006, announced Sept. 3 that he will run for mayor.
The announcement came within hours of Mayor Rusty Bailey releasing a statement that he will not run for a third term.
“I’m running for Mayor to protect Riverside’s unique quality of life and make city government more responsive and transparent,” Melendrez said in a press release. “I believe that my experiences as a city councilmember and longtime local business owner give me a unique set of perspectives, and I am ready to take on the big problems – such as the homelessness crisis – that our city is facing. I am excited to announce my candidacy, and I am looking forward to the campaign ahead.”
If elected in March 2020, Melendrez would be the first Latino or person of color to serve as mayor in the city’s 135-year history, he said.
Melendrez ran for mayor in 2012, finishing fourth in a crowded field the year that long-time mayor Ron Loveridge retired. Bailey advanced to the run-off and won his first of two terms.
“I have a broader understanding of not only the city but of governance,” Melendrez said of the difference between his campaign in 2012 and today in an interview with The Press-Enterprise. “Operating a city is very different from anything else … I’ve learned from two mayors, council members and community members.”
Melendrez said one of his top priorities will be homelessness. He said his approach will include affordable housing, services for the homeless and partnerships with property owners.