Jeff Hall, up for a seat on the Western Municipal Water District board, is California director of the nation’s biggest white supremacist group.

Jeff Hall, center, leads a rally in Riverside in 2009. In an interview this week, the candidate called for water conservation and affirmed his belief that all non-whites should be deported. (Cal State San Bernardino Center for the / October 19, 2010)

By Tony Barboza, Los Angeles Times
October 19, 2010

Political newcomer Jeff Hall has run a discreet campaign trying to unseat an incumbent on an obscure Riverside County water board. He hasn’t posted any signs, didn’t show up to a candidates forum and lists no occupation on the November ballot.

But Hall is well-known as a white supremacist.

As California director of the National Socialist Movement — the nation’s largest neo-Nazi group — Hall has helped lead demonstrations in Riverside and Los Angeles, where white supremacists waved swastika flags, chanted “white power” and gave stiff-armed Nazi salutes surrounded by hundreds of counterprotesters.

Hall’s bid for a seat on the board of directors of the Western Municipal Water District has drawn outcry from community groups dismayed that a neo-Nazi who has held racist rallies at a day laborer center and a synagogue wants to administer their water — or at least gain publicity in the quest to do so.

“It looks like he’s hoping to get a certain percentage of the vote as an anonymous anti-incumbent and then claim that some percentage of the electorate support the Nazis,” said Kevin Akin, a member of Temple Beth El in Riverside, where Hall and other neo-Nazis have demonstrated. “He apparently intended to do nothing, just to be a stealth candidate.”

Not so, said Hall, a 31-year-old plumber who in a phone interview Monday called for water conservation and affirmed his belief that all non-whites should be deported.

“I want a white nation,” he said. “I don’t hide what I am, and I don’t water that down.”

Hall has been campaigning by handing out business cards, he said, but turned down an invitation to a candidates forum because it was sponsored by the League of Women Voters and a Latino community group.

He is not the only known white supremacist running for office in Southern California this fall.

Dan Schruender, a member of the Aryan Nations, known for distributing racist fliers in Rialto, is seeking a seat on that city’s school board.

Neo-Nazis have periodically sought a platform for their views by running for local office, said Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino.

“We see this from time to time. They push things like school boards — local elections that kind of slip under the radar,” Levin said. “It gives them publicity, it gives them a foothold and it gives them an anchor to spew their bigoted opinions in other forums.”

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