10:04 PM PST on Friday, December 31, 2010

The Press-Enterprise

A third candidate has announced he’ll run for mayor of Riverside in 2012, more than a year before the official nomination period starts.

Ron Woodbury, 50, a former finance executive who is now a business consultant, joins Ward 2 Councilman Andy Melendrez and former Ward 5 Councilman Ed Adkison in the race to replace outgoing Mayor Ron Loveridge. All three men have filed paperwork with the city clerk declaring their candidacy, and Melendrez and Adkison have begun fundraising. Woodbury said he doesn’t plan to raise or spend money on his campaign.

Melendrez, 57, and Adkison, 55, launched their campaigns this fall.

In a phone interview Thursday, Woodbury said he has lived in Riverside for nearly three decades. After his wife died about two years ago, he left his job as an executive vice president at Altura Credit Union to start his own consulting company and raise his 4-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter.

The other two candidates have said boosting businesses and creating jobs are among their priorities for the city. Woodbury said he wants to deepen Riverside’s commitment to the arts — he also paints in his free time — and do more with technology programs such as Smart Riverside, which provides refurbished computers and training to low-income families.

Because he doesn’t plan to spend money, Woodbury said it’s to his advantage to start campaigning early so he can meet more people and get his message out. And he’ll probably need that time, said former Councilman Art Gage, who ran for mayor in 2009.

Loveridge has said he won’t run again. With the incumbent bowing out, Gage predicted, as many as seven people might file nomination papers in February 2012.

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