New Riverside County Supervisor V. Manuel Perez speaks after a ceremonial swearing-in at the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, May 23, 2017.(Stan Lim, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

By Jeff Horseman | | The Press-Enterprise
April 10, 2018 at 7:49 pm

A Riverside County supervisor must tell voters he was appointed, not elected, to his job, a county judge ruled Monday in a decision that figures to tweak the June 5 ballot.

Judge Daniel Ottolia ruled Monday, April 9 that the ballot designation for candidate V. Manuel Perez should read “appointed Riverside County supervisor.” Ottolia described Perez’s original designation — which read simply “county supervisor” — as “misleading and illegal.”

The campaign of Palm Desert Councilwoman Jan Harnik, who is running against Perez for the right to represent a district that covers the Coachella and Palo Verdes valleys, argued that by referring to himself as just a supervisor Perez could mislead voters into thinking he was elected, not appointed.

Gov. Jerry Brown appointed Perez in May 2017 to serve the unexpired term of John Benoit, who died of cancer in December 2016.

“It was unfortunate that Perez’s determination to use expensive outside attorneys to defend his illegal action ended up wasting tax dollars at a time when the county is struggling to pay its bills,” Harnik said in a news release. “I will hold politicians accountable, and not allow misleading or illegal tactics, nor waste of taxpayer dollars.”

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