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San Jacinto residents stunned by charges

November 13, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
San Jacinto's mayor and three city council members are charged with corruption.San Jacinto is in turmoil after its mayor and three city council members are charged with corruption. The scandal unfolded Thursday in San Jacinto. Friday, startled residents spoke out.

San Jacinto City Hall was closed Friday, as it is every Friday.

Four out of the five city's council members were indicted on corruption charges Thursday. Many residents are asking, Just who is running the city?

"I mean it's like, who's minding the shop? There's nobody there, nobody home," said San Jacinto resident Jesse Sherman.

Sherman lives across the street from accused councilmember Jim Potts.

"I would hope he's not involved, but I don't know, the way politicians are these days and how things go these days it doesn't surprise me at all," said Sherman.

Riverside County District Attorney Rod Pacheco says the corruption probe goes back to 2006, when San Jacinto City Councilman Jim Ayres made a run for California State Assembly.

Pacheco says a number of people, including the four council members, laundered money to move hundreds of thousands of dollars into Ayres's campaign. Ayres ultimately lost.

Friday, Eyewitness News went to his home for answers, but couldn't get past the front gate.

Eyewitness News tried to talk with San Jacinto Mayor Dale Stubblefield, but no one answered his door. Same thing for Jim Potts.

San Jacinto Chamber of Commerce President Patti Drusky says it's a sad day here, but the city will still move forward.

"We still have an excellent city staff in place that knows their job and how to do it, and they'll do their jobs well," said Drusky.

But Wayne Romeril, who helps run Pierce's Plumbing across the street from city hall, wonders about who's in charge over there.

"How does business get done? That's what I've been wondering, I would think somebody's got to be in control, and I don't think it should be those people who've been indicted," said Romeril.

The four city council members are innocent until proven guilty, and they don't have to give up their seats unless they're convicted. But the question is, How effective can a city council be with four of its five members indicted?


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