An exterior photo of Moreno Valley City Hall.
A photo of Moreno Valley City Hall. (Alicia Ramirez/TN News) Credit: (Photo by Alicia Ramirez)

The Moreno Valley City Council earlier this month unanimously voted to fill the District 3 vacancy by special election.

“I hope that there’s consensus on this, it sounds like there is for the most part, that we should let the voters of District 3 decide who’s going to represent them next, not just for those for that week or two, but for the next four years from 2024-2028,” Mayor Ulises Cabrera said at the May 7 meeting.

The District 3 seat has been vacant since April 17, following former Councilman David Marquez’s resignation.

“I have been advised to step away from my position with the city, leading me to make this difficult decision,” he said in the letter which referenced a lawsuit brought against him by the city.

“This suit has cost me a considerable amount of money but it’s nothing compared to the financial burden imposed upon the taxpayers of Moreno Valley who must suffer from this personal vendetta against me,” he wrote. “I’m hoping that my resignation ‘stops the bleeding’ of more money extracted from city coffers and that their efforts to tarnish my good name will have failed.”

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Since the next available election date is Nov. 5, and the District 3 term ends this December, voters in District 3 will vote for the seat twice. One of those votes will be for the remainder of the unexpired term and the other will be for the full four-year term.

“This is gonna be confusing, but I also have a firm belief that the voters of Moreno Valley are smart, that they will understand what’s being asked of them, and that they can make a decision,” Mayor Pro Tem Cheylynda Barnard said. “I do think it is, though, unfair of us to make an appointment for a seat, especially when we’ve seen what happens when appointments are made, especially in this city in particular.” 

There was some confusion at the meeting about the cost of holding a special election at the same time as the general election, but the city clerk confirmed that the estimated $500,000 price would be the same regardless of what the council decided.

“If we choose to leave the District 3 vacancy to an election, it doesn’t cost us any more,” Cabrera said. “We’re already paying for the November election, and this is not going to cost us any additional funds.”

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Alicia Ramirez is the publisher of TN News and the founder and CEO of its parent company TN News.