Riverside City Council Swears In Four New Members

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(This article was written by Ryan Hagen and published on the Press-Enterprise on December 3, 2019)

Riverside passed the torch of leadership to a new generation of council members Tuesday, Dec. 3.

Four new members of the City Council, elected in November, took the oath of office: Ward 1 Councilwoman Erin Edwards; Ward 3 Councilman Ronaldo Fierro; Ward 5 Councilwoman Gaby Plascencia; and Ward 7 Councilman Steve Hemenway.

The new members — a majority of the seven-member body — include the first Latina and the first openly LGBT member in the history of Riverside. The council now includes two women and two people of Latino descent, compared to a council that had consisted of six white men and one Latino. It was also mostly retirement-age, while the newly elected members are all in their 30s or 40s.

That’s much closer to the demographics of the city, where more than half the residents are Latino, more than half are women, and half the people are younger than 32.

Edwards, Fierro and Hemenway chose to be sworn in by City Clerk Colleen Nicol, while Gaby Plascencia said she would be sworn in by her mother, Martha Trujillo.

Their terms will end after five years, in March 2024. That’s because state law required the city to move its council elections to even-numbered years, when voter turnout is typically better because of higher-profile state and federal races.

The council typically meets on the first and third Tuesday of the month at City Hall, 3900 Main St., Riverside.