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Long Appointed Mayor of Murrieta in Unexpected Twist

Under a mayoral rotation policy, Kelly Bennett had been slated to be appointed mayor at the start of Tuesday evening’s Murrieta City Council meeting.

Alan Long (right) is pictured after being appointed mayor of Murrieta on Dec. 3, 2013. Harry Ramos (left) was appointed mayor pro tem. (Photo by Michael Loeschnig)
Alan Long (right) is pictured after being appointed mayor of Murrieta on Dec. 3, 2013. Harry Ramos (left) was appointed mayor pro tem. (Photo by Michael Loeschnig)

Alan Long was appointed mayor of Murrieta on Tuesday when a fellow Council member made an unexpected move.

Under a mayoral rotation policy, Kelly Bennett had been slated to be appointed mayor at the start of Tuesday evening’s Murrieta City Council meeting. However, Councilman Randon Lane made a motion that Long be appointed and that Councilman Harry Ramos serve as mayor pro tem.

The motion was approved 3-2, with outgoing Mayor Rick Gibbs and Councilwoman Bennett voting no.

Lane said he made the suggestion because under the current rotation, Long would not have had the chance to serve as mayor before his first four-year term as a Council member ends in December 2014.

Bennett is in her second term and has previously served as mayor. Her current term ends in December 2014.

According to City Attorney Leslie Devaney, the Council had the legal ability—with a majority vote—to waive the rotation and appoint Long as mayor.

Long is a Murrieta native who works as a battalion chief for the Anaheim Fire Department. He was first elected to Murrieta City Council in 2010.

The mayoral term is for one year, with Gibbs serving most recently in the position.

To Gibbs, Long said: "If I could do half as good of a job as you have done, I would consider myself successful."

Local Resident December 04, 2013 at 12:24 AM
looks like a positioned slap in the face. time to look at who your friends and enemies are. see what proposals are being set in the background
Philip rivers December 04, 2013 at 01:08 AM
We as residents/tax payers need to make a change and clean house and get rid of all or them..sounds fishy fishy...to me
John Smith December 04, 2013 at 02:08 AM
Kelly Bennett has one foot out the door anyway.
Justice For All December 04, 2013 at 06:07 AM
The only thing I find objectionable is moving Harry Ramos to the pro tem spot. He has never demonstrated the good form or judgement expected from a council member, much less a mayor. And, I think a dark cloud still lingers above him since his Domestic Violence Awareness Month debacle.
Lynda StarWriter December 04, 2013 at 09:54 AM
No discourse with Ms. Bennett, gentlemen? That's a distinctly self-serving, political shove, no matter the votes and legal guidelines. Seriously, boys?
AnnieB December 04, 2013 at 10:04 AM
Why do we have a mayoral "rotation" anyway? We, the people should be able to vote for our mayor. This is a very "fishy" system, indeed!
carrin December 04, 2013 at 10:10 AM
Too bad..... This is a sad day for Murrieta.. Nothing good can come out of this.
Gary December 04, 2013 at 11:59 AM
I will never understand politics....very illogical, and unethical. I'll stick to circuit board design.
Bill Demmin December 04, 2013 at 12:31 PM
Politics!!! Vote for term limits and let the votes elect the Mayor. The current rotation system does not seem to be working!
Rich December 04, 2013 at 01:05 PM
I have to second the comments from Justice for All. Harry Ramos, who I met with for nearly 3 hours earlier this year, is not a good fit for the city council, much less the mayor position. Regardless how you feel about guns or the 2nd amendment, his comments just one week after the Newtown tragedy last year showed an amazing lack of sensitivity. And his comments concerning Domestic Violence just a month ago reveal just how little he has learned during his time in office.
Douglas VanderHeide December 04, 2013 at 01:28 PM
When is the Council going to make noise about unequal and unfair water/sewer rates? Almost half of Murrieta pays 2-3 times what the other half pays. Rancho customers should check their property tax bills to see how much they are really paying for water.
Brian McDonald December 04, 2013 at 05:51 PM
No wonder Murrieta isn't Temecula! Ran by developers and they'er politicians! When will the citizens of Murrieta wake and smell the corruption?
ChrisG December 04, 2013 at 07:34 PM
I don't have a dog in this race as I live in Temecula but I wonder how much power the mayor actually has. The City Managers really run most of the cities in California. Is the position of mayor of Murrieta mainly a ceremonial position or is there extra power beyond the rest of the council? I looked online for the city charter but couldn't find one. Does anyone know?
Justice For All December 04, 2013 at 09:05 PM
@ChrisG -- Like most small town governments in CA, the mayor position in Murrieta is simply a figurehead honor. Hence the reason for the rotation process without election. The mayor serves as the director of council meetings and is the chief spokesperson for the council. They may also be called upon to represent the city in other venues.
ChrisG December 04, 2013 at 09:29 PM
@steve/justice. Thanks, I figured that was the case. What's the biggie if Bennett already had a mayoral turn?
Justice For All December 04, 2013 at 09:42 PM
Got me...#shrug
busymom December 05, 2013 at 12:32 PM
Every time I read an article about an important vote on the city council, Kelly Bennett is absent anyhow. This was the first vote I saw recently that she participated in.
Cecelia Webster December 08, 2013 at 12:42 AM
This isn't about Lane or Ramos, it's about Alan Long. He wanted to be mayor out of turn, had it lined up a few months ago, and had it quashed. Now he's got it. It was a surprise to Kelly and Gibbs, but Long only acted surprised. Why does he want to be mayor? To push his personal agenda, by rezoning his neighbors to the benefit of his developer friend Jim Kelly. It's about money.
Just my opinion December 16, 2013 at 06:02 PM
Let's see how it all works out. I understand how the three approving council members felt about the process, but I find it interesting that the communication and cooperative spirit between the five as a whole is now damaged by this surprise move. It means this was consciously planned and there was a lack of trust in Bennett and Gibbs. I guess they being a minority have little power now. Hopefully, they will still put the city's interests above their own political embarrassment, loss of empowerment, and political goals. The council has a job to do even if it bruises some egos like theirs!

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