Candidates have last word


The four-year terms of council members Dawn Haggerty and Vicki Warren end in November, leaving two seats open on the Canyon Lake City Council. Kasey Castillo, incumbent Dawn Haggerty, incumbent Vicki Warren and Jeremy Smith have announced their candidacy.

Over the past two months, The Friday Flyer invited the four candidates to answer a series of questions, providing residents the opportunity to hear from the candidates directly and learn more about what each candidate hopes to accomplish if elected to serve a four-year term on the City Council.

This week, The Friday Flyer gives the candidates the final word, allowing each candidate to answer one final question and to let the citizens of Canyon Lake know what sets them apart from other candidates. The candidates are listed as they appear on the ballot.

Question: What question have you been asked or what subject has arisen during your campaign on which you would like to provide further clarification or comment? What sets you apart from the other candidates?

Kasey Castillo

I think there are a few things that set me apart from the other candidates. First, for years I’ve donated my time and energy to philanthropic efforts in Canyon Lake. I don’t just say that I love this community, I show it through my actions.

Secondly, writing policies and interpreting statutes and case law is my profession. For example, I’ve worked to draft the body-worn camera policies used by quite a few police agencies throughout Southern California. Public safety is in my wheelhouse and I will work diligently on those issues confronting our community.

I am proud to be endorsed by local law enforcement, including the Inland Chapter of the Peace Officers’ Research Association of California (, which is comprised of chapter presidents from San Bernardino and Riverside County police officers’ associations. And finally, I don’t believe in sugar-coating anything. As a council member, you can count on me to tell it like it is, to the extent possible.

As for items I’d like to comment on, I’ve been asked if I’m for disincorporation. I believe this is because I’ve been outspoken about my very real concerns related to the city’s finances. I’d like to see Canyon Lake remain a city, but I will always require forecasts, plans and communication to the residents.

If you have any questions for me, I encourage you to ask. I’m having Coffee with Kasey on Oct. 18 at 9 a.m., Oct. 23 at 8 a.m. and Nov. 1, at 8 a.m., and a Meet and Greet at my home on Friday, Oct. 19, from 6 to 8 p.m. I hope to see you there. You can also ask me questions on my Facebook page, Kasey Castillo for Canyon Lake City Council @castillo4CLCC. I’ve had many productive discussions with residents there. Thank you for your consideration.

Dawn Haggerty

Most important – experience and knowledge of the community. The community is concerned about fire and police protection. That and whether the city can sustain itself financially are two main questions I’m asked.

Yes, extending the UUT tax will sustain the city.

I’ve heard a lot of what you want to hear — “what a great place this is” and how “I want to keep it that way.” Of course it’s great or we wouldn’t be living here, and of course, running for City Council assures it stays that way. What matters is true familiarity with and understanding of the community and how best to work together and I can provide that!

I want to accomplish what I started out to do — to assure this city has control of public safety.

Following approval of the UUT tax and rebuilding drained reserves, we are financially stable. Since then, the City Council has been working over a year to form a joint fire and police department with several other cities who share our concern for unsustainable rising costs of public safety. This has worked well with other communities.

We reopened Station 60, improving fire coverage, but according to our long-range plan, escalating increases cannot be sustained. Police protection isn’t great. I developed a plan to form a joint agreement with the city and POA (attorneys agree it could be done). The POA could save most of the $7 million security contract, and only provide security (improved) for gates/marine patrol.

The city would then provide a police force with at least two, perhaps three, cars on patrol throughout the community 24/7 rather than one-day duty deputy and one for part of the night. The city police could instantly act if there was a problem rather than wait for a deputy to arrive at some distant time.

We are close to an agreement with other cities in participating in this plan and I want to be involved with establishing it, after years of research.

The Second Question, “What sets you apart from other candidates?” Serving six years on the POA Board and understanding their issues helps me assure a close working relationship.

I’ve lived in the community for over 20 years. No other candidate has this experience which is very important to the community for the city and POA to be able to work together for an improved relationship and more positive accomplishments.

Vicki Warren

I’m asked about the UUT quite often. While this focus sometimes interferes with opportunities to promote myself as a candidate, there is a lot of misinformation that I’ve been able to correct. I will try to give an abridged response here.

Canyon Lake is operating in the black with the help of the UUT, which ends in 2020. The City Council unanimously voted to place the UUT (at no increase) on the November ballot before it ends, to allow us to continue working on lowering costs and increasing revenue.

The city does and will continue to seek other funding methods such as state and federal grant money. More important though, we must lower costs for services. Continuing the UUT is essential to finishing what we’ve started.

As for what sets me apart from the other candidates, I have to say “experience.” The other candidates all have something to offer Canyon Lake but what sets me apart from them primarily is not just hands-on experience with the City Council and how it works, but also with the politics of the area and with local and regional engagement.

Prior to my election in 2014, I had been on many state and federal councils. After learning the facts about Goetz Hill and discovering there were many outraged citizens against allowing Goetz Hill to be mined, I became heavily involved in that land use fight. Before then, I had followed Canyon Lake politics relatively casually (as most people do).

That pre-council experience gave me an important edge that allowed me to more easily transition to City Council member in 2014.

Since then, it has been my pleasure to represent Canyon Lake on LESJWA (the entity responsible for our successful alum treatments), the JPA that oversees Animal Friends of The Valley, Move the I-15 (the committee that was formed to tackle the traffic nightmares we experience on our freeways) and to Chair the Veterans Committee (and produce our annual celebration).

Drawing on my experience prior to being on the City Council and continuing since, I have played a crucial role in forming alliances with our surrounding cities to ensure that Canyon Lake’s citizens have a voice in important issues that affect the quality of our lives.

I call on my experience to represent Canyon Lake locally and regionally, fairly and with passion. I use it to make sure Canyon Lake is heard, loud and clear.

Jeremy Smith

I’m running for Canyon Lake City Council because I believe we live in one of the best communities in Southern California and I want to keep it that way.

When my wife Elissa and I decided that I should run for Canyon Lake City Council, we knew how important it is to always be accessible to the residents of our great city. I began my campaign with the goal of speaking to as many of my neighbors as possible before the election.

After knocking on over 1,200 doors and talking to hundreds of our Canyon Lake residents, I realized that I share the same concerns as most of you. My number one priority is public safety.

I’m honored to have the endorsement of the former president of the Riverside County Sheriffs’ Association as well as other public safety personnel because I’m committed to keeping our neighborhoods safe.

One issue that I’ve heard from many residents is the importance of electing a council member who will increase transparency at City Hall and work to build a stronger relationship with both the City Council and POA Board. Transparency and coalition building are important aspects of my campaign platform and I will work to ensure that we foster those strong relationships locally and among our regional elected officials.

As a business owner, I must balance my budget and make financial decisions daily. I understand the challenges business owners face and I will work to implement business-friendly policies. We can bring additional revenue to our city by encouraging people from our surrounding cities to visit.

My candidacy is different from others. I earned my master’s degree in public administration from California Baptist University and gained over 10 years of experience working in the public sector with some of the most talented city managers in California.

I went on to start my own business and I’m truly blessed to be married to my beautify wife, Elissa, and father to our baby girl, Kennedy. I care deeply about our community, and as your next councilman, I will work to improve the quality of life for all residents and ensure we continue to live in a safe, prosperous city. I’ve pledged to make myself accessible to you. Call or email me any time at 951-391-9109 or

Lastly, a special thank you to everyone who has reached out in support of our campaign. I humbly ask for your vote.


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Donna Ritchie