Tuesday, July 14, 2009
HUNNEMAN: No rest for the weary
By JOHN HUNNEMAN - Staff Writer
Good Sunday morning to you. We're at The Mill for breakfast this morning
Lori Stone was weary.
The sister of Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone had spent the day working in a community ---- she preferred not to say which one ----- with a law enforcement task force that deals with sex offenders.
"You wouldn't believe some of the things I see," she said.
Stone, the supervisor, has come under some fire lately, because his sister works for him. Her role is to be an advocate for homeless, social, woman's issues and awareness of sexual abuse.
Stone, the sister, however is not on the county payroll but is paid about $65,000 per year by her brother from campaign funds given him by supporters.
She gets no salary, benefits or retirement money from county coffers.
Jeff Stone calls her a volunteer. Some have quibbled with that.
NOT JUST "SOME PEOPLE" - LOTS OF PEOPLE!
Still there is nothing illegal about the supervisor paying her with campaign funds.
"Jeff's donors are very aware of what I do for the county," she said. "If they believed Jeff made a mistake having me on the staff, they would let him know."
WELL, WE'RE LETTING YOU KNOW RIGHT HERE LORI. JEFF MADE A HUGH MISTAKE HAVING YOU ON HIS STAFF!!!!Before her current duties, Lori Stone was a self-employed local businesswoman for 17 years. She was also a community volunteer known for helping bring the Susan G. Komen Race For The Cure to Southwest County, which has raised millions of dollars for breast cancer awareness
"People need to know what I do for the residents of Riverside County," she said.
Lori Stone ran down a list of her duties and commissions on which she serves, most helping those who might otherwise have nowhere else to turn.
There's not room to list them all.
Here are a couple of examples:
Not long ago she spent a day dressed as a dirty, disheveled bag lady standing along Murrieta Hot Springs Road trying to gauge attitudes toward the homeless. You can probably guess passersby responses.
"It was pretty scary," she said.
CAN YOU SAY THIS IS PRETTY LAME? GET AN ORIGINAL IDEA - TYRA BANKS ALREADY DID THIS!
When five fire fighters were killed battling the Esperanza fire in 2006, she called on friends and connections to make sure family members were not burdened with burial and other expenses.
The brother and sister have also gotten flack for Lori's use of a county-owned car ---- a Ford Explorer with more than 100,000 miles on it ---- to travel the county doing her duties.
She no longer uses the Explorer and now drives her own vehicle. Doing county work she is entitled to 55 cents per mile reimbursement, which will cost taxpayers $4,000 more this year than if she drove the county's clunker, she said.
VOLUNTEERS PAY FOR THEIR OWN STUFF. THAT'S WHY THEY ARE CALLED A VOLUNTEER.
YOU LORI STONE SHOULD HAVE NEVER HAD USE OF A COUNTY CAR TO START WITH. STOP STEALING MONEY FROM RIVERSIDE COUNTY TO PAY FOR YOUR GAS!
IF A CAR THAT HAS OVER 100,000 MILES IS A "CLUNKER" THEN MOST OF AMERICA IS IN TROUBLE!
Lori Stone also manages her brother's political campaigns. She received a sizeable victory bonus ---- $130,000 ---- last year when Jeff was re-elected, yet another source of controversy.
Once again, this money was from donors. Both Jeff and Lori insist her county tasks are kept completely separate from campaign work.
This issue has been circulated for months and so far no one has come forward with proof otherwise.
So if Lori Stone seems weary, it's with good cause. She's got a lot on her plate, a plate that costs the county next to nothing to keep full.
Call columnist John Hunneman at 951-676-4315, ext. 2603.