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The Legacy of Ronald O. Loveridge: Ending of an Era

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By Natasha Simone Ferguson

Former mayor Ronald O. Loveridge has made numerous contributions spanning his 32 years of service in the City of Riverside. But added to his many accomplishments will now include being the mayor who served the most terms in Riverside’s history, serving five consecutive terms as mayor. Loveridge’s political career began in 1979 when he was first elected to the Riverside City Council where he served until 1993. He was elected as mayor in 1994, and has had some noteworthy accomplishments during his remarkable career with the City of Riverside.

• He helped to develop stronger ties with Riverside’s sister cities and established new ones: Sendai, Japan (est. December 1957); Cuautla, Mexico (est. July 1968); Ensenada, Mexico (est. March 1976); Jiangmen, People’s Republic of China (est. April 1997); Gangnam, Republic of Korea (est. May 1998); Hyderabad, India (est. February 2000); Obuasi, Ghana (est. September 2008); and Erlangen, Germany (est. October 2011).

• He created the Police Review Commission after the tragic shooting death of Tyisha Miller.

• Established the “Mayor’s Night Out” program, where concerns are addressed by community members to city officials.

• Under his leadership, the Riverside Renaissance – $1.57 billion citywide public works project was developed.

• Riverside was named ‘Most Intelligent City’ by the Intelligent Community Forum.

His leadership impacted many committees and initiatives, some of which include:

• Chair of Smart Riverside

• Founding and Past Executive Committee Member of the Global Trade Center of the Inland Empire

• Past President of the National League of California Cities

• League of California Cities and Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG)

• Chair of the SCAG Benchmarks Task Force

• Longtime Board Member of the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD)

• Appointed by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to serve as the South Coast AQMD’s representative to the California Air Resources Board

• Board of Directors member of the Inland Empire Economic Partnership

He has received two lifetime honors including the prestigious Leadership Award for Public Service by the International Economic Development Council in 2004, the Tom Bradley Leadership award from the National Association of Regional Councils in 2005, and numerous awards both local and national.

Despite some bumpy roads along the way, Loveridge has made an impact on many lives during his 32 year tenure. Waudieur Rucker-Hughes, president of NAACP-Riverside Branch and former educator has served on many boards with Loveridge.

“Reflecting on the 32 magnificent and awesome years Mayor Ron Loveridge has been our mayor reminds me of a quote by the renowned poet Maya Angelou. She writes that ‘the quality of strength lined with tenderness is an unbeatable combination as are intelligence and necessity when unblunted by formal education.’ Mayor Loveridge has been the epitome of all of these qualities. He’s been a steadying force and an unbendable beacon of hope, light and direction for our city. He has always believed in inclusion and has made sure that his walk and his talk were simpatico,” said Hughes.

“I’ve known he and Marsha since their daughters attended John W. North High School. They’re both grown and successful in their own right now. I consider him a friend and someone I can confide in. I have participated on many boards and commissions because he said it was the right thing to do for our city and because he would always lead by example. His legacy will endure through the ages and he will always be remembered because he made something better than how he found it. I wish him well and hope he will now take some time for himself. He has certainly deserved it!”

“He is a man of action and vision who we will forever cherish the legacy he left for our community,” said Rose Mayes, President of Fair Housing of Riverside County.

Loveridge holds a BA in Political Science from University of Pacific, a MA and Ph.D. in Political Science from Stanford University. He is author of City Managers in Legislative Politics, and has written many articles on political issues. Prior to his election to office, he taught political science at University of California, Riverside since 1965 and has returned to continue there as an educator. He is married to Marsha Jean Loveridge and they have two adult daughters.

His successor, William “Rusty” Bailey, was sworn in as the new Mayor of Riverside on Dec. 11, 2012. Bailey, age 40, is among the youngest of mayors to serve in Riverside. He is the proud father of two daughters, Elizabeth and Julia, and a government teacher at Poly High School. According to a recent interview, Bailey said he is honored to follow in Mayor Loveridge’s footsteps.

“Politics is an act of faith; you have to show some kind of confidence in the intellectual and moral capacity of the public”-– George McGovern.

Loveridge has made a significant impact throughout this community and has left his imprint on the City of Riverside. He will leave a legacy that will forever be remembered.

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