Mike has made Riverside his home for almost five decades.

He came here from the Bay Area to continue his education at UCR where he earned his bachelor’s degree and attended graduate school. While at UCR Mike met and married his wife Joyce. They had three children all of whom attended Riverside public schools.

Mike worked for Southern California Edison Company for 23 years in a variety of professional and management positions. After leaving Edison Mike immersed himself in volunteer activities in the community and was recognized as the Municipal Volunteer of the Year in 2000.

In 2003 Mike was asked to bring his skill set to help the first of three small local businesses with management and organizational problems. He was still serving in the last of these positions when first elected to the council in 2007. Mike promptly resigned from that job so he could devote full time to being your city councilmember as the job demands and you deserve.

Mike was reelected in 2011 and 2015 and looks forward to serving you for another term.

Please contact Mike at mike_gardner@att.net or call his personal cell phone, (951) 897-8660 with any questions or if he can be of assistance.

THE ISSUES That Matter

Homelessness is one of Riverside’s most pressing needs, both for the homeless themselves and for the community that is impacted by the negative activity of some of the homeless population. We must provide housing, mental health services, substance abuse counseling, and job training for those who will accept it. We must create consequences for those who engage in criminal activity regardless of their housing status. To accomplish this, we need more police officers on the street and to support Riverside County in opening and staffing the new Indio jail so there is a place to put those who persist in supporting themselves through crime.

Riverside residents voted to increase sales tax by a penny to support basic city services like street maintenance, tree trimming and public safety. They did not intend that money to go toward a fat General Fund surplus or to paying down debt. As we navigate the challenge created by unfunded pension costs, we have to maintain these basic services.

With three incumbent councilmembers not seeking reelection it is critical that we maintain a level of experience and proven leadership on the city council to protect these services and lead us through the pension funding challenge.

Riverside is home to two public school districts, three universities and a major community college. The city needs to partner with these institutions to increase high school graduation rates and college attendance while increasing technical training opportunities for those who will not attend college. There are opportunities for more partnerships between these institutions and the city should play a role in helping that happen.

Riverside is poised to be able to be selective in the sort of development it seeks to attract. We need to focus on industry sectors like medicine, medical manufacturing, medical research, finance, insurance and technology which bring good paying jobs with quality benefit programs. We need to support apprenticeship programs and other training for skilled workers like welders, electricians and carpenters.

We should encourage development that is respectful of our air, water and land while bringing quality sustainable jobs while discouraging land intensive job poor development.

This path will bring more revenue to help with the pension funding issue and basic city services without adding any taxes simply because more people will have more to spend and property tax revenue will increase as vacant and underutilized land is developed.

Riverside, like the state and most local governments, is facing an unfunded pension cost that was not expected and not budgeted for. This is largely driven by poor assumptions by the management of the state retirement system. They made three major errors which taken together will cost Riverside hundreds of millions of dollars over the next 20 years. First, they assumed their investments would make substantially more money than they did so their pool of money did not grow as projected. Second, they overestimated the age at which public employees would retire. Most retire in their 50’s not their 60’s. Third, they underestimated how long retirees would live after retirement. If you retire at 55 and live to 80 you collect a lot more retirement pay than if you retire at 65 and live to 75.

Riverside will get through this challenge, but we must carefully balance spending while working to increase revenue without new taxes. We can start by reducing the current reserve fund from over 23% to a more reasonable 15%.


Mike is proud to have the endorsements of:

Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey

Riverside Councilmembers

Andy Melendrez

Mike Soubirous

Chuck Conder

Chris MacArthur

Jim Perry

Steve Adams

Riverside County Supervisors

Karen Spiegel

Kevin Jeffries

Jeff Hewett

Riverside Police and Firefighters Association PACs

The Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce PAC

Inland Valley Association of Realtors

Building Industry Association of Southern California

Inland Empire Business PAC

Apartment Owners Association

Rose Mayes

Virginia Blumenthal


Contact Mike

Please contact Mike at mike_gardner@att.net or call his personal cell phone, (951) 897-8660 with any questions or if he can be of assistance. Or please fill out the form below.