Monday, October 18, 2010
Riverside water board candidate believed to be Nazi
11:14 PM PDT on Saturday, October 16, 2010
By ALICIA ROBINSON
Riverside resident Jeff Hall's run for a seat on a local water board has so far been under the radar.
He didn't submit a statement about himself for the official voter guide, nor did he attend a candidates forum hosted by the League of Women Voters, and the only way he is represented on the ballot is with his name -- no title or occupation are listed, unlike most other candidates on the fall ballot.
Next to nothing is known about Jeff Hall, the candidate. But Jeff Hall, the head of a neo-Nazi group, is well-known in Riverside.
As leader of the California chapter of the National Socialist Movement, Hall has helped organize several rallies in Riverside, including one to protest illegal immigration at a gathering site for day laborers and another in which movement members displayed swastika flags outside a synagogue.
Hall, the candidate, gave the county registrar of voters an e-mail address identical to one that Hall, the National Socialist leader, uses at NewSaxon.org, a neo-Nazi website.
Two calls to the phone number on the registrar's candidate list were not returned, and no one answered the door Thursday at the address the registrar listed for Hall.
Reached by phone at a number in a NewSaxon.org posting, Hall said he was traveling and to call back later. He did not return several subsequent calls for comment, nor did he respond to e-mails sent to the address given to the registrar or one on the National Socialist Movement site.
Although Hall is running for a low-profile seat with minimal political power -- the Western Municipal Water District sells water to other agencies and some residential customers -- the apparent neo-Nazi connection concerns some voters and members of the water district board.
"The issues that he would bring to the table seem to me to diverge in a very enormous way from the issues we have to deal with," said Charles Field, a retired judge who is seeking re-election to the board's Division 1 seat. Hall is running in Division 2.
"I certainly wouldn't care to have his input on employee selection and promotion issues."
Hall is not the only Inland candidate on the November ballot whose background has been questioned. Daniel B. Schruender, a member of the Aryan Nations, is seeking a seat on the Rialto Unified School District board.
Schruender said in an August interview he is not running as an Aryan Nations candidate and is not a white supremacist but is "pro-white."
The website of the National Socialist Movement claims the group is the largest National Socialist party in the United States. The group's beliefs are described as "defending the rights of white people everywhere, preservation of our European culture and heritage, strengthening family values, economic self-sufficiency, and reform of illegal immigration policies, immediate withdrawal of our national military from an illegal Middle Eastern occupation and promotion of white separation."
The idea of someone affiliated with the movement running for office is "very, very disturbing," even if he's not actively campaigning, said Rabbi Suzanne Singer, who officiates at Riverside's Temple Beth El.
Hall's National Socialist group has demonstrated several times at the temple.
"I don't think somebody like that should be in a leadership position in our city," Singer said. "I would wonder whether this would be a first step towards trying to eventually gain a position that's more influential or more important."
Singer and others wondered whether Hall is a serious candidate. Several water board members said they had heard a neo-Nazi was running for a seat, but they've never met the candidate or seen him at their meetings, and they have no idea what his platform on water issues is.
Members of groups like the National Socialist Movement may have several reasons to run for elected office, said Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino.
Appearing on the ballot can generate low-cost publicity and possibly result in some political power, he said.
"A lot of people just don't even know who's running, so if there's low turnout ... and all you have to do is get your name on the ballot, why not give it a shot," Levin said. "It's part of a campaign by these hate groups to appear relevant."
Relevant to ask
Such groups have a long tradition of fielding candidates, Levin said. He cited Tom Metzger, founder of the group White Aryan Resistance, who ran for U.S. House and Senate seats in California in the 1980s and is currently a write-in candidate for an Indiana congressional seat; and former Ku Klux Klan member David Duke, who has run for various offices and was elected to the Louisiana legislature in 1989.
The Inland area in particular has "a disproportionate representation" of hate groups, Levin said. Group members have moved there to get away from more dense and diverse metropolitan areas, he said, but they've found the Inland area is now becoming more diverse.
Neo-Nazi principles might seem unrelated to issues of water supply and distribution, but Levin said it's relevant for voters to ask how such views might affect how someone would carry out the duties of the office.
"(Hall) certainly has the right to run, and the public certainly has a right to examine for themselves whether he and the other candidates have the requisite character, experience and intellect for the office that they're running for," Levin said.
Chani Beeman, a Riverside resident who is on the board of the Western Inland Empire Coalition Against Hate, said she hopes people will educate themselves about all the candidates so they know who they're voting for.
"People get to hold their (own) political views, but when they run for office those views should be known by the electorate," she said.
Reach Alicia Robinson at 951-368-9461 or arobinson@PE.com
I don't know that much about Mr. Hall, but I will say, he's got the right idea. Political power is the key to success, not rallies, although rallies do serve a positive purpose, mainly for recruiting. At the AN rally in Pulaski last summer, we picked up several new members. Right idea, wrong organisation. That last remark is strictly my opinion. I won't trash the NSM any more, but I still am not a fan. That's alright. I'm sure they're not fans of me, either!LOL
However, until we have any political power at all, we can achieve very little. This is a point I agree on with ANP Chairman Rocky Suhayda 100%. Recently Rocky commented he didn't know of one National Socialiot who was running for office. Maybe he meant he didn't know of one who had a very good chance of winning, because he knows I'm running for school board, and Mr. Hall is running for water board. Even if we don't have a serious chance, at least we're running. The first step to political power isn't winning. It's running. If we win first off, then all the better. If we lose, then we try again, and keep trying until we do win.
Remember, in the NSDAP's first national election, they won only three seats in the Reichstag. Only three seats. They had dozens of candidates, but only three won. It was a start. By the time Hitler was appointed Chancellor, it was the second-largest party in the Reichstag. As the Chinese say, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step." Well, National Socialism has now taken two steps. They'll be more, you can count on it.
Little advice from someone who knows. Look for offices in which you'll be running unopposed. Then, register to run ON THE LAST DAY OF REGISTRATION. That way, if the press discovers you are National Socialist, nobody else can register and oppose you just to keep you out of office because of who and what you are. It will be too late for that, and if you are unopposed, you've already won. Just don't forget to vote for yourself or you still might lose!
BTW, I actually live about twenty minutes from Riverside, Ca., although I've never met Mr. Hall personally. It seems he's ducking the press. Do you blame him? I'm sure he knows who I am, because of the hatchet job the media did on me, including the paper this story came from. He doesn't want the same thing to happen to him and I don't blame him. Like myself, he probably won't win, but you never know. Stranger things have happened. Anyone remember the headline "Dewey Defeats Truman"? Most people thought Truman would lose, but he won. So who knows? It isn't over until November 2.
I wish you good luck, Jeff. I hope you wish me the same.
Posted by ------------------------------------- at 12:14 AM