The County Voice

Thanking a Mentor: A Hometown Mayor Responds

Riverside County Supervisor John Tavaglione recently wrote a blog entry about sharing a podium with Rusty Bailey, the Mayor of Riverside, whom he first met when he was coaching the then-four-year-old soccer player. This is Mayor Bailey’s Response.

I read with great fondness the words of Supervisor John Tavaglione as he reflected on how, nearly 40 years ago, he first came into my life as a soccer coach. I was especially moved by the way he warmly described the bond we have shared ever since. I can assure you that this relationship has been far more beneficial to me than it has been to him.

We may have gotten our start on the soccer field, but Supervisor Tavaglione has been a mentor to me in a wide range of settings. He has been there for me every step of the way — through school, college, my military service in the U.S. Army, as a teacher, and, finally, in politics, first when I served as a member of the Riverside City Council and, for the past five years, as Mayor of Riverside. Words cannot adequately capture how grateful I am to him for the impact he has made on my life and for the wise counsel he has provided selflessly in times of need.

Supervisor Tavaglione’s leadership as a soccer coach for a bunch of little kids, of course, pales in comparison for the job he has done on behalf of Riverside County – and for all counties across the great state of California — for the past two decades. But there are definitely some similarities!

On the soccer field or in the Supervisors’ chambers, John Tavaglione taught me about the importance of being yourself and of staying true to yourself and your values in the face of tough decisions. His warmth, his sense of humor, his determination to take his work seriously, while not taking himself too seriously – these are the essential qualities of Supervisor John Tavaglione.

Have you seen him perform classic rock hits like “Pretty Woman” or “Nowhere Man” with his band, The Legendary Mustangs? His work on the maracas in “Wooly Bully” is still bringing in rave reviews! And what elected official has the courage to sing lead vocals on “Tax Man?” Don’t take my word for it. Check him out on the band’s website, mustangsrock.com.

Supervisor Tavaglione has always stressed the importance of serving locally, where your decisions and the good that comes from them can benefit your peers, your high school classmates, your fellow business owners, the people working every day to keep your city or county moving forward. He’s a big part of why I always tell people, it doesn’t get much better than being the Mayor of your hometown.

Finally, and most importantly, John Tavaglione stands for family. He’s taught me to keep your family close and to always find a balance between public service and your most important jobs, as a husband and a father. And that’s been the best advice one hometown boy could give to another.

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