Meet Michael Rives, Candidate for Lancaster City Council

Michael Rives, candidate for Lancaster City Council, stands in the alley near 10th street west and Avenue J-4 where Christian Cobian was shot by deputies on Jan. 21.

LANCASTER – If you have attended, or watched on television, any Lancaster city council meetings in the past year, then you may recognize Michael Rives as the man who addresses the city council multiple times at each meeting.

“I’ve attended every meeting and I’ve spoken at every meeting for the last year or year and a half,” says Rives. “Every meeting I get up at least four or five times to speak.”

Rives is now looking to be on the other side of the podium come April by vying for one of the two available seats on the Lancaster city council.

Rives asked Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris to express condolences for the family of Christian Cobian at the State of the City luncheon on Feb. 8.

“If people want a healing voice in our city government, if they want somebody that is looking after their interests… somebody that wants to do what’s best for Lancaster, not for any special people, then they should consider voting for me,” Rives said.

Rives, who relocated to Lancaster in 2007, was born in Long Beach and has lived in Los Angeles County for all of his life. He says his interest in politics traces back to a very early age.

“My uncle ran for city council when I was nine years old, and I went around the neighborhood asking people to vote for my uncle,” Rives said. “But my first big campaign was the 1960 campaign for President Kennedy.”

At 12 years old, Rives says he took it upon himself to hit the campaign trail hard for John F. Kennedy, putting materials on people’s doors, waving signs at cars on the street, and even making speeches for the man who would later be president. Rives said  his interest in government continued into his teen and young adult years where he held student body offices in junior high school, high school and college.

Rives said he launched a bid for Congress in 1976. Though unsuccessful, he said he still managed to affect change with his campaign.

“I was able to get a branch social security office for my [25th] District area as a result of that campaign,” Rives said. “It was important because the people in Northeast LA used to have to go to Glendale or Pasadena for social security and if you were an old person or a person with children, that was a very hard thing to do.

Rives moved to the Antelope Valley, specifically Lancaster, in Dec. 2007 and became involved in local politics when he ran for city council in 2010.

“I was not well known, and I didn’t have a lot of money, those were the two main reasons,” Rives said of why he lost the election. “I still don’t have a lot of money, but I’m better known now.”

Rives took part in the Occupy AV March down the BLVD on Oct. 29, 2011.

Since the 2010 election, Rives has retired and immersed himself in city council business. He says on the Friday before every council meeting, he picks up the agenda from City Hall, and thoroughly dissects the document to ensure he is prepared to speak at the council meeting.

“I go through the agenda and I pick out issues that I think need to be discussed, I read the attachments to the agenda, I go online to research, I call the City Manager or Deputy City Manager and talk to them if I don’t understand something, and then sometimes I’ll go up to the council members before the meeting and tell them, ‘I’m going up to talk about this’ so they will know what I’m talking about,” Rives said.

Rives said he doesn’t mind the scrutiny of being “that guy” who gets up at every council meeting, because he’s bringing up issues that warrant discussion in the community.

“Issues like spending large amounts of money for a roundabout, or the Eye in the Sky, those issues need to be talked about because they involve millions of dollars and affect the whole community,” says Rives. “Also, issues like Section 8, the Sheriff’s deputies and a civilian review board, those are things that need to be talked about.”

For Rives, the three biggest issues facing Lancaster right now are division, openness in government, and low economic conditions.

“We have divisions in the city between race, economic groups, social groups, political groups, and religious groups, and it does not help that members on the city council make comments to further divide us,” Rives said of what he believes is the biggest threat to the city. “We’re in very difficult times and we need to realize that we’re in the same boat, and we don’t need to be divided because of our political affiliation or our race or our religion.”

Rives stood with the families of the three men killed by deputies at a press conference on Feb. 8.

Rives said the council needs a moderate voice that can listen to both sides and bring everyone together, and he believes he is that person. He said openness in government is another issue that is detrimental to the city’s success.

“We need the council to discuss things so people know what they are doing,” he says. “Right now all they do is vote and no one knows what they’re talking about, unless I bring it up.”

He says if elected, he would push for council meetings to be held at 7 p.m. rather than 5 p.m. to allow residents to attend meetings when they get off work, and he would create an atmosphere that encouraged community discussion on items before the council.

“We need to have an old-fashioned town hall where people can debate as a community, not an exclusive club like it is now,” Rives said, adding that council members shouldn’t mind if meetings stretch on. “That’s part of the drill, if you have to stay there until 10 o’clock, that’s the way it goes. We can’t put a time limit on talking about people’s lives.”

And finally, Rives said if elected, he would work to improve the economic condition of the city, which he feels is the third biggest issue facing the city.

“We’ve lost property tax money, we’ve lost sales tax money, we’ve had to offer early retirements to city workers and our city is now in grave financial condition because of it,” Rives said, adding that he would like to see City Hall working harder to keep local businesses afloat.

“They do that for the BLVD but there are other businesses in town,” he said.

Rives said he would like the city’s economics department to work with the local Chamber of Commerce to conduct a survey of local businesses and use the results of the survey to create initiatives to help local businesses stay in business.

Rives said he is financing his campaign himself with a budget of under $1,000, but does not object to campaign contributions, so long as contributors do not try to influence his position.

He says whether elected or not, he will continue to speak at every city council meeting and bring up the issues that he feels are relevant to the residents of Lancaster.

“It’s worth it to stand up for the people and have a different voice and discuss our issues,” Rives says. ‘It’s our money and our community, and that’s why I do it… I’ll continue to do it.”

* Rives has agreed to answer any questions posted in the comments section under this article.

** This is the second of a series of profiles The AV Times will be publishing featuring Lancaster city council candidates, as well as mayoral candidates. The first profile featured council candidate John Kiramis. Profiles will be published in random order.

  26 comments for “Meet Michael Rives, Candidate for Lancaster City Council

  1. Welcome Committee!
    February 13, 2012 at 11:00 am

    Welcome Michael and John! No need to unpack before letting the local yokels we need your leadership. After all, it’s not that important to know the community you’re running in, and we really should be look to failed politicos from San Francisco and LA for advice on how things should be run. Good thing John brought his lawn signs with him on his yacht, since no one will help him pay for new ones.

    • Stinger
      February 13, 2012 at 1:05 pm

      And here come the paid Parrisite bloggers to welcome the new candidates that are NOT part of the pocket lining of Parris’ pants with lies and allegations.

      Welcome to Lancaster politics, Mr. Kiramis and Mr. Rives. Whatever you do – DON’T drink the koolaid!

    • CKAY
      February 13, 2012 at 2:33 pm

      Rex Sheppard’s flock of sheep now have a name. They have stepped out of the shadows and call themselves the “welcome committee”. Are they getting nervous over a couple of guys with only 2 thousand dollars between them to spend on their democratic prinicples and Kiramis does not even accept donations. It seems the Sheppard’s two hundred thousand dollars spent on Johnson and Mann might not be enough for his sheep to graze on. I hope Mr. Reeves and Kiramis can see the “welcome committee” coming, but then that should be easy since they normaly come at night. Another clue is their white sheets.

      • Matt S
        February 13, 2012 at 3:05 pm

        Hahahahah right on!

  2. Welcome Committee!
    February 13, 2012 at 10:42 am

    Welcome Mike Rives and John Kiramis. Great to see you two together, considering your similarities. Getting to know a community is so over-rated and unnecessary to running for office. Why wait to unpack before telling all the local yokels that you should be put in charge, after all, we need to be more like LA and San Francisco, so we ought to recruit more failed politicians from those areas to run here.

    • CKAY
      February 13, 2012 at 10:47 am

      More Parris sheep. Baaah!

  3. john kiramis
    February 12, 2012 at 3:08 pm


    Between your one thousand dollars to campaign with and my one thousand dollars and the appointed incumbent with the incumbent having surrounded us with the generousity of two hundred thousand dollars from Mr. Perris, it brings to mind something U.S. Marine General Chesty Puller once said in Korea.

    “We’ve been looking for the enemy for some time now. We’ve finally found him. We’re surrounded. That simplifies our problem of getting to these people….” I left out the last part as it is inappropriate and does not apply.

    Good luck and I’ll see you at the finish line.

    John Kiramis

    • Mike Rives
      February 12, 2012 at 3:42 pm


      Funny thing, John, money ain’t gonna do it this time. The people want change and besides that, like us, they don’t have any and they want people with substance not cash!

  4. Palmdale_Steve
    February 12, 2012 at 9:40 am

    Mike, so you would be a progressive, a liberal, a person of the left, a supporter of expanded and aggressive government then correct?

    What do you support in terms of expansion of local government roles in people’s lives and specifically in Lancaster?

    Expanded Section 8 vouchers in the AV?
    Citizens review panels for the LA Sheriff?
    Support for Boulevard development?
    Renaming of Lancaster to TRexville? Just Kidding TRex

    • Stinger
      February 12, 2012 at 9:49 am

      There you go again, P_S, trying to pigeonhole everybody to your preconceived labels and presupposing what they do and do not stand for.

      Parris must just love people like you because you make it sooo easy to divide communities with your prejudices.

      Have some more kool aid…

      • Palmdale_Steve
        February 12, 2012 at 9:57 am

        That’s it, I am a 1%er and damn proud of that.

        • Stinger
          February 12, 2012 at 10:01 am

          LOL! You wish you were a 1%er (hey, come to think of it, I wish I was, too)! ;-)

          • John Mlynar
            February 12, 2012 at 2:57 pm

            I personally would not mind being in the 1 percent. I promise, if I ever get there, I will be generous!

    • Mike Rives
      February 12, 2012 at 3:59 pm


      I proposed the civilian review board two months ago before the AV Human Relations Commission. I want an efficient system like the NYPD. Internal Affairs investigates and then the board rules. If it is criminal then the DA gets it. Once it is judged by the board, that is it. Let’s don’t beat a complaint to death. The people complaining and the officers involved deserved swift, final justice.

      I support development of the BlVD. We need chain stores down there that will sell clothes and things we need. I want it to look like Old Town Pasadena. It is getting there, but we need to work harder. I also want the economic development dept in city hall to work with all businesses to help them stay in business. What can city hall do for them should be the refrain.

      I am liberal in human rights. I bow to no man and expect the same of the same for other people and their rights. I am very conservative in spending taxpayers money.

      I will be on duty 24/7 for the taxpayers. People can email, text, or call me and I will reply ASAP.

      • Mike Rives
        February 12, 2012 at 4:02 pm

        I also want the city to pursue the Section 8 lawsuit and not settle. I have read the complaint in court many times against the city. There are some serious things alleged. Let’s clear up this matter once and for all. I don’t want to settle, too, because the landlords will get a free pass and not have to register their Section 8 housing with the city. I say let’s make the landlords take care of their tenants not the city or sheriffs. If money is involved, they will, believe me.

        • Darlene J.
          February 13, 2012 at 3:42 pm

          If you are a fiscal conservative then you should also be concerned by the amount of resources that Section 8 sucks up in this Valley. Im talking about resources such as needing more police on the streets to patrol the criminal-minded, more social programs, more graffiti removal. you cannot be a “fiscal conservative” and support Section 8. the two of them are completely opposite!

          • Mike Rives
            February 13, 2012 at 7:16 pm

            Darlene, I don’t want Lancaster to agree with HUD in order to stop the lawsuit against the city because if we do we will not be able to ask the landords who own Section 8 property if they intend to do so when they register with the city. Responsibilty to manage property resides with the owners not be a burden to the city or sheriff’s deputies. The costs of maintaining Section 8 resides with the landords. This fiscal conservatism.

          • Greta
            February 13, 2012 at 8:01 pm

            Are you saying that Sec 8 = criminal-minded and graffiti?! What a ludicrous and ignorant statement!!! Wrong on so many levels…

        • CKAY
          February 14, 2012 at 6:19 am

          Why worry over Lancaster’s lawsuits. Our Sheppard Rex doesn’t worry nor does his herd of sheep. But then again he only plays with other peoples money and the sheep don’t mind because they’re told these wars he wages are for their own good. My guess is once Lancaster’s coffers run dry from paying out on the lawsuits he will just switch addresses back to Palmdale and find more sheep to fleece. The Sheppard is very good at finding sheep.

          What’s in your wallet?

      • Darlene J.
        February 13, 2012 at 3:47 pm

        your “civilian review board” will be full of liberal church pastors and social workers who will always side against the sheriffs department no matter what! it will give these pastors a platform to expand their influence and their egos. they will always sympathize with criminals and say “he (criminal) was a victim!!!” I do not want this! you will end up turning every action by the sheriffs department into a 3-ring circus because some ghetto mama thinks her “baby” is always innocent and the cops are evil.

        • Gerald
          February 13, 2012 at 4:39 pm

          Oh NO! Not church men and social workers! Hide the children. Does Darlene know you’re using her name M.?

          • Darlene J.
            February 13, 2012 at 5:49 pm

            who is m.?

        • Mike Rives
          February 13, 2012 at 7:23 pm

          Right now, Darlene, all actions are handled by the station house, internal affairs, homicide division, office of independent review, sheriff’s executive committee,and the D.A. Would’t it be simplier to have a civilian review board and internal affairs judge the matter and then turn it over to the DA for prosecution if the matter is criminal?

  5. Mike Rives
    February 12, 2012 at 8:40 am

    Hey, Ace, one of my favorite movies. Thanks for quoting!

  6. G
    February 11, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    he is doing a great job.

    • Mike Rives
      February 12, 2012 at 8:40 am

      thanks for the compliment!

Comments are closed.