First District County Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt's final week before the Tuesday, June 3 election was filled with news conferences and other events.


The cornerstone event was the announcement of Operation Desert Heat, which formally began last Friday. The program, which included $100,000 in funding from the supervisor, is an extended operation aimed at cracking down on gangs in the Victor Valley.


"The Sheriff's Department has been doing a commendable job of arresting gang members and sending them to jail, but with this operation we're turning up the heat on gang members," Mitzelfelt said in a news release sent to area news media late last week.


Joining in applauding the program was Sheriff Gary Penrod who said, "We believe this is a necessary step to put an end to the increasing gang-related crime in the High Desert."


Mitzelfelt and Penrod co-authored a commentary on the issue that appears on the Hesperia Star's opinion page.


Mitzelfelt's office emailed at least five news releases that touted his accomplishments in the last week and a half before the election. Mitzelfelt, who was appointed by Bill Postmus after Postmus was elected county assessor, faces challenges from Hesperians Rita Vogler and Bob Nelson and Barstow resident Robert Conaway.


Other recent press releases addressed Mitzelfelt's support of looking into solar energy projects, his request for the board of supervisors to look into allocating more than $131,000 to cover the cost of additional operating room equipment at the Colorado River Medical Center in Needles, his support of a proposal to help keep neighborhoods vibrant by implementing Proposition 90, and his joining Victorville Councilman Bob Hunter in announcing the release of a request for proposals to study the adequacy of the county's trauma system.


According to an article by the Daily Press's Ryan Orr, Mitzelfelt has significantly out-raised his opponents. He received $126,474 in contributions between March 18 and May 17 and has more than $360,000 left over.


Meanwhile, Vogler's campaign has been funded with $52,000 from her campaign manager and husband Al Vogler.


Conaway has raised $684 in cash contributions this year. Combined with loans and non-monetary contributios, he has almost $10,000 this year.


Nelson, who is running for the third time, has spent less than $1,000 and therefore is not required to file a campaign finance statement, according to Orr's news article.