Susanville City Council Candidates — two of these six candidates will be elected to fill two full-term seats

Russ Brown
My name is Russ Brown.  I have lived in Susanville since 1983.  My wife Darla and I have three sons and five grandchildren, all of whom we are very proud of.

Recently, after more than 34 years of service, I retired from the City’s Public Works Department where I spent the majority of my career in the Water Division.

If I am elected to the Susanville City Council, the following are a few things that I would like to be a part of and/or see happen.

  1. I want to work in UNISON with fellow council members to make informed, fiscally responsible decisions for the city and its residents.I am excited about the possibility of being a part of the council and voicing my ideas, thoughts and opinions.
  2. Pass along more than 34 years of knowledge of the city’s infrastructure to fellow council members in order to forumlate ideas and make decisions for the betterment of our community.Maintenance, repair, or replacement of the infrastructure is continual and very much needed.
  3. Inform the public on a bi-annual format, what has been taking place within the city departments, for example; accomplishments, completed projects and general information.  It would be up the department supervisors to decide on participation and the information to be shared.  I believe doing this would help to make a better connection between the public and the city’s workforce.
  4. The relationship between council members and the city’s employees is very important. If elected, I want to make regular visits to all the city departments to get to know the employees better and be able to put faces with names. As a former city employee, I always appreciated a council member stopping in at Public Works to chat. Having periodic discussions on ways to keep the relationship between council members and employees moving in a positive direction is something I would encourge all future council members to do.
  5. To encourage new business to come to town, I would like to see the city review the process that a new business has to go through, and maybe it could be simplified to make it easier and quicker to get their doors open.Also, possibly offering some incentives for these businesses for a period of time.

I would be honored to earn your vote in the June 7, election and if I am elected, I will represent the citizens of Susanville to the best of my ability.
Russ Brown


Mendy Schuster (incumbent)

Mendy Schuster was appointed to Susanville’s City Council in April 2017. She was elected by the people in 2018 and became Mayor in 2020.

I was born and raised in Susanville. I attended our local schools. I value our schools and have involved myself with them by participating in events like McKinley School’s Second Grade Government Day and introducing the idea to city council to honor our valedictorian and salutatorian at Lassen High School each year. When I realized the class of 2020 was not going to be able to have traditional celebrations due to COVID restrictions, I was heartbroken for them. I gave them a key to the city and let them know their hometown supported them.

I am against cannabis businesses, including grows, in Susanville and firmly believe it needs to go on the ballot so the people can make this important decision.

I support public safety. I was the only council member to vote against firing two innocent police officers. A decision that could have saved the city a tremendous amount of legal fees.

My family has owned the small business, Jackson’s Service Center, on Main Street for almost 50 years. I know how hard it is to run a small business and believe supporting young businesses is the key to employment growth. Our small businesses are the heart of Susanville.

At the age of 18, I was diagnosed with cancer. During my battle, the prayers and support from the Susanville community were overwhelming. I am forever grateful. Because of this battle, I know how important our medical services are and the importance of our community coming together to help each other …  especially when one of us becomes ill.

My husband retired after working at California Correctional Center for more than 31 years. CCC has been good to many families in our community. The announced proposed closure of CCC would cause a loss of approximately 800 jobs in our community, cripple our economy and affect many of our friends and families. The trickle-down effect is huge. I have become involved in fighting the closure of CCC. I have agreed to many interviews regarding this proposed closure, spoke at the state capitol to oppose it, and have been meeting with stakeholders for months. I will not give up!

Prior to my retirement, I worked at Lassen College and Lassen High School. I am the Chairperson of Honey Lake Valley Recreation Authority (our local pool), Vice Chairperson of the Local Agency Formation Commission,  Chairperson of Lassen County Transportation Commission, and I am Susanville’s representative for League of California Cities. Serving on a variety of committees has given me insight on the many prongs of being a public servant.

As mayor, I have led our community during COVID, catastrophic wildfires and the proposed closure of California Correctional Center. These horrible things, have made my term as mayor different than I imaged. I have spent many hours in meetings regarding these  matters. In 2020, I realized our children were not going to get our annual Safe and Sane Halloween due to COVID restrictions  and recommended the city of Susanville hold an event for them. It was rewarding to see them enjoying their Halloween at Memorial Park. Also, I pushed to keep our golf course open in 2020 so our citizens had an activity that was outside allowing social distancing.  Although the devastating Dixie Fire did not hit my jurisdiction, we had shelters in Susanville where I had the opportunity to serve and spend time with evacuees.

I have the desire and time to continue serving on Susanville City Council. I am not enrolled in the City of Susanville’s health benefits package. My reason for wanting to remain on the City Council is not to help myself but rather to help our community.

I value strength in leadership and fiscal responsibility. The protection of our citizens, preserving the integrity of our neighborhoods, and Susanville’s successful future are my priorities.
Mendy Schuster


Curtis Bortle

Curtis Bortle.

“I was raised in Susanville, after serving in the Army with tours in Iraq and Jordan, I returned home to serve my community. I am a business owner and member of several boards including the Lassen Chamber of Commerce.

My priority for the city of Susanville is to create stable infrastructure which supports and invites businesses and industry to our community.

I would take measures to balance the city’s budget, expand broadband access, market our community, and reduce bureaucracy that dissuades businesses.

I ask for your support in creating a thriving community we are all proud of.”
Curtis Bortle


Tony Ardito

Tony Ardito and family.

I have been a resident of Lassen County since 1996 and a resident of the city of Susanville since 2015. I have two daughters who graduated high school here and my youngest is a student at Meadow View School. I have been with my wife Heidi for eight years. I am a retired correctional sergeant and former reserve deputy sheriff in Nevada County. I currently work as a construction estimator and project manager. I have been active in our community and have served on various boards over the years.

I am dedicated to seeing our city thrive and be a wonderful place to live and raise our families. I believe we must have a strong bedrock of strong police and fire departments to build a community where families feel safe and are safe!

From this strong bedrock:

  • I will work hard to bring new business to our city through less regulations and restrictions.
  • Address the homeless issues with both services and enforcement.
  • Through my management background, bring qualified experts together to resolve the budget issues that our community is facing.
  • Transparency is a priority! It’s your city and your tax money and you should know how it is being managed.

Tony Ardito


Brian Moore (incumbent)
By the People, For the People

Brian Moore

My name is Brian Moore. I was born and raised here in Susanville. For more than 25 years, I worked with youth. In 2020 I began working for the Lassen County Sheriff’s Office as a 911 dispatcher, where I currently work. In 2018, I was elected to the City Council by the people.

Over the past four years, I have spent many hours building meaningful relationships with city employees, members of the public and various groups. I have volunteered many hours in the community, helping wherever I can. I take pride in listening to the thoughts, ideas and concerns of the wonderful people of our community.

In my experience over the years, I have learned to listen to what people are saying, engage in meaningful conversations, and value others input. Although a single person cannot reach every member of the community, I believe one can get a sense for what the majority wants, which is what I believe council members are elected to do. I encourage people to reach out with thoughts and ideas to work collaboratively as a team, as no single person or idea is the magical answer to save the city. However, collectively working together, we can make Susanville the best it can be for all.

I look forward to continuing to serve our community if re-elected as a council member. I will continue to engage with the public to understand what the people want.  I would be honored to continue to serve as your council member. If you want a candidate elected by the people, who is for the people, vote for Brian Moore.
Brian Moore


James Merchant

James Merchant and family.

My name is James Merchant, and I live here in our city with my wife Savanna and our two young daughters. I have deep roots in our town, as my parents moved here in the late 1970s. I grew up fishing the Susan River, camping at Eagle Lake with the Boy Scouts and riding my bike through what is now Ranch Park. I played football, basketball and wrestled for Lassen High School. In my senior year, I was director of assemblies and vice-president of the Lassen High School Band. I went to Pitzer College in Claremont, California and studied Organizational Studies and Political Studies. After graduation, I worked in the security industry for seven years across Southern California. As vice-president, operations, for Spy-Tech Surveillance I worked closely with law enforcement officers and loss prevention specialists to protect people and assets at service stations, convenience stores, shopping malls and Fortune 500 companies.

In 2009 I changed careers and changed continents when I decided to teach English as a Second Language in Northeast China. I had the opportunity to use my business background and help develop a franchise model for my employer. Our success led me to take a job with the Walt Disney Corporation as the academic director for their Hangzhou Language Center. In 2015, my wife and I decided to make another change when we chose to move back to Susanville to be closer to my family and raise our children. I have worked at a number of local schools as a substitute teacher and taught Middle School at Diamond View Middle School from 2016 to 2018. I was presented with a unique opportunity to open a training school in my wife’s hometown in Northeast China, and in the Summer of 2018, we moved back across the Pacific once again. I used my experience as an entrepreneur and educator to help launch the downtown location and enjoyed a lot of success as a teacher and as a franchise partner.

In January of 2020, my family and I came back to Susanville for vacation. As COVID-19 spread, our return plans changed and we chose to settle in Susanville once more. I was fortunate to work at Janesville Unified and was later hired to teach at the Lassen Community Day School attached to Lassen High. Since our most recent return to Susanville, I have attended countless city council meetings, and I’ve watched the proceedings and seen the impacts in our town. I’m running for Susanville City Council because Susanville is my home, and it’s become clear that our home needs a new direction for its future. You don’t have to look very hard to see the challenges we face. Main Street has become full of empty buildings, our city faces bankruptcy and our youth have never had fewer opportunities.

As a community, we have vast potential we should leverage to provide more opportunities for everyone. More employment opportunities, more choices when it comes to entertainment and dining, more youth and after-school activities to make our children more successful and more public service and public safety offerings to improve our overall quality of life.

Like all of you, I am tired of watching businesses get boarded up with no replacement or new offerings. If elected, I pledge to listen to my constituents, engage the stakeholders in our community, and act in OUR best interest. I’ll strive towards bringing realistic and sustainable economic development, keeping our crucial city services like our PD and FD funded, making sure our community feels heard and represented and creating new opportunities/supporting new programs for our youth. I’ll also stand in support our community’s efforts to save the jobs at CCC and keep it from closing. As city council member, I’ll emphasize us​ and working together. I’d be honored to earn your votes on your June 7, primary ballots.
James Merchant