Is Anyone Minding The….

August 31, 2014

…STORE?

In the business world,  the most-enlightened  principle is “best practices”  when trying to organize human beings  into an effective “for-profit” pursuit.

In the government world,  the default principle is “close enough for government use.”

In the political world, where elected officials are the ultimate  “oversight committee”  looking out for the proper use and expenditure of hard-earned tax dollars  provided by the defenseless taxpayers, the electeds are the final word on government expenditures, except during election years when the voters have the final word.

In Wildomar, the current City Council has been and continues to be derelict  in its duties to provide effective oversight for the taxpayers of the City of Wildomar.

Every month,  contained within the agenda packet provided to the City Council  for their consideration and approval is a document called the “warrant list.”  The warrant list describes each and every expenditure  of the City of Wildomar as it conducts its business for the previous month and provides an opportunity for any  individual City Council member to call into question any expenditure  made on behalf of the city.  In my experience, over several years of attending city Council meetings,  I have yet to hear an objection to any expenditure by any of the elected officials.

As a result, and knowing that one of the city’s vendors  has previously been questioned by a neighboring city  for  it’s billing practices for services rendered, Wildomar Magazine, once again, initiated an investigation.

On  June 15, 2014, pursuant to the  Public Records Act,  I requested backup documentation from the City Clerk for invoices  published on the June 2014  warrant list for one of the cities  vendors,  PV Maintenance, who had just billed, and was subsequently paid in the amount of  $29,936.82  for services rendered in the month of May 2014

 In response to my request, the City Clerk provided all of the  invoices supplied by the vendor.

However,  there were no documents from any employee  of the City of Wildomar which would indicate that the City of Wildomar  had inspected and confirmed the work of the vendor  before the payment was issued.

 To be on the safe side of my investigation , on  June 30, 2014, I directed a follow-up e-mail to Gary Nordquist, Wildomar’s City Manager, as follows: “Before I reasonably conclude that there are no additional documents,  I want to confirm that the city does not possess  any inspection documents, such as field inspection logs,  confirming the specific work activities by PV Maintenance , prepared by any city employee as a part of a usual business practice.  If they do not exist, please advise the undersigned at your earliest opportunity.”

 On July 21, 2014, I received a  pleasant and, somewhat personal e-mail from Debbie Lee, City Clerk of the city of Wildomar, as follows: “Hi Gil, I have just been informed that there are no additional documents associated with your request.”

Prior to writing this article this morning, I went through the  backlog of agendas and confirmed that  this vendor has billed the City of Wildomar for a total of $578,572.67 through August 02, 2014.

Rather than forcing the City Clerk to provide copies  for the past 8 City Council agendas, I believe it is fair and reasonable to extrapolate that the City of Wildomar does not have anyinspection protocols  in place for  a review of what will be approximately  $800,000  in payments for the calendar year 2014,

I believe it is time for the actual “oversight” committee of the Wildomar City Council, the voting public,  to question the  business competence  of the current members of the Wildomar City Council.

As the initial investigator of the issue, I still retain the right  to file a Qui Tam lawsuit on behalf of the citizens of Wildomar, against any parties who may  have participated in any  false billings.

For the present, I believe that the issue can be a  reasonable political issue for discussion amongst Wildomar voters.

Comments can be made to  zakturango@excite.com.

Perhaps, the self-anointed “conservative businessman,” Tim Walker can ask some questions of the staff.  Better late than never.


The Smell Of Fear Permeates….UPDATE UPDATED

August 24, 2014
b71ab-unfriend

…WILDOMAR CITY HALL

During a “normal” election cycle, incumbent politicians are able to rely on their built-in advantage of the political apparatus to support their re-elections.

However, within the context of the last election cycle, where two unknown candidates, who expended little campaign effort, gathered more votes collectively than did Wildomar’s two most popular politicians, indicating a high degree of dissatisfaction with politics as usual in Wildomar, there seems to be heightened concerns at City Hall.

In this election cycle,  it is evident that former Planning Commissioner Gary Andre’s run for a City Council seat apparently represents a threat to the status quo.

For example,  within days of turning in his  endorsement signatures, Andre received a telephone call from  Council member Tim Walker accusing Andre of photographing his property  on Palomar Road.  In response, Andre simply denied the accusation as being baseless and untrue  but it raises the question  that perhaps the  long-known rumors of  code violations at the Walker residence are, after all,  true. 

Those alleged code violations relate to people occupying and  living in recreational trailers  parked for storage on the property, as well as  multiple commercial  vehicles, apparently related to Walker’s  personal business, being permanently  parked on a rural property.

 Can we suggest Paranoia?

In addition,  Andre was recently, if not coincidentally,  contacted by  Wildomar’s code  enforcement officer  over a long-standing  safety wall  Andre had built on his personal residence, with the appropriate permission from Riverside County , to prevent out-of-control automobiles from striking his personal residence  (the safety wall has been struck five times).

Oddly, after being presented with the Riverside County permit  documents,  the code enforcement officer  told Andre that he would  make his report to the Planning Director,  confirming the labyrinthine  and political chain of command that exists at City Hall. Usually,  a code enforcement officer reports directly to the City Manager and not the Planning Director.

Or just closes his properly reviewed and completed complaint file.

Further, when Andre sought and received permission to put up a political sign  in a personal friend’s business  in Wildomar, the business was contacted by  pro- incumbent  individuals who threatened an economic boycott  of the business if the campaign  signs were allowed  to remain.

Fearfully, and for good reason as he does business with the city,  the proprietor asked  Andre to remove his, signs, which he did.

Finally, at least until today,  is the latest Facebook effort of the “shadow government”  organization that promotes it’s  own member candidates, without  admitting to its incestuous relationship with  City Hall.

The Wildomar Chamber of Commerce , whose  monthly  breakfasts feed City Hall staffers  on the taxpayer’s dollar  has, once again, set itself up as the political forum moderator of choice in Wildomar , even though the majority of its members, operate and  reside outside the city limits of Wildomar.    This, in itself, is not unusual  as this happens  throughout  Southwest Riverside County.  However,  you are invited to click on the link to the Wildomar Candidate Form Facebook page , where you can monitor  the unfiltered personal attacks , posed as  “legitimate” questions  anticipation of the September 23,  2014 forum, as follows:

 https://www.facebook.com/wildomarccef

According to one questioner, she has an unusual interest in the physical and mental well-being of the candidates, as if this election is vetting the next president of the United States.

Since Gary Andre has been physically disabled for a long period of time, the following question is disingenuously posed , “Have any of you ever had, or do any of you currently have any mental health issues, drug or alcohol addiction? Do any of you currently take painkiller medication on a daily, or regular, basis that could potentially interfere in making sound decisions?” should only be  perceived by most rational voters as an unwarranted  intrusion  into Andre’s  personal medical history.

The Facebook page does not identify who is the administrator of the page, but it clearly links itself to the Wildomar Chamber of Commerce  website.

Perhaps someone at the Chamber should monitor this Facebook page for its level of political decency before this campaign becomes a cesspool of  personal attacks.

Or, publicly disavow the Facebook page.

After all,  the  election  should be about who can best represent the interests of the Citizens of Wildomar.

Comments can be made to  zakturango@excite.com.

UPDATE (As of 07:30 AM on  August 26, 201):  I checked the  Wildomar Candidate Forum Facebook page this morning and the aforementioned  anti-privacy and anti-disability question has been  appropriately removed.  It’s good to see that the Facebook page administrators are paying attention.

UPDATE UPDATED (As of last evening on August 27, 2014): At the behest of another, the Wildomar Chamber of Commerce Facebook administrator put the invasive health-related question back up on the page.


Israel Leija….

August 19, 2014

..IN HIS OWN WORDS

The final candidate’s ballot statement is from Israel Leija, a new face to Wildomar politics. His statement is reproduced in its entirety without any changes or edits, with my commentary (in blue), as follows:

“I welcome the opportunity to Contribute to the work of City Council Member of Wildomar. Currently I’ve been researching, getting involved with past and current situations on behalf of residents and City Council Members. I’ve learned that the city is struggling in many different ways. As a Board Member my priorities include, public safety, job training and cleaning up for our city, both physically and politically. This will attract the right kinds of economic development and businesses, and that in turn will increase our property values and our quality of life. If elected I would bring to this position the knowledge I have gained in various leadership roles with my past experience, serving as a project lead with various teams, well under my supervision, working with companies with as many as 17,000 plus employees designating them administration rights. Also provided leadership in agenda meetings in School committees with the School Board. If elected I would use my leadership experience and expertise to initiate an exploration of the ways the City may best  meet the needs it deserves. The City belongs to us let’s make it respectable to our fellow residents, neighbors and visitors.

Vote Israel Leija, City Council.”

I’ve never met this candidate, and have no context with which to comment on his ballot statement, carefully reproduced here in it’s  entirety.  

It appears that Israel has professional and life experience  equal to any of the three incumbents  and is worthy of your consideration for his successful efforts to become a candidate with commendable stated goals. 

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.


A Challenger To The Status Quo…

August 17, 2014

…SPEAKS

Now we get to hear from the first of two challengers to the current incumbents sitting on the Wildomar City Council; again, in alphabetical order so we start with former Planning Commissioner Gary Andre, as follows, with my comments (in blue):

“The current Wildomar City Council has a bad habit of being unable to resist the influence of Orange County developers, who are converting irreplaceable Commercially-Zoned Land into Hyper-High Density condo/apartment projects, forever limiting tax revenues to run the city properly, such as adequate police and fire protection, as well as roads.

The real estate interests (real estate brokers, real estate appraisers and mortgage loan processors)  on the City Council and Planning Commission appear to be determined  to increase the number of rooftops in Wildomar, based on their voting patterns.

What does this mean to you? Higher taxes.

Residential properties do not produce sufficient tax revenues to provide for the large amount of municipal services needed. However, if the City Council permits developers to build houses/condos/ apartments on land set aside for  commercial (revenue-producing)  development,  eventually everyone  will be asked  to pay higher taxes to remain a city, not just the  purchasers of new homes.

It is time to change this bad habit.

This is, after all, what elections are all about.

I have been involved in Land Review in Wildomar since 2003.

Qualifications:

  • 30 years, a Contractor.
  • 2003-2008 Co-Chair Wildomar Land Development Review.
  • Served on Planning Advisory committee for the City of Lake Elsinore  2004-2007.
  • Trail Commissioner Riverside County 2004-2010. 
  • Served on the City of Wildomar  Inaugural Planning Commission 2008-2010 . 
  • Chairman Wildomar Multi-Use Trails 2003- present .(That is Gary Andre, in the above photo, on one of the Trails  in Wildomar that he had to fight with the land developer to put in during construction of the project.) Gary gets things done!!
  • Land Use consultant 2003-present.

Not a bad resume for a City Council candidate. It shows that Gary has been very involved in the City’s early history and he has acquired significant and relevant experience to qualify him to serve in a City Council position.

As your Council Member, I will appoint a devoted, courageous Planning Commissioner, who will help retain the small-town lifestyle we all love. 

Without this change, Wildomar will become as urbanized as Orange County.

It’s the nature of  greedy real estate  developers to “pave paradise, put up a parking lot.” 

This may be our last chance to vote to save Wildomar’s  Small-Town lifestyle and Ranch Community that we all love. “

I’ll leave Gary with the next-to-last word.  The last word will be the voters in November.

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.


Four Incumbents Vote Farewell To…

August 15, 2014

…YOUR RURAL LIFESTYLE

On Wednesday evening, August 13, 2014, the 4-1 pro-real estate development bloc of the Wildomar City Council (Ben Benoit, Marsha Swanson, Bridgette Moore and Tim Walker) approved an ordinance which reduces the minimum acreage required to build a hyper-high density apartment complex from 9.5 acres to 4 acres, allowing future developers to build hyper-high density, low income apartment projects throughout the City of Wildomar.

What once was the  idyllic  dream of building a custom home on a 5 acre parcel  of private land will now have to compete with the  greedy dream of building, on as little as a 4 acre parcel,  up to 40 residential units per acre (do the math;  40 units  x 4 acres  =160  apartments)  is now a different ballgame, thanks to your incumbent politicians.

This flies in the face of recent statements by two of the incumbents seeking re-election about preserving the “rural lifestyle” that they acknowledge many of you value, as follows:

1) Incumbent Ben Benoit saysWe must also be smart about how we grow, being careful to protect the rural nature of our community.”

2)  IncumbentTim Walker says “I support healthy growth and  in our city and at the same time I looked forward to keeping our small-town-feel  which is loved by so many people who live here.”

Clearly, the incumbents can say one thing with  their ballot  statements, and  have said quite another thing  with their votes.

My guess is they figure you won’t be “smart enough” to notice  the difference when it comes time to vote .

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.


The “Conservative…”

August 14, 2014

…SPEAKS

Continuing with our third article in a series of ballot statement reviews, today we consider the emotional offerings of Tim Walker, reproduced in full,  with my own comments (in blue), as follows:

“I have been a resident and a property owner in Wildomar, and a small-business owner in this valley for 33 years. My wife and I been married for 35 years. We have raised our three children, and now have 2 grandchildren living in our community. We plan on retiring here as well.

I have watched Wildomar grow, and strongly support the goals of the current city council and the policies it has put in place to help the community grow in the right direction. The city’s best interests have been my priority in all city business, activities, and policy decisions.

I support healthy growth in our city, and at the same time I looked forward to keeping our small-town-feel, which is loved by so many people who live here.

Tim Walker  voted in support of  every developer’s request for a  General Plan Amendment which has come before the council recently,  where such  projects propose to eventually  convert  irreplaceable  commercial land  to hyper-high-density residential projects ( think, apartments)   which  will produce  the exact opposite  of a “small-town-feel.”

We need to keep encouraging business development, which will help our property values increase while also maintaining a clean, healthy community.

I believe my common sense conservative approach has helped promote a healthier, more prosperous community.

In December 2012, upon assuming  his seat at the council dais, Walker joined Ben Benoit, Marsha Swanson and the others on the council , to vote for the Animal Friends Joint Powers Agreement, which will cost the city of Wildomar $9.5 million over the next 30 years, without a word of dissent or inquiry as to whether or not there were other options available, hardly demonstrating the beating heart  of a “conservative.”   

I have worked closely with our city staff, and I know they truly love our community and want the best for us all.

The  oddest, if not the creepiest,  analysis by an  elected official responsible for the fiscal oversight  of a taxpayer-funded municipality,  is to evaluate the competence and performance of city employees on the basis of their affection level  for the community.

First, presuming to know the inner thoughts of another human being is difficult enough in a personal relationship.  To bring that qualifier  into a management/ employee  environment  is amateurish at best.

Second, most professionals, especially “conservative” ones,  whether in a private business or a government entity,  attempt to utilize “best practices”  as the metric for  achieving that organization’s goals.   

Thank you for your consideration.

Be sure to vote from your heart!

Timothy Walker.”

 Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.


The Mayor Speaks For….

August 13, 2014
Marsha Swanson Business advice


..HERSELF

The following is the second article in a series for the Election 2014, where we provide a copy of Mayor Swanson’s ballot statement, as follows, with my commentary interspersed, (in blue):

 “I am asking to be reelected, because I do not see myself as a politician, but as a Community Member.

( See below for Swanson’s voluminous depiction of a “politician’s resume.” )

 I will work for the good Wildomar Residents.

This deplorable distinction of working for the “good” Wildomar residents cannot be a simple typographical error.  If it were a typo,  then she’s not very bright since a ballot statement  must be carefully crafted , with each  word carefully considered and counted.  

And it begs the question,  what is a  “good ” Wildomar resident? 

And who are the “less than good ”  residents?

Is there  another  category of “bad” residents  for whom Mayor Swanson is unwilling to work? 

Wildomar has been my home for 40 years.

I am a Wife, Mother, Grandmother and Business Woman.

I care about where we are now and about the future of Wildomar

I have been a member of the Wildomar City Council since incorporation in 2008; I have served as Mayor, Mayor Pro Tem and as a Council member. I currently serve on the Parks Committee, Economic Development Committee, and on the Riverside League of Cities Executive committee. I serve as an alternate on PARSAC, RTA, and WRCOG. In the past I served the community on the MAC.

Only a “politician” would extensively cite, and value,  such an exhaustive list  of acronyms on their political resume.    

Over my life I have held many leadership positions; President of our local Board of Realtors, a Director for the State Association, served on the States Local Government Relations Committee and the Land Use Committee, member of our Chamber of Commerce, a Rotarian and a lifetime member of The Friends of the Library. I managed a large office and have owned my own business.

Thank you for your consideration.

Remember your vote counts,

Even if you are a “bad” resident

VOTE Marsha Swanson.”

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.


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