It’s All About The….

September 17, 2014

…DRAINAGE

Apparently, it rained in Wildomar yesterday.

I was able to keep up with some  of the  weather impacts, by following the local news  and the various Facebook pages providing photographs of the damages.

Mother Nature has finally  provided a plausible historical and meteorological context  for the recent bevy of  lawsuits, as follows:

1) Alliance for Intelligent Planning v,  Subway

2) Alliance for Intelligent  Planning v.  CV Communities

3) Citizens for Developer Compliance v.  Canyon Plaza

Each of the above litigations  were, or will be , initiated to force the developers and the City of Wildomar to mitigate, to the fullest extent possible, the drainage issues, which arise from their developments.

Clearly, Riverside County  did not address, in a fashion timely, the issue of “drainage” for the  watershed area to the northeast of Bundy Canyon  Road and Interstate 15.

That being said,  although the City of Wildomar does not have the resources, nor the obligation  to address all of the  drainage  issues on their own, it is their obligation to extract sufficient  drainage concessions/conditions from the developer of each project  coming before them.

At the very least, any new proposed development should not add to the drainage problems, but should attempt to reduce, in a reasonable fashion, some of the inherent problems within the Wildomar watershed.

 If you are not aware of lawsuit  #3), it’s because  I have not filed as yet,  although I have made preliminary  preparations to do.    In the case of Canyon Plaza, commonly known as the Circle K/Shell station on Bundy Canyon Road , the developer was originally  conditioned by Riverside County  to re-direct  the drainage  from his property, including  the water which passes over his property  from the northeast watershed to a large  drainage pipe, which passes  under Interstate 15, but which is 500 yards  south of his  project.

This would’ve carried any water down  through the  Wildomar Cemetery property and on to Murrieta Creek, without wrecking havoc  on existing properties, such as Elsinore high school.

Instead, the developer whined to the City of Wildomar staff, seeking relief from  Riverside County’s  appropriate conditions regarding drainage, and was granted, an infamous “minor change”  that resulted in the large pile of rocks that you can see for yourself on the east side of the  southbound  Bundy Canyon offramp.  Any water released in this manner  could conceivably end up  flooding Elsinore High School, including their gymnasium  floor for the second time.

Please tell me that that didn’t happen….again!

Needless to say, I am certain the  attorneys for the Lake Elsinore Unified School District will be looking for  any act of negligence which has contributed to their  gymnasium floor damages.

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.


Performance Too Good To Be…

September 11, 2014

…QUESTIONED?

It is quite odd, but not surprising, that the mediocre minions of the mediocre Wildomar City Council are not upset by the fact that $500,000 + has been billed for services “performed” by PV Maintenance in 2012, without any documentary evidence of inspection or oversight by City Hall staffers.

Permit me to again quote the Wildomar City Clerk, in her email response, date July 21, 2014, to my particular and specific request for city-generated inspection documents of specific PV Maintenance work, “Hi Gil, I have just been informed that there are no additional documents associated with your request.”

 On October 31, 2011(see October 31, 2011  WM Archive for the original article), I posted the above photograph of graffiti removal “work” performed by PV Maintenance on the oft-decorated equipment consoles located at the front entrance to Windsong Valley. To their credit, a few days later, workers from PV maintenance returned and re-did their work, thus actually earning the $143.18 paid to them by the City of Wildomar

 As far as the ubiquitous vendor’s conduct in other cities, please refer to the following link for additional  context:

 http://www.menifee247.com/2010/03/scott-manns-statement-on-overbilling.html

For those of you who don’t want to follow the link, here are portions of the comments of Menifee Mayor Scott Mann on the issue of this vendor’s billing practices;

“…the Finance Committee began reviewing invoices and the warrant register in December 2009, at its own request. Up until that time, we had relied on staff to follow appropriate internal controls…

We discovered irregularities in the PV Maintenance billing as reported in the press….”

In any event, you’ll have to excuse me for my impudence in questioning the lack of oversight on the part of the City Hall staffers and their Wildomar City Council overseers.

After all, oversight of the City treasury is their “job,” not mine nor yours.

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.


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.


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