Steve Beutz Loses His Lawsuit But…

May 27, 2010

 

…..WINS HIS APPEAL

….WILDOMAR PARK FUNDING TO END AS A RESULT

The things you find online while “googling” for court cases.

Former City Council candidate and anti-cityhood activist  Steve Beutz, who originally lost his lawsuit against Riverside County over  what he considered to be an unfair tax assessment , today received a gift in the form of a favorable ruling by  the 4th Appellate Court in Riverside, overturning an earlier adverse (to Beutz) decision by the Superior Court .

The decision effectively stops the assessment that was willfully established by over 55% of Wildomar’s participating property owners, who voted for the assessment to be levied against their own properties to pay for Wildomar’s parks.

The original assessment was a massive $28 per year, which is chump change to have parks in the community for kids and others, and nothing to have a tea party over, or to file a community-killing lawsuit.

One of Beutz’ political soulmates is planning to run for City Council. When that political connection is known to the voters, it should be the end of those misplaced aspirations for a seat on the Council.

You can read the decision for yourself by clicking on the following link:

 http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/opinions/documents/E046318.PDF

As a result, it appears the funding source established by the earlier vote for a landscape maintenance assessment likely will have to be ended. Since Wildomar does not have sufficient funds to absorb the loss of revenue to operate the parks without the assessment, Marna O’Brien, Windsong and Heritage Parks will soon have to close until another funding source can be created, perhaps an impossible task in today’s tough economic circumstances for new communities like Wildomar.

After having read the decision and the facts within, it appears that the County of Riverside selected an engineering firm to prepare an “engineers report” to be utilized in the formation of the Landscape Management District. 

Alas, the Court found the report to be substandard.

The Court, in their decision summary stated, “also missing from the Report is analysis, in the first instance, of how or to what extent all Wildomar residential properties in particular, will specially benefit from their occupants’ anticipated use of the parks.

These deficiencies in the Report are of constitutional proportions.”

This lawsuit is only one of several that Steve Beutz and his litigious associates have brought against the County and Wildomar; so this  saga is not done yet.

In this case, however, his lawsuit apparently had some legal  merit, now confirmed by an Appellate Court decision. I doubt the city has financial resources to appeal this decision to the next higher court

Unfortunately, the end result will be to severely damage the lovely new community of Wildomar. 

I have not been this civically saddened since John Hayner and his angry band destroyed and shut down the Ortega Trails Recreation and Park District.

Comments will be permitted below. It is an opportunity for Wildomar’s citizens to go on the record for themselves.

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Hey MVUSD, I Want A Cheap Office, Too…

May 27, 2010

  

….I’M TIRED OF RENTING MY POSTAL MAIL BOX

That’s my current office in Suite 2642. Please knock before you enter. 

It currently costs me about $12 a square foot, per month, for my lease, which is a good deal for penthouse space on the fourth floor, at least until something better comes along.

In a stunning display of poor judgment, by even momentarily considering the use of  public funds to support a private business, the Murrieta Valley Unified School District (‘MVUSD”) is considering leasing  commercial office space at Murrieta Mesa High School to the Murrieta Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Please click on the following link and read the Californian article in today’s paper for yourself.

http://www.nctimes.com/news/local/murrieta/article_1e42c440-878c-5cf4-bc3a-16d8d5c3e638.html

The District is justifying their  consideration with an implausible scenario of high school youth connecting to Chamber Members for potential career paths. Given the current economic conditions, I am not certain if a career in real estate is a good path (many Chambers of Commerce are excessively populated with real estate agents, networking like crazy at the monthly Chamber mixers, trying to hookup with a 100% commission office). We would prefer our youth  find real jobs.  (See October 2009 Archives)

Give me subsidized office space in a prime location with a paltry $1.10 per square foot lease and I, too, will generously assist high school seniors in finding a career as a claims adjuster in the insurance industry.

But I am going to need that deeply discounted office space first. 

And I will need plenty of free advertising in the local newspaper, noting my generosity as well. After all,  I  do have  a business to run, as does the Chamber of Commerce.

Money does not simply fall from trees, although, perhaps, it might seem so in Murrieta.

As the first President of the Murrieta Valley High School Site Council and volunteer pitching coach for the first  MVHS Girl’s softball team, back in  1992, I have a legacy of generous public service to Murrieta, so my bona fides likely surpass those of many of the current members of the Murrieta Chamber of Commerce.

Believe me, life in Murrieta would be far less annoying for it’s citizens if only the District Board would recognize that the Chamber of Commerce is merely another private commercial business entity, albeit a politically motivated and politically connected business entity, and that the Chamber of Commerce should not be accorded any benefits from public funding that is not provided to any other business  on the same basis.

Or, perhaps NO private business should benefit from the  limited and diminishing tax dollars, painfully extracted from Murrieta’s overtaxed property owners for the sole purpose of educating Murrieta’s children.

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com. If you prefer to make your comments via snail mail, my new address will hopefully soon be, as follows:

C/O General Delivery, Murrieta Mesa High School 


Sadly Taken Down That Road Less Traveled…..

May 26, 2010

 

…WE’VE BEEN FORKED BY FARNAM

 How is it that a young man with no formal education beyond high school, who has never been part of any city functions or regular attendance at the City Council meetings, can suddenly appear on Wildomar’s city scene and be named a planning Commissioner over a much more experienced and well-qualified, longtime resident who has repeatedly applied for appointment to the planning commission?

Council member Scott Farnam, in an unsurprising move, selected the unknown computer repairman Ben Benoit to be the new Wildomar Planning Commissioner on Wednesday evening at the City Council meeting. The other city Council members quickly and quietly assented, save for Sheryl Ade, who questioned Farnam’s selection (and Farnam’s residency status), through comparison of the two applicant’s obviously disparate resumes, quickly ratifying his nomination on a 4-1 vote, Ade being the sole opposing vote, without further serious discussion by the others.

What is going on in Wildomar?  Could it be as simple as the political ambition of Councilmember Scott Farnam, who may be hoping for access to or approbation from, Benoit’s father, Riverside County Supervisor John Benoit? Or is it something else?

Zak has been told by a reliable source, that young Benoit attends Eagle Ridge Church, located in Menifee.

The Wildomar Gazette, a recent startup faux newspaper and shameless Menifee business advertising vehicle, whose major sponsor, is Eagle Ridge Church, operates out of Menifee, as does Gazette editor, Patty Dorati.

Zak also noticed a poster on the wall of City Hall announcing, of all things, “Wildomar Night,” coming in August, at a Lake Elsinore Storm baseball game. Nothing unusual about that except that the contact for additional information is Menifee resident Patty Dorati,  editor of the Wildomar Gazette. Why?

Menifee this. Menifee that. Menifee here. Menifee there. Menifee everywhere. Why are Menifee entities and personalities suddenly so prominent  in Wildomar?

Zak will keep his eyes, ears and nose  open to try to keep Wildomar residents informed about this unusual intrusion by Menifee into our local civic life.

Eventually, the reason for this unusual  insinuation into the Wildomar scene will become an open and obvious condition. The passage of time tends to reveal truth.

Hopefully, young Benjamin, has a thick skin and understands that, with his appointment as a Planning Commissioner, he is now a public figure and has entered the opinionated, satirical world of Wildomar Magazine.

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com  but only if they come from former members of Eagle Ridge Church in Menifee.

Folks with knowledge and experience are always more interesting to talk to.


Wildomar’s Fork In The Road…

May 25, 2010

…..STARTS TO APPEAR THIS WEEK

The City of Wildomar, although only 2 years old, come July, now enters a significant time in it’s political history. In November of this year, there are potentially 3 new city Council members to be seated, if anyone is able to secure more votes than any of the 3  incumbents, Marcia Swanson, Sheryl Ade and Scott Farnam.

And this election season appears to have all of the elements necessary for robust discussion and politicking, including medical marijuana collectives , Cornerstone Community Church’s unique ability to threaten to stuff ballot boxes for their favorites in return for reliable yes votes, as well as  real estate/developer interests that are always a part of local politics.

One of the early bellwethers for the results of the upcoming election season will be in evidence this Wednesday evening, at the regularly scheduled Wildomar City Council meeting.  According to the agenda, City Councilman Scott Farnam will  nominate his choice of a successor to a recently departed (I only mean that in the sense that he moved to Murrieta since he also could not find a house to buy in Wildomar, like the last realtor/planning commissioner), former Planning Commissioner, Scott Nowak.

In documents secured under the Freedom of Information Act, known in California as the Public Records Act, Wildomar Magazine has secured copies of each of the 2 applications submitted for consideration for appointment to the Planning Commission.

One application was submitted by George Taylor, a longtime resident of Wildomar (22 years) who has also been involved in a significant number of civic and community organizations on behalf of the citizens of Wildomar. George brings a  robust list of experiences, copiously noted on his resume, as well as a history of service to the community.

This is the 2nd application for George, who was originally rumored to be  Mayor Bridgette Moore’s original selection  when the original planning commissioners were first appointed, but somewhere between the rumors and the anticipated appointment of Taylor, her selection  went instead to Harv Dykstra, a fellow Cornerstoniac.

The 2nd applicant is Ben Benoit, a recent resident of Wildomar (6 years), whose primary attribute is his involvement with computers. He apparently owns a computer service company, with clients primarily in Palm Desert, California where he grew up and recently graduated from high school in 1999.

Oh, and did I mention that his father is John Benoit, Riverside County supervisor?

Thus, the Wildomar crossroads stands before you. And you before the crossroads.

Is Councilman Farnam going to nominate a  seasoned, tireless and proven public  servant in the person of George Taylor or will he name an  inexperienced  relative newcomer to Wildomar, who is politically connected (but only by birth), and not  by any notable or genuine political self-achievement; a youthful computer aficionado to represent the interests of the citizens of Historic Wildomar in their battle to preserve and protect the rural lifestyle found in abundance in Wildomar from developers and bootleg business operators?

Fortunately, Farnam’s appointment will still have to be ratified by the remainder of the  City Council. Assuming Farnam’s vote will automatically follow his selection, it will be up to at least 2 of the 3 remaining councilmembers to join with Farnam and vote in favor of his nomination.

Should he nominate the inexperienced but politically-connected new guy over the experienced, well-known and universally-liked, longtime Wildomar resident, your voice before the Council can help preserve Wildomar’s future.

Believe me, there is no comparison between Taylor’s and  Benoit’s resumes. One is plush with experience and understanding; the other is limited to one or two line responses to important and relevant  questions.

Wildomar Magazine encourages members of the public to show up at the meeting, secure a request to speak, and go on record before your City Council, in support of George Taylor prior to their vote, whose selection has the unqualified support of Wildomar Magazine.

Otherwise, you may be dragged down a dark fork in the road with no say in the choice.  Your voice needs to be heard by the Council Wednesday evening.

This is not the year to remain complacent in Wildomar.

We could end up like hapless Menifee, preferring political connections over proven and competent service.

As the road sign says, Good luck.

Comments can be made to  zakturango@excite.com


Murrieta’s Barbara Nugent Named….

May 23, 2010

 

…..WINNER OF PRESTIGIOUS HYLAND TROPHY

Wildomar Magazine has awarded the coveted and prestigious Chris Hyland Trophy for Outspoken Community Activism to Murrieta resident Barbara Nugent for her timely comments to the Murrieta city Council. (See below).

 Ms. Hyland, (pictured above on the Elsinore City Council steps) is a longtime resident of Lake Elsinore, for whom the trophy is named, continues to flay the backsides of politicians in Lake Elsinore. Her favorite comment famously used to be, “the County is going to have to build a bigger jail when I am done with the Elsinore City Council and  the EVMWD.”

Ms. Hyland once annoyed  a local congressman to the extent that he funneled in excess of $25,000 into the campaign of a hitherto unknown candidate running against her for her seat as a director on the EVMWD. Sadly, the big money swayed the election, sending Ms. Hyland into retirement, but not silence.

So, in honor of a longtime friend and great public servant, Wildomar Magazine hereby establishes and bestows the initial Chris  Hyland Trophy upon the outspoken Barbara Nugent.

Congratulations Barbara. Keep up the good work.  Read her story, below.

Longtime Murrieta Activist Barbara Nugent properly chastised the Murrieta City Council for re-appointing developer Glen Daigle of the development firm,  Oak Grove Equities, to a full term as a Murrieta Planning Commissioner.

http://www.nctimes.com/news/local/murrieta/article_bd816071-5d9b-5533-957e-a83c031ab3f1.html

Carefully re-read the 4th paragraph so you can witness for yourselves the hubris of what a developer brings to the planning commission as Daigle stepped down from the planning commission dais to then  address his Commission colleagues as his own representative of his own project.

At least he is somewhat consistent. Upon submitting a plan for a long delayed development, a delay due to the economy,  in Wildomar, Daigle tried to induce Wildomar city staff to support his delay of the completion of a road leading to the project until the later phases of the  already “shoehorned” project.

He actually intended to empty the traffic of his condo project through the quiet streets of a nearby residential tract, rather than to build his own road to the nearby connector road. Fortunately, the Wildomar City staff refused to go along with Daigle’s insanity and forced him to re-do his plans and re-submit them.

Whenever unthinking elected officials, such as the Murrieta City Council,  in this instance, make lame choices, such as reappointing the inherently-conflicted Daigle to the Planning Commission, it takes sharp-edged voices like Nugent’s to get their attention.

If some of the Council members blew off her comments during the May 04, 2010 City Council meeting, the fact is that she got the attention of the Californian. Now the Council will get to read the comments they obviously ignored earlier, this time in in the Sunday paper, where thousands of additional citizens will get to read of their “missing and presumed lost” critical thinking skills.

We invite our readers to the May 2010 archives of Wildomar Magazine for Zak Turango’s take on the Daigle appointment.

Ironically, Turango cannot self- award the Hyland Trophy as it would be a blogosphere conflict of interest. Even if he recused himself as editor.

There has to be some basic level of ethics and standards, in every venue of public life, including the wild and woolly blogosphere.

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.


Innocent Until Proven Guilty…..

May 21, 2010

 

….BUT SO WAS THOMAS BUCKLEY

With the news today of the arrest of Trevi  Entertainment Center owner Michel Knight, it also confirms that Lake Elsinore City Councilman Thomas Buckley is continuously being vindicated in his denial of the corruption charges promulgated by Knight.  Given the presumption of innocence until proven guilty in a criminal court, Knight is entitled to that presumption.

However, there is one individual in the City of Lake Elsinore that did not accord Buckley the same benefit. Steve Manos, who ran as a recall candidate for Buckley’s “empty” City Council seat in the event Buckley was recalled, clearly took the craven opportunist position that Buckley was corrupt and should be recalled and replaced with himself, Steve Manos, even though the allegations were false.

Now that Buckley continues to be vindicated with the arrest of Knight, this should be the end of Manos’ political aspirations in Lake Elsinore. However, as surely as the wafting of the aroma of dead fish rises every August from Elsinore’s lake, so will be the wafting of Steve Manos’ next candidacy, which arises every other August, just before every general election, or whenever an opportunity to run, and fail, to win a council seat again presents itself for Manos.

So, citizens of Lake Elsinore, when Steve Manos takes out papers this August for another run for city Council, join me, if you will, in a round of chuckles for the desperate political opportunist, Steve Manos.

If you think I am being a little harsh on Manos, understand that with his trying to take down a good man and dedicated public servant, Thomas Buckley, using unfounded allegations of corruption to do so, Manos earns my utter contempt.

At least Jimmy Flores ran for City Council on the basis that although he did not believe that Buckley was corrupt,  he was running for the potentially empty seat,  “just in case.”  Shabby but fair enough. However, Jimmy should have gone on record as simply opposing the recall itself.

And if you do not think that my contempt for Manos’ political opportunism carries any weight, call former Elsinore Mayor Pam Brinley and ask her opinion.

As I recall, the well-deserved political pounding and mockery that she took from Elsinore Magazine, for which I used to write, caused her to voluntarily choose to drop out of an re-election race she could have easily won as the incumbent.

I wear that feather in my hat with pride.

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com


Menifee Goes On An Employee Shopping Binge..

May 19, 2010

….LIKE A DRUNKEN SAILOR ON LIBERTY

Sometimes common sense requires one to take a step back, take a breath, and pause before making big decisions. So what is wrong with this picture in Menifee? When most cities and school districts are agonizing over budget and employee cutbacks, Menifee is about to go on an  employee shopping/spending binge for up to 8 employees. Then the city will need more space for those new employees, and the interim city manager is nowconsidering shifting to a 4/10 work schedule. For what? To save money?

http://www.nctimes.com/news/local/menifee/article_d2306353-577b-5e4a-87aa-28955ba1261c.html

Let us start with the interim city manager, who has been promoted from within the city, coming from the public works department, where he apparently has gained zero experience to qualify as a city manager.  (I have copied his title from the official city website).

Tony Elmo
Building Official

And now this guy whose primary job  was to stop you from building your house addition on a perimeter wall, unless you are doing so in the City of Wildomar;  this….this novice interim city manager, is going to hire a sh*tload of employees for various departments.

No wonder California is in such trouble economically, if this is typical bureaucratic thinking. If you have a lot of money in the bank, it is there to be spent.  How about saving some of it for a rainy day? or a recession?

Menifee is becoming the poster child for political dysfunction.

I thought the City Council had learned their lesson and were  looking into  hiring a new city manager to replace George Wentz, except this time, one with experience and a track record, like John Danielson, former interim City Manager for Wildomar.

Danielson did a stellar job in getting Wildomar out of its starting gates in tough economic times. Then, once he completed his work, he left, but he left Wildomar with a healthy  and viable city structure.

It would seem to me that that would be the most important council goal to hire someone like Danielson and then let him build up his or her own staff, while the council searches for a qualified permanent City Manager.

But that’s the problem with drunken sailors on liberty, they have too much money to spend in a very short period of time before their ship sails again. Much the same as politicians, some of whom will soon be up for re-election.  

This is going to be fun to watch, folks. But sad for the residents of Menifee who, I am sure, would like nothing better than to have mature leadership in their city.

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.