Will The Wildomar City Council Stand Up…

January 31, 2011

 

… AND BE COUNTED FOR WILDOMAR?

Don’t be astonished, if they don’t have any loyalty to the citizens of Wildomar.

To his credit,  the Californian’s capable reporter Michael J. Williams returns to our good graces by timely writing about an upcoming Elsinore Water District (“Little *ss water district”) meeting to vote on the proposed merger with the Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District (“Big A$$ water district”) on Tuesday.

Please click on the following for time and location:

http://www.nctimes.com/news/local/lake-elsinore/article_40d0b8de-f8f0-5bed-8c23-91e9ee1e3772.html

Inasmuch as the reason for the proposed merger is that customers of the Little *ss water district are unwilling to pay for their long-avoided maintenance and upgrades to their nearly 80-year-old water and sewer system and now want to be swallowed up by the Big A$$ water district that you and I in Wildomar are required to support, and who has promised to upgrade their decrepit system, but intend to send you and I the bill.

And these Little *ss water district customers have the gall to want guarantees that their average $40 per month water bills won’t go up after the merger.

Their naïveté is charming.

No one is offering the ratepayers of Wildomar any guarantee that their rates won’t go up. When don’t they?

Ironically, the $5.7 million that the Big A$$ water district will be  spending on Lakeland Village and Country Club Heights in Elsinore should be going into the development of increased sewage treatment capacity for Wildomar’s future commercial development along Clinton Keith Road.

How’s that for being “business friendly,” dear members of the Wildomar City Council?

Under normal circumstances, one would expect the elected officials from Wildomar to show up and vociferously oppose this lopsided merger. However, Big a$$ water district Director Andy Morris has already voted in favor of it, so he’ll be no help.

His first important vote involving the interests of Wildomar went against us. What does that tell you about Andy Morris? Chamber member? Of course.

Forget about Chamber of Commerce members, Mayor Marsha Swanson, Mayor pro tem Ben Benoit and Council member  Bridgette Moore doing anything substantial for the citizens of Wildomar.

It might actually be a violation of  Chamber rules for them to oppose outgoing Little *ss water district President Jeff George  and Little *ss Board member Kris Anderson, both Chamber members.

I have zero expectation that any official, elected or staff, from the City of Wildomar will be present to speak up on our behalf.

On the other hand, it will only be two more weeks until we get our next Chamber mixer update at a Wildomar City Council Meeting. Dare I hold my bated breath that long?

On a special note, Mayor Marsha Swanson is a paid real estate consultant (at $1,000 a month ) to the Big A$$ water district and has been for some time. That inherent conflict of interest guarantees that she won’t be fighting for any ratepayer in Wildomar on Tuesday.

Can the curious readers of Wildomar Magazine began to see the evil of the “shadow government” that the Chamber of Commerce represents? Community interests and borders/city limits mean nothing to these bedroom business entrepreneurs.

Zak is planning to attend the meeting on Tuesday, to represent his own and your interests, and will report accordingly.

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.

Advertisements

$125,000…..

January 30, 2011

…AND COUNTING

According to today’s Press Enterprise, quoting Wildomar City Manager Frank Oviedo, the cost to the city for the Robles project litigation and  the ongoing medical marijuana litigation has reached $125,000, to date. 

This will continue until the City of Wildomar also reaches an agreement with William Sump, proprietor of the Medical Marijuana collective facility on Mission Trail.

Doing the math, and using Oviedo’s number of $26,000 for the Robles litigation, it appears that the medical marijuana litigation has cost the city a total of $99,000 in legal fees and costs, to date. (A previously WM published number of $42,000 for the Robles settlement, likely included payment for Plaintiff Protect Our Wildomar attorney’s fees.)

And the “word on the street” is that William Sump has just served the city with another summons.

Obviously, Sump is a “true believer” in what he is doing for people who suffer and is willing to put “his money where his mouth is.”

Please click on the following link to confirm:

http://www.pe.com/localnews/lakeelsinore/stories/PE_News_Local_D_sauto31.1fb2981.html

The anti-medical marijuana “choir” who ultimately influenced Bridgette, Marsha, Ben, and Tim into putting Wildomar into these expensive litigation battles should stop wringing their hands over what folks who suffer are legally entitled to possess, or they will witness the eventual bankrupting of Wildomar, only to lose the argument against the collectives in  Court, in any event, at the end of the day.

What’s the point of “saving our parks” when there may not even be a city to operate them?

Unfortunately for Wildomar, former Council member Sheryl Ade’s voice of reason on the Council was silenced by the election of admitted anti-marijuana activist, Council intern Timothy Walker.

Unless the Council comes to their senses, it will be the City of Wildomar going up in smoke, not medical marijuana.

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.

If Wildomar disappears as a city, who will I be able to mock?

Footnote on History:

I clearly recall the City Council meeting when thoughtful leadership was considering a workable ordinance to permit a “nonprofit, medical marijuana collective,” which would have saved Wildomar from its current litigation predicament. At the time, it was reported that the cost of legal and staff involvement in preparation of the important ordinance was about $49,000.

Acting as if it was her own personal finances, then Mayor Bridgette Moore, like a petulant 16-year-old teener, “put her foot down” and stated that she would not “spend another penny” on the ordinance.

However, at $99,000 for legal fees, Bridgette has spent nearly 1,000,000 pennies (99,000 x 100= 990,000). She is certainly “putting Wildomar’s money where her mouth is.”

This costly litigation can all be stopped “on a dime,” by immediately implementing a workable Medical Marijuana ordinance. It’s already been paid for and is sitting on a shelf somewhere gathering dust.


How Can The Wildomar City Council Vote 5-0….

January 29, 2011

….. WITH NO PUBLIC DISCUSSION….

.…on a matter as significant as putting a Mello Roos/Community Facilities District on the June 2011 ballot?

It is significant because, if the measure passes, the city will be able to create bond obligations of up to $5,000,000 in debt.

A $5,000,000 debt obligation fora city of Wildomar’s size and economic constraints is nothing to sniff at. There should have been some public discussion between the Council members, if not outright debate, about the matter. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

But they failed to even ask one “dumb” question of staff? (The only dumb question, in life or business, is one where you already know the answer).

At the time, I thought it odd that Mayor Marsha Swanson seemed somewhat discomfitted when no public speakers opposed the agenda item, at last Tuesday evening’s City Council meeting. Any public opposition would have, at the very least, provided the Council with “some” cover.

Instead the item then went straight to a hurried motion, with an equally quick second, followed by a high-velocity unanimous vote.

Maybe Mayor Swanson knew that the absence of any discussion whatsoever, might raise suspicions, which it has.

The public conduct of the Council in approving this ballot measure has all the “appearance” of the vote being the result of a “serial” Brown Act violation, which occurs when one elected official speaks to or e-mails another, who then speaks to or e-mails another, until everyone “on the inside” knows how the majority will vote on a particular issue.

Surely Bob Cashman is too experienced and honorable to engage in that type of unsavory conduct.

Swanson should know better.

Bridgette Moore should know better as well.

Moore, whose inaugural City Council campaign brochure touted her assistance in “successfully passing the Parks initiative that led to the reopening of Wildomar parks in 2007,” appears to be obsessed with the Save Our Parks activities.

In addition, perhaps her close affiliation with Council intern, Ben Benoit, whom she enthusiastically endorsed for election, has blurred the lines of civic propriety for her?

Benoit probably doesn’t have a clue about what constitutes a serial Brown Act violation.

Likewise, the other Council intern, Tim Walker, likely doesn’t have a clue, either.

I double-checked the agenda packet for the January 25, 2011 meeting before I wrote this article, and confirmed that the issue of a Mello Roos/Community Facilities District was not included as a “highlight” of the Blue Ribbon Committee meeting of January 18, 2011. How could it not be?

Please click on the following for confirmation. Scroll down to page 21 to read it for yourself.

 http://www.cityofwildomar.org/uploads/files/minutes/01-25-11-cap.pdf

How then, did the City Council find so important an agenda item before them, and be able to vote unanimously with such ease, sans public discussion, unless there had been improper and overlapping prior communications between Council members?

Res ipso loquiter. (Latin for “The thing speaks for itself.”)

I will be making a Freedom Of Information Act request to City Clerk Debbie Lee, asking for a copy of the Blue Ribbon Committee’s written report to satisfy my curiosity as to the complete scope their final recommendation.

As it stands now, to believe that this Council could make this important a decision so easily, without public discussion, and without any questions to staff about it’s impact, strains my credulity.

I wonder if medical marijuana would alleviate the pain from a strained credulity?

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.


Doing The Assessment Election Math….

January 29, 2011

…PORTENDS A DAUNTING TASK AHEAD  FOR WILDOMAR

 After doing some simple “digging” around on the Internet, I found the statistical results of the original vote for the ill-fated assessment to put Wildomar’s parks back in operation in 2006.

The “Yes” votes totaled 1129 (55.72%) which surpassed the “No” votes totaling 891 (44.28%). At that time, only a simple majority of 50%+1  vote, was required for passage.

Assuming the past often gives clues to the future, Zak created a spreadsheet with which to analyze the electoral numbers needed to pass the upcoming Park Assessment/CFD Bond ballot measure for June 2011.

Using the historical numbers of the past election, with the 66.66% supermajority now required, the current ballot measure will require 1337 “Yes” votes for passage, or 208 additional affirmative votes than the last time, if each of the original 891 “no” voters do so again, for the same reasons as before. (Cranky Naysayers don’t usually mellow with age or with the passage of time).

Under normal circumstances,  a well-organized, effective “education” campaign to garner an additional 200+ votes would be feasible.

But that (2006) was then, this (2011) is now.

First, Wildomar, as does every other community, continues to be mired in the worst recession since the Great Depression of the last century. Collapsed home values, resulting in hundreds of foreclosures, which renders the “parks will increase the value of your home” argument, recently proffered by Realtor Mayor Marsha Swanson, laughably  meaningless.

The Tea Party movement in Southwest Riverside County (which includes Wildomar) is replete with genuine “committed” conservatives who, unlike our “confused” conservative Council member Tim Walker, will vigorously oppose any ballot measure that has the slightest hint of tax increase in it.

Wildomar’s upcoming ballot measure, unfortunately, has the unmistakable stench of a “Mello Roos” tax emanating from it.

If this overly-complex measure fails to pass muster, as it likely will, the blame must rest on the foolish elected officials who bought into it’s  excess and, thereby wasted their single opportunity to re-fund parks for Wildomar, and not on any of those of us who reasonably oppose a $5,000,000 debt obligation.

As a result, given the aforementioned electoral forces in play in June 2011, if we assume that the historical “No” vote will be increased by 25%, due to dire economic circumstances unrelated to parks, which would equal 1114 “No” votes, including my own, it will then take 1671 “Yes” votes to pass the assessment, not an unreasonable assumption.

However, if the anticipated “education” process proposed by the Wildomar Community Council accurately depicts the economic impact of a Mello Roos assessment on Wildomar’s residents, the “No” vote could increase by as much as 50%, or 1337 votes,  which would push the necessary “yeses” required to 1706 votes for passage of of the assessment.

The more you learn about Mello Roos/Community Facilities Districts, the more you’ll want to vote “no.”

Once again, Zak wants to go on record affirming that he has been willing, (past present and future), to vote yes, and to support, a simple “replacement” of the $28 per year per parcel tax. Bing bada boom.

However, the unfortunate decision, by the Council, to “morph” the lost park revenue dilemma into a  consultant-inspired Mello Roos expansion of the Wildomar Park System, comes at the wrong time.

At the very least, my electoral analysis is based on reasonable assumptions, resulting in a reasonable conclusion.

Therefore, Wildomar Magazine foresees a predictable failure for the Park assessment ballot in June 2011.

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.

Dear Curious Readers of Wildomar Magazine, I trust that this article will give you your own “internal” permission to vote “No” on the Park Assessment ballot, if you   decide to do so.

You have every right , if not an obligation, to  reject  irrational economic decisions made by the thoughtless elected officials  who claim to represent you.


Wildomar City Manager Swoons….

January 27, 2011

 

…OVER THE BENOIT SURNAME

At last Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Wildomar City Manager Frank Oviedo made a particular point to recount the benefits of being associated with the Benoit surname during a recent City junket to Sacramento.

Oviedo described the superficial (what else?) effect of having Council intern Ben Benoit in the traveling group as beneficial for the additional access to certain cretinous denizens of Sacramento, and all due to their memories of Ben’s father, a former California State Assemblyman/Senator, and currently a  Riverside County Supervisor. Big whoop!

It certainly had nothing to do with Benoit’s meaningless two month tenure as a Wildomar City Council intern, so why bring it up?

I averted my gaze from Oviedo as he invoked, to prevent public retching due to an uncontrollable gag reflex,  only to observe the look of unadulterated, ambition-based political ecstasy on the face of Ben, as he listened to Oviedo coo, a look which was embarrassingly similar to the New Year’s Eve party alcohol-based glaze, depicted below.

I almost blew chunks at that point.

 That boozy Benoit  glaze makes me proud to be a Wildomarian.

A Zakian “word of wisdom” to Frank. The pre-election promotion of an unsophisticated, unqualified political “mirage” is now over. Ben must learn to apply himself, through self-development and hard work, which apparently would be a new experience for him, in order to properly represent the Citizens of Wildomar, including Zak, and in order to make himself credible.

Ben’s absence of success and achievement in real life ventures, such as business and family, and, to date, Wildomar’s civic matters cannot/should not be obscured by the fatuous invocation of a family political name.

Ben has ambitiously manipulated himself into a seat at the table in a grown-up world of civic obligations and responsibilities. We don’t need city officials pandering to his inner child.

It will be appropriate to applaud him for his accomplishments, when he finally has one.

Wildomar Magazine will continue to mock Ben’s abundant shortcomings until he displays some political and personal maturity.

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.

This isn’t a game; it’s “our” government. (Zak Turango, 2010)


An Awkward Moment Of Silence….

January 26, 2011

… CAUSED BY BENOIT’S  FUTURE AGENDA REQUEST

It was like that awful moment in a public setting, when someone’s stomach growls, or worse, an episode of inadvertent flatulence, commands everyone’s attention.

However, in this case, it was only City Council intern Ben Benoit’s “out of the blue” request to put City Attorney Julie Biggs’ “contract” on the next agenda.

City Attorney Biggs’ facial expression, upon hearing Benoit’s request, was priceless.

Unbeknownst to Benoit (like most important things are), Biggs does not have a contract with the city, in the usual sense of a contract. For example, it’s not like a construction contract for a specific project. Rather, she agrees to provide ongoing legal services for the city at a certain rate per hour.

What drives her ultimate billing costs, is the amount of time she is required to put in on legal matters, generally arising from the actions of the City Council. It appears that Benoit, and others on the Council are now concerned about the impact of her legal fees on the city’s budget.

Specifically, City Attorney Bigg’s law firm has been busy defending the city in the ongoing Medical Marijuana litigation, which will continue ad infinitum until one side, or the other, cries uncle.

My guess is that the city will give in first, after the budget has been bled white by the ideologue Religious Right “Conservatives” who are unable to come to grips with the concept of legal medical marijuana.

Second, the Robles Project litigation was brought about by the City Council’s misguided approval of an ill-prepared commercial project.

Fortunately, the Applicant pulled the project himself, having more sense, or a smaller budget, to waste on ongoing litigation.

According to rumors on the street, the cost, to date, for Biggs office to defend the city over the Robles Project, until its resolution, is in excess of $42,000, all of it “unbudgeted.” And all of which is due to the Council’s inappropriate favorable vote for the project, despite the reasonable, and ignored, concerns of neighbors.

Ironically, Benoit’s request to review the City Attorney’s “contract,” came mere moments after the “Conservative” Council wing of interns, Benoit & Walker, et al., had just voted to put a $5,000,000 bond on the June ballot.

If the voters of Wildomar are ever foolish enough to vote for the Mello Roos/CFD bond, the interest on $5,000,000 at 4% per annum will be $200,000 per year, an amount that would exceed the projected revenue from the Tax “A” portion of the ballot measure.

Benoit may someday come to understand that his votes can have direct economic implications for the City of Wildomar.

Alas, he’s not there yet.

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.


Fools Rush In…..

January 25, 2011

 

…WHERE ANGELS FEAR TO TREAD

Despite being mired in the worst Recession since the “Great Depression,” the interns and bumpkins on the Wildomar City Council enthusiastically approved a Mello-Roos-based Community Facilities District ballot measure which, if approved by 66 2/3% of the voters, will enable the city to go into debt to the tune of $5,000,000 for parks.

Fat chance.

Rather than opting for simplicity, the city’s park supporters will have to try to explain why residents will want to vote for a Part” A” tax of $28 per year, plus a Part “B” tax of $17 per year, which equals $45 per year. In addition, a yes vote will also authorize a bond issue of up to $5,000,000  with an interest rate of up to 12% on those bonds.

 Now, potential voters will be told that the first year of Part A will only be $23 per year for the first year and there will be no Part B until approximately $2.1 million in bonds are sold for the construction of a park on the east side of the freeway. In the meantime, you will be asked to vote yes for Parts A and B as well as the $5,000,000 indebtedness, and all at the same time. “Trust us,” of course.

The City Council cannot “advocate” for or against the bond issue. Instead, they will ask surrogates such as the Wildomar Community Council to “educate” the voters.

Unfortunately, the more the voters are made aware, through “education,” of what a “yes” vote entails, the more likely they are to vote “no.”

Sadly, the complexity of this ballot measure, given the current economic conditions, will likely doom it to defeat.

So much for “Mr. Conservative,” Councilmember Tim Walker, whose “aye” vote on this measure, along with his previous vote to increase dog license fees, more befits a “tax and spend” liberal.

Councilmember Bridgette Moore clearly invalidated her inaugural campaign promise of “no new taxes.”

Council intern Ben Benoit, who apparently “fancies” himself a Conservative as well, voted aye, without batting one.

Zak was prepared to support a simple replacement tax of $28 per year but the Council lost my support at Agenda item 3.4.

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.