The New Pro-Bond – Anti-Dissent Mantra….

February 28, 2011

…. “HOW CAN SEVEN PEOPLE  HOLD WILDOMAR HOSTAGE?”

Zak knows that math can sometimes get “fuzzy,” but if only five persons spoke out against the proposed $5,000,000 bond measure at the last Wildomar City Council meeting, how do these “wizards of arithmetic” that are posting their angry comments on Facebook arrive at the number 7? That number seems to pop up on Facebook repeatedly.

No wonder that they don’t seem to question, or don’t have a problem with, $5,000,000 in new debt for Wildomar!

But then, Zak would ask, how can the 30-40 “Kool-Aid drinkers” that unquestioningly support a $5,000,000 debt obligation for Wildomar, be so enthusiastic and willing to hold our homes in Wildomar hostage, for the next 35 years?

On a more disturbing note, one of the pro-Mello Roos bond debt speakers took the public microphone at the City Council meeting, last Wednesday evening, and encouraged the City Council to direct the City Clerk and City Attorney to investigate Martha Bridges and Steve Beutz for passing out allegedly “misleading” political flyers distributed in opposition to the bond measure.

Such an investigation, according to the speaker, should lead to lawsuits initiated by the city to STOP THEM, ’cause he is “madder than hell and not gonna take it anymore.”

Several people in the audience briefly put down their glass of Kool-Aid, lest it stain the carpets, for a round of approving applause for the silly statements uttered.

Now, I don’t expect, for single moment, that City Attorney Julie Biggs would entertain any such investigation, even if the City Council were foolish enough to give her such direction.

However, according to my sources, City Councilmember Bridgette Moore has linked her Facebook page with this specific video of  an outrageous suggestion made during Public Comments. Apparently, since she links it to her Facebook page, she concurs with the sentiment expressed.

If you want to hear all of the comments made last Wednesday evening, dissenters and proponents alike, please click on the following link. (Scroll down and click on clip number 10 for the outrageous suggestions.)

http://www.wildomarvoice.com/bViewTopic.asp?bCat=2&Id=548

A note of thanks to Tracy Lobo and the Wildomar Voice for providing the video of our local democracy in action.

Comments should be made to bmoore@cityofwildomar.org if you think Bridgette’s apparent approval of this proposed suppression of dissent is appropriate for a public servant.

(Editors Note: Apparently, according to my usually reliable sources, Mayor Marsha Swanson adds her “blessing” to the above speech, which requests the suppression of free speech of those who question the park bond assessment, through a city-sponsored lawsuit against them for allegedly “misleading” the public, by “liking” it  on Bridgette Moore’s Facebook page.)

Comments should also be made to mswanson@cityofwildomar.org if you think the Mayor’s apparent approval of this proposed suppression of dissent is appropriate for an elected official.

I can’t believe public officials are foolish enough to put this stuff in writing, where it can be discovered and revealed.


Attention: Californian Editorial Staff…..

February 27, 2011

 

… THIS IS HOW A PROPER EDITORIAL ON AN IMPORTANT ISSUE SHOULD READ 

Lake Elsinore-Wildomar Patch Editor, Toni McAllister, has provided a significant benefit to the community of Wildomar with her well-reasoned editorial about the robust debate over the Wildomar City Council’s proposed park assessment and Mello Roos bond measure.

If you haven’t read it, please click on the following link to do so:

http://lakeelsinore-wildomar.patch.com/articles/wildomar-city-council-taking-measured-approach-on-parks-measure

In contrast, an editorial by the Californian Editorial staff issued on February 24, 2011, supported the Wildomar City Council’s entire ballot measure, but unfairly omitted the implications of a $5,000,000 Mello Roos debt obligation included in the measure.

As result, the Californian’s one-sided editorial was a civic disservice to the voters of Wildomar.

I would provide the link to the editorial, but the eloquence and fairness of the Patch editorial deserves to stand alone on this page.

(If you must, however, drop down to the WM article of February 24, 2011, titled “In June, Every Voter In Wildomar Will Be Given….)

While accurately depicting the issues raised at last week’s Public Hearing, Patch Editor  Toni McAllister appropriately described the reaction by the City Council, putting the entire debate into the context of a “civics lesson.”

That is, after all, what democracy is. An ongoing lesson in civics.

Hopefully, this will set a higher standard for future editorial pronouncements by local editors.

McAllister, who was in attendance at the Public Hearing, added an important, yet “neutral,” voice to the public debate.

Which is what an editorial “should” do.

No more.

No less.

On the other hand, Editors who “opine” from the remote recesses of their desk-bound “bubble,” add little of  value to the democratic process.

And usually miss something important.

Wildomar Magazine is grateful for Lake Elsinore-Wildomar Patch Editor, Toni McAllister’s, editorial integrity.

Comments, especially expressions of civic gratitude from “fair-minded”  Wildomar’s citizens, should be made to toni.mcallister@patch.com.


Senior Exemption or…..

February 26, 2011

 

…. SENIOR EXCLUSION?

One of the primary reasons behind the “Senior exemption” for homeowners, 62 years or older, in the current proposed park assessment ballot measure, has never been discussed publicly, until now.

However, behind closed doors at City Hall, is the off-whispered political calculation, that by eliminating “seniors” from the political debate of a park assessment, it’s passage is more likely.

This attitude presumes that seniors, as a class, are more likely to be tightfisted with their money and, as a result, more likely to vote ” no” on any park assessment, but for an exemption.

It has not been my experience or impression, while talking to any “seasoned” citizen about the proposed park assessment, that they were automatically going to vote “no” on the issue.

However, the implications of the political calculation tends to reflect an attitude of a bias against older citizens of Wildomar.

Recently, I have been posting comments on a Facebook page known as “Support Wildomar Parks.” I’ve done so, using my real name, posting through my own Facebook registered identity, and limiting my comments to a rational discussion of the proposed park assessment and Mello Roos debt obligation issue, without resorting to satire or parody, a Wildomar Magazine staple.

I did challenge the anonymity of the Facebook page editor, and the person denied being a member of the City Council or City Staff but still has not disclosed their identity.

Please click on the following link, if you so desire, to observe for yourself this unseemly attitude toward seniors. You will have to be logged in to your own Facebook account to do so.

http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/topic.php?uid=180766405287700&topic=205

if you’re unable to do so, I will quote the most offensive comment posted by the anonymous “sponsor” of the page, as follows:

“I know that you are too old to completely enjoy  parks, but try to think of those that still spend a large part of their time in them.”

I’m thinking. I’m thinking.

Aha, sports leagues. And the occasional pet goat.

Apparently, the primary driving force behind the park assessment is to provide facilities, at taxpayer’s expense, for Little League baseball, soccer leagues and football leagues.

And, as a result, if senior citizens, who are more than entitled to have a say in the political process in Wildomar, don’t wish to support sports fields for sports leagues, they should be “bribed” with an insulting, dismissive and deceptive exemption, to induce them, through trickery, to vote “yes.”

If my thoughts and opinions are to be excluded because I have survived beyond the age of 62, these people should understand that my vote never ages. It has the same energy and effect as it did when I was 21 years of age. It just has more wisdom and thoughtfulness now, based on more of life’s experience.

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.

Perhaps “our” elders had it right when they said “Children are to be seen and not heard.”

(Editor’s note: As of 5:30 PM this evening, the link to the aforementioned offensive comment about seniors on “Support Wildomar Parks” contained in the FAQs (“Frequently Asked Questions”) section had been “deleted” in it’s entirety. In any event, the comment, like a spoken word or a shot arrow cannot be erased or retrieved. The statement, and attitude, are each now a part of the permanent Wildomar record.)

Zak has to give “Anonymous” some small credit for a lame attempt to eliminate the stain of embarrassment for their insulting attitude and comments about seniors posted on their “Support Wildomar Parks” Facebook page, by blaming their insulting comment on someone who is “even more anonymous than they are,” if that is possible.

Please click on the following, if you want to see it for yourself, but remember that you must be logged into your own Facebook page to do so:

http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Support-Wildomar-Parks/180766405287700

if you can’t follow the link, Anonymous claims that an administrative oversight on his/her part enabled “others” to post the unsavory commentary as Support Wildomar Parks.

In order to do that, they would have to have had the Facebook page’s original username and password, something not usually shared.

The more “Anonymous” squirms under the unflattering glare of disclosure, the weirder it gets.


Not Enough People; Not Enough Time….

February 25, 2011

… TO SAVE THE PARKS

One of the primary reasons that I initially advocated, as did then-Councilmember Sheryl Ade, that the Wildomar City Council make a leader’s decision, back in  September 2010, to immediately put a $28 per year per parcel “replacement” tax measure on the next appropriate ballot opportunity, is that it takes people and time to organize and coordinate a “get out the yes vote” drive. Lots of both.

As I recall, the Citizens of Murrieta tried three times to get an assessment passed for a much-needed (students were almost being pushed out of the classroom windows of their only high school, due to overcrowding) second high school, before being successful.

Since the City Council and City staff is not permitted to “advocate” on behalf of any ballot measure, this effort, of necessity, must be done by citizen volunteers.

With last evening’s apparent step back from the brink of civic disaster, and with the Council’s  following City Councilmember Tim Walker’s lead and agreeing to continue the discussion of the June 2011 ballot measure to the next meeting on March 07, 2011, the City Council is still burning up a vital and precious commodity; time.

It just takes a long time to get people’s attention. Sometimes, too long.

Even if the City Council agrees to “strip” a currently proposed ballot measure down to Tax “A,” the $28 per year park maintenance assessment, and eliminate Tax “B,” the $17 per year funding mechanism for a Mello Roos/CFD bonded debt of $5,000,000, two more precious weeks to organize have been lost.

Let’s look at the math together, as follows:

It has been reported that there are approximately 12,800 registered voters in Wildomar.

In order to “guarantee” a successful vote on the Tax “A” ballot measure, volunteers need to contact and, if possible, secure a commitment to a “yes” vote from 8,524 voters (66 2/3% of the total potential voters).

If that were somehow accomplished, only a massive voter registration drive, organized by a well-organized, obsessive group of “anti-park” malcontents, could upset the election mathematics. I know of no such organized obsessive group of malcontents in Wildomar.

In order to contact 12,800 voters, if Zak were so tasked, and using a reasonable ratio of one volunteer for every 50 registered voters, the task would require 256 such volunteers. In addition, using a ratio of one Group Leader for every 10 volunteers, such a task would further require an additional 25 volunteers, for a total of 281 persons committed to the passage of the Tax “A” ballot measure.

Are there 281 persons in Wildomar who would volunteer for such an effort? The Blue Ribbon Commission was announced with the intention to have 15 volunteers; it ended up with 11.

As you can see, we are already  five months post-September 2010. As a result, in my opinion, there’s no longer  enough time remaining, nor are there sufficient persons to volunteer and be  adequately equipped for the task.

Had such organizational efforts started last fall, there might’ve been sufficient time and volunteers to achieve the desired result.

Nevertheless, as long as the City Council forgoes Tax” B” and the Mello Roos/CFD debt obligation as proposed, for what it’s worth, Wildomar Magazine will support a “yes” vote on the $28 per year Tax” A” ballot measure.

Perhaps, a miracle  can happen on June 7, 2011? That being said, to quote an old cowboy proverb, “Trust in God but tie your horse.”

Sometimes publishing Wildomar Magazine is like being the last guy on a dark highway, desperately waving his arms to try to stop an oncoming, speeding vehicle in order to warn the driver that the bridge ahead is missing.

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.

The ultimate responsibility for a failure to pass the park tax assessment, should it fail, lies solely at the feet of the City Council. Not the voters, nor any individual dissenter, nor anyone but the City Council. They are the only people in all of Wildomar with the power put this on the ballot. The timing, or lack thereof, is on them.


Vox Populi….

February 25, 2011

…. HEARD BY COUNCILMEMBER TIM WALKER

The voice of the people.”

It’s always amazing to see democracy at work.

After all is said and done, if Wildomar’s parks are spared the axe by approval, by voters on June 07, 2011, of a “slimmed-down” ballot measure (with the apparent elimination of the Mello Roos/CFD bond measure ), the credit for the “turnaround” of the City Council, which was otherwise headed over the edge of a political cliff, goes to City Councilmember Timothy Walker.

Having been a political observer of various city councils over the past 15 years, it became obvious to Zak, after thoughtful, informative but hard-hitting dissenting comments from Martha Bridges, Steve Beutz and former Wildomar City Councilmember Sheryl Ade, that Walker was the very first person on the dais to fully “get it.”

Please click on last evening’s Press Enterprise article recounting the events of last evening:

 http://www.pe.com/localnews/stories/PE_News_Local_D_sparks25.2740dba.html

Given first opportunity to speak after multiple comments by the public, Walker strongly, and correctly, voiced his opinion that any ballot measure beyond Tax “A,” the $28 per year replacement tax, was doomed to failure.

The ripple effect of his strong statement, emanating from his end of the Council dais to the other end, was visible.

It immediately re-energized Councilmember Bob Cashman, whose probing queries of consultants and attorneys (in his usual contemplative style) had blunted the initial momentum provided by several polished presentations designed to lead the council to an “aye” vote.

Walker’s reaction triggered a similar response in Mayor Pro Tem Ben Benoit, who picked up on Walker’s leadership, by agreeing with Walker that the complexity of combining Tax “A” and Tax “B,” the authorization of and the funding mechanism for the Mello Roos together would doom its approval.

The politically “tone deaf” Councilmember Bridgette Moore and Mayor Marsha Swanson appeared visibly “deflated” by the sudden turn of events.

Rather than voting for any ballot measure, the Council then voted to continue the matter to a special meeting on March 07, 2011 and directed staff to refine and restate the ballot measure for reconsideration, omitting the Mello Roos bond measure.

Perhaps the two Council interns have learned to spread their wings in independent political flight. If so, there may be a new three vote majority bloc on the Wildomar City Council, made up of Walker, Benoit and Cashman.

Are Wildomar’s days of silliness finally over?

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.

For the record, if only Tax “A,” a $28 per year tax assessment is on the ballot, Zak Turango and the editorial staff of Wildomar Magazine will vigorously support it .


In June, Voters In Wildomar Will Be Given…

February 24, 2011

 

… A CHANCE TO REMAIN PARK-DEBT FREE

Even the usually astute Californian editorial staff is missing, or ignoring the negative implications the Wildomar City Council’s ill-conceived ballot measure set for June 07, 2011, in which the voters of Wildomar will be asked “for the sake of parks” to encumber their properties with a lien attached to a $5,000,000 Mello Roos/Communities Facilities District bond obligation.

Please click on the following to read the Californian Editor’s unfortunate and incomplete “take” on a Wildomar issue:

http://www.nctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/article_77fcc9d8-a67f-5fb4-aa9f-ede2e971d400.html

Fortunately, the voters will have the “second to last” word on the matter. It is my guess that the Courts will again have the very last word, based on the inclusion of the mythical and inequitable  senior citizen exemption (seniors can exempt themselves from the $28 per year fee, but not the Mello Roos lien on their property).

Comments should be made to the Californian Editorial staff at editor@nctimes.com.

If the Californian Editorial staff is going to “pimp for parks,” their pimpage should, at the very least, provide complete and accurate information.


Still On The Hook!!….

February 23, 2011

….. IF THE PARK BOND MEASURE PASSES, ALL  PARCELS ARE ON THE HOOK

Except for churches and schools.

If you should succomb to any of the “soothing” words designed to lure you into a “yes” vote on the $5,000,000 Mello Roos/CFD bond measure, assuring you that if you are 62 years or older and own your home, you can “opt out” by filing paperwork with the City of Wildomar.

The duration of the bond obligation is so long that Ben Benoit will eventually be able to file for his own exemption. (Pictured above, contemplating his long-awaited exemption form).

But that is only for the annual fee of $28 per parcel. Your property will still be encumbered by the lien that is security for the future bondholders.

Unless you fully understand the implications of what approval of this ill-conceived $5,000,000 debt obligation for the homes of you and your fellow citizens in Wildomar, despite the overt pressure to be “for” parks and children, you should be prepared to stop this amateur City Council from foolishly obligating the citizens of Wildomar for the next 30 to 40 years.

The word on the street is that even the language of the bond measure can later be amended to remove the $28 fee exemption, without your permission.

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.