Wildomar City Council Squanders….

June 29, 2011

 

… AN OPPORTUNITY TO RECEIVE OVER $200,000 IN COUNTY DEVELOPMENT FUNDS

On Tuesday, June 28, 2011, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors agenda included “proposed Development Impact Fees (“DIF”) commitments for projects on the DIF Public Facilities Needs list.”

The proposed “Wildomar Community Center-Agreement with the City of Wildomar” in the amount of $218,595 was on the agenda, but was removed prior to the meeting. The apparent reason for its removal is due to the failure of Measure D to secure 66 2/3% majority approval on June 07, 2011.

Apparently, there is nothing to legally attach these DIF funds to within the City of Wildomar, without functioning parks.

Please click on the following link to confirm:

http://rivcocob.com/agenda/2011/06_28_11/03.13.pdf

This money was collected from various developers approximately 5 years ago, and by law, must be returned to the developers if unused within a five-year time. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that County records were maintained sufficiently to know which developer should receive a refund, if unused.

As a result, the County will likely allocate this money elsewhere in the local area. But not in Wildomar.

It is so unfortunate that the Wildomar City Council did not listen to wiser voices, such as mine, that were speaking out in dissent within the community before putting the ill-fated Measure D before the voters.

Instead, the City Council foolishly created their Blue Ribbon Committee, and foolishly accepted their ill-advised recommendation of a Mello Roos/Community Facilities District, which recommendation ultimately torpedoed Measure D.

Obviously, these are not the “best and brightest” minds in the City of Wildomar.

I doubt that council members were even aware that this item was on the Board of Supervisors agenda. Perhaps you should ask the mayor.

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.

Questions should be directed to mswanson@cityofwildomar.org.

Perhaps we should put chain-link fencing around the City Council dais until they learn to do a better job for us.


Don’t Discount The Anger Of Wildomar’s….

June 27, 2011

 

…. CITIZENS

As the reality of the closure of Wildomar’s parks begins to settle into the minds of Wildomar’s citizens, anger is now being expressed in the direction where it ultimately belongs; the Wildomar City Council.

Review some of the comments, if you would, attached to a simple Press-Enterprise article noting the looming park closure in Wildomar:

http://blogs.pe.com/news/digest/2011/06/wildomar-city-parks-to-close-c.html

If you only read the comments by those critical of the “No” voters, you will have missed the politically-nuanced point of this article.

Despite all of the verbal histrionics throughout the recent election campaign, at the end of the day, it was the City Council, and nobody else, who set up the ill-founded Blue Ribbon Committee (“BRC”) and it was the City Council, and nobody else, who foolishly embraced the BRC’s ill-advised recommendation to entertain, if only momentarily, a bold $5,000,000 bond, attached to what proved to be a politically-lethal Mello Roos/Community Facilities District proposal.

Even after the $5,000,000 bond was deleted from Measure D, the Mello Roos “taint” was still attached to the measure.

And, those who voted no on the measure, were not fooled.

Further, after the failure of the bond measure, it now appears that the citizens of Wildomar will still hold the City Council accountable for their failure to find a way to fund at least keeping Marna O’Brien open.

When a padlock is snapped on the new chain-link gate installed at Marna O’Brien Park on July 05, 2011, the abject failure of leadership by the current Council will be self-evident.

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.

The City Council had “total control” of the election process, up until they decided on the wording of the ballot measure. After that, voting citizens took control, as is appropriate in our democracy.


A Disturbing Whiff Of….

June 25, 2011

…. CRONYISM

Zak finally got his Public Records Act documents from the city.

They only added more documentation as to what I am digging into, based upon reasonable suspicions, and raised more questions so I will be refining my search by asking for more documents yet again.

What I have found so far, as follows:

1)  A vendor contracted to the City of Wildomar was authorized to engage the services of a second vendor to provide “umpires and field preparation” services in support of Wildomar’s adult softball leagues.

2)  However, contrary to city procedures and protocols, the services of the “second” vendor were admittedly retained by the “contracted vendor” without the benefit of a written contract.

To once again quote the city’s response to my initial request for documents, “As the newly-formed league got underway, the formal contractual agreement process was never completed as the city requires.”

3) And now, according to the latest documents (finally) produced by the City, it further appears that the vendor qualification/bid “process” was conducted by the contracted vendor, by telephone, in some type of informal “survey,” rather than through a written Request for Proposal (“RFP”), in anticipation of written responses, prior to making the vendor selection.

As a result of the above process, it  appears that the “second” vendor, a crony of Wildomar City Councilmember Bridgette Moore, was “selected” over other potential vendors to provide the services and who did, in fact, bill for, and receive payments from the City of Wildomar for nearly $7,500 within the past year.

The point of my ongoing investigation is to attempt to confirm that the services paid for by the City of Wildomar were, in fact, completed by the vendor. Unfortunately, the lack of a written contract (with a specific scope of work) will make that investigation, and resulting conclusions, more difficult.

 On a political note, and apart from my ongoing inquiry, the unthinking inclusion of this particular vendor on the roster of the Blue Ribbon Committee (“BRC”) calls into  question the credibility of the BRC itself, and and the motivation behind the recommendation of a Community Facilities District, inasmuch as one of the BRC members stood to gain future economic benefit from the passage of Measure D, relative to the intended “expansion” of park services and programs.

It is small wonder that the recommendation of the BRC went far beyond a simple “replacement” tax for maintenance of the park system. 

A “maintenance-only” assessment could not include the funding of future sports programs and, as result, there would be no funding mechanism to pay for supporting services, such as umpire’s and field preparation.

In some cities,  the inclusion of such an interested party to the roster of the BRC would be called a “conflict of interest.”

In Wildomar, it’s considered “networking.”

On a taxation note, according to the documents just received, the following e-mail was received from the vendor:

“The umpires are asking to be paid after the games so I am just going to pay them after each game and then when the time comes, just get reimbursed from the city, if that is okay with you.”

The city’s response follows:

“I will be making monthly payments to everyone and need to have them fill out  a W9 so we can issue 1099s at the end of the year. Do any of them end up making enough to do their taxes?…. If (you) want to pay them weekly I can make the check out to (you) each month for them, if that works ? You let me know what the easiest is and I’ll work with that.”

Zak doesn’t think that “Best Practices” for the City’s policies and procedures are found in the phrase, “what the easiest is…”

Based upon the records secured so far,  there is no indication that the City of Wildomar did other than comply with the vendor’s original request for direct payments to himself, for later disbursement.

It would be important for the City of Wildomar to confirm that the vendor had properly paid for the services of his various umpires utilized. “Under the table” payments, barring the confirmation of any documentation showing otherwise, would not be appropriate disbursements for taxpayer’s funds.

On a Risk Management note, given the lack of contract documents, the city has been exposed to greater risk.

According to the vendor’s e-mail of May 03, 2010, the following:

“Just wanted to report that week 2 went GREAT. Everyone joking, laughing and having a GREAT time. LOL. It was a close game at the end and the competition got the best of a couple of adults. When I threatened to end the game and give BOTH teams a LOSS they settled down and we moved on.”

Consider, for a moment, if you would, this hypothetical situation. If an umpire hired by this vendor, is struck accidentally by a ball or a bat, or if while trying to break up a fight between “competitors,”  is injured, the injured umpire’s attorney would likely claim, in a potential lawsuit, that the umpire was an employee of the City and is, therefore, entitled to have his injuries and economic losses covered under the City’s Workers Compensation policy.

If a Court ruled that the umpire was indeed an employee of the City of Wildomar while umpiring a City of Wildomar-sponsored softball game, the City would have unlimited exposure for any injuries sustained, including compensation for loss of earnings, and all without any of the potential legal defenses usually available to the city, due to the failure to provide Workers Compensation coverage for one of it’s “employees.”

That is why written contracts are executed prior to retention, and which specify the status of the vendor and his employees.

Not only should City Manager review these transactions, he should institute internal measures to prevent a recurrence. Further, he should  also conduct an audit of the vendor’s records to confirm that the services paid for were indeed rendered.

The City of Wildomar can, and should, require the vendor to produce that documentation, or reimburse the city for any monies which may have been paid in error.

As always, comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.

Comments should be made to foviedo@cityofwildomar.org.

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


Henry’s BBQ Ribfest Is….

June 24, 2011

 

…..AN  APPARENT ORPHAN

Once again, while attempting to sate my unbridled curiosity, Zak discovered that even the Rotary Club of Wildomar has apparently “disowned” Henry Silvestre’s Wildomar Birthday Bash  Rotary Ribfest, slated for July 02, 2011 at Elsinore High School.

First, it was the City of Wildomar who “begged off.”

Now it appears that the Wildomar Rotary Club has done the same.

Please click on the following to confirm:

http://www.clubrunner.ca/Portal/Home.aspx?cid=7220

Notice under Club Events, it states, “No Upcoming Events.”

Perhaps even the Rotary Club is feeling “used” by the serial barbecue competitions.

Perhaps the non-Rotary folks are beginning to laugh.

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.


Dezinformatsiya….

June 23, 2011

….IS  THE  RUSSIAN WORD FOR DISINFORMATION

Unfortunately, Wildomar City Council member Bridgette Moore is up to her eyeballs in dezinformatsiya about the closure of Wildomar’s Marna O’Brien Park.

Please click on the following link for background:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disinformation

Consider, if you would, her statement to a reporter from the South West Riverside News Network  (“SWRNN”), by clicking on the following link:

http://www.swrnn.com/2011/06/23/sun-sets-on-wildomars-parks/

$20,000 for the month of July to keep Marna O’Brien Park open?

The budget for Marna O’Brien Park for all of fiscal 2010-2011 was just under $122,000, of which water was a total of $39,900 for the entire year. Using an average per month for 12 months equals $3325 per month for water.

However, we all understand our climate and know that summer heat will increase water usage up to a maximum $8000 per month. That number has been repeated numerous times in public meetings.

The only reason Bridgette Moore now states it will cost $20,000 to keep Marna O’Brien open for only the month of July 2011 is to justify its closure on July 05, 2011 and to punish the Citizens of Wildomar for the City Council’s failure to put a supportable ballot measure before it’s voters.

Wildomar Magazine challenges Councilmember Moore to produce, through city staff, a written budget for the month July 2011 that would reflect a $20,000 expense to keep Marna O’Brien Park open for that month.

If she does so, Zak will publish it on the pages of Wildomar Magazine for all readers to peruse.

If she doesn’t, then we all know that she is spreading “manure” for her own unknown reasons.

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.

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


Wildomar Celebrates It’s Own Birthday…….

June 22, 2011

WITHOUT INTERFERENCE FROM THE ROTARY CLUB

‘Nuff said.

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.


Wildomar Magazine Celebrates The Third Anniversary of…

June 21, 2011

…. BRIDGETTE MOORE’S JUVENILE DESIRE FOR M&M CANDIES

Finally, after three years, sanity and reason has come to the City of Wildomar over the way it celebrates its third anniversary of it’s incorporation on July 01, 2008.

On Wednesday evening, June 22, 2011, at 6:00 PM, a hopefully modest and minimalist sheet cake will be unveiled prior to the regular City Council meeting.

Please click on the city agenda for confirmation:

http://www.cityofwildomar.org/uploads/files/minutes/06-22-11-ca.pdf

In honor of the reign of modesty, however temporary, Zak has dug into his archives in order to re-publish one of his earliest pieces, for your historical reading enjoyment, as follows:

April 18th, 2008 by zakt 

I REALLY WANTED MONOGRAMMED M & Ms

……Wildomar City Councilperson-elect Bridgette Moore, April 16, 2008.

It was a tender moment in a long, long city council meeting, with the pouty lower lip on Moore’s face jutting slightly, the silly expression of an adolescent desire for candy imprinted with Wildomar’s name, which touched a raw nerve in Zak when it came to the forced spending of his tax dollars.

It’s a perfect idea for a fun family birthday party for one’s teenage daughter.  It reflects, however,  a  casual, if not disrespectful, attitude by public officials toward our hard-earned tax dollars.

As one of the two members of the Ad Hoc Inauguration Committee which is responsible for planning the festivities for the July 1, 2008 celebration of the city’s “birth” day, Ms. Moore truly wanted to be able to include “monogrammed M & Ms” as a part of the party fare. These, to go along with food for a thousand people, a full-length movie and finally, fireworks.

Moore’s night, as described above, is going to cost multiple thousands of dollars.  Her further suggestion to get the money for the celebration from “sponsors” is not a good signal to developers and businesses that Wildomar already has a hand out for money. (I’m sure that “Greg Morrison, Temecula Resident” and his group of “taxpayers for responsible government” would be good for a hefty sum but the quid pro quo would be unsavory.)

Several lessons in  reality arise here for the city council-elect:

1)  Wildomar does not have one extra cent to waste and the City Council-elect should show their respect for our money from Day One. Excess at the celebration is the wrong message for the community. The Council needs to reflect their seriousness in minding each penny that comes Wildomar’s way to be able to survive beyond Birthday One in 2009, when the County-loaned money stops flowing.  

2)  Despite the majority “vote,” cityhood resulted from the votes of a dedicated minority of citizens amongst the total population.  This council needs to mind it’s manners as it is still an un-invited guest in a lot of Wildomar’s residences. 

4) Wildomar is being birthed during hard economic times. City Council needs to reflect that reality in its’ conduct.

Zak is willing to go along with a minimilist celebration but makes the following suggestions:

1)  Lose the movie;  it distracts from the serious object of the evening to swear in the city council and conduct the initial meeting.  Decorum is not a bad theme for Wildomar’s first day.

2) Lose the fireworks;  it increases the city’s risk of a fire loss in it’s first day of existence.  Fireworks are quite expensive (in the multiplied thousands) and there will be plenty of local fireworks shows in the next few days to sate the neediest pyromaniac.

3)  Lose the food; half of the area’s homeless will make their way to the high school for the free vittles from Wildomar.  Zak is more than capable of grabbing a burger for himself earlier in the evening. Zak is a functioning grown up.

4)  Let them eat cake; putting Marie Antoinette’s famous line into a new and positive context, providing large,  less expensive sheets of cake, embossed with Wildomar’s first day message, can be cut into varying sizes of cake to accomodate whomever shows up and saves the embarrassment of over or under-estimating how many will show.

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com and Zak only wishes, given the stern tenor of this piece, that he had an e-mail address at zakt@decorum.com instead.

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(Editor’s note, June 21, 2011: The more things change, the more things stay the same.)