A True “Friend Of Wildomar” In….

May 31, 2012

… SUPERVISOR BOB BUSTER

Once again, Riverside County District 1 Supervisor Bob Buster has proven himself to be a reliable “friend of Wildomar” with his generous sponsorship of this weekend’s Movie in the Park, set for Saturday, June 02, 2012 at 5:30 PM at Marna O’Brien Park.

Going back as far as the 1990s, when I first became aware of local Wildomar politics with my involvement in the Ortega Trails Park & Recreation District, I have always found Supervisor Buster to be a genuine and generous friend to Wildomar. In fact, were it not for Supervisor Buster, Marna O’Brien Park would still be a fenced off weed patch.

Unfortunately, the various ingrates amongst the park volunteers and local politicos that are “milking” this event as a park fundraiser, are apparently insufficiently nuanced in etiquette to be able to include a simple, modest word of gratitude to Supervisor Buster for his generosity in sponsoring the event.

Please click on the following Facebook link, to confirm:

http://www.facebook.com/#!/wildomar.parks

If you didn’t notice, for contrast and comparison, the “partnership” with the spay & neuter clinic caused some “excitement.”

Apparently some folks weren’t adequately trained by their parents to say please and thank you.

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.


What To Do Next?…

May 29, 2012

 

…. ECONOMIC OPTIONS FOR WILDOMAR REDUCED BY STATE SENATE

According to yesterday’s Californian article, it appears unlikely that the Vehicle License Fees (“VLF”) that Wildomar, along with three other cities, were relying upon are going to be restored anytime soon.

With a $16 billion budget deficit, our state legislators will likely have little sympathy for Wildomar’s predicament.

We are on our own, folks.

Please click on the following link for context:

http://www.nctimes.com/news/local/menifee/region-bill-to-help-wildomar-menifee-hits-snag/article_85602e1f-1c3c-5a49-a109-65f5f06d9c5c.html

What to do next?

It is time to “Re-Think Wildomar.”

I am willing to help any member of the City Council with my time, energy, and re-thinking processes, including all research that I’ve conducted on my own to date, to achieve my previously recommended cost-saving measures:

1) Re-locate City Hall to Marna O’Brien Park.

The City of Wildomar currently pays $120,000 per year to lease commercial office space in the Albertson shopping center for its executive offices. That lease expires in December 2012,  so the time to move forward on this cost-saving initiative is now.

Wildomar can purchase refurbished, pre-fabricated office buildings to set up on the city-owned park property, eliminating a large percentage of the monthly facilities expense for city operations, after the initial expense for setting up the buildings on the park site.

As a former subcontractor in the construction trades, my expertise in staging construction projects is founded in real-world experience.

I would be willing to assist city staff in  facilitating, as a volunteer, the initial cost analysis of implementing such a move.

It is my opinion that an approximate saving of $100,000 per year can be achieved.

2) Find a less expensive alternative for animal control services provided by Animal Friends of the Valleys (“AFV”).

Once again, I have been researching alternatives to the current “arrangement” for animal control services to the City of Wildomar, including interaction with a reputable animal control services consultant.

If the current city Council members are willing to explore cost-saving alternatives, once again, I would be willing to share some personal time, as well as my contacts, in order to find and facilitate an alternative for animal control services.

It is my opinion that an approximate saving of $100,000 per year can be achieved.

One of the benefits of saving approximately $200,000 a year from the current and future budgets could be the reallocation of a portion of those savings to the maintenance of our parks.

I believe that we can do better with less, “ and I am willing to assist any city councilmember who is willing to “re-think Wildomar” with me.

 Requests for assistance can be made to zakturango@excite.com.

Or just call me. Staff has my cell number.


The History Of…..

May 27, 2012

….MEMORIAL DAY

One of the more subtle ways to diminish the memory of our fallen heroes is to dilute the commemoration of their sacrifices with well-meaning celebrations of living veterans.

On Monday, May 29, 2012, Memorial Day celebrations will be conducted throughout the United States, as well as Wildomar, that are turned into a faux Veteran’s Day.

Simply stated, Memorial Day should be reserved to celebrate those who have fallen in battle.

Veterans Day, on the other hand, is the day to celebrate the sacrifice and service of all veterans, living or dead, regardless of the war or theater in which they served. This would include those, like my father, who did not die in combat.

There should be no confusion between the two.

Please click on the following link, to confirm:

http://www.usmemorialday.org/backgrnd.html

Tomorrow morning, I will be placing flowers on the grave site of my late father, who served as an army medic in World War II. He did not die in combat, but it is a private family commemoration, and thus, it is appropriate for  our family to gather on any day we  choose to do so. In our particular case, Memorial Day was the first solemn holiday after the death of my father on March 17, 1957 and has become a family tradition.

However, given the context of this article, I will be keeping two of my high school classmates, who lost their lives in Vietnam, in my thoughts throughout the day.

Benny Sanchez, our high school quarterback, joined the Marine Corps after he graduated and died in combat. Early Hamilton, whose friendship goes back to playing sandlot basketball in junior high school, died from wounds suffered while serving in the Army.

Their ultimate sacrifices, while barely out of their teens, dare not be forgotten, nor diluted, by well-meaning, yet-misguided celebrations of living veterans.

I will gladly accept any expressions of gratitude for my service in 1968-69 in the Republic of Vietnam on November 10, 2012, which is the next opportunity to celebrate Veterans Day.

On this Memorial Day, however, I would prefer that my readers contemplate the sacrifice of Benny Sanchez and Early Hamilton.

Simply reading their names aloud, as you read this, would be a suitable commemoration of their individual sacrifice.

Doing so, keeps their memories alive.

Comments can be made to aakturango@excite.com.


Wildomar’s Best Friend Invites You To His……

May 25, 2012

…MEMORIAL WEEKEND REMEMBRANCE

Saturday, May 26, 2012: Meet Army Veteran Supervisor Bob Buster for Hot Dogs and Refreshments as we Remember our Veterans over Memorial Day Weekend

Saturday, May 26, 2012
from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Bundy Canyon Super Storage
22460 Bundy Canyon Road, Wildomar

For more information call (909) 624-5749

Bob Buster for Supervisor 2012
ID #920450
PO Box 106, Riverside, CA 92502

www.bobbuster.org

Riverside County Supervisor Bob Buster has an unparalleled, and incomparable, record of friendship to the citizens of Wildomar, going back to the days before the city’s incorporation.

He is, and has been, inarguably, Wildomar’s best friend over the years.

Without the assistance of Supervisor Buster, there would have been no parks whatsoever in Wildomar, following the demise of the Ortega Trails Recreation & Parks District (“OTRPD”).

Perhaps, even cityhood for Wildomar, would not have been possible without the assistance of Supervisor Buster.

Wildomar Magazine invites you, dear reader, to join with Supervisor Buster for this Memorial weekend remembrance.

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.

Good friends, and good friendships, should never be forgotten.

Zak will be there at 1;00 pm.  I hope to see you there as well.


Happy Birthday….

May 24, 2012

…TO MY MOM

Indulge me, if you would, for a brief respite from political commentary to celebrate my mother’s  birthday on May 24, 2012. What makes this birthday unique for my Mom is that she enters her ninth decade of life, achieving the significant age of 90 years old, which is 20 years more than the “three score and ten” years promised to us by Scripture.

Elsie Amlund Thompson was born on May 24, 1922 on the South Dakota prairie, on a farm in the Sterling Township, located in the southeastern section of that state, and which  had originally been homesteaded by her grandfather, Ole Thompson.

Unfortunately, several years after her birth, her mother passed away, leaving her “motherless.”

Since her much older brother and sister were not around much as she grew up, she was an original “latch key kid.” Her widower father worked many hours in the local grain elevator, leaving her to raise herself. (Her father was the mild-mannered victim of Old World philosophy-dominated, and dominating, unmarried spinster sisters from Norway, who secured her father’s agreement to never remarry following the death of his spouse, leaving him and my mother without the natural love and nurture of a substitute wife and mother).

Mom would tell me that on bitterly cold winter days, she would come home from school to an empty house, start a fire in the kitchen stove, and roll herself up in a literal  horse hide ” blanket” and lay on the kitchen table top for hours, next to the stove, for warmth.

Her life continued normally until she fell in love with my father, Roy Rasmussen, who was a fellow senior student (there were no more than 8 seniors that year) at the Bruce High School.

As was the common case of that era, they were married, after graduation, at the tender age of 18.

Unfortunately for Mom, given the social strata of that Norwegian immigrant society, since her family had arrived a generation prior to my father’s family and thus homesteaded the better land, her involvement with the Rasmussen “River Rats,” who farmed on the bottom lands along the Big Souix River, led to her father refusing to talk with her for a decade following her marriage.

At that point in time, the religious phenomenon of “Pentecost” invaded, and divided, this Lutheran-dominated subculture, and my parents set off to fervently and enthusiastically “win the world for Jesus.”

As a result, my father was an ordained minister by the age of 21, when he was drafted into the Army after the start of World War II, despite his status as a “conscientious objector.” Rather than carry a weapon, my father agreed to become a medic.

Like so many of the young women of that era, mother followed my father from Army camp to Army camp, often finding that his unit had been moved to another state, without her foreknowledge.

Unlike today’s war, where soldiers occasionally slip home from a war zone to surprise their kids at school, the young wives of World War II  would often find that their husbands had been shipped out without a last goodbye kiss, only to be notified later that he died in combat and would never be coming home.

One can only imagine that kind of profound loss and sorrow.

As I’ve recounted earlier, on St. Patrick’s Day in 1957, mother watched my father collapse while conducting a service in a start up church in Long Beach. He died six hours later from a brain aneurysm, leaving her penniless with four young children to raise on her own.

 Mom tells of how for weeks after our father’s death, each of us four children would climb into her bed at night and cry like young kittens over the loss of our father. Unfortunately, there was no one to provide solace and succour for the young widow.

One can only imagine that kind of profound loss and sorrow.

 Despite her sorrows, Mom has been, and always will be, the “Nicest Woman in the World.”

Almost to a fault.

In fact, she was able to raise a son to be the “Nicest Man in the World,” but I’ve changed.

 Almost to a fault.

After the death of my father, Mom, an accomplished pianist, became the organist for a church named Bethany Chapel in Long Beach, California.

On one particular Sunday morning, the pastor’s wife related a story from the pulpit, how the Holy Spirit had “given” her a song while she was washing dishes earlier that week. As the pastor’s wife began to sing the chorus, it was left to Mom to arrange the music “on-the-fly.”

Out of that collaboration came the words and music of the universally popular spiritual chorus, “He Is Lord.”

Please click on the following link to confirm it’s “worldwide” influence:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6GTqPOJ-YM&feature=related

Over the years, Mom has persevered through heartache and sorrow, yet has always remained steadfast in her faith and continues to be the nicest woman in the world.

Thanks for letting me brag about my Mom.

Happy 90th birthday, Mom.

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.

Growing up, I always thought my Mom created the very first peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I was quite shocked to later find out otherwise.

However, I still think her PBJs were the best ever.


Wildomar’s Very Own “Liberty Quarry-Like”….

May 22, 2012

 

…ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUE

Except this time the environmental damage is not coming from a purely profit driven private corporation, like Granite Construction.

Instead the gross environmental damage will come from a powerful monopoly, Southern California Edison, a public utility, with the complicity of neighboring communities of Menifee and Lake Elsinore.

Today’s Californian article blithely discusses Wildomar’s future being controlled by the likes of the Planning Commission of the City of Menifee, as follows:

http://www.nctimes.com/news/local/menifee/menifee-power-project-on-planning-agenda/article_bb90abaf-da05-5fdb-82a0-2ddac344c72f.html

Southern California Edison is proposing to run a high tension power line, with 85 foot towers, across the skyline of Wildomar, generally tracing the path of Bundy Canyon Road until it veers off to cross, and desecrate, the currently unsullied skyline vistas of our rural community.

Please click on the following link (and follow the dotted line) to confirm:

http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/Environment/info/ene/alberhill/Alberhill_April_2010_April_2011_Map_072511.pdf

(If you draw a straight line from the “NEWCOMB” substation in Menifee to the proposed “FOGARTY” substation in Lake Elsinore, it would make more sense. And probably cost far less).

Is it any wonder, therefore, that Southern California Edison executives are so deeply ensconced in local “service” clubs, such as the Wildomar Chamber of Commerce, in order to exploit the same thoughtless business community members that supported the Liberty Quarry project in Temecula, despite the well-organized community opposition to the project within Temecula itself?

In the future, if this transmission line goes forward, the history of Wildomar will be divided into two historical categories, just like we do with the birth of Jesus.

Wildomar,”BE” or  Wildomar, “AE.”

Before Edison.

Or After Edison.

What I find strange is that Southern California Edison Regional Manager Ray Hicks has approached, and made presentations to, the City of Menifee, but not to the City of Wildomar.

Is it SCE’s fear of local activists who might mount genuine and effective opposition to this project, or is it a matter of SCE’s arrogance and hubris in their anticipation that the City of Wildomar is already “in the bag,” given their infectious, personal relationships within the community?

Unless the citizens of Wildomar are prepared to finance and fight this horizon-destroying transmission line proposal, like the folks in Temecula’s wine country did, rest assured that our neighboring communities of Menifee and Lake Elsinore will happily promote their futures on the backs of hapless Wildomar.

Your comments, if you’re interested in preserving Wildomar’s environment, should be made to bbenoit@cityofwildomar.org.

 Since Wildomar will be considered “built out” with the addition of another 20,000 citizens,as a result, these towers are meant to facilitate the future growth of Menifee and the  “Alberhill” development in Lake Elsinore….

…to the detriment of Wildomar.

Perhaps it’s time to cover all of our roofs with solar panels and eliminate our reliance on this monopoly.


Zak’s Brush With….

May 18, 2012

 

FAME THE LAW

Relax. It’s not what you think.

Yesterday, May 17, 2012, I spent the entire day at the Disneyland Hotel Convention Center, attending the world’s largest construction defect seminar, put on by West Coast Casualty Services (a prominent Third-Party Administrator specializing in construction defect litigation management), for whom I was the manager of their San Diego office, back in the day.

This seminar was attended by construction defect plaintiff attorneys, defense panel attorneys and experts, as well as judges from California, Nevada (including two sitting  justices of the Nevada Supreme Court) and southeastern states, such as Florida and South Carolina.

After passing and greeting, in the hallway, in the hallway, Chief Justice of the Nevada Supreme Court, the Hon. Michael Cherry, I recalled the afternoon, several years ago at a previous conference, when Justice Cherry and I were conversing while having a cocktail at the end of the day.

http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2012/may/07/justice-michael-cherry-becomes-chief-justice-nevad/

I was telling Justice Cherry about my success with Qui Tam lawsuits (a California “whistleblower” statute for private citizens) while fighting political corruption in Lake Elsinore.

Since he appeared to be interested, I recounted pursuing Former Lake Elsinore Mayor Pam Brinley for fraudulently having her grandchildren on her city-paid health insurance, when they should have been on her son’s health insurance, who was a school district employee.

As a result of the lawsuit, $18,000 was returned by Brinley.

I also recounted the pursuit of former Lake Elsinore City Manager, Ron Molendyk, who had received a questionable “sweetheart” contract, in the amount of $24,000, for “services” from his successor, then-City Manager, Dick Watenpaugh. After some pompous posturing through his defense attorney,  boasting that we would never be able to lay a legal glove on his client, the former City Manager wrote personal checks totaling $24,000 to reimburse the citizens of Lake Elsinore.

At that point, Justice Cherry reached into his pocket and handed me his business card, stating that if I would bring a version of the “False Billing Act” (Government code 12650-56) to the Nevada State Legislature for consideration,  he would support it.

However, at that point in my life, I had little interest in facilitating anti-corruption legislation in the State of Nevada.

Not to mention that Mafia thing.

My interest has always been, and remains, local politics.

Nevertheless, it was personally satisfying to have a prominent jurist acknowledge the efficacy of my efforts in dealing with corruption in local politics.

I have looked at several “situations” in the City of Wildomar that appeared to have the basic elements  of corruption, but none of those situations, while questionable, met my personal standard for Qui Tam  “slamdunkness,” nor did they rise to the base monetary threshold required for a Qui Tam lawsuit.

But I’m always watching.

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.