Numbers Of..

September 28, 2012

…CONCERN

Since no one can foretell the future with absolute certainty, the polling of a small but supposedly representative “sample” of interested persons is an often used tool of measurement. The importance of the current presidential campaign has brought about multiple political polls. However, the results often disagree giving rise to the accusation that certain polls are “skewed” for a particular candidate’s advantage.

We turn now to Wildomar’s recent telephone survey upon which the City’s forefathers and foremothers have relied, to the extent that they have put our money where their mouth is, to the tune of $58,500 for the survey itself and a thinly-veiled “educational” brochure that you will receive three times between now and the election.

On the night the City Council decided to go forward with the ballot measure, their handsomely paid consultant made a PowerPoint presentation, which is now available for general review, as follows:

http://www.wildomarparkz.com/documents/Survey.pdf

After you’ve had a chance to review the survey, scroll down to pages 12-13 and focus on the section titled “Importance of Park Measure Provisions and Funding Priorities.”

There are total of 14 categories, most of which are non-park specific political issues, but which generally triggered the highest responses from the 300 persons surveyed.

Notice, if you will, that the last four categories, and which are more specific to the issue at hand for Wildomar, each received the lowest cumulative number of support, as follows:

1) Maintaining sports fields. (67%)
2) Maintaining youth preparation programs. (65%)
3) Preventing closure of Marna O’Brien Park. (65%)
4) Reopening closed community parks. (63%)

Given that Measure Z will require a 66 2/3% “Yes” vote on November 06, 2012, the fact that only one issue, “maintaining sports fields,” received a poll response barely in excess of that number (perhaps the pollsters “rounded up” from 66 1/2%?), while the rest fell short of the threshold, we may all wake up on November 07, 2012 to read that our City Council members were led astray, by a colorful PowerPoint presentation, like the simple country rubes they appear to be.

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.


Express Advocacy…

September 27, 2012

 

…A LOOMING VIOLATION FOR WILDOMAR?

According to today’s Lake Elsinore/Wildomar Patch article, absentee ballots will soon be mailed (and utilized by approximately 43% of the registered voters in Wildomar).

Please click on the following link for context:

http://lakeelsinore-wildomar.patch.com/articles/voter-deadlines-published-as-election-day-nears

Therefore, it will be time to start monitoring my mailbox for the first of three “educational” brochures  which are supposed to emanate from the City of Wildomar’s hired gunslinger for the Measure Z parcel tax measure, the Oakland-based Lew Edwards Group.

Since city officials are not permitted by law to openly advocate for or against any measure that they put on the ballot for consideration by voters, the proximity of their brochure campaign to the mailing of absentee ballots may constitute a forbidden political practice; “Express Advocacy.”

Please click on the following link to inform yourselves:

http://politicalactivitylaw.com/2010/10/15/new-dawn-for-express-advocacy-in-california/

Please note that within Section (B), you will find the following example of express advocacy:

 “Proposition 123. Your last chance to save California.”

Depending on the wording of the printed brochure, it is possible, that a formal complaint will be filed with the Fair Political Practices Commission (“FPPC”) in order to ensure that the elected officials and City Staff of the City of Wildomar did not use our tax dollars to promote a political issue which they support.

Such a complaint, if filed, will have no impact on the outcome of the election in November 2012.

However, if a complaint is filed, and upheld, by the FPPC, it would serve to uphold the principle of the “rule of law” upon which our representative form of government relies.

It could be a “learning moment.”

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.

According to my political sources, in order to avoid the appearance of express advocacy, the initial mailing of the first “educational” brochure should have occurred weeks ago.


West Wildomar??

September 26, 2012

 

  

…SERIOUSLY?

One of the more amusing elements of last Saturday’s “Old Town” Visioning Session, was the proposed location of a potential town center, with the preliminary name of “West Wildomar.”

That location, according to the session facilitators, RBF Associates, was the general intersection of Mission Trail and Bundy Canyon Road, which is in the northern portion of Wildomar.

For those of you who missed the recent past history of Wildomar, pre-incorporation, there has been an ongoing effort to distance Wildomar from its shabby neighbor to the north, Lake Elsinore.

This included a successful effort by Harv Dykstra, and others, to convince the U.S. Postal Service that Wildomar deserved its own zip code, 92595, rather than sharing one with the Lake Elsinore, 92530.

In addition, councilmember Bob Cashman, during his first election campaign four years ago, took the position that Elsinore High School should be renamed Wildomar High School, based on its location.

RBF Associates, after declaring that they had “studied” the history of Wildomar, foolishly proposed, as a viable option, locating our “town center” immediately adjacent to Lake Elsinore.

Not only is that idea a “non-starter,” their proposed location would be better identified as “North Wildomar,” or even “South Elsinore.” Perhaps we could change our name to Sedco (“South Elsinore Development Company”).

Needless to say, the rollout of this “Old Town” Visioning Session was poorly promoted, poorly attended and is now, badly tainted by the lameness of its presentation.

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.

Hardly worth $125,000, or the effort to attend!


What Wildomar Wants To Be Is A Permanent….

September 23, 2012

 

….PETTING ZOO

After receiving a $125,000 grant from the Southern California Association of Governments (“SCAG”) under the Compass Blueprint program, the 25 citizens of Wildomar who showed up for yesterday’s kickoff meeting to define and develop an “Old Town” concept, the biggest and most positive response of the day was to the inclusion of a “petting zoo” within the confines of a conceptual future Civic Center.

Please click on the following Press Enterprise article for context:

http://www.pe.com/local-news/local-news-headlines/20120922-wildomar-residents-seek-identity-for-city-s-future.ece

Although 32,897 of Wildomar’s 32,922 citizens did not participate, rather than pausing to reflect on the lack of community response, this unfortunate  grant money-driven juggernaut will doggedly continue to move forward into 2013 and beyond.

One of the odder moments for the hastily arranged City Council meeting (despite the lack of a proper 72 hour notice of the meeting), was the formal and perfunctory introduction by Mayor Ben Benoit, of each of the City Council members in attendance.

The abject silence from the group to the meaningless introductions was deafening. What were we supposed to do? It was, after all, just another  City Council meeting.

By the end of the day(actually by mid-meeting, Sheryl and I each had to leave to attend to our elderly mothers), it was obvious that this “rollout” of the “Old Town, Town Center, West Wildomar”,  a potentially promising civic effort had been squandered in order to provide a “feel-good, happy time” political meeting for the incumbents, Bridgette Moore and Bob Cashman (although, to his credit, Cashman had voiced objections to City Manager Frank Oviedo prior to the meeting).

Comments made to zzakturango@excite.com.

For the record, if you eliminate city staff and the consultants, there were only 25 people participating in the meeting (and that number included City Council members and Planning commissioners who should have been the observers, not participants).

The rollout of this meeting had all of the similar dysfunctional characteristics of the recent Caltrans stop sign fiasco on the Baxter Road overpass.


Visioning Session Taken Over By….

September 21, 2012

 

…WILDOMAR CITY COUNCIL

“Visioning” is a community-centric process, where the citizens of the community, such as Wildomar, are usually given the opportunity to freely participate in the process and to express their ideas on the community they live in.

Such was the case in 2008 when the citizens of the newly incorporated City of Wildomar gathered together in order to create a Strategic Vision for their new city. It was a well attended, positive experience for most who attended.

The meeting was facilitated by Interim City Manager, John Danielson, who wisely relegated the new City Council members to”observer” status, with no verbal participation or input from the Council members. This protocol was instituted by Danielson in order to encourage, rather than to inhibit, community participation.

On Saturday, September 22, 2012, the citizens of Wildomar are invited to participate in another “Visioning Session,” which is being funded by a grant from the Southern California Association of Governments (“SCAG”) under their Compass Blueprint program in order to ascertain and identify the community’s thoughts on the creation of a “City Center” somewhere near the section of Central and Palomar Road.

Unfortunately for Wildomar, the “control freaks” at City Hall have turned this event into a City Council meeting, putting the City Council into the direct control of the process.

Click on the following link to the city’s website, for confirmation:

http://www.cityofwildomar.org/uploads/files/minutes/09-22-12-ca.pdf

Under normal circumstances, the consultants retained by SCAG would collect all of the community input and organize it for inclusion in a report presented to the City Council at a later date. Such a customary protocol would serve to protect the interests and ideas of the community, while preserving the ultimate decision-making authority of our elected officials.

However, in this case, by invoking the authority of the City Council at this point in the process, any potentially unwanted thoughts and ideas can be subverted, if not eliminated entirely.

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite,com.

It’s all about “controlling” the process.

According to my sources, City Councilmember Bob Cashman does not support this unfortunate turn of events and has expressed his objections to the City Manager.

Thanks Bob, for sticking up for the Citizens of Wildomar.


Reality….

September 20, 2012

 

… IN WILDOMAR

Despite the Pollyanna-ish wishes and prayers of local Wildomar city officials, and the expenditure of $3000 per month since July 2011 (totaling nearly $40,000) for a  Sacramento-based lobbying firm, Gov. Brown has vetoed SB 1098, which would have restored $1.7 million to Wildomar’s budget.

Please click on the following link to the latest Press Enterprise article on the subject to confirm:

http://www.pe.com/local-news/politics/jim-miller-headlines/20120919-veto-governor-rejects-bill-to-aid-inland-cities.ece

Fortunately for Wildomar, little will change in our daily lives.

Had the $1.7 million been returned to Wildomar, Mayor Ben Benoit and City Manager Frank Oviedo are already on record as stating that the bulk of the money would be returned to the Wildomar Police Department, thus eliminating any meaningful consideration or deliberation for its utilization in any other area of our civic life, such as repayment of Wildomar’s outstanding debt obligation to the County of Riverside.

As the economic reality filters its way through the common brain of the City Council, the Editorial staff of Wildomar Magazine will continue to encourage Wildomar’s forefathers and foremothers to began to consider reasonable fiscal alternatives for Wildomar, such as moving City Hall to Marna O’Brien Park, establishing our own local municipal animal control operation, and reducing our executive staff to a single executive (thus saving approximately $500,000 per year, if all three alternatives were implemented).

However, I already know how the common brain works;  All of their adolescent hopes and aspirations will now be focused on the passage of parcel tax Measure Z, another questionable tax initiative rerun from 2011, propped up by yet another Sacramento-based consulting firm (at a cost of $58,500).

When will Wildomar learn that anything that comes out of Sacramento, including consulting firms and supervisorial candidates, are tainted by that dysfunctional legislative association.

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.


“Should We Be Doing….

September 18, 2012

 

ANYTHING?

In an e-mail to his staff, dated August 26, 2012, Wildomar City Manager Frank Oviedo asked the above question, in response to newly installed stop signs on the Baxter Road overpass.

For additional context, we provide the complete text (including typos and poor syntax) of Oviedo’s e-mail, as follows:

Quick update; I’m not sure if Caltrans actually considers risk issues when making decisions and how they execute them but. The stop signs were installed going eastbound with no striping or notification that a stop sign has been installed. Consequently, it is hit or miss that people even notice it. I stopped to watch it and it’s is literally a 50/50 proposition.

Just as I was about to leave a Caltrans truck came by. He appeared to have striping equipment in the back of his truck. Although nobody looked to be with  him. He looked like a one-man crew.  I’m going to recheck once I leave the office in a couple of hours.

Making matters worse Cornerstone just let out so there was no way he was going to start work. Traffic was a total cluster with people blowing through the stop sign and some people stopping and others seemingly not knowing why. I saw one SUV going eastbound swerve after blowing through the sign because the car going west about to turn left onto the south on-ramp started making a turn movement thinking the oncoming traffic with stopping.

If there is no accidents today  Caltrans should consider themselves lucky.

Should we be doing anything?”

At this point in time, most of us are aware of the new stop sign on the Baxter Road overpass. We also are aware of the planned installation of additional stop signs on the eastern side of the bridge.

What you are not aware of is the genesis of this imposition of major traffic controls.

You should not be surprised to learn that this all started on Bridgette Moore’s Facebook page.

On July 07, 2012, in an e-mail from Wildomar city councilmember Bridgette Moore to City Manager Frank Oviedo, the following:

“Hi can you give me an answer please? She posted this on my FB. Thanks.”

Rather than bore you with the long  e-mail by a  “Resident of Wildomar,” in her e-mail, the “resident” claims to been recently involved in an accident while crossing the Baxter Road overpass and having been struck by someone coming off the freeway.

Her specific request was as follows: “Can you do anything about getting us a light at the 15 and Baxter offramp?”

As result of the singular e-mail from a single resident, Oviedo and his staff somehow induced Caltrans to install the stop signs on the Baxter Road overpass, something Caltrans has been generally opposed to. They prefer traffic lights at freeway on/off ramps.

Don’t we all?

The reason that I believe that the installation of the specific stop signs is political in nature, is that City Hall denies (in response to my Public Records Act request) that there is any written correspondence, including e-mails, between Caltrans and City Hall, claiming that every contact from city staff was verbal and conducted by telephone.

How do stop signs get installed without a paper trail, or the existence of any documentation on the part of the city? At the very least, it is a normal business practice to memorialize your conversation with follow-up correspondence, including e-mail.

My incredulity only elevates my suspicions.

It is obvious, in my opinion, by the poor “rollout” of the installation, that normal procedures, including properly-conducted traffic studies, were ignored/bypassed, due to the  urgency of the current election campaign calendar.

However, much more bothersome than the political ramifications of City councilmember Bridgette Moore leveraging City Staff for her political benefit, is the demonstration of executive dysfunction on the part of the City Manager.

“Should we be doing anything?”

Hell yes!, as follows:

1) Direct City Staff  to put up temporary warning signs, making unsuspecting drivers aware of the traffic control changes, thereby reducing the city’s exposure to potential litigation arising from the “cluster” the City Manager admittedly observed.
2) Make immediate contact with Caltrans, via cell phone (given the extent of the construction work at Clinton Keith, a number Oviedo should already have) and demand that Caltrans take steps, on an emergency basis, to rectify the potentially lethal effects of Caltrans’ poor “rollout.”
3) Remove your head from your *ss.
4) Proof read your official e-mails, knowing that they are subject to Freedom of Information requests..
5) All of the above.

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.

Apparently Oviedo has no political filtration system that would enable him to recognize and avoid when he and his staff are being exploited by incumbent politicians during  an election cycle.

If he possessed one, there would be no “last-minute” Measure Z or stop signs on the Baxter Road overpass.