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.
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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.