2012 In Review

December 31, 2012

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. This blog was viewed about 60,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Zak Turango, and the editorial staff of Wildomar Magazine wants to wish all of our Dear Readers the most Prosperous and Happiest New Year in 2013.

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A Closed Windsong Park Argues For….

December 30, 2012

VOTE BY DISTRICTS

… A “RETURN”  TO DISTRICTS

We will all have to wait for a courtroom showdown over the recently-filed lawsuit filed by Martha Bridges to compel the Wildomar City Council to abide by the wishes of the 2008 voters who selected, through their ballot, the means of electing future city councils “by district.”

The original City Council properly jumped through the necessary hoops, at a significant expenditure of public funds, to define and enact the above district map into a local ordinance.

However, at some point, someone on the City Council (it appears to have been Marsha Swanson, according to the City Council minutes) must have recognized the political and electoral implications that their residential addresses might have on future elections so they brought the “at-large” issue, already rejected by the voters in favor of districts, back to the voters in 2009, even before the “by district” format was allowed to be put into actual practice.

For the record, in 2008, I voted against cityhood, fearing, in the future, of having to hear the words “Mayor Darrell Ruff.”

Darrell Ruff was an early figure in pre-inaugural Wildomar, primarily involved in the Wildomar MAC (“Municipal Advisory Committee”).The members of the MAC were political appointees of Supervisor Bob Buster and provided some point of contact between Riverside County and the unincorporated community of Wildomar.

Again for the record, Darrell Ruff was and is a fine gentleman and a respected citizen of Wildomar, but I thought he, or someone like him, would have lacked the political sophistication required to take Wildomar out from under the auspices of the County and to develop Wildomar into a successful and functioning city.

At the same time as I voted against cityhood, I recognized that my opinion and vote against cityhood might not prevail at the ballot box so I voted for “voting by districts,” as a means to eliminate “clustered” representation in the future.

Unfortunately, as a result of the serendipitous nature of elections, the “at-large” schema has produced a “cluster” of elected officials in “District 3” (Walker and Swanson) and “District 5” (Moore and Benoit), leaving “Districts 2 and 4” with less than satisfactory representation. (Bob Cashman is located in “District 1,” as  a result of the odd-looking, “gerrymandered” green tab which protrudes into “District 2”)

Is it any wonder, then, that the recent Parks Subcommittee meeting, conducted by City Councilmembers Swanson and Moore, resulted in an official relegation of the re-opening of Windsong Park (located in “District 2”), behind that of Marna O’Brien Park (“District 3”) and the floodwater detention basin, known as Heritage Regency Park, (“District 5”)?

While I am not a part of the Martha Bridges lawsuit (in my opinion, the legal dispute will be purgative for Wildomar), I support it’s legal purpose and challenge to the political status quo, and I will observe, and comment, for my Dear Readers, on the future twists and turns of the looming legal battle and its implications for the Citizens of Wildomar.

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.

For the “hand-wringers” of Wildomar, this litigation will provoke more thoughtful discussion than did the Special Election in November 2009.

In any event, Windsong Park should have its fence removed immediately.


Press Enterprise Editor Misses The…..

December 26, 2012

 

 

….BOAT VOTE 

Future Wildomar Elections – 2008
   Vote Count Percent
By District 3,457 56.96%
At Large 2,612 43.04%
Total 6,069 100.00%

And the point of Martha Bridge’s litigation.

A recent Press-Enterprise Editor’s Opinion mis-represents Wildomar’s electoral history, as follows:

http://www.pe.com/opinion/editorials-headlines/20121223-editorial-let-voters-decide-how-to-structure-wildomar-elections.ece

When the issue of cityhood for Wildomar was initially placed on the ballot, the Local Agency Formation Committee (“LAFCO”) further required that the voters also choose the method of electing their City Council members, so they did!

As a result, on February 05, 2008, a majority of the voters approved cityhood for Wildomar AND they also chose to elect their future city councils “by District.”

Wildomar Council At Large- 2009
   Vote Count Percent
YES 1,397 60.45%
NO 914 39.55%
Total 2,311 100.00%

However, on November 03, 2009, a smaller number of voters approved a substitute “at-large” scheme which was generated from the Wildomar City Council, especially councilmember Marsha Swanson. In fact, 2060 “more” voters initially voted for districts than did those who later voted for “at-large.”

It is crass, if not willful, mis-representation on the part of the Press-Enterprise Editor to suggest that “another vote” should be the solution to the hand-wringing dilemma that Martha Bridges has apparently caused for the current City Council, who facilitated the wasteful expenditure of additional funds to conduct an election in November 2009, which overturned the will of a larger number of voters, voting in the original context of “cityhood,” itself.

Although former Wildomar City Attorney Julie Biggs provided a legal opinion that the November 2009 vote was a proper methodology available to the city council, legal opinions are only that, “opinions,” until a judge or a jury agrees with the opinion in the event a legal dispute arises, which it has.

As a result, Martha Bridges has taken legal umbrage, as is her right, over the questionable November 2009 vote and has decided, through her lawsuit, to ask the Court to weigh in on one side or the other of the issue in dispute.

Having read her Complaint, she is not asking the Court to overturn any previous election, which would be costly and chaotic. Instead, she has reasonably asked the Court to simply honor and restore the will of the voters who voted, in greater numbers, for districts in the February 2008 election.

Perhaps the Editor of the Press-Enterprise should review the history of elections in the City of Wildomar in order to get his/her facts straight before summarily dismissing Martha Bridge’s effort through the Court.

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com .

Oh crap, indeed!


Bridigette Publicly Disavows…..

December 23, 2012

… JOHN LLOYD’S IDEA OF EXCLUSION

A poorly-noticed City Council Parks Subcommittee,  comprised of councilmembers Bridgette Moore and Marsha Swanson, meeting was set up and conducted on the weekend before Christmas at 10:30 AM, Saturday morning, December 22, 2012. (An odd time for a Parks subcommittee meeting, given that the public’s interest is more likely on the Christmas holiday, rather than on parks).

Nevertheless, after finding out about the Parks subcommittee meeting from my various and labyrinthine e-mail sources, Sheryl and I determined to attend, observe, and participate.

The meeting was also attended by the indefigatable Community Activist, Martha Bridges.

In addition, park proponent John Lloyd and several other citizens were also in attendance.

Prior to the meeting, in response to a challenge to newly-appointed City Manager, Gary Nordquist, regarding the lack of e-mail notice of the meeting to those who specifically request such notices, Nordquist acknowledged the city’s substandard procedures and protocols and plausibly promised an immediate change under his leadership.

One of the primary discussions during the meeting with the matter of who is qualified to be appointed to the Citizens Oversight Committee. Apparently, the only current requirement is that the potential appointee must be a Wildomar resident.

At this point, I asked a specific question as to what might disqualify an applicant from appointment, specifically identifying the notion emanating from John Lloyd’s brain in recent  Lake Elsinore/Wildomar Patch opinion blogs authored by Lloyd, that any person who voted “No” on Measure Z should not be included on the Oversight Committee.

In direct response to my question, Councilmember Bridgette Moore plainly disavowed such notions by stating, “Nobody speaks for the City Council.”

Lloyd, who was sitting in the row directly behind me, appropriately said nothing at all.

As a result, Saturday was a good day for representative democracy in Wildomar.

The new City Manager, Gary Nordquist, promises to do a better job providing appropriate notification for public meetings in the future and we can now ignore John Lloyd’s various pronouncements regarding the potential makeup of the Citizens Oversight Committee, based on Bridgette’s “on the record” disavowal of exclusionary politics.

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.


A Legitimate Legal Controversy…..

December 21, 2012

VOTE BY DISTRICTS 

 

…EXISTS

How much of “our” money will the Wildomar City Council spend fighting the controversy over “their” political futures, and for what reason will they fight, will have the largest impact on our body politic, primarily the budget.

Cutting to the chase, here are the facts:

Fact 1)  At the exact same time as the majority of the interested voters approved cityhood for Wildomar, the majority of the same interested voters chose to elect their then-future City Councils by “district”, rather than “at-large.”

Measure D – Future Wildomar Elections
24/24 100.00%
  Vote Count Percent
By District 3,457 56.96%
At Large 2,612 43.04%
Total 6,069 100.00%

Fact 2) The original Wildomar City Council went through the necessary process, in accordance with the above election results, and approved the eventual “vote by district” format (shown at the top of the article) and created the ordinance which is currently displayed on the city’s own website.

Fact 3) In 2009, based on her legal interpretation and opinion, expressed in good faith by then-city attorney Julie Biggs, the City Council asked the voters of Wildomar to once again consider selecting City Council members “at-large,” rather than two versions of voting “by district,” with the following results:

Wildomar Council At Large
13/13 100.00%
  Vote Count Percent
YES 1,397 60.45%
NO 914 39.55%
Total 2,311 100.00%
——————————————————————————–
J – Wildomar Council By District
13/13 100.00%
  Vote Count Percent
NO 1,802 79.45%
YES 466 20.55%
Total 2,268 100.00%
——————————————————————————–
K – Wildomar Council From Districts
13/13 100.00%
  Vote Count Percent
NO 1,896 83.82%
YES 366 16.18%
Total 2,262 100.00%

 As you can see from the results taken from the Riverside County Registrar of Voters website, approximately 60% of the voters chose the “at-large” option, while approximately 40% of the voters wanted to continue to select City Council members by the “vote by district” option already in place and enacted by ordinance.

So now the Wildomar City Council has a choice to make. Although they have authorized the city attorney to defend the lawsuit, which is a normal response to the filing and serving a lawsuit, which response is statutorily required to be filed with the Court within 30 days or a default judgment entered against the defendant. (The cost of filing an answer to a Complaint is not exorbitant).

The real costs of defending this lawsuit will be incurred for the “ongoing” defense of the City Council, through the process of discovery, trial preparation, and the trial itself. And, should the City Council prevail, the likely cost of litigating an appeal.

But there is another option available to the Wildomar City Council. After filing an Answer to the Complaint, the Wildomar City Council can direct their legal counsel to immediately enter into mediation with the plaintiffs, in order to discuss a negotiated resolution of the controversy, without the ongoing expense of litigation.

Since Mayor Ben Benoit has been quoted in the Californian as regretting the opportunity to discuss the issue with one of the plaintiffs, Martha Bridges, he and his colleagues on the City Council can still make that happen in a setting where a neutral mediator can attempt to resolve the controversy between the plaintiff and the Wildomar City Council.

Please click on the following link to confirm:

http://www.nctimes.com/news/local/wildomar/wildomar-city-s-voting-system-challenged-in-court/article_43ef509a-7953-55b1-8eea-dd252978dd33.html

Since the controversy is limited to the manner in which we select our City Council, only the political egos of the five City Council members will dictate the outcome, and efficacy, of the proposed less expensive mediation solution.

While the outcome at trial remains a virtual 50-50 proposition, the cost of getting to a jury verdict at trial, remains 100% squarely on the shoulders of the Wildomar taxpayer.

After spending the last 20 years as a litigation manager for the insurance industry, including a high risk and volatile Mandatory Settlement Conference in the Santa Monica courthouse yesterday morning, the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) is the most cost-effective protocol to resolve disputes.

Since the plaintiffs have brought their legal complaint to the Wildomar City Council, the legal “ball” is now in the City Council’s side of tennis court.

Or they can spend the next two years in Court, fighting against a common method of running for public office (once selected by the voters of Wildomar), which will have little effect on the lives of the citizens of Wildomar.

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.

Since more than 2000 more voters voted for “by District” in 2008, then did those who voted for “at-large” in 2009, the current legal controversy is a legitimate issue for the City of Wildomar.


Homeowners “Screwed” In….

December 19, 2012

 

…AUTUMNWOOD

Last evening’s Autumnwood tract Homeowner meeting, ineptly facilitated by the Wildomar City Council, turned into an angry and noisy display of homeowner frustration with government bureaucrats from the various Riverside County and State of California agencies who were “lured” into a disorganized information-gathering protocol, instead meeting with frustrated and angry local residents who are demanding immediate action from their government.

Please click on the link to the Lake Elsinore/Wildomar Patch, for additional information:

http://lakeelsinore-wildomar.patch.com/articles/wildomar-residents-say-state-officials-are-ignoring-hazardous-chemicals-in-autumnwood-neighborhood

Alas, given the complexities of dealing with environment issues, such as potentially toxic soils, the meeting accomplished little or nothing to further satisfactory homeowner resolution.

Unfortunately, at the end of the day, each individual homeowner will have to consider their own health risks, in the context of economic risk, and make hard decisions on whether to walk away from their homes and suffer the consequences of foreclosure, as some have already done, or remain in place.

There does not appear to be any equitable resolution to the dilemma.

The various health-related governmental agencies, after examining documentation provided by the homeowner’s own law firm, retained to resolve this dilemma, publicly stated that the various levels of alleged contamination in their homes were not remarkable, or sufficiently actionable, to the extent that any agency would immediately authorize extensive, expensive forensic studies on behalf of the homeowners.

And since these homes were constructed before Wildomar became a city, Wildomar does not have any exposure to liability for any conditions which exist within the Autumnwood tract.

Depending on the eventual outcome of forensic testing of soils, whether or not there is contamination, the homeowners themselves, through their effective media outreach (a KTLA television crew was filming the meeting) have stigmatized their own properties, thereby diminishing the value of their homes.

As a result, should they find a “willing and able” buyer of their home, whatever the sales price, they will have to fully disclose their own allegations of soil contamination, proven or not, to the next homeowner, or face personal liability when the new homeowner eventually finds out for themselves.

This is not unlike a more understandable natural disaster, such as a flood, that totally destroys their homes and personal property but where they, as homeowners, timely failed to purchase flood insurance. However, that is not the case in this circumstance. These homeowners are attempting to pinpoint and identify the place and time, and the source, of the soils upon which their homes were built.

And therein lies their unfortunate dilemma, as they have to prove that their soils were contaminated, that the allegedly contaminated soils are the direct causation of their family’s health problems, as well as identify the source of the contaminated soils, who will, hopefully, have sufficient insurance coverage available, should they eventually prevail in lengthy litigation.

As they push for answers, the homeowners might eventually find the “smoking gun” that is destroying the “peace and quietude” of their piece of the American Dream, only to find the empty shell of a developer limited liability corporation, whose insurance coverages have been exhausted by previous litigations.

We wish them good luck in their quest for an equitable resolution and outcome.

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.


“The Rules” According To….

December 18, 2012

 

… “COMMUNITY ACTIVIST” JOHN LLOYD

Since the passage of Measure Z, park proponent John Lloyd has felt empowered to propagate and promulgate “his” version of “The Rules,” with regard to a number of important issues for the citizens of Wildomar.

For instance, Lloyd has plainly advocated for the exclusion of any citizen who may have had the temerity to vote “no” on Measure Z, raising the specter of requiring “loyalty oaths,” or having to disclose how one voted, for those who wish to participate on the Citizens Oversight Committee.

In his Comment to the Wildomar Patch on December 07, 2012, Lloyd wrote the following: “Secondly, I would expect the City Counsel to pull the oversight committee from the 2/3+ of the community that supported Measure Z. There is no sense in putting people on the committee that don’t support parks to oversee parks. That’s like having atheists oversee a church or communists oversee a democracy.”

According to Lloyd, in his own evil, anti-democratic words, voting against Measure Z is equivalent to being an atheist or a communist, neither of which are illegal.

Pressing his exclusionary predilections even further on December 15, 2012, Lloyd wrote and published a blog on blogging in the aforementioned Wildomar Patch, that is critical of anyone who takes the time and trouble to publish their opinion on a current event, but declines to permit “corrosive” commentary and response.

Please click on the following link to the Patch for context and confirmation:

http://lakeelsinore-wildomar.patch.com/blog_posts/blog-vs-rant-vs-news

In summation then, let’s recap John Lloyd’s Rules (to date, as there could be more Rules in the offing), as follows:

Rule 1) If you voted “No” on Measure Z, you should not be allowed to participate on the Citizens Oversight Committee, regardless of your interests, qualifications or desire to serve.
Rule 2) If you blog, you must permit commentary from any source of opposition, even if adolescent and personally vindictive, in order to be credible in Lloyd’s opinion.

For the record, and despite the patronizing moniker of “Community Activist” proffered by the first commentator posted under Lloyd’s blog, John Lloyd is not a simple community activist. He is, in fact, a well-connected, although ineffective politician, having served as an elected Director of the Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District(“EVMWD”).

Further, in 2011, he was appointed to be Chairman of the Blue Ribbon Committee (“BRC”), under whose failed leadership the BRC recommended a $5.2 million  Mello Roos Bond Issue, which fatally tainted and stained the $100,000 + Measure D effort, which failed to secure passage, and which required the additional expenditure of $58,500+ to promote and pass Measure Z in 2012.

Since the failure of Measure D, Lloyd has “led” the failed volunteer efforts of the Friends For Wildomar Parks, whose recent failure has left a reported $15,000 deficit in their heretofore unaudited “books.”  A portion of the proceeds from the recent city-sponsored Breakfast with Santa has been promised to help defray their deficit.

In response, therefore, Wildomar Magazine proposes a “Rule” of its own, as follows:

WM Rule 1) If you are a politician who is closely associated with any sitting member of the Wildomar City Council, and if your recent public efforts in support of expensive and failed tax measures are any indication of your capabilities and competency, you should not submit, nor should you be considered for appointment to the Citizens Oversight Committee.

As always, comments are generally not desire nor permitted on the pages of Wildomar Magazine, but any reader may do so, via e-mail, to zakturango@excite.com.

The Citizens Oversight Committee should be populated by qualified adults, regardless of their vote on Measure Z, who will be willing to to fearlessly criticize and challenge any inappropriate expenditures from the people’s tax dollars generated by the parcel tax.

This is not a position for another hapless group of Bridgette Moore’s adolescent “cheerleaders.”