With Friends LIke This, Who Needs….


On or about March 21, 2013, newly-appointed Wildomar Planning Commissioner Bobby Swann appears to have engaged in an “intelligence gathering” scheme by making an obviously insincere series of Facebook “Friend  Requests” to myself, former Wildomar City councilmember Sheryl Ade, former  Planning Commissioner Gary Andre, as well as former city council candidate and community activist, Martha Bridges.

Since I rarely respond to  non-personal Facebook friend requests,  out of curiosity, I took the opportunity to click on  Swann’s  friend request, which took me directly  to his Facebook page, where I was able to read Swann’s self-published  commentary on his idea of “civic trust.”

 In response to his unseemly (for an appointed official) quest for information from private citizens and constituents,   I thought that a reverse exposé (with my own commentary added, in blue) of Commissioner Swann’s thought processes might be instructive, if not entertaining, for the rest of his constituents in the City of Wildomar.

Civic Trust.

by Bobby Swann (Notes) on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 12:33am…

Today the city of Wildomar had a Budget Workshop. I had every intention of attending and participating in what, by all accounts, would be a heated debate about the 2013/14 City budget. Here in Wildomar, we have three factions of citizens. We have the “City-centric,” the “Non-City-centric,” and those who have no concern about what happens.

 My take on the “three factions of citizens,” would be, as follows:

 1) Bridgette-centric.
 2) Non-Bridgette-centric. (i.e. Anybody who disagrees with her !)
3) Concerned citizens who often have little time or interest in local politics, yet remain concerned.

Tonight had all the elements of a showdown with issues concerning how the city has been directed in the past. Some of the NCC faction were going to suggest the “seceding” from the animal shelter for financial savings, while others were expected to continue their push to move City Hall. I am sure others have wonderful ideas for a variety of other directions as well.

Seceding from the Animal Friends JPA and moving City Hall to Marna O’Brien Park for “financial savings,” are reasonable and plausible ideas but which, most likely, will be continue to be ignored by the current city council.

Wildomar is doing a great thing by inviting citizens to participate in the process.

Concerned citizens are not “invited” to participate in the city’s budget process. We are, by law, entitled to be proper properly notified in order to be present at the meeting , if we so choose.

I spent the last week periodically considering ideas to present at the workshop. Late this afternoon, I came to a revelation about budgeting from my corporate days. Even though business and budgeting are very non emotional aspects of business, to some they are in fact very personal. When I was at the head of a large IT group, I felt a touch of frustration when someone else – someone with no clue about IT and infrastructure – told me that my solutions or strategy were not correct or viable. I have to think that our civic trust is currently being tested in this process here in Wildomar.

The truth of the matter is some of us don’t trust our elected officials and city staff , and for good reason, as evidenced by the recent Breakfast with Santa municipal embarrassment.

With the financial challenges of the past few years in our fair city, the fact that the city has stayed within a (balanced) budget is frankly amazing. How could the city council and staff not take this personally? We have a city manager that designed the budget last year and did a very good job.

 The city has no choice but to balance the budget every year. It is a legal requirement; there is no other option.

Although I’m not saying that a citizen or group may not have a great plan or idea, I also think we need to trust the staff and let them do the job which they were elected to do.

City Staff are hired as employees, and not elected.  If you didn’t know that, Commissioner Swann, you shouldn’t have written it.

By the way, Planning Commissioners are appointed and serve until they  eventually embarrass their sponsors by putting other dumb things in writing.

The system has checks and balances built into it. The City Council has to approve the budget, and of course, the hearing process will be available to those who want to weigh in on line items.

I decided not to attend the workshop out of respect for the city staff and elected officials. I had nothing of value to add to the discussion.

Excellent self-analysis.

This wasn’t for a lack of trying, or time taken to think it over.  I did my part within the walls of my own world and frankly, came up empty.

That “coming up empty” thing seems to be going around Wildomar City Hall.   It must be infectious.

The fact that the hard working city staff is allowing us to participate in this process if you want showed me that I can trust the entire city staff to do the job properly. I really hope that others will do the same. “

If I did that, there would be no reason to publish Wildomar Magazine.

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.

Comments should be made to bswann@cityofwildomar.org.


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