Incumbents Running As Victims. Will It…


Since there are only 2 challengers to their re-election, it absolutely will work for at least one of them.

However, rather than running on a campaign platform of the successful, and reasonable, imposition of a new tax (“Measure Z”), so far, each of the incumbents have primarily resorted to handwringing  over several public interest  lawsuits as the reason for the lack of  progress in the  City of Wildomar.

A local blogger has provided a friendly and safe political environment for each of the  incumbent candidates  to freely  disgorge  their innermost thoughts, all of which is valuable and instructive  in your deliberations for whom to vote in November.

Let’s take a look at portions of the  comments provided by each of the incumbents and their responses to questions about lawsuits, as follows:

1)Marsha Swanson

First thought that comes to mind is: Anger. I don’t get angry very often, it takes a whole lot to make me angry.  

That’s when I thought, she [Sheryl Ade] has more power, by NOT getting reelected, than we that worked so hard to be elected —and work for nothing. When she didn’t get reelected… that’s when all of this started. She didn’t pull this stuff when she was on the council. 

She had some good questions. She’s a very smart lady. She probably really has read CEQA, and she understands it —to her way of thinking. 

It’s not a black and white document. I don’t know what pleasure they get from doing this. I’ve tried having a conversation with her on more than one occasion to find out why. [She told me] “They’re wrong and I’m right”… she [acts as if] she knows everything there is to know and she’s right. It’s about proving that Sheryl Ade is right. 

They say it doesn’t cost the city anything; they’re wrong. Every time there’s a document drop we have to pay the different attorneys extra/overtime to go over every word of what they said. To recheck our plans… then to explain it in closed session.”

2)  Tim Walker

“We have to defend them. It’s going to cost us [Wildomar] money, but the same groups that keep bringing the same types of lawsuits are doing it because they couldn’t win elections and they are bitter about not being in control.”

3) Ben Benoit

“That they are a very small minority. They’re a very disingenuous group that’s in it for the wrong reasons. If you had to pick out who’s corrupt… I’m sorry, they’re the ones getting the checks from the developers at the end of the day when they are extorting the money from them. That’s probably the biggest part of CEQA I’d love to see changed is —where does the money go? We know in these lawsuits, when these attorneys get paid, six, ten, twelve times their normal hourly rate… they’re not keeping it all. It’s likely going other places. That’s the toughest part, when they’re calling us corrupt.

It’s my belief, that they’re doing it because they used to run this place. Sheryl [Ade] and Gary Andre would be down at the planning commission, if they were giving the thumbs up to the planning commissioner for this area, the project would go forward. If they gave it a thumbs down Dave Stahovich and Bob Buster would kill it… and they ran this area. I think it’s unfortunate that they [seem to] think now they have to use CEQA to try and keep some of that control. I wish they would move on.”

For the record, public-interest lawsuits do not provide any monetary benefit  for the plaintiffs.   Under the CEQA  statutes, plaintiff attorneys  are reimbursed for the legal fees for services provided. Under normal circumstances, the developer’s indemnity agreement with the city  is the legal basis for the city recovering their legal costs.

Instead of directing staff, including the recently hired CEQA consultant, to avoid repeated  litigation by simply reading and incorporating the  reasonable objections  from private citizens documented in  what Tim Walker calls “document dumps, ”  these unsophisticated and sophomoric incumbents prefer to  run for re-election as victims, as that is easier  to purvey  than are real accomplishments.

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