July 31, 2013


It’s a Wildomar magazine first, using ALL CAPITAL LETTERS in the title line, which generally means, in current e-mail and texting usage, that you are SCREAMING at your readers.

According to a recent Lake Elsinore/Wildomar Patch article, the usually community-friendly Lake Elsinore Storm baseball team is a erecting a garish 55 foot tall television screen which will glare at you and I as we pass by on Interstate 15 with enormous 5′ x 16′ Storm Eyes.

 Please click on the link to the Lake Elsinore/Wildomar Patch for further details:

Apparently the City of Lake Elsinore has little municipal regard for the City of Wildomar’s long-standing “Dark skies, bright stars” philosophy, not to mention the negative impact the flashing LED sign will have on the Mt. Palomar Observatory.


 If you are a Storm fan, you’ll already know what time the game is.

If you’re not a fan, this won’t help.

For me, the sign will be a specific reason not to attend any Storm game.

H.O.P.E. Seeks Your….

April 14, 2013


Ron Hewison, Executive Director for H.O.P.E.  (“Helping Our People in Elsinore”) is asking the readers of Wildomar Magazine  for their assistance in securing a $20,000 grant from Wal-Mart. 

Hewison explains it best in his e-mail dated April 14, 2013, as follows:

From: Ron (
Subject: HOPE
Date: 04/14/2013 09:59 AM
Morning to you Gil,
Seeking a favor for HOPE – we are one of 170 agencies nationwide that qualified (after submitting a written narrative) for a $20,000 award from Walmart as part of their Fighting Hunger campaign. Now the process moves to generating votes on Facebook. The top 60 vote getters will each receive $20, 000.
Today we are in the top 60 but I’d like to move up the leader board.  
The funds will be used for our Backpacks For Kids program. This sends 250 Lake Elsinore and Wildomar kids home with a back pack of food each Friday.  
The goal is to have them focus on studies  on Monday morning rather than waiting for the free lunch.
There is a chance we can break the  cycle of poverty in the family.
The link to  vote is below. Each person can vote once a day between now and 30 April.
If you could post this opportunity on Wildomar Magazine it could well keep us in the frame.
Thanks Ron for HOPE
After all of the recent disclosure of e-mails exposing the darker side of local politics , Wildomar Magazine is happy to encourage its readers support this fine and generous organization.
‘Nuff said.

Lake Elsinore Resident’s Questions Makes Marsha Swanson……

January 23, 2013



It never ceases to amaze me how the words of elected officials can return to haunt them so rapidly after they are spoken.

According to today’s Lake Elsinore/Wildomar Patch article, concerned property owners in Lake Elsinore are demanding answers from Lake Elsinore city officials regarding a question of duration of their Mello Roos bond/liens, which had been attached to their property since 1988. Apparently, the question of the 20 year lifespan allegedly promised by the developer conflicts with the 30 year lifespan stated by the city.

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

As I recall the days of covering politics for Elsinore Magazine, city officials were feverishly refinancing existing Mello Roos bonds, such as 88-3, to take advantage of lower interest rates, purportedly to inure to the benefit and advantage of the homeowners. However, it was always my suspicion, that the “refinance” process not only provided additional billing opportunities for the bond agent and bond counsel, but likely extended the duration and lifespan of the underlying bond.

In the same context of proposing another Mello Roos bond measure for Wildomar’s park maintenance, Wildomar City council member Marsha Swanson publicly and cavalierly “blew off” any concerns she would have over a Mello Roos attachment to another parcel tax measure.

Please click on the following link to the City of Wildomar City Council minutes of June 27, 2012 (and scroll down to page 4), to confirm her unreliable and foolish words:

Fortunately for park supporters, the balance of the Wildomar City Council agreed with yours truly, and others, as they rejected Swanson’s misinformation and permitted Measure Z to go forward, but only as a “parcel tax,” which resulted in the barely successful passage of the ballot measure in November 2012.

In contrast, the previous Measure D, which was tainted by Mello Roos, failed to win passage in June 2011.

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Avoiding The Taint And Stain Of…

January 20, 2013



For those of you old enough to remember, or those of you who have lived in Wildomar before “political” newcomers, such as Ben Benoit, (2010) Tim Walker (2010), and even Bridgette Moore (2001) arrived on scene, the residents of Wildomar have sought to distance themselves from its tawdry northern neighbor, Lake Elsinore.

As a matter of fact, the community of Wildomar was granted formal status as an  “Unincorporated Community of Interest” long before it considered incorporation as a city, in order to prevent the annexation of Wildomar by some greedy Lake Elsinore  politicians (real estate agents and developer interests) in Lake Elsinore.

In effect, what the real estate hustlers wanted was access to Bundy Canyon Road and its potential commercial development from Mission Trail to the Interstate 15 freeway for its proposed 9400 home development in the Back Bay formerly known as Liberty.

Fortunately, Liberty has been pared down by approximately 50% and is now known as Summerly. Nevertheless, the reasons there are traffic lights nearly every 50 feet on Mission Trail is to handle traffic from Summerly.

Recognition of the taint and stain is found in the various, and well-deserved, monikers for Lake Elsinore, such as “Lake Smellsomemore,” and my personal favorite, since I created it back in the day when I was the prime contributor for Elsinore Magazine, “Sh*tville, inhabited by Sh*tvillians.”

For the record, most Wildomarians have little desire to have any physical proximity, or political and economic connection to, Lake Elsinore. Planning Commissioner Harv Dykstra led a successful movement in the 1990s to get a separate zip code for Wildomar, apart from the zip code for Lake Elsinore.

Current City council member Bob Cashman, at one point in the recent past, wanted to claim ownership of Elsinore High School, and to rename it  Wildomar High School, since it sits within Wildomar’s new boundaries.

As a Trustee of the Board of Trustees for the Wildomar Cemetery Special District, myself, current Planning Commissioner Stan Smith, and Community Services Director Paula Willette, successfully resisted Riverside County pressure to merge the Wildomar Cemetery  with the Lake Elsinore Cemetery Special District.

Now, foolishly, the ignorant, paid bureaucrats of the Western Riverside Council Of Governments (“WRCOG”) and their equally ignorant, paid consultants are attempting to foist the concept of “West Wildomar,” as a potential center of our city at the “northern” intersection of Bundy Canyon Road and Mission Trail, thereby reversing the trend of separation from Lake Elsinore, and to facilitate Wildomar being sucked back into the swirl and vortex of crime and corruption-ridden Sh*tville.

Please click on the following link to a recent Press Enterprise article for confirmation:

Unfortunately for the long-term citizens of Wildomar, who have historically made it clear that we want nothing to do with Sh*tville, the numbskull elected officials at Wildomar City Hall are in the process of earning their own special moniker for Wildomar, “Dumbsh*tville.

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There is a reason why all of our sewers drain to Lake Elsinore.

It’s not just because of gravity.


October 19, 2012


I attended last evening’s, Assembly candidate forum at the Ronald Reagan elementary school located in Wildomar. The forum was being put on by local Chambers of Commerce, including Wildomar’s politicized chapter.

Also in attendance last evening was City Councilmember Bridgette Moore, who has to be thrilled that there are no forums for the Wildomar City Council candidates, so she won’t have to answer for her own voting record.

Please click on the following link for context:

As for the candidates themselves, Phil Paule acknowledged that his personal resume was comparable to that of Melissa Melendez. His most noteworthy comment was made in reaction to a question about the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”).

Not surprisingly, he complained of a particular construction project in the Inland Empire where, because of CEQA, the developer was forced to “move rats.”

Ironically, in my opinion, attempting the transformation from a congressman’s staff “flack” to elected state assemblyman is just another attempt to “move rats.”

On the other hand, Candidate Melissa Melendez is following the more typical pathway of building on her successful record as a Lake Elsinore City Councilmember and utilizing her experience on our behalf in Sacramento.

Notably, as Phil Paule ironically pandered to Wildomar’s parks issue, Measure Z, in the context of his own personal “no” votes on statewide Propositions 30 and 38, as if taxes imposed by Sacramento or Wildomar will make any difference to the highly energized anti-tax movement throughout the state.

All the while, as Paule pandered, Bridgette was nodding her head up and down like a dashboard bobble head collectible.

However, as the evening progressed and the hunger pangs in my stomach began to dominate my thoughts, I quietly slipped out of the forum and return to my home in Windsong Valley for a plate of leftover goulash.

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Unfortunately for Paule, his resume does not contain anything close to Melendez’ flying over the waters of the Pacific Ocean and along the borders of the Soviet Union, eavesdropping on the Soviet military radio communications.

That took b*lls.

After that experience, dealing with the moving rats on the other side of the political aisle in Sacramento should be child’s play for Melissa.

If you haven’t noticed, Melissa Melendez is still my choice for the State Assembly.

And, I am supporting “anybody but Bridgette” for Wildomar City Council.

Sweatin’ To The…

August 16, 2012


Lake Elsinore city councilmember Daryl Hickman, always believed, and labeled, by Zak Turango to be the “dumbest politician I’ve ever known,” admits to having his political life discomfited by the 83-year-old activist, Chris Hyland, while breathing a “conditional” sign of relief over her announcement that she was terminating her recall effort last Tuesday evening.

Please click on the following Californian article to confirm:

Once again, demonstrating his political ineptitude, Hickman apparently still fears that Hyland will change her mind and resume her signature gathering, despite the momentum-killing announcement several nights ago.

I presume that Hickman will be able to return to sleeping in his “tighty-whities,” eliminating the need for his “Depends” sleeping attire, after the close of business on August 23, 2012.

It is doubtful that Daryl will ever be able to regain his self-respect in the two years that remain on his Council term, fulfilling Ms. Hyland’s closing sentiment, to whit;

“At the end of the day, it appears that the citizens of Lake Elsinore will keep the government they deserve, rather than the government they need,” she said.”

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Animal Friends JPA Puts On A….

June 13, 2012



It all seems very odd to me. However, when you understand what’s at stake here, perhaps not.

As a result of the specific and sustained criticism of Wildomar residents, including yours truly, the Animal Friends of the Valleys/Southwest Communities Financing Authority (AFV/JPA) is apparently feeling the heat and has put together a “dog and pony show,” set for 1:00 PM this afternoon. 

The purpose of the meeting is to address Wildomar’s contention (as set forth by Assistant City Manager Gary Nordquist) that the current “animal count” allocation, versus a “population count,” is economically detrimental and unfair to the City of Wildomar, to the tune of 2 1/2 times greater expense to Wildomar for their “share” of paying the $12,000,000 mortgage of the overly-lavish Mammalian Taj Mahal, than should be allocated.

In response, and in order to avoid the possibility that the City of Wildomar would consider seceding (that’s my recommendation) from the AFV/JPA (the only substantial victim/city that can do so without incurring enormous penalties), an unusual” agenda” has been published that will appear to provide the least objectionable supposed “compromise.”

Please click on the following link to review for context:

6.  Cost Allocation Ideas

 a) History/Status Quo-Cities of Temecula and Murrieta

It will be interesting to watch (I plan on attending to do so) these two cities explain how they somehow managed to create and sustain such unfair allocations while inducing un-sophisticated community leaders in Wildomar to become partners in this “overpriced” and “overrated”enterprise.

Why is it necessary to defend the status quo, since “it is what it is?”

It’s merely the opening act of the show.

b) Priority Housing Rights-City of Lake Elsinore

As part of the posturing to make it look like serious and meaningful alternatives are being considered, that City of Lake Elsinore will be demanding that animals that are picked up in Lake Elsinore will be guaranteed a “room at the inn,” or at least the first 26 out of 100 strays detained will get the preferential treatment that Lake Elsinore is stuck paying for.

Please click on the following Press Enterprise link to see if you can make any sense out of what counselors position:

Rather than argue that Lake Elsinore is also being taken advantage of by the “animal count” allocation, though to a lesser extent than Wildomar, this meaningless “proposed amendment” is offered as the second act of the show.

It’s only a distraction.

c) Cost Allocation based on Population Count-City of Wildomar

This is what the “dog and pony show” is all about, to whit, camouflaging the real issue by surrounding it with meaningless posturing and irrelevant ideas in order to minimize and diminish the impact of Gary Nordquist’s compelling arguments for a much more reasonable allocation based on population count.

d) One-Half Population and One Half Animal Count-City of Canyon Lake

While this “half-baked” compromise was first floated by a representative of Canyon Lake in the March 07, 2012 meeting, at the time, it appeared to be no more than “can’t we all get along?” plea from an elected official who didn’t like controversy or adversity.

However, given it’s position on the agenda, this appears to have been set up in such a way that it will become the only palatable “compromise” for Temecula, Murrieta, and/or Lake Elsinore, although its implementation would have little economic relief for Wildomar.

This will likely be the “final act.”

In the “final” analysis for Wildomar, in my rather informed opinion, anything less than an allocation based on “population count” will continue to be economically unfair, and unsustainable, for the City of Wildomar, providing reasonable justification for the City of Wildomar to extract itself from this inequitable agreement.

That would be the “final, final” act. And the best outcome for Wildomar.

I will be monitoring the meeting in order to observe how Wildomar’s elected representative, Councilmember Bridgette Moore, advocates on behalf of the city of Wildomar.

Since she originally facilitated and “led” Wildomar into this debacle, she has a lot to answer for.

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These people were hoping we wouldn’t notice what they are doing.

Elsinore Chamber Of Commerce Self-

April 28, 2012


In their organizational hysteria over the firing of former City Manager Bob Brady, the Lake Elsinore Valley Chamber of Commerce has inadvertently “flashed”  their overt political “junk”  to the citizens of Lake Elsinore.

With the confirmation of the political connection of Chamber Chairwoman Natasha Johnson,  and her “overlapping” role as treasurer of the noisy, but small  38 member political action group known as “A Better Lake Elsinore” (“ABLE”), this Chamber chapter has put their head into the mouth of the political lion, which is in the form of a likely three vote majority bloc on the City Council, made up of  Daryl Hickman, Melissa Melendez, and Peter Weber.

The Chamber should have waited until after the 2012-13 budget was approved before they foolishly took on three City Council members at one time.

By the way, Johnson does have a right to have any political affiliations she wants; but there will be  political consequences.

Please click on the following recent Press-Enterprise article for background and context:

Ironically, the more vociferous these two groups become prior to the budgeting process, the more likely there will be political “fatalism” on the part of Hickman, Melendez and Weber and, as result, the more likely they are to  vote to cut off funding for the Chamber.

Political vengeance is not normally this easy.

That  the Lake Elsinore Valley Chamber of Commerce did it to themselves, by overplaying their political hands, is political karma.

The  “Great Political Universe” tends to bring all things into eventual balance.

If you prefer Scripture, “you reap what you sow.”

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Unfortunately, the Press-Enterprise staff reporter did not drill down into the $85,000 “gift of public funds” from the city’s budget, to identify the $40,000 “gift” portion of  the $85,000 that “covers” the  Chamber President’s  salary.

Perhaps, this year, at the budget study session, the various reporters covering Lake Elsinore will finally get it right.

Lake Elsinore’s Living “Aces”….

April 23, 2012




From the archives of Elsinore Magazine.

Rasmussen Rebukes Council

July 11, 2001  Call for Resignations Ignored  

 At last night’s televised city council meeting Gil Rasmussen strode to the podium and placed the blame for five deaths directly on the sagging shoulders of the council.  For three minutes Rasmussen spoke in a steady and powerful voice, culminating his remarks with a call for the resignation of the council and staff whose negligence has taken five innocent lives.  Sassy city attorney Babs Liebold attempted to respond by calling Gil’s remarks “embarrassing” but she wisely did not defend city negligence.  During his address Babs and the members of the council hung their heads and stared down at the table before them.  Following is the full text of Rasmussen’s remarks:

“If these City Council members were Air Force fighter pilots, they would now be considered “aces,” since they have five confirmed kills.

Lake Elsinore has the distinction of being the only city I know of that qualifies as a serial killer.

Only William Suff, Elsinore’s prostitute serial killer, has a higher body count than this council. Their year-long failure to take responsibility for four deaths is reminiscent of O. J. Simpson’s sociopathic ability to blame anybody else… and everybody else… for his victims’ deaths.

Sadly, then, we must now add the fifth victim, Everado Arzola, to their charge.

The context of these comments is the abysmal and absolute failure of this council to protect yet another innocent victim from drowning in their so-called Economic Engine. Their economic strategy apparently is to invite tourists to the lake, collect their gate fee… and then kill them.

Sorry, Everado. No refund.

 When there was mere anecdotal evidence of stolen palm trees taken from vacant lots, this council sensed the danger and quickly intervened. They enacted the Palm Tree Ordinance, saving palm trees from bad haircuts, death and destruction. Yet, when it came to saving precious human lives, there was not a whisper to their incompetent staff to implement basic safety precautions such as they have finally enacted, by blocking the deadly beach to public access.

And therein lies their moral failure and, in my opinion, criminal conduct. The beach could have…should have… been blocked after the first two children drowned one year ago, before their latest victim. is urging the Riverside County Grand Jury to open an investigation into these five preventable fatalities. Whatever weak excuses and lame explanations are offered by the Council for the existence of five innocent, young corpses, these wrongfully dead human bodies demand justice.

I would support indictments and criminal prosecution of the members of this Council for these tragic and easily preventable deaths.

 Whatever the actions of the Grand Jury, it would be morally appropriate for each of the five of you to resign this very night, within this very hour, as a first, small act of contrition for your unbelievable, sinful failure to prevent these deaths.

Lake Elsinore would have been far safer without you.

Alas, none of you will resign.

How shallow a life each of you must live, as you desperately cling to your minor political office as if your very lives were dependent on it.

We will likely have to displace the balance of the blame for these deaths until it finally comes to rest, barring prosecution or resignation and beyond November’s election, upon this Council’s wretched accomplices; their fervent, shameless, remorseless supporters.

If any of you hearing my voice, who have presently empowered this council, knowing now of the deaths of five innocents, ever again vote, in the near future or far, for any one of these lethal politicians, please consider that your vote to re-elect them forever links your own shabby morality with theirs.

May God have mercy on all of your souls.

Assuming you still have souls.”

 Like an Old Testament prophet, coming down from the hills above Jerusalem to pronounce judgment on the heads of those committing evil, a decade younger Gil Rasmussen took his first opportunity to publicly speak in Lake Elsinore, motivated by the parade of death occurring at one single spot at the city’s campground.

As you can imagine, I am not a popular figure in Lake Elsinore. However, with the current political upheaval in Lake Elsinore, the voters in Lake Elsinore may, once again, be faced with a voter’s moral dilemma,  if any of the above figures, have the unmitigated gall to reappear in Lake Elsinore’s body politic, seeking your vote.

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The “other” Aces have passed on, making their electoral re-emergence unlikely.

Lake Elsinore Flirts With It’s Evil History…..

April 22, 2012


…Or more, if necessary.

October 23, 2000

A Mother’s Grief

As I left the apartment, the older woman continued to stare at me, despite being unable to communicate verbally with our language barrier. But her staring began to unnerve me as I walked out the front door and she arose from her sofa and followed me out the door. Looking back over my shoulder, I observed the woman walking across the apartment common area, dogging my footsteps. When I reached the parking lot and opened the door of the car, I looked back and saw that she stood at the gated entrance to the complex with her eyes locked on mine. I am haunted still by that mask of sorrow.

I understood her unspoken message that recent Sunday morning. I had come to the San Diego home of Lake Elsinore’s drowning victim, Minh Phuong Thi Tran, in the hopes of meeting with the family and expressing my sorrow and anger for her needless death. Apparently my mission had bridged the wide river of Asian stoicism that minimizes the loss of human life but left a mother’s sorrow unrequited. It wasn’t the father’s fault as he had surely become toughened by twenty years of a Communist prison after the fall of Saigon in 1975. Minh Phuong’s sisters were still young and had yet to bear their own child so they could not share her grief. Only a mother can fully understand the loss by death of the fruit of one’s own body.

Perhaps my own small sense of her loss came from my own Vietnam experiences. In order to help the family understand why I would be in their living room, I brought a photograph of a 21 year-old GI, standing thinly against a Vietnamese backdrop, M-16 slung jauntily over his shoulder. As soon as the parents saw the photo, they knew why I cared. I have always found that Vietnamese refugees acknowledge the sacrifice of American soldiers for their service to a far greater extent than any American who did not serve. There is a bond with Vietnam that only those who served can ever know.

I also wanted to be certain that the family had sought competent legal counsel for their loss. I was gratified to know that they had already engaged an attorney to seek redress for the horrific loss of their daughter and sister. Of course, money will never bring back Minh Phuong, nor will her mother’s grief ever completely subside. It is my hope, though, that the economic cost of the failure of the City of Lake Elsinore to prevent Minh Phuong’s needless death will be measured in the millions of dollars. Perhaps the jury will allocate punitive damages that will be uninsured and thus payable directly by the taxpaying voters who have yet to voice their outrage over drowning children at City Council meetings. (The beach remains unprotected as you read this piece).

The mother’s stare that I returned on that Sunday morning of sorrow stills tugs at my conciousness. I hope that I assuaged some of her grief by sharing my own anguish and anger with her.

All of the recent drama that is the fetid septic tank of Lake Elsinore politics (Most local politics comes from the sewer. Alas, Lake Elsinore is  served by EMVWD, making the septic tank a better metaphor). has stirred my writer’s soul to dig into the archives of Elsinore Magazine, to pull out relevant commentary for the newer citizens of Lake Elsinore, who do not know the lethal legacy of their tired little town.

I covered Lake Elsinore as an opinion columnist for the Lake Elsinore Valley Sun Tribune, followed by a stint as the “prime contributor” for the Internet-based Elsinore Magazine, so I know whereof I write.

 Beyond revisiting Lake Elsinore’s history, my “long and bitter memory” regarding the tragic and unnecessary drownings of 5 innocent campers, over a single calendar year, is primarily focused on the death of this young woman, whose parents were provided a year of my young life in 1968, courtesy of the US government, in a futile attempt, as it turned out, to save them from  communism.

Unfortunately, despite the efforts of Elsinore Magazine to goad the Lake Elsinore City Council into taking simple and inexpensive precautionary measures, I was unable to save their young daughter’s life from the Lake Elsinore City Council.

She was, after all, the fourth victim in a short period of time to drown in the exact same spot at the Lake Elsinore campground. It wasn’t as if she had fallen out of a boat somewhere on the Lake.

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I will be damned if I let her memory, and those responsible for her death, be forgotten. Especially if they think they can make a political comeback in Lake Elsinore with impunity.