The End Of Dumb Questions In…

July 15, 2012



An old adage says, “There is no such thing as a dumb question…. unless you already know the answer.”

With the suspension of the Brown Act mandate by the State of California, the current Wildomar City council will no longer have to fear the uncomfortable public humiliation of asking  a “dumb” question while engaged in public debate.

Please click on the following link context:

Currently, under the Brown Act constraint, no City Council member can discuss any agendized item with more than one other city councilmember. However, if they discuss it with two other council members, either directly or serially, they would have conducted secretive deliberation with a council majority (three members of a five person board), more commonly known as a  “backroom deal.”

Needless to say, this probably goes on, intentionally or inadvertently, in Wildomar.

In contrast, the Board of Trustees of the Wildomar Cemetery District consisted of a three-person board, so Brown Act constraints prevented any preliminary discussion between two trustees, since that would constitute a board majority. As a result, the only place to have a conversation about anything was during a public meeting. Some of our board meetings became rather heated, which was good for our democracy.

As result, public deliberation in future Wildomar City Council meetings will likely have a much “smoother” presentation and appearance, as the casual, friendly conversation between the affable and friendly council colleagues, will be conducted in private, prior to council meetings, in order to make sure that any uncomfortable “questions” will be “asked and answered” before the city Council meetings occur.

“Practice makes perfect.”

The antidote to this “warm and fuzzy” arrangement, is to elect future councilmembers who can remain outside the social spiderweb that will entrap and destroy the “common good” of the community of Wildomar, through the lack of openness and transparency.

Naturally, of course, I will be offering my status as a “pariah” and social attributes as the “ultimate outsider”  to the citizens of Wildomar in the November 2012 election.

Currently, most likely due to the effect of Wildomar Magazine, only one of the five current City councilmembers even speaks to me in public.

Not that it matters to me, since I have been snubbed by the best.

Back in the day when I attended Lake Elsinore City Council meetings on a regular basis, seeking information for the mocking pages of Elsinore Magazine, I would be having a private conversation with another individual, when former-Mayor Pam Brinley would deliberately step between the two of us, sharply spinning on one heel, fully exposing her well-nourished backside to yours truly. 

No one in public office in Wildomar has ever matched Brinley for her exquisite “snubbery.”

The only one to come close was former-Mayor Scott Farnam, who physically assaulted yours truly (he was annoyed by a WM article) at a private residence, during the December 2009 Christmas Party for staff and elected officials. (Visit the January 2010 WM archives for the details).

At the time, I would’ve preferred a simple snub.

Who knew that “Outsider Status,” would be the ultimate antidote for backroom deals in Wildomar?

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So Predictable An Outcome That….

March 27, 2012


Perhaps it was a matter of chance.

After all, I did have a 1 out of 4 chance of being correct, since there were only four persons nominated.

However,  it confirms that  I know  and understand Wildomar politics, and of the various levers of political influence that operate within our community. (Click on the February 2012 archives and scroll down to confirm).

What was only a rumor, is now a fact. In her own words, taken from the Facebook page of the Wildomar Chamber of Commerce, the following posting:

Bridgette Moore

Very humbled to have received the “Citizen of the Year” award tonight from the Wildomar Chamber of Commerce! “

If you want to see this with your own eyes, please click on the following link (you will have to be logged in to your own Facebook page to do so):!/pages/Wildomar-Chamber-of-Commerce/233013846731462

So now it is official!

The Wildomar Chamber of Commerce, (of whom 70% of its members do not reside or have a business within the city limits of Wildomar), has insinuated it’s insidious influence into Wildomar’s City Council election of 2012.

Fair enough, but the Wildomar Chamber of Commerce should expect no relief from my contempt and disparagement of their existence, for their intrusion into Wildomar’s electoral processes.

Permit me, if you will, Dear Readers, to discuss Bridgette Moore.

The only reason she is ever treated, or mistreated, according to her followers, on the pages of Wildomar Magazine, is that she is an elected, and therefore, public figure. Were it not for her status as an elected public figure, neither she nor her sycophantic followers would ever grace the pages of this satirical tome.

On a personal level, Bridgette Moore has all of the attributes to be  an effective ambassador for a service club such as the Chamber of Commerce, or the  Rotary Club. In fact, Bridgette currently is the Public Relations director for the Rotary Club of Wildomar. Bridgette appears to be well suited for that avocation.

However, all of her personal efforts on their behalf cannot negate her lack of judgment as a Wildomar City councilmember and the resultant political and economic consequences for the citizens of Wildomar.

For example, and to be specific, the following:

1) Lack of due diligence, as Wildomar’s Council representative to the Southwest Communities Finance Authority (“JPA”), which oversees the operation of the Animal Friends of the Valleys (“AFV”).

As has been recently reported on in the local newspapers, and commented upon by Wildomar Magazine, we, as a city, are now burdened with an agreement that overcharges Wildomar (by two and half times) for animal control services, an agreement which was negotiated by Bridgette and City Manager Frank Oviedo.

As you know, Wildomar cannot meet this year’s budget obligation to the AFV/JPA,  to the tune of approximately $58,000, so we’re now “running a tab.”

2) Lack of political judgment, when faced with the loss of our park assessment.

Rather than addressing the issue head-on, Bridgette resorted to her customary and historic reliance upon others by promoting the formation of the ill-fated Blue Ribbon Commission, which she then stacked with political cronies to assure the outcome.

However, somewhere in the process, her unsophisticated cronies were led astray, by the consultants who would eventually be in a position to siphon off a significant amount of the administrative fees created by the formation of a Communities Facilities District (“Mello Roos”), which led to the ultimate defeat of measure D, due to it’s well-deserved lethal connection, by thinking, informed voters, to Mello Roos.

There is no question that Bridgette Moore is a well-known and popular figure in Wildomar. And popularity translates to the ballot box.

However, in 2012, Bridgette Moore has a definable voting record to overcome, if she intends to be reelected.

If enough voters can see past the intrusive smokescreen billowing out of the of the decrepit Wildomar Chamber of Commerce offices on Mission Trail, perhaps we can have an election based on adult issues and not just a schoolyard popularity contest.

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Ironically, it appears that the Animal Friends of the Valleys, another well-deserved Wildomar Magazine target, was also named “Non-profit Organization of the Year,” by the same Wildomar Chamber of Commerce “out-of-towners,” and probably for the same reasons.

More on this later.

The “Real Estate Agent Effect” In Action….

January 18, 2012


Having observed the City of Lake Elsinore since the early 1990s, and writing about its political processes since 1996, starting with a  stint as a columnist for the Lake Elsinore Sun Tribune (I was a Jeanie Corral favorite), followed by being the Prime Contributor to Elsinore Magazine, the political battle in Lake Elsinore was, for the most part, a seesaw affair between the Downtown Business Associates and the real estate agents, fighting over which group could best exploit the unrepresented citizen taxpayers of Lake Elsinore.

The Lake Elsinore/Wildomar Patch published a recent article about what happens to communities, in my opinion, when real estate agents are in charge, as follows:

Whenever it was Fred Dominguez and his happy band of antique purveyors in charge, it tended to be “small ball” politics in action, acting in their own selfish but limited interests.

However, when the real estate agents like former Mayor Gary Washburn entered the fray, they all discovered the “big ball” benefits of Redevelopment, which provided a new source of revenue for all of the meaningless “historic-ish ” business façades slapped on the front of Main Street buildings (to the direct economic benefit of Washburn, Dominguez, and George Alongi, to name a few), while ignoring the seismic deathtrap status of the same buildings.

If you doubt my words, take a walk down Main Street and observe all of the warning plaques attached to the façades of these buildings, putting you on notice that your unfortunately-timed entry into one of these buildings could result in the loss of your life.

If you are short on time, forget the walk, and  go straight to  your “Cultural Center,” which many of you know better as the site of your City Council meetings. That warning plaque is prominently displayed on the front wall.

My guess is that if an earthquake occurs while you were attending a City Council meeting, your survivors could not successfully sue Lake Elsinore, because you “assumed the risk” of your own demise, when you chose to walk into such a building.

In true Lake Elsinore fashion, your City Council recently agreed to spend thousands of dollars on fire sprinklers to protect an old building the city owns, rather than retrofit said building to protect the lives of City Council attendees.

In any event, at some point in time, when it is economically feasible, “Lake Elsinore Lightning” will likely strike the Cultural Center before the “Big One” does, requiring its replacement at some insurance company’s expense.

Adding ineffective sprinklers to an old firetrap makes an insurance payout less suspicious. It even adds another $1 million layer of insurance coverage from the insurance company of the sprinkler subcontractor.

If the “Big One” does strike before the buildings are retrofitted for seismic activity, Lake Elsinore’s Downtown will truly become “historic,” in the sense that it will exist only in old photographs.

However, enough about the long and tawdry history of Lake Elsinore, I want to turn to the short and tawdry history of the City of Wildomar.

Wildomar sits on the precipice of following Lake Elsinore’s “developer friendly” demise, saved only by the lack of actual development, due to dire economic conditions, but only for the present. (Recessions, even bad ones, don’t last forever.)

The “Real Estate Agent Effect” is embodied in the overrepresentation of real estate agents in Wildomar’s body politic.

Former Mayor Marsha Swanson is a real estate broker, which means she runs a entire herd of  voracious agents. Former Mayor Scott Farnam is a real estate broker. Swanson has nominated two successive real estate agents in a dismal row, to be her Planning Commissioner, neither of whom have uttered a single, meaningful word in public deliberation.

Boy-Mayor Ben Benoit appointed real estate broker Stan Smith to be “his” Planning Commissioner, likely at the behest of Marsha Swanson, or, at the very least, Benoit and Smith “bonded”at a Chamberpot of Commerce mixer.

By the way, Planning Commission Vice Chair Stan Smith will likely be elevated to the position of Chairman (“Chair”) of the Planning Commission on Wednesday evening, despite having a significant and unresolved code violation for a large,  and visible, “collection” of construction debris on his rural property, to the dismay of his neighbors.

At this point in time, there is little that Wildomar can do to change its “future,” inasmuch as the voters of Wildomar appear to have the same proclivity for self-destruction, through the promotion and elevation of real estate agents to political power, as did Lake Elsinore’s voters.

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By the way, and for the record, one of my career detours was as a real estate agent. In the 1980s, Ole Zak was the “top listing agent” for all of the ERA franchises throughout Central California.

Yep, I too, made my living as a 6% parasite so I know whereof I speak.

Anyone who takes 6% of your hard earned “sweat equity,” simply because the system that would enable you to sell your house is rigged, through the Multiple Listing Service, is a parasite.

The “Empty Suit” Speaks…..

April 11, 2011


Desperate for any contrived opportunity to be “relevant,” Wildomar Mayor pro tem Ben Benoit has grasped for the smallest straw in the haystack.

He wants Wildomar’s City Council to transfer the cost of the EMPLOYEE CONTRIBUTION to CalPERS for each City Councilmember, from the city to the individual Council member.

Apparently his reasoning has something to do with what his daddy is doing at the County with regard to sheriff pensions.

Why would we who live  in Wildomar care about what his daddy is doing in Riverside?

Today’s Press Enterprise reports on Benoit’s meaningless, irrelevant issue.

Please click on the following link, if you haven’t read it as yet:

Since Master Benoit wants to eliminate the city’s contribution for the five City Councilmembers, let’s play the “meaningless math” game, as follows:
1). Each council member receives a $300 per month stipend.
2). $300 per month times 8% employee contribution equals $24 per month.
3). $24 per month times 12 months equals $288.
4). $288 per month times five councilmembers equals $3456.

A pittance in the $11,000,000 annual budget.

If Master Benoit would really like to save the community some money and, at the same time, lance a corrupt boil from the derriere of Wildomar’s body politic, he would ask the City Council instead to consider forgoing the economic support of their own political base, the approximate $5600 in annual payments/contributions to the Wildomar Chamber of Commerce, a for-profit commercial entity. (See WM article February 10, 2011 and the February 2011 Archives, “Council violates It’s Own Moratorium…)

The raising of such a meaningless issue by Benoit is laughable in it’s irrelevancy.

At the very least, he didn’t try to link it to saving Wildomar’s parks.

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On another Chamber note, did you notice where the Wildomar Chamber of Commerce honored the Wildomar Rotary as “service club of the year?”

Since they’re all the same people, must Zak now address the issue of service club incest on the pages of Wildomar Magazine?


February 17, 2011



Actually, for  those of us old enough to remember, it’s more like a failed version of the Ted Mack Original Amateur Hour.

For those of you who did not see the ABC news video yesterday, because I included it as a late “post-script” addition to my last article, please click on the following link to view the video for yourself:

If you have now watched the video, as did Zak, perhaps you noticed and raised several questions in your own mind, as follows:

1) Why are farm animals permitted in our people parks? (Shouldn’t they be at City Hall, running our city?)

2) Why are school-age children not in school, rather than parading in front of ABC’s cameras, hoping to be interviewed? (Something the reporter even commented on). Is it a “Toddlers and Tiaras” thing?

3) Why is Councilmember Bridgette Moore, and not Mayor Marsha Swanson, in front of the camera answering questions? Was this a Wildomar Rotary Club event? Bridgette Moore is, after all, the Public Relations Director for the Wildomar Rotary. (See WM article below).

4) If a ABC news crew can randomly stop two citizens in the parking lot of  Stater Brothers (the City Council should/could do something similar) and get two negative interviews (likely “no” voters?), will the pushing of a complex tax ballot measure, which appears likely to fail, not be a waste of Wildomar’s limited resources?

5) Shouldn’t the City Council now take a “timeout” to rethink the ballot measure and remove the $5,000,000 Mello Roos/Community Facilities District proposal and re-focus their efforts for the November 2011 election? Since Assistant City Manager Gary Nordquist, in his presentation to the City Council, said the city needed $2,100,000 to construct a park on east side of Wildomar, why would the bond measure be for $5,000,000? Unfortunately, there was zero discussion on the part of the City Council before their unanimous vote, the issue was never explored publicly.

Ongoing fundraisers, and additional fees for water use from the various sports leagues, can keep the park grass alive during the summer months for “daytime” usage until November. Roaming herds of goats can keep the grass clipped and fertilized.

Former Indiana Basketball Coach Bobby Knight said it best, “Most people have the will to win, but very few people have the will to prepare to win.”

The Wildomar City Council, at the instigation of someone (their paid consultant, Webb & Associates?) foolishly turned a simple $28 per year “replacement tax” measure into a complex borrowing mechanism that few of them could explain, if they had to.

This puts Wildomar’s elected officials on the same level as elected officials in Sacramento and Washington DC in the arena of fiscal irresponsibility. Fortunately, Wildomar voters can stop them.

Although achieving 66 2/3% voter approval for a simple replacement tax of $28 per year was never going to be a “slamdunk,” proper preparation, along with the well-organized development and coordination of a horde of enthusiastic, well-trained citizen volunteers to get out the “yes” vote for a park assessment (something I would have supported on Wildomar Magazine and perhaps volunteered for), it was doable.

When the dust settles from the June 2011 ballot count, as Ricky Ricardo used to say to Lucy, “you got a lotta splainin’ to do.”

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Wildomar Council Violates It’s Own Moratorium….

February 11, 2011


 “Way back when” in the earliest days of the newly-incorporated City of Wildomar, the very first “open hand” seeking a monetary handout penetrated the civic and financial consciousness of our community.

 In response to a request for financial support for the Wildomar Community Council’s (“WCC”) Inaugural Car Show fundraiser, Councilmember Sheryl Ade wisely suggested that a moratorium be put in place, until a  “mechanism” could be established, that would fairly inform civic groups seeking financial assistance from Wildomar’s limited resources under what guidelines any public monies could be expended in support of their “mission”, no matter how worthwhile the request might be.

The moratorium was enacted by a 4-1 vote.

 Please click on the following link to read the minutes of the August 27, 2008 City Council meeting where this very matter was discussed. (Scroll down to the bottom of page 5 to start reading).

To my knowledge, there has been no mechanism established since that August 2008 meeting and, as a result, the moratorium remains in place and should be binding.  However, a vile and sinister hand is currently being “greased,” in violation of the City Council’s own moratorium.

Since none of the current City staff members were present as employees at that time, it becomes, once again, the delegable duty of Zak Turango to inform them of the moratorium.

Unlike the WCC, whose nonprofit charter is to “educate” Wildomar citizen’s on issues of public concern, this particular organization, the Wildomar Chamber of Commerce is a for-profit commercial business. It is in business to make a buck. It has a CEO that earns a salary, probably some of it coming from Wildomar’s tax revenues.

It’s other organizational intent is to influence local politics. 

 The current budget for Fiscal Year 2010-11 has allocated at least $5,600 for various Chamber of Commerce activities, which includes political influence peddling.

 If you wish, go to the City of Wildomar website and read the Agenda packet for the June 23, 2010 Council meeting for yourself for confirmation. (I would have linked it but the “download” is so large, you would have been annoyed at Zak for locking up your computer for an entire day).

 According to the agenda packet for the last City Council meeting, the various “Save Our Parks” fundraising efforts have brought in a total of $11,695.60. The monies budgeted for Chamber of Commerce activities equates to approximately 46% of that amount. 

What’s the point of volunteers trying to “save” Wildomar’s parks if nearly half of that amount of money already in the budget, and which otherwise could be used to fund, and perhaps “save,” Wildomar’s parks, is instead going to the Chamber?

All of this economic activity in favor of the Chamber begs two questions, to whit:

 First, why should the taxpayers fund individual Chamber memberships for City Councilmember’s political supporters? In the early days of our city, the Cornerstone Community Church was the dominant political organization in the community. Now, it is clearly the Chamber of Commerce.

We wouldn’t have agreed, in our early days as a city, to pay Cornerstone member Bridgette Moore’s “tithe and offering” to her political base of support.

So why should we now pay $1,500 to the current Council majority’s political support base?

If any individual Council member wishes to join the Chamber, which is their perfect right, they should do so on their own dime, not yours and mine.

 The political presence, and influence, of the Chamber was augmented by the recent election of two additional Chamber members, Ben Benoit and Timothy Walker (a member of the Temecula Chapter of the Chamber of Commerce).

 Second, under the budget heading of Contract Services, $2,000 is budgeted to the Chamber of Commerce. What exactly, pray tell, does the Chamber do for $2,000?

 Hopefully, by an “early” recognition of this stealthy, reptilian penetration of our city’s finances and body politic  in Wildomar, we won’t eventually replicate the City of Lake Elsinore’s unseemly relationship with their local Chamber. Lake Elsinore, while laying off some of their city employees due to budget constraints, continues, to this day, to fund the $36,000 “plus” annual salary of their Chamber of Commerce CEO.

(See WM’s July 02, 2010 article “Lake Elsinore Chamber of Endorsement,” in the July 2010 archives, by clicking on the following:)

In two years, Wildomar has gone from $0 to $5,600 in budgeted contributions for the Chamber of Commerce coffers. Not as outrageous as Lake Elsinore but now is the time to stop it.

What other organization, commercial or nonprofit, enjoys such generosity?

In order to end the violation of their own moratorium, the City Council of Wildomar must develop that promised “mechanism” that addresses the redirection of public funds to such organizations as the Chamber of Commerce.

The moratorium isn’t an option; it’s the “law” in Wildomar.

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Zak encourages his readers to go to the city website, listed below, find the various councilmember’s e-mail link and tell them to stop paying off  “their” political base with “our” tax dollars.

Why not start at the top?

Wildomar Rotary Will Not “TeePee” Your Home…

February 9, 2011

….FOR $25

For the record, this is satire.

Apparently desperate for fund-raising ideas, the Rotary Club of Wildomar  has found an even better way to surpass an ill-advised fund raising scheme being perpetrated on the citizens of Lake Elsinore by their compradres in the Rotary Club of Lake Elsinore.

For the record, the following Californian article is not satire.

Please click on the following link to read about the Rotary’s new extortionist tendencies:

(Warning: For your own personal safety, do not take a sip of hot coffee or or chug your morning glass of milk as you click on the link and began to read it.)

By the way, I’ve read that certain members of some East Coast Rotary Clubs  will ” not” burn down your business for a $2,500 “donation.” 

Actual Wildomar Rotary Club activities have included taking our civic leaders to the lethal streets of Tijuana for a barbecue, the “beer and wine patio” at  a recent Wildomar Rotary Club-sponsored barbecue and a bowling night/poker tournament last weekend.

If this formerly highly-regarded “philanthropic” club is going to resort to “the vices” to raise money, they should “cut to the chase” and have “Stripper Pole” Night at the Hideaway, a cozy little hangout frequented by some of Wildomar’s elected officials, located at the sleazy northern edge of Wildomar.

Now that would be a way to put the “fun” back into fund-raising.

Perhaps, if you haven’t noticed, the directorship/membership lists for the Wildomar Rotary and the Wildomar Chamber of Commerce are comprised of many of the same people.

As a result, apparently, they occasionally forget which “service” silly party hat they are supposed to be wearing.

Go “here,” to confirm. Check out the Director’s list on the left.

What with all the Rotary and Chamber functions to attend to, when do these people have time to read, and contemplate, their Council agendas?

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 Zak thinks that the Rotary Club of Lake Elsinore has found a great way to put the “sad” back into sadistic.

Don’t criticize Wildomar Magazine for mocking the Rotary. Zak couldn’t make this stuff up on his own.