Thursday, December 11, 2014

• City Council Meeting Dec 10, 2014 Recap

The meeting started with a special order of business, which included the swearing in of our re-elected council members,  Ben Benoit, Marsha Swanson and Tim Walker. Which also included a ten minute break for some cake.
The swearing in conducted by Janet Morales. The cake had already been cut before WR Photographer Grace could snap a pic.

There were a few more presentations before the we got to city business.
  • First was a moment of silence for Jim Heer. I knew him as the volunteer at the VFW on Steak Night. He would write up the order and take the money. 
  • Eagle Scout recognition for Adam Pereyra. His project was framing tiles made by Kindergartners from one of the local schools.
  • Girl Scout Silver Award Winner Ashley Fox got recognition for her Freedom Swing project.
  • Fire Chief Steve Beach was honored for his time as Wildomar's Fire Chief. He's been promoted and now will be serving outside of the area.

2.2 on the agenda was regarding a planning application for Cornerstone Church. 

This was covered in an earlier Planning Commission meeting. It was mostly the same information, just this time for the council to vote on. To read the previous blog on it, with more details, follow this link.

Council Member Bridgette Moore recused herself from voting on this issue since she is a member of the church. Though she doesn't get money from the church, and still could have sat in on the matter, she chose to remove all doubt about any potential "conflict of interest" claims that future litigants might want to suggest with her actions.

The vote to approve was 4-0.

Council Member Bob Cashman added his concerns about traffic on Monte Vista, and specifically the need for a signal light at Bundy Canyon and Monte Vista. "Somehow, I'd like to see if there's a way we can get that light up there... is there anyway that can happen?"

There was a lot of talk, but in the end, there is not going to be a traffic light installed on either end of Monte Vista at this point. So, it'll be business as usual for the locals. Meaning, stay away from Monte Vista on Sundays.

This project has already heard input from the same groups that like to sue over every other issue here... so it's not really worth mentioning here. Suffice to say, if we hadn't had to waste so much money defending all the frivolous lawsuits brought by the cranks, then there would be money enough to get that signal light off the back burner.

3.2 City Hall Facility Lease.

There were five options on the table. Four at the current location, the other was the Jean Hayman school.

We are currently paying just under $10K per month for 3824sf... but that is misleading since the center has been giving the city free use of the current city council chambers, which puts our space closer to 5000sf. The space was always free on the contingency that there were no paying customers interested in it. Now there are, so we have to decide what our next move will be.

The other option was taking over the Jean Hayman school to serve as our City's Headquarters. Sadly, the cons outweighed the pros here. First, the school district wants more than it's worth. Second, the buildings have sat around and have deteriorated to the point that it's been estimated to cost $1.4Mil to get 10,000sf up to standard condition.

The costs for the building ($15K per month) and the renovations ($13k per month) are flat out more than we can afford. That doesn't even include any maintenance or utilities. Oh, not to mention any seismic retrofitting the building would also need. It's a shame too, because renting really isn't something that a city should do, but when there are no viable options, you settle for second best.

There was also another idea bandied about... something about taking part of Marna O'Brien park and making it the city hall. This is another of those times that you need to consult the game show buzzer since the idea was that bad.

There was a bit of discussion about which lease option to go for, and it looked like option 2 might win out, but in the end, option 1 was adopted with a 5-0 vote.

3.3 Appointing Mayor and Mayor Pro-Tem for 2015

Marsha Swanson nominated Ben Benoit to be Mayor. It was quickly seconded and seemed to pass 5-0. Then Tim Walker nominated Bridgette Moore to be Mayor Pro-Tem, which was seconded by Marsha Swanson.

Before the vote could be taken, Bob Cashman spoke up, "I would like a place... either as pro-tem or the mayor. Normally we've been rotating this from one person to another... somehow I seem to be missing out here... so I just thought I'd put in something for it."

The Mayor asked, "Is that a second nomination?"

To which Cashman responded, "I nominate myself."

The Mayor asked, "Is there a second?" After a moment, and a bit of chat about which post he was nominating himself for, Swanson again asked, "is there a second on the nomination?"

Even the crickets were silent as there was no second offered.

Before the motion could be nixed, Cashman spoke up, "I've been around here a long time, I think I should have some position here where I can be just a little more responsible for some things in the city."

The original nomination of Moore was still on the floor, and when the vote was asked for, she got a 5-0 approval.

After the vote, the 2015 Mayor to be, Ben Benoit said:

"Bob, I think you heard concern from Marsha last time, since she was in this seat when she made these comments, and I'll make the comments again. There have been training opportunities for you to go to —the League of Cities, where you can get more involvement, and get some more training on how to run a meeting.

I feel very strongly that all of us have taken the time to go and do that training, and have seen a lackluster approach from you for not only that training, but getting involved in the league of cities and other opportunities to go out with all of us [the other council members] and represent our city.

I also feel very strongly that unless it's an event that you're chairing, you don't show up to a lot of these events in the city. I think that others have made that concern well known and I'll make it well known again. We want to see more participation on those outside events that aren't directly related to groups you're involved with. Maybe get more involved and show that leadership role. We don't want you to think this is done out of spite, there's just some concerns that we have."

I'm sorry that Bob Cashman got upbraided, but he asked for it. In the short time I've been keeping a close eye on Wildomar politics, he's missed several meetings, and was at only a few citywide events out of dozens. Some people say that such participation isn't necessary, but they are the same ones that think the parks cost too much too.

In a place like Wildomar, to be a city official, you have to be a top stepper, a person that is very involved with the city and the activities here. If that isn't something you want to do, then don't run for city council in a small town.

Funny thing is, back in Spring he mentioned, from the dais, wanting to have regular meetings with the public, a "town hall" so to speak... "Coffee with a Councilman" or something like that. I haven't heard another word about it since.

*A top stepper is a person on a ball team that isn't a starting player, but is always on the top step of the dugout, shouting encouragement to those on the field.
•      •       

If wrinkles must be written upon our brows, let them not be written upon the heart. The spirit should not grow old. —James A. Garfield, 20th president of the USA


  1. How interesting you bother to mention the group of Wildomar Citizens that sue the city but fail to mention this is the same group that stopped that same church group from making 35,000 truck trips down Monte Vista Drive and Bundy Canyon Road on their way to Menifee back in 2009. You also failed to mention that for the second time this religious group presented their LAWYER to explain the 1st Amendment of the Constitution along with subsequent federal laws on the subject of how you don't mess with religion and their rights to do pretty much do what ever they want in your town.

  2. First things first.

    Though I heard reports about the 2009 project, I didn't have any first hand knowledge of it, so I'm not going to get into that here in 2014. It was mentioned over and over how this project is nothing like the one from five years ago, so why bother bringing it up? The group that likes to sue should be happy that they stopped the 35,000 truck trips, and that the new project reflects the will of the community. Instead, they are looking to derail this again, and you should have heard some of the laughable concerns they had at the Planning Commission meeting. We all know this is just the "prelude to a kiss" and any paltry excuse would be enough for their purposes.

    Also, do I really need to explain the way things work? Yes and no to your contention about "this religious group presented their LAWYER to explain the 1st Amendment of the Constitution". Yes, that is the second time he came to the Council Chambers... No, because this was his FIRST time in front of the Council. Last time it was in front of the Planning Commission.

    If you don't like repetitive presentations, which I can attest to can get tedious, then the same is true for most things that were presented to the Planning Commission first, then to the City Council later. The Parks Master Plan has been discussed so much lately, that I failed to even mention it in this blog, though it chewed up a fair amount of time.

    1. So where did those horrible 35,000 truck trips go? Did the earlier cornerstone project not happen? It is always fun to read the numbers the lawsuit filers toss out there to try and justify themselves. Were the 35000 trips including round trips? Were they really concerned with anything other than stopping something they didn't like?


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