Friday, February 20, 2015

• Special Council Meeting: Ken Calvert

This afternoon there was a special council meeting to host our US Representative Ken Calvert.

There was no real agenda, more of a question and answer visit with the congressman.

Ken Calvert of Drought.
"In this region, in all the west, we have a drought, a historic drought along the Colorado River and up into the Delta. It's true we're having a difficult period right now, and unless God bails us out here pretty soon I would not be surprised if we have some mandatory rationing coming down the pike."

Ummm... no offense, but can we see if there are any non-divine solutions while we're at it?

Mayor Pro-Tem Bridgette Moore brought up mail theft. Including thefts of entire cluster mailboxes. 

The congressman mentioned that this is a serious issue, that's going on all over the district and the state. "It's certainly a pain in the neck" speaking about the issue of mail theft.

I also liked his quote about how the post office is struggling, and "making their living on third class mail... junk mail... political mail..."

I didn't know there was a difference between Junk Mail and Political Mail.
— Can I get a rimshot please?

Marsha Swanson brought up the continued desire to unite all of Wildomar under ONE zip code. Currently, there are bits and pieces of the city that still have Lake Elsinore, Murrieta or Menifee as their return address. 

Mayor Ben Benoit asked about various grants that might be available.

He mentioned how the Clean Water Act has caused a significant impact to the state, where we now have to have permits for our waste water. Not sewage, but what goes into the storm drains. That fee five years ago was almost nothing, and now it's $150K per year that the city pays just to have storm drains.

Here's what I got out of Ken Calvert's response. He mentioned how the various agencies, such as the EPA (which is under his jurisdiction) have had their budgets cut back to 1989 funding levels. Now the various agencies are trying to bypass the appropriations process and go to a self funding process through fees. They're not supposed to do that, but they are.
"We need to legislate that to keep them from doing it."

Yes, great... so are you working on it or just talking about it?

Hey, you can always send another loser bill trying to repeal ObamaCare to the president for a veto... if you have nothing else going on. (Oh, I voted for Calvert, so I can say anything I want to about it.)

I liked the part where he spoke about a Transportation Bill. How they've been trying for years to pass one and hope to get one by the end of Summer. He said, "The problem is money... it all comes back to money." He went on to explain, "The problem we have is the gas tax revenue. The last gas tax hike was in 1980 when president Reagan pushed through the last gas tax increase..."


Sorry Mr. Calvert, but according to Wikipedia, the last gas tax raise occurred in 1993. Reagan raised it 15¢ over several years... that was in 1982. In 1980, Jimmy Carter was the president... but hey, that was eons ago, and there's no point in needlessly trying to make this a Brian Williams or a 57 states moment. ☺


"... there wasn't a COLA (cost of living adjustment) attached to it, so as the value of the dollar has diminished over the years, the amount of purchasing power of that tax has diminished, and since then also cars are getting much more efficient and some electric vehicles pay no gas tax at all. Which is not fair, but that's occurring. So we don't have enough money to pay for a substantial transportation bill to upgrade the freeways. So we need to have an additional bunch of cash to put in there, to do a five or six year transportation bill." 

Really? What do you call "An additional bunch of cash"
Where I came from, we always called such sources of government largess — TAXES.

He did mention that Rand Paul had come up with an idea where businesses with off shore "bunches of cash" can repatriate their money at a one time lower rate, and then dump that into the  Gas Tax Fund so they can put together a $500-$600B Transportation Bill. 

The total gas tax we Californians pay per gallon is 63.8¢ with 18.4¢ going to DC (24.4¢ for diesel). It's true that 18 cents doesn't spend like it did back when MTV was just coming to cable, but hey... we're Americans, and we'd rather drive on potholed roads than pay another nickel in any kind of tax.

Councilmember Moore then asked if there was anything he could do about getting our VLF funds restored to the city even though it's a state issue. His suggestion was to have our state reps attach the bill to something the governor really wants

[] Well, ok... I don't think anyone thought of that one before. I guess that comes from years of hardball inside the Beltway. [disengage sarcasm brackets here]

L to R:  Marsha Swanson, Ken Calvert, Ben Benoit, Bridgette Moore.

Councilmembers Tim Walker and Bob Cashman were absent. Cashman was in Germany.


There was a second part of the meeting.

It was about the need for additional storage that the city is need of.

The topic of city hall's building was brought up by the Mayor. He asked if the city still had an option to purchase the building. City manager Gary Nordquist said that the option to purchase is not in the lease, but there is a right of first refusal. 

We occupy 11,000 of the 22,000sf building, with the rest of the building being occupied. What a coup it would be to purchase the building, and then renting out the other portions as it currently is being done. 

Wildomar is NOT going away. So it's really shortsighted to think of renting as a long term plan. I'm glad that Mayor Benoit brought that topic up and the City Manager will be looking into the feasibility of it.

A new City Facilities Subcommittee was created and will be manned by Swanson and Benoit who volunteered for the posts.

•      •      • 

Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies. —Groucho Marx


  1. One has to laugh when Mr. Calvert said attach the restoration of funds for the four cities to something the governor really wants and he will pass it. Unlike the one president who used the power of the line-item-veto on 82 lines in 11 bills the Governor of California since the 1960 have used the power of the Line-Item-Veto which is allowed even on budget bills, judiciously with Governor Brown using it 42 times in 2011 which amounted to 1/5 of 1 percent. Wildomar needs to get over it and pretend this money will never return because it probably never will.
    As to purchasing City Hall a better deal would be the building at Palomar/Clinton Keith which is pretty much empty right now and includes the strip mall next to it. If that doesn't work out across the street there will be a lot of empty space coming soon. The city could even acquire the closed Long John Silver an get into the restaurant business.
    Kenny Mayes in attendance

    1. Good point about the line item veto. There's no way that one is going to slide by Brown.

      Hey, we could finally get our own Norm's... even if it had to be a Norm's Jr and put it at the old KFC/LJS.


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