Tuesday, August 25, 2015

• Planning Commissioner Bobby Swann Resigns

There's an opening on the planning commission.

"How did this come about?" you ask?

When you are an elected or appointed official you live in a fishbowl (that goes for anyone that pulls a public paycheck for that matter). Your every move gets scrutinized, whether that's fair or not... it's just part of the job.

Since the time I've been going to city meetings Planning Commissioner Bobby Swann has been in a number of public skirmishes, usually online. 

If he wasn't in the public eye, none of them would be noteworthy. To compound things, he was an appointed official. A position where you serve at the pleasure of the council member that nominated you, not the voters. You have no guaranteed position. If you embarrass the city, you should expect to get your walking papers.

He'd been counseled many times about keeping a low profile on social media, and it must be more alluring than a moth to a flame because he couldn't keep away from the firing line. 


It's beautiful!

The issue that proved to be his undoing actually stems back to last year. It was all flying under the radar until a video was posted earlier this month showing the condition of a home his family had been living in up till this Winter.

The video is two minutes long, and though it looks like the cameraman was doing the peepee dance (worst job of camera work I've seen by someone over the age of five), the images can't be denied. 

It appears that the video has been removed. The pictures at zillow make the point without having to get vertigo watching a badly shot video.




Similar still images can be seen on Zillow. 
Click to see photos that were taken shortly after the Swann Family moved out.
Disclaimer: I've known Bobby Swann and his family since late 2013. My wife and I have been to their house and they've been to our house —we were friends— and I initially had no plans to write such a revealing blog, but the course of events have necessitated it. 

After the video above got circulated on several local FaceBook pages, the city council, and Bridgette Moore specifically, had to act on it. 

As it was, the Moore family had been out of the country on a vacation when this first hit. Once apprised of it, she agonized over it for about a week, in which time Bobby Swann asked her if he should resign. 

There was a meeting on Thursday August 20th at city hall where Mayor Pro-Tem Moore asked for his resignation. There had been a prepared resignation letter for him to sign but instead he got hostile with her.

When I asked Moore how the meeting went, you could hear that she was a bit shaken. She had told Swann that he needed to tender his resignation and she even had a sample letter for him to use, but he got up angrily and said he could write his own letter of resignation. She remarked that it was a side of him she'd never seen before. After such an experience, if she had any doubts about asking for his resignation, they were cleared up right there.

Mind you, the job of a Wildomar Planning Commissioner is important, but let's keep our perspective here, compared to other cities, our commission could almost be put on autopilot since there hasn't been any legit big projects proposed here (apologies to Chairman Langowrthy, and Commissioners Smith, Brown and Bidwell for my hyperbole here).

Seriously though, if you know that you've been a "lightning rod" (Swann's own words) then why wouldn't you do the right thing and resign while keeping your dignity and friends? You're telling me that the commissioner title is worth more than your self respect?

He and I exchanged a few FaceBook PMs before and after the meeting. He alerted me that he thought he was "getting fired from the planning commission"

I told him that I was at a lose for words. I then added, 
"If something does shake out, maybe a prepared statement can be shared with me that I can then use in a blog."

His response was, "Nah I am just gonna disappear into the sunset quietly now."

After his meeting with Moore he messaged me, "Fired... Well they want my letter of resignation."

My response was:
"Though I always said I'd "make them fire me" I can see that "stepping down" is better in the long run if that is what is in the offing. Are you supposed to be doing that by any particular time?"

His reply was, "IDK".


Why does a person involve someone, that they call a friend, just to lie to them? 

They wanted the resignation Post Haste.

There is a protocol for resigning. We learned a week or two ago about how to properly resign from a city post when a councilman from Hemet resigned by email, only to say "Jus' Kiddin"' a few hours later. To be official it needs to be handed to the city clerk. 

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But wait, it only gets worse from here. 

Yes, the images of the inside of the house are nearly as frightening as those from The Blair Witch Project, but in all reality, debris and garbage can be tossed, walls can be painted, ruined sinks can be replaced, moldy showers can be bleached, rancid fridges sent to area 51 and soiled carpets can be burned. 

The big issue to me is that they had to be evicted, and I'm more bothered by the hole in the former homeowner's lives, where their nest egg used to be, than I am about it resembling the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.  You read that right. The people that had been renting to the Swanns since 2008 LOST THEIR HOME due to the nonpayment of rent. (I know I couldn't afford two mortgage payments).
This is NOT a picture of a room in the house on Charles St.

If you go to the Riverside County Court website, you can find Case SWC1403514 - RAYMOND VS SWANN. The judgement was for $17,000. My understanding is that is $10,000 in unpaid rent, $5,000 in damages and the rest in costs.

If that isn't enough icing on the cake, he really went all out in his scorched earth campaign as he mentioned, to more than one person, about possibly "outing" something about a friend's family in the wake of his resignation. 

Believe me, the "secret" is laughably innocuous, but it's the thought that counts. 

To think that such a threat of blabbing something about a friend, no matter how picayune it may be, tells me it was sitting just below the surface (like a landmine) for a long time. Not part of the definition of a friend in my book.

Hmmm... I better head this one off at the pass. 

My wife and I argued last week and I tried to bounced an iPhone off of a tile floor. The tile floor won that match up. I tell you this now because my wife chatted with Bobby's wife about it, and I'm choosing to let all the air out of that balloon now... just in case that is also lying just below the surface.


iPhone v Floor... Floor remains undefeated in such contests.



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There will be a special city council meeting to deal with the Bobby Swann resignation. It's going to be Wednesday August 26th (the usual time and place: Council Chambers at 6:30PM). 


To stave off any potential comment war there will be no anonymous comments from this point forward on Wildomar Rap. Only Registered Users can post commentsA registered user is someone who has an account with Google and/or Blogger, Live Journal, WordPress, AIM, TypePad or OpenID. 
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Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.  ― C.S. Lewis

I Enjoyed being friends with the Swanns, but if I were to try and paper over this, approach it with kid gloves, I might as well hang up my blogging days now.

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