Wednesday, January 13, 2016

• City Council Meeting Jan 2016 Closed Session

Pick your favorite allusion here. A bombshell was dropped on Wildomar, or Wildomar was sideswiped. Either way, Wildomar will be going to District based elections instead of the current At Large elections we have today.

What does that mean to the average Wildomartini? 

In reality, it means absolutely nothing.

"Why's that?" you ask.

Because most people in Wildomar don't even know where city hall is, much less do they care about what happens at city hall as long as things are running smoothly. 

That, and if you ask any of the council members, they'll let you know that there is very little wiggle room for discretionary spending in this city. The actual amount of latitude that a council member has is quite small... which is a good thing. Smaller Government and all that...

So what's the big deal?

With At Large elections each resident had five council members representing them. Now you'll only have one council member that will return your phone calls if you have concerns. 

Happy are those that are in Bridgette Moore's district, and woe to those in Bob Cashman's district (at least until he figures out how to return emails and phone calls that is).

For those of you that don't know the back story, here's a brief recap.

When Wildomar voted for cityhood, it also voted to have Districts, not At Large, elections. In short order, it was demonstrated that districts didn't make sense in a small city like Wildomar, and that the residents would be better served having five council members there to serve them, instead of just one.

It was put to a vote, and the people of Wildomar chose to switch to At Large elections. But there was one problem with that. A local, self appointed guardian of the city, challenged the election results in court. She lost time after time, but continued the battle. 

WILDOMAR: City's at-large elections supported by court

The above headline was in the Press Enterprise just last July, which included this quote:

From the PE article:

“We have concluded ... that Plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate the ordinance is invalid,” stated the opinion written by Judge Douglas P. Miller and signed by Judges Jeffrey King and Carol Codrington. 

Once it finally looked like this issue would be put to bed forever, the city got a troubling letter, from a well known law firm, threatening to sue over the issue of voting districts.

This time the ultimate cudgel had been found: 
Threats of a racism charge

It just sickens me that a once noble tool (The Voting Rights Act 2001) is being abused by the sharpers. Look at Wildomar's demographics, and compare them with the sitting city council members.

• Mayor Bridgette Moore is half Mexican. Her grandparents on her father's side are from Mexico. Her maiden name is a Spanish name.
•  Mayor Pro-Tem Tim Walker is married to a Cuban immigrant that is fully bilingual.
•  Council Member Marsha Swanson's family includes the Spanish surname Zamora.

It's an affront to all decency to suggest that Wildomar has a problem with people of Mexican heritage. One of our recently elected waterboard members is an immigrant from Mexico, George Cambero. 

In 2014, a candidate with a Spanish surname ran for council. He was a very unprepared candidate, and he garnered the least amount of votes. It had nothing to do with his heritage, just his lack of qualifications and that there were three very well qualified incumbents.

From my reading, and discussion with members on the council, this type of lawsuit has NEVER been successfully defended by a city. The estimated cost to defend this that I heard is in the One Million Dollar range. That doesn't count the other side's attorney fees that the losing side ends up paying. Which would easily be approaching Two Million Dollars.

As the well known saying goes, "Discretion is the better part of valor," and there is no valor in fighting an obvious losing cause like this one.

There is no way to know who is behind this lawsuit, because the names haven't been released. So it's left to the imaginations of the readers who might be contacting a Malibu-based law firm on the behalf of Wildomar.

At the same time, I'll be tipping my cap to a curmudgeonly bitter woman that has proved, you can indeed fight city hall... and though you lose and lose, you can occasionally still force your will onto the rest of the community through the courts... whether she claims bystander status here or not.

When cityhood was on the ballot, I voted against it. I don't remember how I voted when it came to At Large v Districts, but I remember thinking districts were a better idea... until I had to seen At Large in action. It's far better having the attention of five representatives than just one.

Having fun with quotes

If you saw the recent Netflix series called Making a Murderer, you may recognize the tenor of the following quote... as I was watching it, this rewording of it came to mind.

Do I have any difficulty understanding the human emotions that might have driven someone who has spent years and years of her life fighting this city over this exact same issue?

No, I do not have any difficulty understanding those human emotions at all.

As you saw in the video, there will be several meetings on this subject, and sadly I can predict that I will see very few new faces when it comes time to draw up the new districts.

Please, please, PLEASE prove me wrong here... but I won't be holding my breath.

If you want your brain to catch on fire... you'll have to research this phrase (ecological regression analysis) which I found in one of the following articles. Nothing worse than new math to try and explain why some people simply choose not to participate in our free and open elections.

Must read articles for those interested in this issue.

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The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. 
— Mark Twain

Wildomar Rap tip of the day: Hey, if you get told no by everyone you've ever met, just ignore them because you know better than everyone else.

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