Wednesday, August 24, 2016

• Special City Council Meeting August 2016

This meeting didn't have a definitive start time. Usually, closed sessions (where the council meets with the city attorney to discuss issues not ready for public dissemination) are held before or after the set time. 


The reason that this meeting had to be scheduled in this uncustomary fashion was that they needed to guarantee a quorum would be in attendance to vote on item 2.2 General Municipal Election – District 4.

Without three members voting for it, there would have been an election in District 4 with only one candidate, Bridgette Moore, listed —which would have wasted precious taxpayer money. With only one candidate, why go through the dog and pony show of a meaningless vote?

Normally, it wouldn't be a problem getting the requisite number of votes, but Councilmember Marsha Swanson is away on a Summer vacation, and Mayor Moore can't vote on the item since she is the subject of it. 

Councilmember Bob Cashman couldn't promise to make it back from his day at work in time for a regular start time of 6:30pm, or even a postponed start time of 7:00pm.

The next best option was this format.

The first thing that came out of this meeting was from the closed session. 

SoCal Environmental Justice is suing the city and Strata Baxter (the Baxter Village project). The council voted unanimously to defend against it.

2.1 Roth Senate Bill 817
This is our annual attempt to regain our confiscated VLF funds. If the governor signs it, it would be an addition of about $1.9M to the annual city budget.

Click image to see details.
There was some discussion about if there was a quote in print, from Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, about why Governor Brown keeps vetoing this same bill year after year. Councilmember Cashman said he'd heard about it, but never saw it in writing.

I couldn't help myself, so when it was public comment time, I reminded the council that there is a direct quote from the Assemblywoman in some local blog discussing it.

Below is the excerpt from Wildomar Rap's blog of October 2015. 
Wildomar Rap:

Bringing it back to legislation, maybe you can talk about SB 25 which was going to help Wildomar. I don't know if it's even worth trying anymore with the current governor. 

Melissa Melendez:

SB25 was a bill where they took away the [portion of the] Vehicle Licensing Fees that went back to the cities. Wildomar was one city, and Menifee as well, where when they calculated their budget, they calculated that money in with the other money they were supposed to be getting.

Then the state, in 2011, took that money away, and so there went Wildomar's budget. There has been a bill three years in a row, my entire time in the legislature, they have done a bill to give that funding back, because it was promised to these cities.

The cities didn't do anything wrong, they played by the rules, but the state took it (VLF funds) away. Three years in a row I helped with this bill and three years in a row the governor has vetoed it.

Now I will tell you, and I don't mind saying this out in public, that I had a conversation with governor Brown a couple of months ago. We were at dinner, not just he and I it was a group of people((which led to some laughter among the attendees)). But it just so happened that he was sitting right across from me... I got the lucky seat.

So I said to him, "Governor Brown, we have this bill coming up which will really helps two cities in my district [by] giving back their vehicle licensing fees. They were pretty hard hit, what are your thoughts on that?"

And he paused for a minute, and he looked at me in his Jerry Brown way, and he said, "What was the percentage of votes I got in Riverside County?" 

((The assembled let out a protracted gasp at that))

He actually said that to me. 

I was stunned, I said, "uhhh... Well... you know, it was probably higher in some other areas of the state." 

And he replied, "I think it was about 22 maybe 23%, so I'm not really motivated."

So that bill is never going to pass (be signed into law), ever.
This item was just for the council to discuss it, no action was to be taken here. 

Still, when I saw this posted on councilmember Benoit's facebook page today, I couldn't resist throwing my two cents in there too.

2.2 General Municipal Election – District 4
City clerk Debbie Lee gave the brief presentation to the council, less Mayor Moore (who had stepped out of the room for this item), the key factor was the cost. An estimate of $5k to $7k was given to hold an election in District 4.

When the budget was being made, there were no districts and the estimate for an 'at large' election was $35,000.

There were a grand total of three people in the audience for this "historic" meeting; Mr and Mrs Wildomar Rap, and Wildomar's Chief of Police, Captain Leonard Hollingsworth. 

I was the lone public commenter. I told them that I'd run into a couple of councilmembers from neighboring cities, Greg August of Menifee and Maryann Edwards of Temecula. They were of the opinion that an election, even with only one name on the ballot, was their preference.

In fact, Greg August is also running unopposed this year and he was adamant about wanting to be on the ballot. He didn't want to be 'appointed'.

Councilmembers have a lot of responsibilities, but they don't have the same background as a city clerk —whose job it is to know the ins and outs of elections.

Debbie Lee made it clear that even write in candidates still have to qualify. They still have to pull papers and qualify, they just don't get their names on the ballot or their statements in the voter pamphlets.

She further wanted to speak to the related comments from Maryann Edwards and Greg August about it being better to be elected.

A nomination paper is an election. Those people that have signed that, have elected you to that office. It's not an appointment. I too was confused about that until, in my last city [that I worked for], it got clarified for me. The nomination papers aren't just names saying "yeah, go ahead" it's people electing that person. If you cancel the election and appoint Bridgette, what you're in essence doing is saying she has been elected, and she does serve as if elected; it's even in the election code that way. 

Wildomar City Clerk Debbie Lee
Below is a video link that has the lone public comment, the council comments, Debbie Lee's comments and the vote.
Now Bridgette Moore gets to hold the titles of Mayor and Councilmember Elect until her next term begins in December 2016, when she loses the "elect" part. Congrats!
Candidate Linda Gonzales withdrew from the election on August 31st, but too late to save the election costs.


Here's a bit of unfinished business from the meeting that revealed the continued lawsuit against Walmart.

I was thinking about the road improvements slated for Bundy Canyon near the freeway. 

The improvements are to be completed before Walmart is allowed to open. There is no incentive for them to begin the road improvements (which includes widening, traffic signals and improvements to area drainage) while they are still in litigation.

Walmart has made it clear that it takes just under one year from first shovel in, to doors opening. It's a fair assumption to conclude that the road improvements would be finishing up around the same time that Walmart is ready to open.

Basic math tells you that if they'd have already started the process, then the countdown to the Bundy improvements would be underway. With a completion date of sometime in 2017.

But no. 

Everything is on hold because a no name person in the community, that claims to be impacted by the project, has decided to hold things up. They know they can't win, but to some people, just the power of jerking with the masses is payoff enough for them.

So, when the Bundy Canyon improvements are delayed by a year or more, just remember that was a gift from the yet to be named litigant in the case.
•          •          •

I'm throwing rocks tonight. Mark it, Dude.
— Donny, “The Big Lebowski” 1998 

Wildomar Rap has yet to lose a bet when Casa de Rap is wagered against boxes of day old donuts, and not even when the ante is upped by a flat, room-temp Coors Light.


  1. That's an interesting spin, by the city clerk, on what an election is. Basically all it takes is apathy, 20 valid signatures and a little money and voila you're in. The stellar turnout at last evenings meeting tells a lot. It would have been most interesting to see if an election would have resulted in the candidate maintaining the one-third approval from the last time elected, now that elections are by district.

    1. You had me at 'apathy'.

      What would the alternative be, leave the seat empty? Go through a meaningless process that has a forgone conclusion?

      Part of "apathy" is (at least minimal) satisfaction with the status quo. For all the kvetching that can be seen at places like facebook, it never translates into actions or participation... not even attending local meetings.

    2. So not wanting to run for city council is apathy? Ridiculous. Name-calling and a constant barrage of complaining, misinformation and armchair quarterbacking without a willingness to participate in a positive manner is worse than any supposed apathy. Many people are involved and doing things in this community that are more beneficial than attending city council meetings, griping on every issue and being afraid to be a part of the process. It's called being a dilettante....

  2. Why would "the process" be meaningless. An election held during a presidential election year is going to result in a larger than normal turn out. If the only candidate cannot garner a significant percentage of the vote then maybe its time to dis-incorporate an return to the tutelage of the county.

    1. Hmmm... interesting, but we both know the "tutelage of the county" would last for about five seconds before Wildomar got gobbled up between Lake Elsinore, Menifee and Murrieta with the least desirable areas left to cobble together a MAC with Lakeland Village.

    2. I think you're missing the point- the city council (which is supposed to have the cities interest at heart) is trying to save the city money. It's not like they knocked people off the ballot. The show in support or disapproval in the meeting speaks for itself. They're doing what's easiest AND best for the city, which in turn benefits the community because they're spending our tax dollars wisely. Now if only it would trickle on up to higher seats in the government (say jerry Brown).

  3. Maybe not a bad idea. What we would be left with is the real Community of Wildomar rather than the Wildoslavia, created by LAFCO, that we have now.

    1. +1 for Wildoslavia. I may end up using that one in the future.

    2. Why would you be pleased with a term that was obviously meant to be derogatory towards Wildomar?

    3. I have a collection of such terms, and was even called out for the use of Wildotucky for "trying disparage" a person's relatives in Kentucky. Included in the list is Wildovania, Wildakota, Wildosas, Wildonois, Wildiana, Wildochusettes, Wildolina, Wildozona, and the list could go on. I found it funny, even if that wasn't the original intent.


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