Wednesday, May 3, 2017

• Special Meeting Prop 64 2.0

I'll start off by saying that for all of those that left the meeting after the council voted 3-2 in favor of adopting 2 year deferment, after you spent the better part of two hours there, you missed the real vote that happened about 10 minutes later.

Reminds me of the Dodger fans that left game 1 of the 1988 World Series before Kirk Gibson hit his famous home run off of The Eck.
It ain't over till it's over, and you really don't want to be that guy in the parking lot that missed the best parts. Which is what happened to all those that left early.

Now, it wasn't a complete reversal, but it did shave the arbitrary 2 years (May 2019) down to February 2018.

If it's not equivalent to a home run, it's certainly equivalent to seeing a game ending home run overturned with instant replay.

Here's how it went down

After much discussion, councilmember Marsha Swanson put forth a motion to "defer this indefinitely. Until we have the information to make the correct decision."  

Mayor Tim Walker asked if there was a second, and at that point councilmember Bridgette Moore (the swing vote) said, "I would not [want] indefinitely, but [I'd support] two years."

At this Swanson jumped in with, "I'll amend it to two years."

After which Mayor Walker asked, "All in favor?"

The vote came back with Swanson, Walker and Moore voting aye, and Mayor Pro-Tem Ben Benoit and Councilmember Dustin Nigg voting to oppose.

It was at that point that the mass exodus occurred, though the discussion at the dais continued on between the council members and the city attorney Thomas Jex.

Since the council enacted a temporary urgency ordinance in their January meeting, to December 2017, they have the option to extend the TUO by one year — to December 2018... "but then that's it, no more extensions," as Jex put it.

Come December of 2018, there would be no ordinances at all on the matter without making it permanent. The discussion continued and Swanson made it clear that her motion was for two years, extending to May of 2019. 

Thing is, in order for that to happen, a two year moratorium from today, would take a permanent ordinance. Something that would have to go through the planning commission first.

Then the brake light in the parking lot moment happened when Ben Benoit tossed this out there:
Is there no willingness of this body to look at this again, and potentially look at anything for the 2018 ballot? My thought was to bring something back before us for another decision, let's call it February of 2018 and from that point we can start down the path [to an ordinance] if that's where we want to go. It'll give us almost a year [and] we'll have a lot more answers than we have right now. 

With that foot in the door of the agenda item, something that had already been voted on, the discussion began anew. 

He added that they could put the tax on the ballot (something that can only happen when council seats are being decided too) and still opt to not do the ordinances. 

Then Dustin Nigg asked if they could introduce a counter motion to undo what they just voted on. Mayor Walker reminded him that it had already been voted on, but Nigg asked if there was a way and Benoit and Swanson answered simultaneously, "You could ask for a recount."

Walker made it clear that getting the measure on the 2018 ballot wasn't something he was in favor of, so Benoit looked past him (seeking that third vote) to Moore and asked, "Do you feel the same way, not even an option for you?"

In the video you see Benoit then look back over to Nigg, as if that last ditch effort had failed, but then he had to do a double take as Moore responded, "No, I'm ok with February 2018."
The ghost of Bill Buckner had to have been present.
From there the original motion was rescinded 3-2. At which time Benoit didn't waste any time putting his own motion forward saying, "I'd like to make a motion that we bring this item back before us, before December, whatever timeline we need to extend the current moratorium. Then we also bring this item back to us for a full discussion on whether or not to move forward in February [2018] with implementation or going to the ballot or whatever else we might want to do with Prop 64."

That was quickly seconded by councilmember Nigg, but councilmember Moore asked for further discussion. It seemed that Mayor Walker thought that the vote was completely reversed, but it wasn't. 

All that happened was instead of an arbitrary two year period being adopted, this will basically be tabled until February next year when a similar meeting will be held. Part of the reason for that is to allow the state government to finish hammering out their rules on the topic.

Also, even for those that want it legalized yesterday, we can't vote to tax it until November of 2018. This whole process is years in the making, even on the fast track.  Though I'm fine with well regulated pot shops coming into town, that's only if they're going to be taxed.

The final vote on the new motion went 4-1 with only Mayor Walker opposing. Take a look at the video. It's not too long, and it's really pretty interesting if you're concerned about such things.

I'll add the other videos below. The only gap in the videos is about 15 seconds where I had to swap batteries. Thankfully nothing of note was lost.

Other than that I can tell you that it started with city manager Gary Nordquist giving a presentation that discussed the anticipated costs for putting such a measure on the ballot (about $125,000 for the research, and $15,000 to put on the ballot.) Gotta love government, even to defer, that would cost the city $20K.
Looks difficult to read, but this slide gives the projected cost breakdowns.

If the ballot measure were to pass, it was said that it would cost an additional $100,000 to implement (mostly for legal services). and it would still take a year and a half after an election before it could be up and running.

The video of the presentation is just under half an hour.

After the presentation there were public comments. It was mostly split between being in favor of moving forward, and being against (which was disguised as wanting it deferred).

The order of the speakers went this way:
Tammie Bucaro
Ken Mayes
Gina Castanon
Josh Money 
Greg Langworthy
Veronica Langworthy
Arnold mathias
Cleo Duran
Shelly Rumbaugh
Tom Rumbaugh
Joseph Morabito

There were also several emails, but still not more than a dozen by my count... which tells me this is a dead issue and only getting deader with each passing year.

The final video is of the council discussion, and votes (though I already shared the vote(s) portion above)

There were many interesting points, all the council members weighed in. Councilmember Nigg has really been taking his job seriously and he took up about ten minutes with questions and observations alone. 

I found that the salient parts were already covered above, so I'm not going to add more of their quotes. But if you'd like to watch the entire segment it runs about fifty-five minutes.

Based on what I saw, I'm prognosticating that you should still expect this to wind up as a no vote... or should I say, a vote to defer?

There are two solid nays and two solid yeas, with everyone's favorite council member, The Mayor Forever (as Marsha Swanson playfully refers to her), Bridgette Moore, as a possible swing voter here.

Which could turn next year's city council elections into a pot or no pot plebiscite with Tim Walker and Marsha Swanson's seats coming before the voters. Ben Benoit's seat will be on the chopping block too, but if anything, I see his position on this issue as adding to his past vote totals.

•          •          •

It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing!

– Duke Ellington, 1899-1974

Wildomar Rap thinks that Mr. Ellington is referring to a different kind of swing here.


  1. Was wondering about the just completed Solar Project at Sycamore Academy that was approved by the city. Many council members appeared to have a surprised look on their faces, like they knew nothing about it, when it was announced by the woman from Sycamore Academy during Public Comments at the beginning of the council meeting.

    1. Good point... but I thought that I'd just dedicate this blog to the Prop 64 aspects of the meeting.


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