Minor Earthquake Hits Near Wildomar

The United States Geological Survey reports that a minor earthquake struck 1 mile south-west of Wildomar this morning at 10:34am. The earthquake registered 1.5 on the Richter scale.

For more details click here.

Minor Earthquake Hits Near Temecula

The United States Geological Survey reports that a minor earthquake struck 11 miles east-north-east of Temecula yesterday, at 6:40pm. The earthquake registered 1.4 on the Richter scale.

Click here to see the full details.

Menifee Valley or Just Menifee?

I received an e-mail from a reader in Menifee who pointed out that the cityhood effort underway in our town will also change the name from Menifee to Menifee Valley. He couldn't understand the necessity to change names. Neither can I.

First of all, I'm not involved with the cityhood effort, but I do support it, and I don't want to criticize the hard work they are doing.

I came from a town in Orange County called "El Toro". I liked the name because it was unique and cool, "The Bull" in spanish. But when the town voted for incorporation, they also voted on a new name. They had several choices, but the name that won was "Lake Forest". I shook my head in disbelief. Another pastoral crap name like all the others in South Orange County.

I actually joined the effort to "restore" the name El Toro, but it never caught on.

Albeit, "Menifee Valley" is not much of change from "Menifee", but I tend to like short names anyways. And exactly what are we gaining by adding the word "Valley" to the end?

If anything, "valley" seems to be so much like everything else. Everything around here is "valley" this and "valley" that. Here's a short list:

Temecula Valley
Murrieta Valley
Perris Valley
Moreno Valley
Quail Valley
French Valley
Paloma Valley
Hemet Valley
San Jacinto Valley

By the way, technically there is no "Hemet Valley". Hemet is located in the San Jacinto Valley. But yet there is a "Hemet Valley Medical Center", a "Hemet Valley Pipe and Supply", a "Hemet Valley Mall", and the list goes on.

And where the heck is the valley in Quail Valley?

Have any of you noticed that there is now a sign posted along the I-15 northbound, around Corona Lakes, marking the boundary for a town called, "Temescal Valley"? HELLO!! There is no valley there! It's all canyon. It should be called "Temescal Canyon".

I wonder if we have a little bit of "valley envy"?

To add further argument to this issue, I'm now looking at a topographical map of the area known as Menifee, as defined by LAFCO, and it shows that Menifee encompasses the Menifee Valley, along with the Paloma Valley, the southern portion of the Perris Valley, as well as "Quail Valley" which is technically not a valley. So, it would not be an accurate representation of the geography to name the new city "Menifee Valley".

Naming the new town "Menifee Valley" would be to erase the name sakes of this tri-valley (or quad valley) area. Why do we need to rewrite the maps? Why not keep all the valleys as they are, and just name the city "Menifee"? I guess I'll never understand the need to change names.

Temecula in the Movies

law of the lashIn case any of you were wondering if Temecula had ever been featured in a movie, it has.

"Law of the Lash" which came out way back in 1947, features a character named, "Lash" La Rue and his sidekick, Fuzzy Q. Jones, who arrive in Temecula to stock up on supplies. The duo ends up finding thieves and cutthroats running amok in the town, and take it upon themselves to rid Temecula of the bad guys.

I can't tell you if the movie accurately portrays Temecula as it was in the old west, probably not. Movie producers didn't care about making historical documentaries back then. But it would be interesting to see if they make any mention of Swing Inn Cafe.

The DVD is available from Amazon.com.

Inland Empire is Seeing Red

An article published today in the Los Angeles Times, by writer Maria L. La Ganga, reports that Murrieta is strengthening its conservative attitude. It's no secret to us who live in the Inland Empire that all of Riverside County tend to vote conservative. But it sounds like the the LA Times is pointing their finger at us, as if to say that we're some kind of cancer they cannot control:

Murrieta is a city of affordable housing and deep conservatism -- a reminder that beyond the coasts, California is trending Republican.

Here in the stout heart of red California, voters snort with disdain when they hear that President Bush's strong victory caught America's Democrats by surprise. Not a single Murrieta precinct swung Sen. John Kerry's way in the bitterly fought 2004 election; in many parts of town, 70% or more of the electorate cast ballots for Bush — a strong show of red unity in one of America's bluest states.

The same values that drew voters here to Bush in the first place also led many of them to Murrieta, the self-proclaimed gem of the Temecula Valley, where streets are safe, schools are good and housing is more affordable than in many other parts of California.

Churches outnumber bars here some 15 to one, 40% of the residents are of school age, and 71% are white. Murrieta's population has quadrupled since 1990, as thoroughbred ranches and chaparral-covered hills due east of Orange County have given way to subdivisions with names like Pacific Oaks, Sedona, Meadowlane.

"People come here with their families, and they want a conservative lifestyle that they can re-create," said Mayor Pro Tem Kelly Seyrato, who moved here nearly 15 years ago with his wife from Los Angeles County so they could buy a house and start a family. "We were able to recapture the fresh neighborhood of the '60s feel…. It had a lot of promise out here."

Boomtown California is Republican California, and this 13-year-old city of 77,661 could be its capital — bustling with earth-moving equipment and flag men, bristling with signs that promise "Coming Soon!" and "Starting in the $200,000's," Murrieta is all road construction and just-framed subdivisions and a parade route that navigates delicately through the confusion.

Bush lost California resoundingly last month, so it is easy to forget that more people voted for him in this state than in any other in America. With population and political clout clustered in Democratic Los Angeles County and the San Francisco Bay Area, it's also easy to overlook the rapid spread of conservative California.

Since 1992, the number of California counties with more registered Republicans than voters of any other party has nearly tripled, from 13 to 37 out of 58. That growth has shaped exurbs such as Murrieta, where "we're red. We're getting redder … [and] the Democrats don't even bother to organize," said Shaun Bowler, professor of political science at UC Riverside.
No doubt that towns all over South West Riverside County are booming. But this is exactly what liberals in California are afraid of. Notice how the writer described Murrieta:

Churches outnumber bars here some 15 to one, 40% of the residents are of school age, and 71% are white. Murrieta's population has quadrupled since 1990, as thoroughbred ranches and chaparral-covered hills due east of Orange County have given way to subdivisions with names like Pacific Oaks, Sedona, Meadowlane.
What does this supposed to mean? That if you vote conservative then you must be white? If you're conservative, you must have a lot of churches? If you're conservative you live in boxy little subdivisions?

The thing is that in many parts of Los Angeles there are big problems with crime, problems with school attendance, problems with poverty. Because of that, they look to places like Murrieta, Temecula, and South Orange County, with great disdain. Liberals believe that their agenda is the correct agenda, and yet those who live predominantly liberal areas can't solve their own local problems.

Before liberals start pointing their finger here as a growing hotbed of conservatism, they should start by pointing their finger at themselves as a growing hotbed of failed policies.

Pechanga and Morongo Casinos

I discovered a website that allows people to rate casinos, and found out they have a number of ratings and reviews for Pechanga.

According to the reviews, a lot of people hate Pechanga. Personally, I kinda like the Pechanga Casino, though I don't care much for their slots. It seems they have the most greediest slots. Everytime my wife and I drop some twenties into the machines, we never hit any sizeable winnings.

On the other hand, we visited the new Morongo Casino last Friday, mainly to dine at their buffet. Being it was a Friday evening, they had their most expensive price going, $26.00 per person (approx). But, it was very good. The crab legs were huge and cold, not the like skinny warm things at Pala, or the salty chunks you get at Pechanga. The service was excellent there. I think we'll be going there more often, but maybe during the cheaper times of the week.

Help Needed to Name New Elementary School

A new elementary school is planned near the Mapleton Community, along Scott, Keller, and Antelope Roads. A new committee was formed to come up with a name for the new school. A name with historical significance is desired.

Help is being sought from anyone who can provide insight into the history of that area of land. Does anyone know the origins of Keller road? Is anyone familiar with any prominent pioneer families in that area?

Please contact Bill Zimmerman, who sits on the Menifee Union School District's Bond Oversite Committee, via e-mail at: billyzman@yahoo.com.

More About William Newport and a Quail Preserve

Was going through another old book, this one entitled, "My Seventy Years in California, 1857-1927", by Jackson Alpheus Graves. Graves was born in Iowa in 1852. His family left there in 1857 to go to California.

Graves grew up in Northern California, but later moved to Los Angeles. In his book he describes his life's memories, and shares some information about the politics, the social scene, and industry of Southern California. And he also mentions something about the way of life in Menifee, though he doesn't mention Menifee by name.

Here are some paragraphs I found, located in Chapter XXIII of this book, concerning William Newport, and a "quail preserve":

Harry was as good a fisherman as he was a shot. Whenever we went out, we always got game. A crowd of us had a quail preserve of 2,000 acres fenced and posted, some nine miles south of Perris, in Riverside County. We had good shooting there until the March flying field was built there, during the war. They actually scared all the quail out of that section.

I sometimes think that it is a wonder that I am alive, considering some of the fool things I have done for the sake of shooting. After I lost my left limb, and before I had an artificial limb, I went out to our grounds several times, quail shooting. We used to stop at Billy Newport's (a bluff, hale, good-natured Englishman). He was a good sport and a good shot. He would drive me around in a wagon, and he would get in the most impossible places. One day we were away up on a hillside, amid rocks, boulders and brush. The ground was so steep that the wagon absolutely careened. Chanslor, Schwarz and Klokke were in good shooting, near the foot of this small mountain. All at once, and immense flock of quail flew up in front of them, clear to the top of the mountain. Newport handed me the reins, and jumped out, and said he would run around and head them off. He went around the side of the mountain, until he got opposite where the quail lit, and then started up to the summit. Pretty soon I heard him shooting, and the quail began to whiz past me. I sat there in the wagon and killed six, which fell in various places on that steep hillside. When the flight ceased, I tied the reins to the spring of the seat, so the horses could not move, got out of the wagon, and on my crutches wandered around on that sidehill, and got my six birds. The last one was on a flat rock at the foot of a steep declivity, which I could not possibly negotiate with my crutches. I laid them down, sat down, and went down the hill on my hands with my one foot out in front of me. I got the bird, again sat down, and went up the declivity backwards on my hands, got to my crutches, and when Newport came back I was in the wagon, my six birds lying on the seat. He could hardly believe that I had done this.
Could the "quail preserve", which Graves described as being nine miles south of Perris, be why Quail Valley got its name?

By the way, the "Harry" that Graves mentions in the first paragraph refers to his chauffeur, Harry Graves, no relation.

State Democrats Propose Controlling Menifee Land Use

The Associated Press reported today in an article entitled, "Senate Democrats to tackle sprawl and shipping problems" that State Senate Democrats are proposing an idea to shift zoning control away from local governments and giving it to the State. This means a state agency would decide what to do with open land in Menifee.

Democrats said they made this proposal because California's poorer families are not finding enough low income homes and apartments. State Senator Don Perata, who is expected to be elected Senate president pro tem Monday, said the issues threaten a way of life in the Golden State:

"I know in my bones that the congestion and sprawl of this state is going to undo the California dream,".
The AP went on to report that Perata and other state Democrats think that shifting local zoning issues over to State control will improve the quality of life for lower-income families:

While short on specifics, Perata said his party will develop legislative proposals to fight sprawl, including more housing in older or blighted areas, encouraging more affordable housing and improving planning so that housing and transportation needs are considered together.
However, I feel that this proposal is actually an attempt to take money away from local governments.

As it stands now, home builders must gain approval for their development projects from city and county officials. In addition, they must pay developer fees for each home built. Cities and counties use these fees to pay for the costs of accomodating increased population, such as road widening, traffic signals, more parks, more police, etc.

If the State of California takes over control of local zoning issues, then those developer fees will be paid to the State, instead of cities and counties. Democrats may suggest that the State will hand over those funds to the cities and counties, but can we really trust them hand over 100% of those funds?

In the last general election on Nov 2, 2004, the voters of California approved Proposition 1A, which creates a Constitutional Amendment prohibiting the State from "raiding" local government revenues. Prop 1A grew out of a growing problem of State Legislators taking money away from cities and counties to pay for their frivolous spending habits, as much as $40 billion since 1992.

This latest proposal from Perata and other state Democrats is an attempt circumvent Proposition 1A, under the guise of "controlling urban sprawl".

If Perata and his spend-happy pals are allowed to do this, they will use the open land in Menifee, as well as open land all over the Inland Empire, as a "cash cow", allowing developers to build rows and rows high density, low income homes, in exchange for developer fees.

Menifee Residents to Pay Higher Water Bills

The Eastern Municipal Water District announced earlier this week that water bills will increase for most customers.

If the average monthly water bill for Menifee residents was $34.46, it will now be $36.04 beginning January 1, 2005, according to a chart published by the EMWD.

The price hike is due to an increase in price for imported water from the Metropolitan Water District, as well as a 3.3 percent adjustment based on last year’s Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Menifee Valley History - William Newport

William Newport was one of the earliest pioneers of Menifee. Yes, he's the guy whom Newport Road was named after. I found an entry in an old book entitled, "History of Riverside County, California", written by Elmer Wallace Holmes, originally published in 1912, by the Historic Record Company.

In the Chapter 18, entitled, "The Perris Valley", is a paragraph describing William Newport:

Another pioneer to be mentioned in the history of the valley is William Newport, rancher in Menifee. Mr. Newport was born in England in 1856. He came to this country in 1876, and came to Perris valley in 1885 and purchased 2,000 acres of land. When he moved to Menifee, although a young man, he resembled the patriarchs, as there were twelve wagons in his train, loaded with implements, provisions, lumber, and his cook-house on wheels was a bulding 9x18 feet. He found the valley very dry, and inhabited only by a few poor people; but poor as they were pitied the young man who, as they thought, was to make a failure of farming. After unloading the caravan he built a good ranch house and two large barns, and began farming his 2,000 acres, nearly every foot of which was tillable. Could you see this same ranch today you would find a beautiful home presided over by a dignified, queenly wife, who was Miss Katherine Lloyd, also a native of England. There are four fine, manly boys, sons of Mr. and Mrs. Newport, and one daughter, Katherine. The house is filled with many luxuries and interesting curios, and the grounds about the place is large and beautiful. Mr. Newport has been a most valuable factor in showing what can be done with land in that section when properly handled.
Further into the same chapter, William Newport is mentioned again, this time in the subject of water:

In 1904 William Newport brought action against the Temescal Water Co. to prevent them from pumping water from the Perris valley into the Corona valley, for he believed the water level in the Perris valley was being lowered. He was defeated in the courts, however, and the Temescal Water Co. still operates at Ethanac.
To shed some light on this subject, the Perris valley had been supplied with water from Bear Valley reservoir, a dammed lake up in the San Bernardino Mountains. Water was delivered via steel pipe. But by the middle 1890's, that water supply dwindled, and the farms of the Perris Valley died, and the farmers packed up and left.

Then in 1895, a farmer by the name of Dr. W. B. Payton, moved in with the intent of digging a well, and using a gasoline engine to pump out water to irrigate lands. It worked. Soon, farmers everywhere were digging wells to irrigate their crops. Then the Temescal Water Co. began digging wells and piped the water north to Corona. This brought the ire of William Newport, who filed the lawsuit.

But also note that the Temescal Water Co. had its pumping station at "Ethanac". The same history book also explains the origins of that unusual name:

The Temescal Water Co. has its station at Ethanac, on the Santa Fe, a few miles southeast of Perris. Ethanac was named in honor of Ethan Allen Chase of Riverside, and is a pretty little town, the inhabitants being chiefly the employes of the Temescal Water Co.

Menifee Valley History - The Aikin Family

If any of you are interested in studying the history of Menifee, I came across a scanned and imaged copy of "History of Riverside County, California", written by Elmer Wallace Holmes, originally published in 1912, by the Historic Record Company.

In the Chapter 18, entitled, "The Perris Valley", there is the story of the Aikin Family, which describes the trip they made when travelling to their permanent home in the Menifee Valley:

Mining and "dry farming" now began to attract the outside world to this section, and people began to come in and settle on claims. In 1882 came Mr. and Mrs. Henry W. Aikin and settled on a 160-acre tract in Menifee. Mr. Aikin is a native of Wisconsin Mrs. Aikin is a native daughter. They are the oldest pioneers living in the valley. When they staked their claim not a tree was to be seen growing in the valley. In November, 1882, they left their home in Los Angeles county for Menifee, the party consisting of Mr. and Mrs. Aikin, a year old babe, Mrs. Aikin's sister, Miss Mary Lee, and a young man by the name of Shoemaker. They traveled with a canvas-covered wagon, bring what farming implements they could. They were two days making the trip, camping over night on the plains between Pomona and Riverside.

The next morning, they drove a few miles to the river, where the horses were watered and the party breakfasted. While preparing breakfast, Mrs. Aikin climbed up to get something out of the wagon, and in stepping backward to the ground she took hold of an iron rod and in some way her wedding ring was broken. No doubt this was taken by the young wife as a peculiar omen.

When they started on again, a hard north wind was blowing, so Mr. Aikin fastened the canvas curtain down in front of the wagon, and they saw nothing of the country through which they were passing until they reached the top of Box Springs grade. The wind had ceased blowing, so the curtain was raised, and the San Jacinto plains stretched away before them, a barren plains with rocky hills. You can imagine the disappointment of the young wife, who had pictured a valley, surrounded by rolling hills, covered with live-oak trees. To her it seemed hardly fit for a sheep pasture.

When the party neared the Copeland ranch, a man came running toward them beckoning. When they had driven near enough, he told them an old man had been killed in a well thye had been digging, a large bucket of rock and dirt having fallen on the old man while working down in the well. Mr. Aikin and Mr. Shoemaker went at once to his assistance. Mr. Aikin took half of the windlass rope and by means of it climbed down into the well, which was about forty feet deep. The old man, whose name was Abe Reed, was not killed, but very badly hurt. They brought him out of the well and put him on a moving machine, which Mr. Aikin was trailing behind his wagon, and after making him as comfortable as possible they took him to his own cabin a few miles farther on. He asked them to drive to Pinacate station and tell his sister-in-law, a Mrs. Reed, about his accident.

When they reached Pinacate they found the Hickey and Reynolds families celebrating the wedding of Prico Hickey and Miss Mattie Reynolds. Miss Mattie Reynolds was the sister of A. W. Reynolds, who still lives in the Perris Valley. Leaving Pinacate they drove on a few miles farther south, and on the close of Thanksgiving Day reached the place that for many years was to be their home.

The writer can well imagine the loneliness of the days and nights that followed their coming into this seemingly desert land. No doubt the young wife bore it bravely, all for love's sweet sake - love for her husband and the baby boy. That baby now is a successful business man in Los Angeles - the city of his mother's birth.

Sun City Thrift Store Vandalised

I was appalled to read in The Californian today about the thrift store in Sun City being vandalised and burglarized on a regular basis. What kind of person steals from a thrift store? Particularly one that raises money for charity?

Perhaps while donating to charity is among the noblest of deeds, stealing from charity is the lowest form of scum.

I hope that now this story has been published, folks will keep a vigilant eye, and whoever is doing this will get busted.