Property Values in Sun City Core

Ted Wegener, a real estate appraiser specializing in Sun City, has published some new information on his website showing the average value of a home in Sun City Core is about $145.00 per square foot as of May 2007.

This figure is down about $20.00 per square foot from a year ago...
HERE IS A TREND ANALYSIS OF PRICE PER SQFT IN THE SUN CITY CORE. PRICE PER SQFT ANALYSIS IS OFTEN USED BY REALTORS IN PRICING PROPERTY. IF THERE WAS ANY DOUBT ABOUT DECLINING VALUES IN SUN CITY THIS SHOULD RESOLVE IT. THE ANALYSIS IS FOR THE PERIOD 5/01/2006 THRU 5/31/2007. AS YOU CAN SEE PRICES ARE DOWN APPROX. $20 PSF IN THE LAST YEAR. THATS $20,000 ON A 1000 SQFT HOUSE. IN THE CORE THERE ARE CURRENTLY (6/14/2007) 123 HOMES FOR SALE. IN MAY THERE WAS 22 SALES WHICH IS .70 SALES PER DAY. IT WOULD TAKE 6 MONTHS TO DISPOSE OF THE STANDING INVENTORY.
You can see a graph of his findings on his website...
http://www.suncityappraiser.com/suncitypricepersqft.htm




Sheriff Cracks Down on Illegal Sign Posting

Illegal sign postingThe Riverside County Sheriff launched a program Wednesday to deal with the problem of illegal sign posting in the unincorporated areas between Scott Road and Rancho California Road (areas near Lake Skinner and French Valley).

The program relies on assistance from the community, and received a boost from Waste Management Inc. with two industrial sized dumpsters.

A total of 14 cubic yards of signs and materials were removed and trashed.

The Sheriff said that the signs are not only an eyesore but a driving hazard because some of them obstruct visibility at intersections.

To prevent illegal sign posting from becoming a regular event, code enforcement officers will be contacting persons and businesses displayed on any future illegal signs and will issue warnings and possible action.




Menifee is a Foreclosure Hot Spot of the USA

foreclosure signJohn Occhi, a Realtor in Hemet, writes a blog on the ActiveRain blog network and this week he published a list of the top 500 zip codes in the United States with the most foreclosure filings.

Menifee (92584) came in ranked at #253, with 217 filings in 2006.

You can see the full chart he prepared at this link...
http://activerain.com/blogsview/132444/Hemet-two-of-138

Being at #253 put's our town right in the middle of the pack. But before you consider that average, keep in mind this is a list of the top 500 worst zip codes. There are approximately 43,000 zip codes total in the USA. That puts Menifee in the top 1% of the country in foreclosures.

Among all the South West Riverside County zip codes, Murrieta's 92563 ranks #22, the worst in SW County, with 465 filings.

That's followed by Murrieta's 92562, ranking at #55, with 358 filings, and Temecula's 92592, at #70.

Perris (92571) at #97, then Menifee (92584) at #253, then Lake Elsinore (92530) at #258, Hemet (92544) at #313, and Hemet (92545) at #396, rounds out the rest of SW County's top 500 representatives.

One observation I have to add is that Murrieta and Temecula's zip codes rank much higher than other SW County cities in foreclosures. Why is that? First of all, people buying homes in SW County come here for the affordable housing, so right off the bat they have tight finances to begin with. But instead of buying a home in Menifee, Hemet, Lake Elsinore, or Perris, they opted to spend a little more in buying a home in Murrieta and Temecula.

I presume they were attracted by the abundance of shopping and dining, as well as the higher quality schools, and probably the slightly shorter commutes into San Diego County. But as the foreclosure data shows, taking on a higher mortgage payment to get a little bit of luxury was a bad decision.

How does this foreclosure data affect our home values?

I'm not a real estate expert, so I can't really speak from knowledge. But I do know that banks tend to sell foreclosed properties at prices much lower than typical home sellers. If you're selling your home at $400,000, and a bank is selling a foreclosed home just like yours, on the same block, for $375,000, it's going to drag the market value down.

Any real estate professionals out there care to comment?




Valley Health System Agrees to Sell Hospitals

As reported today in the Press Enterprise, Valley Health System's board of trustees voted to sell off all three of its hospitals to Del Mar-based Select Health Care...
Near midnight, the board voted 7-0 to sell the district assets, which include Hemet Valley Medical Center, Menifee Valley Medical Center and Moreno Valley Community Hospital, to the venture capital firm for about $135 million.
Read the full article here...
http://www.pe.com/..../PE_News_Local_D_webvalley.107ad86.html

The article goes on to say that the sale cannot be made until approved by voters within the next 120 days.

Selling Menifee Valley Medical Center is what I've been calling for Valley Health System to do ever since Measure I was put before voters last year. The hospital is pretty much rock-bottom at this point in terms of quality of care and level of service. Getting some new ownership and management in place can't make things any worse.

Menifee Valley is a growing community, and its gonna grow even more with Countryside Marketplace coming next year. We need someone new to come in and breath some new life into our hospital.




Peeping Tom Arrested

A man in San Jacinto was arrested for videotaping women changing their clothes in a locker room at the Menifee campus of Mt. San Jacinto College.

According to CBS News, Michael Glynn Church Jr., an employee at the college was booked into the Southwest Detention Center, on suspicion of grand theft of property, receiving stolen property, disorderly conduct, and peeping.

You can read the full article here...
http://cbs2.com/local/local_story_176215634.html




Menifee Independence Day Parade Shaping Up

Marcy Riehm, the parade chairperson for the 2007 Menifee Independence Day Parade, provided us with an update on this year's parade participants.

The Independence Day Parade takes place on June 30, 2007, starting at the Mt San Jacinto College-Menifee Campus at 5:00pm, and travels east down La Piedra Road and ending at the Wheatfield Sports Park off Menifee Road.

Here's just some of the groups that will be in the parade...
  • Young Californians (Cheer & Dance Group)

  • Menifee Wildcat Jt. All Americans (Cheer group)

  • Calif Spirit Corp (Dance & Cheer Group)

  • Deals on Wheels (Classic Roadsters Club)

  • Menifee Valley Pop Warner

  • Menifee Valley Athletic Club

  • Jr. Jazzercise

  • Empire Pagent Winners (Miss Menifee, etc)

  • Menifee Cub Scouts Pack #444 (Color Guard)

  • Revival Fellowship (Childrens Ministry group)

  • NJB (BasketBall League)

  • Cub Scout Pack @ 385

  • Paloma Valley Pony League

  • Schultz Tree Service Float

  • Century 21

  • Menifee Animal Humane Society

  • 411 Menifee Valley.com Group

  • Menifee Fire Station #76
The Grand Marshall for the parade will be three Menifee Residents who are all Armed Forces War Vets from: WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Operation Restore Hope in Somalia, Desert Storm,& the current Iraq Conflict.

Paradise Cheverolet is donating a Convertible for the Grand Marshall's Parade ride.

The parade is still seeking MORE participants! Contact Marcy Riehm at (951) 377-6089 or email: riehmteam@verizon.net

Remember: Following the parade is the annual Independence Day Celebration at Wheatfield Park with food booths, vendor booths, games, entertainment, concluding with a fireworks display at 9:00pm.




Menifee Valley Hoedown, July 14

A group called "Seniors on Stage" will present its "Menifee Valley Hoedown", a country music dance and comedy show at Motte's Barn in Romoland.

Originally, reported in The Valley News, it's described as...
a "live", all-country show with singers, dancers, comedians, all authentic live country music from early days to present.
The barn is located at 28380 State Highway 74 in Romoland.

There will be food catered by Hamshaw Farms.

Read more about it here...
http://www.temeculavalleynews.com/story.asp?story_ID=23660




Tutoring Program Gets a Boost

A tutoring program in Menifee got a big boost from 3rd District Supervisor Jeff Stone recently, to the tune of $5,000.00.

According to The Valley News, the program called, "Grandparents and graduates, Reading, Enriching And Tutoring", otherwise known as "GREAT", relies on senior citizens to help kids experiencing difficulty with reading and math.

Read the full article here...
http://www.temeculavalleynews.com/story.asp?story_ID=23643

To date, the program has built up a volunteer network of 99 tutors helping 304 kids in 5 different schools. If you'd like to help out, contact Lisa Sobek at (951) 679-7076.




Parolee Arrested in Sun City

The Riverside County Sheriff reports that Wilson Lahood of Sun City was arrested on charges of violating his parole, and are now suspicious that he may have been harboring underaged runaway girls.

Here's the full report...
On Thursday, June 21, 2007 at 11:06 AM, deputies from the Perris Station responded to a call at the 26000 block of Pacoima Ct., City of Sun City.

Sheriff's dispatch received information that Wilson Lahood, 30 years old, of Sun City, may be harboring underage runaway girls in exchange for sexual favors. Dispatchers did a check on Wilson Lahood and found he had an active arrest warrant for Violation of Parole, he was considered armed and dangerous, and a drug registrant.

Deputies spotted Lahood on the driveway of the above-mentioned address. Lahood entered a vehicle and fled from the location. Deputies tried to initiate a traffic stop and Lahood refused to pull over. Lahood led deputies on a vehicle pursuit, which lasted about half mile. Lahood then jumped out of his moving vehicle and fled on foot.

Lahood's vehicle continued to travel forward and eventually crashed into another parked vehicle. After a search of the area using a Sheriff's K9 team, Lahood was found hiding in a trash can near the corner of Annadale Rd. and Potomac Dr. in Sun City.

Lahood was taken into custody without further incident. The allegations of Lahood's contact with underage runaways is being investigated.

Lahood was booked at the Robert Presley Detention Center for the outstanding Felony Parole Warrant, Felony Evading a Peace Officer and Driving on a Suspended Driver's License.

Anyone with additional information about this incident is encouraged to call investigators at the Perris Sheriff's Station at (951) 940-6200.




Menifee Valley Youth Football Clinic

Open to all young football players, is a youth football clinic this Saturday, June 23, 2007, at the Paloma Valley High School Stadium.

Here is some information that was provided to me...

Instructed by: Head Coach Bert Esposito and staff


Basic offensive, defensive and speed fundamentals


June 23, 2007
Paloma Valley High School Stadium
5-6 year olds 8:00am-11:00am $25
7-14 year olds 8:00am-3:00pm $50 with lunch


All participants wear tshirt, shorts and cleats/tennis shoes


Registration the day of clinic at 7:00am
Questions call 951-639-0238 or www.menifeewildcatsjaaf.com


This is to benefit the high school football program.




Menifee MAC Recap

Conrad Melton, the Presiding Officer of the Menifee Municipal Advisory Council, wrote up a recap of last night's Menifee MAC meeting, where Donahue Schriber gave a presentation of Countryside Marketplace.

Here is his recap...
Four hundred happy and curious Sun City and Menifee residents came to Webb Hall Wednesday night to hear about what is and isn't coming to the Countryside Marketplace.


Jeff Chambers, Vice President of the project's developer, Donahue-Schreiber Realty Group, talked and answered questions for over an hour about the businesses that will be included and why some won't, in the development just West of the 215, South of Newport.


With the reminder that any of them could drop out at the eleventh hour, Chambers said current expectations include: Lowes, three Banks, a Hawaiian BBQ, Cingular and Verizon Phones, cleaners, a Japanese Sushi place, Chopolte Mexican Fast food, Starbucks, BJs Brewery and Restaurant, a Red Robin Restaurant, TGIFriday’s, Chick-Fill-A, Staples, Petco, Linens and Things, a Bakery, Old Navy, Kohl's, Best Buy, Sports Chalet, Shoe Stores, some beauty salons and an In & Out Burger.


Target will expand when it moves over from its current location on the East side of the Freeway. The good-natured crowd hummed with approval when it was announced that Beverages and More was expected, and that all the full size restaurants would include full bar service.


The evening also turned out to be kind of a "town hall wish list" for many who were hoping that some of their favorite restaurants and businesses would be there. Tops on the list of wanted but won't be coming were Red Lobster, Trader Joe's, Costco, a fabric/crafts store, and a movie theater.


Behind the Marketplace will be some homes and included therein will be a park and bike trails. Scheduled for completion slightly after the commercial project are a government center and a major aquatic facility, both of whom will be built next door on Newport Road.


Mr. Chambers noted that great care has been taken to utilize every possible means of preventing traffic problems, with a planned future expansion of the on- and off-ramps of the adjacent 215 freeway.


Completion of the project is expected in Fall, 2009. The evening was sponsored by the Menifee Valley Municipal Advisory Council. Third District Supervisor Jeff Stone, who is credited as a major architect of the project, was unable to attend as he was in Washington, DC, lobbying for the Riverside Conservation Authority.
Anna Hill, a Realtor in Menifee, also wrote up a description of the Menifee MAC meeting, which you can read on her blog, by clicking here.




Why Aren't There More Private Schools in Menifee?

menifee valley middle schoolAs reported in The Californian today, the Menifee Union School District voted to take away elective courses from students who don't do well in Math, English, and other basic studies....
Instead, the students in the year-round schools who did not pass the Standardized Testing and Reporting will be enrolled in a special intervention class in the subject in which they're underachieving, Menifee Union School District officials said. Upon achieving proficiency, the students will be allowed to return to band or other electives.
Basically, if your student can't pass the basic proficiency tests in math, english, then he or she won't be allowed to take band, art, and other elective classes. Instead, they'll have to take these "special ed" classes to help boost their proficiency.

I think the most important factor to consider is this: the middle schools in our valley, which this policy affects the most, are public schools, funded by tax dollars. You and I are paying for these students' education. If these kids are going to get a free education from my tax dollars, then I expect proficiency from them.

But having said that, I wish that our school district as well as our State could foster the growth of more private schools. We need MORE private schools, not public schools.

I think a big reason why our public schools have so little funds to work with is because they have so many students, and not enough teachers and facilities to educate them efficiently. The reason why there are so many students in public schools is because there are no other schools to send them to.

I believe many parents have the income necessary to send their kids to private schools, except that there are very few private schools available. I think many kids don't belong in public schools simply because their parents have more than enough money to afford private schooling. In other words, public schooling should be available for families who require public assistance. If there were more private schools, it would greatly lessen the burden on public schools.

So the question is, why aren't there more private schools available? Certainly, the demand is there. I know there are many charter schools that operate throughout Southern California, except they have to get the approval from our school district to operate. So, why doesn't our school district approve more of these schools, and let them flourish in Menifee Valley?

I'd like to have one our of School Board members, a teacher, or a PTA member, post a comment and address this question.




Cityhood Incorporation Update

Betty Royer, a member of the Menifee MAC, and someone who has been active with the Menifee Valley Incorporation Committee, gave an update on the cityhood incorporation effort at the Menifee MAC meeting this evening.

This evening's MAC meeting was dominated by Jeff Chambers of Donahue Schriber, the company that's building the Countryside Marketplace. Betty spoke in context with this new shopping center and how it will help the cityhood effort.

In summary, she noted that cityhood effort is largely resting with GST Consulting, who is conducting a fiscal analysis. This analysis is required to determine if Menifee Valley can produce enough tax revenue to sustain itself. Betty said that this new shopping center will factor into the analysis.

She further explained that cityhood will not result in higher property taxes. She said that communities are not allowed to raise property taxes to justify its fiscal analysis.

Once the fiscal analysis is completed, and if the fiscal analysis shows that Menifee Valley has enough tax revenue to sustain itself, a ballot measure will be brought to the residents of Menifee Valley for a popular vote.

If Menifee Valley does not incorporate into a city in 2008, Betty simply said that there will be other consequences.

Just to give you my personal opinion, if Menifee Valley fails in its bid for cityhood, it will be carved up into sections and annexed by Perris, Murrieta, and Canyon Lake. Possibly even Lake Elsinore. The only thing that's stopping these cities from doing it right now, is the protection we've been granted by LAFCO (local agency formation commission). That protection expires in 2008.

My guess is that the entire Sun City area will become a part of Perris. Quail Valley, Menifee Hills, and Audie Murphy Ranch will become Canyon Lake. Murrieta will take everything else.

When a city wants to annex a piece of land, the people living on that land has only 20 days to gather up enough signatures to stop it. Someone correct me if I am wrong. So, look out Menifee Valley!




Seat Available on the Menifee MAC

The Menifee Municipal Advisory Council is looking to fill a soon-to-be-vacant seat within its membership.

Betty Royer, one of the five people who make up the Menifee MAC, is stepping down from her seat this July, and will be relocating to North Carolina.

Anyone living in the Menifee Valley can apply for this position. 3rd District Supervisor Jeff Stone will appoint someone to fill the seat.

The Menifee MAC organizes meetings and hearings within the Menifee Valley for the purpose of gathering community feedback, and then reporting this information to the 3rd District Supervisor. They are like Jeff Stone's "eyes and ears" for Menifee Valley.

If you're interested, contact his office at (951) 955-1030.




Countryside Marketplace Presentation

Earlier this evening, Jeff Chambers, who is with Donahue Schriber, the developer that's building the Countryside Marketplace, gave a presentation at the Menifee MAC meeting.

I attended the meeting, and wanted to fill you in.

First of all, this was probably one of the most well-attended Menifee MAC meetings I've ever seen. There are about 250 seats in the meeting room, and almost every one was filled. There were other people standing in the back as well. The mayor of Canyon Lake was present as well.

Supervisor Jeff Stone did not speak at the meeting, contrary to what was announced in the Press Enterprise article yesterday. I didn't see him there.

Jeff Chambers, the representative from Donahue Schriber was quickly introduced and gave what I thought was a very captive presentation. He didn't give any "business" speak, he recognized the audience as future customers of Countryside Marketplace, and understood that most people wanted to know what kinds of businesses would be in the new shopping center. He spent most of the time identifying which stores, restaurants and businesses would be there, and went into details on why certain brands were coming, and why other brands were not. He also described his company and its history of building shopping centers.

Donahue Schriber has been in the business of building shopping centers for 40 years now. They own 65 shopping centers throughout California and Arizona. They built the Glendale Galleria and the Hemet Mall. They bought the land for Countryside Marketplace in February of 2005, consisting of 70 acres of land. Actual square footage of Countryside Marketplace is 735,000, and is what the company terms a "power center". It's going to be the second largest shopping center in South West Riverside County, with the Promenade Mall being the largest.

In addition to building the shopping center, Donahue Schriber will build and improve roadways, sewers, and other facilities.

Jeff Chambers said that one of the first things they did towards identifying which businesses to bring into the new shopping center was to interview several residents. Overwhelmingly, everyone wanted more restaurants, and there's plenty of food businesses going in.

They also found that people wanted a bookstore, such as a Barnes & Noble or a Borders. However, it won't be happening. Borders is not adding new stores at this moment, and Barnes & Noble is "iffy" at this time. Jeff said that Barnes & Noble may eventually come to Menifee, but not to Countryside Marketplace.

They also learned that residents here wanted some kind of fabric store, such as a Michaels or Joann's, but they won't be coming to Countryside Marketplace either. However, he felt that Michaels is a big possibility for the old Target building, after Target relocates to the new shopping center.

Target, of course, is the key anchor business for Countryside Marketplace. This won't be a "Super Target", but will be a bigger Target, adding an extra 55,000 square feet of space. There will be more food sold at this new Target, but it won't be the full size grocery section found at a Super Target. Once the Target moves to Countryside Marketplace, the old Target building will very likely be remodeled into three separate stores, one of them possibly being a fabric store, Michaels or Joann's.

They expect the first tenant to open its doors to the public in September of 2008.

Below is a photograph I took of a large chart that Jeff had on display. The center of the chart is washed out from my flash...

Countryside Marketplace
Click on the image to see a larger view.

List of Businesses

Here's a list of businesses that Jeff Chambers named as being in the new shopping center. He said these businesses will definitely be there. He also said there's always a possibility that some of these businesses might pull out, but that they are all under contract, and will probably not pull out...

Retailers...

Target
Lowes
Kohls
Best Buy
Linens and Things
Sportmart
Old Navy
Tilly's
Lane Bryant
PETCO
Staples
Beverages and More
Payless Shoes
Jewelry Store (yet to be named)

Food and Drink...

B.J.'s Restaurant & Brewery
Chipotle or Baja Fresh (not decided yet)
Starbucks
Jamba Juice
Panda Express (or other fast food Chinese)
Japanese Restaurant (yet to be named)
Corner Bakery or Panadera Bread (not decided yet)
Red Robin
Chick Fila
TGI Fridays
In-N-Out Burger
Round Table Pizza

Other Businesses...

Wells Fargo Bank
Wachovia Bank
Washington Mutual Bank

Jeff Chambers also said they're looking for a few local area businesses to move into Countryside Marketplace. These would be restaurants or retailers that are unique to Riverside County, and offer something with local flair.

Donahue Schriber also has several other buildings that still need tenants.

Questions and Answers

The presentation then shifted in a question and answer session. I've presented them below. Note that these questions and answers were read off very quickly, and I could not write them down word-for-word. These are simply my interpretations and summarizations...

Q: Will there be room for a movie theater?
A: There are no plans for a movie theater at Countryside Marketplace.

Q: What about Whole Foods Market, Nordstom Rack, and a Hallmark Store?
A: Hallmark Store is a possibility. Nordstrom Rack is not likely. Whole Foods Market is not interested in Menifee, their clientele is largely in urban and upscale communities.

Q: Will the new Target have a bigger grocery section?
A: Yes, but it won't be a Super Target, just a bigger Target with more food offerings.

Q: What about Long John Silvers?
A: Probably not. Countryside Marketplace has plans for a Japanese restaurant, that will be their fish restaurant.

Q: What accomodations have been made for more police?
A: They're going to take a "wait and see" approach first. Donahue Schriber does provide private security, and they will work with the Sheriff if the situation calls for increased police presence.

Q: When will the aquatic center be open?
A: It probably won't start construction until another year, and will likely open in late 2008 or early 2009.

Q: What's the status on the shopping center at McCall and Encanto streets?
A: There was an Albertson's and a fitness center proposed to go there, but those have fallen through, and nothing is happening right now. Nothing will happen unless an anchor store like Albertson's or something else is committed.

Q: Who are the contractors that will be doing the construction, how many contractors have been hired?
A: Donahue Schriber usually has about 12 different general contractors working at the same time. They've not done any bidding as of yet. Lyle Parks is one contractor that will likely be there. Some of the businesses do their own construction, such as Target, Kohls, and the banks, and they hire their own contractors. In all, there will probably be between 30-45 different contractors working there.

Q: Will Donahue Schriber create underground utilities?
A: No. The above-ground transmission lines currently lining Newport Road will still be there. They will, however, move those poles to different areas, but there will still be poles lining the road.

Q: What will happen to the North-East corner of Newport Road and Antelope Road?
A: There will be a gas station there, a motel, and about 150,000 square feet of retail space, including a fitness center.

Q: What about a Red Lobster and a Wal-Mart?
A: There are plans for a Wal-Mart on Scott Road by the 215 Freeway, at the north-west corner, but there are no plans to bring in a Red Lobster.

Q: What about bringing a drug store?
A: The new Target will have a pharmacy section.

Q: Will the realignment of Newport Road have any effect on Countryside Marketplace?
A: The realignment at both ends of Newport Road, on the Hemet side, and the Canyon Lake side, will definitely bring in more traffic. There are plans to widen the intersection of Newport Road and Haun Road to 7 lanes. There are plans to widen the Newport Road bridge over the 215 Freeway, and turn it into a partial cloverleaf, but those plans won't happen until 2011.

Q: Will the aquatic center be open to the public?
A: Yes, there will be several pools, including a competition pool, and plans to provide senior services such as aerobics.

Q: Are there plans for more parks and bicycle paths in the area of development?
A: There are plans for another school and more parks. As far as bicycle paths, yes. There are plans for an improved flood control system, and there will be a bicycle path running next to it.

Q: Will there be an overpass between Newport Road and Scott Road, connecting Antelope road to the new shopping center?
A: Riverside county has a plan for that, but it's very long term. Not in the near future.

Q: How will Countryside Marketplace emulate the neighborhood?
A: Donahue Schriber designed Countryside Marketplace to have an "agrarian architectural" theme. The buildings have a rural look and feel to compliment Menifee's agricultural character.

Q: What stores are going in at Ethanac and the 215?
A: There will be a Winco Food and a Home Depot.

Q: Will the stores at Countryside Marketplace have shade structures or canopies?
A: Yes, there's actually a county ordinance requiring a certain amount of shade structures.

Q: What about Henry's, Fresh & Easy, Costco, Fish House Vera Cruz, Farmer Boys, Black Angus, Steer & Stein, Siggy's?
A: At this point, the building spaces still available are not big enough for some of these stores and restaurants. All that's left is for smaller businesses. That's not to say these brand names are not coming to Menifee, they just won't be coming to Countryside Marketplace.

Copies of Plans

Jeff Chambers brought copies of plans and layouts of Countryside Marketplace, but didn't bring enough copies for everyone. He can provide copies to you, if you contact him.

Call him at (714) 966-6496, OR e-mail him at jchambers@dsrg.com




More Apartments Coming to Menifee

Another apartment complex is coming to Menifee, this one located on McCall Blvd, next to Menifee Valley Medical Center.

According to an article published in The Californian, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors, changed the zoning for this piece of land to make room for this project...
Several of the neighbors and other residents of Menifee and Sun City said the heavily residential areas need more offices and shops before developers move ahead with more houses, let alone apartments. The Board of Supervisors' 4-0 vote June 12 struck commercial zoning to allow apartments on the 19 acres just east of Antelope Road.
Makes me wonder why the County spent so much time and money creating the Riverside County Integrated Project (RCIP) if they keep on changing the zoning?

The Californian went on to name AG Spanos as the developer of the apartment complex, and if I'm not mistaken, that's the same developer that gave us the Enclave Apartments, and the shady bunch of people who came to this community to live there.

Part of my frustration is that all this housing development is dragging my property values down. Yes, I'm complaining about my property value! I think Menifee housing is too readily available. I want it to be harder to come by.

If we have to have more residential here, why apartments? Why condos? How about luxury homes on large lots? We don't have enough millionaires in Menifee!

I think I know the thinking of the Supervisors. In order to attract more retail and industry, we have to have to people first. I imagine apartments and condos are a great way to boost population with smaller parcels of land.

But when this new apartment complex fills up with low-income families, there's going to be even longer waiting at Menifee Valley Medical Center.




Fluoride to be Added to Tap Water

Apparently, the Metropolitan Water District, which sells water to our very own Eastern Municipal Water District, will be adding fluoride to the water.

According to the Press Enterprise, last week...
Some tap water has natural levels of fluoride, and beginning in October, the Metropolitan Water District, which serves much of the Inland area, will begin to fluoridate its water, a measure to help reduce tooth decay.
The Press Enterprise article mentioned this as part of a report on increasing frequency of children with tooth decay problems. The article didn't necessarily cite unfluoridated tap water as the problem, but rather, eating too much sweets, and not enough teeth brushing.

Fluoridated tap water is something I grew up with, and while I never had a cavity in my life (yes it's true), I credit frequent tooth brushing as my dental savior. Looking back at my childhood in the 1970s and 80s, it seems like all I ever ate was candy, soda, ice cream, pastries, and anything else that ruins teeth. And all my friends ate this stuff too. I don't think kids today are eating any worse than 30 years ago.

If anything, parents are not placing enough importance on health and fitness, which includes dental care. Brushing my teeth twice a day was the absolute minimum my mother would tolerate, and then she'd complain that I brushed them too quickly.

Personally, the idea of a "quasi-government agency" trying to address an epidemic by adding chemicals to the water gets into that "Orwellian" thing. There are quite many people who will tell you that fluoride in the water is actually dangerous. Check out "Fluoride Action Alert".

The Metropolitan Water District is a pretty large district. They provide water to much of Southern California. It's pretty hard to avoid them. The soda fountain at any restaurant around here, is using their water, for example.

If you like fluoridated water, then take heart. If you don't, then I guess you'll have to head for the hills.




55+ Basketball League Forming in Menifee

Organizers of a new local basketball league are looking for interested men aged 55 years and older to come play.

As mentioned in the Friday Flyer, this will be a "four-on-four" half-court basketball league, with games to played at Wheatfield Gym, near San Jacinto College, in Menifee.

If interested, read the full announcement here...

http://www.thefridayflyer.com/FF-2007-6-8/FFS-6979.htm




Valley Health System to Hold Public Hearing

Valley Health System wants to know if selling off its hospitals is in the best interest of the people.

The Press Enterprise reports that the cash-strapped hospital district is inviting the public to a special hearing on the matter, this Thursday, June 7, at its Board Room in Hemet...
Valley Health trustees say they want to get public input as they deliberate the fate of Riverside County's largest hospital district, which operates Hemet Valley Medical Center, Menifee Valley Medical Center and Moreno Valley Community Hospital.
Eric Madrid and I published a co-commentary last year calling Valley Health System to sell Menifee Valley Medical Center to a private owner. You can read our article here...
http://www.menifee247.com/2006/09/measure-i-fails-what-next.htm

I'm particularly pleased to hear that Valley Health System has finally opened up to the public on this discussion.

Valley Health System is supposed to be a "for-profit" organization and Menifee Valley Medical Center is supposed to earn a profit to pay for its expansion needs. I believe that our local hospital is fully capable of earning a profit if a private business took ownership of it. It's not so much that private business can do better, but that Valley Health System is simply incapable of running an efficient and profitable hospital.

We don't need more bond measures. What we need is a new owner who can rebuild the staffing and services of Menifee Valley Medical Center and turn it into a hospital that we can feel confident about going to.

To inquire about attending this special meeting, contact Valley Health System...

Valley Health System
1117 E. Devonshire Ave.
Hemet, CA 92543
(951) 652-2811




Why Lane Splitting is Legal in California

The Californian published an article yesterday about "lane splitting"...

http://www.nctimes.com/..../01_44_766_3_07.txt

"Lane splitting" is what someone does when he or she rides their motorcycle in between slow-moving cars on a freeway. The article says that this practice goes way back to the days when all motorcycles had air-cooled engines, and needed to keep moving to prevent overheating.

I suppose there's some truth to that, though today, many air-cooled motorcycles don't overheat when stopped on freeways.

The reason why California remains as the only state in the union to allow lane-splitting is because of safety.

Several years ago, lawmakers in Sacramento drafted a bill to make lane-splitting illegal, thinking it would save more lives. However, the California Highway Patrol lobbied against the bill, on grounds that it cause more bikers to die.

That is, if motorcyclists were forced to wait behind slow moving or stopped vehicles, they run the risk of getting rear-ended by other vehicles. This happens all too often on freeways, where drivers fail to pay attention to stopped traffic up ahead. Rear ending a motorcycle is almost always fatal for the biker.

That's why the CHP wants bikers to split lanes, to protect them from drivers not paying attention.

The CHP used accident fatality data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to show that a frequent cause of deaths in motorcycle accidents in other states are car drivers rear-ending motorcycles.

That's why the California State Legislature changed its mind and allowed lane-splitting to remain legal.

I put about 30,000 miles each year on my two motorcycles. I've witnessed many "rear-end" accidents between two cars on the freeway. When a car gets rear-ended, the driver usually survives. But when it happens to a motorcycle, the biker almost always dies. If lane-splitting were legal in all 50 states, a lot more people would be alive today.




Sheriff Announces New Budget Proposal

Yesterday, Riverside County Sheriff-Coroner Bob Doyle presented the Board of Supervisors with his budget proposal.

You can review the entire proposal online here...
http://www.riversidesheriff.org/budget/index.html

To summarize the key points made by Sheriff Doyle...

  1. The new Perris Sheriff Substation is expected to open this August.


  2. Requesting slightly over $2 million to hire an additional 34 deputies to patrol the unincorporated areas. This is to maintain a current policy of having an average of 1.2 officers for every 1,000 residents.


  3. Requesting $2 million to assign tazer guns to every deputy.


  4. Open up a new "Cold Case Unit" staffed by three investigators to address some 2,400 unsolved murder cases dating as far back as 1941.


  5. Requesting over $7.2 million to hire another 179 positions in the Corrections division


  6. Requesting $3.5 million to buy a replacement helicopter for an older helicopter they have now, which will become unserviceable in two years. It takes about a year-and-a-half for a new one to come in.


  7. Requesting $335,018 to hire three new positions into the County Gang Task Force.
There's several more items, but I think the ones above are the bigger items, and the ones that particularly impact Menifee Valley the most.

In item #2 above, the policy of 1.2 officers for every 1,000 residents in the unincorporated areas is a new policy that the Board of Supervisors put into effect last year, when the old ratio was 0.96 officers. It required the Sheriff to hire additional 241 deputies, and since that time, the Sheriff reports that crime has dropped by 3%. This year's request for another 34 deputies allows the Sheriff to maintain the 1.2 ratio.




Newport Road Realignment Pushed Back to August

A week ago, I posted a notice that the eastbound lanes of the realigned Newport Road will open up this July.

A source of mine who's working in the Audie Murphy Ranch project assures me it won't happen at least until August.




Relay For Life Schedule Of Events

Here's the schedule of events for the Menifee Valley Relay for Life, taking place this weekend, June 9-10, at Mt San Jacinto College...

9:00am - Honorary Mayor John Denver opens our RELAY
9:30am - Cancer Survivors – LAP OF HOPE
10:00am - BAND: Christina Raines Swing Band
11:00am - BAND: Monday's Motion
12:00pm - Diana's Dance Company
12:30pm - Fashion Show – Fashion Bug (girls) & Newport Ride Shop (guys)
1:45pm - Locks of Love Ceremony – New Image Hair Salon - Donate Your Hair!
2:00pm - BAND: James McKenna
3:00pm - Diva Diane Vocalists
4:00pm - Hit or Miss Relay Beauty Pageant
5:00pm - Menifee Taekwondo Academy
7:00pm - BAND: James McKenna
9:00pm - LUMINARIA CEREMONY
9:00pm - BAND: Monday's Motion
10:00pm - BAND: Cross Church
12:00am - 6:00am - Midnight Madness & Movies ALL NIGHT LONG!
9:00am - RELAY ends




Attractive Female Wanted for Film Event

Get Entertainment, Inc. will be filming the Menifee Valley Relay for Life this weekend from June 9th through June 10th.

They need an attractive college-age female to be their "roving news reporter" as they film the Relay for Life event.

They also need 10 people to serve as Production Assistants, helping out the camera crews and production teams.

These are volunteer positions.

If interested, call Cynthia (951) 259-9019.




Sun City Biker Rally

This Saturday, June 9, Hospice of the Valleys in Sun City will be host to a biker rally.

The hospice care facility is hosting its 1st annual, "Ride to the End" biker rally, hoping that folks with their Harley Davidson motorcycles will come by and help raise badly needed money.

Biker rallies and events have become a very popular way to raise money for charities, and bikers are well known for supporting them. At this point, bikers have become probably the biggest supporters of charities, donating probably a billion dollars nationwide to causes benefiting veterans, children, elderly, disabled, impoverished, and the abused.

Entry into the 1st annual "Ride to the End" costs $25.00 per person. Registration includes a poker run, lunch, a t-shirt, and a commemorative pin.

The event starts at 10:00am, at 28127 Bradley Road.

For more info: (951) 672-1666, or e-mail: rmason@hovsc.org




Sun City Real Estate Market Looking Grim

Government foreclosuresTed Wegener, a real estate appraiser specializing in Sun City, posted an update on his website about the current market conditions in the Sun City "Core"...

http://www.suncityappraiser.com/ currentmarketconditions.htm

Here's one of his paragraphs...
The spring/summer home buying season has failed to materialize here. The buyers that are out there are the bargain hunters according to the agents. If June continues on the same way, it will be a miserable season. July and August are extremely hot months here (weather wise) and that itself is a damper on the market. A lot of people prefer not to look for houses when the heat peaks up. Agents are worried. 31% of the active listing have had price reductions.
Ted goes on to provide a graph showing May sales data for the past six years, depicting average sales price, contrasted with the average number of days on the market. Needless to say, prices have dropped by about 20% according to his numbers, and the average days on the market have shot up to almost 4 months.




Earthquake Felt in Menifee

I just felt a slight earthquake here in my house about 15 minutes ago (10:12pm). It was just enough to rattle things slightly.

I checked the USGS website on earthquakes, and they just posted info now...

Magnitude 4.2

Struck at 10:11:42 pm PST.

Centered 11 miles north of Indio, and 11 miles east of Thousand Palms. That would put it in a tiny community called "Indio Hills". See the map...

Map of indio hills
Did you feel anything?




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