Follow the Money for City Council Candidates

I wanted to put forth a couple of articles that folks might want to read when evaluating the city council candidates...

The Bugle Blog, April 15, 2008...

This article discusses Rancon Real Estate and their real estate developments along Newport Rd and Domenigoni Pkwy, and how by coincidence the Riverside County Board of Supervisors decided to shift focus towards building the connector road for Newport Rd, instead of making safety improvements on Winchester Rd.

Valley News, May 9, 2008...

This article reveals how much money the candidates have earned from donors.

At today's broadcast of Menifee Valley Talk Radio, Julie Johnson said that it was the developers that donated the most money to finance the cityhood incorporation effort. That tells you right there, that they'd rather work with a city council instead of county planners. It makes sense that they want city council members who will dance for them.

Read the two articles that I linked above, and decide for yourself which candidates for city council have the needs of residents in mind. What are their intentions for running? How many years have they spent positioning themselves for this moment? Are they pawns for developers, or are they going put the needs of residents first?

Even if you are against cityhood, you will want to cast your votes for city council candidates, just in case cityhood passes.


  1. Unbelievable! You would actually allow Julie Johnson to weigh in on this community on your website and quote her in your article like she is someone with credibility and integrity?

    How hippocritical of Julie to make such comments. She collected money from those developers for Chamber memberships and Chamber sponsored events during her short tenure on "Both" the Chambers of Commerces.

    Look at your past articles that Julie authored. She spoke with enthusiasm about the growth and development that was coming to Menifee. So now all of a sudden developers are bad?

    She has the audacity now to point a dirty finger at developers and the money that they donated for the cityhood studies? She took all the credit for raising that money at the time along with Lori Stone Rubin.

    I am supporting Cityhood, I am voting AT LARGE. There are some great choices in candidates out there. I am supporting KUENZI, MANN & CASTILLEJOS.

    ---A long time Sun City resident & volunteer

  2. Well, you might not like what I said, but I spoke the truth. I was a paid employee of the Chamber of Commerce. I was paid to represent the Special Interest Group. I did the job that I was hired to do.

    Now, I have absolutely nothing to lose but to tell you the honest truth. If people choose not to believe it, then so be it. I do not live in Menifee Valley and it will not effect me in the least.

    The truth is that anyone associated with ANY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE LEADERSHIP is interested in the business community, not necessarily the residents.

    Darcy Kuenzi is in the pockets of Developer. Just look at her Campaign Disclosure that should be coming out today. Look at where she is getting her money.

    As I stated about Darcy Castillejos, I think she would make a pretty good council person except that she, too, is associated with the Chamber of Commerce which is a special interest group. As she admitted on the show, she would resign from the chamber if she won because she believes it would be a conflict of interest. She is absolutely correct, and I applaud her for that. But it still remains that she has had a long association with a special interest group. It's an issue that residents need to ask so that she can address it.

    I find it amazing that people criticize people but choose to remain anonymous. Stand behind your words and put a name to it. It would be so much more credible.

  3. Thank You Julie Johnson for sharing your insights on the air of the first Menifee Valley Talk Radio Show yesterday and for your points you made today. Julie is not running for election but she did point out candidates who have developer ties. We need candidates that want to represent the CITIZENS of the valley and NOT special interests or developers. Follow the money trail...those candidates that have taken developer money have a special interest in the needs and wants of developers. At the very least because of the money the developers have donated to certain candidates, they now have created a CAPTIVE city council person who gives them MORE access and a listening ear than to us CITIZENS. We only get 3 min.s to speak in front of them at meetings. None of us regular CITIZENS have the means or money to donate as much money as developers have to candidates such as Kuenzi. I would also look at contributions for others such as Mann, Castillejos, Deines. Be informed and read the news today and see who else has received money BIG or SMALL from developers and you will know which candidates are representing YOU or DEVELOPERS!

  4. Where can I find the disclosure articles?

  5. We too are VERY interested to see disclosure of where the candidates are getting the campaign fundings. After reading all the buzz about Rancon, if you recall Jerry Stamper was also in power at the Menifee Chamber of Commerce at the same time. Since becoming president of the Menifee Lakes Master Association, guess who was contracted with to find a leasee for the Menifee Lakes Information Center on Newport guessed it...Rancon. Will be interesting to see disclosure of where Stamper is getting the big bucks for the huge campaign signs and brochures' not to mention aggravating phonecalls from his "volunteers". Almost comical that his overkill signs blighting the area are so much more in size and numbers than Jeff Stone's, our candidate for Riverside County Board of Supervisors, a REALLY beneficial position. Stamper seems to think he's running for Governor or something paying 'big bucks'...yet maybe it is in ways we don't realize. Check it out......

  6. Jeff Stone has taken money from every developer in Riverside County as well as major developers in San Diego, and San Bernardino.

    If you look at his campaign finance report, you will notice he held a fundraiser 3 weeks after he was in office and the fundraisers continued every month for the past 3 years.

    He also is the next door neighbor of Dan Stephenson in Bear Creek which is a multi-million dollar house that Stone moved into one week after being sworn in as County Supervisor.

    Just think, the same thing could happen with this new city council.

  7. Stop trying to make a story where there is no story. Seeking and obtaining campaign contributions is part of the political landscape in America. There is nothing wrong with accepting them. There is nothing wrong with 'not' accepting them either. How on earth do you think people get elected? I guess you think that everyone who seeks office is independently wealthy and, therefore, they can finance their own campaigns.

    Grow up!

  8. Grow up?? Join the 'grownups' and start asking questions...following blindly is less than grown up as you call it. T'would be an interesting study to compare the contractor contributions for each candidate and then compare how each candidate votes after elected and just what his agenda strives to do. What agenda do you thrive on - following blindly without asking questions just because that's how politics are...makes one part of the problem. Ethics are to be strived for, regardless of 'how things are'.....

  9. I agree, following the money trail is the how we can can make intelligent and informed decisions on which candidates are in the best interest of the residents. Let's talk about hidden agendas and egos... it's apparent that is running wild here. I won't be intimidated to NOT ask the tough questions.

  10. A lesson in reality.

    What is the difference between a candidate obtaining a campaign contribution and moms and dads donating or volunteering time to the PTA? Or a local business donating money to a high school booster club? Or a group of employees that band together to help out a co-worker and 'seek donations' to help them recover from a wild fire? Or the community rallying to donate money to a fund for surgery of a sick child? Or paying money to the local chamber of commerce to host a meal at the country club?

    Money talks and you know what walks! I've worked all my life to try and save money for a rainy day and have some type of nest egg when I retire. Are you suggesting that candidates should erode their savings, pillage their retirement accounts or take out a second mortgage in this market to run a campaign?

    Come on people...get over yourselves! You are probably the same type of hypocrites that say follow the money yet, go on-line and donate to Barrack or Hillary's campaign with a credit card donation. I visited a website recently that tracks campaign contributions. Amazingly, Senator Barbara Boxer has already amassed $2,948,028 in her war chest for 2010. (check out

    So...senators, supervisors, congressman, judges, assemblyman and district attorneys can take campaign contributions but our local community leaders and volunteers who are willing to step up and lead can't take contributions?

    I say again, grow up and get over your self-righteous selves!

  11. To "Grow Up"....

    There's nothing wrong in donating money to a cause. The question is if a property developer donates money to a candidate, will that candidate be in the developer's pocket? Or will he/she turn their back on the developer, and just do what's best for the people?

  12. The Big, Bad Developer!

    My family worked in the construction industry for four decades as subcontractors. Those hard working people put food on the table, financed a couple of houses, bought a couple of cars over the years, took a vacation here and there, bought a few water and desert toys, and put kids in college because of the construction industry...err 'the developer'.

    Look at what the construction industry touches from raw material to finished product - the sawmill where lumber is made, the carpet mill where fibers are put together for carpet and drapes, the framers, roofers, fencers, landscapers, painters, flooring guys, plumbers, concrete mixers, concrete pumpers and finishers.

    The 'developer' who takes a risk and buys land with a vision to make a community out of it replete with multi-unit housing, single family homes (large and small lots), executive homes, senior homes, ranch style homes, big spreads, industrial, light industrial and commercial projects to expand the tax base. The planners, engineers, and architects who breathe life into a project. The realtors who move the product and the consumer who buys it. Oh, did I mention the service outlets that crop up to serve the needs of the food, grocery, retail, etc.

    That same consumer then goes to Home Depot and Lowes and buys the sprinkler heads, garden hose, fertilzer, ceiling fans, appliances, window coverings, screen doors, etc., etc. Then, when his home improves in market value during the good times puts in a pool and spa, or adds a concrete pad for an RV or a deck and patio cover.

    I, for one, am tired of the 'developer bashers' on this blog and others. If you haven't figured out that the residential and commercial construction industries fuel the American economy, then you must be the same person who believes in the redistribution of wealth by the state and federal governments.

    By the way, those of my generation have a word for that... it is called Socialism!

  13. I don't think anyone hates developers, we all live in homes built by them. We just want to know that our elected officials aren't going to be bought by developers, that's all.

  14. I totally agree with the above comment by Steve! We just want our elected officials to put "us" first. Build a "planned" city that we want not what the developers want. I think comment 12 (Big Bad Developer) paragraph 3 is right. We do need a variety of the housing that you listed but it has not seemed to have been working out that way and we just want more say in what is built in the area. That is why Cityhood is so vital!! Please vote YES on F and pick candidates that will listen and really represent YOU.

  15. There is a reason why developers have a bad reputation. They do buy candidates otherwise they wouldn't give money. Why would an out of the area developers give to a local candidate? You can see that Darcy Kuenzi received $2500 from Brookfield Developer and John Denver money from a Santa Ana Developer. So tell me, are these developers really interested in doing the right thing for a community they know nothing about or are they trying to build a bridge in which to come into the area? These are legimate questions and ALL COUNCIL CANDIDATES SHOULD BE SCRUTINIZED CLOSELY.

  16. Darci CastillejosMay 23, 2008 1:37 PM

    As Chairman of the Menifee Valley of Commerce I feel I must respond to some of the comments made here. The Chamber is an organization dedicated to supporting businesses in the community, all business. The mom-n-pop, the home-based, franchises, medium and large business. These members also allow the Chamber to support the community in a number of events including Santa's Workshop which provided toys to over 800 needy children and Student of the Month/Year, which recognizes outstanding youth from our local high schools. As a candidate for City Council I will use my business experience as well as my many years of community and military service to address the needs of the entire community, senior, family and rural. Economic development will be crucial to the success of our fledgling city and I feel my chamber experience will be beneficial in that effort. Please visit my website at to learn more about me or ask me any specific questions. Vote Yes on Measure F!!

  17. Dear "Big Bad Developer" lover My father has been a contractor all his life and I grew up in Norco with cows, horses and chickens because he made a nice enough living to afford that style of living. However he never proposed that 3 story condos be built next to our acreage or that we cover all our business with tenement style housing on top of it. The county with the urging of advisors like developer backed Kuenzi have proposed such urban planning. "Developers" refers to a person that doesn't live in the area (most-likely they live at the beach somewhere) trying to build a project completely out of character with the surrounding community. They do this because the more houses they can cram in per acer, the more money they make. They then use that money to support candidates and the cycle goes on. I am not against making money but the City Councils responsibility is to speak for the residents of the community not for people who don't even live in the community. If this were not the case then why have government at all lets just let the free market dictate or better yet set the price for each vote at one dollar each. Candidates like Kuenzi, Stamper, Denver, Mann, and Deines need to be looked at closely for how they plan to be advocates for the voters rather than advocates for their supporters. When I ran for school board I spent less than $1000 and still got twice as many votes as my opponents. When Denver ran for Menifee School Board he spent $15000 and his opponent spent $800 and he lost. The message is more important than the money and I am confident that Menifee/SunCity voters will make the correct choice. (I hope) We shall see.

  18. You know Fred, you claim to be a Republican with center-right values and ideas based upon other posts on this blog. However, your writings, ramblings and feeble performance on the school board, suggest otherwise. And, for someone who grew up in a household supported by 'The Big Bad Developer', your views also suggest that 'government' is the answer to all problems. This should be eye opening to the voters.

    It is true that developer agreements that have already been signed by the county will be inherited by us. However, the remaining land in the General Plan is only a plan. We, as a new City Council, will be able to change the county's plan and make it our own plan.

    In this regard, we will be able to ensure a balanced community. One with multi-unit dwellings, single family homes with large and small lots, executive style homes, ranch lots and your precious trail system that is a bona fide trail system. We also need commercial and light industrial zoning to attract and retain businesses to expand our tax base for the future.

    Fred, your suggestion that Menifee remain rural, completely lacks the same vision with which you approach the school board. As a teacher at Paloma Valley High School, who is a member of the teacher's union, you should have recused yourself from the vote to give fellow teachers at the Menifee School District raises. This, in my view, was very bad form at the least and borders on undue influence at the worst. So don't feed the readers any crap about certain candidates accepting campaign contributions from development related firms. Look in the make 'campaign donations' every month that you pay your UNION DUES!

    Anyone like you, who votes to give the unions raises at a time of declining enrollment and declining state revenues should have their heads examined. The School Board's vote to give raises to the two unions at the expense of elementary school busing, elementary school counseling, and closing of Menifee Elementary School, a California Distinguished School, was short sighted. YOU CUT PROGRAMS AND CLOSED A SCHOOL IN EXCHANGE FOR RAISES IN SALARIES FOR FELLOW TEACHERS!

    The readers need to know that under your leadership, as the Board President, these 4.something percent raises completely drew down the excess reserve that had been prudently accumulated over time. Is this the type of financial decision making you want on the new city council? I think not!

    Yes my friends, Fred Twyman's performance is fiscal irresponsibility at its finest. We cannot AFFORD to have Fred Twyman on the city council making similar financial decisions and votes for the new city that he has made on the school board!

    Unlike some city council candidates who have no public track record, Fred Twyman has a public record that is highlighted by irresponsible decision making and votes as an elected member of the Menifee School Board.

    Do not vote to put Twyman on the city council!

  19. As a resident I will never vote for Darci Castillejos or either of the Menifee Union district people(Mann and Tywman). All have proven unworthy and have poor past performance records. I won't even start on the school district people we all know what they are capable of, and leadership isn't one trait anyone would use to describe them. If you look at the district financial numbers -the top administrators have padded their pockets for the past few years and now that it's crunch time the bottom end of the employee scale are being asked to bear the brunt of the cuts. While adminstrators get raises others are getting laid off, and no amount of spin by either Mann or Tywman can jusitfy this.
    Now we all know Darci claims to have all this business experience which isn't even in Menifee. While she claims to be a loyal resident of our city but her sales revenue goes to another area. This cafe is fourth rate, service and food are lousy. If this is a reflection on the kind of leadership she will provide I for one would rather not bother. I have heard many others make negative comments about her unwillingness to listen and how stubborn she is. The traits these people posses have no place in leadership in this city.

  20. is the web site to back up my previous post. Read for yourself.

  21. Dear Developer Lover,

    I answered your exact same post in the 'The Reason Why the Republican Party is Hurting" forum please refer back there.

    To address the person who wrote "I will never vote for Darci Castillejos or either of the Menifee Union district people (Mann and Tywman). "

    If you compare the administration pay with neighboring districts you will see they are paid less than neighboring districts, as are the teachers. This is because Menifee is an Elementary district and gets less money per student than unified districts. I have been trying to unify the district for years so we can get the same money per student than the surrounding unified districts. It’s a slow process.

    No one has gotten laid off please don't spew misinformation. The district will be cutting back on some services if the governor gets his way, which will reduce some peoples hours. If he does not get his cuts then we will not cut back.

    I don't support Darci but I have eaten at her restaurant and the food was good.

  22. Also the Menifee district is half the size as neighboring districts. What about bus drivers they will be getting laid off shortly, so I will correct myself they will be laid off in the near future. Not to mention the fact that teachers are now being forced to teach subjects they aren't trained in, and school administrators are being forced to go between two different schools.(Like sharing vice-principals between two schools). No amount of spin can justify poor performance by those entrusted to ensure things like this don't happen. Just keep blaming the governor to justify the districts poor planning.

  23. "No amount of spin can justify poor performance by those entrusted to ensure things like this don't happen."

    You make it sound as if NO other school district had to cut back services, and layoff staff. I don't think you know the half of it.

  24. It's a no win situation here I think.

    Fiscally conservative means you make due with what you have and don't raise taxes. If some administrators have to share schools and some bus drivers have to have a few less hours to ensure that the classroom services and programs don't get cut then I'm OK with that.

    If you know of an instance where a teacher is teaching something out of his or her certification please bring it to my attention immediately this is against state regulations for highly qualified teachers and it should be corrected. No one is ever forced to do anything its not a sweat shop.

    Please lend me your crystal ball so I can see the future as well. There are no plans I am aware of today to lay off anyone. Even though the budget may be cut a considerable amount.

    Size matters not. What does matter is the amount of funding the districts get per student and Menifee get less that most surrounding districts because it is an elementary district. Please help me change that.