Menifee City Council Meeting - July 23, 2008

I attended this evening's city council meeting. It was a packed house with every seat filled. This room was smaller than the ones at K...

I attended this evening's city council meeting. It was a packed house with every seat filled. This room was smaller than the ones at Kay Ceniceros Center and the Paloma Valley High School Theater. And close to the end of the meeting it got hot and muggy in there as well.

Newport Road Realignment

Juan Perez, from the county transportation department was the key speaker. He started off by describing road improvement projects all through Menifee and surrounding areas. And there's quite a bit going on...

  • Murrieta Rd Widening - located between Ethanac and Rouse Rd, to begin Fall 2009, cost $6 million.

  • Newport Rd Bridge - improvements to the bridge and interchange over I-215, to beging Spring 2011, cost $40 million.

  • Scott Rd Widening - between Briggs and I-215, to begin Winter 2008, cost $7 million

  • Scott Rd Bridge - over I-215, improvements to begin Summer 2011, cost $50 million

  • Bundy Canyon Rd - improvements between Murrieta Rd to I-215, beginning Summer 2010, cost $50 million

  • Leon & Rice Roads - connector roads between Domenigoni Pkwy and Simpson Road, beginning Spring 2011, cost $40 million
As for the Newport Road realignment, Perez went through the process of explaining why we're at a stand still. It's basically two things, one the developer backed out. But two, because it's a really difficult project.

It sounds like it all hinges on moving these two reclaimed water mains. Those mains belong to EMWD, and the county can't move without their coordination.

The other biggie is that the new Goetz Rd Bridge is very difficult to build because the elevation of the existing bridge is much lower than the elevation of the realigned Newport Rd. Building this bridge requires having to shut down Goetz Rd. And they can't shut down Goetz Rd unless they open up the realigned Newport Rd to use as a bypass. And of course, they can't open up the realigned Newport Rd until they relocate those two reclaimed water mains. So, it all hinges on the water mains.

But worse yet, the county will likely have to go after the developer's $17 million bond money. However, Perez said that when they file a claim to get the bond money, the bond insurer will likely deny the claim, and the county will have to seek legal recourse to get it. That could take between 18 to 24 months to do.

So Perez said they could obtain Transportation Uniform Mitigation Fee (TUMF) funds to finance a "Short Term" solution.

The Short Term solution will open up the southern lane of the realigned Newport Rd. This southern lane is wide enough to allow bidirectional traffic. They can do this without having to build the new Goetz Rd bridge. The existing Newport Rd that we're using now will be renamed to Normandy Rd, and will still carry traffic. The exception is that Normandy Rd will end at Berea Rd. It will not continue out to Murrieta Rd.

Perez didn't say if this Short Term plan will happen. He kinda proposed it to the city council. I got the sense that the County is not really moving forward on Newport Rd, and that this is all being handed off to the new city. Maybe I'm not totally correct on that, but that's my sense.

I did speak out, however, and addressed Perez that the Short Term plan he described was actually the official plan that the developer was putting into place. I said that we ought to move forward on it, on the grounds that all road construction done thus far was done based on doing exactly what he described. Perez acknowledged that. I guess it's up to the city at this point?

Another commenter suggested that all those other road improvement plans (what I noted above), are projects scheduled for years later. Therefore, why not use that money to improve Newport Rd, since it's about 80% completed already. I didn't exactly get what Perez said to that effect, but it sounded like he said the money for those projects is not exactly in hand at this point, it's just projected costs.

If the city moves forward with the Short Term plan, we can have traffic moving on the realigned Newport Rd within 6 months of starting the project, assuming we have the funding in place.

Meet & Greets

John Denver announced that the Menifee Valley Chamber of Commerce is putting together a "Meet & Greet", presuming for the members of the Chamber. City council members are invited to come speak to Chamber members. This is scheduled for Sept 10, at 7:30am.

Denver also said that the Masonic Lodge is doing a Meet & Greet, and that this one is open to the public. Apparently, food will be provided. I didn't hear Denver give a date and time on this one.

Workshops

City Manager George Wentz announced that there will be a series of "workshops" that will educate the public on how our new city operates. These workshops will take place on days when the city council has their public meetings, but will occur prior to the meeting. Such topics will include rules and proceedings, the roles of city council members, city manager, etc. More information on these workshops will be forthcoming.

City Website and E-mail Addresses

That "more information" will be published on the city's new website, which should open up for official business in a couple of weeks.

Meanwhile, Wentz announced that city council members already have their e-mail addresses, and that these e-mail address are in use now...

Wallace Edgerton - wedgerton@cityofmenifee.us
Darci Kuenzi - dkuenzi@cityofmenifee.us
Fred Twyman - ftwyman@cityofmenifee.us
Scott Mann - smann@cityofmenifee.us
John Denver - jdenver@cityofmenifee.us

If you want to e-mail a city council member, you now know how.

I'm assuming George Wentz is gwentz@cityofmenifee.us

Wentz went on to say that all city staff and elected officials will have the same format of "first letter and full last name, with "cityofmenifee.us" at the end.

Public Safety Ad Hoc Committee

Mayor Edgerton announced the creation of a Public Safety Ad Hoc Committee. Scott Mann and John Denver will sit on this committee. However, nothing else was said. I'm assuming more information will come out on this later.

Cityhood Inauguration Committee

Darci Kuenzi announced the formation of the inaugural event committee. Read the announcement here...

http://www.menifee247.com/2008/07/cityhood-inaugural-event-committee.htm

Public Comments

Mary Porter, who owns a towing service in Menifee, located by Zeiders Rd (just south of Scott, west side of 215), said that she and several other business operating in that area was cited by the County Code Enforcement with administrative code violations. Some were served in person, others were served by just hanging a notice on their fence. I didn't quite understand the details of the violation, but they were all in common. The notice asked her to vacate the premises by August 10. I asked her to send me the full details, which I would republish here. But I did listen to Porter speak with our City Attorney, who said the code enforcement notices didn't look legit. The attorney felt it was an improper way to get these small businesses to leave in order to make room for an new office building.

Anne Pica, addressed the council by asking certain members to resign from their posts on the Menifee Valley Chamber of Commerce, saying it presented a conflict of interest. Darci Kuenzi spoke out saying that she doesn't hold a position with the Chamber. She was at one time a paid employee of the Chamber, but that's not the case anymore. Mayor Edgerton asked John Denver if he wanted to comment. Denver responded angrily, that he had no intention of leaving the Chamber, and that he has already sought a legal opinion, and that he was in no violation. At which point, Denver responded back to Edgerton that he shouldn't have to respond to such questions since they have nothing to do with getting this new city going. Edgerton responded back that the people have a right to say whatever they want being it was a public comment session, and that he was only trying to give Denver an opportunity to say something, if Denver wanted. Edgerton went on to say that it was the duty of the council to serve their "bosses", and pointed at the audience. To which the audience clapped in appreciation.

Bill Zeidlik spoke up asking the council to establish an advisory committee to review all the existing projects (I'm assuming he meant business and residential projects), and advise the council on which ones should be disregarded, and which should move forward. I didn't really hear the council say anything constructive on this, but I'm assuming Bill will be in touch with the powers at be.

Bob Duke, a resident of Romoland, and a member of the Romoland MAC, who happens to live just north of the Menifee city boundary (north of Mapes Rd), asked the city council to consider incorporating the additional areas of Romoland, Homeland, and Green Acres into its sphere of influence (SOI). He said he's not representing a concensus, however, he did speak with other residents all of whom agreed on becoming part of Menifee's SOI. They suggested a fear of being swallowed up by Perris or maybe Hemet, and would rather have the protection of Menifee. Mayor Edgerton looked over to our City Manager, George Wentz and said that he was already looking at establishing a SOI. Wentz nodded in agreement. So it looks like we're already eyeing some more land.

City Manager's Progress Report

George Wentz presented a Power Point Slideshow which outlined all the things he's been doing this past couple of weeks. I have to say, it's all stuff that will put most of us to sleep. He's getting a location for a city hall, he's getting benefits and retirement packages put together for employees, and I'm afraid I didn't write everything down. But suffice to say, he's doing all the tedious work that earns him the big bucks.

Next Meeting

I don't have date yet on the next meeting, however the council moved to conduct these meetings twice a month, instead of every week. They will now be held at this same location at Mt San Jacinto College, and at 7:00pm.

If these meetings attract more people, they won't have room for them. And I hope they turn up the AC next time.

Related

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Post a Comment

  1. Steve, I posted some youtube video clips of the meeting, including Mart Porter's speech at www.cityofmenifee.com

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  2. Mr Denver does not have a legal obligation to step down from the Chamber of Commerce, during his 'possible short reign' on the city council, but if there is ever council voting that effects contracts with the chamber or with chamber members, even if there is no obvious 'personal gain', and no 'legal' conflict of interest... I think he's being unwise by creating a cloud over both the chamber and the city council.

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  3. I am glad to here that all this work is being done. It sounds like the new city council is finally being allowed to get to work on important things and that we are no longer nit picking petty things.

    The more I read about Edgerton the more I like him and think he is going to make a great Mayor.

    As for the Newport Realignmnet, the county needs to get their s*** together and do something. This is their mess and the new city should not have to take their time, money or personnel resources to fix it.

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  4. Just as expected from the discussion last night on the Newport Rd Audie Murphy nightmare..............blah,blah,blah !!!

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  5. Steve:
    What would we do without you??! You are AWESOME! Thank you for always taking the time to be involved in our community, and keeping us that can't attend such important meetings, updated. It really does mean a lot!

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  6. Denver is naive to believe that his Council and Chamber positions won’t be perceived as a conflict-of-interest. Even if every action he takes is completely ethical, the appearance of impropriety will always exist. I don’t understand why he insists on maintaining this awkward position and I expect the community will voice displeasure with it. We’ll have to wait and see how he responds to that displeasure.

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  7. Why is Denver so confrontational on such small topics? From the report of his reaction it sounds like someone told him his mother wears army boots; his reaction was completely uncalled for based on the question. After reading various posts here about Denver's responses and confrontations I'm starting to believe that he is not a good fit for any city council and will probably have a tough time over the next couple years. If his feathers get ruffled because meetings are at 7PM (so more of the public can attend) rather than his preferred 4 PM, and again because someone asks a legitimate question he doesn't like, then I can only imagine how he will react to a larger issue that he disagrees with. It probably won't be pretty.

    I applaud anyone who chooses to enter into public service, but it does take some thick skin sometimes. Denver appears to me to be a very thin-skinned individual.

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  8. Let me preface this by saying I'm not trying to defend the way Denver reacted during the meeting. I’m not defending his choice to remain with the Chamber of Commerce. I’m merely passing on my own perceptions from this particular exchange between a citizen and the city council-elect.

    At 10:30, David asked in his post, "Why is Denver so confrontational on such small topics?"

    I can't speak for other topics, but I have my own theories about why he may have been confrontational in this particular instance. It's possible that one of the reasons Denver bacame so confrontational on such a small topic is because of the extremely confrontational attitude of Anne Pica when she addressed the council with her questions. Well, in all fairness to Anne, it appeared her original intent was to have the item regarding Kuenzi and Denver resigning from their positions on the Chamber of Commerce placed on the agenda for the next meeting. I wasn’t at the June 25th meeting, but she apparently posed the same question during that meeting, at which time she was told the council would not address topics that were not on the agenda. Keep in mind, Anne Pica was one of the leaders in the fight against cityhood. I don't know her, but I wouldn't be surprised if somebody told me she would like nothing more than to see the new city and the members of the city council fail miserably. And whether you agree or disagree that her question was a valid one, she could have made the effort to be a little more civil in the way she asked it.

    It's also possible that Denver may have felt pressured by Edgerton to respond in some fashion to Pica's questions. After all, Kuenzi had just answered the question on her own without being prompted by Edgerton. I don’t mean to speculate on why Kuenzi chose to answer at this time rather than wait for it to be placed on the agenda, but it seemed to me from her tone of voice that she perceived Anne Pica’s question to be a personal attack. To Kuenzi’s credit though, she maintained her composure and clarified Anne’s misconceptions about her affiliation with the Chamber of Commerce.

    There was one other possible factor that was brought to everybody's attention at the end of the meeting that may or may not have made played a role in the way Denver reacted. If you were at the meeting, you know what it is. I don't feel it's my place to mention that factor here, because it is a personal matter on Denver's part.

    On the flip side, the council members should understand that they are basically public servants. If they didn't understand it before last night's meeting, I'm sure they started to understand it after Edgerton referred to the audience as their "bosses". As a public servant myself, I know all too well that Denver's reaction isn't the kind of reaction the public wants to see the vast majority of the time, even though there have been more times that I can count that I wanted to react in a similar fashion. I know it can be difficult to contain your emotions in certain situations, especially when the person or persons you are dealing with appear to have the attitude that the same courtesies don’t apply to them. But you need to be able to elevate yourself above the level of the instigator and not let emotions get in the way.

    Again, this is just my 2 cents based on my own perceptions.

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  9. I'm curious if anybody has an answer to this regarding road improvements: When does the county plan on finishing opening up Menifee Road from Newport to McCall? Seems like the project just stalled. Are they waiting for future developers to put money into the project?

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  10. Perez said that much of the road improvement projects are funded by "Community Facilities Districts", levied on new home sales. And since there aren't many new homes being built...

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  11. I was at the Menifee City Council meeting last night. As expected, Ann Pica got up again and asked for Darcy Kuenzi and John Denver to resign from the City of Menifee Council if they continue their affiliation with the Menifee Chamber of Commerce. Although John Denver sounded a little annoyed, he simply stated the fact that no conflict existed per legal advice.

    In any other jurisdications throughout the United States, council members belong to civic and fraternal groups as well as unions and chamber of commerces. If a rare conflict were to exist from considering a council action, a council member would temporarily step down from the dais.

    I believe that Ann Pica is simply trying to foment problems with this new council. I undertand that she and her sidekick Ruth have created problems after problems for the Sun City Civic Association for years. It would be nice if Ann could change from a negative influence to a poisitive one by volunteering her time on City of Menifee activities. Ann, try to be positive for once and volunteer in activities to help the City Council of Menifee.

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  12. Regarding the list of road improvements...
    I find it unbelievable that Murrieta Rd, (between Scott and Newport) is not on the list for improvement. It's my opinion that this should have been at the top of the list without hesitation. I would have expected the council to see this as well. I urge the community to take a look at the conditions any day between 3pm and 3:30pm to see the hazardordous condition the county has allowed and forced our middle school children to face trying to walk or ride their bikes home from school. There is no bike path, nor a sidewalk or even any walking space anywhere on that road (with the exception of the short sporatic improvements that were constructed in front of the two new home developments.)

    This is not a matter of making a road look more attractive or convenience for it's commuters, as I believe most of these other projects are. This is a serious matter of safety for the children who have to step foot on this road in order to get home. Safety should be our first priority. Why is it not?

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  13. I've wondered about widening and improving Murrieta Rd. between Scott and Newport also. It could be a situation similar to that of Newport - certain developers lined up to handle improvements and backing out before the improvements are done.

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  14. Let's stick with the legitimate question that was asked by Anne. So it didn't come out wrapped with a Toastmaster's smile when she said it, its still a good question. OUCH, so be it - she stepped on Denver's toes! Apparently, Darci was not threatened and sensibly, calmly stated her response. Thank you Darci. Mr. Denver's response and demeanor were very unprofessional; what was he so defensive about? Raring up in defensiveness usually signifies one is afraid of losing power. OR, he's not confident of where he stands on a topic and fears losing it. Seems he had already sought a legal opinion, whether it was right or wrong. Does he keep his legal head on standby? Regardless, Mr. Denver needs to apologize for his abrasiveness. The community does not need a hothead making the overall council look bad. GOOD FOR EDGERTON, a man of common sense and tact. And good for Kuenzi for keeping it honest.

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  15. Hey folks ! We have our first "Silver Plated Turd Award" going to Mr. Denver! Wow - some people really are just "SPT's". Congratulations Mr. Denver - you got the first one!

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  16. Denver and Darci still have campaign posters up.

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  17. In response to a poster on 7/25/08 at11:31 a.m., I wish to further state that cities and counties throughout the U.S.A. have members who are members of some board or organization whether it is the local Chamber of Commerce, Lions Club, Union, etc. Ann Pica should have common sense and logic to realize her question was specious. I do not blame John Denver for sounding mildly peeved.

    Hopefully, Ann Pica's antagonism and negativity can be put in check by the Council so that pressing needs can be addressed. There is only two months before incorporation. There is so much to do.

    I would like to see Ann become more positive and volunteer for City projects. Is he able?

    I was at the City Council meeting. Was the above referenced person there also?

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  18. Yep, t'was there. Denver still reacted with a lack of control. You attempted to make a silly point comparing apples to oranges with your union comment. Do you resent or just plain dislike Anne? Don't bother to answer, don't want to blow your cover.

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  19. I wish to repeat thatAnn Pica should have common sense and logic to realize her questions about John Denver and Darcy Kuenzi having to resign from the Chamber of Commerce was specious. I do not blame John Denver for sounding mildly peeved.

    I will repeat again that Ann Pica's antagonism and negativity should be put in check by the City Council so that pressing needs can be addressed. There is only two months before incorporation. There is so much to do.

    As for the Union comment, I am a union member as well as my father was. It is a basic right to make sure that one's work environment is as fair and balance as possible for all. Those individuals belong to Chambers of Commerce, Trade Association, Professional Association such as the AMA and ABA are in reality participating in a form of union activities.

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  20. Response to Denver and Ann Pica's comment. Denver and Kuenzi are all about themselves..She is a Party Planner and He is a Land Dealer. He needs to focus on things that matter to this community with a rational mind.

    Honest Jon

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  21. Does anyone have any information on the (2) sets of abandoned Model
    Homes located on Simpson Rd? The models are called Stoneybrook & Whispering Creek by Griffin Communities? They have put a chainlink fence around the model homes and one of the models is boarded up. It looks so tacky. The worst part is the road. I completely understand the developers not moving forward with the vertical building until the housing market starts turning but shouldnt these developers be obligated to finish the promised street improvements. I live in Heritage Lake and this road will be impossible to travel once the rains come. What is going to happen to all these roads that the developers have ruined?

    Thanks

    Sandy

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  22. Sandy, I don't have any specific information on those two developments on Simpson Rd. We know a lot more about Audie Murphy Ranch, and we're finding out that we still can't do anything about it.

    I published the e-mail addresses of the city council members in the article above. They always tell people that they want to hear all your concerns.

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  23. Thanks Steve, I know this is relatively small compared to the Audie Murphy Ranch catastrophe but i see it happening all over. All the developers have put everything on hold including repairing any and all of their own created messes. It seems ridiculous that we as residents are being held hostage by the developers.If they started the project then they were funded a certain amount of money, I know the problem most of developers are facing is that the lenders are pulling out midway through the project but at minimum the street improvement should be finished on the developers own dime at least for safety concerns.This winter Menifee will become a flooded/muddy mess with all of these unfished street improvements. I did read your post where the county guy says if they put a claim in on the developers bond it will take 12-24 months to see any kind of funding, So have they at least submitted the claim against the developers bond? What are they waiting for? I guess im just like everybody else.. Frustrated....
    Thanks again Steve for keeping us updated.

    Sandy

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  24. I purchased my home in north Romoland over 6 years ago. I deliberately selected a community that had a 1 acre minimum lot size, ranches, farms, animals permitted (like goats, sheep, horses, chickens, etc.) The part of Romoland south of Hwy 74 is just like Menifee and belongs in the city. The marginal, crime ridden, illegal alien infested, graffiti covered part of Romoland between Watson and 74 also should be in a city. But I want to let you know that I and at least 25 of my neighbors in north Romoland do NOT want to be in Menifee's sphere of influence. We don't want your city zoning, restrictions, crime, population density, or attitude. BOB DUKE does not speak for all of Romoland. I am proud to be a Romolander and want to remain in an unincorporated part of Riverside County. J2R2 Ranch

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  25. The poster that posed on August 1, 2008 at 3:16 p.m.

    Romoland is being carved up into Heritage Lakes type of developments. Whether you like ot or not, large vacant parcels north of Highway 74 is being subdivided into huge, large residential developments.

    Where there are smaller parcels, free standing residential tracts of 100 to 300 residential unit each are being approved. As surely as the sun rises in the morning and sets at night, you are going to have many new neighbors. It is your decision whether you and your current neighbors want to be in the Sphere of Influence of the City of Perris or City of Menifee.

    Have a good weekend.

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  26. I would like to know if city council members John Denver and Darcy Kuenzi are ever going to take their campaign signs down? John you have a couple on Newport and some on Lindenberger, and both have signs on the corner of Lindenberger and Simpson. I'm sure the deadline is over for this by now!

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  27. When is our next Council Meeting and where? thank you for anyone who can tell me.

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  28. If I remember correctly from the last meeting, the council decided to have the meetings twice a month, on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month. They also opted to continue having the meetings @7:00 PM in room 105 of the Learning Resource Center at Mount San Jacinto College (at least for the time being).

    So the next meeting should be this Wednesday, August, 13.

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