Santa's Workshop Comes To Menifee

Santa came early this year to the children of Menifee, California. Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus and all their volunteer helpers shared toys with over 1,000 kids and their families in the 3rd Annual event, located at Quail Valley Elementary School.

Each child was privileged to get 2 toys each, thanks to the generous donations by Menifee residents and businesses. The Menifee community really came together to help make sure those families in Menifee who had a need were assisted. Some of the volunteers included people from The Menifee Fire Department, Menifee Valley Commnity Cupboard, MPV Trophies, Interact Club of Paloma Valley High School, Kiwanis Club, Menifee Valley Chamber of Commerce,, the Paloma Valley Football team and many others.

Financial sponsors who helped make this event possible included Waste Management, Menifee Plumbing by Falco & Sons, Miller Jones, Union Bank of California, Rotary International, The United Way and Money Matters. Over 2,000 toys were donated by Menifee Residents over the last 6 months, they were collected at various locations throughout the city, including local churches, businesses and Ryland Oasis. Menifee Wilderness Lakes and their visitors donated over $3,500 in toys, according to Dorothy Wolons, of the Menifee Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Many more people and businesses were involved in this community event. City Council member John Denver played Santa Claus while his beautiful wife was Mrs. Claus- they were gracious to spend their entire Saturday bringing joy to the children of Menifee. Any left over toys will be saved for next year.

Menifee Valley Athletic Club and Good Shepherd Lutheran School team up to promote health and fitness in children.

Things around Good Shepherd Lutheran School became quite exciting this week when 3 Certified Personal Trainers were on hand to lead students through a fitness routine for their P.E. class. Students were eager to learn new exercises, and were quite impressed to have “teachers with such big muscles” said second grader, Christian Reid. The trainers spent all day Thursday with the first through sixth grade classes.

The school is gearing up for the Presidential Physical Fitness Challenge coming up this January, 13th and 15th. Students have been training for the past 5 weeks to increase their strength and endurance. Having the MVAC training staff come was a great encouragement for students to continue exercising over the Holiday break. Good Shepherd Principal Rob McDowell expressed deep appreciation for the trainers ability to reinforce the school’s commitment to health and the upcoming fitness challenge. “It is a great blessing to have a community of support and to share our resources for the betterment of our children.” Many people would agree with that sentiment.

When asked what motivated him to volunteer his time to the students, Trainer Dustin Graham replied, “I felt that this was a great and exciting opportunity to take the kids through some fun, yet challenging exercises.” Acknowledging that childhood obesity is on the rise in our country, and the training staff at MVAC believes that it was an opportunity to “excite kids about health and fitness.”

Paul David, general manager of MVAC is very interested in helping children in the community;

“According to the Center for Disease Control, 60% of overweight children between the ages of 5 and 10 years of age already have one risk factor for heart disease; largely due to a lack of physical activity. Hence, it’s encouraging to know of schools like Good Shepherd Lutheran that are getting kids to not just be active but to raise their fitness levels to meet the President’s Challenge to fitness. Kids love to play, let’s do our part to keep them moving!!! "

Donating their time and expertise were Certified Trainers: Dustin Graham, Travis Webb, and Krisha Walkamm.

Menifee is Beautiful

As I drove to work yesterday, I was inspired by the majestic view. Here are a few photos to remind us just how beautiful Menifee really is. There are more photos here..

City Council Meeting - December 16, 2008

Here's a recap of the city countil meeting this evening.

It was a long one, starting at 5:00pm with a two-hour workshop on "ethics". I opted not to attend that one, figuring it wasn't necessary for me. The main meeting started at 7:00pm, and ran until 10:00pm.

First Babies of Menifee

The main meeting started with awards of recognition to two of Menifee's first citizens under cityhood, Adam Gabriel Gonzalez, who was born during the cityhood inaugration ceremony, and Taylor Michelle Dannenberg, who was the first person born after the inauguration ceremony.

Here's photos...

Adam Gabriel Gonzalez

Taylor Michelle Dannenberg

Eagle Scout Award

Boy Scout Troop 444, of Menifee, awarded one its own with an Eagle Scout Award. Christopher W. Goode carried out an act of heroism after his cousin choked on a piece of egg. He did the heimlich manuever, which the Boy Scouts taught him, and effectively saved his life. His cousin, also a scout, pinned the medal on him. He also received an award from the City.

Sun City Library Expansion Plans

Nancy Johnson, the librarian for the entire Riverside County Library System, was on hand to announce plans for the Sun City Library currently undergoing renovation. Johnson, who interestingly described herself as the only employee of the library system (everyone else is contracted labor), handed the microphone to two County EDA workers, who held up artist's renderings of the future library. See photos below...

Construction of the new library will begin this January, and is expected to complete November 2009. Fred Twyman asked if the large trees surrounding the existing library would be saved. Johnson said "no", that they'll be taken out to make way for a new landscape design.

Paloma Valley High School Work Mentoring Program

Tom Anderson, who heads up Paloma Valley High School's work mentoring program gave a presentation. He said the program places senior students into the work place, either on paid, or unpaid positions, giving them valuable work experience.

If you're an employer in need of free labor, here's a solution. But based on hearing Anderson go over the employer's responsibilities, it's not without its portfolio of supervisory duties. If you're going to pay the students, then you have to provide them workers' compensation coverage. If you're not going to pay them, then the school absorbs the workers' comp. Seems like a no-brainer there. However, it's obvious that students will want to be paid, so it's likely that students will not remain at unpaid posts for very long.

Contact Tom Anderson at (951) 672-6030, ext 1024, if you'd like to mentor a student employee.

Public Comments

Robyn Rogers - who I wrote about earlier (link), gave a presentation about the charter school she's trying to get started. "Aberdovey School", will be located here in Menifee, and will hopefully open its doors in 2010. It focuses on a teaching framework called, "Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound". Last month she held an open house, and attracted about 15 people, several of which are educational professionals who have signed on to help her build it. She mentioned to me that she met with officials from Menifee Union School District, and was surprised to find that they already built up a dossier on her.

Anne Pica - Anne asked the council about their last meeting, where they talked about hiring a consulting firm to look into the subject of creating districts. The Mayor responded that they don't want to hire a consulting firm because of all the money it would cost. Anne then asked about the cost of holding a special election to give districting a second vote. The Mayor said that they haven't decided on holding a special election. Anne also asked about what law allows the council to ignore the first measure that voters passed to create districts, and call for a second measure. The city attorney responded that there are no laws specifically allowing measures to be circumvented, but that there are laws that define districts, and that she would give Anne a copy of these laws.

Bill Zeidlik - Bill seemed to use his three minutes of commentary on a wide variety of issues, which made it very difficult for me to follow along, particularly because he spoke so quickly. He knew he was on a timer, so he tried to pack in as much stuff as he could. But all it seemed to do was cause much of his words to blur together to the point where I had trouble hearing him. He mentioned something about $42 million dollars that the county owes us, and that he wants the council to create a committee on community economic development.

One Year Extention of County Ordinances

The council did a second adoption of the county ordinance extension by another year. Bill Zeidlik, a city resident, commented on why the need to extend this another year so quickly, when the ordinances as they stand now won't expire until February. City attorney Martyn said that there's no way the City can adopt all of its own laws between now and February.

Oak Hills Subdivision

The city council approved the final tract map on a subdivision of 246 residential parcels, west of Valley Blvd, and north of Ridgemoor. But it wasn't without a lot of discussion.

First Bill Zeidlik, commented that the community needs more time to review this project, and suggested it be postponed another 2 months. Fred Tywman commented that this is the first time the City has ever seen this project, that it has thus far been all discussed at the County level. He cited some topographical issues, including a rather unsightly water tower.

The City Manager interjected that the issue currently on the table is the approval of the final map. Meaning, the city council has no other option but to approve it. Current law requires that if all the requirements of the tentative map have been met, then a city council is required to approve it as the final map.

Fred Twyman made a motion to delay the final map approval so that he could have more time to examine it. Wallace Edgerton seconded the motion. However, Scott Mann intervened by saying that this project has been through the county system for a long time, and there's no reason to delay it further. City attorney Martyn added that if the council doesn't approve this as a final map, the developers could sue for damages, and that the developers would also incur additional taxes as time went on.

Thus, the council went ahead and approved it.

Bradley Paseo Shopping Center

This is a proposed shopping center on the corner of Bradley and Newport Rds. You can see the plans on an older article (link).

The issue on the table was an extension of this plot plan. I'm not sure exactly what the details of this issue is. Fred Twyman asked our city planner if all the ingresses and egresses have been met. A representative of the developer was on hand, and answered "yes". Bill Zeidlik, stepped up to comment, asking if our council has read the 76 pages of conditions. He also mentioned a beer & liquor license, but didn't explain what the issue was about the beer & liquor license.

Ryan Residential Subdivision

This is 8 acres of land at 32633 Bradley Rd, in the area of Paloma Valley HS, being subdivided into 3 lots. Bill Zeidlik, commented against this project, citing a trail that used to be there, that won't be there after this project. The city council approved the final tract map.

Hidden Hills Development

This is a new housing development by KB Homes, consisting of 523 single family homes, located along Murrieta Rd, right by Menifee Middle School. This project is currently at a tentative map, which means the council isn't obligated to make any approvals until the developer has satisfied all of their requirements.

The issue on the table is the developer wanting to modify the tentative map to build this development in three phases. The current housing market is such that the money isn't there to build this thing under the current proposal.

At the center of this issue is that the developer has agreed to make road improvements to Garbani and Murrieta roads. Allowing the developer to build this in phases will allow them to address the road improvements more quickly. Scott Mann cited this in his commentary on why he plans to vote in favor of the request.

Bill Zeidlik stepped up the comment podium and spoke in vehemently against this project as a whole, arguing that these 523 single family homes in out of context with the rural neighborhood. He said, "This is one I would like to kick out totally".

Barbara Spencer, president of the Menifee Valley Historical Society also spoke against this project, saying that they filed a lawsuit against this project because it sits on what used to be horse trails, and that the developer didn't provide for these trails.

Fred Twyman then responded that he agreed with Zeidlik and Spencer, that this development is way out of context with the rural nature of the community it's located in.

Scott Mann, however, included that this development is already 50% built, and that changing the plan is out of the question.

Mike Freeman, who's with KB Homes, stepped up to lend some ammunition in his favor, that they've already invested millions of dollars thus far, and intends to see this project through. He said he'll entertain a brief delay in exchange for spending more time with council members, but that he didn't come to this meeting to defend the project as a whole and doesn't intend to change the number of homes or lot sizes.

Fred Twyman made a motion to delay the project for more time, and Wallace Edgerton seconded. However, Mann, Kuenzi, and Denver voted that down. Another motion was made to grant KB Homes this phasing request, and Mann, Kuenzi, and Denver passed it.

The Shops at Scott

This is a new shopping center located on Scott Rd and Zeiders Rd, near the I-215. The issue on the table here is to approve a tentative map, allowing the developer to begin the process of building this. Here's a drawing of the plan...

the shops at scott

Deanna Carbinelli, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker, commented that she wants the council to approve this because she's been having trouble getting people to buy homes here in Menifee. The predominant complaint is that people will have to travel to Temecula to do their shopping.

Joe Daugherty, the guy who presided over the Menifee Cityhood Incorporation Committee, lent his stamp of approval on this project, noting that the developer donated a lot of money to the cityhood effort.

Barbara Spencer, cited that Scott Rd and I-215 are "scenic corridors", and with that comes requirements that signs be of a certain small height to allow people to enjoy the scenic beauty of Scott Rd and the I-215. However, a representative with the County responded that these roads are in fact "county illegible scenic highways", which have different requirements, and that the signs accompanying this shopping center are allowed to be bigger.

William Ruffalo, who owns property near this shopping center, argued that he received no advanced notice of this project, and that the developers are going to put a road right through his property. Fred Twyman pointed out something, which I didn't totally understand, but sounded like no such road will be allowed to be built as long as Ruffalo continues to own and occupy his property. It's only until he sells it to someone else that this road can be built.

Outside of all those comments, everyone seemed to be in favor of this shopping center, and the city council approved it. At which point, about six people from the developer, Menifee Partners, LLC, began to shake hands, congratulate each other, and gathered up all their displays, and made quite a bit of noise and they exited out.

Five Year Capital Improvement Plan

The city council approved the Five Year Capital Improvement Plan, which is a plan to make a bunch of infrastructure improvements. Among those is the paving of Holland Rd out to Canyon Hills (I didn't quite hear this right due to the noise of Menifee Partners LLC making noise on their way out of the room). Also included is the paving of Menifee road between Freedom Crest Elementary School out to Simpson Road.

Prima Facie Speed Limits

The city council adopted an ordinance to adopt a "prima facie speed limit" as the default city speed limit. Basically, the prima facie speed limit is whatever speed that most of the people travel at on roads that don't have a posted speed limit. The city engineer described something like the 85% percentile of drivers. He cited a figure of 55mph, but I don't necessarily think that's a solid number, just an example.

On any roads in Menifee that don't have a posted speed limit, the speed limit will be this 85th percentile of drivers and whatever speed they're driving at. This now gives Menifee Police a legal footing to cite fast drivers. Prior to this, such roads could be legally travelled at any speed.

Bill Zeidlik, not to be kept silent, argued that the city council hasn't established a maximum speed limit for trails. He suggested a speed limit for all vehicles at 15mph.

City Code Violations

The city council adopted an ordinance that allows their city code violations to supercede those of the county. John Denver pointed out that they have the same city codes as the county, with the only difference being that this ordinance will allow them to collect fines from these violations, instead of the fines being collected by the county.

Bill Zeidlik took the podium with arguments seemingly against this, though not necessarily stating that. However, his arguments were that of not wanting the city to rush towards busting people, and asking for notices instead of levying fines right away.

Removal of Abandoned Vehicles

The city council adopted an ordinance allowing them remove abandoned vehicles.

Bill Zeidlik, again, took the podium to comment, arguing that this ordinance will criminalize him for having a tractor on his property, or having a couple of junk cars that he keeps around for spare parts. However, the council again noted that the county already has this ordinance on their books. The city's ordinance simply allows them to do what the county has been allowed to do already.

City attorney Martyn noted that this ordinance is intended to deal with "vehicles" which she defined as not including tractors.

Regulating Massage Parlors

The city council adopted an ordinance that levies tough requirements and restrictions for massage parlors. What happened is that Temecula and Murrieta recently enacted ordinances that got tough on massage parlors, designed to kick them out of their city limits. Therefore, our city council didn't want them finding refuge here in Menifee. So it enacted this ordinance to keep them from coming here.

Council Member Comments

Scott Mann said that he wants to create a Menifee Veterans Memorial to honor military veterans. He said it could be used to a central location for various functions. He wants it to be erected and dedicated on November 11, 2009. He asked the Mayor to create a new committee to establish this memorial. The mayor did so and appointed Mann as chair, and Kuenzi as vice-chair.

Kuenzi added that I-215 freeway widening is moving closer.

Denver said that he witnessed illegal signs being taken down. He asked the City Manager to expedite the Police Explorer Program.

Helping Our Neighbors In Need!

With the holidays upon us and the economy in turmoil, many Menifee residents find it difficult this time of the year to supply the basics for their families. I encourage Menifee residents who are able, to donate what they can to the Menifee Valley Community Cupboard, a non profit organization.
The Cupboard is operated by volunteers who also collect donations of food from markets, organizations and individuals for redistribution to those in need.
The Menifee Valley Community Cupboard accepts tax deductible donations of money which is used to purchase stocks of food items and to operate it's distribution facility.

Donations of commercially packaged, unspoiled foodstuffs are always welcome either at the Menifee Valley Community Cupboard or at any of the "donation barrels" located at various locations throughout the communities served or at special temporary collection sites established by the Menifee Valley Community Cupboard at community events.

Donations of money are equally important in order to keep the Menifee Valley Community Cupboard in operation to augment its donated food supplies.

If you and your family are able to assist the Menifee Valley Cupboard, please visit

To receive no cost assistance from the Menifee Valley Community Cupboard, a recipient must:

  • Be a resident of and living within the following ZIP code areas: 92584, 92585, 92586 and the Quail Valley and Cottonwood Canyon portions of 92587.
  • Produce proof of residence in the above communities (i.e. Utility/Phone Bill).
  • Produce a photograph bearing identification document (i.e. Driver's License).
  • Conform to established income and personal resource guidelines.
The distribution center is located at 26808 Cherry Hills Blvd. in Sun City, CA 92586
Cupboard food distribution hours: Monday – Friday 9am-3pm, Office hours: 8am-5pm

Have a Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year!

Loma Linda Medical Center- Murrieta (West Menifee)

Murrieta Loma Linda Medical CenterDecember 8th was the official groundbreaking ceremony for the new Loma Linda University Medical Center- Murrieta. The plans for the new hospital were first discussed back in May, 2005. The new hospital will be located off Antelope, between Scott Road and Clinton Keith, just a few miles from Menifee. The hospital will initially have 106 beds, including an ICU, labor and delivery suites and a full service Emergency room. This new hospital will help alleviate the hospital shortage that Southwest Riverside County now faces. In addition, residents will have more healthcare options, besides Menifee Valley, Rancho Springs and Inland Valley Medical Center.

Dr. Piconi, a retired Murrieta urologist and over 70 local community physicians raised 10 million dollars to help make this hospital possible, including Dr. Walter Combs ( and Dr. Jay Ferns.
Further, Loma Linda CEO, Ruthita Fike was also present, representing Loma Linda Medical Center. The new hospital is expected to be part of the great tradition and reputation that Loma Linda University Hospital has as a Research and Physician Training center.

Murrieta City Council members were at the ceremony and they informed the participants that the 215 freeway between 15/215 juncture and Scott Road would be widened and that plans are underway to create a freeway exit/on ramp at Keller road and the 215.

Southwest Riverside is medically underserved as a community. By 2020, it is expected that there will be 1.13 beds per thousand people, far below the national average. This hospital serves a very important need to Southwest county residents, especially Menifee and Sun City residents.

The new hospital is scheduled to open up January 2011. The site is visible off the freeway next to the new fire station off antelope, between Scott and Clinton Keith. Photos of the event can be seen at Faceboook

Menifee Now On Facebook.

Menifee residents who are interested in networking with other local residents and businesses should consider joining on Facebook, a free social networking site. There are over 149 Menifee residents who have joined the friends list since December 1st, including city council member, John Denver. There are also several board members from the Menifee Chamber of Commerce who have joined facebook. Facebook is a great way to communicate with fellow Menifee residents.

Scott Mann Discusses Voting Districts on Menifee Talk Radio

This evening, at 7:00pm, councilman Scott Mann will be the featured guest on Menifee Talk Radio, to discuss voting districts.

They'll be figuring out the differences between "by district" and "at large", and why the third option "from district" wasn't offered on the ballot.

If you want to call in and speak to Mann live on the show, use this phone number... (646) 716-6582.

The show is broadcast over the Internet only, at the following website...

Menifee City Seal Contest

The City of Menifee is in need of an official city seal, and is calling on city residents to submit their designs.

At City Hall, you can pick up an entry form to accompany your artwork. City Hall is located at:

29683 New Hub Drive, Suite C
Menifee, CA 92586
(click here for map)

Below is the information off of the entry form...

Contest Purpose: The purpose of the City Seal Contest is to find an emblem to represent the new City of Menifee. It offers an opportunity for community members to become involved in the new City of Menifee, and to contribute their artistic creativity to their community. The seal symbolizes the uniqueness and spirit of our city. The winning City seal will be used on letterhead, signs, publcity, buildings, etc. The winner will be invited to a City Council meeting to be honored by the City Council.

Contest Procedure:
  • Contestants submit entry forms and designs to the Menifee City hall on or before Wednesday, January 21, 2009. Entries are numbered and remain anonymous throughout the contest.

  • Professionals in the visual arts/printing/ and/or graphic media fields select the top ten entries based on the above criteria.

  • City Council members select a winner from the top ten entries. If the City Council prefers designs from more than one entry, the designs will be combined into one seal and multiple winners will be honored.

  • The City Council honors the winner(s) from the Menifee City Seal Contest at a regularly-scheduled meeting.

Entry Qualifications:
  • Anyone who lives within the Menifee city limits may submit an entry.

  • The design must

    • Express the uniqueness and spirit of the city.

    • Contain the name "Menifee". It may feature the date the city was established (October 1, 2008), a historical symbol, initial, or asbtract icon or graphic.

    • Be submitted in both color and in black and white. Each rendering is to be submitted on 8 1/2" x 11" paper.

  • There is no age restriction on the participants.

  • One design per participant

  • Entry entry MUST be accompanied by a completed Official Entry Form.

  • Entry and entry form must be submitted to the Menifee City Hall, 29683 New Hub Drive, Suite C, Menifee, 92586, by 4 p.m. on or before Wednesday, January 21, 2009.

***All designs become the property of the City of Menifee***
***Designs may be refined/modified by the City at its discretion.***

For entry forms or answers to questions, call City Hall at 951-672-6777 or email

City Council Meeting - December 4, 2008

The Menifee City Council met this evening with a workshop at 6:00pm, and the regular meeting at 7:00pm.


The first part of the workshop dealt with scheduling future workshops. Gary Thompson, the acting City Manager, handed out a schedule of workshop topics...

  1. Planning Approval Matrix - January

  2. Visioning & Goal Setting - January - Extended Session

  3. Employee Benefits/Credit Card Policy - January

  4. General Plan Process - February

  5. Planning Commission - February

  6. Signage Policy - March

  7. Council Districts - Survey Results - March

  8. Community Support Policy - April

  9. Budget Updates/Workshops - February Update/April & May Workshops
Bill Zeidlik stood up to comment asking the council offer townhall meetings. I'm guessing he's referring to some kind of format where the audience can provide a greater degree of interaction, instead of the three-minute comment that he finds himself so limited by.

The second part of the workshop dealt with the issue of illegal sign posting. A slideshow presentation was given discussing the existing laws and ordinances that the city can use to remove these signs.

The signs specifically in concern are those posted on public property, and those that create some kind of public danger. A danger might include signs that block the view of drivers, or where someone posting a sign could be in danger of hurting themselves and thereby setting up a liability for the city.

Fred Twyman noted that while liability is always concern, the real issue here is that these signs are ugly. Acting city manager Thompson agreed, but seemed to suggest that countering ugly signs is tough to enforce, and that using public safety gives the city a reason to remove signs.

Scott Mann and John Denver commented that there are already laws on the books that allow the city to remove these signs, and asked why the City Manager isn't already enforcing them. Thompson replied that he intends to enforce the laws, but that since our community is so used to putting up signs without retribution, it might create a shock to the people. Therefore, he recommended the city publish a warning to all sign posters that they're about to lose their signs if they don't take them down right now.

In fact, twice he referred to using the press to issue this notice, and everytime he said "press" he looked over at me. So, I'm making it my civic duty to put all sign posters in Menifee on notice that you have been officially warned.

The presentation also included photo examples of illegal signs posted in Menifee (I assume these are the ones that create a public danger)...

Diana's Dance Co.

Jeff's Electric

P&T Auto

John Denver also went on to say that there's a need for these signs, and expressed his desire that the city set aside an area or two where commercial signs can be posted. He said that Hemet has something like this right now.

In my opinion, since we're talking about public property here, I wonder if the city can charge a fee to post signs. Then it becomes a revenue generator, and if someone didn't pay their fee, the city automatically has reason to remove the sign, danger or no danger.

Regular Meeting

Lt Ruffcorn Awarded

Lt. Ruffcorn of the Menifee Police Department was given an award of recognition from the city for his services. Ruffcorn is leaving the city to provide service to the Northern California town of Auburn. Here's a photo of him receiving the award...

Public Comments

Ann Weston - As in the city council meeting two weeks ago, Ann expressed her disdain for Procinctu, the private military training facility just north of Menifee's borders. She this time added that there are laws against companies like Procinctu, and that there is no wall surrounding the company to prevent stray bullets. She also said there are indian artifact's on Procinctu's property that the nearby tribes don't know about. Mayor Edgerton responded by saying that any matters beyond Menifee's borders are beyond the city's control.

Gary Reller - President of the Board of Trustees at the Romoland School District, stepped up to congratulate the City of Menifee, and described his district, and mentioned topics very dear to him like public safety and economic development. He shared the podium with Bobbie Plough, the district superintendent who said she's looking forward to working with the council, and then invited them all over for a tour of the district.

Terry Friedman - Asked the council to create a future agenda item to discuss neighborhood watch programs. He said he wanted to get some special time to speak when that subject comes up. Mayor Edgerton went ahead and asked the City Manager to pencil it in for December 16th.

Victoria Woods

Victoria Woods is the name of a new apartment complex going in along Antelope Rd, just in front of the Oasis community. The land that it's going to sit on is currently designated as "single family dwelling", which is what the Oasis is designated as. The developer wanted the council to approve a zoning change to "general residential", allowing them to build the apartments. Today, the council was asked to give its final blessing, which they did.

Two weeks ago, a full presentation was given by Carmen Cave, the city's planning director, who recommended the council approve the zoning change. One member of the public, the Oasis association president, stepped forward to give their support for the zoning change, saying the developer held several meetings with Oasis homeowners, and made a number of concessions, which basically hinged on lowering the complexes from 3-stories to 2-stories. There will, however, still be at least a couple of complexes with 3-stories.

There was also at least one Oasis homeowner who spoke out against the zoning change two weeks ago, saying that he bought his home at Oasis under the idea that the surrounding community was zoned for single family homes, and felt it's wrong for the city to let him down on his piece of Heaven. He went on to say there are many other homeowners who are also against this, but they were not present to voice their opposition.

The council's response to this homeowner had the tone that because he was the only dissenter present, they would go ahead and approve the zoning change. I'm not sure that was truly their intent, but it sure came off sounding like it was. That lead the homeowner to argue that the city provided no advance warning to Oasis homeowners of this discussion. But the city staff provided argument that it did notify certain homeowners within a certain radius from the apartment complex, which apparently amounted to only a fraction of the total Oasis homeowners.

Okuma Parcel Map

This involves a property owner with 2.5 acres of land on Okuma Rd, not too far from Murrieta Rd and Scott Rd. He wants to subdivide his property in half, and needed council approval. Carmen Cave, the city's planning director, recommended the council to approve it.

The existing zoning currently calls for parcels at a minimum of 1 acre in size, so subdividing it wouldn't be an issue.

Bill Zeidlik, spoke up saying that if the council approves this, they'll open up a can of worms causing everyone to want to subdivide too, which is probably likely due to the state of the economy. He noted the infrastructure problems it would create in that area with increased demand for water, sewage, and traffic. But he also went on to say that he's in favor of this request.

Ken Gulley RV Barn

Ken Gulley owns property in the J-Bar Ranch area, by Scott Rd and I-215. He wants to build a barn to house his RV. Existing law requires him to keep the barn 75 ft away from the property line. But based on the existing structures on his property, and the way his property is configured, he can't meet that 75 ft requirement. So, he's asking the council to consider a "variance", which is planning-speak for breaking the rules. Instead, his barn will be 45 ft from the property line.

Carmen Cave, the city's planning director recommended the council approve the request, and the council did so, but with Edgerton voting no. His no vote was actually a commentary that he was trying to avoid setting a precedence.

That discussion came up due to Carmen Cave asking the council for some guidelines on how to proceed with these "variance" requests. That is, she wanted the council to provide its vision to her, so that she can process these requests with some working knowledge. Her request brought up further dicussion that approving these requests could set a precedence, encouraging other property owners to demand special consideration for their building projects. Edgerton already knew that three other council members would vote "yes" on this request, so he opted to vote "no" as a way of sending a message to other property owners that such requests are not automatic.

Whether his strategy will work remains to be seen. But there's an old saying that laws are meant to be broken. Submit your variance requests to Carmen Cave.

The Shops at Scott

The Shops at Scott is a proposed shopping center targeted to go in at the corner of Scott Rd and Zeiders Rd. The developers were here to get a zoning change request so that they could move forward with building it. But because Darcy Kuenzi was not present this evening, and that she really wanted to hear their presentation, the council agreed to move this for the next meeting.

Cable and Video Franchising Fees

The council voted to adopt an ordinance that would collect a 5% franchise fee from cable and satellite television providers. Mayor Edgerton was careful to remind the audience that the council is not levying a new tax, but that we're all currently paying this fee on our bills. It's just that the county is collecting it, not the city. The ordinance authorizes the city to start collecting it.

Extending County Ordinances for One Year

The council approved an ordinance that would call for extending the county ordinances for an additional one year. When the city officially formed, it adopted all of the county ordinances as its own ordinances. This new ordinance simply extends that adoption for another year. Scott Mann explained to the audience that this gives them more time to do "due diligence" in forming new ordinances that "Menifee-ize" the county ones.

He actually coined that term.

Invest Monies into the Local Agency Investment Fund

The council adopted a resolution to invest its extra cash into an interest-earning account. The City Manager says that we currently have money sitting in our checking account doing nothing.

Gallery Development

The council was asked to approve the final map for a new housing development called "Gallery". I'm not sure where it's located.

The City Attorney advised the council that because the developer has satisfied all the requirements of the tentative map, it is required by law to approve the final map.

Nonetheless, the council entertained arguments from the audience against the final map. Bill Zeidlik commented that the slopes separating each house are so tall and steep that it presents a flood danger. A representative from the developer rebutted that they've installed drains that will eliminate that problem. However, Debbie Manion, who says she lives a couple houses away from this development, commented that she's already seeing her property flooded from the runoff created by this development.

The city council voted to approve the final map, with Fred Twyman giving a rather hesitant "yes" vote. Seems like he could have voted "no" to avoid setting a precedent, since the others voted "yes".

Newport Road Realignment

The City Manager reported that he's met with a developer to begin building the temporary realignment plan for Newport Rd as early as this January. This is the plan that will have the realigned Newport Rd running one-way only (see details). However, he conditioned that by saying the developer might delay that by another 3 months due to issues with contracting issues.

In my opinion, this one-way temporary plan will not create a significant net improvement. There may be a small improvement, but not significant enough to warrant this expense and effort. The city may as well leave it alone if it can't make the realigned Newport Rd two-way, and just wait for Audie Murphy Ranch to get back on track.

Council Comments

John Denver asked the City Manager to keep the pressure on the developer to finish the Newport Road realignment because all of the council members ran on a platform to make road improvements.

He also asked the City Manager road getting freeway signs in place denoting the boundaries of Menifee. The manager responded that he's been in touch with Cal-Trans, but that it takes them about 2 years to get these signs in place.

Denver also asked the manager about getting booklets that provide council members with some facts on what the city's budget is, and where the money is coming from.

Finally, he reported that he's been working with the Police Chief with respect to the "Explorer Post", a way to get kids involved with local law enforcement. He said this program is being implemented as he spoke.

Scott Mann responded to Denver's request for city budget booklets that he doesn't need too many details, just an overview, perhaps quarterly.

He also congratulated Phoeba Irey, who was in attendance, on her service with the Menifee Union School District.

Fred Twyman commented that he's been working with Darcy Kuenzi in ironing out details on the Subcommittee Subcommittee. This is the subcommitee to figure out what subcommitees we need. He says the public will soon be given a chance to involve themselves in civic duty.

Steve, Where Have You Been?

In answer to your e-mails, I'm just working.

Sorry I haven't been keeping up Menifee 24/7 the past few weeks. But I've keeping busy in other ways.

I publish about 30 other websites, all of which earn me income through advertisers, similar to the Google ads you here on Menifee 24/7. Menifee 24/7 alone earns only a fraction of what I need to pay our bills and feed our bellies. For the most part it's community service I provide, not just purely a business. And like any business, the recession that is now officially here has hit me as hard anyone else. That forces me to work on projects that earn me more money. And that's largely what's going on with me.

I also own a rental property in Renton, WA. Not too long ago, the renters that I had moved out. Earlier in November I drove up there and spent a week cleaning up the place and doing some small fixes. Since then I've been advertising the place, and ended up listing it through HUD, and finally got a renter via Section 8. But for a couple of months, I lost that rental income.

I'm also working on some new websites. A friend of mine that I ride motorcycles with is interested in blogging about the Temecula Wine country as well as his travels around the State. So, I'm designing some websites for him.

With Thanksgiving last month, Lisa and I spent a few days cleaning up the house in preparation for guests.

And I also spent last weekend on a motorcycle trip up to the southern Sierras. I went with a couple of friends. Here are my photos, one friend's photos, and the other friend's photos.

I did attend the city council meeting of November 18, and took down some meticulous notes. But I had gotten side tracked on other projects, and several days later when I got to thinking about publishing my notes for that meeting, it seemed like old news.

I plan on being at the city council meeting tonight, and plan on getting things back on track!