Menifee City Council Meeting - Jan 6, 2009

The Menifee City Council met this evening, here's a recap of what went on... The council met at 7:00pm for the open session. There was...

The Menifee City Council met this evening, here's a recap of what went on...

The council met at 7:00pm for the open session. There was no prior study session.

Scheduling

Scott Mann asked to cancel the upcoming January 20th council meeting explaining that it will conflict with the "New Mayors" meeting in Sacramento, in which the entire council plans to attend. All councilmembers seemed to be in agreement.

City Manager George Wentz brought up the subject of having the "visioning session", this is where the city council gets together to create their vision for the city.

Public Comments

Paul Krueger, Pastor at New Hope Community Church in Canyon Lake, and founder of Hope Learning Academy, spoke about the academy helping "kids who have fallen through the cracks", and thanked councilman Mann for helping the academy establish its business plan.

Anne Pica, spoke about the issue with establishing council districts, and accused the council for having a closed door meeting. She mentioned she's consulting with the Secretary of State on the legality of such meeting, citing it as a violation of the Brown Act. The Mayor questioned her accusation, to which Anne described in the previous council meeting that the Mayor said a decision was made not to hire a consultant. The Mayor explained that there was a misstatement on this; he didn't mean that a decision was made not to hire a consultant, but simply that no decision had been made to hire or not hire. Anne seemingly retracted, and apologized, but maintained her position that the voters approved districts.

John Denver jumped in at this point to ask the Mayor that the subject of districts should be agendized for a later council meeting where they could discuss this greater lengths. The Mayor agreed. It sounds like the council meeting of February 3 is going to have a in-depth discussion on districts.

Katherine Flores, also spoke about districts, saying that she just now learned the city council members are not in support of districts, and is favoring a special election to reverse the previous one. She went on to say that council members should "get out" if they don't want districts.

Chuck Reutter, stepped up to say that he's getting ready to do a city council recall, and said that "three of you will be recalled".

Phoeba Irey, talked about a book she recently read entitled, "The SPEED of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything", by Stephen Covey. She related this book to the city council explaing that the council is lacking trust from the people, and that much of the adversity it faces stems from this. She went on to say that big decisions are about to be made, and made reference to some zoning issues where the council was approving subdivisions of rather small lot sizes, and that this is compromising the trust with the voters, perhaps eluding to campaign promises made by the council members.

Ryan Rubio, described himself as a 20 year resident, said that on January 2, he was visited by a code enforcement officer wanting to tow his car away. Apparently, it had been sitting in front of his house for quite some time, which he explained was due to a transmission problem. He had offered to push his car up into the driveway, but the officer refused, insisting that it HAD to be towed. Rubio argued to the council that the officer should have allowed him to push his car, and avoid fines. Instead, he had to pay $500.00 total to the DMV and impound lot. And to add insult to injury, he pointed out to the officer that there was another car across the street with expired tags, and that it too ought to be towed. However, the officer ignored it. He accused the officer of simply trying collect money for the city, for the fact that the officer wouldn't allow Rubio to avoid the fines. Rubio said that the code he was cited for violating, "22651 of the vehicle code" was wrongly applied. "I hope this isn't a sign of things to come" Rubio left saying.

Vince Valdez, Park Manager for Valley Wide Parks & Recreation, stepped up to offer his assistance to the city.

Louis Mazei, lent his support to the city council to address matters relating to council districts. He said that he actually voted for "at large", but noted that he lives very close to Sun City Core, and that if districts were created, his residence would very likely be included into the same district as Sun City Core. He felt that Sun City Core represents the most active voting block, and therefore his residence would receive a lot of city council attention, and would seemingly benefit because of it. I'm not exactly sure how he correlated his vote for "at large" with his assertion that districts will improve his quality of life. Nonetheless, he supports having a second election on this. Louis also said that he's now using "Menifee" as his mailing address.

Second Approvals

Much of the stuff on the agenda this evening dealt with adoptions and authorizations the council approved at the last meeting. Because the rules of the city council requires them to approve this stuff twice, it was on the agenda again this meeting. To save time, the council voted to adopt all these things in one fell swoop.

However, Twyman asked that he carve out one particular item, the Prima Facie Speed Limits, and the other council members approved.

Prima Facie Speed Limits

Twyman asked for some clarification from the City Manager, referencing a document that apparently lists what the "prima facie" speed limits will now be for each road in Menifee. He noted that the stretch of Scott Rd, between Antelope Rd and Menifee Rd was not mentioned. Twyman also said that he's not aware of any signs posted on this stretch that defines the speed limit.

The City Manager deferred to his city works guy (I don't have his name), and I couldn't really get the gist of what he said, it sounded like he was saying a lot of stuff without actually saying anything at all.

Twyman also noted other streets that seemingly have a rather high prima facie speed limit in areas where schools (and children) are nearby. He asked how they came up with these speed limits. The city works guy said that the County came up with all this stuff, they had people with radar guns measure the speeds that people actually travel, and then they figure out the 85th percentile, and that became the prima facie speed limit for that road.

Scott Mann chimed in responding to Twyman that he's going to be asking the City Manager to reassess the speed limit for McCall Rd, between Antelope and Menifee Rd, and will include the roads that Twyman was concerned about.

But in the end, the Prima Facie Speed Limit ordinance got its second vote of approval.

Interestingly at this point, John Denver chimed in to the Mayor asking if there could be some kind of pre-meeting, where city council members can ask such trivial questions such as those that Twyman asked, because they appear to be wasting the public's time. Denver noted that the council members have the right to ask these questions, but that it seemed like it wasn't a good use of public session time.

Twyman said that he actually knew the answers to the questions he asked, but that he thought the public would be very interested in hearing the answers, and that's why he asked them.

Council Member Comments

Scott Mann said that he had attended a meeting of Western Riverside Council of Governments, and in that meeting they noted one of the big problems with this bad economy and the high rate of foreclosures, is that the general public living in the Inland Empire doesn't understand the situation well enough. So, they came up "8 recommendations" for local governments to implement, and that this would help improve things. Mann mentioned that this would particularly help stimulate new home developments.

He asked for the city council and city manager to find some time on how to carry out these 8 recommendations for Menifee.

Darcy Kuenzi brought the focus back to council districts, and suggested the city establish a "blue ribbon panel", comprised of nine citizens, to determine the best government structure for Menifee. The panel would take a look at the different structures, what the cost factors are, what the benefits would be, and what the processes are. Kuenzi said that she "wants more information", noting that the subject of districts continues to be a hot topic. It sounds like this will also be put on the agenda for the next council meeting.

My opinion: A blue ribbon panel would create a solution for a problem that exists only in the minds of the council. Moreover, it puts the fate of the first election into the hands of nine council appointees. It was the city council who created this problem, not the people. There's no need for a blue ribbon panel if the city council accept the will of the people. There would not have been an Anne Pica, Chuck Reutter, and now a Katherine Flores, venting their anger in public session if the council had kept mum on this, and just moved forward with districts.

Instead, by going public with their displeasure over the outcome, the council is at risk of deepening the division between Sun City and Menifee, when cityhood was supposed to unite us. And for the council to suggest that the people were ill-informed when they voted for districts is an insult to the intelligence of voters. Based on the anger they have created with this debate, councilmembers should wonder if the people were ill-informed when they voted for them.
John Denver commented that he still hasn't received any information how much money it's going to cost the city to run a second election on districting, how much money it'll cost to hire a districting consultant, and how much it will cost to have separate district elections versus an at-large election. He wants a cost analysis first.

Fred Twyman said that he and Darcy Kuenzi met as part of the Committee Committee, which is the committee to determine what committees to create. They've apparently figured out what committees to create, and asked the City Manager to come up with a date when they can invite the public to apply for seats.

Closed Session

Around 8:00pm, the public session ended, and a private session began to address some lawsuit matters, including one involving Woodside Group, LLC.

But before they convened, Bill Zeidlik asked for some time to comment on the Woodside matter. I didn't quite catch everything he said, but that there had been other lawsuits, and even used the word "we" as if to suggest he had been in the middle of it. Despite saying a lot of things, and not really saying anything specific, he ended it by asking the council "to look at everything carefully".

And I'm sure the council would do so anyways.

Related

City-Council-Districts 4009455818879705826

Post a Comment

  1. Who is Chuck Reutter? A recall already? Come on Chuck, give the council a chance to get things underway! To even threaten a recall this early into our cityhood just sounds like manipulative practice "If you don't cater to me, down you go!". Shame on you Mr Reutter for even thinking of it! By the way, did you run for council and lose or just what is your 'get-even' coming from?

    Thank you Steve for your, as usual, great coverage !

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  2. Wow, what a mess! The city council needs to approve what the people want. "For the people by the people."

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  3. Chuck Ruetter's Bio.......I found this on smartvoter.org

    My wife, Sharley, and I have been married for 19 years and have lived in Sun City, California since 1989. We are members of the Green Party of Riverside County. Furthermore, my name has been placed on the ballot by members of the Green Party of Riverside County to seek election to represent the people living in California's 66th assembly district.

    I am certified by the Hewlett-Packard Corporation as a HP3000 Computer Systems Manager.

    Favorite Quote

    "People should be involved in the decision making process that affect their lives."

    Political Philosophy......
    HEALTHCARE - I support a genuine Universal Health Care system which covers every Californian.

    EDUCATION - I will provide substantial support for public schools which includes: universal reduction in class size, improved teacher training and salaries, greater participation of parents and community.

    LIVING WAGE - I will work to institute a guaranteed living wage for all so that working families can escape poverty and live in dignity.

    MASS TRANSIT - I will encourage state, county, and city elected officials to work with each other and develop an effective mass transit system.

    PET CONTROL - We need a state supported spay & neuter program to help bring our pet population under control. In addition, we can look at a state supported no-kill animal shelter system.

    GROWTH & DEVELOPMENT - I will support a call for well planned and responsible development of our urban areas.

    CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM - I support the California Three Strikes Project initiative to limit the 3 strikes law to "serious" and "violent" felonies. I also support the JAIL for Judges California initiative.

    REPRESENTATION - I will introduce the concept of Proportional Representation in the California State Assembly.

    FACTORY FARMS - We need to encourage and support family-owned farms. We also need to promote organic farming.

    He ran for position on the MSJC board in 2003. He was slaughtered at the polls. He gathered 26% of the vote while his competition picked up 74% of the vote.

    When he was on the ballet for the AD66.....he picked up 4.6% of the vote.

    Now Reutter is threatening a recall of council members 3 months into cityhood. Sorry, but when you run for political office (twice) and threaten recall, he is now a target on blogs and political websites.

    Let the games begin!

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  4. I wish to clarify my comments that was mentioned by Steve when he made his report on the January 6, 2009 City Council meeting. Additionally, I would like to take the opportunity for additional remarks. My responses are as follows:

    1. I support a debate of pros and cons of residents of the City of Menifee voting at large versus by districts. One way to have this debate is to create a blue ribbon committee to study pros and cons and provide the findings to the City Council.

    2. Residents of the City of Menifee deserve this debate because there was approximately a 227 vote difference out of more than 10,000 votes casts between at large and districts.

    3. Those who are loudly advocating that the City Council do not call for an election or the establishment of a blue ribbon committee are the same individuals that spearheaded the “No Cityhood” efforts. They were on the losing end by a landslide for cityhood. The election results show that nearly 62% voted for cityhood and 38% voted no.

    4. My residence is in a family subdivision that is adjacent to the Senior Core. If districts were to be established, there is more than a reasonable chance that our subdivision will be included in the same district as the Senior Core. A member of the City Council could be elected that would be more concerned with senior issues in order to keep the seniors satisfied. Conversely, the council member would have less need to be pushing for issues of residents living in family subdivisions. Those residents living in these family subdivisions would then have very little representation on City Council because the other four council members would need to pay attention to the needs of their neighborhoods.

    5. My family has made a decision to use the zip code name of Menifee instead of Sun City. We live in zip code 92586. Other postal patrons living in the different zip codes throughout the City of Menifee should quietly decide whether to use their current zip code name or begin using Menifee as a zip code name.

    Louis G. Mazei, a Resident of the City of Menifee

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  5. It is interesting that everyone is so up in arms about the districts issue when the council hasn't really done anything yet. So to think that one area is getting preferential treatment seems a bit absurd.

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  6. Loius,

    In cities that elect their council members by district, do you think each district is made up of exactly the same demographics?

    Should every "close" vote that happens in every election be taken back to the polls? If I recall the votes for the council members were very close, should we go back and have a new election for them as well? I bet more than a few people would vote differently.

    Because we have council members that are afraid of votes by district does not mean the people voted incorrectly.

    By the way, I voted to elect at large but was in the minority so I have moved on.

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  7. Having districts is only asking for trouble. We can already see the mindset of some of the people in the community, whose main goal is to create havoc rather than moving forward. The city council shouldn't get community approval for everything. If they make decisions we don't like then we vote them out and get new blood into office. Democracy doesn't mean that the people have an individual say in everything. We vote our politicians into office to speak for us. We are now a city and we need to start acting like one. If we continue to act like a small country bumpkin town, we will end up like Norco where the city is literally the same now as it was 10 years ago. The fact is Menifee needs to look toward the future, and while I sympathize with the Anne Pica's of "old" Sun City, our community is made up of young and growing families, by and large. The interests of those families should be first and foremost in the decision making process for our city. How do we create more parks, draw businesses such as movie theatres, fine and family restaurants, specialty stores, and other resources to our city. The marketplace should be seen as a beginning. The city has a huge amount of potential, and while I value a citizens right to speak and confront our elected officials, it sounds as though many of those who speak out and threaten recalls, lawsuits, etc... have personal agendas, not community based concerns. We need to stay focused. We are Menifee, not Sun City, Not Romoland. We are an independent Menifee, and we need to focus on what is best for the community as a whole, and the council and our community needs to understand that some people won't be happy with the decisions.

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  8. Chuck Reutter is within his legal rights to call for a recall of any council members who is not representing the interest of the citizens of Menifee. 52% of the citizens who voted June 3, 2008 voted for districts. The sample ballot and information pamphiet had a full page argument in favor of eletions at large on measure "G" that was submitted by Supervisor Stone, Supervisor Ashley LAFCO, Cityhood member Ron Sullivan & retired Postmaster of Sun City. No argument in favor or against elections by Districts and yet the voters read and made an informed decision to vote for elections by districts.
    So no blue ribbion committee is needed. I think the real problem her is we were not really informed on the facts of Cityhood or the council members who ran for office. I think we need to go back and revote on those measures too. And to set the record right Measure F-passed at 60.68% and the no was 39.32%. So lets stop this madness and do what the voters approved.

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  9. Great notes thanks.
    Laughing then wanting to cry. What a mess, sad, are we just some hick town?
    A Menifee Mom

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  10. I voted for At Large also, but am opposed to holding a new election so some of the people involved can make money off the taxpayers. It's a waste. We lost; we need to move on. Besides, all that would happen is a few propaganda specialists will start the battle between the residents of Menifee and nothing will be accomplished. The election is over - NO NEW ELECTION. People are upset about cityhood too - they need to get over it.

    As for using Menifee for mail, I have been using Menifee for my previous 'Sun City' residence since October 1 and have had no problems.

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  11. I moved to Menifee because is was the closest thing I could find to Norco where I grew up and still outside of the smog. How many quiet small towns are left to raise kids in Southern California. It would be wonderful if Menifee/SunCity found some way to offer what the other city's fail to offer. It's a lot harder to keep and develop a quality community than is is to let development run rampant. I agree we need business, theaters and parks but we also need trails, wide streets (so people who live here can enjoy our beautiful town) and homes with larger lots (so people don't have to look into each others bedrooms and back yards).
    Larger lots mean less traffic less need for police and less school over crowding.

    I want to live in a town where it feels like I'm on vacation every time I come home from work.

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  12. I appreciate that Mr. Twyman grew up in Norco, but having grown up in Norco the last ten years, Norco is one of the most racist, backwards, regressive cities I have ever seen. Norco should not be the model we follow for our city. No one says we have to sell every square inch of our city, but we need to provide community services for all members of our society, especially the youth. Norco youth have to travel to Corona or Ontario for any decent ways to spend their time and dollars. Many of the youth in Norco have found "other" ways to entertain themselves. Norco may have had small town charm, but now the heart of Norco is dilapidated and antiquated. Norco is not what Menifee should strive for. It should be the model for what we don't want to be.

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  13. Amen to that!

    Menifee has the chance to do it right. Do it right for all walks of life. Development that has something for everyone... rural, suburban, mutli-family, single-family