City Council Meeting - February 17, 2009

I attended the city council meeting of Feb 17, 2009. Words of Inspiration Tony Truax of Revival Christian Fellowship gave the words of in...

I attended the city council meeting of Feb 17, 2009.

Words of Inspiration

Tony Truax of Revival Christian Fellowship gave the words of inspiration.

Eagle Scout Presentations

Councilman John Denver presented certificates of recognition to three recent Eagle Scouts, Thomas Spencer, Anthony Beck, and Nathan (?). I couldn't hear Nathan's last name. Denver went on to describe these three people's service in the scouts.

Menifee Police Department Quarterly Report

Police Chief James McElvain gave the quarterly report consisting of three parts, the first part was an introduction of the staff, the second a description of the Police Explorer Program, and third were crime statistics.

As for the introduction of staff, he described his department's "zone policing" system, whereby the city is divided into four zones. Each zone has its own team of officers. In most cases, officers focus on their zones, but in certain cases they can assist officers in other zones. He also introduced every officer, and sergeant, and read their service history and experience.

The Police Explorer Program is similar to the Army ROTC, except it's part of the Boy Scouts. Boys ages 15-21 years can enter into the program and help out the police department. They do help with traffic control, search for lost persons, assist at crime scenes, assist at DUI check points, fingerprint kids at events, and dress up as McGruff the Crime Dog. It's supposed to be a recruitment tool into the police department. McElvain says it would cost the city about $26,000 per year to run.

Opinion: Sounds like a good program, but it also sounds like the city would be paying money to recruit people into the county's Sheriff department. If that's the case, would the Sheriff discount the city's policing contract by $26,000 per year?

As for the crime statistics, McElvain said that in October 2008, we had 2,907 calls, of which 157 were "Part 1 Crimes". Part 1 Crimes are those of a highly serious nature whereby the FBI would get involved. In November 2008, the calls decreased to 2,721 calls and 100 Part 1, and in December it shot up to 3,149 calls and 156 Part 1.

Average response times had improved from 2007 to 2008, with "priority 1" calls, which are life threatening cases in progress, taking only 7.2 minutes to respond. McElvain didn't explain what "respond" means, but I'm sure with priority 1 calls, it means putting a person on scene in that amount of time. With priority 2 calls, which are less threatening, the response time was 10.3 minutes. Priority 3 calls, which are past events and totally non-threatening, took only 13.6 minutes.

Traffic citations in October 2008 amounted to 288. In November it dipped down to 240. But in December it shot up to 349. McElvain says that the reason why it dipped down to 240 in November is because residents were testing the new police department with calls, and hence had to take more officers off of traffic patrol. I was puzzled by this because a couple of paragraphs above, he said that calls in November dipped down from October. So who knows.

And with traffic collisions during the last quarter of 2008, there were 48 non-injury collisions, 17 injury collisions, 2 fatal collisions, and 21 DUI arrests.

Mayor Edgerton chimed in and asked McElvain if increasing the number of citations brings in more revenue for the city. He didn't really have the answer to that question, so city attorney Betsy Martyn took over and basically said "yes", but explained that the city only gets a small portion of that money. The money actually goes to the county court, who then dispurses it to the County, who then gives a small portion of it to the city. On top of that, State lawmakers are right now considering legislation to take even more of this money away from cities to address the budget.

Public Comments

These are public comments unrelated to anything on the agenda...

Eric Dorati, says he has driven to all four corners of the city and is amazed at how big it is, and complimented the city council members for taking on such a big task. Commented on what he described as "the two naysayers who show up twice a month", which I think he's referring to Chuck Reutter and Anne Pica, and then finished by saying, "You cannot steer this into a great city by looking in the rear view mirror".

Donna German, a Sun City resident, complimented the Mayor for "trying to disband the Blue Ribbon Committee", and then went on with some very harsh words for the remaining council members making such statements as "you appear to have little to no experience", "an embarrassment and disappointment", and "cockamamy committee", among several others. She finished by saying that she voted for cityhood, but didn't vote for any of the seated councilmembers.

Nick Zar (sp?), alerted the council to what he sees as possible illegal business activity without a license. He was citing daylaborers on the corner of Scott and Murrieta rds. He also noted graffiti in his neighborhood. Councilmember John Denver advised him to address that with the City Manager.

Bill Ziedlik, talked about a business development going in on Keller Road, and the number of jobs it was bringing in, and said that the first business to go in this area would set the standard in terms of other businesses coming in. He described it as a storage facility that will hog up a large plot of land, but only create two new jobs. He was pointing out businesses that create a disparity in land consumption versus job creation. He also mentioned that there are certain persons authorized to use the local trails, but are being busted by the cops anyways. Somehow, the police need to be aware.

Betsy Duncan, asked for waiver of code violation. She says her property measures about 2.5 acres, and that she has a metal storage shed. She was cited by the city because apparently you have to have at least 5 acres in order to have a such a storage shed. City Attorney Betsy Martyn chimed in saying that the County adopted this ordinance only a year ago, and that it was grandfathered into the City. The Mayor advised Duncan to speak to the City Manager about this.

Romoland Ranch

This is a small 5.5 acre plot of land, on the corner of Antelope Rd and Watson Rd in the Romoland area, being subdivided into 17 single family homes. The developer, Romoland Ranch, LLC, is seeking approval of a tentative map.

One issue the city planners had is that there's a tiny portion of this plot that the developer could not purchase, for reasons unknown to me. The city had wanted the developer to buy this, but because it wasn't possible, the city asked the council to approve the tentative anyways. Councilmember Darcy Kuenzi expressed concern because it could lead to a piece of blighted land adjacent to a new residential development.

Bill Ziedlik made a public comment about the layout of the tract, noting their unusual configuration, and even described it as "looking ghetto". He said it was out of character with the other homes in the neighborhood, and that one particular property was unusually long compared to its width. Mike Naggar, who represents the developer, said it just wasn't possible to draw the tract any other way and still be in compliance with city and county ordinances.

Ultimately, the tentative map was approved.

Yard Ladd Construction

Yard Ladd Construction is a local contractor who owns about 5 acres of land along Ethanac Rd, Antelope Rd, and Dawson Rd. He currently uses it as storage for some of his equipment. He was cited by the County back in 2005 for illegal use of land. At issue was lack of landscaping, in particular plants and trees, and a fence too close to the road.

He's moving the fence back, and is promising to plant trees. The city is requiring him to water the trees for at least 6 months. He says he can do that, but after 6 months the trees will die. He has to hire a water truck to water them, because the land has no facilities to bring in water. Councilmember Darcy Kuenzi wanted the requirements amended to water the trees for 12 months. Councilmember John Denver noted the requirements should be for him to maintain these trees permanently, not necessarily water them for a limited period.

The motion passed.

AB 885 (Septic Systems)

The City Attorney addressed the council saying that AB 885 could be delayed until October 2009. The council expressed its support for purusing the matter through Assemblyman Cook's office in getting it killed.

Mike Vergeto (sp?) made a public comment saying there are better ways to address faulty septic systems, and offered a suggestion of creating a "septic tank district", whereby property owners with septic tanks within the district would pay an assessment of about $30.00 a month, which gets their tanks emptied and repaired.

Dark Sky Ordinance

This is a law that defines what we have to do to reduce nighttime lighting so that astronomers at Mt Palomar Observatory can still stare out into space. City Planner Carmen Cave said that every city has to have this law. She said there are certain requirements for cities within 15 miles from Mt Palomar, and those for 45 miles of Mt Palomar, and finished by saying that Menifee is within 45 miles.

Tattoo Parlors

The council was asked by city staff to adopt an "urgent ordinance" to temporarily ban any new tattoo shops within the city. Councilmember Kuenzi asked why is there such an urgency. City attorney Martyn went into some lengthy discussion about other cities seeing problems with tattoo shops, like attracting shady clientele, gang members, and drug users. The mayor joked that there was trouble in River City, and that starts with a "T", and that rhymes with "P", etc... City planner Carmen Cave added that it's a health hazard because it involves poking the skin, and that we wouldn't want something like that next to a child care center.

John Denver noted that dental offices involve blood also, and asked if there should be a moratorium on those too. Cave answered that dental offices should indeed have special rules and regulations.

Martyn brought focus back by saying this ordinance doesn't permanently ban tattoo parlors, it only gives the city extra time to draft a complete set of regulations.

The matter was approved with a 4 to 1 vote, with Denver voting no.

WRCOG Red Team Foreclosure Report

This is an initiative by the Western Riverside Council of Goverments to stem the tide of foreclosures.

City Manager Wentz described his plan on how we can implement this into Menifee. He described a plethora of strategies, dubbed a "strike force", all designed to prevent foreclosures from happening, to getting foreclosed properties sold, and even getting dead grass green again.

City Seal

The City Manager said that they've whittled down the entries to a smaller group, but said that there was no single design that they liked. Rather, they found several that contained some kind of element that they liked and want somehow to incorporate them all into a single seal.

Romoland MAC

John Denver noted that the city council needs to meet with the Romoland MAC because it seems they're addressing stuff within the city limits that either contradicts or maybe duplicates what the city is trying to address. He gave an example of establishing a community center within an area the city has designated as industrial.

Denver went on to say that he's not finding any fault in the Romoland MAC, but described them more like a potential ally, except something more like the left hand not knowing what the right is doing.

Blue Ribbon Committee

City Clerk Kathy Bennett was asked how the Blue Ribbon Committee was coming along. She said he fetched 10 applications thus far.


City-Council 2696454924640831554

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  1. FYI - Darcy Kuenzi is Mayor Pro Tem, not a Council Member.

  2. I do not see the harm of having a tattoo parlor in Menifee. There are many decent normal people who get and would love to have a tattoo parlor nearby vs. going to other cities. This is just a stereotype that has been extended to this group of people who find tattoos to be an expression of art and individuality. From what I've seen MANY Menifee residents have tattoos and they aren't running around causing havoc throughout the city just because they have a tattoo. Lets worry more about our kids schools and class sizes before we worry about a guy with a tattoo down the street!

  3. Actually, while she may be "Mayor Pro Tem", Kuenzi is also a Council Member.

  4. is the "Mayor". He too is a councilmember with an equal 1/5ths vote. The titles are bestowed and used as a matter of decorum.

  5. I am totally against having tattoo parlors and hookah lounges within the city of Menifee. I am far too familiar with the type of people that these establishments will attract.
    I am not against having tattoo's or smoking the hookah as I have a tattoo (not all over my exposed skin so that I am able to get a job). I do enjoy the hookah on occasion as well.
    As for the police dept saying that there is a cost for explorers; there is a serious problem with this because they are volunteers and yet provide a service at no charge. Sounds like someone is lining their pockets with this $$.

  6. Has anyone stopped in to the new "SMOKE SHOP" in the old Target
    Center. I have never seen so many different smoking devices. I can only assume what they are used for.

  7. Chief McElvain said that the cost of the Police Explorer program includes a training element and buying uniforms, among several other costs.

  8. Anonymous at 12:56pm - You are familiar with the kind of people these places attract? You sound ignorant when you make that statement. There are so many different people [in Menifee] with tattoos AND some of these people include those: who teach our children, involved in PTA, coach sports teams, college students & graduates, law enforcement, professionals, etc etc

    The list goes on and on. If these shops are regulated and have to follow certain standards [like any other business, which is what they are] then there should be no issue to have them in our city.

    There are alot of cases that have been researched that actually show that tattoo shops helped to lower crime rates [for example: a shop had later hours nd since they were lit up, it cut down on graffiti in the area].

    A business is a business and revenue for out city should be welcomed no matter what.

  9. To Anonymous 2:49pm

    You sound like you are one of those people that believe having bowling alleys, cinema's, etc. for kids to have a place to go will not increase crime. You really need to study the facts and research the data that is so readily available to prove that having these establishments ALWAYS increases crime. Just like having a tattoo parlor would. Wake up and watch the news, read the paper, research the facts.

  10. You sound like one of those people who needs to live in a house in the middle of nowhere. And what a GREAT suggestion, bowling alleys & cinemas would be great additions to menifee as well :)

  11. The response time for priority 1 calls for service (7.3)MIN. for a city the size of menifee is .. NOT GOOD.. The sheriff dept. needs to improve it. It should be under (5)min. The city trying to save money went this direction instead of doing it the right way like are neighboring city - murrieta.. The mayor / councilman should know better from his days in Long Beach.

  12. I am curious about the context of the comments about the "Dark Sky Ordinance". As an amateur astronomer and volunteer at Palomar Observatory, I feel very strongly about any and all efforts to keep light pollution from ruining the night sky. If you need more information about the observatory, what we do, and why dark skies are important for more than just astronomy, please contact Scott Kardel at Palomar, or John Garrett of the Temecula Valley Astronomers.

  13. Thanks Steve! Great job.. Hey Menifee, remember, Steve does this as a community service. Please remember to help support the local businesses that sponsor his site..Steve, you should place a Paypal donation button on your site, I think people would love to sponsor you..

  14. Well Said Anonymous, at February 18, 2009 8:28 AM ..having tattoos does not mean you are "bad "or causing trouble....I have several tattoos, and I am the mother of 3 very well behaved children.... Get a grip Menifee... i would much rather see a tattoo shop in Menifee, than the new "smoke shop" that is right next door to a game store where children of all ages hang out in..... I may be tatted, but at least I was sober while I did it.

  15. No Tatt shops, No Hookah lounges, sounds like a pretty nice community. I'm sure crime is far less in Menifee than it is in surrounding areas like Perris!

  16. I am of the opinion that if a business wants to open in Menifee and with it bring jobs and sales tax dollars to our city we should welcome them with open arms (exceptions off the top of my head being: strip clubs, nuclear waste facilities and a prison).

    The key to this is regulating the businesses and making sure they hold up their end of the bargain in being a good member of the community.

    In Temecula for instance, there are many tattoo shops and the vast majority of them are clean, well managed and employ local people and generate money for the city. Shops like Soul Expressions, Temecula's first tattoo shop, are great places for tattoo's and piercings and should have the opportunity to open in Menifee. Places like a couple of the tattoo parlors in Hemet should NOT be able to operate in Menifee based on their associations (management or owners) with motorcycle gangs or criminal street gangs.

    I remember that when Soul Expressions opened people flipped out and said that the world was going to end because Temecula was allowing this terrible tattoo studio to open. They swore it was going to be the downfall of Temecula. I have eaten often at the Greek restaurant next door to Soul Expressions and every time I am in there I see rather normal looking middle aged moms or dad types in there getting a tattoo right next to a rock and roll guitarist type getting his/her 'sleeve' touched up and both parties are happy to be getting good service and the world has not yet ended.

    Hookah lounges are much the same. If you operate a clean, well managed business and follow the rules you should be able to open in Menifee. If you operate a place serving tobacco to high school kids then you should not be allowed to open.

    As a musician, I have played shows in hookah lounges in Orange County and Nevada and have not seen any major issues at the well run facilities I have been in.

    To say that all hookah and tattoo businesses attract only unsavory patrons is plainly false. An unfortunate reality is that ALL businesses attract some level of undesired patrons.

    Think about it, anytime you go to the grocery store, Target or the mall, chances are that you are in the same building with someone on parole or on probation for a crime. There are thousands of people on probation and parole in our area.

    In the City of Menifee we have over 40 registered sex offenders, so you might even be standing in line with a sex offender while paying for gas or buying lumber at the hardware store - it is not like you would know it.

    Just the same as regulations are placed on Red Robin's operation of selling alcohol, we should regulate other businesses and make sure they comply with the rules or they get the boot - but don't boot a viable job and tax generating business before it opens.

  17. To Anonymous 5:05

    You are IGNORANT!!! If you think tattoo parlors spawn crime then so do gas stations since they get robbed. From what you say "DO THE RESEARCH AND BAN GAS STATIONS AS THEY TO INCREASE CRIME" Maybe you need to move to Alaska you hermit...

    You sound like you are one of those people that believe having bowling alleys, cinema's, etc. for kids to have a place to go will not increase crime. You really need to study the facts and research the data that is so readily available to prove that having these establishments ALWAYS increases crime. Just like having a tattoo parlor would. Wake up and watch the news, read the paper, research the facts.

    By Anonymous, at February 18, 2009 5:05 PM

  18. Let's face it, tattoo parlors attract all different kinds of people, not just "bad" people. Most people who have tattoos these days are just trendy people who get tattoos because they think it makes them cool, or tough, or whatever. I am sure someone will complain that it is really art, but most people who get them are just trendy, plain and simple. As for smoke shops, they do cater to smokers and pot heads. Both are just as bad. Potheads may be "dumber" than your average smoker, but both of the habits are idiotic, but it is America and even idiots are allowed to be idiots. As long as we as a community aren't affected, it probably won't do harm. But we also need to think about this. We must balance the tattoo parlors and smoke shops with family friendly establishments(restraunts, movie theatres, parks, trails, etc...) as Temecula has. If you don't balnce the establishments, we will end up like Norco, backwards and redneck, which is not what most of us bought homes out here for.

  19. Oh my!, the hatred on this blog. Sounds like all the tatted and hookah smokers are rebelling. Keep the area clean by not allowing all this junk in our city. If you really want just any business to open to bring revenue to the city then lets allow some massage parlors and gun stores (oops - I forgot, those were banned also). Sounds like our city council has got the right idea for our city. If you don't like the fact that our city council can see what hoodlums these types of businesses would bring to our community then you should move out of our new clean city and go over to Perris or Hemet. I'm sure you'll fit right in. I praise our city council for seeing through the clouded judgement of the few that would actually want these stores in our community.

  20. The post at 4:41pm is actually more filled with hate than most of them. Different strokes for different folks, variety and freedom make this a great nation.

  21. Hooray for the City Council. MENIFEE ---- Tattoo parlors have been temporarily banned form opening up shop in Menifee.

    In a 4-1 vote, the Menifee City Council late Tuesday night approved a temporary urgency ordinance prohibiting tattoo shops from opening in the city while officials study a variety of health, safety and zoning issues related to the businesses.

  22. "If you argue they're dangerous to your health because they could be using dirty needles then a hospital could be dangerous," Denver said.

    John Denver is an idiot! Regardless of allowing tattoo parlors or not, this was just one of the many "Denverisms" that made me not vote for him. Hospitals do not use dirty needles. I don't know where Denver goes for medical treatment, but it's not in the Inland Empire.

    What a moron!

    Instead of bickering with each other and bashing each other over VALID opinions, how about calling Denver the fool that he is. Channel that rage where it belongs.

  23. I will not be voting for Denver in the future.
    If we were as large a city as Temecula then a few of these establishments might be o.k. However, we are too small and these establishments would stick out too much. It is true many trendy people have tattoes but most people I know who have them keep them covered. Gee, I wonder why? The ones that are head to toe and "self expression in your face" usually are not the people in the mainstream, conservative culture. Let those that want them travel to get them until Menifee has established a strong, healthy, safe, family, and education oriented reputation.

  24. temecula was less populated when the first tattoo place opened and it is fine. even uber conservative murrieta has tattoo shops.

  25. By Anonymous, at February 18, 2009 5:05 PM

    By Anonymous, at February 19, 2009 10:26 AM

    If ur going to cut n paste then move back to orange county!

  26. By Anonymous, at February 18, 2009 5:05 PM

    By Anonymous, at February 19, 2009 10:26 AM

    If ur going to cut n paste then move back to orange county! it is your kids that increase the crime because ur such a "good" parent

  27. By Anonymous, at February 18, 2009 5:05 PM

    By Anonymous, at February 19, 2009 10:26 AM

    If ur going to cut n paste then move back to orange county! it is your kids that increase the crime because ur such a "good" parent

  28. I don't see why someone would suggest that I pay a montlhy fee for my septic system. I have lived here for 30 years and take care of my property. I already pay a once a year inspection fee for a backflow device. This is $45-$55. If an inspection is required for the septic, once a year should be sufficient.



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