Menifee City Council Meeting - Feb 3, 2009

I attended the city council meeting last night.

It was a packed house, many people from Sun City Core showed up because of the Blue Ribbon Committee was going to be discussed. This is the committee to determine if council members should be elected by district or at large, among other things.

Words of Inspiration

Pastor Tim Lovegrove of Grace Bible Church was scheduled to give some words of inspiration, but instead Pastor Eric True, also of the same church, spoke instead. Both Lovegrove and True have a blog.

Announcements of New Personnel

City Manager Wentz announced the hiring of Bob Cartwright, into Public Works and Safety. Bob lives in Sun City.

Police Chief McIlvane announced the hiring of Dan Feltenberger (sp) as lieutenant. Dan has been in the RivCo Sheriff Department for a long time.

Trauma Intervention Program

This is a private organization that offers assistance to local governments in the form of helping victims of trauma cope with their ordeals. Two people stepped up to the podium to describe their services. Their goal of coming here was basically to sell their services to Menifee.

A lady named "Gina" spoke and described their service as "filling in the gaps where no else can help". An example they gave is where a parent dies at home, leaving a traumatized child behind. The service provides a counselor that helps the child deal with the trauma until a social worker can take over.

trauma intervention services

They have working dogs that help provide an added level of comfort and companionship. They said these dogs are effective at calming people down enough to where they can feel comfortable about talking.

Anyways, they want $0.12 for every resident in Menifee, per year, but said they are willing to negotiate. If you figure on 60,000 to 70,000 residents, that works out to $7,200 to $8,400 per year. Probably not bad, but it's very unclear to me how often these "fill in gap" circumstances actually exist out there. None of the council members had anything to say.

Scouting Day in Menifee

The city council issued a proclamation announcing February 8th, 2009 as Menifee's official "Scouting Day". They had several boy scouts line up in front of the audience while councilmember Denver read the proclamation.

Menifee Scouting Day Proclamation

I don't know if Denver actually mentioned anything on how we as residents of Menifee can celebrate this day. State and federal governments actually publish recommendations on how citizens can celebrate days like Veterans Day and Memorial Day.

My guess is that parents ought to take their kids out into the mountains and woods, do some hiking, fishing, and camping. But I don't think Menifee has places for these activities. The closest I can think of is Kabian Park, which is technically outside of Menifee.

Public Comments

This the comment session for non-agenda items, but as you'll see most people wanted to comment on the Blue Ribbon Committee. Council member Mann broke in about halfway through the session and asked the Mayor to enforce a strict policy of allowing only non-agenda related comments, but said that he would be willing to tolerate the situation for now....

Barbara Spencer, spoke on behalf of the Menifee Valley Historical Society thanking members of the council for accepting their offer to give them a tour of the historical points of interest throughout the city, noted that the council accepted it as a business engagement, and asked them to consider it a social engagement instead.

Glen Daniels, of Romoland, spoke about the Blue Ribbon Committee, asking who are the members to serve on this committee, making the point that the council has "discriminatory power", suggesting the council can pick the people that will recommend an outcome favorable to the council. Daniels went on to ask "Who is pulling the strings". He then said he did his own survey, responding to councilmember Mann's survey, of a few dozen people who seemed to be in support of districts.

Annette Samples, asked about the recent "Mayor's Conference" in Sacramento, where all five councilmembers flew up there to take part in an event hosted by the California League of Cities. She questioned the cost of airplane tickets and other travel expenses to send them there when we're in a recession. "Think about your decision" is what she said. The Mayor responded back that their primary goal was to lobby some $5 million in vehicle license fees, which they ultimately got.

Greg August, of Sun City, said he voted against cityhood, and voted for districts. He asked if the Mayor would have still called the voters "misinformed" if they had voted for "at large". He went on to say that he did some research on the California League of Cities website, and found there's actually a trend towards cities moving to district elections, and that the last two cities to incorporate (Menifee, Wildomar), voted for districts. He ended by saying, "I know what I voted for, I read the ballot, did you?"

James Rzepka, replied that, "I was truly aware of what I voted for", and went on to say that found it to be a slap in the face of democracy.

Ruth Goulet, asked about the budget. She wants an update on where the finances are within the city, considering how bad the budget is at the state and federal levels. City Manager Wentz responded that he would give some numbers during his report to the city later in the evening.

John Smelser, said he voted for cityhood, and voted for districts. "I am really angry at you" he said very sternly. "Stop referring to me as stupid, ignorant, uninformed, and uneducated just because I voted for districts".

Richard Anthony, of Sun City for 8 years, commended the Sheriff's Department noting that since cityhood went into effect there's far more cop cars patrolling the city. Asked the city council to look into expanding the Sun City Crime Watch.

Opinion: or how about the whole City of Menifee crime watch?
Dave Galey, 23 years living in Menifee, commended voters for choosing "Menifee" as the official name instead of "Menifee Valley", and said he supports districts. He lives in a rural area of Menifee.

Patricia Collins, Quail Valley resident for 32 years. Said she owns two lots, and wants to combine it into one to reduce her tax liability. She wanted to know if she should go to the city on this, or the county.

Rita Peters, spoke about AB885, a bill in the state legislature that would require homeowners with septic tanks to get their tanks certified once a year. She noted that Quail Valley currently has a moratorium against septic tank certification, and wants the city council to write a letter to the Governator reminding him that Quail Valley has special circumstances. She noted that the council has only until February 9 to get such a letter sent.

Anne Pica, issued a demand to the city council to abide by the results of Measure G. She noted that Wildomar has already begun the process of drawing district boundaries. She said she "guarantees" that she'll start a petition to recall the entire council. "We put you in office, and we can take you out", she left with.

Katherine Flores, complained to the city council about their insistence to override Measure G. "I didn't vote for you guys, and then you're telling me that I don't know what I'm voting for just because I'm an average person". "We need you to straighten out, or get out!"

Mayor Edgerton then chimed in saying "I will never underestimate the intelligence of voters". He recounted his experience sitting on the Long Beach City Council, where he was voted in through a district structure. He said due to the large population of the city, voters grew skeptical of the district structure because of special interests, He said "I sincerely apologize if anyone misunderstood me".

Carol Walker, of Sun City, said she voted against cityhood because she feared Sun City would not have adequate representation. She supports districts.

Bill Zeidlik, spoke about a variety of matters, summarizing them mostly. One thing he said was that he wants more information about agendized matters on the city's website. He also shared his viewpoints about the districting issue, citing differences in legalese, and with the way people live in the real world, and how they perceive government officials.

Helen Merrit, said she's all for districts, and wants the council to abide by the vote of the people. She said, "I don't think that's asking for too much".

Chuck Reutter, cited a meeting he and several cityhood opponents had with then Mayor-elect Edgerton last July, where they offered to bury the hatchet, if the city council would agree to listen to their concerns. Chuck seemed to suggest that the Mayor has reneged on that meeting. Chuck also cited a story involving electronic voting machines, and where the county board of supervisors assembled a blue ribbon committee to study these machines against what some voter groups had been complaining about. He said the committee advised the Supervisors that these voters groups are correct, but that the Supervisors decided to ignore the committee. It sounds like he's suggesting the city council will ignore their blue ribbon committee if they recommend districts.

Grant Yoders, pointed out that the room we were assembled in is limited to 35 people and that we're clearly way over that. He pointed out that the Mayor's "State of the City" address scheduled for later this month requires a $35.00 admission fee, and asks why only a special priviledge few get to listen to it, and not whole the city. No one on the council answered that question, however councilmember Denver said that they're producing a CD of the meeting that will air on Mediacom and Verizon. He didn't say that copies of the CD will be distributed to the people.

Louis Mazei, said he voted for cityhood, and for "at large". He feels it's important to have a blue ribbon committee because he's concerned that he'll not have the ability to vote for all five councilmembers. He said his home is in Sun City, but not Sun City Core, and that if we have districts his councilmember will likely serve the Core's interest, and not his.
Opinion: Mazei has thus far been the only person to speak at a council meeting in favor of changing to an at-large representation. Here on Menifee 24/7 there have been many commenters supporting "at-large", but none of them have bothered to speak at a council meeting. Meanwhile, there have been many "district" supporters who have spoken at these council meetings. As you'll read later on, this fact became a deciding factor in the Mayor's ultimate decision.
Rita Peters, got to speak twice during this session, this time saying the council made a mistake by saying the voters were misinformed when they chose districts. She told the Mayor, "The more you write, the deeper in mess you get". She also said, "All of you guys are in bed together", and "how dare you put a blue ribbon committee together".

Subdivisions

A couple of matters on the agenda dealt with land owners wanting to subdivide their properties. One wanted to subdivide into four single family properties, another wanted to subdivide into two. Both were approved.
Opinion: These subdivision requests have been on the agenda in past meetings, and I'm guessing we'll continue to see more of them. I'm wondering if the poor economy is behind it all.
Motte Town Center

This is a mixed-used project consisting of industrial, retail, and condominiums. It's located in northern Menifee, bounded by Antelope Rd, McLaughlin Rd, and Dawson Rd, just south of the new power plant. The council approved the tentative map, meaning the developer can move forward with the project.

Bargain Basket

This is an existing discount food store located in Romoland, on the corner of Highway 74 and Sherman Rd, just a couple blocks east of the I-215. This store had suffered from some code violations assessed by the county, causing it to get closed down. The owner had made all the required improvements, and is now requesting the city give the owner its blessing to reopen. And it was approved.

Blue Ribbon Committee

Councilmember Kuenzi stated that she had conversations with several members of the community, which seemingly encouraged her to move forward on this plan. She said that there's a lot of unanswered questions on how this city should be governed. She cited examples like how a mayor should be chosen, either by appointed from the council, or a separate election. She also noted the various financial ramifications on having districts versus at-large.

She said the blue ribbon committee would be residents of the city. Residents would submit their applications, and that another committee would review these applications and conduct interviews, and ultimately they'd pick the people that sits on the blue ribbon committee.

Kuenzi gave a figure of $20,000 as the maximum amount this committee would spend. That figure may include hiring a consultant. The committee would have to provide their recommendations by no later than May 19, 2009.

Councilmember Mann pointed out that the Committee Committee, which is the ad hoc committee staffed by Kuenzi and Twyman to determine what committees should exist in the city, should determine which residents can sit on the blue ribbon committee.

Mann asked the City Manager how much would a special election cost, should the blue ribbon committee decide if a second "Measure G" election should be held. Wentz said it would cost Menifee about $35,000 to $40,000.

Councilmember Denver said that residents could understand districts much better if they could see actual district boundaries, and that this blue ribbon committee could draw up those boundaries.

Mayor Edgerton then chimed in and through a lot of explanation, and personal reflection, changed his mind, opting to vote against this blue ribbon committee, and even going further to offer a motion to table the blue ribbon committee. That is, he knew he would be out voted 4-to-1 on establishing the blue ribbon committee, so therefore offered a motion in retaliation to delay the blue ribbon committee until a later date.

Edgerton's explanation for changing his mind was that after all the council meetings, there was no public "mandate" for overriding the outcome of Measure G, no mandate to create a blue ribbon committee. That is, despite all of his published essays, and all of the council quotes in newspapers, not a single member of the public had asked the council to override Measure G. The mayor noted there was only one resident (Louis Mazei) who ever addressed the council with his support for changing to at-large, and that one resident's voice was certainly no mandate.

As he explained his change of mind, I could watch Kuenzi's facial expression switch from calm, to concern, to the point where she was itching to grab the microphone. Finally she responded to the Mayor by saying that there were several more public comments that were waiting to be heard in this particular agenda item. The Mayor obliged, and asked for public comments....

Wayne Guglielmo, was called up, but never answered.

Joe Daugherty, said he was chairman of the cityhood incorporation committee, and that he owns a business in Sun City Core. He said several of his customers had asked about districts, and that many of them didn't know much about it, and wanted to get more information. He also described a possible scenario where districts could be drawn in such a way that one or more districts would not be represented by a current councilmember.

Anne Pica, asked the City Manager how they came up with the $35,000 figure for the special election. I can't recall what the City Manager said.

James Rzepka, addressed the mayor saying, "I think you may be having second thoughts, I certainly hope so." He went on to say that this blue ribbon committee should be used specifically for creating the districts, and not deciding on getting rid of districts.

Pete Petersen, said, "I think it's very sad to see all this controversy. Let's listen to all the people".

Carmelita Ruud, said she's proud of Menifee, and lived here for 31 years. She believes that knowledge is very important, and supports the blue ribbon committee. She said, "The outburst we had before is uncalled for".

Katie Keys, a 38 year resident of Romoland, said she feels the voters have spoken, however still supports the blue ribbon committee.

Steven McCarty, cited that there was only a 200 vote difference between districts and at-large, and that such a close vote ought to have additional discussion.
Opinion: There was only a 45 vote difference between John Denver and Dean Deines. Therefore shouldn't there also be a second election between those two?
Bill Zeidlik, noted that there is no official population count in Menifee. There are various figures ranging from 60,000 to as much as 85,000. Estimating these figures is difficult because families in Menifee can average about 4 to 5 per household, to about 1-2 in Sun City. He noted that in Wildomar, the city already studied the opinions of their residents and found that most actually did understand the districts versus at-large issue pretty well. However, Wildomar found that districts have different meaning and purpose to different people.

Ruth Goulet, said "I think we should have an election on cityhood over again, because I think you'll be really suprised".

John Smelser, from Heritage Lake, said he voted for districts, but that the voters specifically elected these five councilmembers, and therefore the opinions of the councilmembers should be respected. He went on to say that we should spend as much money as necessary to determine what's the best government for Menifee.

At this point, the councilmembers began their comments...

Scott Mann, said he intended to vote for this blue ribbon committee, citing that everything that has been said in these council meetings is in fact democracy in action. He noted some 13,000 voters in Menifee who didn't vote on Measure G, and that they deserved to have better information, and be allowed to have their voices heard.

Fred Twyman, pointed out the "fallacy" of the editorial published in The Californian, saying it misinterpreted Mayor Edgerton, that he didn't believe the voters were misinformed, or unaware of what they were voting for. Twyman also went on to say The Californian didn't bother publishing any material for the voters regarding the pros and cons of districts versus at-large, which voters needed to make up their minds.

Mayor Edgerton, continued on with his explanation of why he's changing his mind, and voting against the blue ribbon committee. He cited the cost of a special election (though other councilmembers chimed in saying it's not definite that there will be one), and stressed in louder voice, that "the desire should come from the people".

He said something interesting here, that the districts are not going to affect Mann and Denver, "Mann and Denver are not going to be affected anyways", were his words. Which perhaps puts him on record verifying what many of us suspected all along, that this district issue is all about councilmembers trying to protect their future reelection bids.

He went on to say that "perception is reality", noting that he doesn't want the residents thinking that the council is "trying to steamroll them". By this time I could hear emotion crackling in his voice, his face turning a deeper shade of red. And then he made the following statements in another stern voice, "I want to see a reaction from the people". "This community has been informed". "If we're going to have a special election, we should see a strong demand from the people". "We're going to be spending money on this committee".
Opinion: I have to commend Edgerton for swallowing a tough pill, by siding with the will of the people, setting aside the risk of drawing himself out of a reelection bid, and coming to a point many of us have tried to make, that none of the residents ever questioned the results of Measure G. No one asked for a second election. It was the council that created the controversy. Edgerton acknowledged this in saying that "we should see a strong demand from the people".
After Edgerton spoke, the other councilmembers tried to reason with him saying that a blue ribbon committee will simply give the council additional information, and that motioning to table the issue made no sense.

Edgerton nonetheless motioned to table the discussion on the blue ribbon committee, but no one else seconded.

Kuenzi made a motion to create the blue ribbon committee. I can't recall who seconded it. But in the end, it was a 4-to-1 vote, with Edgerton voting no. That drew a round of applause from district supporters.

I assume details will come out later on how residents can apply to be on this committee.

Award of Contract for Audio/Visual and Sound Equipment for City Hall

I didn't quite hear the details of this, as I was still writing down notes from the blue ribbon committee. But it was a unanimous vote in favor.

All Star Super Storage Freeway Sign

This item was removed from the agenda by the applicant.

Hookah Lounges

The issue on the agenda for the council to create a new ordinance that would place a temporary moratorium against any new hookah lounges. Apparently, there's a business that wants to open up a hookah lounge in Menifee. The city doesn't currently have any ordinances that limit or regulate these establishments. Because hookah lounges are seen as shady businesses, the council wanted to create this temporary moratorium to give them enough time to create these regulations.

Edgerton asked for clarification on what hookah lounges are, not quite understanding what all the hubbub was about. Interestingly, the City Attorney gave a very detailed explanation, but never really said that there was anything negative about them. Edgerton was further confused why we're talking about hookah lounges. Councilmember Mann chimed in saying that in his past Naval life, he's been to 30+ different countries where they have hookah lounges, and did his best to paint a negative light, without actually sounding biased against them.

It was interesting to hear them talk because no one wanted to go on record taking a negatively biased opinion, but tried their best to cast it in a negative light to help the Mayor understand. In the end, the council voted 5-0 in favor of the moratorium.

City Manager Report

George Wentz' report focused on the city budget. He noted that in 2008 the city spent $993,000, which is still under the allocated budget of $1,300,000 for expenditures. He went on to describe the allocated expenditures for 2009, as well as the anticipated income, but I'm sorry to say I didn't capture these numbers. However, I did hear him say that our expected net for 2009 is about $5 million in reserves. He said that's an amazing accomplishment in a first year city.

Visioning Meeting

The visioning meeting that was cancelled last week is scheduled for this Saturday, Feb 7, from 9:00am to 3:00pm, the location to be determined, but sounds like it may be the same room as tonight's city council meeting.




45 Comments:

  1. I’m encouraged by Edgerton’s reversal on the Blue Ribbon Committee. His desire to have the Districts/At Large issue be generated by the citizens is the right approach. If citizens want to revisit the issue, a petition drive is appropriate.

    I sense politics rearing its ugly head. For reasons that are not completely clear, the majority of the City Council wants to overturn the expressed will of the people. Most on the Council have been undeterred by the fact that no groundswell of support exists for its proposal.

    If, as Mann suggests, Blue Ribbon Committee members are hand-picked by the City Council, how can we place any faith that Committee recommendations will be independent?

    Even if the Committee recommends against a new vote, the City Council can simply ignore that guidance and place a re-vote on the ballot. I fear that’s exactly what will happen.

    At this point, I am much less concerned about the District/At Large issue than I am of the Council’s willingness to ignore the expressed will of the people. This entire issue has a bad smell about it.

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  2. DON’T BE FOOLED!!

    The Council is pushing to have a special election to put voting for districts back on the ballot because they want voting to be done at large. They are not doing it because the Community was confused when they voted. The Council knows that if voting is done at large, they have the opportunity to remain on the Council as long as they want.

    I stood in that room last night and watched Joe Daugherty recruit people to go up and speak on behalf of at-large. I watched him visibly excited when the 4 members passed the Blue Ribbon Committee. I watched him run up to congratulate Darci Kuenzi when the meeting was over. If this is what is best for the Community why is someone like Joe Daugherty congratulating Darci Kuenzi for this? Shouldn’t he be congratulating the Community because this is what is best for them?

    This Council is wasting $20,000 on a committee that is unnecessary. Don’t be fooled!!

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  3. Very good coverage Steve. When will residents of MENIFEE stop using non-existent city names (i.e. Sun City, Quail Valley, and Romoland)? Is districting a way for people to hold onto the sense of community individuality? I would like to see a district map and encourage boundaries that cut thru core communities in order to diversify...

    what is the City of Meniffe web url?

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  4. Whanda, the official city website is actually www.cityofmenifee.us

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  5. Steve, your right I don't know what I was thinking.

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  6. Let me get this straight. The Council is going to put together a committee of people, who have already formed an opinion of whether they want voting to be done at-large or by district, and then ask them to go into the community and gather Unbiased feedback? Oh, and this will cost us $20,000.

    Sounds like another well thought-out plan.

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  7. It's a good point anonymous. The people most likely to apply for this committee are those who've been following this issue closely, and already have an opinion formed. It'll be interesting to see if the council can pick people willing to set their biases aside, thinking openly about this.

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  8. I'm saddened that only one out of the five council members seem to care what the people want! Kudos to the mayor for doing the right thing, he is the only one I will vote for in the next election. I voted for "at large" myself, but I do not want a re-vote or $20,000 wasted on something the people already voted for. Like Steve said some of the council member races were far closer than the district vote, do we re-vote on the council members? This seems like nothing more than pure politics, because some of the council members may be shut out if they go by district. I know Kuenzi and Tywman live close to each other, is that why she is fighting so hard for the at large?

    The city could waste $60,000 (Blue ribbon committee & another election) for what? something that has already been voted on! What a shame in these economic thimes. These people want to waste money just so they can stay in office.

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  9. Between this mess and the MUSD mess Menifee is looking pretty sad. I voted and I chose to not vote for District or At Large because I had no idea what it was. That was my choice to leave it up to those who knew the issue. Now with that said. I would like to say that we need to leave it alone, get on with more important issues as a new city, and not spend this rediculous time or money on it! Every council meeting until When? pray tell will this finally be put to rest? This is not democracy, it is tyranny of from the losers that are distracting us from what is really important. Making Menifee a great place to live! No re-vote!! Put it on the next election but do not spend a darn extra dime on it!

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  10. I was at the city council meeting last night and watched Darcy Kuenzi stomp on the civil rights of the people she has sworn to serve. Darcy, Kuenzi,and John Denver tried to belittle the Mayor when he stated that he wanted to table this "Blue Ribbion Commettee" because there was no outcry from the public to overturn the vote for by districts and it should not come from the city council to call a special election plus he did not think the council members should be spending that kind of money in this economey turndown. $35,000 to $40,000 cost for a special election & for a blue ribbion committee $20,000.00 budget. The blue ribbon committee that will be hand picked by Darcy Kuenzi. The fix is in and if the taxpayers don't put a stop to it we will end up paying $60,000.00 in Nov of 2009 and then $70,000.00 for the general election again in Nov. 2010 A total of $130,000.00 Taxpayer dollars spent. $60,000.00 spent to over throw the vote for districts that was passed in June 2008. At this time the city council is serving the public at large. This is your future a city council that serves at ;arge amd does not listen to its constituents, blows your taxpayer dollars at your expense and no regard for the future of the city or what they are dumping on your communitte by accepting & approving all building proposals handed to them at the Council meetings. They are answering to no one for there actions and they will remain that way until and when the public stands up and stops them by forcing them to serve by districts.

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  11. I voted for At Large because Districts only would permit me to vote for only one council member. If the other four council members decided to vote on a policy, a decision or another matter that didn't help my district, I would not have a means to vote them out of office or to recall them.

    I feel that the "No Cityhood People" who are now spearheading the District vote may be outsmarting themselves. Many of them live in the core or in neighborhoods close to the core.

    If District is the means for City of Memifee to vote, the No Cityhood group now District supporters could issue their threats on only one council member and the other council members from the other four districts could safely ignore them. It is surprising that they are so willing to give up potential power of trying to control a future council as they are attempting to do with the current council.

    If anyone attends the council meetings, one will witness the continuous actions of three of the "No Cityhood" spearheaders threatening recall and cajoling all of the council members. How dare the council to vote on measures that do not meet approval of this group.

    The No Cityhood supporters found themselves on the short end of a landslide for cityhood by a nearly 62% to 38% margin in the June 3, 2008 election. This group has found a new issue--Districts. My suspicions is that their support city wide from voters is not much greater for Districts than it was for the No Cityhood vote.

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  12. Can we just predict that the ones MOST likely to want to be on this committee will be ones who were defeated in the election OR the most vocal ones in the 'Core'? I really hope its not just ones who want a soapbox for everything that doesn't set well with their gullet. I agree that $20K seems like a lot for volunteers to work together.....just to bring back the will of the people who have already spoken in the last voting? Edgerton is a very wise man...HE knows THE LAST VOTING SHOULD STAND. Humility is a great rapport builder between the people and the council. At least Edgerton listens and "knows when to fold'em"......

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  13. Protest against Menifee at large!!

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  14. The Wildomar city council were dragging their feet on making districts too, until someone took them to court. The judge said they had to abide by the vote. Can we take the Menifee city council to court to make them abide by vote?

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  15. The "Trauma Intervention Program," asking $.12 per Menifee resident per year is an unnecessary expense. There are numerous services offering the same benefits for free. During the time of a family crisis or emergency, people need assistance, but should not be charged for the services. Let's save money, and vote no to this issue. These people have good intentions, but should not charge for the services they offer.

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  16. I don't believe the Wildomar court case had anything to do with districts. That case was a filing to compel the city to set the first general election earlier than the law allows.

    My sources tell me in legal circles that the council, whether Menifee or Wildomar, has the legal right to put this back on ballot under the government / election code. My understanding of the committee is to pulse the community to see if that would be supported or not.

    I don't see a problem per se with the committee. We need to wait and see what the recommendations would be.

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  17. There is a need to establish a Blue Ribbon Commission to study the pros and cons of District v. At Large The community is too divided and we might as well have as much information available to make a collective informed decision now than wait for a community generated effort that may be more divisive with much less information on the issue of District v. At Large.

    The Blue Ribbon Commission should delve into the District v. At Large issue without the emotions exbited in Council meeting by those that support Districts. At least three District supporters have threaten recall of the council member as well as taunt and cajole them. Is this group using their negative attitudes to force a decision in their favor. The four council members did show courage when they voted for establshing the Blue Ribbon Commission. The council show that they will not succumb to a political presure group when making decisions. The citizens of the City of Menifee that includes Sun City, Quail Valley and portion of Romoland should attend the City Council meetings to see for themselves.

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  18. The "Trauma Intervention" group may be cashing in on something that should be provided on a volunteer basis. WHO are these people and WHAT degrees, etc do they have to qualify them...a dog on a leash is not enough. Where are they from and are they licensed to sell services?

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  19. The 4 members showed that they do not care about the will of the people. They only care about themselves.

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  20. In response to the blogger on 2/6/09 at 8:21 a.m.,

    These four council members appear to be aware that many in the group of people advocating for Districts are the same ones that spearheaded the "No Cityhood" efforts that was defeated by a landslide (62% to 38%). The four council members appear to understand that these individuals do not represent the total voting population in the City of Menifee, including the neighborhoods of Sun City, Quail Valley and Romoland). The four council members appear to have the realization that they are representing the enfrachisement concerns for the entire city and not a group of residents continuously carping and taunting them.

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  21. To the above anonymous commenter (February 06, 2009 1:25 PM), I just want to point out the correct history on this. The "no on cityhood" people never issued a complaint about the districting issue. It was the council that started all the complaining.

    The "no on cityhood" people are no longer complaining about cityhood. They are complaining about a council that is seemingly trying to protect their personal interests, and avoid the difficult task of drawing district lines.

    It's the responsibility of voters to question their government, and the responsibility of the media to alert the people.

    Just because Chuck and Anne were against cityhood is no excuse to minimize them when they see something else that deserves questioning. It should be every voter's duty to take a stand and question something they think is not right. Don't point your finger at them and say, "Oh, it's just the anti-cityhood people doing all the complaining".

    That's a very ignorant view of civic responsibility.

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  22. In Response to Steve,

    You should share with me the efforts to encourage all citizens to attend City Council meetings and see and determine for themselves the conduct of those that spearheaded the "No Cityhood" issue. These individuals have minimize themselves by their conduct and attempts to pressure the City Council to their positions or they will be recalled. Secondly, no one including myself would deny these individuals the right to speak and express their opinions but without threats and contempt for the City Council. Remember the City Council is an elected body to make decisions for the entire community in an environment with decorum.

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  23. "These individuals have minimize themselves by their conduct and attempts to pressure the City Council to their positions or they will be recalled."

    I agree, threats of recall are not a mature way to voice complaint. But that doesn't give the council justification for reducing their civic responsibility as just "cityhood complainers".

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  24. Thank you Steve,

    Your above comment is right on. I wanted cityhood and I do not live in Sun City but I believe the council is wrong on this point. The people voted on this issue, whether right or wrong the ballots have been cast. Just because the council thinks it was wrong does not give them the right to change it. I don't know but I suspect that some of the council members live too close together to carve a district for each of them.

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  25. Councilmember Kuenzi stated that she had conversations with serveral members of the community that help her decide to go ahead with this Blue ribbon Committee but none of those people ever show up for a city council meeting to back that claim. The only one there who is a plant brought in by Kuenzi is Joe Dougherty. He does not live in Menifee City he lives in Wildomar and does not attend his own City Council meetings. He is a paid to get up and speak on behalf of Kuenzi and her cronies.This is just the begining of the corruption that is going on behind closed doors and if those people who really wanted cityhood to have local control better rethink what they are getting if this city council gets away with disenfranchisement of 38% of the voters of Menifee City. And stop trying to blame the group that was against Cityhood cause they are not objecting to the vote of the poeple like the 4 of your city council members are trying to do. You have Cityhood so now what?

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  26. Adequate Enfranchisement is important

    When a voter in the City of Menifee may potentially lose 4/5 of his/her vote, the City Council is correct to set up a Blue Ribbon Commission. Being relegated to vote on only one council member and have no right to vote on the four members, is an important enfranchisement issue that must discussed by the Blue Ribbon Commission.

    Four members of the Council are working hard to protect the rights of all of the citizens throughout the City whether they can vote, attend a meeting, or stay home to attend to their children and other obligations.

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  27. To February 07, 2009 7:29 AM:

    Please stop trying to protect me. I am an adult. I don't need your help.

    Oh wait. I do need protection from self-serving council members that do not follow the will of the people.

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  28. When it comes to the district issue it seems like every one in the room is saying the building is on fire and 4 members of the council think the air conditioning needs to be adjusted. Mr Edgerton is right that the problem is not misinformed voters but the councils self interest. If they have no respect for the election results they gotta go. Lets just wait for the SCHEDULED ELECTION.

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  29. To Rich Gardner:

    I didn't hear Edgerton say specifically that it was the council's self interests. What I did hear him say is that Mann and Denver won't be affected by the districting issue. He actually said that twice in the last council meeting. To me, that's his roundabout way of saying that the district issue affects the other three (Edgerton, Kuenzi, Twyman), because they all live in the same area.

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  30. Protection of Enfranchisement is Always Important,

    The voting public needs to know that Districting that was barely voted by the voters of the City of Menifee on 6/3/08 will result in not being able to vote for 4 council members. Voters will only be able to elect a council member where each one lives. A lost of 4/5th enfrancisement for evryone.

    The districts, if created, will have to be based on population and not geographic location. For example Sun City core could be placed into 2, 3, 4, or 5 districts. The power of the Senior Core would be substantially less.

    There will be double the costs to establish districts. There must be two redistricting efforts. One is districting based on the 2000 Census and the other will be done two years later in 2011 that will based on the 2010 Census. Besides added costs, the resulting rapid redistriciting will cause confusion in the best candidate to represent a district. The will of the people could be severely tested.

    The primary Senior group that spearheaded the "No Cityhood" efforts and now the Pro Districting effort could outsmart themselves.

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  31. In response to blogger on 2/7/09, 1:02pm.

    I wish people would quit referring to the people that are against a re-vote as the Senior people that were against cityhood, and that they are pro-district!
    The senior citizens are not saying they are pro-district. They are just saying the vote has been cast and there was no huge outcry, unless you count the council members that live too close to one another.
    I'm not a senior or live in Sun City and I voted for at large. But the vote didn't go that way. What I'm upset about is the power of the council to just say that all those votes didn't count. I wonder about the next thing we vote on that doesn't set well with the four members, will we see more committees and more re-votes until they get their way. It makes me wonder why I even bother to vote if the powers that be are just going to change it anyway.

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  32. Potential of Losing Enfranchisement by 4/5th is Important

    The correct move by four courageous council members was voting to establish a Blue Ribbon Commission. The potential of losing enfranchisement of each voter by 4/5th (not being able to vote for four council members) is more important than the mere 227 votes out of approximately 10,300 votes in favor of Districts over At Large in June 3, 2008 Election. The Blue Ribbons should hear the arguments from both the At Large and District supporters. This commission then should submit these arguments to the City Council for them to decide whether or not to place this representation measure on the ballot.

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  33. responding to Anonymous post 4:30 pm

    It does not take courage to stack a blue ribbon commission in your favor so you can stack an election in your favor. This council will probably represent me very well since I'm in one of the cookie cutter developments. We already see that city councils are not moved by comments by people at the council meetings. The only way areas like Quail Valley, the open space areas by Scott rd ect can be represented is by people who live there. The pro city folks designed a wide area to get the votes to make a city. Now that we've got their votes let's give them a voice.
    PS, Why don't folks sign their name?

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  34. One of the things you can do to help support scouting is buying Cub Scout Popcorn or Girl Scout Cookies. The purchase of these items helps us lower or eliminate the cost of our events for the kids and families. We fully understand that the financial times are tight and appreciate any support we can get. You would be surprised how far a one dollar donation can go. Thank You for your support.

    Steve Iwig
    sciwig@verizon.net
    Den Leader Cub Scout Pack 444
    Assistant Scoutmaster Boy Scout Troop 444
    Webmaster:
    Girl Scout Troop 46
    Pack & Troop 444
    http://www.menifee444.us
    http://www.troop444.com
    http://troop46.profusehost.net

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  35. To the Blogger on 2/7/09 at 6:51 p.m.,

    You probably know that the district system will establish the five disticts by population instead of geographic areas. It is very likely that the rural areas, Quail Valley, Romoland and Sun City could be assigned to more than one district.

    Another downside for District is not being able to vote for five council members. Each voter will have to vote for only one council member in 2010.

    A third probles is that the configuration of all five district in the 2010 election will be based on the 2000 U.S. Census. Then, the five districts' boundaries will be changed again based on the 2010 U.S. Census. The above statement is based on the growth within the City of Menifee, including Quail Valley, Sun City and Romoland, growing substantially. Thus,each district's boundaries could be changed dramatically with neighborhoods added or deleted.

    Then, there is the cost factor. Money will need to be spent in 2009and again in 2011 to divide the city into districts.

    The programs that a particular council member may be working on the behald of a section of a district could be nil if that section is shifted to another district for the 2012 election.

    Besides losing continuity of policies for a district, the average voter is disenfranchised from having a voting influence on the other four council members.

    The "Pro Cityhood" supporters admonish the voters during the June 3, 2008 election campaign, the following: Don't be bamboozled. The voters listen by voting nearly 62% for cityhood and 38% for "No Cityhood. Evidently, the voters listened. The same admonishment is made for voting for Districts. It is don't be
    bamboozled.

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  36. This all sounds so crooked. How did our new little city become so crooked already? I guess when ever you get politics and elected people with power over the numbers you get this type of self serving decisions being made.

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  37. To the blogger on 2/9/09 at 9:10 p.m., is crooked to you the same as a duly elected Council making a decision that you do not support? Your cooked council may be the courageous council to many. Many residents believe that the Council appears to be works hard to represents all of the residents including those that are too young to vote, non-residents and all socio-economic sectors in the City.

    Have a good day.

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  38. To the blogger on 2-10-09 at 7:00

    Yes the council was duly elected. But on the same ballot that we voted for the council on we also voted either for districts or at large. The people were to make that decision NOT the council. Just because the council thinks at large is better, too bad that is not their decision. And it does make them look crooked that 3 out of the 5 live too close together for each of them to have their own districts. It makes you wonder why Darcy Kuenzi is bulldozing this through at a high monetary cost? Even after the mayor realized that there was no public outcry. What else are they going to change the results of if they don't like it?

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  39. To Steve Iwig (comments for the Boy Scouts): For heavens sake, what does jumping in with your silly promotion for selling cookies have to do with this discussion? Your cookie drives are pushed on everyone whether its at work or doorbell ringing. We're forced to see it as some sort of life saving campaign; how about having the scouts promote a blood drive or something worthy? NOW, since you've opened the door: WHEN will the Scouts be smart enough to know that you've kept "those" cookie mfgrs in business far too many years, just to get funds? Is the manufacturer list rotated to divy up the free-money ploys, or has it been, after all these years, solely ONE mfgr? Do you even know? HOW much of the $$ do you actually get for selling those bland cookies? Its time the national scout administrators do some changes; they've worn out the American population. UNLESS of course, they have some sort of personal kickback going for them. I know I'll catch flack for this, but Scout-cookie-sales is feeding pockets of the mfgrs under the guise of raising funds for scouts. WAKE UP! Its the mfgrs getting rich, not the scouts!

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  40. To lthe blogger on 2/11/09 at 5:52,

    Have you read the California article that appeared earlier this week? If you haven't it you should read it. It was very well done. The article was about the Blue Ribbon Committee.

    As for some residents that support Districts and can not get off their favorite specious argument, the Blue Ribbon Committee coming up with findings, conclusions and recommendations will be a waste of time. However, the vast majority of residents who are raising families, supporting a family, commuting and busy at night with their children's homework and activities, this committee will be very beneficial for them to understand the pros and cons of the District versus At Large issue. These residents can then make an informed decision on a measure that affects their enfranchisement by 4/5.

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  41. Steve, I appreciate the point regarding the 45-vote difference between Denver and Deines, but I would point out that we do go to a second (and third and fourth…) vote for elected officials on a regular basis. In fact, rather than characterize that as undemocratic, I think it exemplifies the principles of democracy. Recounts and recalls aside, an elected official's regular term allows voters to express their preferences on a routine basis and helps ensure that government reflects the dynamic will of the people over time. Even though incumbents often get reelected, we hold these subsequent elections because we would not want to silence the people's voice by electing officials in perpetuity. Because of this, we can get a chance to vote again for Denver, Deines, or any other person willing to serve as an elected official in the future. Still, I share your skepticism of anything that goes to the people for an unnecessary second vote, which is why I did not state that we should have a second vote in the first place.

    For me, the point of the committee is to help examine the divisive issue and research its specific implications for the City of Menifee. Ultimately, I hope the committee would present information to both sides of the issue, as well as to residents who did not vote on it whatsoever—the city as a whole. Since there was only a 227-vote difference--49% to 51%-- I felt that the city could benefit from further examining the process that will impact every future election and our city budget on an ongoing basis (e.g., redistricting costs). Regardless, I think most residents who take the time to read and talk about this issue likely want the same thing—the best for the City of Menifee. With that in mind, I appreciate everyone's views and I am simply presenting my own. As I learn more, I hope to come to appreciate the district voting method as much as many others do already. Thank you for providing all of us with the opportunity to discuss this important issue and others.

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  42. To the non-reading Anonymous Coward who posted February 12, 2009 9:03 AM - My post was in regards to someone who asked how they could help out the local Scouts, Boy, Cub and Girl. Most of our raffles and fund raising events are at meetings with the families. Once a year we sell cookies for the Girls and Popcorn for the Cubs and Boy Scouts as well as Wreaths. We tried to do a Spaghetti Dinner once but the turn out wasn't good. So we rely on those mainstream funding programs. That is why I posted here. Someone asked and I answered and I had the courage to put my name to it. I'm getting sick of the little people who act tough on the internet and are too coward to put their names in the post.

    Steve Iwig
    Cub Scout/ Boy Scout Troop 444

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  43. For the poster that says its the manufacturer that makes all of the money, here is some info from en.wikipedia.org regarding girl scout cookie fundraising:

    "Each Girl Scout council operates their own cookie sale. They set the price per box based on the local economy. The profits are divided by their own formula. Local troops get around 10 percent to 15 percent of the price paid, the council takes more than 50 percent, and the manufacturer gets the remainder. For a $4 box the local troop will earn between 40 and 60 cents per box."

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  44. I'm honestly not surprised that nobody gives a damn about the kids in Menifee. Yes, schools are constantly talked about, but what people have to understand is that not all kids play sports, and not all kids are amazing when it comes to grades. If it's not raining, any one person in the afternoon can drive on Newport, from Menifee Road all the way to Murrieta Road and just count all the kids you see on bikes or skateboards riding somewhere.

    People get angry that theres drugs and tagging in Menifee. Well, here's a thought - to cut down on the bad stuff, maybe our newfound city people should make an attempt at finding something for kids to do. A bowling alley, movie theatre, anything. Give the kids somewhere to go and spend their money after school and on the weekends, rather than buying weed or spray paint so they can go around pissing you people off some more.

    Where do kids, who are lucky enough to have somebody take them somewhere, go? To Murrita - Brunkswick Bowling, The Movie Experience. To Temecula - The mall, the Temeku, Edwards theatre. However, too many kids don't have any way to get anywhere out of Menifee. Which leads them to skateboard or bike ride - sometimes on school grounds... oops, then the cops pull up and give them tickets (Skate park, maybe?). Or some kids get some weed and smoke a bowl.

    Does ANYBODY think about that? That maybe if you gave them somewhere to go, or something to do other than get high and cause trouble, they MIGHT DO IT?

    Maybe not. Maybe nobody cares. Maybe all you people care about is Super Targets, Best Buys and Whimsicals.

    Maybe somebody should start caring a little more about what your kids are doing.

    It's not always "somebody else's" kid. Most of the time, it's yours, too. Or at least, it could be.

    Oh, and please, if i'm wrong about any of this and I've missed where they've decided on something - let me know because as far as I know, I haven't heard of anything decided.

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  45. In respnse to the Poster on 2/16/09at 2:28 p.m.

    When I ran for City Council, one of my major position was greater recreational opportunities for young people and families. I also wanted a recreation commission to be established. One of the major objective of this commission would be guiding the establishment of a Boys and Girls club. Other communities have them and these centers apprear to be successful. Additionally, the recreation commission could coordinate all recreation programs within the city.

    This commission would work in cooperation with the Valley Wide District, whose area is generally east of I-215, the School Districts and youth sports.

    Hopefully, the City Council within the next year will consider concentrating on recreational opportunities for the City of Menifee.

    Louis G. Mazei, Resident of the City of Menifee

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