Menifee City Council - June 2, 2009

The regular city council meeting started this evening at 7:00pm.

Among the notable discussion items...

Code Enforcement

Wayne Oguera (sp?) was introduced as the senior code enforcement officer for Menifee. He walked up to the podium to talk about code enforcement. I had hoped he had more exciting things to talk about, like how many citations they issued, how much money they brought in for the city, and some code enforcement horror stories. But instead, he gave a speech on "Code Enforcement and You".

I zoned out during this time, but I picked up on a few of his quotes, like...

"One man's trash is another man's treasure"

"Not 100% of everyone is going to be happy with the outcome"

"I have some stuff sitting in my front yard that'll never get fixed"

Public Comments

Greg August, commented about Douglas Johnson, a consultant working for a company called "National Demographics Consulting", who was hired by the city on May 7, 2009 to work out details regarding districts, at large, and city governance structures. Greg asked the council why Johnson will be conducting public forums after the Blue Ribbon Committee already held a number of public forums, and how much time and money will the city spend conducting these additional forums. Greg also noted that Johnson had previously been quoted as saying districts is the better choice in the long run due to legal issues conflicting with the Voting Rights Act.

Anne Pica, said that she's been e-mailing city council members the past several days asking why hasn't city informed the public that they hired National Demographics Consulting back on May 7. The fact that Anne hasn't received an answer from a council member lead her to publicly claim the council members as not feeling accountable to anyone but themselves. Anne went on to say that council members should resign if they find it "repulsive" to communicate with the public. She also charged Darcy Kuenzi as misleading the public on Measure G during a speech she gave at a church women's club last January, where Kuenzi felt that she herself didn't understand all the facts about districts versus at-large, but yet published a document supporting at-large back in 2008.

Darci Castillejos, spoke on behalf of the Menifee Valley Chamber of Commerce, saying that they held a vote this morning, and agreed to support "at-large" elections of city councilmembers. She said the chamber of commerce is looking forward to working with the council on future issues.

Grant Yoders, spoke of some "uninhabited modules" located along along Rouse Rd, that have fallen into disrepair, and is seemingly falling into greater disrepair with each passing day. He said that he was walking through there and chased out a den of coyotes living in one of the modules. He wants to know what the city is going to do about it. City Manager George Wentz replied that they're already doing something about it, they've turned the property into a "secured area", and are strategizing about what they can do. City Planner Carmen Cave said that it's an active code enforcement case as we speak.

Champion Storage

This is that storage facility located along Newport Rd, at the corner of Berea Rd, near Audie Murphy Ranch. The owner of this place plans to expand the facility by building another 107 units, over 2.29 acres.

The land he's building on is currently on Salt Creek. Back when he first built Champion Storage, he already had plans to build this additional section out, but the county had required him to make improvements to that portion of Salt Creek to implement flood control. He has since done that.

A couple of people commented against his plans, one arguing that Salt Creek becomes a floody mess during heavy rains, and doubts his improvements are sufficient. Another person questioned why the storage facility has only 8 parking spots.

09/10 Budget

City Finance Director, Gary Thompson presented the budget for 2009/2010. It's actually several pages of numbers.

But to sum it up, we're still running a positive balance, mostly due to a surplus gained in the previous year's budget. In fact, that positive balance grew by $1.6 million to a balance of $5.65 million because of increased revenue, and decreased expenditures.

The presentation showed that 35% of the revenue comes from property taxes, which perhaps explains why the council is pushing hard to bring more housing development into the city. It also showed that a staggering 70% of expenditures is spent on police and fire.

All in all, the total budget 09/10 is set at $21,804,157.00.

Darcy Kuenzi asked about Governor Schwarzenegger planning to seize property taxes from cities. Considering our city is so heavily dependent on property taxes, what will happen if we lose that revenue to the State? Thompson answered that the amount of taxes the State plans to seize from cities is based on each city's historical baseline. Well, since Menifee hasn't been a city for a full year yet, there is no historical baseline the State can use to determine how much to seize. Basically, Menifee won't lose any property taxes.

Tywman commented that by bringing services in house, Menifee has been able to cut costs and improve services.

Hiring of National Demographics Consultants

City Manager George Wentz asked to give a status report on the hiring of National Demographics Consultants. NDC was hired on May 7, 2009, to study the facts surrounding districts versus at-large city council elections, governance structures, and how to draw district lines. They'll even draw up district lines.

It sounds like NDC was hired to do exactly what the Blue Ribbon Committee was put together to do. They'll even be hosting several public forums, which the BRC already did.

Wentz said that he put an RFP out and two organizations responded, one of which was NDC. NDC was hired on May 7, which I believe is the same day the BRC released its preliminary recommendations. So, the RFP obviously went out well before then. Which brings up some questions from me, like just how far back did the council make up its mind on hiring a consultant, and if they felt it necessary to hire a consultant, why did it assemble a Blue Ribbon Committee?

NDC is being paid not more than $38,000 for its services. Wentz noted that the Blue Ribbon Committee consumed between $8,000 to $10,000.

The next city council meeting on June 16, NDC will send Douglas Johnson to attend and speak.

Anne Pica, commented during this time, saying that the way things are looking, the city council will put this issue back on the ballot, except they'll present three options to the voters, 1. at-large, 2, by district, and 3. from district. This will effectively split district supporters to the point where districts will fail. For example, if at-large wins 40% vote, by district wins 30%, and from districts wins 30%, then at-large wins, despite some 60% combined voters supporting districts in general.

Council Member Comments

Scott Mann dropped a couple of "budget nuggets" to the audience, reiterating that the city grew its positive cash on hand by $1.6 million from last year to this year, based on higher revenues and lower expenditures. The other nugget is that back when Gary Thompson submitted the cityhood fiscal analysis to LAFCO, it noted a 24% "reserve factor", which instead turned out to be at 26%.

I think we ought to give Scott a feature on Menifee 24/7 where he can lay down more budget nuggets on a regular basis.


  1. Darcy Kuenzi asked about Governor Schwarzenegger planning to seize property taxes from cities. Considering our city is so heavily dependent on property taxes, what will happen if we lose that revenue to the State? Thompson answered that the amount of taxes the State plans to seize from cities is based on each city's historical baseline. Well, since Menifee hasn't been a city for a full year yet, there is no historical baseline the State can use to determine how much to seize. Basically, Menifee won't lose any property taxes.

    Thompson's response is not accurate. Just because there is no baseline does not mean that Menifee will not lose any property taxes. The governor could still take a certain set amount, period.
    Thompson, I'd like to see you put your comments in writing to the entire city of Menifee and stake your job and reputation on it. Because you are possibly setting us up for failure.

  2. Anne Pica change your name to Negative Nancy.

  3. Does Anne Pica even live in Menifee city limits? I found this post at

    She States "There have been numerous attempts in the 17 years I’ve lived here. Fortunately for me, I’m north of the proposed border"

    What is her deal? Instead of pointing out everything that is wrong, work to make things right!

    Hemet, CA
    Reply »
    |Report Abuse |Judge it! |#3 Apr 28, 2008
    I agree with you, however, we need to make our stand on June 3rd. As long as there is hope, however miniscule, I would like to think that we can still fight this as we have done in the past. This is not the first time attempts to incorporate the towns that wanted to remain unincorporated have been made.

    *****There have been numerous attempts in the 17 years I’ve lived here. Fortunately for me, I’m north of the proposed border.*****

    However, if they start chipping away at our towns now, who’s to say that the remaining areas are not stolen at a future date from the same or different city wanting to use our tax base for their personal gain?

  4. At Large voting would be a disaster and the Chambers President obvioulsy has a special reason for at large. She knows that funds would have to be delegated and there would be no sharing and or moving funds out of a district. Look at your larger cities and see why they went to District wide elections. See

  5. There are only 8 parking spots at the storage facility because no one parks outside of a storage place, they go in and park near their unit, duh!

  6. A comment regarding the hiring of the National Demographics Corporation:

    One of the recommendations of the BRC to the City Council was that the City Council "sponsor a broad outreach program, reaching into all segments of the community to inform and educate the voters that they have options available to them from which they may choose how they elect their City Council."

    I'm thinking this "broad outreach program" is what NDC will be doing with their public forums. Rather than repeating the work the BRC already did, I think NDC will be informing the public on what the various options are.

  7. I agree on what Anonymous, at June 05, 2009 2:48 PM says. People are there to get into their units or get their travel trailers.

  8. Its a storage lot WHO CARES about the parking spots!

  9. I'm so glad the city has a surplus of cash. It'll will help pay for Blue Ribbon committees, National Demographics consulting, outrageous pay, $200k for a city manager. Yet can't get basic street signage, (i.e., stop signs, one way street signs, broken or damaged existing street signs repaired or installed). How about the Newport Road fiasco, sewers in Quail Valley? Ha, ain't going to happen, How about more police, firefighters, code enforcement, sidewalks along Goetz Road and Newport Road. Sorry, just dreaming

  10. Santy Claus comes by in 6 months...

  11. Blah Blah Blah...fix our Roads in the C ity and older areas..No lets pay salaries we can't afford. This is the worst City Council...Looks like something out of Petticoat Junction or Mayberry..Folks we are becoming a laughing joke and being set up for the City Councils Picking.

  12. Ann Pica is penny wise and pound foolish. She thinks similar to someone that gets upset when spending a penny on a $50,000 budget. Wasn't Scrouge like that...?

    A penny for your thoughts, try to be positive instead being one of the Negative Ladies!

  13. Scott Mann is a puppet as he does what his puppet Master tells he does in the Menifee School District.

  14. W O W ! That is really an educated, well informed response.

    What does "puppet master" mean anyway?



  15. I MUST express my concern regarding "Anonymous" postings here. At least the "mean spirited" disgruntled anti-development crowd that attends the meetings isn’t afraid to identify themselves. They ramble on and on about development, with their vulgar accusations, and do not realize that after the first insult or mild expletive, no one is really listening to them. The
    1st amendment allows us the freedom to express ourselves. But I must say that where I come from, we don’t enter someone’s home, and speak in such a manner in front of our women. What an example these older people must be to their children. How arrogant for someone to enter a public form, with established protocols for time limits, to state unabashedly, “I know I’ve only got 3 minutes, but I’m going to take more!” The saddest thing is that, the spoiled elderly gentleman who made this statement actually had knowledge to share. It was lost I fear in the disgust most of us felt. Grow up, and speak your peace. Be considerate of others, including leadership. Be mindful of the fact there are ladies present, and temper your language to suit them. We want to share your knowledge as well as listen to your concerns! No one listens to the child engrossed in his own tantrum!

    If you post something on this blog, be adult enough to identify yourself. As embarrassing as it would be, at least one could challenge your assertions with facts, or perhaps apologize if they hold true. Try it, it’s a learning experience. We have a saying in Texas. “You don’t have to stand tall, but you do have to stand up”.

  16. I like that ; Mayberry and Petticoat Junction

    quite appropiate!