I-215 Closure in Murrieta Next Month

Cal-Trans announced today that the I-215 freeway in Murrieta, at Murrieta Hot Springs Rd, will be closed in both directions for two nights, April 6, and April 7.

April 6-7 (Mon-Tue), from 9:00pm to 4:00am
April 7-8 (Tue-Wed), from 8:00pm to 4:00am

It's a continuation on the work they're doing on the sinkhole.

Southbound traffic will be directed off at Los Alamos Rd.

Northbound traffic will be directed off at Murrieta Hot Springs Rd.

Bell Mountain Middle School Vandalism

I received the following message from Lisa Ibison, a local photographer, regarding a break-in at Bell Mountain Middle School...

Hi Steve,

Was hoping you could post something about this, maybe it will help to catch these scum!

Bell Mountain Middle School was broken into Wednesday night. The thieves were there for about 45 mintues [from about 11:30pm to 12:15am]. They broke into the E Wing classrooms which are the portable ones.. They broke all of the windows and stole equipment.

The Sherrifs were there today taking pictures and dusting for prints. It is very unfortunate not only did they break into the school/vandalise it, they stole expensive equipment and then today the staff and students had to deal with. The staff was cleaning up and making arrangements for all of those teachers to relocate their classrooms.

Update Mar 27, 2009: I edited the above mail to remove the items stolen and descriptions of the criminals, at the request of the school district, which apparently came at the request of the Sheriff.

However, there is now a "Wanted" poster, which you can download here...


What does it mean when you hear "Illegal"?

It has come to my attention that some of my neighbors are employing the day workers from the corner of Murrieta Road and Scott Road to do work around their homes. Upon further discussion with my neighbors, it has become apparent that they are aware that many of these workers are undocumented and illegal aliens.

What does it mean to you when you hear "Illegal"?

To me, it means, "against the law". The individuals are here illegally, and are committing a crime by just being in this country. Employing them is another crime, and only condones and perpetuates this criminal behavior. Yet, it exists. Under our very noses, and we, as law-abiding citizens, turn away and pretend that we don't know our neighbors are committing a crime.

If your child came home with stolen property, would you allow them to keep it? Would you proudly display it in your front yard? I would think not; but many of you will employ an "illegal worker" to install your sprinkler system in your front yard.

Don't get me wrong. I am not lumping all people of any one race together. I am talking about the individuals who are here illegally being knowingly hired for work.

Wouldn't it be better for everyone, at least for the citizens of this country, if we paid a few dollars more and hired a legitimate citizen, or even, a licensed contractor? It would certainly help to stimulate our failing economy!

Remember, these individuals drain our State's resources dramatically. By providing them unreported employment income, you are enabling them to stay in this country longer to drain our ever diminishing resources. They don't pay taxes, at least Income taxes, as many of them like to argue, but never fail to know where to get a free handout from the State!

The next time you need the assistance of a police officer, think about how hard they work for all of us, and if you are helping to perpetuate a law-abiding society, or a law-breaking one, as well as thinking about whether this officer's pay was helped or harmed by the last person you hired.

Vendors/ Entrepreneurs/ Hobbyists Wanted!

Rob McDowell, principal of Good Shepherd Lutheran School is putting out the word….

Good Shepherd Lutheran School will be hosting its second annual Armed Forces Day celebration on Saturday, May 16th from 2:30-7pm. This event is open to the public and promises to be even more exciting this year. This event will feature such guests as; Just in Time Skydivers, Temecula Valley Car Club, and a local Fire Department to display their equipment and truck as well as many other special guests. Planning to make special performances are; PVHS Color Guard, Drama Club, and Rifle team. Additional plays, dances, and demonstrations will also take place at center stage.

Another new addition this year is the exciting opportunity of a vendor’s market! Various local businesses and hobbyists will be setting up in stalls on the property to sell their goods and services. If you have a service or product you would like to sell, this would be the time to do it. A 10X10 foot area rents for only $40 for the entire day! Space is limited and the event is about 70% booked already. Some vendors that are already signed are:

Food and Drink
Fitness Club
Day Spa
Dental Group
Women’s Attire
Portrait Photographer
Purse, Belt, Jewelry

So contact Sherry Lemaster or Leslie Rodriguez at (951) 672-6675 (choose option 5) to sign up today. Applications may also be submitted online at http://www.gslcmsmenifee.org/armed_forces_day.cfm and payment is due NO LATER than April 1st.

Most importantly for this event will be the efforts to honor our men and women in the armed forces. Various activities and fundraisers will be taking place on location to benefit active duty soldiers currently serving overseas, as well as a local veteran, severely wounded while serving in Afghanistan. More information to follow.

Menifee to Address Quail Valley Septic Tanks

The City of Menifee issued the following press release concerning septic tanks in Quail Valley...

The City of Menifee has assumed the leadership role in identifying and addressing the Quail Valley Septic issues. The City announces that it is in the process of developing a cooperative agreement for that purpose. On March 12, representatives from Menifee attended a coordinating meeting assembled by Nancy Horton, Canyon Lake Mayor Pro Tem, Eastern Municipal Water District, Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District, the County of Riverside and the Canyon Lake Property Owners Association. The purpose of the meeting was to immediately address available state and federal grant funds.

Menifee Council member Scott Mann and City Manager George Wentz indicated Menifee's willingness to step up to assemble and lead the team. "The citizens of Quail Valley – now citizens of the City of Menifee as well – deserve our immediate attention to this issue," Mann said. "We will pursue multiple funding sources at all levels of local, regional, state and national government in order to get this project going now." Menifee Council member Darcy Kuenzi committed the County to participation in cooperative effort.

Menifee will seek a representative from the Quail Valley community and will be contacting the Regional Water Quality Control Board, City of lake Elsinore, Flood Control District and other agencies to participate.

An informational flyer will be distributed to the Quail Valley community through the volunteer Fire Hall and community forums will be scheduled at the elementary school as well.

The matter will be discussed at on the Menifee City Council agenda on March 17. For further information, contact City Manager George Wentz at the City of Menifee at (951) 672-6777.

Menifee Citizens Advisory Committee

The City of Menifee is calling on residents to join the newly formed "Citizens Advisory Committee" to make recommendations on a wide variety of issues. Here is the press release...

The City of Menifee announced that a Citizen's Committee will be formed to provide increased public input, citizen participation, and to make recommendations to the City Council on matters within their scope of responsibility. The committee will perform as a citizen's advisory arm of City Council, focusing attention on specific areas of the City. Most importantly, these bodies give the citizenry an opportunity to voice their opinions on City programs and policies such as:

Economic Development
Local/Home-Based Business
Historic Preservation
Public Safety
Emergency/Disaster Preparedness
Public Works/Traffic
Schools and Youth
Community Events

The City will be seeking representatives from throughout the community to have a broad range of perspectives. All meetings of the Advisory Committee will be open to the public and advisory bodies will announce a time, place and date for holding any regular or special meetings.

Those interested in submitting an application for this committee should contact City Hall at 951-672-6777 or go on the City's website at www.cityofmenifee.us to download the committee application and further description of the committee structure and purpose. Applications will be accepted through April 3, 2009.

Famous Footwear Menifee Grand Opening - March 14, 2009

David Angard, drector of real estate for Famous Footwear, called me last week to say that Famous Footwear will have its grand opening at Countryside Marketplace on Saturday, March 14, 2009. So I asked him to e-mail the details and I'll pass it along. So this afternoon, he did...

We're just a few short days away from the Grand Opening of our new store. Thanks in part to your efforts our store in Countryside Marketplace, in Menifee, CA, will be our 38th store in the Los Angeles DMA.

In appreciation of all the hard work involved in this important project, we would like to invite you to our grand opening event on March 14th. Starting at 10am on the 14th the first one-hundred people will receive a free gift! Then starting at 12pm and every hour on the hour until 6pm we will have our 'famous' Shoe Crazy Shopping Spree! It's sure to be a great time for you, your business colleagues, your friends, and/or your entire family.

In addition to the invitation, we've also included a coupon for 20% off a regular-priced item (attached below). As a special friend of Famous Footwear you can utilize the coupon at your convenience prior to our Grand Opening event. Our new store will be filled with the newest product and we wanted you to be one of the first to experience its offering first hand.

Please feel free to pass this offer and invite along to your family, friends, and business colleagues. It's our way of saying thanks and a token of our appreciation for our continued partnership.

David Angard
Director of Real Estate
Here's the above mentioned coupon he talked about...

Click the coupon to download the full size (in PDF)

Or click below...

I'm assuming this coupon can be used by the general public, even though it says, "Reproductions are not accepted". Since I'm not looking to buy any shoes right now, print it out and see if you can use it.

Menifee Motor Madness - May 16, 2009

The Rotary Club of Menifee is putting together a hot rod show, perhaps similar to Temecula's Rod Run, called "Menifee Motor Madness", on May 16, 2009, at MSJC.

Menifee Motor Madness
1974 and earlier cars, with a 300 show car limit. 30 tropies.

All proceeds benefit Rotary International Clean Water Projects.

Download the flyer and application form here.

Working in Sun City is Good

Apparently one guy who works in Sun City makes a lot of money...


But I'd hate to have his commute.

Menifee City Council Meeting - March 3, 2009

The city council met yesterday. Scott Mann was not present. Here's a recap...

Words of Inspiration

Pastor Jim Amador from Heritage Christian Church gave some words of inspiration.

New Hires

City Manager George Wentz introduced Julie Woodruff as the new Executive Assistant, and Mike Butler from Winzler & Kelly's San Francisco office to help for 5-6 months with engineering stuff. Winzler & Kelly, if you remember, is the company the city hired to provide a city manager and all related staff.

Riverside County Regional Detention Center

County Supervisor Jeff Stone gave a presentation on a new detention center proposed along the I-10 freeway in Whitewater. He was on hand trying to earn the support of cities throughout the county. Menifee was the last city on his tour.

riverside county supervisor jeff stone
He gave out statistics illustrating a situation where county detention facilities are so overcrowded that the Sheriff is having to release convicts well before their sentences have been completed to make room for new convicts. In 2007, they released 6,000 convicts early, and in 2009 they expect to release 9,000 early.

The proposed facility will be large enough to house 7,200 detainees, which is double the capacity of the county's current inventory.

He said the new facility will be paid for with cash on hand that they've been saving for, and no financing will be needed. It'll create 1,500 jobs.

John Denver asked what Mary Bono-Mack thinks about this new detention facility, considering it's located just outside of her hometown. Stone said that she's not happy. He explained that they offered to put the facility elsewhere if she would offer up some BLM land to the county, but she never responded.

The Powerpoint presentation that Stone brought went on to show that they considered four other locations, including Mead Valley, Gilman Springs, San Timoteo, and West Badlands.

Fred Twyman asked how long it would take for the surrounding trees to grow up to a tall enough height to hide the new facility from view. Stone said about two years. They'll be planting mature trees, and not saplings.

Chuck Reutter stepped up during the public comment period, and asked Stone what he and the public could do to help fast track this new facility. Stone summarized his efforts to win support from all city councils.

The city council finished by adopting a resolution to support the new facility.

You can learn more this facility on the county's website: http://saferstreets.countyofriverside.us

Public Comments

Chuck Reutter, started off noting that Proposition 8 passed, yet elected officials are trying to get it thwarted through the courts. Then he related that to Menifee voters passing Measure G (districts), and the city council opting to study options through a Blue Ribbon Panel rather than honoring the outcome of the election. He went on to say that our country was founded on taking a stand to oppose government.

Ann Weston, began by acknowledging Chuck Reutter, and that she knew what she voted for (in reference to districting). She went on to describe Procinctu, the private military training facility located just outside of the city limits, but perhaps one day within the city's sphere of influence. She noted that there was no environmental impact report, no citizens oversight committee, and that it was fast tracked at the urging of Supervisor Ashley. She described some kind of license for 27 years, sniper training, and an firing range.

City Manager Wentz responded that Procinctu is outside of the city's sphere of influence.

Bill Zeidlik, asked the council if they've ever taken a look at the inventory of TUMF fees available, what they are for. He brought up issues of taking a population of the city. He noted that we're way behind on getting a Planning Commission, and wants a Planning Advisory Group. He also asked if the city knows what's going on with Bundy Canyon. There were other things he tried to cram into his 3 minutes, I just couldn't write them all down, or understand what he was saying.

Blue Ribbon Committee

Darcy Kuenzi announced they had assembled the Blue Ribbon Committee. They fielded 30 applications in all. From that field, they looked at where people lived, and also tried to create a gender balance.

The Committee comprises of Betti Cadmus, Daniel Taylor, Bill Beeman, Todd Reed, Lois MacGregor, Bekki Kroenke, Dawn Prather, Matthew Liesmeyer, and Thomas Giedroyce.

Greg August had originally applied, and was selected, but rescinded his membership, and Thomas Giedroyce was named in his place. There are also two other alternates, Ernest Rondeau, and Louis Mazei.

Greg August, was allowed to issue a public comment, offering congratulations to Scott Mann for being appointed as Mary Bono-Mack's California Republican Party Delegate, and noting that Mann declared districting would set up "taxation without representation", yet illustrated the Blue Ribbon Committee as thwarting the will of the people, and wasting money on an already decided issue.

Anne Pica, spoke as the president of the newly formed "Citizens for Fair Representation", saying that they collected 773 signatures and addresses in the last two weeks for a petition to dissolve the committee. She read the petition, which stated the formation of the Blue Ribbon Commmittee "violates our federal constitutional and statutory rights", referring to the delay of Measure G's implementation. The petition also noted that the council is ready to spend $20,000 on the Blue Ribbon Committee, and up to $45,000 on a special election, and that this is an improper expenditure of public funds for what she described as "the disenfranchisement of 3,345 voters" who voted for districts.

Bill Zeidlik, mentioned he's talked to some college students on how many people actually live in Menifee, and has seen numbers suggesting 62,000 to as much as 80,000. He also noted there was a 1% margin of difference in between districts and at-large. Then he asked the council if the Blue Ribbon Committee knows what they are instructed to do. Darcy Kuenzi answered that their instructions were printed on the application.

Sherman Road Accessory Structure

This matter concerns a homeowner who owns an acre of land and wants to build a couple of outbuildings, one of which is very huge, 8,000 square feet of storage space in a metal building, with four roll-up garage doors. The other a small 512 square foot building containing a toilet.

The city's planner noted some problems with the initial plan, which had called for a height of 24 feet, but got the applicant to accept a lower 20 foot height. And because it was a metal building, got the applicant to paint the walls to match the homes in the area. However, one bone of contention was that the building could only be used for residential uses, meaning, it had to support purposes that would coincide with what a typical homeowner would use it for. In other words, no commercial or industrial stuff.

The applicant took the stand and said when they bought this land, they forsaw a need in the future for a massive structure as this to store equipment, or perhaps vehicles, or even a nursery, so as to consolidate costs. What I got out of the discussion is that this particular piece still remains an unresolved issue, or perhaps I didn't hear what the resolution was.

However, Leroy Parsons, who lives next door to this property appeared and spoke in opposition to this project. He said the applicant's property already has water drainage problems, and is frequently having to pump water off of their property after rainfall. He said the construction of this building will likely divert water on to his property.

John Denver asked Carmen Cave, the city planner, if this building would create water drainage problems. She responded that the County Flood Control department approved this project, though not specifically addressing water runoff onto Leroy's property. John Denver tried to be more specific, asking Carmen if she can tell him specifically that this new structure would not create a water drainage problem. She couldn't answer.

And from that Denver began a discussion that the city pays a lot of money for its city staffing to figure this stuff out. The council also made the point that plans involving outbuildings and accessory structures really don't need to involve the council, except in cases where unresolved issues arise.

The council didn't approve this project, instead they directed the city planner resolve this, and issue approval/disapproval.

Fred Twyman asked Carmen Cave about public notices, in the context of this particular project, and which neighbors are notified that a public hearing is taking place. She said that they typically take a 300 foot radius from the property in question and notify neighbors in that radius. Twyman asked what happens when the property in question is 300 feet long or wide, does anyone get notified then? She said they typically extend that to 600 feet.

Prohibition of Fireworks

The city adopted a ordinance banning all fireworks in the city, except for those where the city grants a permit.

Ben Adams was allowed to make a public comment asking the council to provide for adequate enforcement, illustrating a case in Alaska, where he previously lived, that a house caught fire after a bottle rocket was launched.

This is not a new law, previously Menifee was under a similar county ordinance. The city's definition of illegal fireworks includes sparklers and firecrackers.

Ordinances for Consideration for Adoption

This is about what more laws do the council members want. City Attorney Elizabeth Martyn read off a laundry list of ordinances that other cities tend to adopt, and entertained recommendations from council members on what they felt were more urgent.

Ideas for recommended ordinances, and more urgent ordinances, include off-roading laws, tobacco sales, sludge, graffiti, smoking, roadside vending, day laborers, business licensing, and golf carts.

Regarding smoking, there's concern about smoking outdoors in parks and playgrounds and other city owned property.

Regarding day laborers they felt a good way to enforce that is to prosecute it as people trespassing on private property to seek employment, or seeking employment on public property without permits.

Regarding roadside vending they want to find a way to bust people selling cars, and people selling flowers, but not bust the people selling strawberries or lemonade.

Media Relations

The City Manager presented the council members with draft policies and/or ordinances on how city officials and staff interact with members of the media. It would eventually graduate into some kind of policy or ordinance down the road.

Public Safety Committee Report

John Denver, who along with Scott Mann, comprise the Public Safety Committee, and Denver gave a report on how things are going.

He said that because Menifee's population is increasing, the city needs more cops. He cited a figure of $323,123 in additional funds needed to boost police services, along with an additional $29,162 in traffic patrols.

For the next contract with the Sheriff, they would like to add ATV patrols, and get a gang taskforce. They'd also like to put more police vehicles on the road, but can't decide on getting more cars, or getting some motorcycles.

He also talked about homeless people in the context of public safety. He talked about homeless people hanging around the Vons in Sun City and presenting some kind of physical threat. He didn't give out any specifics, but noted that he and Mann are looking at "alternatives".

Fred Tywman asked Denver about the population increases requiring more cops, and wondered what data did he and Mann use to figure this out. Denver deferred to City Manager Wentz, who named off the State Board of Equalization (sales taxes), along with the Registrar of Voters.

Fred then mentioned that the lines drawn for voters precincts should be considered for drawing district lines, since districts are going to have to coincide with all that stuff.

Menifee Union School Evacuation Plan

Just found this little story about how a firefighter redesigned the evacuation plan for Callie Kirkpatrick Elementary, and is adjusting it for all schools. The story was published in the Kentucky Post Newspaper of all places...
Keith Velotta, of Menifee, Calif. is proof that PTA dads can do more than barbecue. He is using his expertise as a Garden Grove fire captain to make Menifee schools safer.

Velotta revamped the emergency evacuation plan for Callie Kirkpatrick Elementary School, where he served as PTA president three years ago. The former plan was designed by a teacher, not someone experienced in emergency evacuations, Velotta said.

Now, in his capacity as Menifee PTA Council's executive vice president of leadership and training, Velotta is tweaking the Callie Kirkpatrick plan for each of the district's school sites. When done, there will be a consistent emergency action plan throughout Menifee Union School District.

Romoland MAC Meeting - March 4, 2009

The Romoland/Homeland Municipal Advisory Council meets this Wednesday, March 4, 2009, 6:00pm, at the Eastern Municipal Water District, 2270 Trumble Road, Perris, CA 92572-8300.

I don't believe the Romoland MAC's area of representation includes the City of Menifee, however, it's likely the City will incorporate the rest of Romoland, and perhaps parts of Homeland, Winchester, etc., into its future sphere of influence.

The MAC has experienced dwindling turn outs, and is calling on residents to attend.

Below is a copy of the agenda...
1. Call to Order

2. Pledge of Allegiance

3. Roll Call and Introductions

4. Approval of Agenda/Minutes

5. New Business

a. Discussion with City of Menifee

6. Staff Reports- County Supervisor or Representative-Updates

a. Homeless Update
b. Off-road park at Juniper Flats Update

7. Public Comments:

All persons wishing to address the Council on matters not on the agenda should do so at this time. Please limit your remarks to three (3) minutes. As determined by the chair, speakers may be deferred until a related agenda item is before the Council’s consideration. Please state name and address.

8. Items for future Agenda

a. Metrolink
b. Community Center

9. Announcements:

Next Meeting Date: April 1, 2009

10. Adjournment

***Further questions or comments please contact:
Brenda Salas, 951.955.6046 or email: brendasalas@rivcoeda.org