Aberdovey School Offers Free Educational Workshops

Robyn Rogers, Executive Director of Aberdovey Charter School, a new charter school in the works for Menifee, says things are progressing quite well with their petition. They're almost finished and are starting their community outreach in full force.

The school will be holding free hands-on childrens workshops on Tuesday and Saturday mornings in a couple of local parks during the month of July.

The workshops will be a free opportunity for school-age kids, ages 4-11, to try out project-based learning and for parents to learn more about the new charter school's endeavor. Schwans has also offered to be at most of the workshops to offer free ice cream sandwiches (along with their sales pitch). Any way you look at it, it's a free event for kids.

For more information, contact Robyn Rogers at 951-246-9410 or

Tuesdays at La Ladera Park in Menifee from 9am-11am:
July 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th.


Saturdays at La Paloma Park in Menifee from 9am-11am:
July 11th, 18th, and 25th.


EMWD Shifts to Mandatory Water Restrictions

The Eastern Municipal Water District sent us a press release earlier this week announcing that the water conservation efforts it had once suggested to residents and businesses are now mandatory.

The EMWD board of directors at it's June 17 meeting declared Stage 2 conservation measures in its water shortage contingency plan effective immediately.

As examples, hosing down hard surfaces, daytime lawn watering, allowing runoff and leaks will now be prohibited, rather than requested.

In the case of allowing water to runoff into the street, for example, penalties will start at $25 after one warning for excessive water runoff at single-family homes. Penalties can be increased to $50 or $100 for subsequent violations within a year of the first violation warning.

The same types of comparable waste at multi-family, commercial, industrial, institutional and landscape accounts are subject to penalties of $100, $200 and $300.

But the EMWD doesn't expect shifting to mandatory conservation efforts will make much of an impact, because they said the vast majority of their customers are already making efforts to monitor how they use water and eliminate waste. For the most part, EMWD customers are doing what the district has asked of them and are staying within their first two billing tiers.

The district is also keeping it's four-tiered rates where they are. They had once considered doubling the highest tier-4 rate for flagrant waste.

The complete list of mandatory water efficiency requirements are:

  • Refrain from hosing down driveways and other hard surfaces, except for health or sanitary reasons, and then only by use of a hand-held bucket or similar container, a handheld hose equipped with a positive self-closing water shut-off device, or a low volume, high-pressure cleaning machine equipped to recycle any water used.

  • Repair faucets, toilets, pipes, and other potential sources of water leaks.

  • Irrigate landscape only between 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. This provision does not apply when:
    • Manually watering during the establishment period of a new landscape;
    • Temperatures are predicted to fall below freezing;
    • For very short periods of time for the express purpose of adjusting or repairing an irrigation system.

  • Refrain from watering or irrigating of any lawn, landscape, or other vegetated area with potable water using a landscape irrigation system or watering device that is not continuously attended unless it is limited to no more than 15 minutes watering per day per station. This 15-minute limitation can be extended for:
    • Landscape irrigation systems that exclusively use very low-flow drip irrigation systems when no emitter produces more than two (2) gallons of water per hour.
    • Weather-based controllers or stream rotor sprinklers that meet a 70% efficiency. But runoff or over watering is not permitted in any case.

  • Adjust and operate all landscape irrigation systems in a manner which will maximize irrigation efficiency and avoid over-watering or watering of hardscape and the resulting runoff.

  • Refrain from watering or irrigating any lawn, landscape, or other vegetated area that causes or allows excessive water flow or runoff onto an adjoining sidewalk, driveway, street, alley, gutter, or ditch.

  • Do not use decorative fountains unless they are equipped with a recycling system.

  • Do not allow water to run while washing vehicles. Use a bucket or similar container and/or a handheld hose equipped with a positive self-closing water shut-off device to avoid runoff into gutters, streets, or alleys.

  • When installing new landscaping, plant low-water demand trees and plants. Do not incorporate non-functional turf areas.

  • Refrain from watering during rain.

EMWD depends on The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) for 70 to 80 percent of the water served for 135,000 customers in Riverside County.

Beginning July 1, MWD sets mandatory reductions to its 26 member agencies. Although these upcoming reductions affect regional and local water agencies differently, the net result is an about 10 percent cut in water supply, with a nearly 20 percent rate hike beginning Sept. 1, 2009. In addition, hefty penalties will be levied against water agencies that exceed their allocations.

Since water sales peaked for EMWD in 2006-07, the demands by domestic water customers—meaning residents, businesses, and institutions—have declined by 17 percent.

EMWD's board believes continuing reduced customer demands will keep EMWD within MWD's allocations. They have also made a commitment to leave rates alone at least until January 2010 through additional internal budget cuts and project deferrals.

MWD's allocations on regional water agencies were agreed to last April as a way to address state-wide water shortages caused by record dry conditions in Southern California and court-ordered water pumping cutbacks from Northern California's Bay-Delta into the California Aqueduct.

You can read the EMWD's water shortage contingency plan at...

You can also learn about the tiered rate structure at...

Districting Forums Scheduled

Yesterday the City of Menifee held a workshop forum on creating city council district lines. I wasn't able to attend.

But there are two more workshops scheduled...

  • Saturday, June 27, 2009 at 10:30 a.m. – Menifee City Hall, 29714 Haun Road, Menifee, CA

  • Tuesday, June 30, 2009 at 7 p.m. – Heritage High School Theater 26001 Briggs Road, Menifee, CA

I won't be able to attend tommorrow's either. But I'll shoot for the last one.

The forum will include an informational presentation by Douglas Johnson of NDC, on the process of drawing districts. It'll then shift to audience participation, where listeners will be given forms to show their possibilities for districts, and definitions of their own community's identity.

The City also plans to announce a webinar with the consultant that will allow those who wish to hear the information presentation online. The date and sign in information for that webinar will be released later in the week.

Movies in the Park for 2009

Movies in the Park continues on this Summer at La Ladera Park with the following movies...

Thursday, June 25th, "Hotel for Dogs"
Thursday, July 9th, "Madagascar 2"
Thursday, July 23rd, "Kung Fu Panda"
Thursday, August 13th, "Star Wars, Clone Wars"
Thursday, August 27th, "Bolt"

Looks like I got the word out too late for June 25th.

Movies in the Park for 2009
Click on the flyer to see the full size.

Hemet Valley Dolphins Invites Menifee Kids

Jay Glasser, president of the Hemet Valley Dolphins swim team writes to us wanting to let Menifee families know that they're welcome to enroll their kids into their swim team program.

He has some Menifee kids on his team right now, and their parents mentioned to him that there's no public swimming pool in Menifee.

Hemet Valley Dolphins is a year round, non-profit, competitive swim club, as opposed to a "learn to swim program".

They currently use the pool at West Valley High School, on the corner of Domenigoni and Sanderson Ave.

Visit them online at:

Jesse Lee Peterson to Speak in Perris

Ted Wegener, who leads a group called "Conservative Activists" based here in Menifee, sends us the following announcement about an upcoming appearance by Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson...

Jesse Lee Peterson
Click on the flyer to see the full size.

Peterson is a conservative speaker, radio personality, and author, and will be speaking on the subject of President Obama.

The meeting is open to the public and is free.

Saturday, July 25th, 2009
3:00pm to 5:00pm
Ce'sar Chavez Library
163 East San Jacinto Avenue
Perris, CA 92570

Sun City Model Railroad Club Meets Next Month

On Tuesday, July 7 2009 at 10 AM, Members of the Sun City Model Railroad Club will meet to draw up plans to create tables/modules for the purpose of promoting model railroading and will be using these plans for demonstration at schools, senior living centers, fairs and the like.

The club has been invited to visit other model railroad clubs in Southern California, and will have their layouts ready to present to local youth.

The Sun City Model Railroad Club meets on the first Tuesday of the month at 10 A.M. in the Provident Bank Community Room located at 27010 Sun City Blvd. in Sun City, at the intersection of Sun City Blvd. and Cherry Hills Blvd.

The club adopted this location as it new meeting site in hopes of attracting model railroading enthusiasts from all over Southwest Riverside County.

Contact: Chuck Reutter, 951.679.3752 or greenchuckr@hotmail.com

Menifee Pop Warner Signups

Mike Adams of Menifee Pop Warner football sent in this flyer for signups tomorrow, Saturday, June 27, at Heritage High School, 8:00 am - 12:00 pm...

Menifee Pop Warner Signups
Click on the flyer to see the full size.

Robbery Prevention Tips for Businesses

Deputy Chris Varela of the Menifee Police Department sent us this list of robbery prevention tips for local business owners...

As the economy continues to decline more and more people may turn to supplementing their income through illegal means. A problem for most businesses has and always will be robbery. In the city of Menifee there have been approximately five incidents of robbery occurring at local business since the beginning of 2009.

Below is a list of simple prevention tips every business owner and employee should implement.

  • Greet every person who enters the business in a friendly manner. Personal contact can discourage a would-be criminal.

  • Keep windows clear of displays or signs and make sure your business is well-lighted. Check the layout of your store, eliminating any blind spots that may hide a robbery in progress.

  • Provide information about your security systems to employees only on a "need-to-know" basis. Instruct your employees to report any suspicious activity or person immediately and write down the information for future reference.

  • If it all possible install security cameras that can store video footage for more than one week. If cameras are installed have them view the entrance and exits of the location as well as the cash registers.

  • Place cash registers in the front section of the store. This increases the chances of someone spotting a robbery in progress and reporting it to the police.

  • Keep small amounts of cash in the register to reduce losses. Use a drop safe into which large bills and excess cash are dropped by employees and cannot be retrieved by them. Post signs alerting would-be robbers of this procedure.

  • Make bank deposits often and during business hours. Don't establish a pattern, take different routes at different times during the day. Ask a police officer to escort you to the bank whenever possible.

  • Ask local law enforcement what to do in case you are robbed. Make sure your address is visible so emergency vehicles can easily find your business.

  • If you or your employees are confronted by a robber, cooperate. Merchandise and cash can always be replaced—people can't!

Most robbers have already inspected the business they intend to rob. Keep a vigilant eye for returning customers who appear to be looking for security cameras, security guards or who ask a number of questions regarding common practices of employees and security.

In the event that a robbery does occur remember a good witness is the best tool Law Enforcement can use to apprehend the suspect. Do not get confrontational with the robbers. Try to remember the best description possible of the suspects: race, sex, clothing worn, any facial hair or tattoos.

How many there were, what direction they took when leaving the location, whether they left on foot or used a vehicle and if they had any weapons.
If you are a victim of a robbery or a witness dial 911 as soon as possible.

The tips provided may not completely prevent a robbery from occurring but will help in deterring criminals from attempting to rob a business.

Submitted by:
Deputy Chris Varela of the Menifee Police Department

Menifee Wildcats Win the Purestats Sports Group Tournament

Doug Otterson of the Menifee Wildcats Baseball Club reports that the team won the Purestats Sports Group baseball tournament last Sunday, June 14.

They are in the 11 and under division.

Menifee Wildcats baseball
Congrats to Brett Virgil, Andy Otterson, Ryan Hudkins, Trevor Forster, Nate Raia, Joey Lively, Noah Rosa, Connor Gillette, Brandon Castaneda, Andrew Ramos, Mario Arroyo.

Mario Arroyo was the team MVP with 3 base hits, 2 doubles and a home run. Mario's batting average for the tournament was .750.

Menifee Democratic Club Announces Formation

There's a group in Menifee forming a new Democratic Club to represent like-minded voters in the City of Menifee.

They are calling on Democrats throughout town to assemble and help the club get going.

A meeting is scheduled for Thursday, July 2, 2009 from 6:00 to 9:00pm in the Provident Bank's Community Room located at 27010 Sun City Blvd.

Leaders of other Democratic Clubs throughout the area will be in attendance, along with Brady McCarron, candidate for the Perris Union High School District.

Contact Chuck Reutter (951) 679-3752 for details.

Aldergate Dog Park Fundraiser

Jeff Ortiz, who's leading an effort to put in some improvements at Aldergate Dog Park, says he and his group have enlisted the help of Friends of Valley-Wide Foundation to get a fundraiser going.

Last May I published a report on what improvements they're seeking, and that while Valley-Wide has agreed to pay for half, Jeff and his group will have to kick in the other half.

He says they've been busy working behind the scenes with Valley-Wide to get a fresh water line and safety-gate entry area to be added to the dog park.

The safety gate is a double gate entry, that allows for dogs to enter without the risk of other dogs escaping. This gate will replace the existing gate, and will include a concrete path from the parking lot.

Below is a donation form if you'd like to help out...

aldergate dog park fundraiser
Click the form to see the full size, and print out.

Jeff notes that this fundraiser is authorized by Valley-Wide.

Menifee Independence Day Parade 2009

Marcy Riehm of Lake Menifee Women's Club wants to remind everyone of the Independence Day Parade coming up Saturday, June 27...

menifee independence day parade 2009

Click the flyer to see the full size.

Lost Dog

Melinda Segal lost her Yorkshire Terrier, "Charlie", and hopes someone can help bring him back home. He was lost yesterday morning, and did not have a collar on. He has a little black skin tag near his nose. Segal lives near Holland and Menifee Rd. Contact her at (909) 641-4118 or her husband (951) 526-4525.

yorkshire terrier

Loan Modification Seminar Scheduled for Menifee

Christina McGrath, a homeowner in Menifee whose story was covered by ProPublica, and syndicated across several other financial publications, is doing seminars on how to get a loan modification through Obama's new "Making Home Affordable" loan modification program.

Her story is that she tried to get on Obama's loan modification through Bank of America and Countrywide, but they dragged their feet, and wouldn't help her out. She managed to finally get one similar to the Obama plan by persisting and demanding, and being a "royal bitch" as McGrath put it herself.

In the end, she claims to have reduced her monthly mortgage payment from $3,735 to $2,422, going through two modifications.

So now, McGrath wants to tell other homeowners how to do it.

Her seminar is scheduled for June 26, 2009, 6:00pm to 7:00pm, at Wheatfield Park, in the "round building". Cost is $30.00. RSVP, as she only has 120 seats.

Contact McGrath at (951) 901-9742

Free Christian Rock Concert Tonight in Menifee

Well, it's more than just "rock", also ska, rap, metal, etc., all with a Christian theme...

hills youth center menifee

Districting Issue Now Being Fought by Attorneys

Anne Pica, who has led an effort to protect the results of Measure G, has hired Veljovich Law Group and The Reyzin Law Firm, of Carlsbad, CA to represent herself and other members of the community in preventing the Menifee City Council from throwing out Measure G.

Measure G was the ballot initiative of June 2008 to determine city council members should be elected at large, or by district. By district won by a slim margin.

Anne Pica contends that forcing a special election, that could potentially overthrow Measure G, is illegal.

City Attorney Elizabeth Martyn responded back to Anne with a letter dated May 13, 2009, that such a special election is legal.

Attorneys for Anne Pica then responded with a letter of their own, dated June 12, 2009, disputing Martyn's explanation, and reinforcing Anne's argument that it's actually illegal.

Anne's original arguments to the City hinged on two points, that California law prevents cities from overturning public vote (in this case Measure G) on matters relating to city council member election processes, and that an at-large voting arrangement is actually a violation of California's voter rights act, based on a disproportionate share of "protected class" residents in Menifee (seniors).

Martyn responded in her letter of May 13, that...
California Government Code 34871 deals with putting the issue of district voting before the electorate; read with the final paragraph of Section 34884 the statute provides a method for a special election at which various forms of district voting as well as at-large voting may be considered.
However, as pointed out by Anne's attorneys, 34884 allows a city to put forth a special election to redecide city council districts. 34871 limits such a revote to just different types of districts, it doesn't allow cities to offer a revote on at-large.

To get around this, Martyn explained there's another law, California Elections Code 9222, which allows cities to place a measure on the ballot to change existing city ordinances...
California Elections Code Section 9222, which is within the California Election Code Sections referred to in Government Code 34871, provides authority for a special election on the enactment of an ordinance, such as that for district voting.
Theoretically, the City would use this law to justify a special election that could overturn Measure G, and effect at-large voting.

But Anne's attorneys explained that 9222 does not give cities authority to create a special election that would overturn a vote of the people. That is, it limits such special elections to address ordinances enacted by council. It does not allow cities to circumvent ordinances decided by public vote. Measure G was a vote of the people.

The part about violating the state's voter rights act was not addressed by Anne's attorneys so I'm assuming there's no argument there. Anne was arguing that the high volume of seniors living in Menifee could be defined as a "protected class", whose representation could be underserved with an at-large council election. However, Martyn explained that the state's voter rights act doesn't recognize seniors as being a protected class.

At this point, it's all just letter writing, and there are no lawsuits.

The next city council meeting has penciled in Douglas Johnson, who is with National Demographics Corporation. That's the company the city hired to study the issue of governance. The same company was also hired by Wildomar, and Johnson is working with them too on the very same issue. From what I've learned about Johnson, he's had experience with cities trying to overturn districts in favor of at-large.

It'll be interesting to hear what he has to say.

Father's Day Camp Out - June 20-21, 2009

The Riverside County EDA is hosting a "Father's Day Camp Out" at La Ladera Park. Kids and their dads will be pitching tents at the park, enjoying BBQ, campfire, games, and continental breakfast.

$10.00 per adult, $5.00 per child.

Get in for free if you're among the first 50 campers.

Click on the flyer below to see it in full size...

father's day camp out la ladera park menifee

Menifee News & Notes, June 8, 2009

Economy - Menifee resident Dan Denton and his wife were featured in the Los Angeles Times yesterday, unfortunately not under good circumstances (link)...
Their Menifee, Calif., home plunged $250,000 in value. The couple are preparing to move into a trailer and are living on less than $1,000 a month in unemployment benefits.
Maybe the city council ought to build trailer parks, instead of new homes.

menifee parrot clubParrot Club - There's a new parrot club in Menifee. The "Beak Squad" is a not for profit club dedicated to parrot education. They meet monthly and discuss topics of interest regarding the health, safety and the well being of companion parrots.

They have a special guest speaker for this month's meeting on June 20, at 4:00pm, and are hoping to gain a few more members. Contact them through their website at: http://www.thebeaksquad.com/

Where's the Wi-Fi?- I stopped in at Bob's Pitstop around 4:30pm today to use their Wi-Fi. I remembered they had free Wi-Fi. But it wouldn't work. It looks like their router is working, but it must be their modem is either off, or needs a reboot. The bartender was going to call her boss to get it fixed, but I left after 10 minutes.

So I went to Starbucks instead, but discovered they don't carry T-Mobile Wi-Fi, or at least I couldn't pick up that signal. Rather, they have AT&T. I have a subscription to T-Mobile Wi-Fi, and every other Starbucks I've been to has T-Mobile. AT&T says I can get 2-hours of free Wi-Fi per day, provided I buy a Starbucks card. Forget it!

Menifee News & Notes, June 4, 2009

Menifee ASA Fundraiser - Last Saturday May 30th, the All Stars from Menifee ASA Girls Softball held a car wash and bake sale fundraiser at the Chevron Gas Station at the corner of Murrieta and Newport from 7:00AM to 7:00PM, and raised money to buy uniforms and pay tournament entry fees for the All Star Tournment this summer...

The girls sold a variety of donated baked goods and received donations for drying cars as they left the carwash . The gas station also donated a percentage of each car wash sold to the league. The teams begin All Star competition this weekend as they travel to Moreno Valley for a tournament.

Grace Bible Church - Pastor Eric True says that starting Sunday, June 14, Grace Bible Church of Menifee is meeting at Mt. San Jacinto College, in the auditorium in the Business and Technology Center (900 Building). Sunday services begin at 10:30 AM in the auditorium in the Business and Technology Center (900 Building).

For more information, contact 951-809-3194 or visit www.graceofmenifee.com.

Daniel Osborne - Tim Lovegrove, also of Grace Bible Church, says Daniel Osborne, who lives in Menifee Lakes, was selected to join the roster of USA Team Handball, as they compete in Germany this week. He plays right wing. Daniel will help the team at the 2009 Club National Championships in Timmendorfer Strand, Germany. They'll be facing off against teams from Luxembourg, Ireland and Bad Schwartau of the Bundesliga Second Division.

Daniel wearing green, on right.

Sport Chalet - Sport Chalet in Menifee is hiring for "Apparel Department Head". Click here for details.

Menifee News & Notes - June 3, 2009

The SW Riverside County chapter of the NAACP, which covers Menifee, is holding its "Juneteenth 2009" celebration on June 20th, from 11:00am to 4:00pm, at Yarborough Park, 419 Poe St, in Lake Elsinore. They'll have games, vendors, food, raffles, and music. They're offering a BBQ chicken dinner for $8.00. Contact Barbara Anderson (951) 674-7096, or Mary Venerable (951) 443-4551 for info.

Babydollz Lingerie Boutique in Temecula has set up a display of lingerie inside Menifee Valley Athletic Club. You can get a free panty with a qualified purchase of a spa treatment at the club. See photo...

The Californian reports that Menifee Union School District received $2.14 million in federal stimulus money. See article...

Las Vegas Review Journal says that Menifee resident, Jim Murtishaw, rolled a 289 on his way to a 1,416 six-game pinfall to lead after the first round of qualifying in the PBA Senior U.S. Open. See article...

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.

Quail Hill - New Development

This evening's city council meeting included a workshop session to hear details on Quail Hill, a residential development of 152 single family homes located in Quail Valley.

It was named "Quail Hill" after a hill in Quail Valley. I'm not sure if that's the actual name of the hill, in fact I heard the developer say that they weren't aware of any existing names for the hill, and just opted to call it Quail Hill.

Here's where it's located...

Quail Hill, Menifee topomap

Here's the project map of the development...

quail hill

The project map has south at the left, while north is at the right. Goetz Rd runs along the bottom of the map, and Palm Drive runs along the top.

The entire development consists of 65 acres. Approximately 20 lots will be sized at over 10,000 sq ft, while the average lot size is set at 8,800 sq ft.

The center piece of the development is Quail Hill itself, which will continue as open space, at 18.9 acres. That's depicted on the map in the center-right

This hill currently has trails which the developer will improve. They'll also plant some landscaping and some trees. At the top of the hill will be a "viewing area", consisting of seating, more landscaping, and maybe a gazebo, and will likely be a favorite spot for evening teen gatherings.

Water will be supplied by existing lines running along Goetz Rd, while they'll be tapping into sewer lines that stretch from the Canyon Heights development. The developer said they'll be adding another pumping station.

They'll also be improving the water drainage in this area, with the developer saying it'll be sufficient enough to handle any kind of rain runoff. They went on to say that building this development will eliminate some 50 acres of fire hazard.

The owner of this land, Warren Repke, has owned it for 18 years, and has had the plans for this development in the county system since 2004. Originally, he had it at 179 residential lots, but has since taken it down to 152. He said that in 2006 he had a public hearing on this, of which a handful of people showed up, but yet all gave him support.

Fred Twyman responded that he thinks the water runoff improvements will be a welcome addition to Quail Valley, and felt the development will add a lot of "nice things" to the look of the community.

Scott Mann said he was concerned about the size and capability of the sewage pumping station.

The presentation this evening was not get a vote from the city council, but just to familiarize the public with the project. Eventually, the developer will seek a zoning change from "R3" to "R1".