Menifee City Council Puts Its Council Member Appointment Process To Test

Sue Kristjansson interviewed by city council The Menifee City Council made history this evening when...

Sue Kristjansson interviewed by city council
The Menifee City Council made history this evening when it became one more in a short list of California cities to appoint a new council member to fill a vacant seat.

Eleven nominees were initially chosen from a field of a 22 to undergo a series of questioning to determine which one would eventually be sworn in to replace the late Fred Twyman. That number was taken down to ten when one of the eleven, Lori Stone, withdrew her name from consideration.

One by one, a nominee was randomly called up to present their speech, and then endure questions from council members.

"What inspired you to apply for this position", Darcy Kuenzi asked of Charles Heintz, a Quail Valley resident and employee at the City of Hemet. "I thought it would be an unique experience", Heintz answered. "I never thought I would ever have an opportunity to do this, but I thought it would be fun."

Matt Liesemeyer, who currently sits on the city's Planning Commission, was asked by councilman Fuhrman, "Tell me how you would cut $4 million out of the city's budget?" To which Liesemeyer answered, "I'd want to see the books. Where we're spending money, what things can be cut. Wildomar took their police department from 72 man hours to 40 hours a day."

But the question that seemed to come up the most was to explain one's position of medical marijuana dispensaries. Five of the nominees were asked, and each had answers varying between not supporting them, supporting them, or supporting them with limitations.

The medical marijuana issue perhaps had significance due to councilman Fuhrman earlier in the year voting against a ban on dispensaries in the city, though he was out voted by Twyman, Denver, and Kuenzi. Fuhrman holds a permit to purchase medical marijuana.

Mayor Edgerton asked a rather difficult question to Chad Warren, a geologist with Pacific Aggregates, Inc., a company that mines and pulverizes rock into ready mix concrete. Edgerton made reference to Liberty Quarry, and that particulate matter from the Quarry is carried by the wind and settles in places like Menifee. Then he made reference to his own lung cancer, and asked Warren if the revenue generated from quarries is worth the risk it might cause to peoples' health. Warren could only answer that his company meets all health and safety codes.

Protests from vocal Sun City residents were largely absent, though many of them attended the interviews. Only Ruth Goulet presented a comment against the process.

Otherwise it took the council three and a half hours to arrive at a decision, and when the dust was cleared, Sue Kristjansson emerged the winner, just narrowly beating out Darci Castillejos.

Sue Kristjansson sworn in as the newest city council member

The voting came out as follows:

Fuhrman: Kristjansson (3 points), Schnoor (2 points), Miller (1 point)
Denver: Castillejos (3), Liesemeyer (2), Kristjansson (1)
Kuenzi: Castillejos (3), Wegener (2), Warren (1)
Edgerton: Kristjansson (3), Thomas (2), Irey (1)

Kristjansson beat out Castillejos seven points to six, and was immediately sworn in, then immediately took her seat on the dias. Then just as immediately, the council session was adjourned.

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