|A school bus and other vehicles try to travel safely across a flooded stretch of Holland Road on Tuesday.|
John F. Smith, who withdrew from the race for Menifee mayor prior to the election, is coordinating the formation of Menifee Citizens for Honest Government, which he says has about 100 members so far. In a press release sent to Menifee 24/7, Smith claims that city officials continue to ignore and lie to residents about promised improvements within the city.
The primary focus of the group at this time is the condition of a stretch of Holland Road west of Murrieta Road. A 1,200-foot, hilly and narrow stretch of dirt road has for years been considered a safety hazard and has become a hot topic since the opening of Herk Bouris Elementary School last August.
Such was the case on Tuesday, as cars and buses slowly maneuvered around potholes and through bodies of muddy water close to a foot deep. As a reporter took photos and watched the flow of traffic Tuesday afternoon when school let out, several impatient drivers created an even more unsafe situation by speeding around the slower vehicles.
Smith, who lives in the neighborhood and has a daughter attending Herk Bouris, is frustrated that the city's promise to pave that stretch of road has not been carried out. Nearly three months ago, the city announced in a news release that it had solved a complex legal issue concerning private portions of the road and would work with Lake Elsinore officials and developer Pardee Homes to get the road paved.
"Pardee Homes has the equipment staged right there," Smith said. "They told us the paving was slated for mid-November. We keep getting excuses."
Smith said that during a recent rainstorm, his wife's vehicle stalled in the flooded low point of the dirt road. In trying to maneuver out of the hazard, she blew a tire. Smith had to have the car towed out.
Rob Johnson, interim city manager, said the plan to work in conjunction with Lake Elsinore to get the road paved remains a priority. The work has been delayed, he said, because of changes of city staff members in both cities and recent rainstorms.
"A week and a half ago, we bladed the road in preparation for making the improvements," Johnson said, referring to a process of smoothing out the potholes. "Then it started pouring. We may have to put down some gravel to fill in the holes until we can get the weather we need to do the paving."
According to Smith, all this should've been done long ago, before the rains came.
"I'm just grateful nobody has been killed there lately, but it's bound to happen," he said. "I campaigned for changes, but even this new council is blowing smoke. We're fed up."
TEXT OF PRESS RELEASE FROM MENIFEE CITIZENS FOR HONEST GOVERNMENT:
Citizens of Menifee, this is a call to action!
The safety of our children has been compromised for far too long, as a result of the City’s failure to act on the severe hazardous conditions on Holland Road that we have had to endure for years. This chronic failure is a blatant disregard for the safety of our citizens. Our elected officials collectively and individually swore an Oath To Protect And Serve All the Citizens Of Menifee but continue to fall short on this obligation.
We have been told for over four years that Holland Road would be paved. Given interim date after date and yet, we still have no paved road. Many of us received notices in June 2012 that our child would have to attend Herk Bouris Elementary in Lake Elsinore. As we know, Holland Road is the most efficient route to access Herk Bouris and Lake Elsinore and it is not realistic to take Newport Road through Canyon Lake in order to arrive at Herk Bouris.
We began to inundate the City and school district regarding our concerns traveling this dangerous road. We were granted a public forum in order to address our grievances and were assured Holland Road would be paved prior to school opening. This too has proven to be a blatant lie.
During the 2012 Mayoral race, candidates stated this was a serious safety issue and approval to pave Holland Road had been reached and was slated for mid November. Once again, another deceitful lie by desperate, unethical politicians willing to compromise integrity in order to manipulate your vote!
Holland Road has claimed lives in the past. How many more must die before this city will act? Ask yourself:
Do you value the lives of your children?
Have you sustained damages to your vehicle over the past four years?
Are you tired of being lied to by city officials?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, We, The Menifee Citizens For Honest
Government, urge you to contact John F Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or 951-609-5841.
UNITED WE STAND, DIVIDED WE FALL