An Open Letter to the Public by Menifee Mayor Scott Mann

Menifee Mayor Scott Mann today released this open letter to the public:

Dear Menifee Residents,

I reach out to you today with a heavy heart and a simple message … Thank you!

The strength of the fabric of a community and the mettle of its people is never truly tested until such an event as the disappearance of a child occurs.

In a time of crisis, we came together like never before in an outpouring of love, hope, endurance, and now grief with the news of Terry Smith Jr.’s disappearance and tragic outcome.

This is a bittersweet message because we lost a young member of our community who will be celebrated and forever remembered.

But this horrible tragedy showed a side of our community that makes me proud to call Menifee home and to serve as your mayor. More than 1,200 Menifee residents and members from surrounding communities volunteered their time and energy in severe weather conditions to tirelessly search for Terry over a four-day period.

To people like Bill Gillette and Tom Fuhrman, whose team organized and led the volunteer search efforts from a make-shift command post at the Menifee Market, and Pastor Jim Edwards and his team from Revival Church who organized a deeply personal and heartfelt vigil on Wednesday evening … Thank you!

To the numerous Menifee businesses that donated resources and supplies to aid in the search and many good Samaritans who brought food, water, hope and love to the hot and tired people searching for Terry… Thank you!

To the men and women of the Menifee Police and Fire Departments – there are no words to describe your tenacious focus in bringing closure to this tragic event in our lives. We are honored and proud to have you protect and serve all of us … Thank you!

Menifee certainly did not tackle this alone. We had the well trained operational support of public safety and search and rescue professionals throughout Southern California. Teams from Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego counties and multiple cities within those jurisdictions came to aid in the search effort. We also received support from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and the California Office of Emergency Services. Thanks to each and every one of you fine professionals!

To the Citizen Emergency Response Teams from Menifee, Canyon Lake, Moreno Valley, Riverside, Temecula, Wildomar and units from the Pass Area … Thank you!

Thanks are also in order to the Riverside Amateur Civil Emergency Services (R.A.C.E.S), the Lake Elsinore, Menifee and Perris Explorers the Trauma Intervention Program of Southwest Riverside County and the American Red Cross.

I would also like to thank the members of all media outlets in covering this unfolding story. Your professional conduct in reporting the news while respecting the sensitivity of the different stages of this tragedy was truly appreciated.

And finally, to the dedicated efforts of Menifee city staff members Rob Johnson, Allen Yun, Colin McNie, Wayne O’Gara, Rudy Luna and the PV Maintenance crews -- you were hustling all week to support this monumental effort as well … Thank you!

It has been a difficult week for our city. While a national audience was watching, Menifee’s true pioneer spirit shined brightly and redefined the meaning of the word ‘community’. You demonstrated to the world who ‘Menifee’ truly is. On behalf of a grateful city and my colleagues on the city council … Thank you and God bless!

Scott A. Mann
Mayor, City of Menifee







24 Comments:

  1. I agree with Scott when he wrote the world is watching the people of Menifee come together because these volunteers were working hard to find Terry. Also, the actions by our volunteers have made us very proud.

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  2. Mayor Mann, I am honored to be able to call you my mayor. You have shown this town that you are a mayor who truly cares about the people of this city. I have always know you were a good man from way back in the day when your daughter and I were best friends in middle school. The way you quoted scripture in a live press conference impressed us all, and we are all proud that you are our mayor. Thank you for your dedication. Ashleigh

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    1. I was blown away when I heard Mayor Mann quoting scripture in a press conference! Just something you don't hear very often and I am so impressed that he said what was in his heart and was true to his convictions!!

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    2. Wish he had known what he was quoting and had sounded sincere.

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  3. Thank u and god bless our community. Everyone did an awesome job.

    R.I.P JUJU FLY WITH THE ANGELS

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  4. And a HUGE thank you to "Lilly's House." Though I couldn't physically be there with you, I know you ladies and gentlemen searched tirelessly around the clock. It's an honor to have found the group.

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  5. Thank you for acknowledging the hard work that the people of the Inland Empire put forth in order to find a missing child. I wish, however, that your thank yous were toned down due to the emotion I am sure you were trying to convey.

    "Thank you!" (with exclamation point) seems too happy for the tragic circumstance. It is too bouncy. I know it is a bit too late to change this, but I wish you could. Thank you.

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    1. what a very strange response. Thank you with an exclamation point is perfectly appropriate to convey heartfelt gratitude. It does not mean "happy...hey everything is rosy!" It is just stressing THANK YOU ..... !!

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    2. A million thanks to all the people who spent countless hours searching through some rugged terrain in horrible heat. Thank you also to everyone that donated supplies, handed out food and manned the search tents. You all did an incredible job. Hope the truth is all brought to light. This story has not ended yet.

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  6. I am very proud of our city being one of the few who was born and raised here 56 years ago. Thank you to all who helped and did their part. Sharon Johnson

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  7. Beautifully stated.

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  8. Well said, and thank you for leading this city as this terrible tragedy unfolded. My hope is that we showed the world what can be done when a child disappears.

    While the outcome wasn't what we all hoped for, lets keep Terrys memory alive. The passion, faith and goodwill of our people will always be a beacon of light for others to follow.

    I have never been so proud to say "I live in Menifee".

    Rest in Peace, Juju.

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  9. I agree, your town did an amazing job and showed amazing support. I am saddened by the outcome, but the way you all came together deserves respect.

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  10. Where was our mayor when hundreds of people were walking fields, driving dirt roads, taking to everyone they saw in hopes of finding this dear child? Did anyone see sweat on his brow as people walked endless hours in 100+ degree heat for days? He was only seen when the cameras were rolling, under a shade canopy with not one ounce of sincerity in his speech. Mayor Mann was worried about the image of this city and how would new development want to come to town with this tragedy at our doorstep. Mayor Mann doesn't want to be out with the ordinary people but wants to present a face on camera for the public. I'm embarrassed to say I live in a town with such a leader. I think I can rest assured this won't get published as he has a hand in what is printed also.

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    1. It does seem he has an affinity for cameras, microphones and bloviating!!

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    2. When I see our President on the front lines with our troops, then I will complain about politicians not physically participating.

      We have over 80,000 people in Menifee. Did they all participate? I didn't walk the grounds. I drove around. Does that mean I didn't care enough for a missing child?

      This was a "thank you", not a "look what I personally did." I am personally proud of the community as a whole.

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    3. Mayor Scott MannJuly 13, 2013 11:13 AM

      Thank you for all of your kind words. They are very encouraging to me.

      To the 'Anonymous Poster' of July 12, 2013, 10:31 pm - I'm challenging your statements because you don't understand what the role of the mayor is during a crisis situation such as this.

      As mayor, I am Chairman of the Disaster Council. That means that I am part of the incident command element and my role is not to be in the field. My role is one of leadership and helping to exercise command and control over the situation. Councilman Fuhrman did exactly what he should have done... help lead and organize the volunteers. Councilman August also participated in the effort. City Staff did exactly what they were supposed to do... support the Incident Command Post and those in charge of the public safety search. Everyone did what they were supposed to do in accordance with how all of us were trained under the Incident Command System.

      That also includes dealing with the press. Yes, as mayor, that too is my responsibility in a situation such as this and I take it very seriously. My concern was not about the image of the city. My concern was to help the community begin the healing process in the wake of tragic and devasting news. People grieve in different ways, but all go through most of the stages of the grieving process.

      As mayor, it was my solemn duty to do what I did and say what I said. I'm sorry you dont' agree, but it is your right to disagree and say what you feel.

      In this case, you just happen to be very wrong.

      Sincerely,

      Scott A. Mann
      Mayor, City of Menifee

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    4. Mayor, City of Menifee Scott A. Mann:
      You need to get a new P.R. agent, the one you have now is a rank amateur.
      It was totally inappropriate, as the Mayor, for you to comment or challenge a statement in this type of forum. It only emphasizes what many citizens perceive you to be: A bloviating, publicity seeking wannabe celebrity.

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    5. Talk about inapproriate comments, I think you need to get a life. What was your part in this tragedy? Oh I know, sitting on your backside criticizing the Mayor and staff and others that did a tremendous job during this tragedy. Once a miserable critic always a miserable critic that does nothing but complain. I feel sorry for you and I feel sorry that I even took the time to reply to such an ignorant individual. My you must have a very unhappy life!!

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    6. Painfully obvious what the Mayor was doing.

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    7. Painfully obvious what you are trying to do Slander our Mayor and Council Members. Why are you so focused on slander instead of joining the Mayor and the Council and the people of Menifee to assist in the search for JuJu. You have such hatred in your heart that I am compelled to pray for you. Or perhaps you should pray for yourself for forgiveness.

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    8. Given your association to the Mayor, I can certainly understand the difficulty you have objectively viewing his public demeanor. Hate ? no. Disdain, lack of respect? Absolutely . Of all the adjectives that could be used to describe the Mayor “pompous” heads the list.

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    9. While I appreciate your benevolence and sage advice, it would be better directed to the Mayor. He can use all the help he can get.

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  11. A man generally has two reasons for doing a thing. One that sounds good, and a real one. ~J. Pierpoint Morgan

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