Financial advisor and local businessman Ken Wilhoite has announced his intention to run for Mayor of Menifee in the November election.
Wilhoite, a five-year resident of Menifee, has been outspoken at recent City Council meetings about the need to restructure some of the city's ordinances and fees. He also believes a more organized approach to the city's challenges would eliminate what he calls unnecessary bickering among council members.
"Menifee has made a lot of progress in its five years of cityhood," Wilhoite said. "I don’t want to minimize that. I just think we can do better. And I see a lot of instances on the city council where the input of a good financial person would really help to solidify the city’s position with the new ordinances.
"Secondly, I want to get away from the political routine of having a solution in search of a problem. I think it’s important to identify problems in context and then formulate a solution to those problems. Frankly, I don’t see that happening. I see a lot of bickering and back-biting over solutions to things where it’s not apparent a problem exists."
As examples, Wilhoite points to city ordinances he says unfairly target longtime small business owners with violations and fees that don't fit Menifee's situation in many cases.
"The city’s business licensing ordinance doesn’t really fit the dynamics of Menifee as a city," he said. "I see the arguments over the container ordinance, where apparently the Planning Commission and City Council are at odds. I see a number of things where the city is not working together in a unified manner. I’d like to get in and change that."
Wilhoite has witnessed complaints by residents both in and outside city council meetings regarding fees they believe are too high, and ordinances that are unfairly applied to them. The challenge of maintaining ordinances in a city that combines development and rural land use is one he believes he can better address than the current council members.
"There’s a lot of unrest in home businesses, particularly in the rural areas," he said. "I see a tendency to make business owners pay for improvements where the person who owns the property right now is paying for improvements that will benefit someone else for the next 75 years or so.
"I think the city fee structure that’s based on what I would call 'full-cost accounting' is probably not fair and not the right way to go. I don’t think other cities do it that way."
Wilhoite is a QuickBooks Pro advisor and previously worked as a CPA. His and his wife Dore are involved in many local activities. He is a member of the Menifee Valley Chamber of Commerce and is involved in the TEAM business networking group.
"I’ve had 30 years experience in a corporate environment, and I don’t think a corporation is that different from a city, in the sense everybody has to act in concert, have the same goals and move forward," he said.