When Elected Officials Fail There Is Always The Oversight Committee, Maybe

With no codes, laws, regulations or rules governing local oversight committees, the city council will determine the composition and duties of the Wildomar parks oversight committee.

With the passage of Measure Z -- “Save Wildomar Community Parks Funding Measure” -- by 68.59 percent of the vote, Wildomar will once again try to have parks. Included in this measure was the inclusion of an oversight committee found in Title 3 “Revenue and Finance” of the Wildomar Municipal Code Chapter 3.18.

Section 3.18.060 Oversight Committee: By no later than March 1, 2013, the City Council shall establish a Wildomar Community Parks Funding Measure Citizens’s Oversight Advisory Committee to advise the City Council regarding the collection and expenditure of tax revenues collected under the authority of this chapter. The Committee shall consist of at least five members, who shall be residents of the City. The terms of the Committee members and their specific duties shall be established by resolution of the City Council

Therein lies the problem. With no codes, laws, regulations or rules governing local oversight committees, the city council will determine the composition and duties of this committee. The same elected representatives whose failure led to the need for an oversight committee will select who will be on this committee and what their oversight duties will be.

One can only hope the city council will follow the guidelines established by the State of California when the voters required “Citizens Oversight” in regards to education bonds.

EDUCATION CODE SECTION 15278 (b) The purpose of the citizens' oversight committee shall be to inform the public concerning the expenditure of bond revenues. The citizens' oversight committee shall actively review and report on the proper expenditure of taxpayers' money.

While reading several newspaper articles about Measure Z’s passage, one cannot help but notice the comments. (Example: Southwest Riverside News Network 11-29-12 -- “City officials are preparing to organize a parks committee that will start working on future events and plans for the cities three parks.")

This is putting the cart before the horse so to speak because without the oversight committee in place all the work of the parks committee could be ruled invalid by the Citizens Oversight Committee, unless of course the two committees are one in the same.

With the city council’s decision that the Oversight Committee shall consist of only five members, and the likelihood that two of those will be council members (the same people that decided to spend $58,500 polling and educating the voter) and at least one by a pro-park person, there is little chance that the community at large will be fairly represented as this leaves only two seats to be filled by the senior community, families not involved in organized sports, single homeowners, teenagers, dog owners, etc. This Oversight Committee has every chance of becoming a rubber stamp committee.

Oversight Committee’s are necessary to overcome some of the functional problems of conventional representative democracy, which is widely subject to manipulation by special interests and a division between professional policymakers (politicians and lobbyists) vs. a largely passive, uninvolved and often uninformed electorate.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Markus December 10, 2012 at 09:54 AM
Sheryl, Then why did you and the rest of the "City Startup" folks all screw the pooch so badly on the DIF fees when the city could have made a bundle and none of these issues would have been concerns?
Ken Mayes December 10, 2012 at 03:25 PM
Marcus I personally do not believe that all the blame can be laid on the city council. Much of the problem belongs to the county dating back to the mid 1980's when developers figured out how to build projects that escaped Developer Impact Fees which at that time were much to low. The current proposal to increase developer fees would only bring Wildomar's fees inline with all the other cities in the region and. Currently Wildomars' fees are the lowest of the valley and yet nobody is building. Wildomar City Council is responsible for some very unwise spending habits such as locating City Hall in a building costing 10K a month for a couple of full time employees, animal adoption services along with minimum control costing around 36K a month for which animal owners reimburse the city a little less than 7K a month thru fees and fines. According to the grand jury there are also questions as to the hiring practices of contractor's which the city has given some pretty weak explanations for. The citizens of Wildomar have a choice keep the fire to the city council's feet or allow them to run free straight into bankruptcy.
Markus December 10, 2012 at 04:13 PM
Ken, you are saying that the Dif Fees lost were on the County then not the council? Being rather new to the city (6 years) I was not aware of that problem at all. The Council is still trying to follow an unreasonable general plan. The problem seems to be to big to turn around from the numbers. I don't want to be really negative but I am really seeing a grim picture for the city financially going forward.
Ken Mayes December 10, 2012 at 05:59 PM
The problems are big and the city council has managed to exacerbate the problem by trying to be like every other city rather than being Wildomar. Wildomar is an extremely eclectic city with a very diverse group of areas and corridors yet the council insist on concentrating all their efforts and jamming everything into a small area near the freeway while the rest of the city is forgotten for the most part. Your not being aware of the problems are not unique, most people try to elect a city council to represent their views because they just don't have the time to be involved in the day to day operations of the city but once these people are elected the cease to communicate with the community (facebook is not communicating).
Martha L. Bridges December 10, 2012 at 06:09 PM
Wildomar already has a Parks Planning Sub-Committee. It was established long ago and because it’s an ad hoc committee, it meets on a very irregular basis, does not publish meeting dates and doesn’t keep or published meeting minutes. Therein is the root of many problems and concerns. This sub-committee acts at will in planning events, recommending expenditures, appointing council members’ cronies to manage our parks, and selecting contractors for park maintenance without a RFP process and the evaluation of competitive bids - all done pretty much behind closed doors. These practices have been the basis of two Riverside Grand Jury investigations and complaints, yet the city has more or less ignored thecomplaints. They have made no effort to correct the problems identified in the reports. This is why Measure “Z” called for establishing a Parks Oversight Committee. Having council members on an oversight committee is much like sheltering wolves in the hen house, but with greater possibilities for deceit and destruction. With a potential annual budget of $350,000.00 this part of Wildomar’s business needs true citizen oversight. Our council has often acted without concern for what is legal – disregarding the policies and ordinances they voted to put in place. And before all my critics go haywire, I'm not suggesting I be a member of this oversight committee. I am content with doing my oversight of the city's business as an individual, independent citizen.
Ken Mayes December 10, 2012 at 08:38 PM
Speaking of the grand jury response the city maintains it received 14 bids for services and yet only produced 7 names one of which was Riverside County who I have been unable to find any case in which they provide contracted services to any city parks and the numbers given were the amounts the county was allocating for these services when the parks belonged to the county. The two largest contracts which required written bids failed to produce any names in the grand jury response. A search of the cities website and the internet turns up Request for Proposals (RFP) for Traffic Signal Maintenance and Public Works contracts nothing for Parks. As to council members serving on a CITIZENS OVERSIGHT committee being as they have a financial interest (their jobs) in the expenditure of this earmarked money they should be required to stand aside.
One Voice December 11, 2012 at 10:42 PM
I am just curious why Martha opens blogs that no one can comment on but then she comments all over someone else's regarding the same subject as her blog??? Very confusing!!
Constant Comment December 12, 2012 at 02:50 AM
It's the same reason as all those bratty little kids that you see in the grocery store! She has to have her say, stomp her foot and run away, feeling like she really accomplished something. Sad really. }~)
Ken Mayes December 12, 2012 at 02:58 AM
If you have been on the Patch for any length of time it's not hard to figure out why she would close her blogs to comments, one can only be slammed by rude commentary for so long before they have to erect a shield.
The Teller of Truth December 12, 2012 at 03:04 AM
...but Ken, you're forgetting that she already lives in her own little bubble world!
One Voice December 12, 2012 at 03:04 AM
LER get over yourself, the more you speak the more you sound like Chris Hyland, try to bring something worthy to the conversation, you really are embarrassing yourself.
One Voice December 12, 2012 at 03:06 AM
Oh I see Ken, but it's alright for her to close her blog to keep from being slammed by commenters, but it's Ok for her to go slam everyone else on someone elses blog, you can't be serious.
Ken Mayes December 12, 2012 at 06:35 AM
one voice You can always flag her comments and if the Patch decides its a slam they will ban her.
Constant Comment December 12, 2012 at 07:46 AM
Not true! }~)
Martha L. Bridges December 12, 2012 at 01:41 PM
I rarely slam any individuals although I am often critical of elected and appointed government and quasi governmental groups. One Voice, you can feel free to flag my comments. However, it might be more effective for you to simply not read my comments or blogs. Whatever makes you more comfortable... In the meantime, I take heart in the fact that thousands of voters agreed with me about both the votes on Measure "D" and Measure "Z", and often relay their encouragement for me to continue my efforts.
Markus December 12, 2012 at 07:02 PM
you mean the minority right?
Constant Comment December 12, 2012 at 09:47 PM
Marfa, let me make some corrections for you. You ALWAYS slam individuals. You are nothing but critical, of everyone! Thousands of voters agreed with you? Are you counting the ones that didn't vote? Thousands of voters do not "often relay their encouragement for you to continue your efforts". You are delusional if you believe that. You must live in a fantasy world! }~)
One Voice December 12, 2012 at 10:40 PM
Well Martha thank you so much for your direction, I really don't know what I would of done without your clarification, unfortunately it is a bit difficult for me to "simply not read your comments or blogs" when you seem to be everywhere. As for encouragement on measure "Z", you were opposed to this passing and took great measures to let others know your feelings and tried to persuade them to your side, unfortunately this measure did pass by the majority so I'm confused as to where those voters seeking encouragement is coming from or where you are directing it for those thousand of voters?
The Teller of Truth December 12, 2012 at 11:24 PM
@One Voice, I think you should come down to the Wildomar City Council meeting tonight at 5:30 & meet Marfa in person. That way perhaps she can clear up any questions you might have in regards to where she is coming from & what she is up to. In the meantime, you might find this humorous: "According to the City of Wildomar agenda for the next Wildomar City Council meeting, set for December 12, the city council will be going into closed session to discuss a lawsuit recently filed by Ms. Bridges, asking for the Court to enforce the California State Constitution, by restoring the election process for electing it’s city council back to the original “vote by district” concept, voted on and approved by a majority of Wildomar citizens in 2008, even as they approved cityhood. According to the lawsuit, the City of Wildomar was not lawfully permitted to seek to overturn the original “vote by district” ordinance in favor of a subsequent and illegal ordinance, which was approved after a Special Election in 2009, overturning the election results of the original vote. Again, according to the lawsuit, the subsequent and illegal vote and ordinance was “unconstitutional.” Rather than seeking to overturn any particular election since 2008, which would be disruptive, the lawsuit asks for a specific solution of returning to a “vote by district” for the next election in 2014, when three City Council members (Benoit, Walker and Swanson) are up for re-election."
The Teller of Truth December 12, 2012 at 11:40 PM
CITY OF WILDOMAR CITY COUNCIL 5:30 P.M. – CLOSED SESSION 6:30 P.M. – REGULAR MEETING DECEMBER 12, 2012 Council Chambers 23873 Clinton Keith Road Ben Benoit, Mayor/Chairman Bridgette Moore, Council Member-Elect/Trustee City Manager/General Manager City Attorney/District Counsel MEETING AGENDA ORDER OF BUSINESS: Public sessions of all regular meetings of the City Council begin at 6:30 p.m. Closed Sessions begin at 5:30 p.m. REPORTS: All agenda items and reports are available for review at: Wildomar City Hall, 23873 Clinton Keith Road; Mission Trail Library, 34303 Mission Trail Blvd.; and on the City’s website, www.cityofwildomar.org. PUBLIC COMMENTS: Prior to the business portion of the agenda, the City Council will receive public comments regarding any items or matters within the jurisdiction of the governing body. The Mayor will separately call for testimony at the time of each public hearing. If you wish to speak, please complete a “Public Comment Card” available at the Chamber door.The time limit established for public comments is three minutes per speaker. 1. The City Council will meet in closed session to confer with legal counsel with regard to the following matter of pending litigation: Martha Bridges and John Burkett v. City of Wildomar; Riverside Superior Court Case Number 1216373. 2. The City Council will meet in closed session to confer with legal counsel with regard to one matter of potential initiation of litigation.
Constant Comment December 13, 2012 at 01:30 AM
A meet and great with Marfa? I'm afraid of them big boned women! (Plus you'd have to give me TWO bonuses and TWO cheese platters to do it!) }~)
One Voice December 13, 2012 at 01:59 AM
Thank you Teller for the information but it is the joyous season and I have Christmas shopping, wrapping and baking to do. Maybe Martha should find happiness and joy in this blessed time of the year it might just make her feel all warm and fuzzy and change her focus on happier times if only for a little while. Please keep me post tho.
Martha L. Bridges December 13, 2012 at 03:44 AM
Plagiarize: to take ideas, writings etc. from another and pass them off as one's own writings; to steal another's ideas or written work and represent it as your own without giving the original author credit. Want to read the whole article from which this comment was PLAGIARIZED by Teller of Lies? It does help to have the whole article presented rather than just choice pieces selected to make his point. Here is the link: http://wildomarmagazine.wordpress.com/ Page down to ever-so-happy smiley face and read the complete posting. P.S. Just adding the quotation marks after the first posting doesn't exonerate Teller from PLAGIARISM.
The Teller of Truth December 13, 2012 at 05:52 AM
Yes it does Marfa! Your writing is certainly getting more desperate & dumber every day. You may quote me on that! HA!
Constant Comment December 13, 2012 at 06:42 AM
Marfa, QUOTATION MARKS: Used to quote OTHERS! So you, my dear, better watch it when you try to libel other people! You wouldn't want them to start a legal action against you, now would you? It might turn out to be a Class Action! }~)
Constant Comment December 14, 2012 at 07:53 AM
....you've been watching WAY TOO MANY cartoons there bucky boy! If the people that you keep writing about, don't deserve anyones time as you say, then why do you keep writing about them? Hypocritical. And too much info on your handcuff bondage issues! No one wants to hear about that. Your time is best spent trying to be the resident tattle tale. No wonder you have no friends or responses other than bad ones. Marfa is the most disliked person in Wildomar but you two seem perfectly made for each other! }~)
michael December 14, 2012 at 12:19 PM
.......... Some people.... holy hell, although some of this stuff is funny stop adding fuel to the fire!!! As much as it kills me to say it, I do agree that the committee should be made up of pro parks people as well as anti parks people for a number of reasons. Does that mean that I would want ken, martha, or gil on the committee hell no, sorry not trying to attack you, but I think ya'lls judgment may be clouded due to your obvious and very colorful "opinions" of the city council
Gil Rasmussen December 14, 2012 at 03:17 PM
Michael; Since the Wildomar City Council finally took my sage advice (publicly offered to the City Council since October 2010) and opted for a parcel tax, rather than another Mello Roos/Communities Facilities District, which ultimately made the success of Measure Z possible, should I make application to the Citizens Oversight Committee, your "pre-disqualification" of my potential volunteer service to the community is "pre-disappointing." Fortunately, you (nor anyone else outside the city's elected officials) won't be making the final selection.
Ken Mayes December 14, 2012 at 04:01 PM
Michael As I have stated the only place a code exist for the establishment of an oversight committee is in the California Education Code. EDUCATION CODE SECTION 15278 (b) The purpose of the citizens' oversight committee shall be to inform the public concerning the expenditure of bond revenues. The citizens' oversight committee shall actively review and report on the proper expenditure of taxpayers' money. If the city council should happen to follow the example set forth in the education code then it will not matter whether a person is pro parks or, I guess against parks, I have never stated that I am against parks only against the way the city has chosen to fund them. The only thing that will matter in the selection process is a willingness to serve. Therefore after establishing the duties of the oversight committee the city council needs to put out the word that volunteers are needed to serve on this committee and applications are being taken. If more than the five seats are applied for then the selection should be by lottery. Oversight Committee’s are necessary to overcome some of the functional problems of conventional representative democracy, which is widely subject to manipulation by special interests and a division between professional policymakers (politicians and lobbyists) vs. a largely passive, uninvolved and often uninformed electorate
michael December 14, 2012 at 06:03 PM
As I said, would I want you to serve on the oversight committee? Hell No. Did I say you you couldn't? NO!! Didnt mean to attack you, you need to chill. Your pre-assumptive typing has made you look like a jerk again


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