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City Council Candidates Answer: What's The Top Priority For Lake Elsinore?

During the Oct. 11 Lake Elsinore City Council Candidates forum at Lakeside High School, eight contenders spell it out.

For the first time this election season, Lake Elsinore voters got the chance to see all eight Lake Elsinore City Council candidates in one room.

A nearly three-hour-long candidates forum sponsored by the Lake Elsinore Valley Chamber of Commerce at Lakeside High School Thursday saw a turnout of about 50 people who wanted to hear from the panel of eight.

Gene Wunderlich, Government Affairs Director for the Southwest Riverside County Association of Realtors, moderated the forum that included candidates Jerry Carlos, Natasha Johnson, Bob Magee, Steve Manos, Rick Morsch, William Park, Craig Turner, and Peter Weber.

William Park: Support Small Business Owners

candidate William Park was a no-show, but he was on hand Thursday and said his top priority is supporting small business owners in the city.

Park, who along with his family once owned J&J Liquor at Four Corners, advocated for a more symbiotic relationship between businesses in the area.

“We don’t need another Rite Aid or fast food restaurant,” he said.

Park, 29, admitted to Patch during an interview last week that he lacks experience, but he told the audience Thursday the city needs new blood and out-of-the-box thinking. He argued that through careful planning Lake Elsinore can provide a better business environment for entrepreneurs who are wary of big-box retailers.

“It’s very doable,” he said. “A good mix benefits the residents and business owners.”

As for ideas on other industries he might want to court besides retail, Park said he wasn’t sure but added, “there should be balance.”

Natasha Johnson: Bring Tax Dollars To The City

Johnson, too, said she supports small business, but said bringing tax dollars to the city is key to stimulating the local economy.

“We need to provide opportunities for our residents,” she said, noting that she supports all business that makes sense for her community, including the burgeoning extreme sports industry.

If elected, Johnson, herself a local businesswoman who also serves on the Lake Elsinore Valley Chamber of Commerce board, would be the only woman on the council. Councilwoman Melissa Melendez’s four-year term on the dais expires in November and she is currently seeking to represent the 67th State Assembly District.

“I think we need a female touch on the council,” Johnson explained.

Jerry Carlos: Offer Higher Education Opportunities

Carlos, a law enforcement veteran and former Temescal Canyon High School coach who sought out a council appointment last year said “education, education, education,” is what Lake Elsinore needs most to drive its economic engine.

“Education creates jobs,” Carlos reiterated several times Thursday, and he vowed to bring college courses to Lake Elsinore.

Craig Turner: Remove Blight

Turner interjected light-hearted humor into Thursday’s forum, but turned more serious on the issue of blight in the city.

He told Thursday’s audience that cleaning up Lake Elsinore would be his first priority if elected and said some of the city’s reserves should be utilized to address the issue.

But Turner also told Patch prior to Thursday’s event that he believes in the power of community.

“We need to utilize volunteer efforts,” he said. “It takes community involvement as well as money.”

Steve Manos: Improve Public Safety

Manos put public safety and blight at the top of his priority list, too, but took it a step further saying that while “99 percent of the time” he would be against issuing a bond, in the case of revitalizing Lake Elsinore he could get behind the idea.

“I could support it,” he said.

Manos was put on the spot when an audience question was posed to candidates about their opinions on the news yesterday that Lake Elsinore Trevi Center owner Michel Knight entered a plea agreement for his criminal involvement in the failed recall effort of former Lake Elsinore City Councilman Thomas Buckley.

Manos supported the recall and was eyeing a spot on the council during the recall attempt. Charges were never filed against Manos, and he told Thursday’s audience that Knight "probably got what he deserved."

After the forum was over, Manos told Patch he “very much” supported the Buckley recall effort, but was never a part of any wrongdoing.

“I did find the allegation factual,” he said of his reason for supporting the recall, “but that’s the extent of it.”

When asked about any earnings for his work on the recall campaign, Manos said, “I never received a dime.”

Although Park offered no comment about the Knight plea agreement, Patch previously asked him about his rumored employment by the now-convicted Trevi Center owner.

Park said there was nothing secret about it. Beginning in around 2008, Park, a former U.S. Marines reservist who said he was honorably discharged after a six-year stint, offered that he was employed by Knight as an IT tech. He was an employee for a little over a year and continues to offer his services on a consulting basis, he said. Park denied any involvement in the Buckley recall campaign.

“I really didn’t know anything about it,” he said.

Bob Magee: Increase Police and Fire Presence

Lake Elsinore’s sometimes-dark politics are nothing new to incumbent Magee, who is seeking his third term on the council. He said Thursday that his past opponents have peered into every aspect of his professional and private life yet always come up empty-handed because he has nothing to hide.

The business owner has served on various local and regional committees and said Thursday that he’s "playing by the rules.” As far as his goals for the future, Magee said he puts public safety for residents above all else. He promised to place more deputies on Lake Elsinore streets, and he pledged to see Rosetta Canyon Fire Station open if re-elected.

Rick Morsch: Revitalize Historic Downtown

Public safety was also important to Morsch, a civil engineer who also serves on the Lake Elsinore planning commission. But revitalizing the city’s historic area must be a priority, he said, and improving the downtown district -- otherwise known as the Gateway District on and around Main Street, from the freeway to the lake -- will put Lake Elsinore on the map and subsequently increase tax revenues, he said.

Morsch explained that he envisions a thriving downtown arts district that would include a movie theater, restaurants and other entertainment venues.

“They will come,” Morsch said of businesses that could be attracted to an improved downtown, noting that revitalization is needed in other areas of the city and within its sphere if influence. He pointed to “the bone yard” just north of Lake Street and said, “it’s got to go,” but he cautioned there must be a balanced approach to development.

“It’s a delicate dance between satellite businesses and big business,” he added, noting that in addition to attracting services like entertainment, the city must also court research and development companies as well as high tech firms.

Peter Weber: Hire Strong Leadership 

Weber is a business manager who has served as treasurer for the city. He is currently serving on the Lake Elsinore City Council after being appointed last year. He too places blight and revitalization at the top of his to-do list. But for improvements to happen, Weber said city council needs to hire a permanent city manager as well as an economic development director.

“Management,” he said, “is key. We must have strong leadership in place."

Craig Turner October 13, 2012 at 08:19 PM
27, you have made your decision. I am not going to argue with you. I only found out about the other person with the same name because I typed in 'Craig Turner mining department of conservation' on Google. Do it yourself and see. Just go to Facebook and type in Craig Turner and see how many results come up. When I was younger, I showed up for a temp job at a PR firm in Beverly Hills. The person thought that Tina Turner's son, Craig, was going to show up. There are a lot of us wiht that name. If you want to believe this, there isn't anything I am going to be able to say that will change your mind.
Roberto October 13, 2012 at 09:02 PM
it's more than most people do. Roberto (Chris Highland), you just showed your cards. We all live in this community together so why are you trying so hard to divide us? REPLY: LOL! Thank you for ASSuming I'm Chris Hyland. The division is caused by buttlicks like yourself who kowtow to the status quo. Corruption such as that brought to us by Malicious Melendez who incidently voted with a conflict of interestby voting in an area where she owned property EXACTLY like George Alongi convicted of Malfeasance inf office for EXACTLY the same thing. She then turned around and filed an amended disclosure once she was discovered by the City Lawyer. 2# Weber appointed to complete Amy Bhutta's term gets APPOINTED to the city council and once APPOINTED, Hickless (Michele Knights friend and business associate), Malicious and Webless collude and open the City managers contract in the middlle of his contract firing him since he is an at will employee who wouldn't go along with their hidden agenda. This division you speak of has nothing to do with Chris Hyland and everything to do with a bunch of buttlicks like your self. Vote Johnson, Magee & Turner for a change and oust the corrupt Tuscany influence that includes Manos (Knight associate), Park (Knight associate), MORSCH (Uncle rick Malicious associate) etc.
Katheryn October 13, 2012 at 10:50 PM
There you go again lying or talking about something you have "no clue" about. Mr. Turner you have no business running for City Council you don't have a clue and you continue to lie about most everything you have written on this subject.
Craig Turner October 13, 2012 at 11:40 PM
What am I lying about? Testifying before the Department of Conservation? When? How? What motive could I possibly have for wanting or needing to testify? I am completely self-funded. What would it benefit me? When I spoke in front of the mining commission, I wasn't running for anything. Amy Bhutta's position wasn't vacant at the time so it wasn't to score brownie points with anyone. I was speaking to help the city, not for Pacific Clay. I am posting as myself. I am not using a pseuodo-name. LE Resident, you have repeated yourself several times regarding liable and slander, correct? Why would you perpetuate something like that when there has been nothing to show I have been dishonest or even insincere about anything? Regarding my knowledge, or lack thereof, that would be a matter of opinion. That is something that people usually say about the other person when there is a disagreement.
Bob B. October 13, 2012 at 11:57 PM
Leave Craig Turner alone he's on his period and all emotional.
Craig Turner October 14, 2012 at 12:12 AM
Bob, thank you for the kind words...not. Actually, I am on here trying to understand what people think. I am not hiding behind any fake names. If people don't like me, then fine, don't vote for me. Calling me a liar without any evidence, seems desperate. If you think I'm sitting around crying boo hoo, because of some false finger pointing, you are gravely mistaken. We'll see what happens on Nov. 6th. Cheers!
Antonio October 14, 2012 at 01:29 AM
Really, Park?
Antonio October 14, 2012 at 01:33 AM
You have a pretty good understanding of the candidates. especially the corrupt and incompetent Manos and Park, who are both associates of Knight. These two are scary.
Chris Hyland October 14, 2012 at 01:46 AM
Hey guys don't get all up in a frenzy because the person who uses the following alias Lake Elsinore Resident , Katheryn I am told are all the same person. If that is true then based on her unbelieveable comments and God only knows how many other alias she is using according to a gentleman friend of mine who has been given her identity. I will agree she is telling many lies based on her floating comments. Question with those she is promoting did she appear at the forum at Lakeside school to support her candidates?????????? I wish I had attended so I could verify her attendance but I had to stay home and listen to the Vice President forum. So guess I will have see who was there and can tell us if she attended.
KevWild October 14, 2012 at 03:06 AM
I'm jealous. Lake Elsinore is so much bigger and juicier than Wildomar when it comes to politics. Lucky bastards.
Roberto October 14, 2012 at 05:43 AM
I have vetted the candidates, know their aadresses, busineses and whom they asscociate with. The only logical choice in my opinion without repeating myself over and over like others are doing Magee, Johnson & Turner and in that order. :)
Bowser October 14, 2012 at 06:08 AM
Turner and Magee for me!
Teller of Truth October 14, 2012 at 06:33 AM
And from the pics that I've seen of you keviemarf, you seem to be so much more bigger & full of it, than your average person! If it weren't for BAD luck, you just wouldn't have any luck at all, now would ya? Hahaha still laughin at your pathetic attempts to join in the adults conversation! Keep on trying.....
Roberto October 14, 2012 at 07:04 AM
You will need three, Turner the one I know the least about but the others give us no other option. Jerry Carlos: Live's in Tuscany Hills unknown and involved in real estate increasing his chances of a conflict of interest like Malicious. Natasha Johnson: Active in our community, strong woman with great vision for our city. Honest and transparent. Bob Magee: Incumbent, understands community affairs, property abatement and voted to keep City Manage Bob Brady along with Mayor Tisdale Steve Manos: Associated with Michele Knight, lives in Tuscany Hills or recently moved. Involved in Real Estate. Rick Morsch: Associated with Malicious Melendez, lives in Tuscany Hills. William Park: Associated with Michele Knight, Resident address questionable Craig Turner: Has come out here on the Patch, explained his position and is transparent Peter Weber: Appointed to finish Amy Bhutta's term. Immediatly aligned himself with Hickman (Michele Knight Associate) and Conflict of interest Malicious Melendez in opening Bob Brady's City Manager contract . in the middle of the contract costing the city thousands of dollars. Contract term would have been the time to replace the city manager with just cause. This leaves only 3 vialble candidates: Magee, Johnson & Turner in my opinion.
KevWild October 14, 2012 at 08:09 AM
B+
Teller of Truth October 14, 2012 at 08:22 AM
Whos that Troll sitting alone in the dark, trying to find a friend & advertising a personal email? Why its SUPER TROLL! Kevymarf trying to grade Roberto? What a joke! Why don't you go back to thinking up other names to come back here under? See the problem with that is that people are so savy here, that they can smell a POS a mile away! Hahaha LMAO again.....keep em coming!
Roberto October 14, 2012 at 02:23 PM
Look at me! another thread for Kev Wild LOL!
Lisa Shirley October 14, 2012 at 07:30 PM
Bob Magee is the candidate who truly cares about our community. He is not a typical politician. He is a public servant who wants what is best for Lake Elsinore.
Elsinore 33 October 14, 2012 at 09:38 PM
How does Roberto know who associates with whom? Is he a spy, a prior CIA agent or special ops. Yeah right, Roberto can't even recall where he was last night let alone what the candidates were doing last night. Hey Roberto, have another drink, then we'll see the real crazy writings of a person wallowing in their own pathetic life they have made for themselves. Do everyone a favor, go to AA, i hear it works and lord knows you need help.
Roberto October 15, 2012 at 02:11 AM
Elsinore33 not sure your that turd Kevwild but I have the documents. That much is a fact. The only reason I don't tip my hand is because of vicious shiats like you.. LOL!
Elsinore 33 October 15, 2012 at 12:35 PM
Roberto has documents, Knight has documents, Lake Elsinore Resident has a lawsuit against every one who has posted on this silly blog, and Turner gets caught up in trying to reason with madness. i'm signing off this circus for good. reasonable discussion is never going to happen here and what's with the obsession with Knight? he got busted, over and done. Madness is running this city look at the same two old ladies that yell at the Council about nothing. LE is crazy, Wildomar is asleep, menifee's copuncil completely disfunctional, and Lake land village is the bastard child of Buster and the rest of the supervisor board. There is no hope for this city, and the entire area, glad I don't live there, but I do understand your politics and they are crazy.
Roberto October 15, 2012 at 01:14 PM
"There is no hope for this city, and the entire area, glad I don't live there, but I do understand your politics and they are crazy." REPLY: You don't live here yet wanted to be involved in this? LOL!
Antonio October 15, 2012 at 07:55 PM
Knight's not going to change his stripes after he got a slap on the wrist. His character is deeply flawed for him to try and illegally recall an ethical city councilman. For Manos to support Knight in his illegal effort shows Manos is also corrupt. The fact that Park was an employee of Knight makes me deeply suspicious of his motives. Based upon that I urge concerned voters to avoid Manos and Park. Three who appear ethical and have good ideas: VOTE MAGEE, TURNER and WEBER.
Antonio October 15, 2012 at 07:57 PM
Park has a relationship with Knight so I would avoid him, especially since he lacks the experience. There are others who are better choices and who are more qualified.
Michelle Kane October 16, 2012 at 07:27 PM
I am new to LE and I appreciate everyone's comments. It has helped me decide who I will choose in this election.
Amanda October 25, 2012 at 07:36 PM
Um, these were some interesting comments:/ LE definitely needs some help and change, so I'm going with my gut and voting Johnson, Turner, and Morsch. I don't know anyone running so I hope I'm making the right decision. I think we need to Clean up the lake and make downtown more appealing. Right now it's embarrassing to live in LE. Those of us in canyon hills are glad we're somewhat isolated from the rest of the city and have a good community over here. I hate that Elsinore is the armpit between corona and temecula.
Antonio October 26, 2012 at 09:52 PM
LAKE ELSINORE CITY COUNCIL VOTERS BEWARE On October 11, 2012, Michel Knight, owner of Trevi Entertainment Center, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit a crime and contributing funds under a false name. Knight’s conviction was the result of his illegal and unethical activities in a 2010 recall of a Lake Elsinore City Councilman who stood firm in requiring Knight to correct numerous building & safety and fire code violations at Trevi Entertainment Center. Also convicted in the recall was Enelida Caron an employee of Michel Knight. Caron testified that Steve Manos, a 2010 recall candidate, met with Knight 20 -25 times concerning the recall election. Manos also was the only recall candidate to support the illegal recall which cost taxpayers $50,000. Michel Knight will start to service his jail sentence in January 2013. Now, Steve Manos is running yet again for City Council along with William Park a former employee of Michel Knight. Park and Manos are also the only candidates who failed to file the required campaign finance reports. What are they hiding? Voters should reject Manos and Park as these two candidates are obviously under the control of outside greedy business interests. Their potential corrupting influence on city business would be devastating to our beautiful and improving community.
Antonio October 26, 2012 at 09:53 PM
LAKE ELSINORE CITY COUNCIL VOTERS BEWARE On October 11, 2012, Michel Knight, owner of Trevi Entertainment Center, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit a crime and contributing funds under a false name. Knight’s conviction was the result of his illegal and unethical activities in a 2010 recall of a Lake Elsinore City Councilman who stood firm in requiring Knight to correct numerous building & safety and fire code violations at Trevi Entertainment Center. Also convicted in the recall was Enelida Caron an employee of Michel Knight. Caron testified that Steve Manos, a 2010 recall candidate, met with Knight 20 -25 times concerning the recall election. Manos also was the only recall candidate to support the illegal recall which cost taxpayers $50,000. Michel Knight will start to service his jail sentence in January 2013. Now, Steve Manos is running yet again for City Council along with William Park a former employee of Michel Knight. Park and Manos are also the only candidates who failed to file the required campaign finance reports. What are they hiding? Voters should reject Manos and Park as these two candidates are obviously under the control of outside greedy business interests. Their potential corrupting influence on city business would be devastating to our beautiful and improving community.
Antonio October 26, 2012 at 10:05 PM
I have never heard that description for Lake Elsinore and I would request that you not use it. This area is naturally beautiful. Sure there are run-down areas. Let's let our elected know that we consider it a priority to improve our City and adjacent area. All residents should take personal responsibility for their own property to make sure it it something to be proud of.
Becky Honkington November 27, 2012 at 10:30 PM
Actually, Hemet is considered the armit of the Inland Empire.

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