Citizens Ask Lake Elsinore City Council Candidates: What Will You Do For Us?

Lake Elsinore City Council Candidates sit on the hot seat for two hours during public forum in Tuscany Hills.

Seven of eight candidates looking to fill three seats on the Lake Elsinore City Council showed up at Tuscany Hills Recreation Center Thursday night to make their cases as to why they want to serve the community.

The nearly two-hour long Candidates Forum hosted by the nonpartisan Lake Elsinore Citizens Committee gave voters a chance to hear the candidates talk about their qualifications and their perspectives on issues facing residents.

Nearly 60 people turned out to watch the forum that was moderated by Viet Tran, region manager for Southern California Edison.

Between opening and closing statements, Tran delivered six questions to the candidates; each candidate got a two-minute timed-opportunity to respond.

The seven candidates onhand Thursday night were: City Council incumbents Bob Magee and Peter Weber; Jerry Carlos; Natasha Johnson; Steve Manos; Lake Elsinore Planning Commissioner Rick Morsch; and Craig Turner.

Candidate William Park did not respond to repeated invitations to participate in Thursday’s forum, said Donna Franson, who spearheads the Lake Elsinore Citizens Committee.

Below is the gist of each question posed by Tran along with candidates’ answers listed in order of their turn to respond during the forum (the questions were submitted by the community prior to Thursday night’s event):

1.   Given that three city council seats are on the Nov. 6 ballot, should existing council members wait until after Election Day and allow the new council to hire a permanent city manager? (Currently, Tom Evans serves as “interim” city manager. He was appointed to the position earlier this year after city manager Bob Brady was fired by the council in a 3-2 vote.)

Peter Weber: No. “There’s no reason to wait for the new council to be elected.” Offered that several quality city manager candidates are currently being looked at. Weber voted in favor of firing city manager Bob Brady.

Craig Turner: No. “It’s not something we want to do.” Stated that if the new council is not happy with the hiring decision, they can address it later.

Rick Morsch: Expressed confidence in the current council’s ability to select a new city manager, but stressed council members must set forth realistic expectations, goals and objectives for the new hire. Morsch showed support for former city manager Bob Brady.

Steve Manos: Offered that before or after Election Day is fine, provided it’s the right person for the job.

Bob Magee: Wait until after the election. Voted against Bob Brady’s firing, but said Tom Evans is “a star” and would like to see him fill the position on a permanent basis. Will not vote in favor of a big severance package for the next city manager.

Natasha Johnson: Wait until after the election. Opposed Bob Brady’s firing.

Jerry Carlos: Wait until after the election. Otherwise, “It’s a recipe for disaster.” 

2.   Should Lake Elsinore taxpayers continue subsidizing the cost of providing fire protection services for the City of Canyon Lake?

Jerry Carlos: Expressed a desire to see greater cooperation between the two cities.

Natasha Johnson: Not in favor of subsidizing, and believes that if Lake Elsinore tax dollars continue to be used, Canyon Lake must offer something in return.

Bob Magee: Contends 40 percent of all calls for service into Station #94 in Canyon Hills are for Canyon Lake. “Lake Elsinore has become a donor community.” Not in favor of subsidizing and believes the county system must be revamped to ensure more equitable cost sharing for fire protection services.

Steve Manos: “What we have is completely unfair,” but careful negotiation with the county is important.

Rick Morsch: It’s “totally unfair,” but “I think a careful formula [of cost sharing] can be worked out.”

Craig Turner: Unfair. Lake Elsinore should not pay.

Peter Weber: Canyon Lake doesn’t have the money to pay for fire services, so something has to be worked out.

3.   How does Lake Elsinore make up for the loss of RDA money historically designated for use in blighted areas?

Peter Weber: Rely on the private sector to partner with the city, but first clean up Lake Elsinore in order to attract suitors.

Craig Turner: Rely on the power of volunteers. “Let’s harness them.”

Rick Morsch: We need capital venture to energize our community. “We don’t need RDA.” Believes that with rebranding and cleaning up of Lake Elsinore’s image, new businesses and industries will come. “People don’t want to be left out.”

Steve Manos: Glad to see RDAs go. Now is the time to look for private partnerships and “begin engaging” and setting goals to clean up the city.

Bob Magee: RDA had been abused statewide, but the money is missed in Lake Elsinore. Projects like Pottery Court affordable housing near downtown and the La Laguna Resort were built on Magee’s watch using RDA money. “Our city put the money back into the community.”

Natasha Johnson: Look to private money to fund key projects. City must establish its niche industry and then brand it. Simultaneously the city must improve its appearance and its reputation.

Jerry Carlos: Work with outside groups; build relationships.

4.   Do you support extreme sports for Lake Elsinore, even if it means increased traffic, noise, etc.?

Steve Manos: Yes. “I believe we should continue.”

Rick Morsch: Exploit it to the max, but be cautious moving forward to ensure that quality of life in the community is not forsaken for the “almighty dollar.” Do the research to mitigate any negative impacts on the community.

Craig Turner: Supports extreme sports in the community but stressed things can’t be done “willy nilly." "We can’t be blowing out the neighbors.”

Peter Weber: Maximize the potential of extreme sports for Lake Elsinore but monitor the trade-off by quantifying how much revenue is generated for the city by these events.

Jerry Carlos: Supports extreme sports but would like to see more family friendly events. Agrees the city should quantify the monetary benefits of extreme sports in Lake Elsinore.

Natasha Johnson: “Absolutely” supports extreme sports for Lake Elsinore. “We have to support it full force,” but cautioned that guidelines must be established and enforced.

Bob Magee: Supports. “This is what we are in Lake Elsinore.” Extreme sports are part of the city’s history. Keep the events safe and family friendly.

5.   Do you support the city’s moratorium on medical marijuana?

Rick Morsch: Yes. Has compassion for patients who benefit from medical marijuana, but doesn’t think dispensaries/co-ops are a good thing for Lake Elsinore. “I see no positive that can come from [them.]”

Craig Turner: Supports the moratorium. Believes legal drugs should be dispensed through a traditional pharmacy.

Peter Weber: Supports the moratorium. Believes dispensaries/co-ops contribute to illegal activity and that legal drugs should be obtained with a licensed doctor’s prescription via a traditional pharmacy.

Jerry Carlos: As a retired deputy, believes in following the letter of the law. Will follow whatever the courts decide on the issue.

Natasha Johnson: Supports the moratorium. “We have to get it away from our children.”

Bob Magee: Voted in favor of the moratorium as a city council member.

Steve Manos: Pointed out the legal uncertainty surrounding medical marijuana, and does not support the idea of co-ops or dispensaries in Lake Elsinore. However, for patients with legitimate need and a valid doctor’s prescription, feels there is a moral issue with preventing access to the drug.

6. Should the city continue to give tax dollars to local non-profits?

Craig Turner: “It behooves the city to provide for certain programs.” Money gets redistributed back into the community when it’s carefully allocated to certain causes. “I have no issue with it.”

Peter Weber: Supports the city’s current annual allocation of monies for local worthy causes.

Jerry Carlos: “If we can afford it and the residents want us to do it, then yes.”

Natasha Johnson: Yes.

Bob Magee: Yes. “It’s humanity here.”

Steve Manos: Yes

Rick Morsch: Yes, but stressed that recipient non-profits should be held accountable to show how taxpayer money is being used.

The next Lake Elsinore City Council Candidates Forum is scheduled Oct. 11. Click here for more information.

David Pereira October 06, 2012 at 12:39 AM
Speaking as a Marine veteran, If you have no proof that he was dishonorably discharged then that's a mighty huge mark you're putting on someone. If I were you, unless you have proof, I would take that statement back.
David Pereira October 06, 2012 at 12:40 AM
You're right on with everything you wrote.
Eydhunred Powngrila October 06, 2012 at 01:00 AM
Contact the VA yourself. All the information you need to check it is a matter of public record.
Chris Hyland October 06, 2012 at 01:13 AM
The City Council Candidate forum was great. Each candidate answered the questions as to what they would do for the City of Lake Elsinore. They gave their opinions as to what changes should be made for the betterment of Lake Elsinore. Each were professional and did not chastize other candidates even if they were in disagreement with the opiinions of the others. It's nice to have people act in a professional manner in these forums. Unfortunately, those on the Patch making derogatory comments regarding people who want to help the City become a better place have a problem............ Guess we have to anaylze just who these fictious people are and just what have they done for the City other than criticize certain candidates, council members and citizens. Question who are you Julie Dawson, Eydhunred Powngrila, Katheryn, and ANITA DRINK? What have you done for this City other than criticize those that speak out for the betterment of our City. You make statements that are totally demeaning against certain citizens and I very much doubt you have the facts to prove what you state. I will say this Katheryn you right when you stated that SLANDER AND LIBEL is alive and well in Lake Elsinore ; however, a lot of your comments are very demeaning. Elsinore 33 you and the others mentioned based on your derogatory remarks you all need to have a restraining order put on your mouths.
Larry October 06, 2012 at 03:22 AM
Hey there Slick, Why don't you put you lies where your mouth is instead of using your other end as usual. Show me and the world your proof. According to the VA DD-214's Are not public records. Therefore you have been caught in your own web of lies. I bet you never post again under the same screen you scum bag.
James Brady October 06, 2012 at 03:24 AM
Henry, this guy agrees with most of your words. Donna Franz and Citizen Committee did a great job as well as Mr Tran. Bob Magee, the only vote from the present council I will give is needed and I also consider my self a friend of previous City Manager Bob Brady because Bob was a gentleman fully committed to our city and railroaded out by Melissa, Daryl and Peter.
Roberto October 06, 2012 at 04:38 AM
'City Manager Bob Brady because Bob was a gentleman fully committed to our city and railroaded out by Melissa, Daryl and Peter." REPLY: Amen! Vote Natasha Johnson a strong woman and Bob Magee.
Eydhunred Powngrila October 06, 2012 at 05:20 AM
Veteran Status is verifiable. Details are not. If someone is applying for a job, for example, and they claim veteran status, a perspective employer can contact the VA and ask if they served and if they were honorably discharged. That's all they can find out, but it is available. Sorry, no lies. If you want to talk about lies, what about his claim to be a successful small business owner. I don't know too many small business owners that lose their businesses and their houses. Park's dad was an honorable and successful businessman and his mother a saint.
Larry October 06, 2012 at 05:37 AM
Your the one that said he was dishonorably discharged. Yap all you want. You have no proof. You make horrible statements about a Veteran who stood in the line of fire to protect our Country and your sorry butt. You lied and got caught. You should apologize to Mr. Park and ever person on this site.
Larry October 06, 2012 at 05:39 AM
Your the one that said he was dishonorably discharged. Yap all you want. You have no proof. You make horrible statements about a Veteran who stood in the line of fire to protect our Country and your sorry butt. You lied and got caught. You should apologize to Mr. Park and every person on this site.
Katheryn October 06, 2012 at 11:24 PM
FACTs not fiction: My votes are for CARLOS and PARK the wisest person he didn't want to listen to all the B.S. My response to all the B.S. most of these people don't know what they are talking about. Turner and Morsch are all about mining in residential areas Alberhill Ranch as long as they don't hear it in their own neighborhoods. Watch Morsch on the Planning Commission approving exemptions on items he hasn't a clue about. Here's a video of Peter Weber making faces at the public when they are speaking to the City Council and he doesn't seem to care what the public wants. Manos is another one I wouldn't want on the City Council, he is mentioned in many of the Michele Knights article when they were attempting to recall Councilman Buckley, don't know if he had anything to do with that, we'll find out if it goes to COURT. Rick Mosch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-T2u8WsqbYM Peter Weber http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nabtSQHyzCE&feature=plcp http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCZwshL_Tl8&feature=plcp Turner, Morsch, Manos, Weber. Turner attended a mining meeting and said the City is doing a great job, does he have a clue? We know that Morsch is all about mining in residential areas and seems to not care if it isn't around him. Weber doesn't care as long as it's not around him. Morsch and Manos signs are on the noisey aggregate mining companies property, they don't care about the people who are being hurt by this racket? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQKeNzUkofE
Diana October 07, 2012 at 03:06 AM
Katheryn, great information but in all reality those folks were mining long before Alberhill was built, if the people that live there have a complaint they really should not of bought their homes there. Chances of shutting that mine operation down is slim and none it's just not going to happen no matter how much info you put out here.
Gordan October 07, 2012 at 03:36 PM
Katheryn, you should get your facts straight before you attack people. It was the State Mining Board that gave Lake Elsinore the oversight authority... and they did this after reviewing every document and receiving public testimony in two public hearings. If you think Morsch is in the pockets of the mining people, then why is he bringing WYROC before the Planning Commission for non-compliance with their conditions of approval? Castle & Cook have vested mining rights going back over 80 years ago.... so why on earth did you buy a house near a mining site, and then complain about the noise? Pretty dumb thing to do if you ask me.
Richard October 07, 2012 at 04:42 PM
I have read the recent comments/attacks/Slander and Libel of citizens and watched the videos. I am now wondering who runs the City and the people it picks for Commissions and open seats on the Council. My questions are in reference to Rick, Mike, Pete, Melissa and Daryl's actions. I would be interested in someone following the money and Castle & Cooke? If I were Castle & Cooke I would want the other miners gone, good job Rick, Mike, Pete Melissa and Daryl?
Katheryn October 07, 2012 at 04:48 PM
Thank you Diana, I do know the clay operation has been there for a long time but the houses were built before the aggregate mining operation.
Katheryn October 07, 2012 at 05:54 PM
Richard, thank you for watching the videos, I have added another which should clarify things for you. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5m_HypxyudI&feature=plcp
Richard October 07, 2012 at 06:39 PM
Your video speaks volumes and answered my remaining questions. Castle & Cooke does have a big hold on this city.
jill smith October 08, 2012 at 03:22 AM
No response to Gordon's facts, hmmmm, maybe it's not a big conspiracy.
Antonio October 09, 2012 at 04:20 PM
I suspect that with Manos the tradeoffs with business interests will get a lot more involved if you know what I mean. The City of Lake Elsinore doesn't need a corruption scandal and trial. Manos proved he is a liar when he said he had proof against a sitting councilman when in fact he didn't have any proof. Don't vote for those who embrace a culture of corruption. Vote NO on Manos.
Antonio October 09, 2012 at 04:35 PM
Larry how do you square your support for Manos given his involvement with the illegal and unethical recall against then council member Buckey? Buckley stood up against Trevi owner Michel Knight for fire and safety code violations at Trevi? Knight then tried to slime Buckley and Manos was Knight's boy. I thought things like that only went on in 3rd world countries.
Bob B. October 09, 2012 at 06:24 PM
Kathryn, your videos remind me of the City of Bell and right up there with Chicago when talking about corruption. The actions of the planning commission are questionable as to who is buttering their bread. Rick Morsch is on the planning commission and I would be afraid if he got on the City Council, would all hell break out?
TRUTHBTOLD October 10, 2012 at 05:09 AM
The Luiseno Indians are the earliest known inhabitants of Lake Elsinore, but City staff wasn't sure they were the ONLY tribe that should oversee the reclamation of the mine site. So, they inserted language that said "the appropriate Indian tribe" and the Luiseno Indians took this as an insult. O'Neal went off a little bit, but the rest of the commission was very respectful of their concerns and in the end, Castle & Cook agreed to pay the Luiseno Indians $5,000.00 for their time, even tho the law only requires archeological oversight, which is in the conditions. If anyone feels the Planning Commission or the City Council is acting inappropriately, then COME to the meetings. Don't rely on some grainy snippet taken out of context.
jill smith October 10, 2012 at 09:24 PM
I agree, I like Donna Franson, and her husband, they are both very nice, and yes they both have class, and are very respectful to others.
Antonio October 12, 2012 at 03:14 PM
Now with Michel Knights conviction of criminal conspiracy and contributing funds under an illegal name in his sleazy recall against an ethical city councilman the voters should know that city council candidates Manos and Park were involved in Knight's illegal campaign. We don't need any more corrupt politicians, VOTE NO on Manos and Park.
Brad October 12, 2012 at 04:09 PM
Peter Weber sounds like a real idiot. Canyon Lake residents always turn their noses up to Lake Elsinore and it's residents. If they can afford $500k+ dollar homes and a wall around their own community then they can afford fire protection. If not, allow themselves to be annexed into Lake Elsinore.
Antonio October 12, 2012 at 06:55 PM
800, tell us more info on mystery candidate Park. I had no idea. What is his local business? You sound very well informed. Thanks.
Antonio October 12, 2012 at 07:00 PM
Yeah, Park didn't show up for the candidates forum this past week. The only people who are voicing support for him have some connection or they have really bad judgement.
David Pereira October 16, 2012 at 03:25 PM
Or now that we have a real City Manager things are finally taking months and not years. There are now more street lights, traffic lights, graffiti is all but gone, more patrol on the streets, the city looks cleaner and the residents have a sense that the city is improving. Ask around, people will tell you. Think about this for a second, the only people who approved of the job Brady was doing were the people who knew him. I'll bet the rest of the 50,000 residents in the city that do not know him wouldn't be so quick to approve of him. I didn't know him but thought he did a horrendous job at managing Lake Elsinore, and his pay was higher than the NASA astronaut that went up in space. Go figure. He might have been a nice guy but nice guys do not make good leaders, they make good followers. A good leader doesn't have a revolving door like Brady claimed to have. A good leader has to make decisions that are sure to anger many people, so therefore can not and should not have an open door policy. You're friend Brady is probably the life of the party and one hell of a guy, but a leader he is not. I spent too many years in the Marine Corps leading Marines to allow you to falsely claim Brady as a proficient leader...he wasn't.
David Pereira October 16, 2012 at 03:27 PM
Yuck, just more of the same stagnation. Enough of freakin do-nothing Magee already. You guys act like he's the end all. The guy sucks. He has no vision for the city and has his mind on county projects. Screw the city right?
Michelle Kane October 16, 2012 at 05:10 PM
I am new to Lake Elsinore, (4 months). I am grateful for your comments and honesty. I am not familiar with the Local Nominee's so reading these blogs are helpful in making my polical choices. M.Kane


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