The Lake Elsinore City Council, along with residents who’ve pledged to help make the city safer, agreed Tuesday to do a better job of communicating with each other about public safety issues affecting the community.
During a joint study session of the two bodies, it was agreed that members of the Public Safety Advisory Commission and Lake Elsinore City Council would work more closely together in the months ahead.
Commissioners Marney Fairchild and Renee Cummings were absent Tuesday.
Communication broke down over the last week after a special in which council members determined they could not fund a quarter-million dollar PSAC Citizen’s Patrol Program without more specific detail on how the money would be spent. During last week’s meeting, council members also urged that taxpayer dollars should first be spent on ramping up Riverside County Sheriff’s Department patrol hours that were lost due to city budget constraints. ( to read more about the Citizen’s Patrol Program and what happened during the April 3 meeting.)
PSAC Chair Mike Norkin said Tuesday that while the commission had voted to move forward with a request for funding, he contended commissioners were not prepared to provide specific details on the Citizen’s Patrol Program during the April 3 meeting.
“We were not notified,” he told the council members, adding the commission had approved the funding request during its regularly scheduled Feb. 8 meeting, but in March the commission voted to hold off on the request pending more investigation on how the money should be spent.
While council was not willing to bring back the Citizen’s Patrol Program Tuesday, they praised PSAC’s efforts in the community despite a handful of letters and a public comment that called for the elimination of PSAC.
“We are very appreciative of all the work you do,” said Councilwoman Melissa Melendez.
Tuesday the council members agreed to keep supporting PSAC.
Council members asked the commissioners to focus on key areas in the city, including helping to maintain safety around the lake’s edge; watching for code enforcement and public nuisance issues; working to encourage crime-free housing; and communicating with residents in neighborhoods to help bring safety concerns forward to public officials.
Norkin, Vice Chair J. Stewart and Commissioner Elizabeth Dana told the council members they were grateful for the backing.
“Thank you for your respect,” Stewart said. “You’ve shown us support today.”
PSAC is an all-volunteer effort. According to Norkin, among the commission’s key public safety achievements over its six-and-half-year history are city ordinances to regulate street parking of oversized vehicles; charging residents for police service when deputies are called to squelch large parties; offering $1,000 rewards for arrests and convictions of taggers; regulation of tobacco retailers; regulating news racks in public places; restricting hotel/motel registrations to adults only; adopting boat speed limits on the lake; and an aggressive anti-panhandling ordinance.
PSAC next meets April 11 at 6 p.m. at the Lake Elsinore Cultural Center. The public is invited.