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Wildomar Parks To Headline November Election

“This is it,” said Wildomar City Councilwoman Bridgette Moore. “We have to give it our all. We have to win.”

Wildomar City Council was unanimous in its decision Wednesday night to go full steam ahead on parks.

In several separate 4-0 votes, If passed by two-thirds of qualified city voters in November, the measure will see a $28 annual special tax imposed on Wildomar property owners for the purpose of maintaining and funding local parks.

Assistant City Manager Gary Nordquist said the parks’ measure, if passed, is expected to generate approximately $350,000 in annual revenues for the city, more than enough to fund maintenance and programs at Wildomar’s three existing parks.

The ballot language adopted Wednesday night states the proposed tax would be used to reopen Windsong and Heritage parks, and would prevent closure of Marna O’Brien park. The proposed tax would also “restore funding for recreational services/community events, maintain safe playground equipment, clean public restrooms, sports fields, and youth/children’s recreation/after-school programs, restore park security patrols/safety lighting, and remove graffiti …,” according to the adopted ballot language.

Council members also unanimously voted to appoint Mayor Ben Benoit and Councilwoman Bridgette Moore to an ad hoc committee that will spearhead drafting of the ballot argument and rebuttal.

While audience members at Wednesday night’s meeting expressed overwhelming support for the special tax measure, there was some concern over campaign spending.

Council members voted 4-0 to amend a contract with the consulting firm of Lew Edwards Group to the tune of $35,500 for professional services that will include creation of mailers, as well as informational and presentation materials, to support the parks’ measure.

The Lew Edwards Group was already tapped by the city

In arguing in support of the amended contract, Mayor Pro Tem Tim Walker said public education and outreach are critical to ensuring the measure’s passage in November.

“We have to be able to get the message out,” he said.

John Lloyd serves on the all-volunteer Friends For Wildomar Parks, an organization that has worked to raise funds to keep Marna O’Brien Park open. He said educating the public is key.

“They [the voters] have to know the facts,” he said.

-- which also asked city voters if they were willing to pay a special tax to keep parks open -- Moore said she talked to many constituents who were not tuned in to the issue last year.

“They didn’t know,” Moore explained, noting that, for those who did have awareness about Measure D, many didn’t cast a ballot because they assumed the initiative was a slam dunk.

“They thought it was going to pass,” she said of Measure D.

The council members told Wednesday night's audience that this year’s parks’ measure involves a flat tax that won't ever be increased. Moore was emphatic that the tax dollars would stay local and could not be touched by Sacramento.

Council members said the tax dollars would be used solely for parks. During the meeting, Benoit asked city attorneys whether the ballot language as drafted would allow Wildomar to use a portion of the proposed special tax to fund city trails, but the answer was a swift “No.”

None of the council members objected.

Council members also promised no liens would be placed on properties whose owners don’t pay the special tax, although an additonal annual $5 fine would be tacked on to delinquent tax bills.

Moore, a longtime parks’ supporter, said November will be make or break for Wildomar parks.

“This is it,” she said. “We have to give it our all. We have to win.”

Editor's note: Wildomar Councilwoman Marsha Swanson was absent Wednesday night.

Ken Mayes August 12, 2012 at 12:42 AM
Thank you for the response Martha. When I was growing up I did quite a bit of babysitting and in high school I spent a semester working at a school for the mentally challenged so the attacks on the patch just roll off for the most part.
Constant Comment August 12, 2012 at 12:46 AM
Yeah you go ahead & get back to "everyone else" ?? What are your imaginary friends telling you to do now? Should we all be alarmed? You go right ahead and unearth the TRUTH! (Seriously, you do need some help!) You and your group of conspiracy theorists should go ahead & make up all the little public information request packettes to your little hearts content. At least that will keep you busy! I, no make that we, think you should also call the FBI, the CIA & the X-Files! And while your on the phone, you might want to call a few shrinks while your at it. Just a suggestion.... }~)
Martha L. Bridges August 12, 2012 at 12:56 AM
For those of you that might have missed it - If the council truly believed the survey results that indicated there was wide support for passage of this new parks tax proposal, why on earth would they feel the need to spend some $45,000 of taxpayers’ money on a super slick sales pitch? They can call it whatever they want, but we all know that the city council has voted to break the law preventing public funds to be spent on campaigning or advocating for the passage of a ballot measure or the election of an individual candidate.
Constant Comment August 12, 2012 at 01:01 AM
Yeah Ken at it must also be easy when Marfa is sitting in the next room! Its not that hard to determine. You two could have hid it a bit better though. Might I suggest you wait longer than 9 minutes apart next time. I mean really, who do you think that you're fooling? We know that you both think of yourselves as highly educated and that we're all so inferior to the both of you. I think if you both went out and got a more active hobby outside, that you'd both be happier than playing your enviro"MENTAL" ist games! Good luck there! }~)
Constant Comment August 12, 2012 at 01:06 AM
Marfa, nobody missed anything. NOBODY CARES! Your credibility is in the toilet now so why don't you just give it a rest? No one is remotely interested in slamming the city council for you because of some personal vendetta you have. Get a hobby!

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