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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.

Gil Rasmussen August 09, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Notice how quickly one of the survey/poll gimmicks (using some of the tax proceeds for "trails"), used to produce a 77% support for the park tax measure, has been debunked. In yet another "red herring," (keeping the proceeds from a local tax from going to Sacramento), unless the State of California attempts to confiscate all local tax increment, there is no rational or plausible threat to the proceeds of a local parcel tax.
Mary Ann Mealey August 09, 2012 at 10:30 PM
I was wondering, is it legal to use taxpayer money to promote a tax that the taxpayers voted down less than a year ago?
Gil Rasmussen August 09, 2012 at 10:59 PM
Senior Chief; If the latest parcel tax measure fails to win passage, eventually my idea about moving City Hall to Marna O'Brien Park may get "done." You can still write my name in but then cross it out on your election day ballot, if you need that to please yourself.
Martha L. Bridges August 10, 2012 at 12:42 AM
Mary Ann Mealey, You bet it is illegal to spend public funds to campaign for a ballot measure or an individual candidate. In this case, the Wildomar City Council is doing both with a huge amount of our taxpayers' money. It could not be more obvious that they are hiding behind their fancy consultant and carefully sellected legalize like "educating" and "informing" the public while, in fact, they are spending $45,000 of our money to promote the passage of this unnecessary tax, and help Bridgette Moore get re-elected. I will be providing the voters with details of the tax code and a recent decision by the California Supreme Court, so that you and all the voters can make your own minds up about whether the city council is adhering to the law or respecting the intent and spirit of the law. Of course when did breaking the law ever stop the Wildomar City Council from doing what they damn well pleased? Stay turned.
Ken Mayes August 10, 2012 at 02:20 PM
Martha Although spending taxpayer money on studies that spin the results in favor of passage and educating the public as to the benefits that will be received are a total waste of precious monies in the city coffers you will be hard presses to find them illegal. Time and energy would be better spent countering the supposed benefits that will be received and the facts, such as supporters could only garner a handful of people to attend the council meeting in favor of this tax. The fact that the county and the city find parks so important to the community that developers pay 1/2 what every other city in Southern California pay for Quimby Fees resulting in Wildomar being around 84 acres short on available park land. The misguided attention of the city council that resulted in the city of Wildomar paying more for animal control (animal adoption agency) than cities with 3 times the population and on and on.
Martha L. Bridges August 10, 2012 at 03:44 PM
Ken, as usual you bring up very important points to consider. I am very aware of the difficulties of proving that what the city is doing with regard to spending excessive amounts of our public funds on the so-called "communications" contract is illegal. Doubtless the small army of attorney consultants we are paying big bucks for will make every effort to confine or control the council's actions/words just before they step completely over the legal line. They worked overtime at doing this at the last meeting. However, anyone including those who support the new tax proposal should be able to see plainly that the Wildomar council is not respecting the intention or the spirit of the law. It is true that our lack of parks is the direct result of the county and city's failure to impose and collect adequate Quimby Fees over the preceding years. And, that the city council has made some serious, expensive mistakes with regard to the animal shelter's unreasonable costs. Your observation about the small number of honest-to-god supporters of the new tax is so right on. The handful of people speaking out so ardently for this tax doesn't represent the massive support the city council would like everyone to believe in. If the council truly believed the survey results that indicated there was wide support for passage of this new tax proposal, why on earth would they feel the need to spend some $45,000 of taxpayers’ money on a super slick sales pitch?
Mary Ann Mealey August 10, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Ken and Martha, thank you for your intelligent answers to my question.
Ken Mayes August 11, 2012 at 06:23 AM
Just a little factoid for all those that wish Wildomar had parks like Temecula. The sports park in Temecula was built by volunteers in the late 1970's early 1980's. Don't believe it check it out at http://www.ronaldreagansportspark.com/#!rrsp-history.
Martha L. Bridges August 11, 2012 at 01:05 PM
Hey Ken, This is a great link, and anyone truly interested in parks should view it and read the quote by President Reagan. The community was small back in the day, but those interested in having a park came together and built one. They didn't expect everyone to be taxed to do it.
Teller of Truth August 11, 2012 at 06:01 PM
Don't be so hypocritical when you write "coming together" about our community, when you advocate meetings that you don't even show up for. Do you know what a real hobby is? BTW, Ken is not a stupid man & knows some buttering up when he feels it. Rest assured that he is way too intelligent to be one of your minions.
Constant Comment August 11, 2012 at 08:31 PM
Marfa, your credibility here is in the toilet. Why don't you follow the "tweekers" lead and go comment on another areas Patch? Just a suggestion. }~)
Ken Mayes August 11, 2012 at 09:10 PM
Martha Stay strong. A quick couple of questions. How much money does the city have in its Quimby Fund of this how much was transferred from the county. I have looked all over the adopted budget and can find this number nowhere. I have also noticed in past council meeting minutes the city council has asked the Friends of Wildomar Parks for their books and all the council gets is excuses, but so far no books, any idea as to whats up with that.
Constant Comment August 11, 2012 at 09:38 PM
Ken, are you Marfas husband or relative of some kind? You've always been so good about answering any ones questions on here with your keen detective mind. Your knowledge of history is unparalleled. I've never seen you post a question that you weren't able to answer yourself. I guess I don't have to tell you about the 'private' messege boards that everyone has on their home page. Think you already know about that too! }~)
Martha L. Bridges August 12, 2012 at 12:33 AM
Ken, I'll be looking into your questions and getting back to you and everyone else. Please don't let the insults and attacks get to you - obviously certain comments are meant to discourage us from unearthing the truth. This is local politics at it's worse! Several of us are submitting public information requests and won't take no for an answer.
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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