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Murrieta’s Rezoning Creates a Buyer Beware Situation
Imagine buying a dream home in a quiet rural neighborhood and then finding out that the city had rezoned the property to commercial and no new single family residential development will be permitted on the property. All residential use is now considered “nonconforming” to the new zone that does not allow single family residential use.
The Title company did not find it in their search and the County will not check the zoning status of the property until after it is sold. Worse, now that you own a commercial lot, the County can reassess to the market value of commercial property.
That is the situation for many parcels in Murrieta that were rezoned under the five year review of the General Plan. The single family homes were built legally and under County “conforming” status for zoning at the time - before cityhood. Soon after cityhood the land was rezoned to mixed-use which allowed for residential use and business use on the same parcel. The single family homes could be converted to multifamily if the second unit was attached and a detached building could be built as well for a wide variety of commercial uses including residential use for a caretaker or employee. All was good.
But last year, the current council, current staff and city manager decided to take a walk of the neighborhood and came up with a new vision - high density housing and Research Park zoning that is intended to eliminate all single family housing from Hawthorne to Ivy Street on the east side of Adams Ave. This affects approximately twenty property owners with single family homes on a half acre to 3 acre parcels of land. They not only lost market value in the homes they built but in the flexibility of business use that could have been attractive to a wide variety of self-employed buyers.
And for the neighbors on the west side of Adams, this means high density apartments and condos will affect their market values in the future. Buyer beware indeed.
Plus, now these property owners are finding out that if their home is vacant in excess of 180 days, as has been reported for one rental property, that structure is now in a state of “Loss of Nonconforming Status” (development code section 16.32.050). The loss of nonconforming status means the owner is no longer “grandfathered” for continued use as a single family residence.
How is the city enforcing the code? How is the city protecting a future buyer with full disclosure before escrow closes? The Bugle is still awaiting answers from city hall at press time.
What does Research Park mean? The city created a special violet color code on their zoning map for it but they don’t actually have a document defining its use. The Bugle still awaits a formal document that answers this question.
In the interest of good government, the council should reconsider their vote and restore mixed-use here.
Illegal Labor - Costs v. Benefits of Our Open Border Policy
Why are Americans strapped with non-enforcement of our labor laws when it comes to illegal hiring of undocumented workers? What possible rationale do politicians and bureaucrats use to reconcile an expenditure of $383.3 billion in services and suppressed American wages per year for an open border policy?
To understand the rationale you first need to examine the three prominent industries that are known to hire undocumented workers. Then examine the cost versus benefit of looking the other way while American tradesmen lose their jobs. It is not the hospitality industry where dozens of chain restaurants and hotels are known to hire illegal labor. Nor is it the agriculture industry since there are an unlimited number of visas available for farm workers. The major industry that is served financially is the construction industry. Here’s why.
Developer gross profit margin (PM) is calculated as sales price minus subcontratror bids. PM as reported to the SEC for public traded companies such as DR Horton, a national housing developer, rose from 20% in 2002 to 30% in 2007, during the housing boom. In 2012, DR Horton’s PM is reported as 19.77%. Compare this PM to the rule of thumb of less than 6% that Dunn & Bradstreet reports as guidelines across service, manufacturing, distribution and retail industries. Then compare these profit margins to your 401k managed investment with an expected ROI of 8% in the long term. Whether you run a business legally or put your money to work in legal investments, you would never expect a 20% profit every year for over ten years.
According to data from the US Dept of Commerce, the average national sales price per housing unit rose from $180,000 to $300,000 over the ten year period from Jan 1998 to December 2007 and housing starts averaged 20,400,000 per year nationally over this period (that’s over 20 million units or 1,718 units per month forten years).
Now take the $338.3 billion per year in government costs for illegal alien services and we have an average cost per housing unit of $16,583 - which is minor compared to the developer’s profits. At a 25% profit margin, the developer’s profit is $45,000 for a unit that sold for $180,000 and $75,000 profit for a unit that sold for $300,000. At a generous 10% PM, such as with American labor, the profit is reduced to $18,000 and $30,000 per unit respectively. Greed indeed is a powerful motive!
President Reagan gave the illegals amnesty in the 80s and continued to look the other way while more cheap labor flooded the market. Why? Protect their base! Amnesty also gave the “legal ones” the hiring connections that led to the majority of lost jobs for American tradesmen in this industry - post 1985. It is time to stop blaming illegals who come for jobs and then need services such as food assistance, Medicaid, and education for their children. Employers and the politicians on both sides of the aisle who exploited the system at the expense of American labor are to blame.
A Consequence of Pro-Life
The pro-life movement has created consequences that gets little media or political attention these days. What happens, later in life, to the developmentally challenged offspring of older parents?
Sarah Palin, a pro-choice Republican, once told the story of speaking to her husband after hearing the results of her amniocentesis, a procedure that is only conducted when abortion is an agreeable option [hence our evidence that Palin is pro-choice], and asking him, “Why did this happen to us?” As a woman of faith, one would expect her to know the answer. People of faith understand that intelligent design was not a random big boom event and that our bodies do have limitations. Fortunately, humans are also blessed with the ability to reason and to make choices. Palin’s choice was to carry the fetus to full term but only after consulting with the family and being assured she would have the support to care for her developmentally challenged child. Not only does the Palin family have a large network of family members, they also have sufficient financial resources to take on the responsibility.
Far too many parents in Palin’s situation these days are subjected to societal pressure to make a choice that they are not equipped to handle, with either the required financial or human resources. The consequences of their decision can lead to a growing need across the nation for society to find and fund the care of many adults with disabilities. Whether these individuals have outlived their biological parents or have just become too much of a burden for older parents to care for, they are in need of loving homes and mentors.
This is just one type of situation that can result in a need for foster care of mentally or developmentally challenged individuals. There are also needs for mentors of adults, children and adolescents with emotional or behavioral challenges, children with medically complex needs, people who have sustained brain injuries and court involved youth.
The MENTOR Network, a national organization, has a California MENTOR office in Rancho Cucamonga that is looking for mentors in our area. What is a Mentor? Mentors are independent contractors who open their hearts and their homes to care for someone in need. As an independent contractor you can stay home while receiving payment for services. With the support of a specialized team of health and human service professionals, Mentors become trusted guides, tutors and advocates for the individuals with whom they live. This special relationship between the Mentor and the individual provides the structure and support for development, growth and change — in a natural setting.
What type of care is involved? The services Mentors provide are specifically tailored to meet the needs of the individuals with whom they live. The actual level of support, supervision and active assistance varies, depending on the needs of each individual. This flexible approach has enabled The MENTOR Network to help thousands of people lead fulfilling lives in the community.
To become a Mentor, you must be at least 21 years of age and have: A demonstrated commitment to make a difference in someone’s life • Access to reliable transportation • An additional separate bedroom • A Background check
For more information on local needs, please see the California MENTOR ad in this issue of The Bugle and give them a call for more information.
The Family Budget and the 9-9-9 Plan
• Ending Payroll Tax completely – Candidate Cain calls it “a permanent holiday!”
Social Security (FICA tax) is one payroll tax that Republicans would dearly love to see end. An employer today pays half of the tax (6.2 % on low wages and a regressive percentage as total wages in the company increases). The employee pays the other half. For a family earning $60,000, that’s an increase for the family budget of $4,030. For earnings of $106,800 or more the employee saves $6,622. Of course when you retire you can’t expect benefits. And that’s just for the retirement side of Social Security. The permanent holiday on payroll taxes will also end your insignificant 1.45% for Medicare too. Businesses will benefit slightly by not paying FUTA-federal unemployment compensation tax. Now that you see your savings, and loss of benefits, let’s look at your increased costs. • Individual Flat Tax – 9% and this is on gross income less charitable deductions.
No exemptions, no deductions except to keep the money flowing into the pockets of the non-taxpaying, non-profit businesses with highly paid directors and staff that includes organizations such as United Way, Churches, Cancer, Heart, Lung Societies, etc. Without exemptions and deductions, the average family will have an increase in their net income tax cost. For most of our readers, the current tax rate is only 10%-15% for income after you subtract all of your deductions. Compare it to 9% of your W-2 earnings without deductions and see for yourself. • National Sales Tax – 9%.
Now that’s a big one. A deal killer for the majority of voters who are living on a fixed income. Cain thinks this added tax is getting “the Fair Tax off the sidelines and into the game”. Is it fair that you will now pay an additional tax on everything you buy including food? Remember this is in addition to the state, county and local sales tax that you are currently paying. What about the other tax dollars that are eliminated? • Zero Capital Gains Tax and Zero Death Tax.
You don’t benefit much from a zero death tax if you use probate avoidance strategies. Also, shelters and strategic timing for the sale of stock minimizes the capital gains tax. • Zero tax on dividends.
Is your stock paying much in dividends? Many people only pay tax on these earnings as ordinary income. • Business Flat Tax – 9% on gross income less all investments, all purchases from other businesses and all dividends paid to shareholders.
This is a huge benefit for large corporations but not you. And as we have seen in every case where we gave tax breaks to the wealthy expecting job creation, we were sorely disappointed.
The Publisher Wrote: “And as we have seen in every case where we gave tax breaks to the wealthy expecting job creation, we were sorely disappointed.”
Public Comment: Job creation is, in fact, the historically-demonstrated outcome of tax breaks.
Publisher’s Response: Unfortunately, this is not true. Read “Secrets of the Temple” and look back to the true story on President Reagan’s days in the White House. Reagan was furious that the Federal Reserve Chairman (Volker) would not lower interest rates when Reagan was “trying to stimulate the economy with tax breaks”. Poor people had to create jobs for themselves and at very high interest rates (13%). Unemployment in Riverside County was 14% back in the early 80s. The wealthy didn’t create jobs with the tax breaks because of the low risk, high interest returns by just keeping their money in the bank. People, middle and low income people, had equity in their homes and gambled it all as collateral to start a business. They created the jobs. The Bush tax break scene is a different story because there is no equity in homes to get a bank loan even though interest rates are low. No job creation with the $800 billion in Bush tax cuts over the past ten years and here we are again at 14% unemployment in Riverside County while the tax break money is either spent on job creation out of the country or hoarded in the bank or on who knows what. The wealthy are not the majority of job creators anymore because America is not living in the industrial age as when this paradigm was true. Everyone agrees that small business is the job creator in America these days and small businesses are not created by wealthy people today.
Just as in Reagan’s era, jobs are created by middle class people who have no meaningful job opportunities.
Public Comment: People are looking for a visionary leader. Cain’s plan just needs a little tweaking.
Publisher’s Response: If either Party really wanted to create jobs they would use the tax breaks to pay for performance. Since most people agree that we have too many government jobs already, except for teachers, we should give the tax break money to those in the private sector who create net job growth in America and vouchers to hire more science and math teachers. Try to find a visionary, on either side of the aisle, that understands that!
Public Comment: Regarding Publisher's rejection of misinformation submitted from a reader on probate law. Other newspapers let people give their opinion in Letters without censorship. I am sure you know what the Hallmark of censorship indicates.
Publisher’s Response: I do my best to assure those in the community who want to have a voice are given one and I also do my best to assure accuracy. Key word is accuracy. Accuracy is the Hallmark of Intelligence. I do understand that the staff at many daily newspapers which you are used to reading, do not assure accuracy in Letters or Opinion Columns. They don’t even assure accuracy of the content of their reporters!
It’s Pay Back Time - California Passes Controversial Dream Act
It’s pay back time. For over 40 years, since Reagan was Governor of California, Republicans and Democrats alike looked the other way on illegal immigration as both sides of the aisle protected their base. One side of the aisle claiming to be sympathetic to the plight of the poor Mexican and the other side paving the road with gold for employers who exploited the laborers who worked in our construction and hospitality industries.
President Reagan was the first to give amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants while millions more continued to cross the border for jobs and President Bush punished severely two Border Patrol agents who shot one illegal border crosser, a drug smuggler, in the butt. Motives don’t get any clearer than that.
Now the children of those immigrants who worked in our hotels, restaurants, and building industry, often without protection of OSHA standards or labor laws, will reap back some of the tax dollars that the state of California earned from the high profits of those unscrupulous and greedy business owners. Whatever the dream, whatever the talent, the immigrant families will be paid back with whatever form of financial assistance their children desire from approximately $3,000 for vocational training to about $12,000 for a high priced university education. In total, the cost of the government grants is expected to be in the neighborhood of $40 million. That’s a pay back from California coffers of about $1 million a year for the past 40 years. Twice that would be a small price to pay, wouldn’t you say?
Social Security is Not an Entitlement-It is a Trust Fund!
If you are still a registered Democrat or Republican, shame on you. The two party system is broken and they are trying to break you too in spirit and in security with their shenanigans. Did you know that the government debt for the Social Security Trust Fund is 18% of the total national debt? In June 2011, this debt, your retirement savings (FICA taxes) plus interest on the “special issue” government bonds was $2.5 trillion, earning 4.22% with an 8-year maturity date. By law, payment of both principal and interest is “guaranteed” however by law Social Security is also supposed to be solvent for 75 years into the future. Based on current projections, FICA income and debt payments will only last until 2035.
Fear tactics are being played by both sides of the aisle. The worst is the politician’s plan to “wean” the young off of Social Security by claiming they will never collect their benefits. A private program for their investment is the proposed solution. Uh, huh. You bet. Transfer the debt to their friends on Wall Street. Does this plan seem like a sham to you? The politicians know they cannot be blamed when these non-guaranteed “investments” lose value. All they need to do is scare the young enough to make it happen.
Are there any better solutions? Of course. Like start earning more money. For starters, put people back to work with Performance Grants paid for by rescinding the Bush tax cuts (See my July Editorial). Adjust the Social Security formula sooner rather than later and stop implementing exemptions like they did last year that cut self-employment FICA tax by 2% and exempted employers from paying FICA tax on certain “qualified employees”. Maybe it is also time to eliminate the exemption from FICA tax on wages above a certain threshold ($107,000 this year). Everyone can pay FICA taxes all year and on 100% of their earnings just as the majority of workers in this country do. Medicare Hospital Insurance is paid with employee taxes that go into a separate Trust Fund.
Entitlements are handouts that have no correlation to money earned by the recipients, such as welfare. Medicare and Social Security are NOT entitlements.
What Citizens Can Do To Get Jobs Created and Improve the Economy
Voter registration numbers speak volumes about your impatience with our depressed economy. Since neither side of the aisle is serious about job creation, and they won’t be as long as voters keep sending the wrong message, registered Republicans and Democrats alike have only one choice left. Change your party affiliation with the Registrar of Voters. It doesn’t matter if you choose to register Independent or Decline to State. The Party will get the message. Spread the word!!!
Not fed up enough yet? Consider this. Democrats and Republicans have had the ability to create jobs with “Performance Grant” incentives for over three years. Instead they kept the Bush tax cuts alive. There is nothing wrong with giving to the rich IF they in turn keep our economy moving with job creation during periods of high unemployment. However they have failed miserably and both sides of the aisle share in the blame.
And don’t believe the fallacy that you never get a job from a poor person - a Fox News favorite. Millions of people who are considered poor by government standards have their retirement savings tied up in the stock of large corporations. They are therefore “poor” and owners of those businesses. Mom and Pop small businesses also hire employees as well as start-up companies where a desperate, out of work neighbor has mortgaged everything he or she owns to try to make it in this economy. Yes, even poor people create jobs.
Rich and poor alike would create jobs IF Performance Grants were offered. Where would the Performance Grant money come from? Rescind the Bush tax cuts on the top 2% of of the richest among us and we would have an additional $800 billion in federal revenue for the next ten years. That is $80 billion per year. What could $80 billion buy in the first year alone? Two million, “$40,000 Performance Grants”. That’s two million jobs tomorrow.
About six months ago Fox News anchor Cavuto interviewed California Congressman Garamendi (D) who had a similar approach. The problem was this congressman limited his idea to only government jobs, specifically the hiring of teachers with the revenue taken back from the richest among us. Of course that gave Cavuto plenty of protect the rich agruments such as: “The same kind of teachers we have now, because they’re not quite all up to snuff?” and “But I know how this goes. Money that is targeted to go to something else ends up going still somewhere else. And you guys have a poor track record at allocating funds to even your most heartfelt wishes.” Ref:http://www.foxnews.com/on-air/your-world-cavuto/transcript/democrat-offering-alternative-tax-cut-deal
If you go online to read the whole interview yourself you will find a discrepancy between my number of $80 billion in the first year and Garamendi’s $40 billion estimate. Since my estimate is what has been cited in many financial reports and is conservative based on the $1.3 trillion federal revenue loss reported since Bush first passed the tax cut law ten years ago, $800 billion over the next ten years is a highly confident estimate.
Private sector Performance Grants could put two million people to work in a New York minute and you have the power to get their attention. If you only would!
In defense of teachers, of which I became one among them this year, I noticed that it is students who need incentives before they apply themselves. Our country is not giving our students much of a future to look forward to when every ten years we have a recession and high unemployment even for those with a college degree. Performance Grants could also apply to critical need government jobs, such as teaching, if the teacher was given the Performance Grant voucher to take to their HR administrator when hired.
We cannot wait for 2012. The Bush tax cuts on the top 2% of the richest among us means restroring their rate from today’s 35% to 39.6%. This tax break needs to be rescinded now with the revenue given to any employer that will create net job growth. The rich can benefit and get their money back IF they create jobs with it!
Turning the economy around is that easy. Sit back and hang on to your Party affiliation and your Party will keep pointing fingers while our economy continues to decline. “If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.”
Do nothing and you get the government you deserve.
Nancy Knight, Publisher, Distribution of this Editorial is approved and highly recommended.
County Corruption - Claims and Evidence
Former District Attorney Rod Pacheco issued a statement on December 27, 2010 regarding the lawsuit he filed in Riverside Superior Court on December 10, 2010. The lawsuit was filed over a personnel dispute when Pacheco was unable to process his request to hire employees to fill vacant and funded positions in his department.
The Introduction section of the court document filed on December 30 entitled “Reply in Support of Ex Parte Application for Alternative Writ” states that after the lawsuit was filed the Respondents (the Board of Supervisors, the Executive Officer and Human Resources) agreed to process the personnel changes that Pacheco had requested and now concede that vacant positions existed for eight of the attorneys and for one of the demoted employees at the time Pacheco requested these hires.
The Introduction also cites that “In an effort to deflect attention from their own egregious conduct, Respondents engage in a smear campaign in their Opposition, contending that the Petitioner [DA Pacheco] “fabricated” budget numbers and “pressured” Eric Woolery, the Deputy Director of District Attorney Administration for the District Attorney’s Office, into presenting an “inaccurate” budget to the Board. In bold the document goes on ... none of this is true and in fact, Mr. Woolery has now recanted the statements in his declaration to that effect.
The players in the statement issued by DA Pacheco regarding that declaration by Mr. Woolery are identified as Executive Officer - Bill Luna, Mr. Jay Orr (Luna’s assistant), Mr. Horst (one of the two employees who agreed to a voluntary demotion to take a new position with the DA’s office), Deputy Director Woolery, and Mr. Zellerbach (former Judge elected in November to replace DA Pacheco).
The statement by Pacheco states: “It is evident from the declarations we have submitted today and the admissions by Mr. Woolery, that Mr. Orr called Mr. Woolery over to the county building to intimidate, coerce, and force him to sign an exceedingly misleading declaration. After reading the declaration prepared at Orr’s request, and presumably at the CEO’s request as well, Mr. Woolery refused to sign it. When he refused Mr. Orr’s coercion Luna entered the room and attempted to force Mr. Woolery to sign it also. Again he refused to sign in spite of their continued intimidation. At that point Mr. Zellerbach, a sitting judge and soon to be Mr. Woolery’s new boss entered the room. He then instructed Mr. Woolery to sign the document. At this critical juncture in Mr. Woolery’s future, and that of his wife and two small children, he capitulated.... Mr. Zellerbach has been very public, particularly to DA personnel in several highly controversial meetings that he intends to terminate both ‘at-will’ and civil service employees from our office. His statements have created a ‘climate of terror’ and have caused many high ranking prosecutors, victim service personnel, and others to seek employment elsewhere even before Mr. Zellerbach takes office.... Mr. Zellerbach’s threats against DA personnel can only be ‘justified’ if he succeeds in ‘creating’ a budget deficit. Then and only then can he ‘layoff’ personnel.”
Based on the “Declaration of William E. Mitchell”, Chief Assistant District Attorney in Riverside County, he states he is aware of and involved in the issues and circumstances underlying the legal proceedings in the writ. He states that on or about December 22 he learned the County had issued a press release that stated that Eric Woolery had filed a declaration contending that he had been asked to revise budget projections several times and turn a projected deficit into a surplus. When Mr. Mitchell asked Mr. Woolery if this was true, Mr. Woolery replied, “They made me do it. I had to.” Mr. Mitchell then asked, “Do what?” and Mr. Woolery responded, “Sign a declaration about the budget.”
On December 23, Mr. Woolery told Mr. Mitchell that his declaration was prepared by Respondents’ counsel and executed in the County Executive Office in the Administration Building. Mr. Woolery told Mr. Mitchell that he initially refused to sign a declaration prepared for him despite direct requests by Bill Luna and Jay Orr. After he refused, DA-elect Paul Zellerbach came into the office and when he responded to the question about how he would feel about Mr. Woolery executing the declaration, Mr. Zellerbach responded, “It would be a good thing. I would like it.” Mr. Woolery then said as a result “he felt a tremendous amount of pressure to sign the declaration because Mr. Zellerbach would soon be his boss.”
In the court document entitled “Petitioner’s Reply” it was cited that the Office of the District Attorney was under budget $1.2 million at the time of Pacheco’s personnel requests and if all of the requested personnel changes had been processed, the DA’s Office would still have been $600,000 under budget. The figures were based on the final First Quarter Budget for 2011 as prepared by Mr. Woolery and closely reviewed and confirmed accurate by Assistant DA Kelly Keenan. The final budget, which reflected the likelihood that certain employees would leave the DA’s Office through attrition and accounted for savings from grants and County furlough policies, was submitted to Respondents in October 2010. The Board never questioned any of the figures or asked anyone at the DA’s Office for clarification regarding the report. It was also cited that the improper interference of the Respondents violated the principles of separation of power and caused the DA’s Office to lose two qualified employees who chose to find other employment, rather than continue to suffer Respondents’ abuse of authority.
In the Court document entitled “Declaration of Kelly Keenan” it is cited that on December 10, 2010 Mr. Woolery came to Keenan’s office. Mr. Woolery told Keenan he was worried about District Attorney-Elect Zellerbach and said, “I’m in self preservation mode now”. Keenan retired effective December 10, 2010.
Respondents, in their Opposition brief, contended that the Budget was falsified by Eric Woolery, who believed that his supervisors “required him to modify the quarterly budget to inaccurately state that the Office had a surplus”. In the Declaration of Mr. Mitchell, he closes with a statement that the Respondent’s Opposition was a contrived response that attempted to shift blame for the legal proceedings to DA Pacheco rather than on Respondents’ “apparent politically motivated ‘hide the ball’ tactics and refusal to properly do their jobs.”
Pacheco says, “It is unfortunate that a simple process accepted across our county has been manipulated to serve Mr. Luna and Mr. Orr’s personal and political agenda. Tragically their behavior has become commonplace. It is negative behavior of which I have registered numerous complaints about in private to their managers the Board of Supervisors. I am aware of many other complaints from department heads and personnel about Mr. Luna’s and Mr. Orr’s lack of ethics. My concerns, formerly private, have now become public as their vindictive behavior has increased in severity. Their unethical behavior has spread like a cancer through the county since the CEO’s elevation and that of his assistant.
Mr. Luna’s constant refrain early in his tenure that he intended to “layoff 1,000 county employees” due to financial constraints rang false when he buried a huge pay raise for himself in an 88 page document.
Mr. Orr previously worked in the DA’s Office and ironically was responsible for our administration, which included millions of dollars in revenues our office received from state government and their agencies for various prosecutions, such as insurance fraud. These revenues are significant to our office and dependent on operation staff documenting on payroll documents the time they spend on various prosecutions. These payroll documents were exclusively gathered and submitted by Mr. Orr and his administrative staff to various state agencies typically under penalty of perjury. In December 2002, I was told by individuals within and outside Mr. Orr’s division that operation personnel who provided these functions were being coerced and intimidated to sign false payroll claims at Mr. Orr’s direction through his immediate subordinate. I called a meeting and invited Mr. Orr’s subordinate to respond to the many complaints. She refused to appear. Mr. Orr’s treatment of Mr. Woolery is remarkably identical to his past actions and is the type of behavior not now countenanced in our office, but is apparently welcome in the CEO’s office. [Mr. Pacheco was elected to the DA’s Office in 2006 and Mr. Orr left the DA’s Office shortly thereafter].
On December 30, Pecheco filed to dismiss the action without prejudice upon proof that Respondent has taken the appropriate actions to resolve the personnel changes in issue.
From the Publisher:
Time will tell if the Board continues to move to clean up these and other incidents of county corruption.
Supervisor Benoit made an issue of Registrar Dunmore’s late reporting of absentee votes on election night in November 2010. Dismissal of Registrar Dunmore followed in December 2010.
It was a good start at cleaning up a long history of election mishaps including electronic voting cartridges that took four hours to get to Riverside on election night - in more than one election - with the accepted excuse “we got lost”.
As a former candidate for the Republican Nomination to the State Assembly in 2006, I witnessed a preponderance of evidence of election fraud in that election. I still await a response from Supervisor Benoit, who endorsed Kevin Jeffries in that race, regarding a fair refund for my costs (over $2000) for a Ballot Statement that was not mailed to voters and for information on the 17 electronic voting cartridges that turned up ‘missing’ in that election. Supervisor Benoit has also not responded to my request to rescind the county’s practice of choosing not to abide in the Secretary of States’ alphabet draw for ballot position - a separate draw that placed Jeffries first on the ballot.
Jeffries is notoriously identified as the politician who took a bribe to betray the citizens of Murrieta in a deal offered by Dan Stephenson of Rancon in 2005 that earned Jeffries the personal support of Stephenson for election to the State Assembly in 2006.
Benoit was appointed County Supervisor when Wilson retired. Benoit’s son was elected to the Wildomar City Council in November 2010.
Liberty Quarry - Where’s The Water? Including J.B. Hudson’s Big Picture Analysis
It has been projected that nearly 30,000 gallons of water per hour will be needed for Liberty Quarry operations. What water company is expected to provide that much water and at whose expense?
Liberty Quarry watchdogs noted that, Granite Construction, Inc., faced with this same inquiry in the past, had responded with some “lawyer-slippery” language to the effect that adequate and reasonable steps had been taken to obtain supply contracts for the water from “appropriate sources.” Appropriate sources turned out to be Western Municipal Water, according to the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) and as confirmed by a recent 4-1 vote of Western’s directors. The DEIR cited Western would provide a maximum of 369 acre-feet per year (26,368 gallons per hr., 16 hours per day, 285 days per yr.). The report also states “... approximately 70 to 80 percent of the water needed for Proposed Project operations will be recycled from the onsite settling ponds and concrete plant wash out. The balance of the water needs of the Proposed Project would be supplied by Western. After accounting for onsite reuse and recycling, it is anticipated that the Proposed Project will have a peak water demand of 398 acft/ yr (Kiser, 2008), which would generally be allocated to the following use categories: • Dust control, personal use, tire washing, and landscaping • Portland cement concrete production • Washing aggregate. Within these categories, the water supplied by Western would be used for washing crushed rock, concrete production, tire washing, and dust control throughout the Plant Area, on roads, and in active operational areas.” According to the report, existing roads and easements are available to pipe the water to the quarry.
As is customary with politicians who pander to the needs of big business campaign contributors, ultimately the public pays the price for growth and profits. We have seen this happen many times when elected officials approve Community Facilities District (CFD) bond financing. Homeowners in the area of the CFD bear the burden of bond payments in property tax assessments for roads, infrastructure and sometimes even school facilities.
On December 23, 2010 the Riverside County Planning Department announced the Final EIR could be delayed three to six months. Are they having difficulty mitigating environmental impacts or is the strategy of an “understanding” under way?
Analysis of the Big Picture By attorney J. B. Hudson of Fallbrook
“The entire matter of the “Liberty Quarry” has now – through the investigative efforts of such persons as Phil Strickland, Paul Jacobs, myself, Fred Bartz and Nancy Knight – exposed the “main play” which is actually under way for exactly what it is: a grand-scale, “Master Regional Development” plan for the creation of a major, massive and decades-requiring (and vastly profitable) construction project infrastructure complex, stretching from the City of Riverside down south over the main routes of Highway I-215 and Highway I-15 to its southernmost “tip” in Temecula. Where, so the planning goes, it would terminate at the “construction materials providing ‘supply depot’” of the “Liberty Quarry.” Its official name, as we all now know, is “The I-215 Economic Corridor Development” Project, and you may find its details upon its own website – sponsored, in turn, by the “MTG Group” (a/k/a the “Murrieta Temecula Group”), a loosely knit group of self-appointed “business growth and construction industry promoting” “professionals” up in the general Murrieta area.
This entire “Master Regional Development” plan has been conceived over the past several years, and is spearheaded by – logically enough – the Founder and Chairman of the RANCON Group of Companies, Daniel L. Stephenson. Mr. Stephenson, however, inadvertently allowed his position to be revealed when his name was found to have been included on a letter dated October 26, 2009, sent by the “MTG Group” directly to the then Mayor of Temecula, Temecula City Councilwoman Maryann Edwards, stating the “unanimous” support of the Members of the “MTG Group” for the “Liberty Quarry.” That done – and the letter having been discovered by the joint investigative efforts of Phil Strickland and Paul Jacobs – the true “Big Picture Play” was brought out into the open, [in the Californian] for all to see.
Public scrutiny then began to turn onto Mr. Stephenson, including, uncomfortably enough, his “entangling economic alliances” with at least three (3) elected Members of the Temecula City Council, and quite possibly with a fourth Member. Only Councilwoman Maryann Edwards was possibly outside of this “infected circle of the – if not guilty - ‘economically compromised’.” As a result of Mr. Stephenson’s de facto control over the actions of the Temecula City Council, the Temecula City Council, while uttering many boldsounding words, and while being transparently deceived, “toyed with” and endlessly and repeatedly delayed in its “Open Space” annexation efforts by the Riverside County Local Area Formation Commission (a/k/a the “RC LAFCO”) never – NEVER – voted to order the Temecula City Counsel, Peter M. Thorson, Esq. to take appropriate challenging actions in the California courts against the illegal actions which were committed against it by the RC LAFCO. Or, for that matter, against Granite Construction, Inc., which was openly seen to be acting collusively and complicitly in illegal coordination with the RC LAFCO, effectively and indefinitely stalling the City of Temecula from taking its legally available defensive actions. And this was done – and successfully done - in order to rapidly expedite, as quickly as possible, the approval of Granite Construction, Inc.’s Surface Mining Permit Application which was simultaneously and independently pending before both the Department of Planning and the Board of Supervisors of the County of Riverside. And so we now stand, as Mr. Biddle [quarry opponent residing in Temecula] has put it, “at one minute to Midnight.”
I would suggest that this situation – which is looking the City of Temecula and the Greater Temecula Valley “immediately and squarely in the eyes,” and which is poised for the very, very near-term and decisive vote of the Riverside County Board of Supervisors – is the major issue at hand. Not haggling with local “flacks” and “spear carriers” for the “Liberty Quarry”. This process of “thrust and counterthrust,” of “thrust and parry” – while secondarily necessary – is not – not – the main issue at all. It is, if you will, if anything, a form of distracted and distracting “fiddling while Rome burns.”
Mr. Daniel L. Stephenson, as a result of the newly emerged public sense of – and knowledge of – the actual “Big Picture Play” which is in operation – and which has been in operation for a number of years – has now been placed into the position of having to step, as it were, down to the “front center stage,” and to make a public statement in the press ([Californian] November 10, 2010) to the effect that, in his “considered judgment” the “Liberty Quarry” would not be best located in the midst of The City of Temecula. Either this is a highly deceptive and cynical move by Mr. Stephenson of the first magnitude, or he actually means it. In order for him to actually mean it, however, that means that Granite Construction, Inc. – which, by its own calculations, stands to make a consolidated net operating profit of some Two to Three Billion Dollars over the “Project Life” of the proposed “Liberty Quarry” - will have to have been somehow mollified – or, in cruder language, “bought off” – into “giving up” on the “Liberty Quarry” Project.
We will only know the truth of this matter when the vote is taken by the 5-Member Riverside County Board of Supervisors. If they (the RC Board of Supervisors) vote to approve the “Quarry,” then there will have been a massive and cynical betrayal of the Greater Temecula Valley by Mr. Stephenson and his RANCON Group of Companies, who will, as the saying has it, have been “talking out of both sides of their mouths.” If this approval should happen, however, it will then be the moment of “the acid test” for the City Council of the City of Temecula. It – or they – will then have to show their “true colors,” and either challenge the approving vote in the California Superior Court by instructing their City Attorney to do so, or not. If they do not so mount such a challenge, then they will have revealed exactly what their true natures will have been, and exactly whose real interests they will have served.
If they (the RC Board of Supervisors) vote to deny the “Quarry,” then – aside from all due credit being given to the continuing public expressions of outrage and opposition – the raw economics will strongly indicate that an “understanding” will have been appropriately reached with Granite Construction, Inc., guaranteeing them their otherwise lost profit from other supply contracts, relating to other-located sources of aggregate materials. In that circumstance, Mr. Stephenson could continue in his “benevolent” role as “The Father of Temecula” and of “The Inland Empire,” Granite Construction, Inc. would still get its profit, and Mr. Stephenson and his building industry colleagues on the “I-215 Economic Corridor Development” Project will proceed to become as additionally wealthy as they can possibly – or impossibly - dream.
As the saying has it: “We shall see.” We should all bear it closely in mind, and not be distracted by the petty squabbling in the press.”
Murrieta Passes Measures C, D, E.
Limits placed on Council Terms, Staff Salaries and Benefits
Congratulations Murrieta. Your first step - on the road to recovery - was admittance.
If you open the November issue at www.thebugle.net you will find a front page story about downgrading zoning in a west side Murrieta neighborhood. Two councilmembers appear to be duped by the highly paid City Manager and his Planning Dept. staff. Passage of Measures C, D and E by a supermajority vote clearly was an indictment by the voters in staff’s corrupt practices.
Imagine owning rural residential property and establishing a home that you have lived in for over 30 years being downgraded from a mix of residential and commercial development to Garden Office zoning. Current residents are grandfathered for their current use but when they sell it, if they could sell it, the buyer cannot live in the home - it will no longer be zoned for mixed use that allows residences. The buyer would have to use the home as an office or bulldoze the property for office development. That is the currently proposed best possible use for the area according to the city manager.
The hidden motive is that the city has run out of inventory and in order to justify a huge Planning Department they need to find land that they can rezone and The Bugle’s investigation revealed they have a Murrieta insider who wants the land on the east side of Adams Ave. between Ivy and Hawthorne and apparently they want it cheap. You can’t get more worthless than with a Garden Office zoning on individual half acre to 1.5 acre parcels.
Term limits will bring fresh blood and maybe in time rid Murrieta of their long standing corrupt practices that finally culminated in a 2005 Recall Measure. Unfortunately, Dan Stephenson of Rancon, raised over a half million dollars to oppose the Recall Measure and only one councilmember was ousted. One can only wonder if that councilmember, former Mayor Jack vanHaaster, could have been spared his felony conviction if he had been given the benefit of full-disclosure and honest advice from city staff. Staff that is, and has been, complicit in City Hall corruption does not deserve taxpayer paid salaries and benefits in excess of $200k per year.
The Bush expired tax breaks on the wealthy can create net job growth
Performance Grants are the best way to increase jobs in this type of economic downturn. Tax cuts merely rely on faith that if people are allowed to keep their money they will invest in job creation. If you are among the unemployed, I am sure you see the error in this faith-based mentality. So, aside from relying on hope, how can Performance Grants be used as the incentive to create net job growth?
Let’s look at the numbers. It was revealed in October that the expired tax cuts will generate $800 billion dollars in federal revenue over the next ten years. That’s $80 billion per year that could be given back to business owners, not as a tax break, but as an incentive to hire new employees and keep existing ones. That is how “net” jobs are defined. At $80 billion per year, that is a Performance Grant equivalent of $40,000 for 2 million private sector jobs per year for the next ten years. That’s two million shoppers back in our economy in a New York minute that will create a domino effect for more jobs in all sectors of the economy.
For those who remember Reaganomics and studied the frustration President Reagan had with Federal Reserve Chairman Volcker, who refused to lower interest rates in the recession of the early 80s, you know the Reagan tax cuts did not stimulate economic recovery. Reagan’s tax cuts enabled the wealthy to reap high yield, low risk, interest rate rewards. Why risk increased production when you are guaranteed a 12% return on your money just by keeping it in the bank? Based on our experience in Riverside County, small businesses did spring up here not because of tax breaks but because people who were out of work had equity in their homes and they were desperate enough to sign off all of their collateral to the bank in exchange for a high interest loan to start a business. Yes poor people do start businesses, contrary to what you hear on Fox News, and poor people do create jobs. In those days unemployment in Riverside County was over 14%.
Today there is no equity in homes. There is no collateral to give a bank in exchange for a loan even though interest rates are low. We can no longer hope businesses in the $250,000 income tax bracket and above will invest their tax savings in business expansion. Neither side of the aisle has a plan on how to bring us out of this Great Recession. Somewhere in the middle of faith and public assistance is where we find the answer. The government needs to invest in job creation. If the numbers are true, and I believe they are conservative, Performance Grants for those businesses willing to add new employees and keep existing ones is the answer.
Anarchy Disguised As Religion
The greatest concern for our freedom of religion rights stems from the use of the First Amendment to the Constitution as a ruse to circumvent the laws of the United States. There are at least two government agencies in America that have the ability and authority to deprive any church from hiding behind the freedom of religion right when that church has been found guilty of anarchy. Anarchy is the result of a cult or religion that allows or protects behaviors that conflict with the laws of the United States. Good government would not allow anarchy to be tolerated as a freedom of religion right.
One of the punishments available from the highest level of government authority, the federal government, is loss of a church’s non-profit status. This punishment is severe enough to have sweeping behavior reform in all religious orders in the United States.
For example, the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has not allowed the practice of polygamy since 1890. If their church had continued the practice of polygamy, when our laws forbid it, their church would be acting in a social state of anarchy with total disregard for government authority.
Another more current issue is the one of predominantly homosexual pedophilia by priests who were reported and then protected by the highest level of their administration. Quote from the 2005 Ferns Report: “A culture of secrecy and fear of scandal that led bishops to place the interests of the Catholic Church ahead of the safety of children”. In 2005, Pope Benedict was personally accused in a lawsuit of conspiring to cover up the molestation of three boys in Texas. He sought and obtained immunity from prosecution as head of state of the Holy See. Corrupt self-serving concealment is a prime example of when a church, rather than an individual diocese or branch, should lose its non-profit status.
By comparison, municipal governments have the authority to disapprove or revoke an individual church’s building or occupancy permit. In this instance, it is the individual branch of a church that is held accountable for the actions of its clergy. An example reported to The Bugle by a parishioner of Temecula’s St. Catherine of Alexandria a few months ago is their priest shouting out “Viva Mexico,” and encouraging the congregation to respond in kind (Letters Feb. 2010). Then there is the Los Angeles diocese that openly supports protection of undocumented aliens.
Other examples in current news are the proposed mosque in Temecula and the proposed mosque at Ground Zero in New York. Any leader of the Islamic religion, that wishes to practice in the United States, is practicing a social state of anarchy when they refuse to denounce Sharia law or denounce Hamas. Newt Gingrich explains it this way. “... Sharia does not support religious liberty; it treats non-Muslims as inferior and does not accord them the same protections as Muslims. In these and other instances, sharia is explicitly at odds with core American and Western values... Thus, the radical Islamist effort to impose sharia worldwide is a direct threat to all those who believe in the freedoms maintained by our constitutional system.”
Concerned American Citizens (CAC) has expressed opposition to the building of the proposed mosque on Nicolas Road in Temecula. CAC claims that the mosque supports Sharia law, which is not consistent with -- and holds itself superior to -- the Constitution of the United States. Plus Hamas has been classified as a terrorist organization by the U.S. and other countries and yet the Imam refuses to publicly agree with our nation on this point. CAC leader Mano Bakh stated: “Your active participation as an American is needed to place our demand on city officials to educate themselves and perform more due diligence to ensure the safety of citizens in the community.”
The Temecula City Council would be doing their due diligence by encouraging a formal statement from the Imam that he supports the U. S. Constitution and the laws of the United States as SUPREME for his congregation. If not, denial of a permit for a mosque whose leader supports a social state of anarchy is a logical and prudent government decision.
It is time to end weakness in the U.S. for all religions that are proven corrupt. No more deception, immunity, and anarchy under the cover of religion!
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Comments and Publisher's Response.
1. Dear Ms. Knight, I found your October essay (editorial) compelling and thought-provoking. Several years ago I questioned the tax exempt status of Jehovah's Witness. They do not vote or salute the American flag. It would seem reasonable that a "religion" receiving favorable tax status would embrace the host country. If a ballot proposition was introduced voiding Kingdom Hall's tax-exempt status, one wonders how quickly the Witnesses would turn to flag-waving-voting citizens.
2. Christian churches have increasingly become political and should lose their tax-free status for becoming PACs.
3. "Anarchy disguised as religion" Nancy, that sounds a little scary to me.
4. Biblical laws or those of other religious books are -- and should remain -- irrelevant to the laws of our land.
5. If the Tea Party can revolt against our own government, isn't that closer to anarchy than ancient text?
6. Where was all this concern for the Islamization of America from 2002-2008?
7. To say that Islam preaches terrorism is as erroneous as saying Catholicism preaches pedophilia.
8. I don't know what you mean by " being weak at the dais and in the courts?" The courts are inefficient, but not weak.
9. I think mixing trying to legislate what is acceptable within religious doctrine is dangerous to a country that embraces freedom.
3. & 5. Yes anarchy is scary. Anarchy is when the law is not followed. Immigration anarchy is a real and current example in today's world. The Tea Party folks are trying to bring law and order back to America. This is not a revolt against our government, a government of "we the people". So no I would disagree that the tea party movement is anarchy.
6. The Islam religion is welcome here just as any other religion. That is our law. I don't think we heard too much about sharia law taking precedence over our laws until recently with so many domestic violence cases making their way to court. Maybe the TV just didn't cover those stories about Muslim home life in America before 2008. Children leaving home and seeking protection in a Christian family. Wives being beaten and husbands claiming his right to do so. Daughters being murdered by their father for falling in love with other than his choice for them. All any American should want any religious order to do when they set up a church in our community or anywhere else in this country is to hold our laws supreme.
7. Terrorism was not mentioned in my Editorial however, when leadership in any religious order will not denounce illegal practices they are in effect "preaching" it is okay with us.
8. Our courts need to stop allowing the excuse that a Pope has immunity from prosecution just the same as our courts should stop considering the excuse of sharia law in domestic abuse cases. Being weak at the dais is when the Council, in the case of the Temecula mosque, is afraid to ask the Imam to publicly state he holds the law of our land as supreme for his congregation before he is given a building permit. His congregation needs to know he does not support sharia and that they will be protected from any sharia style of abuse they left their homeland for when they immigrated to America or married a Muslim or as an American, born and raised, have decided to join this religious order
9.We have freedoms but they are specific and do not mean we are free to disobey the law of the land. People are free to worship whatever god they choose. We cannot allow a religion to make a mockery of our laws however. If we do a new cult could spring up and claim anything in order to circumvent our laws for their congregation. Anarchy disguised as religion is a behavior that is human in nature. In the wise words of W.C. Fields when asked if he read the Bible he said, "Only to look for the loopholes."
Identifying a "Keeper" Incumbent"
In today’s political climate there is a real challenge in knowing whether to boot out all of the incumbents or if there may be a few “keepers”. The Bugle does not endorse candidates, however, as publisher with over 30 years of residency in southwest Riverside County, I do have first hand experience and stories to share on two incumbents in this November’s election that will give you insight on how to identify an incumbent that is a “keeper”.
A keeper incumbent is one whose actions prove they work for their constituents. A keeper is not one who is only gifted in giving you the appearance of serving you when their actions only result in lip service. That is a politician! I especially recommend that you boot out the ones whose actions can be proven to you to be self-serving and corrupt.
The “Boot Him Out” story was told to you in full detail last month, complete with photos, personal testimony on my interviews, and a very revealing document on this incumbent’s rise from a Water Board Director to the State Assembly by way of a quid-pro-quo agreement with a wealthy developer who had all the necessary connections to ensure a successful campaign in 2006. That incumbent is Assemblyman Jeffries (www.thebugle.net click Archives, then select August 2010).
Loyal Republican party groupy mentality prevents any competition in the Primary elections and so Jeffries was the only Republican choice in both 2008 and again this year. The Republican Central Committee is well informed on Jeffries’ past and had ample opportunity to displace this corrupt politician but instead of a Republican choice for Assembly in the 2010 Primary, four Republicans chose to compete for the termed-out Senate seat of Dennis Hollingsworth. Supervisor Stone won the Primary for that seat.
As a side note, the wealthy developer in Jeffries’ story has reaped rewards far beyond his investment in Kevin Jeffries’ 2006 campaign. Assemblyman Jeffries chose to open his taxpayer paid lease for a local office in the Rancon building.
I know our readers are smart enough to investigate the facts, connect the dots, and will vote their conscience and not just vote on Party lines - but you need to do more. You need to share this story with everyone you know. Word needs to spread and it needs to spread fast into north San Diego County and into north Riverside County. Direct people to our website to see and read the evidence for themselves. Make copies of the pages and distribute them at every club meeting and in your neighborhood. Local Republicans will never be able to hold their heads high again if they keep rewarding corruption. Plus this Assembly seat is only a two-year term. The Republican Central Committee will have two years to find an honest, morally upright candidate for your vote in 2012.
Our “keeper” incumbent story is about a candidate with many challengers for her seat on the Western Municipal Water Board. Her story began when the local water company office manager had been contacted for a copy of a permit for proper abandonment of a well where condos were being built. Claiming he had no permit on file, he sent residents to the County who in-turn sent residents back to the office manager. Newly elected Director, Brenda Dennstedt, was contacted to help ensure that our water supply was not compromised by bulldozing the well. Brenda drove to my office and together we drove to the construction site. The supervisor said they did have a permit and Brenda returned to the local office and found it herself in the files and provided The Bugle with a copy. The second time Dennstedt served her constituents was when Adams Ave. was under construction for cement curbs and sidewalks. Water pipes had been broken twice during construction and on one occasion the sidewalk had to be broken apart to repair the pipes on two meters that had been relocated out of the dirt shoulder and into the cement sidewalk. This would be a very expensive repair for the homeowners if the pipes broke again after the road construction crew left the job. Residents asked the water company engineer to order the meters to be moved out of the cement - like all the other meters on their street. He refused. Director Dennstedt was contacted and immediately arrived at the site with a Murrieta Councilman in tow. Together they had the water meters moved out of the sidewalk.
These two examples of a water board member who serves her constituents with effective action proves worth as an incumbent. Jeffries, on the other hand, is an incumbent that brings nothing but lip service and shame to all Republicans who expect strong moral ethics from their representatives.
Corruption, on both sides of the aisle, should not be tolerated. Sometimes you have to vote outside your own Party line.
Assemblyman Jeffries is more than just "An Expensive Failure"
Three short months and there will be another election with Kevin Jeffries on the ballot for his third two-year term in the State Assembly. As our readers have been identified as of high caliber in intelligence and character, we give you a challenge to spread the word that this politician does not deserve the vote of the people of the 66th Assembly District.
Remember the huge billboard with the “Expensive Failure” message that the firefighters paid for to try to convince voters not to vote for Assemblyman Jeffries a second term in 2008? (see photo on the front page of our August 2010 issue). How expensive is he? Over $115,000 a year + perks. Their billboard campaign failed to boot Jeffries out but the firefighters kept watch and in April 2009, through their Small Contributor PAC, raised enough funds to send a mailer to many district voters asking “Are you tired of... selfish politicians, false promises and gridlock caused by nonsensical partisan bickering? ... If so, send Kevin Jeffries a Pink Slip.” The firefighters exposed Jeffries who had created three different PACs to advance his own career “with his politics before people ideas”.
The firefighters are well aware of Kevin Jeffries long history of fooling the voters. In his 2006 campaign for State Assembly, with no work experience to list for his occupation, vocation or profession, he tried to claim he was a “firefighter” for his ballot designation. Volunteer work is not allowed to be listed for a ballot designation but worse, his poor performance as even a volunteer was not taken lightly by local firefighters who heard of his attempt to degrade the hard work and education they go through to earn their place in their proud profession. As a result, the California Department of Forestry successfully sued Jeffries stating they could not stand for voter deception.
Jeffries had to change his ballot designation and chose to be listed as a businessman that year. Some business man! Kevin collects the rent from commercial property that his mother inherited. Kevin’s lack of education, experience or qualifications was apparent when he didn’t even try to put together a 250 word candidate statement to be published in the Sample Ballot that the Registrar mailed to voters that year.
Jeffries was the incumbent and the only Republican on the ballot in 2008, as it will be again this November. In a highly Republican district, Jeffries is certain to win again unless Republicans will finally stand tall and boot out corruption in their party.The most compelling evidence honest Republicans may need to spread the word is Jeffries’ highly publicized history of taking a bribe to advance his political ambition. The Hobbs Act (18 U.S.C.A. §1951 ) makes it a felony for a public official to extort property under color of office. Trading campaign contributions for promises of official actions is also prohibited under the act. The quid pro quo story follows.
Dan Stephenson of Rancon raised over a half million dollars to oppose the 2005 Murrieta Recall Measure against a three-member voting block that included the now convicted felon, former Mayor Jack vanHaaster. But that was not enough for Stephenson in this highly Republican Party affiliated city. Stephenson wanted the Republican Party to endorse opposition of the recall. Jeffries was the elected chairman of the Riverside County Republican Party and the elected director of the Western Municipal Water District who saw an opportunity to advance his political career.
In an interview with Stephenson, he admitted it took four phone calls to Jeffries before Kevin finally agreed to allow the Riverside County Republican Party to be used in a propaganda letter opposing the Murrieta Recall Measure - but there was a quid pro quo condition. Stephenson said he told Jeffries, “If you do this for us, I will support your campaign”. Keep in mind these calls were made before anyone is allowed to declare candidacy for the 2006 Republican Primary for State Assembly. On page 9 in this month’s online newspaper you can read the widely circulated “campaign support” letter that is signed by Stephenson on Rancon Group letterhead.
As added insight into Jeffries’ character, he did not step up to the plate like a man and sign the Riverside County Republican Party propaganda piece himself. He used his office subordinate, Dave Everett, for the deception. Then on the night of the 2005 Murrieta Recall Special Election, Jeffries and Tom Rogers (of Senator Hollingsworth’s office) monitored the recall results at the Registrar’s office in Riverside. They told The Bugle that Everett was young and was pressured by Stephenson’s consultants to sign the letter. Jeffries added that since Dave Everett was an employee, the matter “would be handled in executive session”.
As a Riverside County voter, your executive session will be held on November 2, 2010. Spread the word if corruption in local politics is not how you want your community to be represented. “If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.”
Political Disclosure Evasion - Knight vs Knight Compared
Or is the DA’s office participating in public intimidation?
Note: Nancy Knight, Bugle publisher and author of this Editorial, is not related to either Michel Knight or Vick Knight. A call from the DA’s office is encouraged as documentation and testimony are available to support the DA’s efforts in equal treatment under the law.
“Any attempt to mislead the voters by violating the law will be aggressively investigated and prosecuted by this office,” said District Attorney Rod Pacheco after the arrest of Michel Knight, a Temecula resident who supported the recall of Lake Elsinore Councilmember Buckley. The DA’s quote is highly suspect and public opinion is that the case against Michel Knight is pure and simple public intimidation intended to discourage any attempt to recall elected officials in Riverside County.
The DA’s office and the mainstream press has made a spectacle of Michel Knight and since August 2009, Knight and a few of his employees at Trevi Entertainment Center were investigated by the District Attorney’s Office for their involvement in the recall measure. It was alleged that Knight committed numerous illegal acts. The recall failed with only a 14% voter turnout which raises another question. How many ballots were stolen in that election?
Remember back in 2005 when the public tried to recall a three member voting block in Murrieta? Dan Stephenson of Rancon bragged about raising a half-million dollars to oppose that recall and even bribed Kevin Jeffries to get the Republican Party to oppose the recall. Did they find that it is cheaper to intimidate the public in order to discourage any future recall measures?
Knight has been charged by the District Attorney’s Office with conspiracy to commit perjury, conspiracy to file false documents, conspiracy to violate campaign disclosure requirements, perjury, filing false documents and violating campaign disclosure requirements. On May 20, Michel Knight, 49, was arrested about 9:40 a.m. outside his Temecula home. Investigators then drove him to Riverside where he was booked at the Robert Presley Detention Center. For what? He apparently filed his personal campaign expenditure document a few weeks late! The election was held on February 23, 2010 and two days later Knight filed his Form 461 showing $14,528 in expenditures related to the recall. Few individuals who spend their hard earned money on political campaigns know anything about the Fair Political Practices Forms or their due dates. Knight’s form was due on January 31, 2010.
Compare Michel Knight’s case to Vick Knight who was elected many times to the Lake Elsinore School Board and then decided to upgrade his political position by running for the Riverside County Board of Education. About six years ago, when Vick Knight was first elected to the Riverside County Board of Education, that election was selected at random for audit by the Fair Political Practices Commission. Was Vick Knight audited? No. Why not? He never filed ANY financial disclosure documents. Without documents there is nothing available to audit. In fact the Registrar’s office looked and claimed Vick Knight had no documents on file for any of his past campaigns.
Evasion and complicity are suspected here. Every political candidate is well versed in the law for campaign disclosure and filing deadlines. The Registrar and city clerks make sure of it. In the race for County Board of Education, Vick Knight received the endorsement of the Lake Elsinore Teachers Union earning him a $1000 campaign contribution. Where was the money deposited? There was even a slate mailer that misspelled Vick’s name and the printing company was requested to refund the money charged. Where is the campaign checkbook register? No one will ever know since the DA’s office is not investigating this long time political hack.That raises suspicion about the sincerity of the DA’s opening quote printed in this editorial. Is Vick Knight a well-connected Republican who is above the law in the DA’s eyes?
Getting back to Michel Knight’s case, there does appear to be reasonable doubt that there was any intent at wrongdoing. Michel Knight did file a document that shows he personally supported the recall and one of his former employees did file proper papers to establish a committee to support the recall. When a committee is formed to oppose or support a candidate or measure, a Fair Political Practices Commission Form 460 must be filed with the city clerk if expenditures are expected to exceed $1000. The investigation showed that a then-employee of Trevi Entertainment, Enelida Caron, was listed as forming the recall measure committee and served as its treasurer. The form listed a single contribution of $1,500 for the use of office space under the name of a Trevi employee and the investigation showed that the payment for the office space was made by Trevi Entertainment, a business entity. If Trevi is a corporation, any tax attorney will tell you that the business is considered a separate individual that should not be confused with a person. Forms were submitted to the Lake Elsinore city clerk and signed under penalty of perjury.
The DA’s office is claiming that Knight and Caron conspired to conceal Knight’s involvement in the recall effort and conspired to commit perjury by willfully failing to disclose Knight’s monetary contributions on the Committee’s Form 460. Again it was the business, according to the DA’s office, not Michel Knight personally, that made the contribution for office space to the committee and Michel Knight did file Form 461 for his personal expenditures to support the recall. The case against Michel Knight is being prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Tim Cross of the Public Integrity Unit. Will we see an investigation and arrest made against Vick Knight, Dan Stephenson and/or Kevin Jeffries? Or is this case strictly a matter of public intimidation?
Impact of Governor’s Appointment of Senator Benoit to County Supervisor, December 2009
Electing a New Senator
The 37th Senate District is now vacant due to the appointment of Senator Benoit to the position of County Board of Supervisors, District 4, formerly held by Roy Wilson who resigned shortly before his death in October.
Because Riverside County does not have its own charter, which may have allowed for another method to fill the vacated supervisorial position, the Governor was mandated to fill the vacancy by appointment. As a General Law County, Government Code 25060 states: “Whenever a vacancy occurs in any board of supervisors, the Governor shall fill the vacancy”.
The cost to county taxpayers for the Governor’s rush, not well thought out, and financially irresponsible appointment of Benoit effective November 4, 2009 would have been in excess of $2 million ($1.2 million for the Special Primary Election where all Party affiliated candidates compete for their Party’s registered voter nomination, and that same amount again for the Special General Election where each Party’s nominated candidate faces off to win the Senate seat). Approximately 500,000 voters reside in the 37th State Senate District. Election expenses increase with the number of voters in a district with costs dependent on the number of polling places, the number of poll workers and their training, the printing and mailing of Sample Ballots and Official Ballots, etc.
The assumption in the scenario above is that no candidate in the Primary would receive a majority vote (50% +1 regardless of how many candidates run) which would automatically elect that person to the Senate at the Primary level and avoid the cost of the Special General Election. The Governor’s decision to appoint Benoit is considered financially irresponsible as he had many other highly qualified choices for appointment to this short-term Supervisorial position. For example, former legislators Bonnie Garcia or Russ Bogh who Benoit challenged in 2008 for the Republican nomination to the Senate seat. Benoit’s self-serving motive for the appointment is clearly to run for the Supervisor in six months as the incumbent to a position that has no term limits and pays a higher salary than the Senate seat.
When Benoit rescinded his Senate resignation with postponement until November 30, it effectively pushed the Special Primary Election to fill his vacancy out sufficiently to fall under the special rule that if a statewide election falls within 180 days, then the Special General Election will be consolidated with the other planned measures and elected offices on the statewide ballot - saving the taxpayers a portion of the total projected cost of $2.4 million. The Special Primary election to fill the vacated Senate seat will now be held on April 13, 2010 at a cost of $1.2 million. Then if no Party affiliated candidate wins a majority vote, the consolidated election to fill the Senate seat will be held on June 8, 2010.As you can see, these costs which are significant at this time due to decreased county revenue for public safety and other services, could have been avoided if Senator Benoit had kept his Senate seat and ran a fair campaign for County Supervisor along with everyone else in just six months.
Election for County Supervisors
Three non-partisan county supervisor districts come up for election on June 8, 2010. The incumbents on the ballot will be Tavaglione from District 2, Ashley from District 5 and Benoit from District 4 (all Republicans). They each must beat their competition with a majority vote of 50%+1 on June 8 or run another campaign to win the seat in November 2010. The more candidates that sign up to run for the Supervisor seat in the June 8 Primary, the more difficult it becomes for any candidate in a district to take the 50% +1 majority votes. Incumbents have a distinct advantage when there are only two candidates running for a particular office but as the number of challengers increases, the votes become diluted giving everyone a potential second chance to run in the November 2010 election. The new term of office will begin on January 1, 2011 and run through December 31, 2014. The salary is $140,000 per year plus two offices with paid staff and lots of opportunity to reward family and friends with perks. This is THE coveted elected office in the County.
Impact of Supervisor Ashley’s Recall
A Recall Measure is planned to remove Ashley from office if enough signatures can be gathered before the deadline of March 31, 2010. The Committee Supporting the Recall of Supervisor Ashley has a goal to save the the taxpayers the expense of a Special Election by turning in signatures early enough to qualify for consolidation of the Recall with the June 8, 2010 Primary at a projected cost of only about 17 cents per registered voter ($25,000).
They will need a lot of volunteers in Ashley’s district to be circulators of the Petitions but if they are successful in getting the recall on the June 8 ballot and if Ashley is recalled, the successor candidate with the highest votes would serve the remainder of Ashley’s term which expires on December 31, 2010.
Political pundits claim that it is doubtful Ashley could be recalled in the June 8 Primary and also win a majority vote to secure his position on the Board for the new supervisorial term beginning January 2011. However remote this scenario sounds, consider that only 10% of the voters in his district will be needed to sign the Petition to Recall and while they will also no doubt vote to recall him, that is less than half the historical voter turnout. Secondly, even in these hard economic times, the special interests that control who profits in this county and who does not will be pushing to fill Ashley’s campaign war chest.
Regardless of whether the recall makes it to the ballot or not, the majority of voters will be targeted with a massive campaign for a 50%+1 vote to reelect Ashley on June 8. To avoid this scenario, one very strong candidate will need to run against Ashley on June 8 and take the 50%+1 vote or a lot of candidates need to run to dilute the vote and force Ashley to compete again in the November 2010 election where the winner will serve through December 2014. This is a Recall to watch.
Topic: Immigration Issues and American Jobs
Your Chamber of Commerce and the Displacement of Americans in Jobs
How do local Chamber of Commerce membership dues help America’s job creation for illegal immigrants?
As of this writing, all local Chambers contribute membership dues to support the lobbying efforts of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce except two. The two Chambers that are not contributing members at this time are The Wildomar Chamber of Commerce and the Southwest California Chamber of Commerce.
The following lobbying effort for the 111th Congress, that runs from Jan 3, 2009 to Jan 3, 2011, was taken from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce website:
Throughout our history, the dreams and hard work of immigrants have been a driving force behind America’s success as a strong, prosperous nation. We needthe continued contributions of these immigrants to grow and remain competitive.
For the 111th Congress, the Chamber will:
• Continue to push for comprehensive immigration reform that: increases security; has an earned pathway to legalization for undocumented workers already contributing to our economy, provided that they are law-abiding and prepared to embrace the obligations and values of our society; creates a carefully monitored guest or essential worker program to fill the growing gaps in America’s workforce recognizing that, in some cases, permanent immigrants will be needed to fill these gaps and refrains from unduly burdening employers with worker verification systems that are underfunded or unworkable.
• Urge Congress and the administration to address delays, backlogs, and disruptions in our immigration and border management systems that impede the movement of legitimate cargo and travelers across U.S. borders.
• Ensure the continuity and expansion of H-1B, L-1, and EB visas for professionals and highly valued workers.
• Lobby for reform to enable seasonal and small businesses to continue to use theH-2B temporary visa.
The Wildomar Chamber of Commerce was contacted to inquire as to why they have not joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the short answer was it is expensive. They may join at some time in the future.
“The quick and easy answer is that the board of directors and I want to have a Chamber that addresses and adapts to the ever growing needs of our regional community and not just to the political winds of each particular city. We are one of the fastest growing regions in the country and we should use our ever growing strength to promote our local businesses and region. This Regional Chamber will seek to continuously and effectively promote its members through business promoting activities, an exclusive relationship with the Bugle, and the Chamber’s web-based directory and promotion. While socializing may be a focus of many groups, the Chamber’s mission is to promote existing businesses, small and large, while seeking to attract new businesses in a responsible manner. The Regional Chamber shall accept NO political contributions, NO money from cities, and will NOT pay any of its officers a salary. We want to ensure that the dues are used to promote businesses, not to simply pay administrators.”
Dues then, according to the SWCCC, would not be appropriately used for lobbying Congress. This Chamber also does not place pressure on its members for fundraising. Fundraising is a necessity for many local Chambers to keep up with the expense of lobbying efforts at the State and Federal level.Comment at
Topic: Liberty Quarry,February 2009
Temecula City Council Applies for Annexation of Southwest Hills
Gary Johnson, Granite Construction’s project manager on the proposed andhighly contested Liberty Quarry, stated in a press release on December 8, 2008 that “Ignoring private-property rights seemed like a key theme during the Planning Commission hearing Nov. 19 in Temecula... “What was most shocking that night”, he added, “was the blatant willingness to ignore the fact that sixproperty owners... within the annexation area oppose the city’s effort to annex their land. In that same press release Johnson cited that staff had not consulted with property owners prior to the hearing. Furthermore his remarks regarding the definition of a “taking” of property rights is misleading.
Firstly, back room deals in staff offices “aka consultation” is frowned upon by the public so I applaud Temecula staff for not meeting independently with any of the property owners. Additionally, in a 1988 “Message to the People of California”, Attorney General Van de Kamp cited a 100 year old case as follows: “Since at least Roman times, governments have had some role in regulating land use... In the most important early California environmental case a federal court prohibited the continuation of the placer mining industry because of the damage the mining caused. (Woodruff v. North Bloomfield Gravel Min. Co. (1884) 18 F. 753.)”
Environmental Law and the courts have clearly defined “What is a Taking”. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution says that private property shall not be taken for public use without justcompensation. Many legal challenges have made their way to the Supreme Court where in 1980 in Agins v. Tiburon the court said “The application of a general zoning law to a particular property effects a taking if the ordinance does notsubstantially advance legitimate state interests, or denies an owner economically viable use of his land.”
Economically viable use. What does that mean? A case in New York in 1978 made it quite clear that “a mere diminution in value does not prove a taking, there must be an actual deprivation of alleconomically viable uses”. Then in 1987it was further clarified in a case involving coal mining... the government maysometimes prohibit all economic use of property without being liable for damages if that is necessary to protect the public health and safety.”
In the southwest hills situation,and contrary to what many Friends of Liberty Quarry may think, property owner rights clearly favors the hundreds ofthousands of valley residents who have a much larger investment in property than a few hundred undeveloped acres. In fact, the Sierra Club recently gave Senator Hollingsworth a perfect score of zeropercent on their scorecard for voting against their legislative agenda 100 % of the time. Hollingsworth, an outspoken “property rights” advocate, supports Granite’s Liberty Quarry. The Sierra Club opposes the project. Hollingsworth said he is “proud to have been recognized for opposing the Sierra Club’s agenda”. Maybe it is time for our elected officials tounderstand the law before the people elect them to become lawmakers.
Honorable Mayor Maryann Edwards commented on her views, rationale and support for annexation. “If handled improperly, annexations can result in a negative impact to the applicant municipalities - as far as costs for services - hence the reason for [Local Agency Formation Commission] LAFCO. But because of the way this annexation would be structured, the cost to provide services, even with the maximum number of residences allowed, would still result in a net gain in revenue for the city. Revenue would be realized from the city’s share of property tax and funds from the CSD (Community Services District).”/p>
For example, Temecula projected that under existing conditions (6 units with a population of 19) General Fund revenue would be $24,000 plus CSD funds of $2,000. The costs of $8,000 would result in a net gain to the city. By comparison, 68 units with a population of 220 wouldprovide $272,000 in General Fundrevenue plus $20,000 from the CSD with expenses projected to be only $86,000.
Mayor Edwards said, “Two things were key in my decision making process. 1) public safety must remain the toppriority, and 2) personal property rights must be protected for property owners who wish to build or expand. If we could not have provided for those two items, I would have had grave concerns about the feasibility of a possible annexation of that area.” She added, “If you are considering costs associated with a wildfire, there are no added costs to the city. The city, county, and state participate in reciprocal services at no increased cost to themunicipalities. So Cal Fire would simply continue to provide the same wildfiresupport services at no cost to the city.Our ratio of one police officer for every +/- 920 residents would not be negatively affected by adding 6 - 81 homes, and our park rangers and Citizens Action Patrolmembers would simply take in theannexation area.”
Edwards explained, “Once I wasconvinced that we could preserve that open space per our 1993 General Plan while protecting public safety and private property rights for the residents, it came down to the matter of the will of thepeople and local control. Government that is closest to the people is better suited to determine the will of those people. Over the course of the past two years, Temecula’s people have spoken by the thousands, demonstrating their desire to preserve that area as pristine hills - just as we have preserved the recentlypurchased 69 acres to the west and the 200+ acres bordering Roripaugh Ranch and the Johnson Preserve. All thingsconsidered, it was a clear decision for me.”
The public debate will continue as Riverside County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO)conducts its own public hearings and case review - which is projected to be sometime in April. Will local control prevail in how these 4,997 southwest acres are managed or will the Riverside Board of Supervisors, comprised of elected officials from as far away as Riverside, Moreno Valley, and Banning, decide the issue of the Liberty Quarry project? If Temecula’s financial projections are correct, LAFCO should vote to approve annexation with noreservations. That would be a welcome relief to the thousands of residents that have mounted a highly successfulgrassroots campaign to protect their lifestyle, property values and health. Temecula’s annexation applicationspecifically prohibits mining operations in that area so a timely end to the battle is finally within the resident’s reach.
Senator Dennis Hollingsworth wants votes on this issue. Go to his website at:http://cssrc.us/web/36/contact_us.aspx Fill in your name and address (only his constituents can vote) then at “select an issue” click Liberty Quarry. The question is what will Hollingsworth do with the results? Comment at