November 22, 2011

If you want to find out more about what is happening in Temecula, please visit http://www.temeculasunshinereport.com


Summerhouse Approved

September 23, 2009

Summerhouse has been approved for low income housing.   The final vote was 5-0.

The chamber was about 70% filled with members of Rancho Community Church who all lined up to speak in favor of the project.  Those opposed mostly filled the bottom floor rooms and the room across the hall from the chamber out of sight from the Councilmembers and staff.

The attendance was huge but the public hearing dragged on until 2:30AM.

Most everybody left by 11:00PM.

If you were to take the total count, I would say that the ratio was 2:1 against Summerhouse but that is not what the Council saw.

As promised, the Mayor was able to “fill the chamber with supporters”.

For all that stood up and fought along side with us, thank you for your support.

If you decide “to turn the vote into a millstone to be slung around the necks of aye-voting council members in an upcoming election” (to quote the Californian), that is up to you.

Here is the VIDEO.

Preparing For Tuesday

September 18, 2009

No emails today.

Take the weekend to think long and hard about what you would like to say at Tuesday’s City Council Meeting.  The final vote for Bridge Housing’s presence in Temecula is here.

We need to tell the City Council once and for all that the Summerhouse project envisioned by Bridge Housing is not the vision we the residents have for Temecula. In order to do this, we need to bring precise, specific arguments. We can’t sink to the supporters’ expectations. They call us radicals, NIMBY’s, the “vocal minority”, and so many other names. It is time to put a stop to that with so many facts and well reasoned arguments that they cannot possibly complain. Leave the radical talk to them.

We need to ask questions on as many topics as possible. These can include crime, schools, area employment, public transportation, etc.

We have the commitment of two Councilmen that the questions will be answered before the vote. If too many questions are asked that cannot be sufficiently answered Tuesday night, they have only one choice. Uphold their commitment or go against it.

Remember, this is the project that the City Council vetted for five months.  Every possible question we could ask should have been answered long ago.  The public record should hold answers to all of these questions. It does not.  So now, we are at the vote, trying to get answers to five months worth of questions. They are voting on a contract, and can only be held to what is in the contract. Do not accept vague incomplete answers.  Do not accept answers about what they plan to do.  They should have thought about that already.

Go to it.

Summerhouse Public Hearing
Tuesday September 22,2009
City Council Chambers, City Hall
43200 Business Park Dr
Temecula, California 92589
Local: 951-694-6444
If you wish to speak out, please arrive at 6:30pm to fill out “request to speak” form for this agenda item.

Check back to this website.  There are still more surprises.

When Staff Takes Over City Hall

September 18, 2009

In today’s installment, we have emails from Temecula City Staff including Patrick Richardson , Director of Planning and Redevelopment, and Bob Johnson, Assistant City Manager.  But first, our disclaimer:

This document has been obtained through the Freedom of Information Act from City of Temecula Records and passed on to Stop Summerhouse.

The first EMAIL is Bob Johnson addressing the Mayor.  He recommends that City Council members not attend the public workshops because they will be “put on the spot and forced to respond to issues prior to the City Council meeting”.  He says staff will serve as a buffer by allowing the community to vent and accurately answering questions.  He said this because the Mayor would like nothing better than to jump in the middle of the Summerhouse issue. The Mayor states that she has been a “very happy passanger and cheerleader” for Summerhouse.   So staff is keeping the City Council from hearing the public’s concerns?  Who did we elect? Bob Johnson or Mayor Edwards?

The second EMAIL is Dan York, City Engineer, congratulating Bob Johnson on “pulling the rabbit out of the hat” after reading Johnson’s prepared speech for the August 27th Rescue Mission public workshop (where the application for the Rescue Mission was withdrawn).  It is interesting that any questions or concerns that staff had about Johnson’s statement should not be sent to the City Council in conformance with the Brown Act.  Why did he send it to them if they weren’t supposed to hear any follow up? What does “pulling the rabbit out of the hat” mean anyway? What are they congratulating themselves over?

The third EMAIL is from Patrick Richardson speaking to Shawn Nelson about the county withdrawing their $2.5 million contribution to Summerhouse at Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone’s direction.  This money was withdrawn with the Rescue Mission elimination.  Shawn comments that this had already been discussed, and that the Redevelopment Agency (RDA) is expected to kick in an additional $2.5 million to cover it (bringing the total to $8.7 million).  He also comments that the amount per unit spent is significantly less than on other previous projects.  Wow! That’s scary.  How much have they paid on previous projects for this to be less? More on that in the next email.

The last EMAIL again from Patrick Richardson confirms the pre-Rescue Mission withdrawal contribution to be $6,085,000 or $55,319 per unit.  The RDA has at that number a $2 million shortfall.  The solution to that problem is reducing the First Time Homebuyer’s Program by $1.4 million, the Residential Improvement Program by $200,000, and the RDA/Housing Consulting Services by $400,000.  Let me get this straight.  The city thinks providing low income housing is more important than helping place a new family in a home for the first time?  At $8.7 million the new city contribution, $79,090 per unit, the new shortfall is $4.7 million. What other community programs are being cut to facilitate the creation of 110 units at Summerhouse?

There is still more to come. Stay tuned.

Mike Naggar, The Councilman Who Listens

September 17, 2009

In today’s installment, we have emails from Councilman Naggar.  But first, our disclaimer:

This document has been obtained through the Freedom of Information Act from City of Temecula Records and passed on to Stop Summerhouse.

In our first EMAIL of the day, Councilman Mike Naggar asked Shawn Nelson, City Manager whether the BRIDGE project had been vetted enough before a contract was voted in.  This question was asked the day before the City Council voted.  He was the only one on record asking that question.  He also recognized the controversial nature of the project.

The second EMAIL was Naggar’s response to an email sent by “Carol” to the Mayor on August 12, the day after the vote.  “Carol” was upset over the Mayor’s statement after public comments were heard.  (If you want to hear the Mayor’s comments, THIS LINK will take you to the video on the City of Temecula Website.  Her comments begin at 1:38:00)  “Carol” told the Mayor that her lecture was a blatant abuse of her position.  Naggar told Shawn Nelson that some on the City Council have to watch how they behave, and that they gave the impression the project was a done deal.  He also said that the Council needs to remember it answers to the public, otherwise it is just a dog and pony show.

In the third EMAIL, Naggar asked the City Attorney, Peter Thorson, and Shawn to instruct the Mayor and Ron Roberts in proper communication through email.  This was one week after the first vote for BRIDGE.

A series of EMAILs follow between Naggar and Aaron Adams, Assistant City Manager.  The first email (on page 3) was sent soon after Naggar returned home from speaking with a group of protesters at the Summerhouse site on Saturday, August 22.  Naggar said that for the project to get his support, they would need the support of the community and that the opposition want answers before their representatives vote to approve it.  He said that was a fair request.  Aaron responded that he too saw the protest, but did not engage them.  He recognized that Naggar was listening with an objective ear, but went on to say that the protest was the same as the opposition to the hospital.  Naggar responded with a list of 18 excellent points, and that the people asking questions have valid concerns, and are not heartless or cruel.

The fifth EMAIL is Naggar responding to Jim Palmer, president of the Orange County Rescue Mission’s request for a private meeting.  Naggar responded that Palmer needs to take the facts to the public, and to bring a project with a ribbon, not a tempest.  Above his response are some interesting comments from city staff.

The final EMAIL is a similar request for a private meeting, this time made by Brad Wiblin, BRIDGE’s representative.  Naggar asked Shawn Nelson, City Manager, to handle BRIDGE for him, and asking him to find out what Wiblin wants.

Mike Naggar was the only City Council member to meet with protesters in a public location.  He patiently answered questions from several protesters, and remained composed.  He commited to see questions answered before he would vote on the project.  When the rest of the City Council was asked, Ron Roberts also made that commitment, but Naggar was the first.  Based on the emails above, Naggar is the City Council member who listens to the people.

Lots more to share, please check back tomorrow for more!

The Project That Never Should Have Been

September 15, 2009

In today’s installment, we have emails from Councilman Ron Roberts.  But first, our disclaimer:

This  document has been obtained through The Freedom of Information Act from City of Temecula Records and passed on to Stop Summerhouse.

Now that this is out of the way, here are THE EMAILS.

The first two pages of emails are an exchange between Ron Roberts and Assistant City Manager Aaron Adams.  These emails began immediately after the City Council Meeting on August 25th.

In the first email, Ron Roberts tells Aaron the opposition is getting stronger, not weaker with recall threats being added… He says that major mistakes were made from the beginning. He admits that little if any notification was given to the surrounding neighborhoods, staff ran ahead of the council, and the Summerhouse project never should have been. Roberts closes the email by saying “we did not look very good tonight, and I don’t like to be on the defensive”.

Aaron Adams responds that staff did not run ahead of the council, but worked diligently through the City Council subcommittee (which happens to consist of Ron Roberts and Chuck Washington).

Ron Roberts responds he is “an elected” and claims that senior staff told him the Summerhouse project would win the city awards.  He then says “you know what has actually happened”.

The last email (page 3) is a response to a request for a private meeting regarding Summerhouse made by Jim Palmer (president of the Orange County Rescue Mission) on August 26 at 11:06AM. This was Wednesday in between the City Council meeting on Tuesday and the withdrawal of the Rescue Mission application on Thursday.

Ron Roberts admits that there were numerous speakers against the project at Tuesday’s City Council Meeting , “it was ugly”, and not something the City Council has seen in years.  He then states that he does not want to say anymore as “the opposition is already requesting documents under the Freedom of Information Act”.

So the way to distribute facts and information about Summerhouse is to close off all communications that could be viewed by the public?

Tune in tomorrow to see what’s next.  As Ron Popeil used to say, “But wait, there’s more.”

Idea Of Being Unbiased

September 14, 2009
THIS EMAIL document has been obtained through The Freedom of Information Act from City of Temecula Records and passed on to Stop Summerhouse.
In the first part of this document, the Mayor is requesting that the City Attorney state in stronger language that she does not have a conflict of interest.  Perhaps she protests too much?
In the second part, the Mayor states that she wants to fill Council Chambers with supporters of Bridge and low income housing on Sept 8th and 22nd.  She also states that she is, on behalf of the city, fully committed to our partnership with Bridge.
Our opposition to the project is a “weed patch” for them to get past, according to the mayor.
Are these the statements of someone who is supposed to remain unbiased before all the facts are presented on Sept 22nd?

The Misinformed Mayor

September 14, 2009

This email document has been obtained through The Freedom of Information Act from City of Temecula Records and passed on to Stop Summerhouse.

There are many more so stay tuned.

THIS EMAIL is from Mayor Edwards to “Ron” dated August 14th discussing the Summerhouse project.  The notes included are ours.

In this email, the Mayor states that it is her “understanding  that the residents will not have vehicles”.  How are these people supposed to get to work?
The Mayor also mentions 4 elementary schools that are within “walking distance”.  We have included the actual distances according to Google Maps in the notes which differ from the Mayor’s distances.
The closest elementary schools on her list are Paloma Elementary and Abbey Reinke Elementary. Abbey Reinke Elementary is 1.4 miles away from Summerhouse and Paloma Elementary in 1.6 miles away.
For  Abbey Reinke Elementary,  the shortest distance would be for a child walk through the busy Albertson’s parking lot, go behind Home Depot to Campanula, cross Meadows which is busy with drivers traveling to Walmart, keep walking along Campanula, and cross De Portola to Leena Way. What parent in their right mind would allow an elementary school aged child to walk behind Home Depot and through the Albertson’s parking lot to go to and from school? The potential is very high for the child to be snatched by some creep.
For Paloma Elementary, the shortest and safest route would be for a child to walk along and cross Margarita, walk past Sparkman Alternative Education Center on Pio Pico, and continue north along Amarita until you reach the school.  Drivers travel Amarita at 40-45 mph.  Drivers tend to barrel down the Margarita hill through Pico Pico at 50 mph.
These are 8 year old kids she is talking about with parents that have no vehicles.
It should also be noted that the luxury condos across from Rancho Community Church are NOT LOW INCOME or “affordable housing”.
Is our mayor really this misinformed?

Chuck Washington Caught On Mike

September 9, 2009

Commenter Mike Richardson points out an exchange that takes place between Councilman Chuck Washington and Councilman Ron Roberts as the room clears from the Sept 8th City Council Meeting.

The exchange takes place starting at 01:17:40 on THIS VIDEO.

Washington: “You’re not going to make those people happy.”

Roberts:  “I know.”

Washington: “Whatever we put up (crosstalk). The only thing we could do is be strong as a group.  We’re not here to make those people happy.

Councilman Roberts,

I think you know what it is you have to do to make those people happy. You’re up for re-election in 2010.  Councilman Washington is not up until 2012.  You are more at risk at losing your seat than he is.

It is nice to know that Chuck Washington thinks that the Councilmembers are not there to make “those people” happy.  Perhaps it’s more important for him to make Bridge Housing happy than his own constituents?  The arrogance is incredible.

EDIT: This entire post has been emailed to Councilman Roberts exactly as shown here.  Any alterations, additions, and/or invectives to the email did not originate from Stop Summerhouse (since that’s the game “they” are playing now).

The “Loud Minority” Is Actually “The Majority” AND “Where’s The Study?”

September 9, 2009

So writes Aaron Claverie of The Californian:

Maybe they should be called the “loud majority.”

During Tuesday’s City Council meeting, supporters of plans to build 90 units of affordable housing at the northwest corner of Margarita and Dartolo roads called opponents of the proposed complex the “loud minority.”…

But when the final speaker had weighed in Tuesday night, it was the opponents of the proposed affordable housing complex who outnumbered the supporters.

The final tally was 13 people opposed and 11 people in favor.

The entire article is HERE.

Mr. Claverie must think this is some type of sporting event.  Nice article but he missed the “real story” that actually unfolded that night.

You can watch the video of the entire meeting HERE.  But pay close attention to the speaker in the video starting at 00:43:30.

The Temecula Redevelopment Agency (RDA) spent nearly $100,000 of community money over a 9 month period on studies for Summerhouse.  According to Patrick Richardson of the RDA, this study shows no negative impacts. Patrick Richardson actually stated that this study showed that crime would decrease, surrounding property values would increase, and that traffic at that intersection would also improve if this project were to be finished.

Guess what?  There is no independent report or study!

So what did the Redevelopment Agency spend $100,000 on? Why isn’t this the story in The Californian or The Press Enterprise? The documents have been pulled and are organized for the taking and not one reporter in the room was interested in this juicy tidbit.