Archive for August, 2009

Obvious Corruption!!

August 30, 2009

This post comes from  commenter Craig Edmunds.

Obvious Corruption!

After talking with Bridge representatives, the level of corruption is even deeper than I thought. The Bridge representatives said that they had been contracted by the city to build 90 low-cost units.

However, the 90 units are a done deal, and will be built regardless of the citizen’s wishes. Thank you, Mayor Edwards, and the Temecula City Council, city planner, and all others who attempted to quietly push this through and evidently were successful.

I also learned that Bridge was building the 90 units at a cost of $3 million. However, why did Mayor Edwards and Riverside County’s Jeff Stone pledge $2.3 to $2.5 million of public funds to RCC/Temecula Murrieta Rescue Mission (the mission is a shell organization of RCC) over four months ago? The Bridge representatives indicated that RCC/TMRM planned on using someone within their organization to build the units “at cost” with “sweat labor.” HOW CAN BRIDGE MAKE A PROFIT BUILDING 90 UNITS WITH $3 MILLION AND RCC/TMRM CAN ONLY “BREAK EVEN” BUILDING ONLY 20 UNITS — some of which are already partially constructed — FOR $2.3 to $2.5 MILLION?

Members of RCC, the mayor, and city council members claim that this is “charitable,” and I would have to agree. However, who is receiving the millions of dollars of charity? RCC, the mayor (who attends RCC), Jeff Stone, the city council (who have not answered my questions regarding their affiliation with RCC or TMRC?

There needs to be an official investigation — criminal or otherwise — to find out why/how a city government can even pledge this kind of money to religious institutions — especially those with whom they have close ties. Recall? Yes. Voted out of office? Yes. Unethical / illegal appropriation of public funds cannot / should not be tolerated by anyone, regardless of how “charitable, caring, and compassionate” they claim to be.

Now that TMRM has pulled out of the deal, it is our understanding that the low income housing by Bridge has to be restructured and then re-approved by the City Council on Sept 22nd.  Bridge is going to be holding their public forum “sales pitch” on Sept 10th.

As far as a recall and voting them out of office, that’s up to the citizens.

Summerhouse Transitional Housing Is Dead

August 28, 2009

The Temecula Murrieta Rescue Mission withdrew their application.

http://www.nctimes.com/news/local/temecula/article_4a792144-6ad6-5abc-b64f-19ecd02b5a47.html

There won’t be 20 units of transitional housing at the northwest corner of Margarita and Dartolo roads. And the 90 units of affordable housing slated for the same site, a partially built senior condominium complex called Summerhouse that was put into foreclosure last year, is in jeopardy.

The Temecula-Murrieta Rescue Mission, the backers of the 20 transitional apartments, announced Thursday night during a public forum attended by more than 250 people that criticism by area residents has caused the nonprofit to withdraw its application.

There was this moment that occurred during the night:

Anne Unmacht, a volunteer who works with the area’s homeless, started off her comments by saying, “I wanted to cry when I heard they were pulling their application.”

Then she proceeded to do just that, flanked by two blonde girls that said they were homeless and living in a park before they were helped by Project TOUCH, a local nonprofit organization.

The two blonde girls broke into tears when Pastor Scott Treadway announced that they pulled the application. A man that opposes the project stood up and announced that he would help the family find an apartment and pay two months rent.  He later clarifies during the forum that he wants the Pastor to sign their lease. We didn’t hear whether that would happen or not. But it would be interesting to see if it does.

August 25th Public Comments

August 27, 2009

Here is the VIDEO from the August 25th City Council meeting.

Click on Public Comments.

The room was filled to the point where they had to open a spare room across the hall and provide a video feed. After Public Comments ended, almost everyone left. The room was virtually empty.

We’d like to thank Councilmen Roberts and Naggar for considering a delay in the vote until we have all of our questions answered. We’d especially like to thank Councilman Naggar for letting us know that we have done everything correctly. We appreciate it.

Part of the video is missing audio. We have been told that this will be fixed by tomorrow.

EDIT: The Californian covers the story most likely from watching the posted video.

http://www.nctimes.com/news/local/temecula/article_42c2ba62-6a5e-50c0-a624-82f3c4687406.html

Andy McIntosh Thinks We Are Droolers

August 24, 2009

We are writing to you today in your “facade of tony homes with plenty of drug and alcohol abuse within them”. Pardon me for interrupting “your drooling and vitriolic hatred”.

An editorial was written about us:

http://www.nctimes.com/news/opinion/columnists/mcintosh/article_35319ecf-4827-55de-9a20-9193c5bdf595.html

Mr. McIntosh,

We have done our research.

We have looked up the public records of the “success stories” of the Orange County Rescue Mission in the Orange County Superior Court website and found individuals being re-arrested for violent crimes. We’ve found myspace pages of these “success stories” and even posted one up that is still affiliated with a gang and is friends with gang members. We have posted TWICE that three quarters of the “success stories” posted on the Orange County Rescue Mission’s website reference drugs, alcohol, gangs, or prison. We have found that The Village of Hope requires a breathalyzer test every time to enter. Why would that be needed if there are no substance abuse problems?

We have people in our group that have personal experience as social workers and experience in police programs.

Within our group that was at the “workshop rebellion”, we saw all walks of life present. Police officers, teachers, engineers, business men, wives, laboratory techs, and ex-marines. All of them “drooling”, right Andy?

What Mr. McIntosh keeps glossing over is that the Temecula City Council never notified the surrounding residents or businesses of what their plans were for Summerhouse and is just ramming it through.

Who does the City Council and the RDA work for? The citizens of Temecula or Bridge Housing and the Rescue Mission?

Why isn’t The Californian looking into THIS story? Isn’t the press supposed to be our watchdog? Apparently not.

Maybe Mr. McIntosh thinks it’s great to have a city government dictate what is good for us. We don’t. We have many questions that we want answered and we are not satisfied with the answers given. When Mr. Naggar rode up on his bicycle, he promised to vote for a delay until we have EVERY QUESTION ANSWERED. We will hold him to that.

Last article, Mr. McIntosh called us “Beverly Hills transplants” insinuating that we are a bunch of stuck up snobs. Yes, Andy.  Every person living in Beverly Hills dreams of living in a 1700 square foot box in a planned community in the Inland Empire.

Your insults don’t bother us, Mr. McIntosh. But it really reveals what a petty little man you really are.

A Letter To The Mayor

August 24, 2009

August 23, 2009

Dear Temecula Mayor Edwards and Council Members,

I am opposed to the proposed Summerhouse transitional housing for the homeless/transients. My husband and I lived in Escondido for several years before moving to Temecula in 2000 and know first hand the problems facing the City of Temecula if this program is implemented.

In the 1980’s, the Escondido City Council approved a project to help the homeless/transients, even though the citizens of Escondido were opposed to it. The program was administered by the North County Interfaith Council; their office was located three blocks from my neighborhood. There were many programs implemented along with facilities scattered throughout the city. Strict guidelines were enforced for those who wished to improve their lives with a hand up; not a hand out. Those accepted into the program, were required to sign a contract stating that they would adhere to the strict guidelines and rules of the program. They were warned that, if they broke the rules, they would be asked to leave the program. The program was to be for just San Diego County residents.

In the mid to late 1990’s, I was honored to serve as an Escondido Police Department volunteer, assigned to the COPPS Unit (Community Oriented Police and Problem Solving Unit). By then, the homeless/transient population had grown significantly. Many of the homeless/transients came from Arizona and other counties and cities in California because they had, somehow, heard about Escondido’s program. Many of those people were looking for a hand out and were not accepted into the program. Instead of returning to their homes of origin, many decided to stay in Escondido; that is when things started getting out of hand.

The COPPS Unit began seeing an increase in the number of nuisance complaints from business owners and home owners alike regarding the homeless/transients problem. In the mornings, business owners were discovering feces and urine at the entryways to their businesses and/or the homeless/transients themselves. Homeowners, in the nearby vicinity of the programs housing units, were finding homeless/transients sleeping behind bushes on their property; which was a safety concern for those citizens. Many of the Escondido Police Department’s calls for service were related to alcohol and/or drug abuse problems and assaults within the homeless/transient community itself. This, of course, caused other more urgent calls for service to wait until an officer was free to take those calls.

There was an escalation in panhandling in various shopping centers throughout the city; some of which was very aggressive in nature. I cannot count the number of times I was approached in a parking lot by panhandlers, both male and female trying to intimidate me into giving them money. I will always remember one incident in which an aggressive panhandler had approached two elderly ladies in a parking lot. The ladies were holding onto each other and scared to death of this man. I approached them and told the guy that I was going to call the police and to leave those two ladies alone. He left and I escorted the ladies to their vehicle. This is just one example of many incidents I encountered while living in Escondido due to the huge homeless/transient problem.

Home owners and business owners should not have to deal with the consequences of this type of action. If the city of Temecula feels the need to implement a program such as the Summerhouse transitional housing for the homeless/transients, a location away from residential areas, schools and businesses would be the ideal solution. The city council should be prepared to work closely with the police department to plan on how to deal with the problems that I have outlined that will surely arise in the future in our city.

The Summerhouse project is a very emotional issue for both sides. I am a compassionate person and do not have a problem with communities trying to help those less fortunate. I believe that helping the homeless/transients or others who have fallen on hard times, is a very noble goal! When issues are dealt with from an emotional point of view, though, the realities of the long term ramifications of a project, such as this, are obscured within those emotions.

Being a COPPS Unit volunteer gave me a unique perspective into the problems that go hand-in-hand with programs such as the one in Escondido and the one being proposed for Temecula. I was able to view this situation from both sides of the aisle; as a private citizen and from a law enforcement perspective.

Temecula is a great city and I do not wish to see Escondido’s problems repeated here. Please do not allow our beautiful city to become another Escondido!

Remember, IF YOU BUILD IT, THEY WILL COME and the problems will follow close behind!!

Report From The Stop Summerhouse Rally

August 23, 2009

A large group of Temecula Residents united in their solidarity against the Summerhouse low-income/transitional housing and Rescue Mission gathered at the corner of Margarita and Dartolo roads; despite heat and humidity. What brought them out? The opportunity to publicly express a resolute stance against this project, as well as the effort to raise awareness that this project will bring a direct, negative impact on local residents and businesses; if forced forward by the Temecula City Council.

These united individuals are savvy, hard working folks who not only vote but view this project as a city council-authored strike against the hard-earned tranquility and security of their families and businesses. No amount of staged photos, crafted studies or statistical charts will deter these determined residents from the truth; that this housing project will negatively affect the quality of their lives.

There is a collective outrage among Stop Summerhouse supporters city-wide, that the low-income portion of the plan was approved without reasonable due diligence by an out-of-touch City Council, to post public notice about this hot button issue. In a moment of classic irony, an employee of the city of Temecula showed up in midst of the protest on Saturday afternoon to finally, and at long last, post public notice signs. Where were those signs prior to the August 11th vote? Adding to the irony of the moment was the presence of Councilman Naggar who was on hand to witness this long, overdue public notice posting. One wonders if council members have bookmarked the Stop Summerhouse site and finally gotten the message regarding their overt negligence in posting notice to the public.

Councilman Naggar was recognized as he rode past the protest on his bike and was called out by one of the protestors on the sidewalk. Councilman Naggar did stop once recognized and proceeded to conduct a half-filibuster, half- Q & A ‘back and forth’ with local residents. While Councilman Naggar is to be commended for stopping to talk at length; it is clear that the Council is intent on citing statistics from their $100,000.00 city report on the project instead of listening to local residents. A $100,000.00 city report that states no negative impact of the surrounding area. A report, according to Patrick Richardson, that states that the project will relieve traffic, decrease crime in the area, and raise property values.

Despite assurances from council members all but guaranteeing a near Utopian outcome, residents remain resolute in their stance against every part of this project seen as a threat to local security. Truth gained by life experience will trump table after table of statistics; no matter how sunny the hard sell might appear.

Residents were overheard stating that they had moved to Temecula to get away from the crime associated with housing projects like Summerhouse. The impact to the immediate area would completely change the area and not for the good. There are other areas with far greater need and this busy residential/new business area is not suitable for the nature of this project. While Naggar counseled area voters against expecting Council members to vote on Summerhouse in response to promises from voters to vote them out if Summerhouse goes forward; residents present said that was exactly what they expected from representatives on the Council. If any part of plan does proceed, protest participants vowed to definitely vote council members out. Sadly, emptying the Council of these out-of-touch members would hardly make up for having to deal with the constant security threat posed by Summerhouse, but at least those members would no longer have the power to force additional ill-conceived projects on local residents.

In addition to the ride-by from Councilman Naggar, there was a woman ‘posing’ as a government teacher although she refused to give her name or cite where she taught as she took photos of signs and protesters.  We have her picture as well.  She looks familiar for some reason.  It was evident to everyone that she was dispatched by someone expressly for this purpose. Another magical moment occurred when suddenly the local Press appeared soon after Councilman Naggar appeared. Coincidence? I think not.

A more disturbing turn of events during the protest on Saturday concerned the sudden appearance of an inebriated individual. This person was obviously drunk and very aggressive towards one of the women present at the rally who had her grandson with her. She continued to be aggressive going so far as threatening another protester with mace. Her stance is in favor of the Summerhouse project so as you can see, the afternoon was rife with irony. By the way, the majority of the Stop Summerhouse supporters had no choice but to watch the video from this council meeting due to the fact that the Council failed to notify the public about this vote that would negatively impact their lives for the next 55 years. No wonder they didn’t want to tell the public about it!

Here is how The Californian saw it:

http://www.nctimes.com/news/local/temecula/article_cffcc268-63a1-5aa8-aadc-93a36b6e3800.html

For All The Newcomers To This Site

August 22, 2009

Here is where the story begins:

https://stopsummerhouse.wordpress.com/2009/08/14/temecula-city-council-approves-low-income-housing/

The Ties That Bind

August 22, 2009

In the comments section of this blog’s first article, Gordon Hall writes:

Found and article Rancho Community Church launches Temecula and Murietta Rescue Mission dated April 17,2009 issue 16 vol. 9 wherein Riverside County Commissioner, Jeff Stone, pledged 2.5 million dollars of public monies to further the cause of the Temecula Murietta Rescue Mission. The mayor of Temecula, Mary Ann Edwards, also pledged 2.5 million dollars for this noble cause..(direct quote).. These two both were in attendance at the church on easter weekend..The church then had a ribbon cutting ceremony with pastor Scott Treadway,Jeff Stone, and Mary Ann Edwards assisting.

Both Jeff Stone and Mary Ann Edwards have made pledges of public monies without any regard for public opinion. Further neither had the right to pledge public monies for a private and established rescue mission who by the way has their own monies. This is a total mis-use of public monies, a conflict of interest, and certainly raises doubts of two elected officials ability to use public monies properly and for the interests of the public. Both made personal pledges which you cannot due unless they both are contributing as individuals only.

I for one will be at the September 8,2009 meeting and if this passes it will be incumbent upon everyone to start a movement to remove this county supervisor and our mayor from office..This type of manipulating public funds cannot be tolerated.

In closing I dont believe that any federal monies had been given to the county of riverside back in April.. again folks be aware this is public monies that were pledged to a church.

Here is that article.

Pastor Scott Treadway is Lead Pastor at RCC.  Mayor Maryann Edwards is his next door neighbor and sings in the RCC choir.   Pastor Scott Treadway is on the Leadership Team of the Temecula Murrieta Rescue Mission.  Nope.  No conflict of interest here.

Summerhouse Protest

August 22, 2009

Saturday August 22nd

11am to 2pm

At the Summerhouse location.

In response to Annette

August 21, 2009

Annette gives us a comment that I have decided to post right here:

What bothers me about reading the responses above is not people’s concern, that is understandable. The unknown can be frightening. Even the known can be frightening. I admire each of you for wanting the best for your lives and your families and being willing to fight for that. And I think it is very commendable to see how each of you is willing to dig deeper and challenge/test the City Council’s decisions, as that is your right and you are free to do so.

I am appalled at the way the potential clients in these residences are viewed and talked about by the individuals above. I hear fear, judgment, and discrimination in your words. I would not call you heartless, rather, misinformed.

I challenge not your statements or concerns, I challenge your attitudes and motivations. I hope that this project can be viewed objectively and for what it is, not what it appears to be through your tainted lenses (which we all have, to one degree or another).

She was very respectful.  This is why we’re giving her full view.

Here is our response:

We are not misinformed.  We have read what the Rescue Mission is about.  It is indeed a noble cause.

In a previous post, we gave you a link to the Rescue Mission success stories:

http://www.rescuemission.org/success/success.htm

We told you about three quarters of these stories reference drugs, alcohol, gangs, prison, or domestic violence. This includes a couple allusions to abuse not specifically stated, but easy to read between the lines. Also included are stories that have multiple children being born with no mention of the father (strangers hanging around the shelter?), someone “still struggling with inner demons”, and someone else dealing with anger issues. The most-listed stories involve drugs by far, more than double compared to the others (19 specific references).

Let’s take a look at one:

http://www.rescuemission.org/success/2002-2008/2008/2008-06_Scott/success.htm

We’ve found her myspace page:

http://www.myspace.com/94352403

Love her handle.  15**gNgStR BtCh** 03

We also like her top 39 friends.  Wouldn’t it be great having those guys hang out in our neighborhoods visiting their friend at Summerhouse?  Especially, Mr. Gumby LO*Cs.  Love those gang signs.

Just in case you believe this is mistaken identity, we found THIS PHOTO on her profile.

We don’t believe for a second that an organization that helps these types of people is suddenly going to change who they help just because they come to another city.  Do you?

Maybe our lenses are too tainted.

EDIT: no, I’m spartacus writes:

If you would like to know more about the “success story” folks, check out their public records on the Orange county supeior court website. Some may save since moved to a different county, but their are some that have some current, serious offences. Among the most alarming were, drug possession and theft, assult with a deadly weapon and battery, and DUI. Again, these are the advertized “success stories.”