Stay informed by attending City Council meetings

M■ By Ann Smith / Contributed
y personal feeling is, no matter how busy you are, if you care about your community and you want to know what’s going on, depending upon social media (such as Facebook) is nothing more than reading an editorial or listening to gossip. I have a life and I don’t always get to go to meetings. Sometimes they are long & odious – but I broke another date I had for Dec. 13, one that was important to me personally, just so I could hear what this council was planning for Measure U.
The agenda was a very long one. The departing council members, Shellie Milne & Robert Youssef, were given appropriate send offs. I’ll miss Robert. I didn’t agree with a lot of his votes but I had a lot of respect for him. He’s a smart guy and I expect we’ll see more of him in the future. I thanked Shellie as well.
There were two new council members: Karlee Meyer and Michael Perciful (he was on the Planning Commission previously). The city treasurer was reinstalled; she’s a fixture and was the only candidate for the job Being a City Councilmember is not a job for intellectual sissies. It’s a lot of hard work.
There was a lot of discussion about street lighting, landscape maintenance; that kind of thing. You can read the details when the minutes of this meeting show up on the city’s website, cityofhemet.org.
Sparks flew when newly elected Mayor Linda Krupa tried to appoint Michael Perciful (elected mayor pro tem) and Councilwoman Bonnie Wright to an ad hoc committee for Housing & Community Development Needs. Karlee got her kneecaps in a twist because there could only be two members to this committee and Linda wanted a new council member and an experienced one [Wright]. I think Linda was probably thinking Perciful would be a good match with his planning committee background. But Karlee, with some support from Raver, expressed keen interest in it. You could hear the tension (which was handled nicely). Karlee was staking out her territory, i.e., she wanted everyone to know she was not going to roll over. Bonnie was gracious and let her have it. There will be lots of opportunities for committee appointments as time moves forward.
After attending dozens of council meetings, you get the feel of things; you learn to pick your battles. Paul Raver has a really good mind when it comes to detail; his background speaks volumes to that talent and truly, it’s good that he’s on the council. But he has learned there are times to fight and times to let go, and Raver let go for good and resigned. Perciful understands how the game is played and he’ll do fine. He’s a team player.
There were some pretty long discussions revolving around the use of Measure U money. There were a few questions asked. I’m usually the one that asks the money questions and I almost never get a straight answer. After listening to the way the city will be spending Measure U funds, I’m wondering how good their 10-year projections are. I personally think they may run out of money.
Then there is the matter of an oversight committee. I’m not sure how many people will be on that committee, but they will be advertising, likely in The Press-Enterprise, that the positions (voluntary) are open and will have two-year terms. Because the oversight committees will be meeting in public, they are subject to the Brown Act so we the people will be able to attend and ask questions. I’m toying with the idea of applying for a position, but I think I might do more good by just attending the meetings, speaking out and asking questions, as I won’t be held to anyone else’s standard.
My suggestion to those of you who did not attend this meeting is, make the time. I know that sounds kind of snooty and arrogant; it’s not meant to sound that way. I’m not judging or condemning anyone. Some of you have young families and just can’t do it. I get that. But I would not depend on editorial content such as mine for important information – I may have some of it right, but it’s just my opinion.
The present City Council members – well, Linda Krupa is very good at what she does; she’s thorough too. Paul Raver resigned during the closed session so he will be replaced as soon as possible. Bonnie Wright has plenty of experience in the public arena and is no slouch. Karlee is going to be kind of an “unknown,” but she appears to me to be pretty sharp. Perciful will be just fine. He’s got the right background, he plays by the rules and he’ll get it done. That’s just my two cents. Don’t take my word for it. Go see for yourself.

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