Measure U – Establishing Trust

I■ By Melissa Diaz H. / Contributed

am reminded of I.F. Stone’s quote, “Every government is run by liars and nothing they say should be believed.” Clearly, I have no trust in our local government, as I know how our City Council tends to operate.
After reviewing the names of the applicants for the Measure U Oversight Committee, I can’t help but ask – will the Council select oversight committee members who campaigned and poured funds into the passage of Measure U? We have already seen what looks like a huge kick-back to one of the oversight committee applicants–a car dealer–during the November 2016 council meeting when vehicle purchases were announced.
“Anytime there is a large expenditure of taxpayer dollars before an oversight committee is established, it calls into question whether those dollars are being spent prudently,” stated David Wolfe, legislative director of Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. “Considering that the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association had to threaten legal action against the city last year to convince them to follow the law, Hemet officials should be working overtime to restore the public trust. This action doesn’t represent a good step in that direction.”
I completely agree.
During the city council meeting on July 26, the council knew that the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association had submitted a letter threatening legal action. However, the council failed to address the letter prior to public comments. People spoke in favor of a measure that the council knew would be significantly altered later that night. This gave the perception that more people were in favor of the measure than may have been after the alteration. For this, our city council should be held accountable.
After the July 2016 council meeting, then-Councilwoman (now Mayor) Linda Krupa publicly stated that “the funds will go to public safety because that is the will of the majority of people and council and as politicians all they have is their word.” Well, actions should back up your words. People should not blindly trust their government or the word of their government, especially when it comes to hard-earned tax dollars. The government needs to earn that trust. Shellie Milne was the only council member who voted against placing the measure on the ballot. After observing how this measure has been implemented thus far, I agree with her vote on this item.
We have two council members, Bonnie Wright and Krupa, remaining from the July 26 council meeting. The new council members, Karlee Meyer and Michael Perciful, seem ready to act and turn this city around. One more council member will be appointed after K. Paul Raver resigned unexpectedly in December. Let’s see if the oversight committee is made up of the following community members: Eric Gosch, Rob Davis, Emily McDonough, Chuck Steadman, Richard Dana, Marie McDonald and Greg Vasquez. More than half of the above-listed applicants either serve on the board or are affiliated with the Hemet/San Jacinto Action Group. This is the same group that backed the Keep Hemet Safe – Yes on Measure U campaign and worked or financially contributed to get certain council members elected or re-elected.

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