Irregularities abound – time to make your voices heard
It used to be that local government in Hemet respected its citizens; a time in which it mattered to the City Council what residents thought and said about the issues at hand and worked honestly and transparently to reconcile community demands with feasible solutions; a day that the Mayor and council members considered themselves by their actions as part of the community, owing their allegiance only to the greater good. A time in which democracy flourished, inducing change in local government policy by citizen input whenever appropriate.
Sadly, those days are gone.
Nowadays the Hemet City Council operates independently from the citizens. For example, recently the City Council illegally transferred its authority to the interim city manager (who is really nothing more than a substitute teacher until a new city manager can be found) – in the process of designating the new chief of police, who happens to be involved in unethical and immoral conduct surrounding the death of a young man in another town.
All of this was done surreptitiously without prior public knowledge or voter consent as is customary in these cases. Rob Webb, the incoming police chief, has improperly cost the Hemet taxpayers more than a half million dollars in attorney’s fees and settlement costs in that case, aided and abetted by Eric Vail, the contracted city attorney who is a partner in the law firm that represented the defendant, entering into a blatant conflict of interest for which he should be disbarred.
The question is why? Is there so much buried dirt that the City Council needs a cover so badly that not the least semblance of propriety was observed in this matter?
Why did K. Paul Raver more than a year ago quit twice and then revoke his resignation? Was it that he was not allowed to leave before he agreed to certain non-disclosure terms? Why have so many city managers quit and/or been fired, costing the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in severance payments? Was it to pay for their silence?
It is true that the City Council, without an effective watchdog, has taken advantage of the citizen’s indifference running the city as if it were their personal property, that is why no follow-up answers have been given on many other serious matters like the unaccounted for attorneys funds, about which the mayor, Linda Krupa, said she knew nothing; the number two ranking of Hemet by California State Auditor Elaine Howle as the second worst managed city in California and the recent FBI/UCR report classifying Hemet as No. 16 in the list of most dangerous cities in the state.
Unless the residents of Hemet come together to vote for new blood in the City Council to perform their duties transparently and honestly as before, we will be forced to either continue tolerating the effects of an incompetent and dishonest city government or move out.
Gray Wilkins, Hemet
Thanks for increasing patrols
As a resident of a large 55+ senior park, I notice a lot of riff-raff cutting through our mobile home community to get where they want to go. Unfortunately, most of them speed, blow through stop signs and the majority of them are blasting their radios so loud they could never hear a siren if one came up behind them.
I have also noticed an increase in the Hemet police department pulling people over and writing tickets. This makes me think that Hemet isn’t such a lost cause. There’s still a lot we need to do, but this is a start. Thank you, HPD, for increasing patrols on our streets and making it a little safer to go about my day.
Russ Lage, Hemet
Kudos to the brave who stand up to City Hall
I read with respect and admiration the Letters to the Editor and Opinion pieces in The Valley Chronicle written by Emmett Campbell, Andrea Feodorov, Gray Wilkins, Mary Ann Morris, Melissa Diaz Hernandez and others, and I thank God that I live in a country where freedom of expression is practiced and disseminated.
The exercise of the right of freedom of expression enshrined in the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America requires that responsible citizens manifest their opinions objectively and squarely and a means of communication ready to propagate these points of view.
It isn’t easy to stick your neck out against the powers that be, risking your personal safety and that of your family and friends, in order to speak your mind about issues affecting your wellbeing and that of your community.
Most of the articles written by the persons mentioned above are critical of Hemet’s governmental authorities such as the mayor, city council members, chief and deputy chief of the Hemet police department, chief of the fire department, city attorney, city manager, city clerk, etc.
The arguments set forth in these writings, to the uninitiated, appear to be factual when talking about the lack of transparency, conflict of interest and unethical behavior on the part of the people occupying these various positions.
For example, it’s very hard to argue in favor of Deputy Police Chief Rob Webb, soon to be Chief of Police, in the death of Murrieta resident Anthony Norman, and all the ensuing dishonest and unethical behavior that followed in the wake of this tragedy. It is equally difficult to defend the city’s contract attorney Eric Vail, a partner in the Los Angeles law firm that defended Rob Webb in the Norman case, and was handsomely paid for with taxes contributed by residents of Hemet.
Defending the mayor and City Council for their part in this tragedy is also extremely challenging when they secretly authorized payment to Vail’s attorney partners with Hemet taxpayer’s money when the incident occurred off duty in Murrieta. These assertions are not rumor but fact and the documents to prove it are readily available. Had it not been for TVC reporting, no one would be any the wiser.
The City Council is still under the powerful lens of the State Auditor and has not been able to shed the masthead as the second worst managed city in California. Also, according to a recent FBI/UCR report, Hemet ranks No. 16 in crime throughout the state of California.
It would appear then that only those persons with vested interests, like suppliers of automobiles, real estate developers, cannabis producers and vendors and the like, are standing up for the individuals employed by city government. However, unlike the courageous individuals mentioned in the first paragraph of this article, who put forth valid arguments for their discontent, the chorus line in favor does so with insults and threats.
This writer will add his name to the above list in hopes of awakening the voting public on the imperative need to replace the City Council come election time with honest officials and rid the city of these ineffective and corrupt bureaucrats.
Alphonse Lagarde, Hemet
Sexual misconduct? Report it immediately!
This country needs to redefine the meaning of sexual misconduct. Furthermore, those who claim to have had sexual misconduct experience should have reported it immediately. Instead they are waiting 30 to 50 years to accuse someone. Are they believable?
If these accusers were able to get on with their lives, then what is their problem all these years later? Would it be to ruin a person’s career? No luck winning the Lotto/Lottery so let’s go after someone that can pay me big bucks many years later?
People often pay compliments to others, such as “you look very nice today,” or “I like that dress, suit, whatever.” Do such statements fall under the “sexual misconduct umbrella”?
Those officials of whom we are well aware of sexual misconduct (such as former President Bill Clinton) should have received due punishment and should be registered as a sex offender.
Nancy Eller, Hemet