Measure U monies already being misdirected

T■ By Galen Hammerle / Columnist
he first violation of Measure U funds has already been approved by the Hemet City Council. With the hiring of Mr. James C. Eckart, the city has already broken the promises made during the Measure U campaign. Mr. Eckart was hired, part time, to prosecute code enforcement violations.
From the state audit conducted last year, we learned that code enforcement in Hemet is not under the purview of the police department; this was also reinforced when City Attorney Eric Vail stated “[This person] is beholden to and [will] work for the City Council, not the Police Department, city manager or my office.”
This means that the city has already started pecking away at the anticipated $10 million per year in Measure U funds. This tax has not even been imposed, yet the city has once again violated public trust. The promise was (although nonbinding) about 70 percent to the Hemet Police Department and 30 percent to the Hemet Fire department.
I acknowledge code enforcement is part of public safety, as is road and sidewalk repair, animal control and vector control, but the funds were not intended for those purposes. There is nothing left once the promise is kept to the Hemet Police and Fire departments, despite what former Mayor Bonnie Wright indicated during the recent State of the City address.
Many people questioned those opposed to the tax; this is just one occurrence that we feel will occur more often over the next 10 years. Not only do they take “dedicated” funds, but use those funds to chase more funds from an already monetary strained community. Hopefully the Citizens Oversight Committee will be able to add some roadblocks to this type of redirection of our money.

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