Measure U monies will be spent as promised
As the Vice-Chair of the Measure U Oversight Committee, I can assure our community that Measure U funds ARE NOT BEING DIVERTED to other than the Fire and Police safety issues that our community was told those funds would cover. All of the expenditures to be covered by Measure U are listed in the City Budget, which is available to everyone.
Contributor to the paper’s Opinion page, Emmett Campbell, is WRONG and whatever information he based his allegations upon is faulty. It is my hope that members of our community will make certain their allegations are accurate and can be shown to be based upon facts, not conjecture.
Although we will not know until later in the year when Hemet begins to receive Measure U 1 percent sales tax revenue whether or not the amounts are more or less than anticipated, I think the amounts may be larger than anticipated.
I hope the Editor of the Valley Chronicle will print my response so our community will be assured that their faith in our Oversight Committee is well placed.
Marie L. McDonald, Hemet
Flagrant conflict of interest in the Hemet City Council
Melissa Diaz Hernandez, reporter for The Valley Chronicle, wrote extensively in her informative article published June 15, 2017, regarding the “negative $1.2 million at the end of FY 2015/16 due to litigation costs in prior years,” discussed at the June 13 City Council Budget Work Study.
According to Administrative Services Consultant Joy Canfield, “a plan is needed to correct the negative fund balance,” admitting that there has been some “informal borrowing happening.” Upon Finance Director/Deputy City Manager Jessica Hurst’s unexpected resignation in February, Canfield was contracted to take over the role in March. “Canfield’s original $50,000 contract was just increased by another $50,000 because she burned through the original contract funds in less than three months.”
Hemet City Councilwoman Karlee Meyer asked point-blank, “So if that was FY 15/16, has this been talked about before?” and Councilwoman Bonnie Wright and Krupa, who were the only two current council members who served on the council at that time, denied any knowledge of the negative legal fund balance. “Krupa was mayor in 2016 and Wright served as mayor in 2016. Krupa is again, mayor for 2017.”
Canfield stated that she doesn’t think this situation is unusual and that it happens all the time “we will do the research of the years the fund went negative so we can lay that out for you and the funding sources of those years…We will bring that back to you at the next meeting so you can see what the overall picture will look like when we make those adjustments,” and went on to say that litigation drove up attorney’s fees.
Canfield said that the city “had a number of litigation costs that showed up over the years where you may have set the budget ‘here,’ but due to different litigation that was going on at the time, drove the attorney’s costs up ‘here.’ The difference between those two was not charged off to the departments at that time.”
Deputy City Attorney Erica Vega sat in for City Attorney Eric Vail, who was not present. Both attorneys are partners in the law firm of Burke, Williams & Sorensen, LLP. Attorney Erica Vega had nothing to contribute to the discussion. Between the two, their average yearly salary is in the neighborhood of $150,000 of taxpayer’s money.
At this point, it would serve the citizenry of Hemet well to be reminded that the law firm that represented Hemet Deputy Police Chief Webb in the lawsuit for the wrongful death of Anthony Norman in Murrieta was and still is the law firm of Burke, Williams & Sorensen, LLP, of which Eric Vail and Erica Vega are partners as mentioned in the previous paragraph.
Even though Deputy Police Chief Webb, resident of Murrieta, was off duty at the time of the death of Anthony Norman, the Hemet City Council wrongfully and illegally assumed the cost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars defending and finally settling the case to the detriment of the taxpayers of Hemet. Attorney’s fees are upward of $400,000 and the settlement amount has not been divulged.
Now folks, this is not rocket science so anyone with a modicum of common sense will conclude that part or all of the missing $1.2 million in litigation costs that no one knew anything about can be found in the bank accounts of the attorneys in question and collaborators on the City Council. This is a flagrant conflict of interest in the Hemet City Council and could be a crime.
Gray Wilkins, Hemet
The land that we love
Our America – the land that we love. As Americans we have always stood united and we will continue to stand united. As Americans, we enjoy freedom of worship, we are united “under God.”
As Americans, we know that freedom is not free. There is a price to pay to be free. As Americans, we have paid that price for liberating Europe from the bonds of tyranny. As Americans, we will stand UNITED and not allow tyranny, lawlessness and terror to spread into our country.
Let’s not forget that…and Let Freedom Ring!
May God bless us all,
Bob Schaefer, Hemet
Pruning the liberty tree
My grandfather owned hundreds of acres of apple trees. He discovered that in order to improve the quality of his harvest, it was necessary for him to prune his trees in the winter and thin his trees in the summer.
Virginia was originally a gigantic territory, but as the population increased it was determined that it would impossible to govern such a large territory. To solve the problem, they created a new state of Kentucky. Dividing large states into smaller more manageable units was also what happened when Vermont broke away from New York and when Maine broke away from Massachusetts. West Virginia was created in 1861 when it seceded from Virginia and was admitted as our nation’s 35th state.
The idea that our nation is indivisible did not apply then and shouldn’t apply today. By creating new states we are able to shrink the size of government while empowering the people.
States are a lot more than simply a geographical region; a state is a community of people who share a common language, culture and values. When a nation consists of states that have conflicting values, it promotes contention and disharmony.
We need to allow our people to form a new nation of those who embrace the principles of liberty and the Constitution. In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson admonished us to alter or abolish the government when it becomes tyrannical.
With a Congressional disapproval rating of more than 90 percent I think the time has come for us to create a new nation. Rather than having one divided nation, we need to create two nations that will enable everyone to live in a country where their lives, liberty and property are secure.
When states are too large they cannot be managed efficiently and the people are inadequately represented. The solution is to a nation for those who favor a small limited government and one that favors a government such as we currently have.
Keep up the good work
Your paper went downhill for a short time, but you are back! Love all the government news and Rusty Strait’s writing. You are writing about the heart of the community. I’m enclosing a subscription and greatly appreciated your free trial.
Mary Allred, Hemet
Thank you for demanding transparency
It’s not uncommon to see people writing letters to the editor of their local newspaper. However, I wanted to do something a little different and write a letter to AND about the editor of our local newspaper, The Valley Chronicle. Recently, I’ve seen the Chronicle come under fire; especially after reading the paper when I received it on Thursday. I, for one, would like to commend Mary Ann and the other reporters.
In a day and age where it seems to me that not a lot of people always act in their own best interests with regard to the government and government officials, Mary Ann and The Valley Chronicle are doing something that not a lot of people seem to be doing for themselves. They are taking on practices and officials that have seemingly forgotten who it is that they should be working for. Now more than ever, we desperately need a higher level of transparency regarding government officials and economic spending.
I would think that EVERY citizen would want complete accounting for where their tax dollars are being spent. However, I’ve seen much of the opposite on comment boards where residents are defaming and quite literally, just boycotting the newspaper for making moves that in my opinion are in the best interests of the local residents. The purpose of the newspaper should not be to mollycoddle and worry about making the local (and not so local) government officials feel good about themselves – especially if they are doing something within the realm of being questionable.
If something the writers publish shines a not so pretty light on a practice or action taking place then maybe something about those practices or actions are wrong in the first place. It is up to the media to bring that to our attention. THAT is their job and they should not be vilified in the public eye because they are doing just that. Since the dawn of time, everyone has held an opinion and also, since the dawn of time, people’s opinions have varied and people have disagreed. It happens. But in MY opinion, I just wanted to take the time out to say thank you to Mary Ann and the other exceptional writers at The Valley Chronicle for looking out for the residents of Hemet.
Just know that there ARE people out here, like myself, that appreciate what you are doing and hope you do not allow the naysayers to discourage you from reaching your goal. THANK YOU!
Teena Riley, Hemet
Watch the tone…but keep digging
This past week The Valley Chronicle announced it has sued the City of Hemet for failure to follow the Freedom of Information Act. However, this seems lost in the announcement as once again details leading to the Norman v. Webb case filled the story. I do not see the value in bringing up yet again the details of this case. I do see as much more important as a taxpayer, is that the City involved itself and spent our money when it seems unnecessary. As a taxpayer I would like to know how much influence Mr. Vail had on the City getting involved, and if he had any, why the City would then contract out and spend $400,000 to settle a case in which we were not party of. This part of the story should interest the community; bringing up the details of what happened in the Norman v. Webb case comes off as an attempt at character assassination. I do not feel Deputy Chief Webb deserves that kind of treatment.
On a second note with the last issue, the Hemet Gatekeepers opinion piece alluded to extortion. Yes this was the opinion of the writer, however what we should all have learned by now is ‘Once it is out there you cannot take it back.’ I do not know the gentlemen running Hemet Gatekeepers but how bad is it for a group to form wanting to help and never get a chance when such serious allegations are thrown out in the public arena with such ease. They did have an event last Saturday and some City Officials, which is tantamount to an endorsement, which does raise questions, but suspicions of pay-for-play or glad-handing do not rise to extortion.
Keep on digging VC; shed light on the dirt if it is found, but please try and leave the attacks to policy and circumstances, not people.