‘City Fathers’ to be honored as grand marshals


With the theme, “Flashback Fiesta,” this Fiesta Day isn’t just a celebration of the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s. It also recognizes the formation of the City of Canyon Lake a quarter of a century ago by honoring three of the City’s founders – Jack Wamsley, Warren Kelsey and John Giardinelli – as grand marshals in the parade. Officially incorporated in November 1990, the year 1991 was a very busy first year of existence.

Charter City Council members in 1991 were, clockwise from left,  John Giardinelli, Jack Wamsley, Gene Bourbonnais, Al "Bill" Trembly and Annabelle Bates.

Charter City Council members in 1991 were, clockwise from left, John Giardinelli, Jack Wamsley, Gene Bourbonnais, Al “Bill” Trembly and Annabelle Bates.

At the time, Jack was president of the Property Owners Association Board of Directors and a member of the Incorporation Committee. He also was elected to the first City Council and later served as mayor. Now 85, Jack continues to remain active in community politics and often can be seen speaking at Board meetings and City Council meetings.

A career firefighter, Jack and his wife Nancy bought a lot in Canyon Lake in 1986, where he designed their current home and hired a contractor to build it. Jack was retired but entered a new 20-year career with LA County Fire Safety Advisors (FSA), in charge of safety in the movie industry.

Asked if he has any particular memories of music, clothing or car trends of the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s, Jack says he drove a 1959 Ford Ranchero and he and his wife were big fans of Neil Diamond. She worked for the Greek Theater, so they attended several of Diamond’s concerts there. Nancy got to meet Diamond in person backstage.

A3-PIC-3-new-City-logo-1991Warren was on the POA Board of Directors and Incorporation Committee at the same time as Jack. He was then, and continues to be, a commercial developer and successful businessman. He and his wife Marilyn purchased a second home in Canyon Lake in 1988, and  built several homes here as an avocation. Warren built the home they live in now and moved here somewhat permanently in 2001.

Warren’s background is in investment/mortgage banking, real estate development and asset management. He was the president of a real estate investment trust for a number of years, which he bought out with some close associates in 1983. His company had real property spread between California and Puerto Rico, and now owns properties in California, Colorado and Indiana.

Among many other endeavors, Warren was in the group that rebuilt the Lake Arrowhead retail center and hotel. His interesting resume is extensive and can be read in full in the online edition of this article at fridayflyer.com.

At the time of the City’s incorporation, John Giardinelli was a past member of the POA Board of Directors, serving as President from 1983 to 1986. He was was elected to the first City Council. He was and still is the principal, founding attorney and senior member of The Giardinelli Law Group, APC, with offices located in the Towne Center.

Admitted to the California State Bar in 1977, John honed his skills on transactions and litigation in real estate, business and employment law. Currently, his practice is focused on real estate and business law.

In addition to his work with the firm, John is active in the community. John and his wife Kristy moved to Canyon Lake in 1981 to raise their family. Among other involvements, he served three terms on the CLPOA Board of Directors and as its president. While on City Council, he spent some of that time as mayor.

Asked what he loves most about Canyon Lake, John says, “My friends and my church (Canyon Lake Community Church).” As for what he remembers about the styles of ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s, John says, “Looking back, I think we all looked pretty ridiculous.” He has been a fan of jazz music and convertibles since he was in high school.

City Flashback

Here’s what Canyon Lake’s first City Council was doing in May 1991:

  • A highlight of Fiesta Day 1991 was the unveiling the new City of Canyon Lake logo. The designer was Carl Blomquist of Canyon Lake, a commercial artist whose design was chosen out 73 entries in a logo design contest.
  • The City Council appointed Jeff Butzlaff, 45, as Canyon Lake’s first permanent City Manager. His appointment became effective May 1. A reception was held May 10 at the Golf Course clubhouse. One of his first tasks would be to develop the City’s first annual budget.

Among the issues he would face would be to negotiate service contracts with several providers, including law enforcement, road maintenance for Railroad Canyon and Goetz Roads, animal control and planning/building inspection services.

  • The City Council held a hearing at which the Perris Police Department and the Riverside Sheriff’s Department made presentations with contract proposals for law enforcement services in Canyon Lake. The City began negotiations with the Perris Police Department.
  • The City Council heard from the project director of the Audie Murphy development, who said the first homes were expected to be ready for sale in early 1993. (The actual groundbreaking was held in 2006; home construction didn’t begin until 2011.)
  • The City Council adopted a resolution declaring BLM Sections 26 and 34 hazardous fire areas in response to a recommendations by County Fire Chief Glen Newman. Council also voted to ban personal motorized recreational watercraft on the lake within the BLM property and adopted a resolution disclaiming liability for public activities occurring on or emanating from BLM land.
  • The City Council proclaimed May 20 to 26 “Small Business Week,” noting that the economic base of the new City had been strengthened by the devoted efforts of its small business community.

The City Council and the POA Board were working together to have gas tanks installed at the Campground. As a member of both entities, Jack Wamsley, along with fellow Board member Warren Kelsey made this project a priority the first summer of the City’s existence.

John Giardinelli

More of John Giardinelli’s resume can be viewed at www.glawgroupapc.com/jvg/.

Warren Kelsey

Here’s more of what Warren Kelsey has to say about his business interests.

We purchased a second home in 1988, and  built several homes here as an avocation. I built the home we live in and  moved to Canyon Lake somewhat permanently in 2001. As I recall, I served on the Board during the 1989-1991 period. While we are not fond of gated communities with home owner associations, we found the lake and many of the community amenities alluring.

I spent some years as a residential tract home developer and find building a new home from time to time very rewarding relative to fulfilling my creative needs. Some people save stamps, or paint for enjoyment.

My background is in investment/mortgage banking, real estate development and asset management. I was the President of a Real Estate Investment Trust for a number of years which I bought out with some close associates in 1983. My company had real property spread between California and Puerto Rico, and now own properties in California, Colorado, and Indiana.

I was one in the group that rebuilt Lake Arrowhead Retail Center and hotel and currently serve as the Trustee of the family trust who served as the general partner. With three other partners a chain of 13 day care centers in the Denver and Fort Collins Metro areas were built during the mid 1990’s. We sold the business to Bright Horizons about seven years ago and kept the real estate on an individual lease-back arrangement. There are a number of Stater Bros. shopping centers spread around Southern California which I co-developed with a very close friend.

My asset management activity has led me into the ownership of a number of companies, some of which were sold along the way. Current holdings are a company that is engaged in venue staging, providing lighting, audio, staging and video. The company serves all 50 states providing the equipment for medium sized, and larger conventions, concerts, shows, and special events.

Another company has invented the latest state of the art in suspension systems for anything that has wheels, and will be getting into seismic systems for bridges and other earthquake related applications. The company presently provides suspension systems for about 90 percent of the larger ambulances on the road, and is just now entering the bus market.  The name is ” LiquidSpring” and is privately held. I am in the process of building a new manufacturing facility for this company in Indiana.

My partner and I have built over 1 million square feet of industrial buildings and business parks in California and Colorado. The latest master planned industrial development is in Santa Maria by the airport.