On November 8, Canyon Lake citizens will decide the fates of three City Council seats set to change occupants in December. All Canyon Lake citizens registered to vote are eligible to vote for candidates to fill the three available City Council seats. The five candidates running for City Council are Jordan Ehrenkranz, David Eilers, Larry Greene, George Middle and Randy Bonner.
Election Day is November 8. Voting polls are located in the Council Chamber at City Hall. Voting hours are 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. The last day to register to vote was October 24. The deadline to file an absentee ballot request is November 1. The deadline to return absentee ballots by mail is November 8. November 14 is the deadline to return vote-by-mail ballots postmarked no later than November 8.
In The Friday Flyer’s weekly Q&A series that began on September 23, residents have had the chance to learn how much the City Council candidates understand the City’s current and future challenges, what each candidate hopes to accomplish if elected to serve a four-year term on City Council and where they stand on fire safety, BLM land development, disincorporation and attracting new business to the shopping centers.
In this week’s Q&A, The Friday Flyer asked candidate what they think matters most to the citizens of Canyon Lake.
Last week Candidates were listed as they appear on the ballot. This week they are listed in alphabetical order according to their last name. .
In 400 or fewer words, please explain what you think matters most to the citizens of Canyon Lake.
Citizens move to Canyon Lake to live within the Property Owners Association for the Lake, Golf Course, parks, and the many amenities. With time available, citizens enjoy being involved in the various clubs that allow grandparents, parents, children and grandchildren to have a “total” Canyon Lake experience.
With that being said, the most important matter is the public safety of their families. Many initiatives have been accomplished – but more can do done! In a former The Friday Flyer, I pointed out that cost effective fire protection can be found through a Joint Powers Authority (JPA) or fire districts. Idyllwild and San Jacinto could be the first in Southern California where overhead cost can be fairly distributed across similar communities. I strongly support the current city council desire to have Station 60 open by July, 2017.
Police safety is similar – a JPA. Temecula, Hemet and Menifee are asking their citizens to approve a 1 percent sales tax increase because of ever increasing police and fire protection costs with no reasonable short or long term ceiling. Cooperative effort to share overhead costs across multiple communities has never had so much interest.
Beyond Public Safety, the important matters of the citizens include:
-Timely communications with the City, POA, EVMWD, Chief of Police, Chamber of Commerce, and Merchants Owners Association. There has been much discussion about the Roundtables, cancelled after the last election. To be reconvened is essential. For example, the Dog Park plans should have been reviewed and approved months, if not years, earlier.
-Lake Management – a strong working relationship between the EVMWD (water owner), City (lake quality) in conjunction with the LESWA (TMDL), and POA (surface water lease).
-An exceptional Media relationship – especially The Press Enterprise.
-An in depth understanding of the alternatives regarding the BLM.
Now is the time to have a councilman who has true POA and City Council experience, demonstrates the ability to get results, and a history of being a leader – military, business and local government.
I believe that most citizens are concerned that we can provide public safety. It is very important that we have fire and medical protection, and as a council person it would be my first priority to be sure we provide that. It has always been my main concern as well as adequate police protection. The lake lease is also very important, and although that is being handled by the POA, know that the city would be willing to help in any way. We are all citizens of this great City of Canyon Lake. As your councilman for the last eight years, I will continue to work to keep it great. As an elected official it has always been my policy to address the concerns of all the citizens.
In speaking with many Canyon Lake residents, it is evident that public safety is their chief concern. The next City Council will have to make a very tough decision regarding Fire and Police protection for the City of Canyon Lake. The current contract expires June 30, 2017. This topic has been discussed recently at great lengths. Because it is such an important issue for the community, it bears repeating.
The contract with Riverside County and the cities of Lake Elsinore and Menifee is providing our fire and medical services at an annual cost of about $1.2 million. The Utility User Tax (UUT) has brought in more than $1 million in revenue into the General Fund. This revenue was promised to help with the re-opening of Station 60 and I feel this must be done.
A contract with Cal Fire to re-staff Station 60 would probably cost about $1.8 million. Because more than 90 percent of our calls are medical emergencies, I believe there are a number of other options to research.
One possibility would be negotiating a contract for a two-man truck that includes a paramedic with fire services to come from stations nearby. Other potential alternatives might be Joint Powers Authority (JPA) with Idyllwild or a regional agreement that could possibly include fire and police service with surrounding cities. I believe the next City Council must make the best decision for all the citizens of Canyon Lake.
What matters to our citizens is an efficient, cost-effective and sustainable city government which must be responsive to our citizens and businesses, and works cooperatively with the POA and other governmental agencies. Property values and transportation grid-lock also are of concern.
Above all, our citizens want a safe community that is safe from crime and theft. When they call for a fire or medical emergency, they expect a reasonable response time. The current 12 to 15 minute estimated arrival time to the west side of Canyon Lake is not acceptable. Our citizens want a sensible resolution to this fire and EMS situation. I intend to work with surrounding southwest cities to develop a regional Fire/EMS delivery system .
With this regional approach, costs will be shared by each city and each will have local control and a voice on policy. The rise in law enforcement contract costs must be addressed. I believe a similar regional platform can become the solution. Rising costs what are not addressed now will become unsustainable in the future.
The Citizens of Canyon Lake expect City Council to protect them by providing safety and security operations. They are paying a 3.955 percent utility tax and to date cannot identify $1 of this tax improving these functions from what has been provided in recent years. The good news is the outlying cities have provided in good faith the fire/paramedic services a 911 call demands and our citizens believe the response time equates to that of the other cities.
We have paid around $1million into the general fund and this has allowed the City to claim to be financially in the black. I do not know the value of the black funds but by the wording used there cannot by many dollars in spite of the added utility tax.
As you all should know by now, I will make an attempt to change the safety model to a paramedic first responder one. Opening up the Canyon Lake station into a paramedic emergency station, using a unique telephone number that is received by this station will identify from this that the first responder effort needed is a medical one. This station will be managed by the city and paid for from the $1 million utility tax. Failure to do this, the citizens will in large numbers vote against continuing this tax.
I assume the security service we receive from the Perris Sheriff’s Station that is paid for from the Canyon Lake City funds is satisfactory. I have not heard differently.
Other concerns are BLM land outside the north areas of Canyon Lake and the question of disincorporation. The BLM land will not be developed even if the City believes it can increase the property tax they would receive from Sacramento will be an additional $500,000 from the proposed and dreamed of thousand plus homes could possibly be built. (Currently the Sacramento funds received by the City are approximately $1 million.) I believe the majority of the home owners of Canyon Lake will vote against removing this recreational area land left in the Canyon Lake City influence – and I would lead the charge!
Failure to open up a paramedic emergency station with the money we voted for (or a two-man fire station), and an attempt to build homes on the BLM land destroying the rural approach and adding to the traffic coming into the North Gate, could cause discussion on disincorporation of the City.