With the passage of Measure Z -- “Save Wildomar Community Parks Funding Measure” -- by 68.59 percent of the vote, Wildomar will once again try to have parks. Included in this measure was the inclusion of an oversight committee found in Title 3 “Revenue and Finance” of the Wildomar Municipal Code Chapter 3.18.
Section 3.18.060 Oversight Committee: By no later than March 1, 2013, the City Council shall establish a Wildomar Community Parks Funding Measure Citizens’s Oversight Advisory Committee to advise the City Council regarding the collection and expenditure of tax revenues collected under the authority of this chapter. The Committee shall consist of at least five members, who shall be residents of the City. The terms of the Committee members and their specific duties shall be established by resolution of the City Council
Therein lies the problem. With no codes, laws, regulations or rules governing local oversight committees, the city council will determine the composition and duties of this committee. The same elected representatives whose failure led to the need for an oversight committee will select who will be on this committee and what their oversight duties will be.
One can only hope the city council will follow the guidelines established by the State of California when the voters required “Citizens Oversight” in regards to education bonds.
EDUCATION CODE SECTION 15278 (b) The purpose of the citizens' oversight committee shall be to inform the public concerning the expenditure of bond revenues. The citizens' oversight committee shall actively review and report on the proper expenditure of taxpayers' money.
While reading several newspaper articles about Measure Z’s passage, one cannot help but notice the comments. (Example: Southwest Riverside News Network 11-29-12 -- “City officials are preparing to organize a parks committee that will start working on future events and plans for the cities three parks.")
This is putting the cart before the horse so to speak because without the oversight committee in place all the work of the parks committee could be ruled invalid by the Citizens Oversight Committee, unless of course the two committees are one in the same.
With the city council’s decision that the Oversight Committee shall consist of only five members, and the likelihood that two of those will be council members (the same people that decided to spend $58,500 polling and educating the voter) and at least one by a pro-park person, there is little chance that the community at large will be fairly represented as this leaves only two seats to be filled by the senior community, families not involved in organized sports, single homeowners, teenagers, dog owners, etc. This Oversight Committee has every chance of becoming a rubber stamp committee.
Oversight Committee’s are necessary to overcome some of the functional problems of conventional representative democracy, which is widely subject to manipulation by special interests and a division between professional policymakers (politicians and lobbyists) vs. a largely passive, uninvolved and often uninformed electorate.