Getting educated on local recreation

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Jeff Comerchero, chief of staff for Riverside County 3rd District Supervisor Chuck Washington, swears in Mark Garrett (left) and Ted Janka as the newest members of the County Service Area 36 Advisory Committee.
Photo by Marshall Smith

The County Service Area 36 Advisory Committee learned more about the pickleball courts, the Idyllwild Community Center board’s recreation contract with the county and street lights at last Thursday’s meeting. Also, two new members, Ten Janka and Mark Garrett (both are profiled separately in this edition), were seated.

Washington’s new Chief of Staff Jeff Comerchero instructed the new members on important tenets of the Ralph M. Brown Act that guarantee the public’s right to attend and participate in meetings of local governmental bodies. “The public’s business must be in view of the public in a noticed meeting,” said Comerchero. “Violation of the Brown Act is a criminal act.”

Barry Wallace, who sits on the ICC board, reported that the project to have local pickleball courts is moving forward. “We’re really close to getting it done and should know within a week,” said Wallace. ICC President Janice Lyle stressed that this project is separately funded and not part of CSA 36 recreation’s budget and funding.

Lyle also reported ICC’s contract to manage CSA 36 recreation will be on the supervisor’s agenda on Tuesday, April 11, at which point the three-and-a-half-year agreement would be approved and go into effect. ICC has been acting as recreation manager for a 90-day interim period that began Jan. 3. Also, to be finalized on April 11, is an agreement to lease Town Hall for two years at $1 a year with mutual 90-day escape clauses from the Johnson family.

Lyle requested that ICC be on the advisory committee’s regular agenda for ICC to report about expanded programming and to answer community questions. “We’ve been using this time [since Jan. 3] to analyze the breadth of programming and demographics served by CSA 36 recreation,” she said. “We intend to provide more for older groups. And by attending these [CSA 36 Advisory Committee] meetings, we will be able to hear what people are saying to you.”

At the recommendation of Mike Franklin, CSA project manager, the committee voted to have ICC business discussions on all future CSA 36 Advisory Committee meetings. Franklin also explained the budget-reporting process to the new members and provided a statement of revenue and expense showing a projected budget of $210,082 comprising special assessments and collected ad-valorem tax.

Committee member Dave Hunt asked Lyle if the Butterfields [key funders of the ICC building project] would be willing to come to an advisory committee meeting since many in the committee and community don’t know them. Lyle said she’d ask but cautioned that the Butterfields might not be comfortable being the center of attention.

Chairman John Metroka announced he had set up an email account for district residents to email questions that could be taken up by the committee in public meeting (chairmanCSA36@gmail.com).

The committee also reviewed documentation about street lights within the district, subject matter also under its purview. To the surprise of many, there are 18 within district boundaries. Said Franklin, “We want to get an updated and accurate map [from Southern California Edison].” Metroka said the committee would go through the provided list and see if there are locations, because of lack of light and potential traffic danger, that need more lights.

Original appointee and longtime community recreation volunteer Wendy Read sat in her final session as a committee member. Read had submitted her resignation before the meeting (see separate article) but it had not taken effect, according to Opal Hellweg, Riverside County 3rd District Supervisor Chuck Washington’s legislative assistant.

Hellweg reported the vacancy occasioned by Read’s resignation had already been posted by the clerk of the board (of supervisors). She noted the vacancy could be filled by one of the already-interviewed previous applicants as early as April 11, the next Board of Supervisors meeting, at which time the appointment could be made.

The next CSA 36 meeting is tentatively set for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 20, at Town Hall.

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