The controversial Liberty Quarry and the proposed sustainability initiative known as Agenda 21 were among the top hot topics Tuesday evening at the Temecula City Council Candidate Forum held at City Hall.
Hosted by the Temecula Valley Chamber of Commerce, the 90-minute event offered candidates Paul Jacobs, Patrice Lynes, Walter Wilson, Jamie R. White, Mayor Chuck Washington and Mayor Pro Tem Mike Naggar the chance to state their views and vision for the city in a Q & A and roundtable format.
There are two seats open in the Nov. 6 contest.
The city council hopefuls fielded questions from moderator Southwest Healthcare System Marketing Director Brian Connors that ranged from issues of leadership, plans to grow small business and land use issues in Temecula wine country.
The challengers and incumbents spoke passionately about the proposed mining pit, each vowing a vigorous, tireless effort to defeat the project.
Jacobs pointed out that he was the only one of the six to attend Tuesday’s Riverside County Board of Supervisors meeting to protest the plan to fast-track a revised, smaller version of the original Liberty Quarry proposal.
“I’ve been the most vocal opponent of the Liberty Quarry,” Jacobs said, pledging to uncover any hint of “criminality” in the years-long battle, if elected.
Naggar promised that the city was pursing every possible venue to reject the quarry that includes a Motion of Judgment that claims the county acted illegally when it approved the quarry’s Environmental Impact Report.
Lynes and White offered a spirited criticism of the United Nations’ sustainable cities plan known as Agenda 21 that was formally adopted by the Temecula City Council in June 2010.
The initiative — intended to be an environmentally-responsible vision to create walkable, multi-use, efficient communities — is viewed by some as restrictive and a violation of constitutional freedoms to live as one chooses.
White said she would strike Agenda 21 and all traces of the sustainability concept from Temecula’s master plan, warning voters that the initiative was a threat to life in suburban Temecula.
White also suggested that incumbents Naggar and Washington had profited from land investments related to their status as councilmen, to which Naggar vehemently replied,”Innuendo is the highest form of slander.”
While Wilson praised many aspects and goals for the city, he argued that restoring Temecula’s once-thriving real estate landscape is a vital component to ensuring prosperity in the region for the city’s children and grandchildren.
Mayor Washington said that Temecula is continuing to thrive, despite the country’s painfully slow economic recovery.
“I don’t need a vision. We’re doing it already,” Washington said, citing a $2.7 million surplus, no cuts to fire or police services, 500 new business in 2012, and a dramatic increase in tourism.
To learn more about Temecula City Council candidates and their platforms, read their profiles on SWRNN’s Election Guide 2012.
Kerri S. Mabee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me on Twitter @kerrimabee.