You Can Lay Blame and Point Fingers, but What We All Need is a Lot of Patience


You may have heard the phrase "the patience of Job," which refers to the Biblical story of a man whose patience and faith was tested when Satan took all his worldly possessions and left him in poverty and disease. According to the scriptures, Job remained faithful despite his horrible predicament and was rewarded when God restored all that he had.

Thus we have today this popular phrase: Patience, faith, reward.

The question is, does anyone really believe it?

In a lot of ways, the patience of Menifee residents is being tested. We aren't sitting on a pile of rubble, penniless and covered from head to toe in sore boils, as Job was. Even so, many of us are downright irritated about one thing or another concerning our fair city.

More development. Less development. It's too hot. It's too crowded. We need more parks. We need better roads. Look what Temecula has. Who wants to be Temecula? When are we getting a bowling alley? A movie theater?

As I tell my grandkids, "I want a million dollars, too, but I don't think it's happening this week."

The thing is, Menifee is in that awkward growth stage, kind of like the gangly teenager whose emotions and coordination can't keep up with his body. We're growing, whether some like it or not. How much? Time will tell.

Meanwhile, the focal point of all this frustration has become the debate over the best solution to our city's traffic problems. What's the quick fix, you ask?

The answer: There is none. That's where the patience comes in.

Are you invested in the future of this community? Then you might as well make the best of what we have now, and realize it will take a while to get what we all want -- or the portion of that we can agree on.

Yes, we need more ways to get across Interstate 215. Yes, pretty much everyone agrees that the proposed Holland Road overpass is the best plan. Believe it or not, the city council members realize that, too.

In light of all the discussion of proposed road improvements recently, this was a hot topic at Tuesday night's city council meeting.

"I think it's important to at least start the Holland overpass planning," said council member Sue Kristjansson. "Not to jeopardize the Newport and Scott projects, but on a parallel path, we need to start making that funding available."

Council member Wallace Edgerton agreed.

"This would be a vital link in our city," he said. "I can't imagine anything in this city having more impact than the Holland overpass."

So don't assume the council members are putting the Holland project on the back burner, behind the Newport and Scott Road interchanges. They get stuck in the same traffic jams you do. You can blame them, city staff or anyone else, but it won't make any difference. Newport gets done first because it's the furthest along in the design and funding stages. But at least council and staff members made it clear Tuesday night they know they must get the ball rolling on the Holland overpass project.

Funding can't be taken away from the Newport project to devote to Holland. It doesn't work that way. Various state and county funds supplement city funds in various ways. Each project must be treated on its own.

"The three projects are not competing with each other," said City Manager Bill Rawlings. "To say they're 1-2-3 ... you could just easily say they are 1-1-1. They are all that important.

"Reallocating resources from Newport to Holland doesn't get the Holland overpass built any quicker. It just delays the Newport project. Newport is furthest along in the process, so it's listed No. 1. We are concurrently pursuing funding for Scott Road. On Holland, we first need to allocate design funds."

That will happen as quickly as those funds can be generated. Which brings us to the vicious circle we're all facing.

The best way to bring in additional funds is to increase the money generated from property tax and sales tax within the city. The city's general fund already relies on property tax for 42 percent of its revenue. In this economy, how much more can one expect that to increase?

According to city documents, sales tax will account for 21 percent of revenue for the general fund in the next year. To fund all these road improvements, you need more businesses selling more products. Yet when you build more businesses in town, the traffic gets even worse while you're waiting to fund the road construction.

See the problem? It's frustrating -- and there really is only one solution.


City officials need patience as they work to attract more businesses to the city. Businesses need patience as they negotiate a deal that will work well for both themselves and the city. And residents need patience enough to sit in those traffic jams when necessary during the years it will take to get all this done.

Rome wasn't built in a day. Los Angeles wasn't built in a week. Temecula wasn't built in a month. And Menifee won't be built in a year -- or even two. It's a work in progress. Measuring the rate of that progress will only lead to unnecessary headaches.

Sure, you can take your business to Murrieta, Temecula or elsewhere. Granted, there are times that is necessary. But remember, the more you shift sales tax revenue outside Menifee, the slower the process will be.

Patience, faith, reward. If you truly believe your community is worth the wait, give it a try.

Whether You're in Menifee or Montreal, L.A. or Louisville, Hockey's a Winner; Go Kings!

When you're a Los Angeles Kings hockey fan, you learn to suffer in solitude.

Over the course of 45 seasons in a city as unfamiliar with ice hockey as it is with cricket or jai alai, the Kings rarely had more than a small following from a rabid core group of fans. Some were transplanted Canadians, others fans who had learned about the game in cold weather cities such as New York, Boston or Detroit.

Then there were those of us who simply became fascinated by a sport where you must not only be a skillful skater, but a strong athlete with lightning-quick reflexes and no problems flashing a toothless grin.

We have been joined by thousands over the years, especially since the Wayne Gretzky era and a Stanley Cup Finals appearance in 1993. Even more jumped on the bandwagon during this year's improbable playoff run. But it was the diehard Kings fans I was most happy for -- and most identified with -- as the Kings won their first Stanley Cup Monday night at Staples Center in downtown L.A.

I had a hard enough time finding other Kings fans in the San Gabriel Valley, so I wasn't real confident about seeing any recognition of the team here in Menifee. I mean, the Phoenix Coyotes have proven that hockey can be a hit in the desert, but what about in a rural outpost a two-hour drive from the arena?

Fortunately, I learned that even out here, among the horses and rattlesnakes and in near 100-degree weather, one can find more than a few fellow Kings fans with whom to celebrate the team's first championship.

The excitement has been building for weeks, as the eighth- (thus lowest) seeded Kings dominated Vancouver, St. Louis and Phoenix in getting to the finals. By the time they got to last Wednesday's Game 4 with a 3-0 series lead, reality began to sink in: This might actually happen.

And so, seeking some companionship in watching what I thought would be the clincher, I accepted an invitation from my boss, Steve Johnson, to watch the game at The Beer Hunter. Who knew he was also a long-time Kings fan?

Well, guess what? The place was full of them. Probably about 40 or 50 Kings fans -- many clad in the team's purple and black jerseys -- watched the action as enthusiastically as if they had front-row seats at Staples. When the Kings scored, one guy stood on a table and waved a Kings flag. They must've had the game on 15 TV screens, and every one had many sets of eyes glued to it.

Unfortunately, the Kings lost that game. A bit depressed, I watched the Game 5 loss in New Jersey from my family room couch, telling myself I really wouldn't mind if they lost, because that would give them another chance to wrap it up at home.

When that actually happened Monday night in a 6-1 victory over the Devils, I was once again on my couch at home, having decided to share the moment via Facebook with others who had stuck with the team as long as I have.

I still remember vividly the night in November of 1971 when my dad took me to my first Kings game. I really had no idea what to expect. But before the game was over, the fast action and unique skating aspect of the game won me over. There was a bench-clearing brawl. The Zamboni (ice re-surfacing) machine broke down. The Kings won.

I was hooked. During high school, I attended many games with a classmate, often sneaking into the Forum through a gate manned by a buddy of ours. I remember sitting on the top step of the upper level to watch the Montreal Canadiens -- one of the few opponents to sell out the place. Years later, I covered the team, even traveling to Montreal for the Kings' ill-fated Stanley Cup Final series of 1993.

So as the Kings hoisted the Stanley Cup Monday night, I thought of my dad, who passed away in 1997; the folks at The Beer Hunter; my days as a Kings beat writer; and all the great memories in between.

Congratulations, Kings. Even out here in Menifee, we salute you.