Mayes backs out of chamber’s Wildomar District 4 council forum

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The Murrieta/Wildomar Chamber of Commerce hosted a virtual candidate forum for Wildomar’s District 4 City Council candidates Thursday, Sept. 24, on the business-focused organization’s YouTube channel. Valley News/Courtesy photo

Wildomar District 4 city council candidate Kenneth “Kenny” Mayes declined to participate in a Murrieta/Wildomar Chamber of Commerce virtual forum broadcast live on YouTube Thursday, Sept. 24.

Forum host Patrick Ellis, president and chief executive officer of the chamber, read an email submitted to him before the live event.

“After careful consideration, I’ve decided not to participate in the Murrieta chamber forum,” Ellis said, reading Mayes’ email. “My reasoning is the longtime relationship with the Murrieta Chamber of Commerce and my opponent creates a conflict of interest that denies impartiality. For this reason, I feel that the Murrieta Chamber of Commerce is unqualified to host a fair debate for the people of Wildomar. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to debate moderated by an impartial organization.”

Ellis said he responded to Mayes via email.

“I did email him and assure him that we do not run debates,” he said. “We have never run debates. We only run candidate forums, which offers an equal opportunity and an equal playing field for all of the candidates.”

That decision left incumbent District 4 council member Bridgette Moore as the only participant in the forum that featured questions submitted to the chamber from the public and chamber members.

First, Moore was afforded the opportunity to give a candidate statement.

“My family and I have lived in Wildomar since 1998,” she said. “We moved here when my son, Jake, was a year old. Having moved a lot in my childhood, I really wanted to find a home and where I could put down roots and living in Wildomar has done that.

“The house we purchased was near a park, and I love taking my son down in the stroller to the park. Well, the next year the park closed. We weren’t a city then, and so I started attending the municipal advisory council meetings and asking how can the parks get reopened? Well, if you start asking questions, you’re going to be put on a committee. Myself and other residents fought to bring parks back to Wildomar. And in 2007, the parks were reopened.

“Meanwhile, Murrieta was trying to annex a portion of us. I started volunteering for the Wildomar Incorporation Now committee and helped assist and make Wildomar into a city. Not many people can say that they’ve helped make a city,” Moore said.

Ellis asked Moore what inspired her to run for her council seat again.

“Well, I’m not done making a difference,” she said. “I am not a talker; I am a doer, and I just think that there are still things that we need to get done, and I still want to be a part of those things. I support all residents of Wildomar from our youth, our Little League, Boy Scouts, Girl Scout projects, all the way to our senior citizens. I volunteer. I’ve put on projects that are at the Wildomar senior center, and I just want to continue to serve our community to improve the quality of life for all our residents.

“For roads, because I know that’s a big issue right now. We just finished paving 11 roads in our community, and we’re not done. As soon as that project was done, we started working on the next batch of roads and we’re not going to stop,” Moore said.

Ellis asked, “Do you see Wildomar heading in the right direction or the wrong direction and why?”

“We are heading in the right direction,” Moore said. “We’ve overcome obstacle after obstacle, but now, the passage of Measure AA, the hiring of economic development director for the first time, we are headed in the right direction.”

To watch the virtual forum in its entirety, visit the chamber’s YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjnmds67mXbykH3zIb8FzhQ.

Jeff Pack can be reached by email at jpack@reedermedia.com.