“Banning White House” debacle finally raises concern
“Banning White House” debacle finally raises concern – for one (!) City Council member
9/22/11 – It has been over 9 months since this website first reported on the ongoing “Banning White House” debacle. Believe it or not , the issue has now finally registered with one – out of five – City Council members. Debbie Franklin has chosen to step up to the plate and recently met with neighbors of the Banning White House. Her findings are documented in a lengthy memo to City Manager Andy Takata.
The reporting timeline on the “Banning White House” debacle is as follows :
- Over 9 months ago, on January 10, 2011, this website broke the story on the “Banning White House” operating without commercial permits (view story). It was also in this article, that we first identified the close political connections between the owners/management of the White House and Banning’s Mayor Barbara Hanna. However, no City Council member showed any concern about the issue.
- On July 7, 2011 we reported that the City has blocked the release of a public safety document regarding the
Banning White House ( view article). The document, created by no other than the Banning Fire Department, is said to identify areas of non-compliance – i.e. code violations – by the “Banning White House”. Once again, no City Council member showed any concern whatsoever about the public’s right to see this public safety document.
- On August 29, 2011 we reported that neighbors of the “Banning White House” have started to rise up against a multitude of alleged abuses and potential legal violations along with apparent lack of enforcement by City manager Andy Takata ( view article ). The situation is attributable to behind-the-scene assistance by corrupt Mayor Barbara Hanna and possibly Council member Don “taxdodger” Robinson. Once again, no City Council member raises any concern whatsoever.
- Finally, on September 14, 2011, the Press Enterprise can no longer ignore that there is indeed an issue with the “Banning White House” ( view PE article ). However, in her typical “Pro Council” fashion, the reporter, Erin Waldner, once again fails to connect the dots : she makes absolutely no mention of the deep political connections the “Banning White House” has with Mayor Hanna, nor is there any mention of the fact that Hanna operates a consulting firm. Can we believe this was just an oversight ?
AFTER 9 MONTHS, ONE COUNCIL MEMBER FINALLY STARTS ASKING QUESTIONS
You would expect that at this point ALL City Council members become very concerned. But remember, this is Banning, the “Corruption Capital of the Inland Empire”. Here citizens can consider themselves lucky if just one – out of five – elected officials finally wakes up – after a full 9 months ! Debbie Franklin is now doing what all council members should do : inquire about the problem.
On September 16, Franklin met with neighbors on Silver Star Drive and has issued this extensive memo to City manager Andy Takata :
“To: Andy Takata, City Manager
From: Debbie Franklin, Councilmember
Re: Meeting with Silver Star Residents about White House
Andy, I met with residents who live on Silver Star this evening, September 16, 2011, in response to five letters they sent to the city council requesting action be taken to address their concerns about the activities at the property known as the Banning White House. They had many concerns which I will try to list for you.
1) Of upmost concern is the safety of their children. There are young children living in the cul de sac. They are used to playing in the area without having to worry about speeding cars.
2) Other safety concerns include:
Loud noises late at night and early morning disturbing not only the residents but cause the dogs to become agitated. The noises are music both in cars and on the patio of the White house, speeding cars, loud talking, air brakes and skidding cars; (note sound bounces off mountain so it is louder than normal)
Speeding cars have skidded against curbs, just a matter of time before one hits houses or parked cars or worse a person – child or adult. Some adults have had to jump out of the way to keep from getting hit as pedestrians;
Customer at events drink alcohol but there are no precautions to keep them from driving afterwards. Request for DUI check given to police but did not happen, told we do not have enough manpower. Advertising shows that bartenders are hired for events; people bring their own alcohol – legal?
Cars do not stop going either up or down the street changing from Harvest Moon to Silver Star, especially when exiting the area. The intersection is uncontrolled but cars do not even slow down; nor do they slow after exiting the WH driveway;
Residents are concerned for their safety – Customers have yelled at residents saying things like “we know where you live”, called white trash, told to graffiti their garages, and were advised by one man that he was not opposed to settle their issues with physical violence; multiple times they were called trouble makers; Residents threatened for taking signs out of their yards and for not giving customers directions to the location of the White House, they have been told they ought to move if they don’t like the traffic; threats made by both employees and guests;
Customers park in front of fire hydrants and block the emergency road that is the access to the fields behind their houses; they took down the wire that prevents cars from driving up there. Noted city sign noting it is an emergency only road has been removed (by city?)
3) All street parking is taken whenever there is an event, a shuttle is used to ferry people up and down the hill. There are photos of this
4) Residents have asked to speak to property owner to no avail. They noted that after they tried to talk with the care taker she now not only speeds up and down the street, she also blows her horn while driving in the cul-de-sac
5) Noted that the gate going up to the White House is locked when the caretaker does not want anyone going to the property. Noted that the legal survey shows the access road to the White House is an easement for the utilities and actually belongs to the neighbors. Ownership for the White house starts 375 feet up the road. Part of the road is owned by Centex
6) While the caretaker has been the care taker for several years, she just started living there 2 to 3 years ago. Pam told resident a few years ago that she had applied for a permit for a B & B and was denied, the road was not up to code among other things
7) The police seem to have predetermined what to tell residents when they call – the officer who first responded told the residents what they would do without even asking the residents why they had called, and refused to listen to them. Also would not deal with people loitering on their street. The officers came up twice, and then refused to come back
8 ) They want to know about the legality of fire safety since they recently had a fire and there is only one road access and the other access road is usually blocked
9) Noted problems started about one year ago, had not ever had a problem before. Said the house was always a private residence, not a school or a business. There was a time students used it as a residence, but there were no classes there and the students were quiet and orderly, very friendly, did not disturb anyone.
10) After the State of the City Address last year Ed Ball approached residents giving the impression he was a city official and was asking how the White House was impacting their neighborhood. They responded that they were concerned about traffic and the way cars accelerated when leaving the property
11) Noted they have been taxed specifically for road improvements and landscaping, White house owners do not have to pay but get the benefits
12) Residents want to know – a) why no one has talked with them from the city
b) Why they have to put up with the changing nature of their neighborhood, risks to their lives and property because of one business
c) Why White House is allowed to do business without all necessary permits and licenses, they have been questioned by the city about commercial vehicle as soon as it was parked in their driveway
d) Why is the White House getting preferential treatment, other businesses would not be allowed to continue business as usual without permits, including having city events there. Said as of last week reservations were still being taken. Not interested in allowing already booked events to still occur if problems are not addressed first
e) Why are they being treated poorly by the police?
f) How can the business be considered non –profit with dollars all going to donations given the prices that are charged – where do donations go?
g) Multiple misquotes in the Press Enterprise – why is City Manager trying to work with White House and not with the residents?
h) Why is it taking so long for resolution? Mayor knew over year ago of speed problems – she is one of the ones speeding
First – not acceptable to allow condition to continue much longer – should not wait for a tragedy to get a response
Move access to another location
Enforce noise codes and have lights not shine into houses below
Put neighborhood back to the condition it was before
Treat like any other business – no preferential treatment
Cease and desist until all issues resolved
Residents will have no alternative but to allow property to go bad and will move and not come back to city
Acknowledged receipt of letters – five have been received
Looked at location with residents
Listened to try to get all concerns
Asked to be called when next event occurs – they do have photos and video – will try to email to me and I will forward to you. Will go up to area to observe this weekend during event
Will call Kathy when topic is placed on council agenda
Will do follow up meeting on Thursday, Oct. 6 at 6:30 at Kathy’ house and ask Andy to join me
Email notes to Andy and Kathy”
Debbie Franklin deserves credit for so thoroughly looking into this matter. However, the following City Council members remain UNCONCERNED about what is going on with the “Banning White House”:
BOB BOTTS, BARBARA HANNA, DON ROBINSON, JOHN MACHISIC ! Who is it that they really represent ?
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