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Produce sludge records

2013/7/23 12:09:51      view:

Bring the records to City Hall by Tuesday, or forever hold your peace.

That was the message that Menifee Mayor Scott Mann delivered to Planning Commissioner Mark Matelko a week after he said he possessed records contradicting information presented at a city-organized sludge forum.

Neither Matelko nor his wife, Janine -- who’ve vehemently opposed local sludge application for more than a decade -- attended a public workshop on the issue earlier this month. A week later, Matelko said from the dais during a Planning Commission meeting that “sick people needed to start looking in their own backyard.”

Now, Mann would like Matelko to bring his proof to City Hall by 5 p.m. Tuesday.

“Ladies and gentlemen, that’s the reason why we had our workshop and that workshop was approved by the council,” Mann said at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. “ … I want to respect Matelko’s comments and offer him one more chance to provide these documents to City Hall.”

Asked after Tuesday’s meeting if that was an ultimatum, Mann didn’t back down.

“We would ask that (after March 26) if he hasn’t produced anything, hold your peace -- forever hold your peace,” Mann said. “The burden of proof is now on you. We just provided a forum for him to bring forth matters and (he) failed to do so.”

Matelko said during a March 12 Planning Commission meeting that he and his wife didn’t attend the public workshop on the region’s historical application of sludge -- a mixture of human, household and industrial waste treated at a sewage plant -- because threats were made against his wife at a Quail Valley Environmental Coalition meeting in January.

Reached by phone Wednesday, Janine Matelko said she wasn’t interested in complying with Mann’s request to have their records delivered to City Hall because she said previous city managers had dismissed them. And she said the three minutes that would have been allotted to Mark Matelko to speak during the sludge workshop wouldn’t have been nearly enough time to discuss decades of the spreading of sludge as a fertilizer on the region’s farmlands.

“If they want to have another public meeting, or provide a public forum, (Mark Matelko) will provide the documents to the public … if we are given unlimited time to produce them,” Janine Matelko said.

Mark Matelko has said he had procured records from the county -- before they were destroyed per its retention policy -- indicating that sludge had been applied to more land than the city acknowledged at its March 5 workshop when a number of experts concluded that the region was a safe place to live.

“The rumors going around town that no records exist, that people have to prove what’s going on in Menifee, is totally false,” Matelko said at the March 12 meeting. “The records do exist.”

Some city officials said they were stunned to see an appointed official publicly speak out against the city. But Councilman Tom Fuhrman, who appointed Matelko to the commission in 2011, said he took no issue with what Matelko said from the dais.