Thursday, January 11, 2018

• City Council Meeting January 2018

A few interesting notes came from the January city council meeting, though nothing was all that pressing.

It started with the ceremonial handing over of the gavel from 2017 Mayor Tim Walker to 2018 Mayor Ben Benoit. 
Tim Walker's infectious smile was on full display as he handed over the Mayor's gavel to Ben Benoit.
The 2018 Wildomar City Council. 2018 Mayor Ben Benoit holds the Mayors plaque while Tim Walker displays the gavel he used during the 2017 meetings.  Above is Bridgette Moore, Dustin Nigg and Marsha Swanson.
Public Comments (on non agenda items)
Not sure if this is the way it'll be done all year or not, but had to enjoy hearing the Mayor announce who was speaking. Then reminding all others in the audience that this was the time to fill out a public comment card if they'd like to speak. 
• Ken Mayes got borrowed time and discussed the Friends of the Library. Membership is $100 for lifetime membership, $5 yearly for seniors or $10 Yearly for others. They meet on third Wednesday of the month at 2:00pm. If interested, either call the library for more info (951) 471-3855, or try their facebook page.

He then brought up several other concerns of his. Fire hydrants, RVs illegally parking all over the city, the city's website, Malaga Park, and the guardrail at Mission Trail and Palomar.

• I wholeheartedly agree with him about the RVs that are everywhere. Just tread lightly, if you point out such things on Facebook, be ready to have people call you a meanie for not wanting such things in your neighborhood.

 It was promised that the website will be up and running before February. Councilmember Nigg pressed the point and got assurances of such.

 I've never been a fan of the Malaga Park concept, there's nothing park-like about any of it to me, but to each his own. 

 As for the guardrail: yes, money... but is that thing ever going to be repaired or not? Three years seems a bit long to wait before fixing it? What about the person that hit it? Isn't that what insurance is for? 

3.2 Update Local Goals & Policies and Appraisal Standards Concerning the Use of the Community Facilities Act of 1982
Though this issue will have no impact today, and may not for a number of years, its potential still could be quite huge depending on if, and how, it were to be applied in the future.

It's definitely a heady subject and not easy to wade through. I've included the video so that you can take you're own stab at fording the minutiae of it all. 

The point of this was to update the goals and policies of such CFDs (bonds to the layman), and get input from the five city council members. 
Questions from Assistant City Manager Dan York for the council to consider:
• Is there an interest for the council to dive deeper into what a CFD means? If so, we could set up [...] a future agenda meeting where we could bring in some of the professionals who could give you the pros and cons of CFDs at a deeper level.

• [We'd like input on] the general direction to staff as to how we work with land developers. Do we work with them towards sparking a deal to present back to council on a CFD or do we tell them that the city's position, pretty much, still is that we're not interested in administering [a CFD]?

Responses of Mayor Ben Benoit

• I look at the work I've had to do in WRCOG chasing down CFDs over in Beaumont, and I can tell you that organization is looking at [...] all the misdeeds that were done in that city. WRCOG is going after those banking organizations [suggesting] "Hey, you should have known, you should have been upfront with us, it looks like you're actually hiding stuff by not releasing information." So, it's important to hire the right counsel for that. It's important to hire the right people and make sure that the five of us know what we're doing, and what's going on. 

• It's amazing what a bad city can do with a tool like this, that could be very misused, and I'll be darned if that happens here. If we're going to move forward with this I want to make sure we're taking every precaution necessary. That we're using the right counsel, that we're using the right people and that if that's the path we're going to have to go down to see some housing tracks move forward —especially the ones on Bundy Canyon— where you've got a lot of infrastructure that our city desperately needs, and if that's the last piece to that puzzle, I think we at least have to be willing to talk about it. 
City Councilmember Marsha Swanson

I too, like you (looking at the Mayor), see both sides, and it's a slippery slope. The council we have now, I have no problem, we'll pick good people. We'll vet them, and go up one side and down the other, but there are future councils. Once this is done there could be other people, other staff members that would need a keeping an eye on. I'd like to move forward, but I'd like to hear more information.
The scary part about the CFDs I've heard go through the council, generally affecting new development and public safety, has the CPI (Consumer Price Index) at 5%. 
Screen capture from the slideshow presentation.
Maybe it isn't the end of the world, but at a 5% yearly increase, that tax... I mean CFD, will be doubling every 20 years. OUCH! Makes my humble home in Windsong Valley all that much more appealing since such things aren't on my tax bill in the first place.

3.3 City Manager Pay Increase
The City Manager, Gary Nordquist, got a boost in pay as provided in his contract. Being a public servant means your salary is there for all to see. He's done a great job, and Wildomar has benefitted from his steady hand, demeanor and approach to the job.
From the online agenda packet.
Other bits of information worthy of a mention

• Continued talk about improving Bundy Canyon: inching closer to reality.

• Three seats on the Measure Z committee are needing to be filled. (Two of the seats were just filled a short time ago, but those were for the remainder of the term. Hopefully Scott Rux and Shelley Hitchcock will stay on).

• The city's 10th birthday party is already being planned out, committees are being formed.

• Santa Rosa Plateau Nature Education Foundation is still on track to host their fundraiser in the fall. A craft beer tasting event at Marna O'Brien Park.

• City Hall will be closed on Monday, January 15th, to honor Martin Luther King's birthday.

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In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But in practice, there is.
– Yogi Berra 

Wildomar Rap avoids practice and calls it a day.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

• Fundraiser At Go Nutz Donuts

Go Nutz Donuts raised around $200 for fallen fire fighter Cory Iverson. 
This family photo shows Cory Iverson, his wife Ashley, and daughter, 2-year-old Evie Iverson. Ashley is expecting their second child.
You may remember that he died of thermal injuries and smoke inhalation incurred  while fighting the Thomas Fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties.

Station 75's Captain Jeff Griffith and crew stopped by to pick up the money and pose for a couple of pictures at the same time. Also on hand was Wildomar mayor, Ben Benoit.
Left to right, Mayor Ben Benoit, Fire Fighter 1, Go Nutz Dounts head honcho Henry Silvestre, Captain Jeff Griffith of Station 75, Fire Fighter 2.
I asked Henry what motivated him regarding this cause. As it happens, he went to school up in Ojai and was closely following the news of the Thomas fire. Some of his former classmates lost their homes or were otherwise displaced. 

When he heard the bulletin about the death of a fire fighter named Cory from San Diego county, that rang a bell. He has a regular customer named Cory, that is also a fire fighter from the same general area, and he hadn't come into the store for awhile.

Captain Griffith stopped by and mentioned that Cory Iverson had gone to the academy with one of the guys from Station 75. 

Knowing how much money it takes to raise kids, and there being one and another on the way, Henry decided to put out a fireman's boot that people could put money into for the Iverson family. 

All the fire departments in San Diego County came together for one "boot drive" [started by] a couple of fire captains in Poway. They raised over $285,000 in one day.    

Captain Jeff Griffith, Station 75
Looking north from the Baxter overpass. You can see many cars that had stopped on the side of the road to get a glimpse of the passing hearse. 
•                •                •

The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short, but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.
— Michelangelo

Wildomar Rap has never missed the mark.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

• 2017 Year in Review

2017 is all but in the books now, and there were many things that caught the eye of Wildomar Rap during the year that are worthy of reflection. 
My favorite photo of the year. 
A beautiful first day of Autumn. Looking easterly from about 300 feet above Marna O'Brien Park.
In 2017 there were 120 Wildomar Rap blogs (looks like someone needs a new hobby), and from those I culled out many items that are worthy of another mention.

The question is whether to cite them chronologically, or by how impactful they were? Hmmm... let's go with the order in which they came, and then I can elaborate where it makes sense... deal?

If it took place in Wildomar, or affected Wildomar, it got consideration. For those that are curious about the original write ups, each entry will also be a link to the blog in question.

Melissa Melendez (Assemblywoman for Wildomar) was slated to speak in front of an American Heart Association group in Wildomar but was then dis-invited due to her support for President Trump.

• Wildomar got a new Chief of Police, Captain Dan Anne.

• Caring Hearts (local charitable org) was recognized by Assemblywoman Melendez at one of her community coffees.

• Storm Damage, including a sinkhole on Grand Avenue, came with the heavy rains of early 2017.

• Wildomar's new Visioning Statement.
So let it be written. So let it be done.
• The heavy Winter rains brought out the poppies in many parts of town

• The first real sign of the Camelia Townhouse project was seen as a neighborhood meeting held at Sycamore Academy, where the developers met with nearby neighbors and others that were concerned.

As it turned out, this ended up being one of the biggest local stories of the year, and was mentioned at least a dozen times in this blog.

• Prop 64 and how to approach legal selling of recreational pot was another big story. The crowd at one of the meetings tested Mayor Tim Walker's mettle, and he appeared rattled more than once as he appeared to lose his cool. In the end, the subject was postponed until 2018.

• Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez held the first of two of her community coffees in Wildomar. There was a third scheduled, but it had to be scrapped when it was slated to be on the same day as the State of the City event.

• April 1st saw the best ever Wildomar based April Fool's blog when two videos of the Brown House being blown up were uploaded to Wildomar Rap's YouTube channel.

• Governor Brown, as part of the SB-1 gas tax theft (can you detect my subtle bias here?), finally played his Wildomar VLF chip, "giving back" the money he took from us many years earlier. Well, he didn't actually give back the estimated $10,000,000 he stole, but he promised he'd stop stealing the approximate $2M per year from then on.

• Wildomar got two new bus shelters. One in front of the library and the other in front of Falcon Square (between Jolie's Day Spa and Freddy's Tacos).
Councilmember Bridgette Moore cuts the ribbon for the new bus shelter.
• Wildomar got its first Little Free Library, located at DeJong's Dairy.
The little free library was installed by Kaylyn Turner.
• Wildomar hosted two 5k races within a couple of weeks of each other. The first was known as The Justine Lee Pesicka Memorial Foundation Water Safety Awareness 5k Run/Walk. The other was the 2nd annual ALS One 5K, which also had the yearly Bicycle Safety Event, and a health and safety fair going on at the same time.
As the ALS One 5K started.
• Memorial Day saw a change up in the way it had been done before. A local church that had been doing it for quite awhile came to the city and said it was just more than they could handle... so the city took it over. Considering that this all happened with less than a month until the event, it was still a solid, heartfelt and moving event. 
Longtime Wildomar resident at The Farm, George Taylor (no relation to Jessie Taylor the singer) salutes during the singing of the national anthem. His wife Gayl is to his right.
• Wildomar hosted the Little League TOC (tournament of champions). This was the first time that the tourney came to the W, and it lasted more than a month at Marna O'Brien park. Also in the mix was the Challenger Division, where special needs players also had an All Star game.
Tim Underdown reminds the players about sportsmanship, having fun and staying hydrated before the AA match that had Wildomar playing against Temescal Valley. After a great comeback, Wildomar ended up being bested by a run. 
• The Camelia Townhouse project finally came back to the planning commission. It was an overflow crowd, and a far longer than usual meeting —that was often bordering on being out of order— where the project was given the thumbs up and then sent up to the city council to make the final decision on. 
This was a common reaction after a public speaker finished speaking during the planning commission meeting that the Camelia Townhouse project was discussed.
• Definitely the saddest moment for the community of Wildomar in 2017 came with the death of long time resident, early proponent of cityhood, planning commissioner and all around good guy, Stan Smith.

• The solar eclipse, an event that was shared all across the country, left it's mark (or should I say shadow) on Wildomar too.
Wildomar Mayor Tim Walker gets a gander of the eclipse through special glasses.
Girl Scout Marissa Hill finished her Gold Award project, which was a combination water fountain installed at Marna O'Brien park. In addition to a regular water spout, it has one set at wheelchair height, one for pets, and also one to fill water bottles.
Marissa Hill readies the oversized scissors as she's about to cut the ribbon dedicating the fountain.

• Las Vegas shooting Victim, Chelsea Romo, returned home to a near hero's welcome. 
People lined both sides of the street as Chelsea Romo's car approached.
• The State of the City, emceed by Mayor Tim Walker. An enjoyable evening, even if it seemed to be the length of two speeches for the price of one. ☺
A collage of the Mayor... it appears that he favors the left side of the room here. ☺
• Halloween saw DeJong's Dairy transform into the Scary Dairy, and crowds swarmed (nearly overwhelming the event). Also, the city's annual Trunk or Treat had its biggest showing in its 4 year history.
A look at the sea of people that attended Trunk or Treat 2017.
• The biggest story of the year had to be the fire that started at the Wildomar off road park. Thankfully no one died or was seriously injured. The blog covering the fire was continually updated with photos until the fire was no longer news.
Mayor Pro-Tem Ben Benoit and Councilmember Bridgette Moore using the facebook live feature to share with the people of Wildomar in real time, as they track one of the airplanes.
• After many rumors throughout the year, the Wildomar Chamber of Commerce elected to fold up and become part of a new, super chamber, with Murrieta. 

• Just as many new restaurants were about to come online, longtime Wildomar establishment D'Canters unexpectedly closed its doors.
The lettering had been scrapped off the entry door and window.
• After many years of anticipation, Wildomar Square finally opened. With it came Taco Bell, Angelo's Pizza, The Habit, Robeck's, Jersey Mike's, and Dunkin' Donuts.
Will Baxter Village take as long to construct as Wildomar Square?
• The city held it's first Parks Visioning Workshop at city hall, with more to come in the new year. This meeting was specifically dealing with the unnamed 27 acre park near Ronald Reagan Elementary school.
This is still an issue, and if you are interested in Wildomar parks, you need to be part of it.
• No specific blog was written about the unceremonious bulldozing of the Brown House, but it was mentioned on the Wildomar Rap facebook page. 
The Brown House in mid disassembly. The tower gone and the blue siding removed.
One of two eyesores that were removed from Wildomar in 2017.
This infamous piece of junk made it to the scrapheap about six weeks ahead of the Brown House.
• The procession for fallen fire fighter Cory Iverson only passed through the town for no more than five minutes, but when overpasses are shutdown, as was the case on Baxter Road, it's a big deal. 
Those in uniform stood at attention from the moment the procession was in sight, 
until it had completely passed and was out of sight going south.
There were many other things that went on in town in 2017, but didn't make the highlight reel. Quite a few events at Marna O'Brien park, including concerts, the yearly eggstravaganza, the city's 9th birthday, and an Eagle Scout project.

Things to keep an eye on in 2018

I predict that Prop 64 and the city of Wildomar will be making headlines one way or another. With a new mayor, though all council members all have the same one vote on the issues, could see this being steered much differently than it was in 2017.

The 2018 city council elections will also be something to watch. There will be three seats due to come before the voters, districts 1, 3 and 5 (Benoit, Walker and Swanson). 

It's my guess that, barring unforeseen occurrences, all will be seeking reelection. Papers must be "pulled" sometime in July if you're interested getting your name on the ballot. 
This is the council district map. If you're in district 2 or 4, you're on the sidelines in 2018.
The question will be, who will the challengers be? 

Will they be from a pool of known quantities, will they emerge from obscurity, or will there be none at all? 

I've heard from one person that is eager to file papers for district 3, but it doesn't look too good when they don't bother attending any city meetings, and don't really seem to understand the process either.

Time for a last thought and a new word. 

In 2016 I made a Christmas parody song (based on Up On A Housetop) called Christmas In Wildomar. In it there were "presents" for the city council, and Wildomar Chamber of Commerce.

I got the "present" for the city council correct, having Governor Brown give back our money... but was only half right with my gift to the Chamber. 

My dulcet tones suggested that their gift could be "eateries" and that came with the opening of Wildomar Square. 

Thing is, I didn't see the Chamber folding up its tent and allowing itself to be swallowed up by Murrieta's Chamber of Commerce. (face it fellers, that's just what happened, no matter what spin you attempt to put on it).

What I failed to address in that song was a gift for Wildomar Rap... but one was delivered just the same. 

It came in the form of the city cranks (aka the Cantankerotti) finding new members, and even finding a way to get their patron saint to make a triumphant return to most city meetings. 

As a blogger, I love sharing the stories about community spirit, new businesses, local achievement and other positive topics. 

But throw me a bone now and then, and allow me to get opinionated when it comes to people that have a severe case of gooberitis.
Gooberitis manifests itself by forcing the afflicted person to say patently ridiculous things during public meetings, or on social media, and never pausing when they are shown to be wrong.
Happy New Year, and may you all have a banner 2018... which I graciously extend to anyone that would bother being a hater of this blog too.

•                •                •

"Whether you think that you can, or that you can't, you are usually right."

— Henry Ford

Wildomar Rap is usually right, whether it thinks it can do something or not.

Friday, December 29, 2017

• Wildomar Walmart Update

No, there are no dates set for grading or construction of the Walmart site on Bundy Canyon and the I-15, but the court case is now over and it should be an open road from here on out for the retail giant.
From a flyer distributed by Walmart at a Wildomar Chamber of Commerce breakfast back in January 2015.

It's been reported that The 4th District Court of Appeal published a ruling that upheld the dismissal of an action against Wal-Mart as a sanction for high-profile San Diego plaintiffs' attorney Cory Briggs defying discovery orders.

Though he was slapped down at the appellate level, he still could try and take this to the next step; the California Supreme Court. 

From what I've seen with other groups that dabble in this type of thing, incessantly thinking they know better than the courts with fruitless appeals, I wouldn't be totally surprised if that happens here too.
Future Wildomar Walmart at Bundy Canyon and the Freeway.
A great article was written about attorney Cory Briggs and Creed-21, by Brad Racino of 

The case came down to the law firm not following court orders. I could try to rehash the article, but that would be doing a disservice to it (not to mention stepping on Brad Racino's toes - to say the least). 

One quote from the inewsource article suggests that the Wildomar Walmart case could quite likely be cited as precedent in future cases.

“This case is a piece of evidence that’s going to get cited in other cases,” said San Diego attorney Charles Bird, “by people who think that Cory [Briggs] doesn’t really have clients.” 

—,  Brad Racino, December 28, 2017
If this case interests you, be sure to read the article linked above, it's quite informative. Giving insights as to what that law firm has done over the years, including trying to squelch inewsource's 1st amendment rights in one case.

After 17 stories, SDOG – Briggs’ most litigious nonprofit – sued inewsource and San Diego State University (where inewsource is housed).

It did not challenge the accuracy of inewsource reports about Briggs. Instead, it challenged the terms of the contract inewsource and SDSU have for space. For the first time, the nonprofit was represented by an attorney other than one from the Briggs Law Corp.

inewsource won the case at the Superior Court. SDOG appealed and lost again at the appellate court level, with a three-judge panel agreeing that the lawsuit was an attempt to curtail free speech rights.

The case is pending before the state Supreme Court.,  Brad Racino, December 28, 2017
No matter which side of the Walmart in Wildomar issue you find yourself on, it has to be galling to watch groups and individuals look to game the system, costing the tax payers money and lost opportunities, as court cases drag on for years.
Much needed road improvements to Bundy Canyon Road, near I-15, will come with the construction of the "nearly" 200,000 SF Super Walmart.
I had the chance to read the Daily Journal's article on this case; it was a scathing assessment of attorney Cory Briggs. Sorry, I don't have a link to it but thought I'd share one of my favorite parts of it.
In one opposition to a discovery motion, Briggs "claimed a paralegal was unable to serve the revised discovery responses for a variety of reasons, including 
(1) because her grandmother had to undergo emergency surgery; 
(2) because Mr. Briggs's associates aunt passed away, and 
(3) because Mr. Briggs' parents' house exploded, caught fire, and was rendered uninhabitable — all simultaneously," according to the letter by Deputy San Diego City Attorney Carmen A. Brock, which was submitted Monday.

— Excerpt from Daily Journal, Dec 21, 2017
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Always do right — this will gratify some and astonish the rest.
— Mark Twain  

It's gratifying to announce that Astonishment is Wildomar Rap's middle name.

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