Friday, March 16, 2018

• Memorial Service for Kirk Schrader

A full house attended the memorial service of Kirk Schrader at the Methodist Church in Murrieta. 
The two programs handed out at the service.
"I'll Fly Away" by Alan Jackson was played over the PA system, followed by a prayer by Senior Pastor Rev. Scott Andrews.
Even in his younger days, he grew a helluva beard and mustache.
This was followed by two lifelong friends, Don Reed and Jason Woempner, regaling the gathered with stories stretching all the way back to little league, some 50 years ago through the most recent times, regarding Kirk's fierce competitiveness, his zeal for the outdoors and family.

Wildomar colleague, Daniel Torres, read a passage from the bible (John 14:1-3) and shared some thoughts about Kirk.
"He gave me an opportunity. He saw past what everyone else saw, he saw past my hurt, he saw past my flaws, but he gave me an opportunity. As long as I continued to work for him, I saw that."
Kirk's wife Michelle Schrader, sitting in the front row, listens as Daniel Torres eulogizes Kirk.
The service concluded with prayer and the Alan Jackson song "How Great Thou Art".

I was fortunate enough to have known him, as he and I played baseball on the same beer league team about 10 years ago. Years later, I met him at Windsong Park as part of The Great Day of Service of 2013. 

I knew his face right away, but am not always that good with names, but he came right up to me, calling me by name, and took a sincere interest in the conversation we had. He was always such a kind and engaging person when I met him at park events in town.

Many condolences to his family and friends. He will be missed.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

• City Council Meeting March 2018

I'm going to try something new with this City Council recap. Instead of writing in chronological order, I'm going to write about the things that matter, then I'll add the silly garbage at the end... and there was plenty of that tonight.

William Collier Elementary Principal Dorri Neal. She talked about Measure V monies in action, that at her school they still teach cursive handwriting and say the pledge of allegiance everyday. Link to WCE website

Public Comments (on non agenda items)
• Andy Morris speaking as a board member of EVMWD spent his time debunking erroneous internet chatter regarding the trips to Washington DC by EVMWD representatives. (See video for his comments)
• Damien and Michael McVey spoke about their, soon to be opening business, Just Yoga. They mentioned the grand opening for Wildomar Square which is Saturday, March 24th and they will be there with givaways and . It will be in Wildomar Square, next to The Habit. Link to Just Yoga FB page
• Warren Roche spoke about public safety/police protection, that his home has been broken into three times since he moved into the area in 2008. His second issue was "city staff's lack of response to phone calls." (Please see the video to see how it played out in real time). Though there was some confusion as to whether he left his number on the messages he left according to the City Manager, Mayor Ben Benoit jumped in. 

Public Comments on non agenda items aren't allowed to be discussed, by law, as are items that are on the agenda. The Mayor asked Mr. Roche to give him a call directly so that they can sort out his issues... which included a burnt out street light on the busy corner of Frederick and Charles in Windsong Valley. 

Wildomar Rap Opinion Time 
This is the exact reason why we have city council members to represent us. When a resident is needing help with important issues in town, the elected representatives need to be there to intercede and work on their behalf. Not all issues can be handled by a city council member, but a city council member still can take all issues seriously and see that they're attended to, to the full extend of their jurisdiction. Kudos to Mayor Benoit for taking the issue on with no delay. 
There were two more comments, but they are filed under "comedy" and will show in the "Silly Garbage" file after the real points of the meeting.

1.9 Clinton Keith Village
You may remember a blog I wrote last November detailing activity on the corner of Clinton Keith and George (link to blog). I talked to the grading super, or so I was led to believe, and was told that they'd be done in about three weeks. 
Location of Clinton Keith Village.
They were "done" in about three weeks, with that part of their grading. They had a taker for the dirt that needed to be moved, so they completed that part of it

I can't imagine why someone with authority would give out misleading info when asked, but I had been told that the buildings would be up as soon as August. Ummm... for that to come close to happening, they'll have to break some land-speed records.

Item 2.1 
This was just covered in the February Planning Commission write up. Here's the link if you'd like the details. It was a simple zone change so that it would be consistent with the General Plan. There are no plans in the works for this site. There was one public comment, but it'll be covered at the end of the blog.

Item 2.2 Smith Ranch Self-Storage
As with item 2.1, this was covered in depth in the February PC meeting (see link above). It only came to the council for final approval, which it was. 

There were two public comments on the item. William (last name not decipherable) had concerns about the grading of a hill on the property. If you watch the brief video, you'll see that he gets his questions and concerns answered, which also included the ingress and egress of the future business.
The second comment will be found at the bottom of the blog.

3.1 PEG Fees
I didn't hear the actual amounts proposed here, but understand this. If you have a cable bill, you will be getting a new charge tacked onto it (unless you think cable providers are magnanimous enough to eat that new fee). It's called a PEG fee. 

According to City Manager Gary Nordquist, "One city further south of us (presumably Temecula) generates over $176,000 a year in PEG Fees."

You may be asking what is that for?

People have been demanding live streaming of city meetings (including me), and this is the path chosen by the staff and approved by the council. 
From a Compcast website entitled, "Learn more about price changes on your bill".
Nothing is free, including public access television... or live streaming and archiving. Though I'm guessing there is a spectrum of various ways to accomplish such, and a spectrum of price tags that go with it too.
Wildomar Rap Opinion Time 
Originally, if it had been me, I'd have gone with the most economical method out there, that would also have given the most basic, least impressive, video capturing of the meetings. 

Such a set up could have been manned with volunteers or interns. If, after a trial period of a year or two, the topic wanted to be revisited, great, discuss it then.

But this is where I erred, where I had no vision and needed more details of the video services that the city manager has in mind.

The service they have in mind goes well beyond streaming video. It'll also be taking the minutes of the meetings, indexing the videos to be synced to the agenda. Meaning, once the videos are up, if you're interested in agenda item 2.2, you'll click on that part of the agenda, and the video will start at that spot.

It'll also help with certain records requests.

Though we could find a way to do it on the cheap, it would look like it was done on the cheap too. 

Reminds me of my opinion of can openers. 

If you buy one from the 99¢ store, it's going to break in no time flat and do a poor job until it does. It's better to go with quality from the start, and after hearing about the details of the video system, and all that it entails, I have to agree it is the one to go with.
In the two minute video below, you'll hear the explanation of PEG Fees and the council voting to approve them. I didn't really hear when they're supposed to be implemented or how much they're supposed to be. 

It was suggested to me that the fees will be about 1% and that it'll be up to the discretion of the providers if they choose to add that to the bill or not.

Hmmm... anyone wanna bet if the cable providers will be the eating PEG fee or passing it on? Any takers?

3.2 Measure Z Appointments
The Measure Z Citizen's Oversight Advisory Committee is comprised of five people. They meet quarterly to see that the $28, per parcel, yearly park maintenance fee is being spent appropriately... and to be harangued by bored people with nothing better to fill their lives with.

Scott Rux and Shelley Hitchcock were reappointed, they had been appointed last year to cover the remaining months in prior committee members' terms. Also appointed was Steve Regalado. He is also serving as Post Commander at the local VFW.

City Manager Report

Mentioned in the report was:
  •  The Eggstravaganza set for March 24th at Marna O'Brien Park.
  •  Paving of the bike lanes on Grand Avenue and the multipurpose trail. 
  •  The city's website is supposed to be up this week. He encouraged the community to make suggestions as to features they'd like to see on the City's webpage. 

I have a suggestion, we need a very easy way to report code violations from a smartphone that will allow geotagged photos of the issue at hand. 
Wildomar Rap Opinion Time 
Some of you may not be aware that I like and respect those on the city staff (tee hee). That doesn't mean I think they've done a flawless job on all things, but I don't see the point in being a town crank that whines about every crack in the sidewalk either.

That said, we all end up being part of projects that we'd like a Mulligan on, and my guess is that the website is one of them (or at least I sure hope it is). 

Maybe it's "too soon" to talk about, but this has not been a good experience, watching one promised date after another go by with nothing to show for it. The latest delay was placed at the feet of America's Hat (Canada to the uninitiated). 

"We experienced a couple of setbacks with our Canadian vendors." 
Hey, I get that, my wife used to be Canadian, and I still try to blame her for things.

I found a comment I made to someone at a September WR blog on the subject.

It may be a small thing, but the city's website is the primary way for people to keep up with what is happening here. We can still respect the people, and not be a fan of the process that has proven unworkable in this endeavor.
  •  Deputy City Engineer Matt Bennett will be taking a new job in Highland and will no longer be with the City of Wildomar.

The meeting finished with a moment of silence in honor of the passing of long time city employee, Kirk Schrader. Michelle Schrader came to the podium and said a few words and pointed out some of Kirk's family members that were in the audience.
The Interact club of Elsinore High School will be placing a tree (type yet to be determined) at the cemetery in his honor.

►                ▼                ◄
Actually, it's not different on any level. It's the same old same old from the same old.
Still, some people like to hear about it.
Now, for the promised silly garbage.
Let's go with Miss Miller first. 

What can I say that the videos don't say for themselves? I'm sure that she's well-intentioned, but between her dramatics, hysterics and nonsense statements, it is a major distraction, and waste of time of everyone in attendance.

When I first caught her act years ago, my eyes were popping out, mouth agape and I couldn't contain the laughter. That wore thin in no time, but every now and then she'd uncork something new, and she would find my funny bone again.

There were too many rants of her's to post here, just watch the videos... some of which last longer than her time at the podium because later on you can hear her shouting from the cheap seats.

The highlights were: 

  •  When she declared that the current meeting was in violation of the Brown Act, and that it should be adjourned then and there.
  •  Wanting the city to build a homeless shelter, with the proviso, "If housing challenged people take care of it, then it remains open. Otherwise, it closes".
  •  She coined the new portmanteau: volumptuos (apparently marrying the words voluminous and voluptuous). She used it to describe large amounts of flowing water. It's at the 10:15 mark of the video.

Miss Miller, open space is important and should be conserved when possible, but other people's private property is NOT open space. Let's try and keep that in mind for your future trips to the lectern. 
Now time for everyone's favorite waste of oxygen, Ken Mayes. He just pulled one of the most hilarious blunders of all time. 

He's been a major proponent for live streaming meetings, and unless he has some kind of inside line that such a thing is going to be up and running soon, he basically just shot himself in the foot with his last comment (video below). 

Are you sitting down? Are you ready to roll on the floor while laughing? He basically threatened/promised the city people that he will no longer speak to them until they start live streaming.
Let me get this straight. You want something, so your version of persuasion is to threaten your silence if you don't get what you want? Even more impressive would have been to start holding your breath right then and there.

I don't want to make any enemies of the council and staff by tipping you off to something that every grade schooler has known since they were in diapers, but the proper way to threaten people is with things they'll HATE, not things they'll LOVE.

If you had a clue about what you were doing, you'd have told the council that you'd take up every last minute entitled to you. You'd speak for the max time in every public comment opportunity, and do so with as much donated time as you could muster. You'd let them know that until they capitulated to your demands, you'd be adding at least an hour to every meeting. That would have gotten their attention. Not your promise to remain silent. How is it that you got it completely backwards?

Here's the thing. We both know that your word is a joke when it comes to such promises. There may be a few people that remember you making the same, "I'm never posting again" promise over at The Patch back in late 2013. How long is "never" in your dictionary? About three days?
The office pool jackpot is rivaling that of March Madness with how soon that promise of yours will snap like a twig trying to support an elephant.

If the readers of this blog watch the video, and end up wondering who "the Mussolini and his black shirts" are... I'm still not sure who "the black shirts" are, but he's calling me out as Il Duce. 

Last week, according to him, I had "Gestapo tactics" (an allusion to Hitler), this week I'm head of the black shirts. Eventually he'll call me Stalin, Pol Pot, Che Guevara, Lex Luthor, Hannibal Lecter, Hans Gruber, Freddie Kruger and Nurse Ratchet too.

Apparently tall tale tellers don't like to have their fibs exposed. I think there's an app for that.

Just like he took "credit" for getting $20 off the property taxes of the Windsong Valley tax payers (something we've been paying since day one that our houses were built ((CSA 103)), that pays for landscaping and drainage, but is going right back onto the bills where it belongs) he needs to claim responsibility for any increase on cable subscriber bills with the soon to be added PEG Fee mentioned above.

On behalf of all those affected by your diligent efforts, thanks Kenny.

•                •                •

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."
– Albert Einstein

Wildomar Rap is certain that the father of relativity coined that phrase after watching the public comments at a Wildomar city meeting.

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Sunday, March 11, 2018

• Operation Prom Girl 2018

Operation Prom Girl is now in its fifth year, and is getting more popular as the years go by. A brief recap of Operation Prom Girl goes this way. 

Dawn Schultz wanted to give back to the community, and her idea was to help out with prom dresses. (That's the super simplified version) ☺
Because most girls would like to attend their high school prom, but some are in a family where money is too tight to afford dresses; big ticket items, only used once.  

"The day is to be filled with workshops, inspirational speakers, hair and makeup instruction, raffles, resources and referrals in a loving and empowering atmosphere for young women."
- From the event flyer
This year's event will be held at the Elks Lodge on Saturday, March 24th, from 10:00am to 3:30pm. To qualify, and get a ticket to the free event, you must apply at

Most recently Operation Prom Girl hosted a dress sale to raise money and reduce their inventory of 1000 dresses. The dresses, most in need of some TLC, were sold for only $5.00.
Some of the dresses being offered for $5.
I asked Operation Prom Girl board member, Bridgette Moore, for some additional details on the dress sale. 

"Last Saturday seventeen volunteers spent about 5 hours sorting through 1,000 dresses. We took out about 200 dresses and decided to sell them for $5.00 to raise some funds. We sold 24 dresses." 
It's hard to beat $5 for an evening gown.
"The dresses [we sold] today [might] have a small tear, or stain, or the zipper is broken or we thought it was "an acquired taste" aka no teenager will wear it. We have about 150 additional dresses to sell next Sat (March 17th) at 36017 Mustang Spirit Lane in Wildomar."
The lovely model Laura is holding up this chic, olive green, prom dress.
There will be a fundraiser at DeJong's Dairy on Saturday, April 14th, 2018, 3:30pm. Cost is $5. If you haven't toured the dairy before, this is a great opportunity to do it... when I went, there was some chocolate milk tasting included too.
As of press time, I hadn't heard who to contact about the tour.
Since it's not for a month, inquire at the Operation Prom Girl facebook page.
Link Below.
Link to Operation Prom Girl's facebook page

For the 2014 Community Profile blog I did on DeJong's and their dairy tour, click this link.

•                •                •

Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.

– William Shakespeare

Wildomar Rap ponders the quote above... Obviously Mr. Shakespeare lived long before Al Gore invented the internet. If he were alive today, he'd have penned that quote more like this. Be decent to all, trust those that have proven themselves, and feel free to blast those that distort the facts and spread outright lies for their amusement or due to their unflagging stupidity.
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Thursday, March 8, 2018

• Parks Visioning Workshop Part Deux

The second Parks Visioning Workshop took place with no more than a couple of dozen people in attendance, and if you didn't count staff and officials, the total was 15 residents. 
David Masters (middle) speaks to Eric of RRM Design Group (left), as Joseph Morabito and Scott Rux talk to Wednesday Martino-Rodriguez about the various plans and amenities. (Note to self, you know it's almost time to retire that awesome hoodie when it shows up as what you were wearing at the November Parks Visioning Workshop meeting.)
There will be another couple of chances for community input, so please mark your calendars. The first chance will be at the city's Eggstravaganza event, Saturday March 24th, at Marna O'Brien Park beginning at 9:00am.
It'll be a great time to see the plans, and give your input... 
while your kids see how many hundreds of plastic eggs they 
can pick up in a five minute time frame. ☺
The last opportunity will be in April. The date hasn't been determined as of yet. The location will be at Ronald Reagan Elementary School, and it's encouraged that the public bring their kids. 

If your kids go to one of the other elementary schools, you're still invited. Though it'll be sharing a property line with RRE, this is your park too.

Former councilmember Bob Cashman looks over Concept B with Eric of RRM.
Concept A.
Neither of these displays are set in stone. It's quite likely that some amenities will be moved around from one plan to the other or just eliminated. 

That said, I can tell that it's going to be spectacular no matter which of these concepts are opted for.

Like the last meeting, there were three different color dots to affix to the preferred amenities. 

► Green indicates liked amenities. 
► Red indicates "must have" amenities, 
► Blue was the choice between either Concept A or Concept B.
Concept B
If you can't make it to one of the next meetings, but would like to contribute your thoughts about the parks, please email the city with your ideas.

17:00 minute video of the presentation.
•                •                •

"Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it"

– Henry David Thoreau 

Apparently Wildomar Rap is the exception.
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Wednesday, March 7, 2018

• Planning Commission Meeting March 2018

Only one newsworthy item on the agenda. A GPIP (General Plan Initiation Proposal) that was seeking to change a 3.82 plot of Commercial Retail (CR) land into Highest Density Residential (HHDR). 

As with other GPIPs, this was just a chance for the developer to get a sense of what the Planning Commissioners thought. There were no votes cast in regards this project. Just as there won't be any when this comes before the city council in April.

With that established, what is this proposal?

In short, 94 units of apartments, in four story buildings on 3.82 acres of land behind the shopping center called The Shops at Clinton Keith. The ingress/egress would be from Hidden Springs Road.

Area map of proposed apartment project.

There was a presentation by the planning department, and another by the developer, David Horenstein, followed by public comments, then final comments from the commissioners.
Planning Director Matt Bassi listed several things to consider regarding this proposed project.

 Loss of potential land use opportunities and sales tax revenues.
 Loss of potential jobs for Wildomar residents.
 Land use compatibility with high density apartments adjacent single family residential zoned properties and residences.
 Development of 94 more apartment units that would be added to the 1,245 apartment/condo units approved but not yet constructed.
► Potential traffic impacts.
There were three public comments.
•  Ken Mayes hated it. 
•  Kathleen Hamblin was nearly coming apart at the seams as she hammered home her points, at times approaching Miss Miller level of outrage... sans the singing of course.

"This is clearly another horrible, scaled down Camelia Townhouse Project. We are a small, semi-rural city and it needs to be preserved, and to stay that way." 
Points to her for adjusting the description of Wildomar to "semi-rural"
This is where she goes off the rails.

"Why do you people insist on proposing highest and high density residential developments here? The residents have expressed their views time and time again about the negative effects of apartments, condos, and townhouses in Wildomar. These kinds of development proposals are outrageously out of proportion and do not belong in Wildomar. I am opposed to any zone changes, or amendments to the general plan that will destroy our rural community and lifestyle."

I'm guessing that you have Ken proofread your comments before heading to the podium, and unless he's trying to have fun at your expense, wouldn't it be considered a kindness to help you edit out the false, or misleading, portions?

Who the hell is "you people"?

If you don't understand the basics of the process, why bother commenting on it? 

Let's go over it again.

It's the landowner or developer that comes to the city, telling them what they'd like to build on their land. Not the other way around. The city didn't solicit an untenable project like these apartments. 

I actually agree with many of your contentions above, but you've obviously been taught well by Professor Mayes on how to weave a couple of good points into a morass of oddball points, losing any chance at convincing the very people you're talking to.  

Then the kicker, "I am opposed to any zone changes, or amendments to the general plan that will destroy our rural community and lifestyle."

It's a lead pipe cinch that 100% of the people on the city staff, the electeds (council members) and the appointeds (commissioners) agree completely with that statement. 

I can only think of a handful of people that would like to "destroy our rural community and lifestyle" and they usually sit in the same part of the audience that you do. Jus' sayin'.
The triumphant return of Cantankerotti Corner. Starring Wildomar's favorite cranks.
•  Joseph Morabito suggested that this project is most likely a real life example of The Art of the Deal. Where you come in with something that will trigger people into panicking, like the person mentioned above, and then come back with a pared down version of the project. Making it seem like they're very willing to negotiate as they appear to take the concerns of everyone to heart.

▲         ▼         ▲

The developer, David Horenstein, the man behind many commercial developments in town, including the new Wildomar Square, and The Shops at Clinton Keith, gave a brief presentation.

He seemed to speak more about other properties, than the one on the agenda. He talked about a how retail isn't what it once was with Amazon taking a big bite out of traditional brick and mortar stores.

He also talked about a future Civic Center, but since that's not part of this, I didn't understand how it helped this item.
With nearly a quarter of the land designated as "wetland", units would be mashed into 3 acres, including 139 parking spaces. Of which more than a third of that was suggested to be for a Park & Ride area. The parking is woefully under provided for. 
The name that he gave to the apartment complex is Solar Village, and touted it being "green"... though the rough drawings had no real recreation amenities, not even a pool or other things that I've seen in all the other apartment projects.

Horenstein brought in an odd term: Wilshire corridor. Commissioner Langworthy interrupted and asked to have it defined.

He basically threw the City Manager under the bus by saying, "I got that from Gary [Nordquist]." As he further said it refers to a district in Los Angeles. 

Trying to salvage the moment, Director Bassi jumped in saying that "we refer to Clinton Keith, that stretch, as our "Miracle Mile", how we treat it, and the quality we want to see."
Commissioner Comments
► Chair John Lloyd
"I've seen Mr. Horenstein's projects before, he does very good work. I'm not concerned about that at all. I believe he has a good vision for our community as far as retail locations and layouts and such. For this specific one, I have more concerns, because I don't see a need for additional apartments at this point."
► Commissioner Mason Ballard
"At this time I don't feel I know enough about it to stand one way or the other on it. I know that high density property always strikes a chord, and you're either on one side or the other with it. I've personally lived in the apartments right behind this building, when I first moved to Wildomar, and that was a very plesant place for me and my family. They're not all bad (apartments), but we want to make sure it's done right."
I always enjoy Commissioner Veronica Langworthy's take when it comes to apartments in town. This is at least the third time I've heard her invoke "Little House on the Prairie" and how the Olsen family had a store on the ground floor, and lived above it. 

Based on the orientation of that property, and it being well off the beaten path, I don't really envision too many successful mom and pop shops in that area.
► Commissioner Veronica Langworthy
"I would say that if you considered something like, first floor commercial, and second and maybe third floor, like townhouses above commercial. That might be a possibility. Something like Little House on the Prairie."
► Commissioner Kim Strong
(Addressing Chair Lloyd) "John, I agree with you 100%. I don't think the city needs more apartments [...] I'm also concerned about the financial impacts and the impacts that Mr. Bassi brought up [...] and I don't think we have enough commercial and tax dollars coming into the city."
Commissioner Michele Thomas
"It's hard to run a city as a bedroom city unfortunately. I always hesitate when we look at these [proposed] changes [away from] commercial use. I think we have enough apartment projects on the books already... it's a hard sell."
Complete 26 minute video below.
•                •                •

"For centuries, theologians have been explaining the unknowable in terms of the-not-worth-knowing."

– H.L. Mencken (1880-1956)

Sounds like ol' Mencky could have been referring to Wildomar Rap.
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