Wednesday, October 17, 2018

• State of the City 2018

Just a brief recap of the 2018 State of the City even held at Wildomar City Council Chambers. The event was free to attend, which included samples of food from Angelo's Brick Oven Pizzeria, Pie Nation, WaBa Grill, and Dunkin Donuts.
The opening slide of the presentation.
The event was put on by the Murrieta/Wildomar Chamber, and they were pouring craft beer from 8 Bit Brewery during the reception hour, which began at 5:00pm.
Mayor Ben J. Benoit delivering The State of the City address.
The attendees included many residents of Wildomar and several elected officials from nearby towns. The program started a bit after 6pm with an introduction by one of the chamber board members, followed up by a prayer from John Pleasnick of Faith Bible Church. 

Boy Scout Troop 332 served as color guard and brought the flags to their places in the room. This was led by newly minted Eagle Scout Damion Gonzalo as the audience then recited The Pledge of Allegiance.
The theme had Wildomar as the heart of Southwest Riverside County.
From there Mayor Benoit spent about 40 minutes giving some history of Wildomar, some statistics, a look at our emergency services, roads, parks, and a pitch for Measure AA, with several videos woven in between.
The coming name change of Baxter/Central/Porras/George/Shopping Center
to Wildomar Trail was highlighted.
This wasn't the type of meeting that needs to be quoted or analyzed. State of the City events are really just a chance to show off what's going on in a city, and do some networking at the same time. 
The 2018 Wildomar City Council: Tim Walker, Dustin Nigg,
Ben Benoit, Bridgette Moore and Marsha Swanson.
Great job Mayor! (and thanks for the shoutout) ☺

I liked the way the front of the Council Chambers looked, and the white chairs inside. The videos were nice as was the speech. The only way to improve it would be to get the production live streamed on a city source. Maybe next year. 
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Beauty is variable, ugliness is constant.
– Douglas Horton

One thing you can say about Wildomar Rap is that it's been pretty constant over the years. 

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Saturday, October 13, 2018

• Various and Sundry Things: Volume 8

Six things for a rainy Saturday... no picture, but I stopped by The Finch restaurant, and they are going to be opened any day now.
Let's start with a visit to Wildomar Marketplace. The event was at Marna O'Brien park and they got a couple of hours in before the weather interfered.
The first hour of the event.
After all their efforts to have this event happen, and stay within the city codes, it ended up raining. I arrived a little before 10am and it was still dry. There were fewer vendors than promised because of the thunder showers the night before. 
Even the threat of rain couldn't deter these shoppers.☺
A few sparse raindrops started to fall here and there but didn't amount to much... yet it didn't let up, and eventually everything was wet. 
At this point, the rain was getting to be more than could be tolerated.
Their last event date had to be cancelled due to the Holy Fire in Lake Elsinore. The next scheduled date for Wildomar Marketplace will be in December and held at the Elks Lodge.

Heavy equipment activity on the parcel east of Monte Vista and South of Bundy Canyon got many of the local facebook pages into gear this week... mostly with inaccurate info.
Looking east from Monte Vista.
To combat the various guesses about the activity, City Councilmember Bridgette Moore went live on facebook with an update letting people know that the activity was being done by Riverside County Flood Control in preparation for rain in the burn areas of Lake Elsinore.
Live on the scene on October 7th giving details of the heavy equipment activity.
Use this link to see the update. (This isn't on an official city page, so if you're not connected with her on facebook, it may not be visible.) 

Though the official city facebook page is still in the tinkering stage, you can always go to it and like/follow it now. That way, when it launches, you'll already be there.

Use this link
Wildomar City facebook page

New Bus Shelter at the corner of Central and Palomar. The project, including the new curb and gutter, was paid for by RTA.
Now passengers will have a safe place to wait for the bus.
During early construction on September 26th.
As it looked on September 28th.
It's definitely political sign season.
Traveling east on Central before it changes to Baxter.
I saw my first series of signs supporting Wildomar's Measure AA today. In the lower right hand corner it reveals that the signs were paid for by MWCOC (Murrieta/Wildomar Chamber of Commerce). 

I didn't drive through the whole city, but I saw at least a dozen signs on the Central/Baxter/Monte Vista/Bundy Canyon/Mission Trail/Palomar loop. Someone was a busy bee last night.

On November 6th, the voters will decide whether or not to charge an additional penny per dollar sales tax increase in town.

In the next photo you can see a sign that is against Measure AA. It's almost a "where's Waldo" moment trying to find it. My prediction is that the final vote will be 65% to 35% in favor. 
(hint: I'm in favor of it)

Even more campaign signs. 
The northeast corner of Gruwell and Palomar. Though it may go nowhere, if elected Joseph Morabito has pledged to bring up a future agenda item of temporary sign regulations. This kind of visual noise has to be controllable. I don't see it in other areas I travel in.
At least the City Council candidates only have one banner each in the above photo. 

In the race to plaster every last square inch with junky signs, McBride is the easy winner, with Bianco coming in a not too distant second. Though George Cambero has earned honorable mention with a flurry of additional signs over the last couple of weeks. (I love ya George, but even you hate all those signs)

I have it on good authority that candidate Joseph Morabito has promised to have his signs down BEFORE the end of election day. The rules allow up to ten days after to remove them, but why even wait that long? 

If you need to campaign after 3pm on election day, you might have made a miscalculation or two along the way.

A "The SWAG" Fundraiser will be at The Corporate Room (link to map). The cost is $35 and you're supposed to show up in a costume. If you don't have a costume, and you're coming as a couple, dress as your partner and see if that'll work. ☺
I'm putting the final touches on a blog about The SWAG (Social Worker Action Group). Until it gets uploaded (hopefully tomorrow), know that they are a nonprofit that is working with the City of Wildomar to address the issues of homelessness in town.
Now for a just because it's funny photo.
Located at the Baxter-Central curve.
If you're in the market for a rain tested washer and dryer, it'll only set you back a C-Note. They've been on display at this site for the better part of a week. 

Maybe the salesman hasn't been near the phone or something, because I can't imagine how this steal of a deal has been overlooked by so many passersby at this killer location?
•                •                •

In character, in manner, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity.
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

You can't get much simpler than Wildomar Rap.

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Friday, October 12, 2018

• Better Know a Local Business: Lujan Family Childcare

Some "Better Know" blogs are about well known business, like DeJong's Dairy, and others are about smaller, mom and pop type operations like in today's blog.

Meet Michelle Lujan 
Michelle and Alex Lujan.
She and her family have lived in Wildomar for 23 years, and across the street from me for the last 15. She provides before and after school care to local families under the name of Lujan Family Childcare.

I asked her when she decided to be a childcare provider and she told be that she made that decision back when she was pregnant with her son. She didn't want to leave him with anyone else so she opened up a daycare; that was twenty-two years ago.
Brandon, Alex and Dillon Lujan.
She is licensed to take care of fourteen kids, but if she goes over eight at any one time, she has to have a helper. At this time her son helps her when she goes above that number.

It's not like it was in the last generation where kids would be entrusted with any available neighbor, Michelle is licensed, has been background checked and fingerprinted, as have all the members of her household.
In the backyard.
She looks after children of all ages; she currently is caring for a six month old. I was told that usually once kids have hit middle school age they stop needing formal child care.
Getting creative with the back fence.
I asked Michelle what her "hours of operation" are, and she responded, "It's 7:00am to 5:00pm, but I work with parents. If they have to be [at work] at 7:00am... I have one that comes at 6:45am. If they get off at 5:00pm I work with them, and they may not pick them up until 5:30pm."
Activities, both outside and inside.
I wondered what happens when a parent gets stuck in traffic at the end of the day, and she responded with a smile, "I just take care of the child. A couple of years ago there was a big accident on Ortega and two of the parents were stuck in it. I had the kids until 7:30pm. I just fed them dinner, then turned on a movie and we hung out. I didn't charge extra, things like that happen."
 The kitchen table can be for meals, homework or celebrations. ☺
I wondered what the kids do while under her care, she told me that they have breakfast, the younger ones do preschool curriculum activities, the kindergartners start at 10:00am and when they are done in the afternoon they do homework right away.
Around the holidays.
She sits with each one and helps them do their homework, then they have a snack. From there they will play games. The day I spoke with her they had just finished up a math game; she wants it to be fun, but they are learning at the same time.
Hands on activities.
In the summertime they enjoy going on field trips. Places such as the waterpad, to movies or the park.
The Lujans live in Windsong Valley and the school they're near is Donald Graham Elementary. 
This sign is on the side of the SUV that transports the kids to and from school.
If you're interested in seeing if Michelle has any openings, give her a call. The number is (951) 294-0395. Their license number is 334814575.
Crafts the kids have made.
Wildomar Rap memory lane time

The Lujans have been great neighbors of ours and have always been quite friendly. They've been very gracious over the years when I've offered them a bagsful of kumquats. (an acquired taste indeed) ☺

Here's one of many examples of the kind of quality people they are. 

A long time ago, when their adult son was somewhere between 13 and 15 (I don't remember which son it was), their dog made a visit to my yard. I was amused to see the dog decide to leave me a present. 

The pooch was hardly finished with his mission before the young Mr. Lujan came over, cleaned it up, and even apologized for it. (dogs will be dogs, I get that) 

That happened without his parents instructing him to do so. Well, I'm guessing that years worth of good parenting is why his quick actions happened without further prompting. 
•                •                •

The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which means never losing your enthusiasm. 
– Aldous Huxley

If Wildomar Rap could just capture the physicality of youth to go along with the spirit, but alas.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

• City Council Meeting October 2018

The meeting was light on meaty issues and heavier on presentations and public comments. 

Probably the biggest news item came in the last few moments when it was announced that there will be a special city council meeting dealing with the topic of cannabis on October 24th.

1. Elsinore High School Presentation included a video made of a photography field trip and that the percentage of university ready students doubled from 21% ten years ago, to 41% this year.

A fun misunderstanding came when Mr. K mentioned "underwater housing" and Mayor Ben Benoit took it literally... and not as a device for using a camera underwater. See the short video for a bit of levity. ☺

2. Fire Department Quarterly Report didn't include any graphics, but the stats showed 786 calls in the first quarter, 71% were medical and 60% of all calls were handled by station 61. 
A proclamation was given to Battalion Chief Todd Phillips.
L to R: Tim Walker, Dustin Nigg, Todd Phillips, Bridgette Moore, Mayor Ben Benoit and Marsha Swanson is behind the Mayor.
3. Police Department Quarterly Report (postponed)
4. Library Update had Melina Velazquez share that the library had 6000 patrons in September. It's the 200 anniversary of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and that they will showing the 1931 Boris Karloff film, and then The Bride of Frankenstein as part of a double feature (check with the library for details).

She also highlighted that the chess club will be meeting on October 26th, and that there is an adult coloring book club. The library will be hosting an SAT prep class in November.

   • Connie Nader talked about the library and the desire to see it expanded and that libraries are more than just about books.
   • Ken Mayes talked about The Friends of the Library, voting no on Measure AA, an independent forensic audit of the city, and a "sunshine" ordinance.
   • Rick Harris shared his concerns about a street light that was knocked over, and it took five days to have it cleaned up.
   • Laura Girard represented Sycamore Academy and invited the council to visit the campus for their History Showcase on November 15th. And the new "school zone" that is now at their school.
   • Joseph Lacaio(sp?) discussed big rig parking on Durango Court. (Odd factoid... the property in question is where my mom lived from 1989 to 2003)
   • Miss Miller sang and then endorsed Wildomar City Council candidate Joseph Morabito.

"Mr. Morabito couldn't be more dedicated to the city of Wildomar. He tries every avenue of communication to awaken the city to the activities and problems. Filming the events, and coming to the meetings and talking about places that aren't as clean as they should be [...] so I am going to support him even though he might say some wild things about me, I couldn't have enjoyed the journey more Mr. Morabito."
- Miss Miller
Wildomar Rap opinion time

This campaign for city council has been a real learning experience. 

When I first discussed running I knew that I had to change course from disregarding the feelings of people that I had written about, and I needed to approach the people that got rough treatment at my hands with a sincere mea culpa.

In so doing I've been able to mend fences with many people, not all, but many and have earned a second look and sometimes their backing. That wasn't the intent when I changed course, but I'm happy to have Miss Miller's endorsement. 

Maybe it indicates that I'm not such a bad guy, or that the people are just ready for a change.

The other day I learned that I was endorsed by a key figure from the WIN Committee (the group that spearheaded cityhood), and the Wildomar Historical Society: Gina Gastanon.

I haven't asked for any endorsements and I haven't forged any alliances, but when people that are active in the community can look past previous differences and divisions, it makes me sit up and pay attention.
Consent Calendar

1.6 Wildomar Marketplace (51:40 mark of the video)
   • Ken Mayes pointed out flaws in the permitting process that would allow Wildomar Marketplace to hold their craft event at the park.
Wildomar Rap opinion time

Ken made many legitimate points, but there is the letter of the law and the spirit of the law and a good arbiter knows when to apply one or the other. In this case we have a local couple that has taken the idea of a craft fair to heights they didn't anticipate. 

She's been struggling to keep things within the various codes and ordinances but has continued to face stumbling blocks. It appears that the new home of Wildomar Marketplace will be The Elks Lodge, but that won't start until December.

She was contemplating paying any fines and having it at her home, but then the idea of having it at Marna O'Brien park was presented to her and that's where it will be this Saturday from 9am to 2pm. 

There were a couple of issues that had to be overcome. First was that the promoters wanted to have a raffle, something that isn't permitted. There was another technical problem with the permit, needing to have been approved 60 days in advance.

To stay within the rules, the raffle was taken out and the council waved the usual 60 day permit requirement. This is a good event for the city, and I want to thank Councilmember Bridgette Moore for her continuous work trying to get this event to happen and stay within code.
3.1 FY 2018-19 First Quarter Budget Report
This item had no public speakers and only lasted about 4 minutes. (This item starts around the 1:02 mark of the video).

3.2 Community Development Block Grant/Consolidated Plan Briefing
Another short item that took just a couple of minutes, which included a public comment from Ken Mayes about the library. (Jump to the 1:06 mark of the video)

3.3 Professional Services Agreement with Social Work Action Group (SWAG) for Homeless Outreach (1:09 mark of the video)
City Manager Gary Nordquist discussed a three month agreement with SWAG that will cost $6,000. He mentioned wanting to have a longer agreement with them, but funding is an issue. 

Ken Mayes brought up that SWAG isn't "shown" as being registered with the Registry of Charitable Trust. 

Wildomar Rap opinion time

I'm a rules and regs type of person too, and I think that the city has to safeguard against entering into agreements/deals with those that disregard them. 

Thing is, SWAG is in the process, and it's a well known reality that there can be a tremendous lag time between the filing of paperwork, and it finally showing up on a government website. 

Please watch the video which starts at this part of the video to hear the rebuttal to Mr. Mayes' remarks.
City Manager Report
  • State of the City Event on October 17th starting at 5pm.
  • Trunk or Treat at Marna O'Brien Park October 27th.
  • Community photo contest will be coming soon.
  • The election will be on Tuesday, November 6th.
  • Coffee with the Mayor will be Monday, October 15th, 5:30pm at The Bean.
  • Community Clean Up will be November 3rd. Elsinore High School and Ronald Reagan Elementary.
  • Special City Council Meeting regarding Cannabis on October 24th.

•                •                •

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.
– T. S. Eliot

Wildomar Rap has gone too far more than once.

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Tuesday, October 9, 2018

• 2018 Candidates Forum

The 2018 Candidates Forum was presented by the Murrieta/Wildomar Chamber of Commerce and the emcee was Gene Wunderlich. Since I was one of the three participants, it would be too self serving for me to try and break it down and pull a lot of quotes. 
A look at the audience from the dais.
Instead I'll be putting up the video of the event. It was about an hour and a half and started with opening statements followed by about a dozen questions.

I'll also created a few shorter videos that dealt with specific questions. 
  • Opening Statements
  • Measure AA
  • Homeless Issues
  • Prop 6
  • Commercial Uses for Cannabis
  • City Council Districts (which broke from format and had the candidates respond to each other) 
  • Closing Statements

Wildomar Rap retraction time

Side note on the cannabis issue. When I answered, I had said that my position was the same as Tim Walker's stated position, that I wanted the voters to decide (I have video of him saying he wanted it as a ballot measure). At the forum, he made it clear that he doesn't want it on the ballot. Maybe back in April he was just joking, my mistake.

Link to April video if you want more than the snippet above
If you are a voter, especially in District 3, I suggest that you watch the video(s) and decide who best represents you before you vote. 

•                •                •

Science, when well digested, is nothing but good sense and reason.
– Stanislaw Leszczynski

Wildomar Rap, when well digested, is still just a blog by one guy.

This blog was produced for viewing on a desktop or a laptop. Though it's been optimized for smartphones, the formatting can look odd on a smartphone or if you get this delivered through email (such as missing video links). Link to proper format.

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