Wednesday, February 26, 2014

• Neighborhood Meeting Tentative Tract Map 33840

Tonight there was a neighborhood meeting for those that live near the proposed subdivision of 15 houses on 4.07-acre site that is sandwiched between the flood channel to the east, the backyards of homes on Darby to the west, Gruwell to the north and Central to the south.


There was a short power point presentation by planner Alfredo Garcia followed by many public comments. The top concerns revolved around a few themes. 
  • Loss of existing access to backyards by homeowners on Darby.
  • Loss of privacy due to two story homes looking into neighbor's yards.
  • Flooding issues.
  • Increased traffic on Darby.
  • An existing ten foot easement for utilities granted the homeowners years ago.
  • Sewer hookups. 
View from ground level of Tract Map 33840 looking south from near Gruwell.
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This is what it comes down to. Do the proposed 15 houses make sense on that tract or not? I say they don't —for many reasons, though I have to scratch my head at the comment by one of the neighbors, stating that the proposed fifteen 2,000sf to 3,000sf homes would somehow "stick out like a sore thumb". 

Calling a nice, new and modern neighborhood a "sore thumb" would be like calling the highrise, in the graphic below, a sore thumb. Sorry, but a "sore thumb" is something that subtracts from the whole. 

The 15 homes, though out of place IMO, would actually be the gem in an otherwise bent up crown. Such a development would help increase the local property values, not hurt them.

Can you imagine the view from the terrace? Not quite what Aladdin and Jazmin saw in that Disney cartoon.

Let's put our big boy pants on for a minute and call a spade a spade... the area in question is not the most desirable part of Wildomar. What is the developer thinking? Why force nice homes into an area that they don't fit into... both figuratively and literally? Who would plunk down market priced HOA homes in that location in the first place? Once built, who would line up to get a mortgage for such things? I'm thinking I might just rather live near a Sriracha sauce factory my own self... but that's just me.

Oh, and the proposed perimeter block wall, that would be right on the public trail, would make a great canvass for graffiti artists.

Though I can understand why the landowner would like to collect as many dollars as he can from his personal patch of Wildomar, a development like this belongs in a different area, not shoehorned into such a mismatched area simply because he has a deed to the property. 

Rumors of a bridge being built over the concrete flood control ditch, to allow another point of entry to the proposed subdivision, traversing private land, were dispelled by Planning Director Matt Bassi.

There will be another Neighborhood Meeting on the topic in the near future, with answers to the questions and concerns that the speakers brought to the fore. If you want to be alerted to such things, you need to go over to the city's website and sign up.  


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Friday, February 21, 2014

• Kumquats... The Zucchini of Citrus!

Ok, so you're asking, what does "the zucchini of citrus" mean. Well, if you're a backyard gardener, you probably have a guess. Kumquats, for me anyway, produce far more than I could ever use, and I have to look for clever ways to use them and or give them away.

If you've never had one, I think they taste like a tart orange. 

We've had this tree for about ten years... it hasn't failed to produce yet.


Of course the basic way to eat them is to pop them in your mouth... But when a tree gives you more than 100 pounds of the little oblong jewels every year, there's no way to eat that many before they go bad. 

(even if you could... 100 pounds? Ummm, no thank you)




 
So here is what I do...

I dehydrate them. 
Here it is in a nutshell... Pencils ready?
Even my Shih Tsu will eat them... especially once dry.

  • pick 'em, 
  • clean 'em, 
  • cut 'em, 
  • spread' em, 
  • dry 'em, 
  • weigh 'em, 
  • bag 'em and 
  • eat 'em. 

They taste great. If you know me, send me a PM at FaceBook, and if it's between February and April hit me up for some... there are probably plenty still on the tree...  I've seen them going for between $2.99 and $3.99 a pound.

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

• General Plan Update Meeting Recap

Tonight's meeting was attended by very few people and it was over in about 40 mins.

There were only a three public speakers following a 15 minute presentation by Mark Teague. For all the hand wringing done about our city needing a "Wildomar Specific" General Plan, you'd have thought that some of the usual suspects would have come to register their opinions. Instead, there were next to no people there. Not counting myself, or those connected to the city in some way, I think there were less than half a dozen average Wildomarians there.

 The power point presentation will be on the city's website this week. 
My favorite exchange was between longtime resident Sheila Urlaub and Matt Bassi on the topic of lawsuits.



There will be a workshop style meeting this March 5th. This is where you're supposed to bring your photos of things you like or dislike about how you'd like Wildomar to look. 


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Friday, February 14, 2014

• Grand Opening: New Dumping Grounds

Just a quick note:

Thanks to a tip from Kenny Mayes, I found a new place to dump unwanted items. It's near the corner of Palomar and Wesley. Check out all the great stuff that's there... 
If you're looking for some slightly used goods... check out the area in the red circle for smokin' hot deals.

So many items to choose from.          [CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGE]


Of course this is no joking matter, and I feel bad for the land owners... it sucks when human cockroaches ruin other peoples things... but that's sort of normal for a lot of people.

Still, I felt like joking around anyway... click to see "Boberta's Thrift Store" TV spot I just made.





I wonder how this place passed all the CEQA hurdles?



















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Remember to like the Wildomar Rap facebook page... don't be such a fraidy cat... the gubment isn't reading your thoughts because of facebook... they're reading your thoughts because it's super fun to do, and you're just that dang interesting.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

• City Council Meeting 2-12-14 Windsong Park Fence — Community Services Commission

This was a long meeting with many different topics. It started 15 minutes late due to the closed session running long. I'll give you some of what went on.

The regular session started with a moment of silence for Ricky Losey.

Next was a plaque presentation to Supervisor Kevin Jeffries. The council remarked how things have gone much smoother for our city since he's taken office. That $660K was transferred from the county to the city. This is money that had been collected in the past, but never got to us.   If I heard correctly, that makes the total close to $1,000,000 that Supervisor Jeffries has gotten back for us.  It was good to meet him, and I look forward to getting a chance to talk with him soon.
Mayor Swanson and Supervisor Jeffries.


There was a presentation of Elsinore High School's FFA (Future Farmers of America). It's always nice to see the next generation in action, and they gave a nice presentation detailing their program. Their funding is being threatened by Governor Brown, and they are looking for donations to continue the program which currently has 240 students in it.
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Then there was the report from the Fire Chief Steven Beach. He mentioned that average response times were at 4.7 mins... well below the target of 7 mins for areas like ours. That of the seven stations he's in charge of, ours (station 61) is the busiest.

One thing that was very disturbing was the report that 26 five gallon buckets of toxic waste was dumped in Wildomar. It happened February 11. Since the various 'toxic soups' were flammable, they qualified for the super fund clean up. It took three hours, with many man hours to clean up. Had the state not stepped in, the cost would have been nearly $30K out of our pockets... if you see people dumping something, please report it.
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From there the Public Comments were opened. Dena Piraino spoke of the continued stop sign issues at The Farm. Sycamore Academy's 2nd/3rd grade class gave a short presentation. Anne Bowman, of Wildomar Pageants brought several of her young ladies to meet the council. April Vitale (sp?) spoke about her concerns with the traffic in front of David A Brown Middle School. George Taylor thanked the council for getting Bundy Canyon needed attention when he said, "Thanks again... if you can do it."
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Council Member Bridgette Moore discussed speed limit signs that can track data. The ones in mind can be moved from one part of the city to another. They would be helpful in tracking problem areas that are plagued by speeders. Planning Commissioner Bobby Swann did a lot of digging around to get the best price, the sign's cost $4200 a piece, and though they would be useful, money is an issue... and I do wonder about vandalism of the signs. I remember a similar one in Lakeland Village getting spray painted the first month it was up.

 (I wonder if any of that money, going to defend 3 separate lawsuits, 
could have been used for these devices instead?) 
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Wildomar will be going from 12 to 16 employees... and
that's counting five council members in that total.
The city will be hiring 4 new staffers. Currently the positions are contracted. I had to appreciate Tim Walker's conservative approach as he repeated, "I don't want any unfunded liabilities."

I find it an interesting point. Contract Employees v. City Staffers. Contract employees cost more upfront, but there are no legacy costs (retirement). City staff costs less upfront, but could possibly cost us more 20 and 30 years down the road.

I know that's the trend... no one seems to want employees anymore, but when we go looking for a job, most of us want to be an old fashioned 40 hour a week employee... but I digress.



 XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO
 Community Services Commission 
Suggestions included
  • 5 members
  • 4 year terms, staggered 
  • dissolve the current Parks Subcommittee
  • Bob Cashman made a good point about wanting representative membership on the commission.  
  • Discussion about if the commissioners should be appointed in a manner similar to that of the Planning Commission, or to not be selected by individual council members.
For details, watch the council discuss the Community Services Commission.


 XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO
The fate of 
Windsong Park Fence
 The fence is coming down

The topic of the fence at Windsong Park has been going on for me since we passed Measure Z in 2012. Last Summer, I met council member Moore for the first time... and it was one of the first things I mentioned to her. I started going to the various city meetings, and the fence was always on my radar. 

I first met Monty Goddard at an impromptu parks meeting last year. I'd heard about him from Gil Rasmussen when he told me that "Monty Goddard was pushing hard to keep that fence up," and I'd have to ,"get around him before that fence was going to come down."

When I met him, he was nothing like had been described to me. I was told he was an old man. I joke about being an old man, but Monty isn't an old man. George Bush the dad is an old man. Anyway, I quickly found Monty to be engaging and very neighborly, but he really has been fixated with this park fence. His balcony does overlook the park, and if anyone is going to hear noises in the park, it would be someone right there.

Monty's biggest concern isn't that the park should have a fence, but that we need more policing. I can't disagree with that. The council is asking to have security patrol the parks. Something beyond the drive by stuff the previous patrols did before the parks were closed.

Before you say, "But how can we pay for that? I'd rather have more police first." There is money in the Measure Z funds for Security Patrols. That money can't be spent on anything other than the parks and the maintenance of them.

Though I'm happy that the council voted in favor of the fence coming down, and it's good news to hear about the security measures going in... I know how worried Monty and some of the other residents that live in sight of the park are, and I hope that we keep on top of park security this time round.

I am so glad this issue is over. The fence should be down by the time of the parks grand opening, which is slated for April 12, 2014. Though the grassy areas won't be ready for play, look for the play grounds and basketball courts to reopen in only a couple of weeks at most.

For details, watch the video of Monty's comments on the fence, followed by the council's discussion.


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Monday, February 10, 2014

• Curb Painting Scam Alert

It's that time of year again... when you may see a notice taped to your home like this one. 


Picture courtesy of  Mindy Beckner

 **Is it a scam? 
Maybe. 
Do you have to comply? 
Absolutely not!

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I spoke to Council Member Bridgette Moore, and she made several good points on the matter. 
  • First, you are under no obligation to have your curb painted.  
  • Second, it's illegal for them to represent themselves as having a contract, or permission, with/from the city.
  • Third, there are new "storm water" guidelines that would dictate the type of paints used.
  • If this was a city sanctioned project, you would have proper notification and you would NOT be asked to give the workmen cash.
  • This is typically an "under the table" operation when they are telling you to give them cash. (my paraphrasing)




Two opinions here. 

First, these guys are pros... well, at least as pro as the stereo salesmen that work out of white vans in grocery store parking lots that is... or the guys that try and sell you a side of beef out of the same white van. It's a tough economy out there, but you have to decide who you want to do business with... even if it's just for $15. This particular set up operates out of Vista... so it's not even a local company.

Second, if you think your curb needs repainting, they've mastered the fine art of 'how to paint numbers on curbs', so if you'd like to have it done... that's your choice. 

The "contribution" is a trick... errrr, I mean it's a suggestion, and I gave them $5 a couple years back. 


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Just know that the only requirement for addresses is that they are visible from the home near the front door or other entry.  Also, I forwarded the Riverside Newsletter on the topic, to the code enforcement department, and to Council Member Moore. 

She's looking to have a Wildomar specific version drawn up, based on our codes, and posted to the city's website so that it'll be easy for locals to find it when they search for it.

It's great to see how things can get done when people work together. 


Hey, I can still read the numbers so we know they don't use water colors. 

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Thursday, February 6, 2014

• EF Homestay: International Student Exchange

Have you ever wondered about foreign exchange students and the process involved in hosting one? I remember back in the '90s my grandparents hosting some Korean students and how much they enjoyed the experience. Last week I stumbled upon a local group that facilitates such opportunities and thought you might like to know about it.

Let me share some info I've learned with you about:
Here is a photo of last year's group.

Though "Murrieta" is in the title, they cover Wildomar and Lake Elsinore areas too. If you've considered, or wondered about, hosting an international student, but didn't know the first steps... here's a quick peek into it.
  • The student's family pays the costs and they are insured on the off chance they get hurt or break something in your home. 
  • The process strives to find the best compatibility between host families and students. 
  • You get to choose from the participating countries.
  • Summer program is for 3 weeks.
  • There are semester long programs too.



Terina Matthews is the Site Director for Murrieta Hot Springs Int'l - sort of like the principal of the program. She reminded me that even though Murrieta is in the title, they encompass the entire valley including Lake Elsinore, Wildomar, Canyon Lake, Menifee, Hemet, Temecula and Menifee. 

Their program is the short term Homestay summer program which gives their volunteer host families, and visiting students, just a taste of this wonderful experience. The students attend school with certified teachers and a structured curriculum for about 4-6 hours a day during the program, and then in the afternoons they attend different outings that give them a taste of the American/California experience.

I asked Terina to give me some thoughts on the program.

"What makes this an awesome experience for everyone is we encourage our Host Families to participate in the afternoon activities with their students, if they are available, and then the weekends the students are encouraged to really participate with their families —to get the real American family experience."

"Our Host Family kids, who are in need of community service hours for high school, can earn 15 hours a week of community service for participating as a volunteer host family. For our 3 week program that would equal 45 hours."

"It is a wonderful experience. We have been involved as a family for 6 years. In that 6 years we have hosted 11 students! We love all our kids all over the world. No matter if a host family has young kids, older kids, no kids...the experience is just incredible!"

"Our program dates this year is July 17 thru Aug 5...I really appreciate Jenni Botto for getting the info out to our community. She too has been a host family for several years and we just love her and her family."
 

 


I was asking Jenni Botto, another person in charge of the local program, how it works. She was telling me that the students arrive at LAX then to their destination homes in the evening. The very next morning they are off to school. All the kids in the program, from the various countries, meet at a "core center" for their schooling. 

Jenni told me how some hosts are concerned about "entertaining" the students for that period of time, and then explained that the schedule is filled with activities, and often the students are in activities that are away from their home base. Many families are like any other, meaning they have to go to work, and can't be there during the day.

I could try and write more about this, but the best way to find out more is to visit their website... which is very informative. They also are very helpful on the phone.

Here is the link to their website and and to their FaceBook page:
http://www.ef.edu/ehp/ 
facebook group: EF Homestay ~ Murrieta Hot Springs International
 
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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

• Local "Activist" Jumps The Shark

I was talking to my brother the other day, he moved away from Wildomar two and half years ago but still works here. He was talking about the school he works for looking to build a new campus and he told me, "Our school is being threatened with a lawsuit by that lady that sues everyone."

It must be awesome to have such a reputation as that. Can you guess who he was referring to?


She stylizes herself as a "Local Activist" though all she's done for the community is sue us repeatedly. It started with suing over Wildomar going from district based city council seats, to one that is open (she keeps appealing though she lost that one).


From there, it has been one threat, or actual suit, after another against the city. To give her credit, she has had a couple of her suits adjudicated in her favor. Still, her batting average is well below the Mendoza Lineand it costs us, the tax payers of Wildomar, money to defend, in both attorneys and city staff hours.



I'm not going to waste reams of cyber paper on her, but I will post a screen capture of her latest comments on a story at the, soon to be defunct, Patch. The reason that I'm doing this is so that you can judge for yourself if she is the person you want as your "activist" or not, and if you appreciate her judgment on things.

The story in question is about a seven year old girl scout that had a 59 year old man point a gun at her while trying to sell Girl Scout cookies at 11:30AM on Superbowl Sunday .

Here is a link to the story if you aren't familiar with it. 
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2551668/Girl-scout-seven-gun-pulled-knocking-door-suspect-trying-sell-cookies.html

Here is a link to the story on the Patch where her comments are... but I suspect that she will  be trying to delete her comments soon, so I'll post the screen shot just the same.
http://lakeelsinore-wildomar.patch.com/groups/trending-in-america/p/thin-mint-thug-cops-say-ca-man-points-gun-at-girl-scout-lakeelsinore-wildomar







































She was asked if she was kidding.








To which she promptly replied:






























This is an election year in Wildomar, and there will be three seats on the city council that will be up for grabs this November. There is a small sliver of Wildomarians that like what comes from "The Wildomar Watcher" [to each his own. I call that blog The Wildomar Timex] and they hope they can put people onto the council that will sit up and pay attention to her. 

 [Ummm... if we cared what she thought, wouldn't we have elected her when she ran?] 

I have no idea who to vote for at this point, but I can be damned sure that I will be looking askance at any candidate that she backs, and that actually accepts her endorsement. 

I just want ALL potential city council candidates to know who it is that might be giving you her thumbs up. 

Nothing personal Señora Timex, but you can't be both our 'self appointed "activist"' and 'someone that posts the things you do' without expecting to be called out on it. Hey, my comment section is open if you'd care to respond.

Oh, and I stole the title of this blog from Patch regular "Lotsahelp". It was just too good to pass up.

Last known picture of Lotsahelp
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