Sunday, March 30, 2014

• Best 43 Bucks Ever Spent or Gee Honey, You Were Right.

Have you ever been to Lake Elsinore's River Walk?

Well, it's only going to cost you $43... if you choose the preferred parking like I did.

Trophy Row Parking!!
Here's the lowdown. A group of locals puts in a three mile walk each weekend. We have several different loops we use. The Santa Rosa Plateau, the Wildomar channel (AKA Murrieta Creek), and the levy behind The Diamond in Lake Elsinore.

Always looking for new local trails/paths/loops to walk on, the River Walk in Lake Elsinore was mentioned.

Our advance scout went there the day before to locate the best place to park. It seemed that near the little league field would be best. She even got the seal of approval from a local baseball mom that she "parks there all the time and never gets ticketed." What could be more of a sure thing than that?

Here's where the "I told you so" comes in.


My lovely wife said, "How about I drop you off so you don't get a ticket, and then I'll pick you up when you're done."

I was about 98% certain that there was no way I'd get a ticket so I declined the offer.

D'oh!

The worst part is that I was running late (I had no idea where this was. I had initially gone to the wrong ball fields, the ones that can be seen from the levy). I get to where the group is meeting up, and park next to a friend's car. I get out of the car, lock the car, take about five steps and then realize that the group is about 200 yards further south. So I get back into the car and drive past a NO PARKING sign (that should have been my first clue that I was in for it.)

Then we went on the walk and enjoyed the morning.

Great weather, good conversation and hey, it was even great walking past homeless guys doing their laundry and sleeping on the benches. They didn't even hit us up for loose change, though one did have his belongings all over the path. Kind of a fun obstacle course for the young at heart.

At the conclusion of the walk we were greeted by white envelopes on our car windshields.

I was hoping it was for 50% off my third pizza or maybe inviting me to try out some new fitness place.
 No such luck. 
My favorite part here is that Lake Elsinore sends out their tickets to NEWPORT BEACH for processing. Like the OC needs more jobs that could easily been done locally, and probably is being done by locals that drive there in the first place. 












We went over to the little league field to commiserate with people parked there, also marked Boat Trailer Parking Only. Lo and behold, they didn't get tickets. They'd never heard of people getting tickets for parking there this time of year. We all agreed that it would be a different situation had there actually been boat trailers there. Or if we'd tried to get out of paying.

A view of the Boat Trailer parking adjacent to the little league fields.
Ready for a bunch of excuses? Well I am...

  • There was no one manning the launch area (where they take the money to park).
  • The gate was locked in the opened position.
  • Other people were parking there.
  • I didn't think the sign applied to me.
  • The dog ate my homework!

But seriously, it's pretty jacked up when a city wants you to visit it, and then goes ticky-tack with ticket writing. Either close the gate or allow for off season parking near the mouth of one of your city's attractions.

Still, in the end I'm glad I strolled on LE's world famous River Walk (though I think it would be better named, Drainage Ditch Walk —but I'm thinking they wouldn't be able to hoodwink as many into coming with the more truthful name). One and done for me. I can't afford it a second round.
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Thursday, March 27, 2014

• Can't We Just Rent A Cop?

As many of us are aware, there are many areas of Wildomar that could use a good dose of traffic patrol. 


On one recent facebook topic I suggested hiring a dedicated deputy to write tickets at various hot spots in town.

My thought came from what I know of San Juan Cap's similar practice. My brother's father-in-law is a retired OC Deputy and he happens to live on Ortega Hwy, about a mile from the 5 freeway. I've discussed with him, the fact that there is a motorcycle cop there, cherry picking speeders all the time. He told me that his city had contracted with the OC Sheriff to have that patrolled.

So I mused: we should do the same thing in Wildomar, not really giving much thought to the logistics of it.


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About a week or so later, Council Member Bridgette Moore sent me the following email:

I saw a post about why don't we have the police write tickets and pay for their salary. 

Please see the attached example of how the ticket revenue is allocated.  In the example, Wildomar would get about $16 (8%)  from a $197 ticket.

The "cost" of a police officer is about $138 per hour, including additional police related costs, times 2,080 hours per year = $288,000.  At $16 of revenue per ticket, 18,000 tickets per year pays for one officer or 8.7 tickets per hour need to be written by each officer to break even.

Hope that helps to explain.


For more fun reading, here is a copy of where the money goes when you get a ticket.


Yes we want the traffic laws enforced and we want the drivers to back off their general careless attitudes too. Still, in the end I really do NOT want to have a bunch of cops lurking about with the sole mission of writing traffic tickets all day. Very few of us follow all the laws to a T in all situations and imagine the consternation of getting hoist on our own petard, (look it up, it's a great reference), thinking hiring ticket writers would actually make drivers more respectful. 

Shakespeare doth not fear the petard. 
So, another fanciful thought perishes to the cruel mistress of reality.

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Facebook is a good way to keep up with Wildomar Rap's latest blogs. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

• Operation: Prom Girl

Operation: Prom Girl


Who?
 Operation Prom Girl  is being put on by new Wildomartian Dawn Schultz who is seeking to help underprivileged teen age girls who can’t afford a prom dress. 

Why?
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.


Where?
Though the various local high school proms are all on different days, Operation Prom Girl is scheduled for April 19th, 2014 at the VFW (click for location).


What?
An event where the donated dresses and shoes will be on display. A fun 'girl to girl' pep talk by Dawn and a make up tutorial. 


When?
Well, I already mentioned when, (but I'll stick to the format)... it'll be on Saturday April 19th, 2014 at 3:00pm.


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My beautiful wife Grace and I had a chance to meet and chat with Dawn Carrasco the other day. She is a vivacious lady, very enthusiastic for the event, but has seen that wanting to give back to the community isn't as easy as she'd hope. There are plenty of obstacles that a new charitable venture has to get over, and so she's doing her best to maneuver through them as the clock ticks down.

Like we were discussing, she understands the concerns people have about donating to new causes —even dresses and shoes. There are just too many people willing to take advantage of other's generosity for their own gain. She's hoping to see this grow into a yearly tradition that the schools, churches and other organizations would like to get behind.


Operation: Prom Girl has it's own facebook page. 

Regular email is WillingHeartsLove@yahoo.com add "Prom Girl" to the subject line.

For those that prefer the phone, she's included her number on the flyer: 562-922-1713. (don't be put off from the area code, in the modern world of cell phones, they don't count for much these days.)

If you'd like to donate time, dresses/shoes or help in some other way just contact Dawn and she'll be happy to speak with you.

I'd like to thank my wife for helping me with this blog. Thanks sweetie ☺.
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Friday, March 21, 2014

• Boy Scout Trailer Recovered

Great News, the stolen Boy Scout trailer

has been recovered, as has most of their gear.


As many of you know, a trailer was discovered to have been stolen from Wildomar Troop 332 on March 11, 2014, from the VFW parking lot. Some in the community were asking if it had been in a fenced area. Look at the pics to see for yourself that it wasn't just sitting out in the middle of nowhere. It's usual spot was under the low hanging tree that is fenced on three sides plus driveway gate, and well off the main road.


The downside is that is that it was vandalized and some of their gear wasn't recovered (including some EZ Ups and a wagon on the list). Take look at the following pictures to see what the thieves did.



The inside of the trailer, where shelving units had been installed and now were thrown to the floor.

The side of the trailer where the thieves removed a large portion of the sheet metal siding,
trying to remove Troop 332's markings. You can see what it looked like before the theft in the inset above.

Where the thieves couldn't figure out how to work a spray can and decided to cut the Troop's name off the side.

On this side, the thieves used a grinder to get rid of the Troop's markings. 


Some of the recovered gear. You can see where they vandalized one of the boxes (on the left).


What's left of the troop's flag. The hooks on top used to hold ribbons
won throughout the years. All destroyed by worthless people.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            There is a lot more to the story. The who, why, where, when of it all, but the detective in charge made it pretty clear that such things can't be released at this point in time. Hopefully more details will be released soon. In the meantime, it's nice that the trailer is back with the troop, and they'll be able to clean it up and restore it.


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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

• Parks Update/Eagle Scout Fundraiser

The grand reopening of Wildomar's parks is set for Saturday April 12, 2014. Today I drove by our three parks and here is what I saw.

The Dog Park is currently being rehabbed as part of an Eagle Scout project by Mike Ames. The dog toys have been taken to the back lot at the cemetery for storage and cleaning while the ground awaits grading.

You can see posts sticking out of the ground where some of the toys are anchored. 













The rest of Heritage Park is still in the process of restoration as you can see by the image below. It's going to take some serious man hours to bring this park back to life... but after being closed since 2011, and that it is subject to periodic flooding, that is to be expected.
Heritage Park doubles as part of the flood control system, and you can see that it still needs some attention after the heavy rains from last month.

I drove past Marna O'Brien Park and it will be Hydro-seeded tomorrow.

There is another Eagle Scout Project going on at Marna O'Brien Park. Riley Olson is installing tiles, that were painted by the community as part of a parks fundraiser, onto an interior wall in the snack bar. 

There is a fundraiser for both Eagle Scout projects. It'll be at Stadium Pizza on Wednesday March 19th. Both Ames and Olson will be there between 5:30pm and 7:00pm discussing the projects. If you have questions, and would like to help out while enjoying some pizza, come on down. The fund raiser is throughout the day, and you can participate by mentioning the Eagle Scout fundraiser and purchasing regular items (no coupons or delivery - they have to stay in business too ya know). 

I'm following both of the Eagle Scout projects and plan on posting a blog about them once they are completed.


Over at Windsong Park, you can see that it has been Hydro-seeded and now it's time to let the grass grow back in. If ask Google about Hydro-seed, it tells you:   The grass should begin to come up in 5 to 7 days depending on soil temperatures and moisture. Your lawn should be ready to mow in 3 to 4 weeks. 



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So, if you are good at math, and feel pretty comfortable reading a calender, you can see that the time between today and the parks grand reopening is pretty short. 

It's a fair question to ask: Is there enough time for the grass to grow in between now and then?

If I were a betting man, I'd have to say that there isn't enough time for the grass to be ready for regular play. I'm confident that if the grass isn't ready for use by the time of the reopening, that the city officials, and city staff, will not open the grassy areas prematurely. It's been too long getting to this point to rush things now.

The grand opening will still take place, along with the egg hunt, on April 12th as planned, but I've heard that the egg hunt will likely be moved from the grassy area to the playground area.

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Let me remind those that may not be up on why the parks were closed in the first place. It happened before we were a city. It happened on Riverside County's watch. I'm not going to get into ancient history, about Ortega Trails, just the part where a group of citizens challenged a $28 tax to fund the parks

They obviously made some point that resonated with the judge in the case, because upon appeal he/she sided with them. It really only came down to the wording, because we are paying the same figure of $28 today. Just with the added bonus of three parks that have needed resurrecting from the dead... again

To make whatever inane point they had in mind, our parks have been closed since 2011, and to what end? We are STILL paying the same $28... and the galling part is that they like to stylize themselves as "Community Activists".... and I guess that Michael Vick was a Pitbull activist too.


Now if the parks open a bit late, to allow the grass to grow in, just remember why the parks were closed in the first place. As the remnants of that group, and its loyalists, carp anew at any imperfection they can possibly point a finger at.
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Thursday, March 13, 2014

• City Council Meeting Mar 12, 2014

Tonight's meeting had several notable things in it.

Boy Scouts Riley Olson and Mike Ames discussed their eagle projects. Ames is restoring the dog park, and Olson is installing the various painted tiles, that were painted by members of the public as part of a fund raiser, into the snack bar at Marna O'Brien Park

Plus the theft of the troupe's trailer that they used to store their gear and other troupe memorabilia. For more info on the theft, click the link and read the article at the Patch.
http://lakeelsinore-wildomar.patch.com/groups/police-and-fire/p/1000-reward-offered-for-return-of-wildomar-boy-scout-trailer


Mayor Marsha Swanson and outgoing chief Shelley Kennedy-Smith
Outgoing Wildomar police chief, Shelley Kennedy-Smith, received recognition for her time as chief. She's being promoted, so though she will no longer be the chief, Wildomar will still be in her territory. The new chief will be Captain Leonard (Lennie) Hollingsworth.


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The real meat of the meeting was
agenda item 2.2  



On the surface it was a builder/developer that wanted to make minor adjustments to a project. Changing the ingress/egress, going from 102 lots to 98 lots and creating additional access for emergency vehicles. Seems like normal adjustments before a project were to begin. But wait, we're talking about Wildomar here, and unless you bow down and grovel to The Unelecteds, you're going to have to deal with the troll under the bridge.


In short, its the same old guy, representing the same old angry people, that keep bringing the same old tired lawsuits. It's not just a Wildomar thing, this kind of crapola is happening all over our state under the false banner of protecting the environment by way of twisting the original intent of the CEQA laws. 

If it weren't for all the lawyers up in Sac-to, real CEQA reform would have been accomplished years ago. It was a great idea in 1970... and I'm thinking it's long overdue for a 40 year tweaking to shake out the fleas that have decided to call it home.


Keep It Real!

None of us want runaway development, but have any of you taken a critical look at our town? Face it, we are like remnants at a carpet factory. We are not the center cut, and being bullied by those that spend their days looking for more things to bitch about is NOT helping us become a better place. We are stagnating, and simply because of a few people,  for who knows what reason , have decided to game the system. 

I was glad to see Council Member Tim Walker respond with, "I am always amazed that one side brings all the information and gives us things —examples, and the other side —I don't see anything." 

"I think anyone can throw things against the wall and see what sticks, but these guys (CV Communities) came in professional, brought their information, brought their [power point] presentation. That's our job, to look at it all, and it looks good to me."

If you've wondered what keeps suing our city, and were thinking "Atticus Finch" or "Perry Mason" or maybe even "Ben Matlock" think again. If you're curious just watch the video. It's twenty-two minutes long, so unless you really want to watch it all, a little dab will do ya.





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Other news had Council Member Bob Cashman nominating Dan Bidwell for the open seat on the Planning Commission. He was approved 5-0. 


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I have a pretty good rapport with Kenny Mayes. He puts a lot of time into things in Wildomar and makes it to nearly every city meeting. Sure, he's a different cat, but that doesn't mean we can't converse and share info about things in our city. Still, he got a bit cryptic at the meeting, and if you'd like to see Mr. Mayes in action, the video is about a minute long. He also has a blog about Wildomar called http://www.wildomarconnected.com/

Through his efforts we are in line to get a parks commission. 

His blogs are often filled with things I haven't ever thought about and others have a feel like the video below. We all have our different styles.



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Remember, sign up for auto updates and/or like the facebook home of Wildomar Rap. Last I checked it's still free.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

• Future Farmer of America: FFA EHS


I had the chance to get a tour of the FFA (Future Farmers of America) at EHS (Elsinore High School) the other day, along with City Council Member Bridgette Moore.





First was an introduction to the guide dog program.

The students keep the dogs for a year and a half from 8 weeks old onward. They start with house training, basic commands like "sit and stay", a lot of socialization, with an aim to have them be good house pets as well.
The key is obedience training, if the dog passes the tests, a 50-50 proposition, they are placed with a blind partner, and the training is two weeks accelerated program.




At that point there is a doggie graduation, and the student is invited to participate. They are given the dog back and then they present the dog to the blind person... which can be an emotional experience.




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    At this point the FFA student leaders gave a tour of their domain.    

Student Catherine O'Donnell was speaking of the group planting a corn maze here for a future fund raising opportunity. Also thoughts of raising turkeys for local families in need and a Puppy/Dog Wash too.

FFA President Sierra Brewer told about a past fund raiser called, "Kiss the Pig". The object was to put a jar into each participating teacher's classroom. Students and faculty would put money into the jars, and the teacher that collected the most money had to kiss the pig

   Speaking of pigs... next was learning about PROJECT PORK.   

Students from all grades get the opportunity to raise piglets. Once grown, they can either sell or keep the meat.

Students feed, clean and train the piglets. Training is mostly teaching them to walk in the direction they want them to go in.




The piglets are currently between 50-60 pounds and are expected to reach over 250 pounds.



They have two steers, named  Batman and Robin , donated by Rick Wolter.
These guys don't know how good they've got it...
they could be in Norco looking at the freeway, instead of that nice hillside behind them.



Mike Ames was mentioning that the pen, with the goats, was also used as a petting zoo. Sierra then told of a Harvest Festival with the local kindergartens, where they would read stories to the younger kids and let them pet and feed the animals. 

Catherine then mentioned that special needs students also come down to visit the animals. She was telling me about one particular student that was having a very bad time, a "total meltdown", then after short time with the animals, the child's whole demeanor shifted and he was an altogether different kid.


In this picture you see Butters the goat; a favorite of the students (upper middle and lower right). He'd gotten into some poultry feed as a baby and got sick. Sierra and Catherine took turns taking care of him for two days to make sure he recovered.



Let's meet the tour guides









A group shot with teacher/supervisor Megan Sebesta.

From left to right: Sierra Brewer, Andreas Areola, Megan Sebesta, Catherine O'Donnell, Kendell Polis.

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Thursday, March 6, 2014

• The City of Wildomar receives a $23,000 Grant


I just got a press release from the city.  
Take a moment to read it.


This is just an example...

At the last city council meeting, Council Member Bridgette Moore brought the idea of the Speed Radar Signs to the attention of the rest of the council. None of the other members seemed willing to spend the money for even one sign (an estimated cost of $4200 a piece) and it appears that there will be two. If only people weren't in such a terrible rush in the first place... but that's a silly notion.



It's always reassuring to see the diligent work of our city staffers as it comes to fruition. This was the work of City Clerk Debbie Lee, she is on the PARSAC board.... the city thanks those that are working for us.

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• New Planning Commissioner Sworn In

Tonight's meeting can be broken into 4 parts.

Part 1: was the swearing in of our newest Planning Commissioner: Gary Brown

I've met Commissioner Brown several times in the past. First at the David Soto search, and then at the CERT training I took last October, and then at the Breakfast with Santa at the fire station. He's been a long time active member of the community, and perhaps I'll be able to interview him in the near future so we can all learn a bit more about him.


Parts 2 and 4: This is where the wheels came off the tracks for me. There were three items on the agenda. The third item, was bumped from third to first. That wasn't a problem, in and of itself, though I thought it was a total waste of time. It was a Subregional Climate Action Plan presentation by Jennifer Ward of WRCOG (Western Riverside Council of Governments).

I'm sorry, but the whole topic rankles me. She kept bringing up AB 32... you remember that abysmal legislation that The Governator signed back in 2006. Some fantasy driven garbage about trying to get 2020 emissions of "greenhouse gases" down to 1990 levels (about a 30% reduction, though our population of 1990 was 25% fewer people, and our 2020 statewide population is supposed to be well over 40 million by that time.) If you think that's funny, future emissions are supposed to be reduced by 49% by 2035...

Why not legislate having 28 hours in a day while you're at it?

Even if you want to buy whole hog into global warming, li'l ol' WillyMar could be erased from the face of the earth and it wouldn't do anything to global emissions, much less state or county emissions either. To think that more than 20 minutes was wasted on the topic is galling.

I was happy to hear Commissioner Veronica Langworthy ask, "Is there an evidenced based, research proven correlation between greenhouse gases and climate change... or is this just [a] political piece of legislation?"

The answer was pure gobbledegook. I videotaped it, but won't even try to transcribe it as it meandered around in a Valley Girl cadence for 40 seconds. No offense J-Ward, it's probably a cool job, with a nice paycheck attached to it, but talk about a flat out waste of tax payers dollars. Just more proof that we Californians are getting hosed by Sacramento and our other entrenched officials.

If anything should have been bumped up to the top of the list, it should have been the agenda item Murrieta Creek Trail Project Update. Instead, it had to wait until after 9:00PM. I'll write more about that in a different blog... it deserves better than a simple mention.

Part 3: This was sausage making at its mind numbing best.

It was billed as 2014 Wildomar General Plan Update Project — Workshop #2, but it was mostly going over the rough draft with a fine tooth comb. Something that needed to be done, but I'm not sure it made for much of a spectator sport. A fair amount of word wrangling, but not really much more. The fun part is that the commission will be finishing this up the next meeting... though a couple of people were willing to stay till midnight to get it done... until they saw the daggers in the eyes of those in attendance. Let's just hope that next time they put this LAST on the agenda where it belongs. ☺


Commissioner Bobby Swan made strong points about keeping the general plan — general, instead of getting specific. To which planner Mark Teague added, "One of the things we want to be careful of doing, We don't want our general plan to be our zoning ordinance. We have a zoning ordinance, and that's where all of your precision should go."

Though this was supposed to be a "workshop" it felt more like we were sitting in on a private meeting, compared to the first workshop. One part that I'd like to see addressed in the future, is a more even hand when it comes to dealing with audience participation. Some members of the audience were allowed to speak from their seats without being corrected, while others were not allowed the same courtesy. It has to be one way... either everyone can do catcalls from the audience, or no one can. I prefer that people follow the rules, and go to the microphone if they are going to speak.

Mr. Chairman, you have a gavel, and I'd love to start hearing the dulcet tones of its drubbing the moment a person starts chirping out of order... then again, I'm the guy that isn't a fan of people parking their cars on the sidewalk either —I'm just weird that way I guess. Either we enforce the rules, or we need to jettison them.

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Other news has it that Council Member Bob Cashman will be nominating a person for the last open Planning Commission seat at the next city council meeting.

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UPDATED
John Garret asked if I had the video of Jennifer Ward's presentation. I told him that I did, but it wasn't shot with viewing in mind, just as 'audio notes'. Still, I was happy to upload what I had in the interest in fairness... if you watch it, tell me I was right about her sounding like a Valley Girl... at least un poquito. ☺


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