Thursday, March 6, 2014

• 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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8 comments:

  1. Just remember that the Chairman is one of the senior members of the "good old boy" society it is a wonder that Langworthy gets to sit at the same table with Brown and Smith present. That group just does not understand how to stay on subject.

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  2. Thanks for recording the WRCOG presentation and sharing it. I couldn't make out the commissioners' comments but otherwise, I could follow it. I agree with you on the accent, and it looks like she is more of a presenter than the one to answer difficult questions. I completely disagree on your take about this topic being a waste of time, and your criticism of the presentation content vs praise for V. Langworthy's question is misplaced. Asking if there's a scientific connection between GHG emissions and climate change is about like asking if there's proof the Earth is round and then getting a "hooray" for the question. However, Langworthy has every right to ask her question and Ward could have answered it better.

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    1. You make fair points. My problem is I stylize myself as an empiricist, and I'm not personally satisfied with any of the science on the matter. Sure, I'm probably just an uneducated person that is missing the fine points on the topic, but I'm ok with that. What I find to be a real threat to mankind, is the pollution and over population that is going on, nearly unabated... far, FAR more than I'm concerned over carbon footprints.

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    2. I appreciate your breaking the question up. It should be parts: 1) does one accept humanity is changing the climate (the science question), 2) are the results worse than mitigation, and then 3) how to mitigate. I would like to assure you that the science on 1 is pretty solid. This is why I was a bit dismayed by Langworthy's question. Her question mixed 1 and 3. One could have answered Yes and Yes. 2 is a harder sell, but I feel most people don't appreciate what a few degrees difference in global climate has done in the past. 3 is debatable. I don't know at this point if the Climate Action Plan is a reasonable course of action. I still need to read it thoroughly.

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    3. John, I like your approach. It reminds me a bit of my uncle, who is a medical doctor, and is less into the emotional debate that seems to grip so many, and into the actual science of it. I wish I could remember the details of the conversation I had with him on the topic last year... but it was something about the point of no return, according to the reports he was siting (I know that's pretty weak, but bear with me here), being that the point of no return has already been past. It's really too complicated for me in written form... and I imagine I'd hack it up pretty well even in person. :)

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    4. I've made quite an effort to distill climate science into a short and engaging scientific discussion and by disguising it as astronomy, I avoid people's hot buttons. I would be happy to share my projects with sometime. I think your uncle may have been referring to tipping points and run-away feedback effects. E.g., as we warm the arctic, vast amounts of greenhouses get released. This becomes the new unstoppable emissions that drive temperatures higher and further melt the arctic, releasing more gases, until the process runs out of steam. There are a lot of caveats in this, which I think you can appreciate, so it's better for a long discussion sometime.

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  3. Thought it was strange that while we are updating the General Plan to make it WILDOMAR's (removing all items not pertinent to us) we are look at including an element done by another entity that encompasses multiple areas far away from us as Temecula, Murrieta and Lake Elsinore all have their own. Even Menifee, incorporated around the same time as Wildomar is working on their own.
    Kenny Mayes

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    1. Kenny,
      I don't know the history of WRCOG, but based on first impressions, my eyes haven't stopped rolling. It sounds like just another group of people that are cagey enough to have found a way to earn nice salaries while not actually producing anything of value. As John Kobylt would call them... "pointy-headed beard-scratchers."

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