Friday, October 24, 2014

• Windsong Park: The Fence Is Down

The saga of the Windsong Park Fence appears to be over with its removal today.

The mesh is down and with the poles to follow.

I can't tell you what happened the first time that plot of land was called a park, or the first time the fence went up or came down. I can only tell you about what's happened since I moved here in 2001. The fence was up and the park was closed.

In the mid '00s, before Wildomar's incorporation, Riverside County reopened the parks. They were closed in the '90s because the locals couldn't figure out how to keep them open. If you want the stultifying details, I'm sure you can find someone out there willing to help your eyes glaze over as they ply you with details that have no bearing on today.

Problem being, the tax levied to pay for them was deemed to be an illegal tax, as one lone jackwad pushed his case up the ladder in the courts. Lo and behold, the tax was thrown out, and the city couldn't pay to keep them opened. Hence the fence 2.0.

I'm a rules & regs kind of guy, but I'm also a pragmatist.

So, though I can appreciate the inner push to make sure taxes comply with the statutes, there needed to be a compromise. Something that would have allowed the wording of the tax to be altered so that it conformed. Notice that we are paying the same amount as we were before the court decision, only we had to pay to rehabilitate the parks and go without them for a couple of years in the meantime. Oh the joys of intentional shortsightedness... commonly referred to as pigheadedness.

Nothing worse than a person pedantically insisting that the whole community suffer due to poor wording in a piece of legislation. C'est la vie.

Instead, the funding was yanked, the parks closed and Wildomar's Cantankerotti class popped champagne corks.

Yes, yes other cities could have found enough money from other parts of the budget to compensate for the sudden hole caused by the decision of the judges. Thing is, we aren't other cities. Many didn't think we should have become a city because of a lack of commercial taxes needed to make it a go.

As it happens, I voted against cityhood and when I had heard that Murrieta was looking to swoop down and gobble up my portion of Wildomar, I was for it. No offense, nothing personal, just the facts as they were.

But that was then, this is now and there is no realistic way of going backward at this point. So, back to the fence coming down.

We had our Parks Grand Reopening back in April, but Windsong's fence was going to stay up until a few safety measures got installed. On the list were additional lighting, and some cameras. Depending on who you talk to, even motion censor lights get tossed in there too.

When I first heard about the fence finally coming down two weeks ago, it was mentioned by long time No Fence at the Park trumpeter Jon Laskin, as I happened to be at the park, chewing the fat with Monty Goddard and Kenny Mayes.

That must have been a sight, a trio of old guys at a park discussing drainage... Laskin was walking his dog to the park, trying to avoid our gaze. Being the trouble maker that I am, when he was trying to leave incognito, I shouted out, "Hey Jon, how's it going."

He came over, started in on the park fence and told us about it coming down in two weeks. That was news. There goes the theory that I'm a City Insider, since I never would have known had I not been at that spot on that day. Still, there is nothing quite like watching a kitten (Jon) get into the face of a ol' hound dog (Monty).
Yikes, they didn't coin the phrase Let Sleeping Dogs Lie for nothing.

I asked City Manager Gary Nordquist about the fence coming down, because I wanted to take a video of it, and he told me it was to happen by the end of the week. I got a text from Bridgette Moore telling me it was happening today (uh oh, proof that I am a city insider after all) so I got my camera ready and went down there. Watch the 22 second video and watch the fence come down in super fast time.

As I was out there video taping a neighbor from across the street asked me if the fence was coming down. I told her yes, it's coming down for good. She wasn't happy about it. Her worry is about the fact that Prairie Rd is used as a collector road and people frequently speed right past the park, and that kids could be in danger due to it.

I asked her if she knew about the new speed humps on Catt Rd (All that live in Windsong know about those by now) and told her she might want to write to the city council suggesting some speed humps in front of the park. Hey city council members, I told you that once that door got opened, expect a line up around the block. Just doing my part to make that happen. ☺

Last on the list is: that the conditions discussed by the council back in February hadn't been implemented yet.  Here's a video link to that meeting  Namely, the cameras and lights. While I was setting up my camera, Monty was there, and wasn't too happy. He would have liked to have been told what was up, even if the info wasn't to his liking.

He goes to most city meetings and is on the Measure Z oversight committee, which just happened to meet last night. Everyone and their brother knows about Monty's concerns with the park, the fence and the lack of policing.

Seems it would have been easier to go up to him and say, "I've got some bad news for you... the fence is coming down before the safety measures are going in."

He wouldn't have liked it, and he would have given everyone an earful, but he would have felt respected and would have dealt with it. Now you're going to be inundated with emails, which could have been avoided.

Now let me get a day pass to Team Cantankerotti
Jus' Sayin'... I don't want to jeopardize my coveted City Insider status by making waves now...

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  1. Wildomar City Council Minutes February 12, 2014
    Council consensus to leave the fence up until security is in place and then the fence should come down.
    This development shows that Wildomar City Council is powerless and its word means nothing as security measures are not in place, it also shows that the safety and welfare of all citizens in Wildomar is of no concern to city officials.
    As to your snide remark about the swing, ask they city for a copy of the report generated during a visit by the Certified Playground Safety Inspector when he visited the swing on SUNDAY morning October 19th.
    Kenny Mayes

    1. I guess it could be viewed as a snide remark, but I thought of it more as 'flippant'.

      I was just having fun with a guy that has thick skin. It's all in jest and I'd like to see the report that you're speaking of. I'm not one for sweeping things under the rug, especially if said things can come back and bite us in the rump roast.


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