Wednesday, September 9, 2015

• City Council Meeting September 9, 2015

There were only two pieces of business on the agenda and both were continued to a meeting set for two weeks from today (Sep. 23, 2015). So it turned out to be a very truncated affair.

Still, there were things that were worthy of reporting so let's have at it.

Our fire chief Joel Vela has taken a promotion and will be transferring to Sacramento. We'll learn who our new fire chief is shortly.
From L-R: Bob Cashman, Marsha Swanson, Mayor Ben Benoit, Joel Vela, Mayor Pro-Tem Bridgette Moore, Tim Walker.
Non agenda public comments
• Brent Benson spoke about an ongoing issue with a property adjacent to his on Union St. He wanted to file a formal complaint where abandoned vehicles, junk and other trash has been accumulating since 2008. He also noted constant trespassing on his property, to get to the back of the property in question, something that occurs several times a day, and as late as 1:00am. He'd like to build an additional home on his property, but if nothing is done to clean up the mess, "it will be like living 50 feet from a landfill."

I'm not a fan of such fire and health hazards myself, so I hope that can be taken care of post haste, and then similar code enforcement happen throughout the city too.

• George Cambero, of EVMWD reminded us all that the higher bills will be hitting this month. You'll now see the higher rates and the drought surcharge added in. For those with questions, the number 951-674-3146 was given out for you to call. Also there is a first come first served low income program called the RARE program.

•Sheila Urlaub repeated her concerns about not rushing to fill the empty planning commission seat and wanting the planning commission appointed at large vs. appointed one per council member.

• Kristan Lloyd spoke on behalf of the Wildomar Historical Society. They will be having a membership drive in October, cost is $25 for single $35 family $100 business.

• Ken Mayes warned about reinstalling the wheelchair swing, that he termed "a backyard contraption" at Marna O'Brien park.

• George Taylor spoke about the need to get the already purchased emergency radios up and running as we near the promised El Niño.

Council Communications 
• Bob Cashman announced that after 40 years at his day job, he retired and will now be able to spend more time in Wildomar.

• Bridgette Moore mentioned an El Nino Prep Class that will be at city hall next Tuesday (9-15) at 6:00pm. The free concert in the park this Saturday (9-12)  at Marna O'Brien Park. The following Saturday (9-19) is Astronomy Night at Marna O'Brien Park; Saturday October 3rd will be a movie in the park (The Croods) at Marna O'Brien Park; Saturday October 24th is Trunk or Treat at Marna O'Brien Park.

• Ben Benoit mentioned the ribbon cutting at Pins 'N Pockets. The ribbon cuttings at Natalie's Rascals and Pie Nation. He also showed some pictures on the widescreen displays of his meetings at such places as SCAG (Southern California Associations of Governments), RCTC (Riverside Country Transportation Commission), WRCOG (Western Riverside Council of Governments) and the HERO program.

Other than the alphabet soup stuff, if you're a regular reader of Wildomar Rap you heard about the things on the Mayor's list as they occurred. ☺

2.1 Elm Street Residential Project
This was continued due to a glitch in the agenda packet.

This was covered at the August planning commission meeting. (Here is the write up of that meeting)
No need to go into it at this time since it'll be a topic in the special meeting in two weeks.

There were three public comments, though I expect all three of them to repeat themselves at the full public hearing in two weeks. Bob Cashman chose to add some comments here, tipping his hand in my opinion, that he will be voting against this project in two weeks.

3.1 Wildomar Master Drainage Plan Lateral C-1 Storm Drain Project
This was also postponed due to technical issues in the agenda packet. Since this will be discussed in two weeks, makes since to cover the details then. Though there are issues with a property owner that appears to be making things difficult. This project will help the entire city, but especially those that live from Windsong to past Palomar where water collects during storms and rainy months.

I liked the suggestion by Gina Castanon, to use eminent domain if the property owners in question continue the holdup of the project. She had other questions but was told by the Mayor that "It's in process, we're moving as fast as we can. Look forward to next month."

Which sounded like movement will have taken place by then on this issue. It's also going to be discussed at the special meeting already mentioned above.

City Manager's Report
Gary Nordquist mentioned SB25, which is this year's attempt to get our VLF funds back. A total of $1.9 Million per year that the city is being deprived of by Governor Brown. The bill has passed both houses up in Sacramento, with a reported 100% support from the Assembly and the Senate. Next stop is the governor's desk.

I can dovetail on the SB25 [status]. That bill actually is on the governor's desk as of 4:30 Monday night. He has the next 30 days to sign or veto the bill. I can tell you that Senator Roth has a meeting scheduled tomorrow with the governor. They know (Sacramento big wigs) that our four cities desperately need this money (Wildomar, Eastvale, Menifee and Jurupa Valley) for public safety reasons. 

— Mayor Ben Benoit

Mr. Nordquist is suggesting a letter writing campaign to urge the governor's signing of the bill.

On the VLF funds issue, I'll believe it when the check is cashed... not a moment sooner.

State of the City is Wednesday October 7th. Doors open at 6:00pm and there will be vendors with finger foods. Speech is set to start at 6:30pm. There should be an e-vite in your email shortly if you're signed up with Stay Connected through the city.

Use this link

On the vacant planning commission seat, one person has applied so far. When I heard the person's name I was very pleased that a longtime active member of the city put his name in the hat; John Lloyd. We both agreed that it would be a good dilemma to have additional qualified names in the mix. I tossed out the old baseball adage of you can never have too much pitching. Let's hope there ends up being a dozen names in the mix... but if not, I'm glad for the one that stepped up first.
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My favorite poem is the one that starts 'Thirty days hath September' because it actually tells you something.  ― Groucho Marx

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