Thursday, December 10, 2015

• City Council Meeting December 2015

The meeting started with Mayor Benoit asking for a moment of silence for those that were victims of the terrorist attack in San Bernardino.

Cat Lara was recognized for her recent Girl Scout Gold Award project. The project was installing recycling cans at Marna O'Brien and Windsong parks. There is a ribbon cutting at Marna O'Brien park at 1pm this Saturday.

Mayor Benoit, Cat Lara, Mayor Pro-Tem Bridgette Moore.

Public speakers on non agenda items
• Jonathan Peterson spoke about the problem of a neighbor that smokes so much marijuana on daily basis that the smoke invades his home and gives his wife headaches.

• Kristan Lloyd spoke about Wildomar Historical Society and the Bingo fundraiser to be held at the Elks Lodge on Sunday January 24th.

• Ken Mayes asked for his own moment of silence for all the victims of US foreign policy (to which Miss Miller shouted out "Amen!"). He also mentioned the canceled Measure Z committee meeting and various financial figures he found wanting.

• Miss Miller, sans her usual chapeau, spoke about chemtrails and that she "read an article online about them." She told us that the chemtrails were there so that people can go shopping and that the Rose Parade can go on. She also asked the council to go online and "find people that we can write" then said that "Boxer and Feinstein, that's a dead loss." Hey, looks like there are a few neurons still firing in that frontal lobe of hers after all. Then she went into song and ended by thanking Ken Mayes "for that comment on America's suck ass political policies." (That was just her opening act of the night)

I know that I said I'd never upload another video of her, but who am I to stand in the way of those that find her entertaining. I have to apologize for not being able to share her other time at the podium. The file was corrupt. She said something about a "changing the kazoo to whatever you want to do"... at least that's what I put in my notes.

• John Garrett spoke about lighting issues and glare bombs and asked that there be a public outreach on the city's lighting policies.

• George Taylor thanked Les Chapman and the staff for the efforts in the recent sandbag event.

Usually the consent calendar is voted on as a block. The idea is that the items are routine and only need a rubber stamp. Sometimes a council member, or member of the public, wants to talk about one of those items and so it gets "pulled" and talked about.

That happen on several items.

• Ken Mayes, 1.6 and 1.7, quoted Wildomar Rap quoting Planning Commission Chairman Stan Smith about passive parks almost 2 years ago.

• George Taylor 1.6 spoke about Bundy Canyon Road

• 1.7 and 1.14 Miss Miller complained that she only had three minutes for two items. Then spoke of atrocities regarding something or another, but I zoned out... even when reviewing the video for this blog. She did get me to laugh when she changed the name of Villa Sienna Apartments to Villain. She then had to have the microphone shut off.

• Kristan Lloyd, 1.9, brought up the Historical Society. Spoke about small treasures/artifacts that may be buried on the old Brown property and hopes the developer will allow a bit of sifting to look for them.

• Gina Castanon, 1.7 and 1.9, didn't like that extensions were on the consent calendar. That the public should be heard before such a vote.

She then looked at me and said, "Some people don't like to hear the history [of Wildomar]."

What is with people that intentionally say such easily disprovable things? Gina, I love hearing the stories about olden times. I had a great breakfast with Stan Smith once and was mesmerized by the history he shared with me.

Listening to stories, has nothing to do with the teller of the stories thinking she is more important than any other person in town. Feel free to just have a normal conversation with me some time. I'm easy to find.

Mayor Benoit responded to Gina Castanon

"As far as the agenda. The items on then agenda tonight are not an approval, but just a receive and file to let us know what the planning commission did. The council's actions tonight are just to be notified that the action has taken place. That's why it's not an agenda item, it's just a receive and file."

Seen in the video above.

Council Member Bob Cashman asked to pull several agenda items. His big concern was that projects approved before we were a city may not be up to snuff. "In nine years things change in a community."

In the end, all the pulled items were passed by a 5-0 vote. Sort of why they were in the consent calendar to begin with.

3.1 Street Light Conversion
Tyler Masters of WRCOG gave a presentation to the council.

In short this is about the city taking over the light poles from the SCE. It appears to be a good long term deal for the city. Saving up to 50% on the cost of lighting.

Unfortunately my video failed on that file so the only thing I can report of the 30 plus minutes is Council member Marsha Swanson's comment. "We aren't buying anything tonight."

This is a just a step in a detailed process, but a step in a good direction. More about this in the future.

3.2 Franchise Agreement with CR&R

The approval of this Fourth Amendment will not have any fiscal impact on the City. If approved, CR&R will be requesting that the City Council approve a rate increase to compensate CR&R for the additional organic waste recycling services it will be providing. The rate increase will be subject to Proposition 218 notice and hearing requirements. Any such rate increase may impact the City as a customer of CR&R.

This is an interesting item. In short, it's a prelude to a coming raise in the rates we are all going to be paying someday, thanks to the misguided souls up in Sacramento.

It comes down to a state mandate that we have a policy in place (dealing with organic waste) by the first of the year to be in compliance with the state (AB 1826).

This specific agenda item is about businesses in the city that generate 8 cubic yards of  “organic waste” (defined as “food waste, green waste, landscape and pruning waste, nonhazardous wood waste, and food-soiled paper waste that is mixed in with food waste”).

However, within five years all businesses that generate over 2 cubic yards will get stung by this.

The real target that Sacramento has in its sites, is the general public. Eventually, every homeowner will be part of this.

I heard the CR&R guys talking about an increase of $2 per month to cover it. Thing is, in my family, we don't put any food waste in the garbage. What the dogs don't eat goes into a compost pile in the backyard. At the end of a year's time it still isn't more than a few gallons.

Marsha Swanson didn't like the vagueness of the language, that made it seem as if she voted for this it would obligate a future yes vote on rate increases.

Her comments begin at the 6:25 mark of the video.

• I'm still a real confused what we're actually voting on. It says "there's no fiscal impact." Yet, you said that there would be in the future by approving this. I've been through [the new CR&R plant] it's beautiful, I think it's a great idea. I don't know that I think it's fair to pass that onto our residents, it is an increase that everyone will be paying. If voting yes on this tonight means I'm saying "yes, we'll look at a fee increase" I can't move forward on this one.

Mayor Benoit and Mayor Pro-Tem Moore had good points, as City Attorney Thomas Jex added needed info in key spots.

There were also many lively comments by Tim Walker.

There are just too many details for me to try and recap. Below is a 36 minute video of the discussion and City Manager Gary Nordquist spells it all out in the first six minutes, followed by council comments and discussion.

This item was not approved by a 3-2 vote. (Ayes being Benoit and Moore, nays being Swanson, Walker and Cashman.) It'll be coming back to the council shortly.

3.4 Appointment of Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem for 2016
This was mostly ceremonial as the position of mayor is rotated among the various council members. 

Bridgette Moore will be Wildomar's mayor for 2016.

She was nominated by Marsha Swanson, seconded by Tim Walker and received a 5-0 confirmation vote.

Mayor Pro-Tem (or Mayor Pretend as councilman Walker likes to call it) went to Walker. Nominated by Swanson and approved with a 5-0 vote.

2016 is going to be a busy year. There will sure to be many issues of interest coming before the council and it's going to be an election year too. If you care about your community, and have the time available, I hope you get more active in your city.

•      •       

It's never too early to learn that the government is a greedy piglet that suckles on the taxpayer's teet until they have sore, chapped nipples
― Ron Swanson

Wildomar Rap tip of the day: If you've got something to say to me, try starting of with, "Hi, how are you?" I'm a sucker for that type of charm.


  1. Hi Joseph,
    You don't have to report on City Council meetings, so I'm grateful for what you do, but it's a shame that you got footage of Ms Miller and callouts to your blog instead of all the content of agenda item 3.1.

    It was a presentation by WRCOG and a part of the greenhouse gas emissions reductions that they are helping cities of our region implement. You were quite derisive of this effort before when they presented (remember the valley girl with the nice cozy job?). Last night would have been a good opportunity to show what they really do and to evaluate your previous comments.

    Lighting is just one component of the package WRCOG is offering cities, and this project depends mostly on further research on the capital costs to Wildomar of buying out SCE's light poles and whether a desirable improvement in lighting design can be attained. If the city buys the poles, they can decide to go for an extra savings in energy costs by swapping out good LPS lights with newer, unproven LEDs, that will be designed for our needs. The new LEDs offer the opportunity to improve or impair our night sky as well as to improve or impair our ability to see at night. So, this is a project of significance but one that is still taking shape.

    The council and staff showed an impressive interest in the issue that I wish you had captured so we could show it to other communities. Now, we'll have to resort to old fashioned meeting minutes, or perhaps you could do a cartoon animation of the minutes for 3.1?

    1. John, I updated the blog to include your first trip to the podium during the public comment section.

      When I went to go look at the video, that file was corrupt. There is a way to recover it, but the company charges about $10 per minute (it's more than 30 mins). What happened is that when I went to change the battery, I didn't properly turn it off first. Now I know.

      " You were quite derisive of this effort before when they presented (remember the valley girl with the nice cozy job?)."
      Yes, I remember that. I know that they do good things, but I see them as another layer of government, created by government. It very well be something we need, but I'd like to see an unbiased report on why they are necessary. None of those people work for anything close to minimum wage.

      "Swapping out good LPS lights with newer, unproven LEDs."
      I was surprised that the savings wasn't greater for the LEDs. At the rates I heard I'd just stay with the LPS for the foreseeable future. I also am not a big fan of overly bright lights that LEDs can produce. I love the energy savings, but there must be a way to control the lumen output.

      "The council and staff showed an impressive interest in the issue that I wish you had captured so we could show it to other communities."
      Yes, I agree. Fortunately, from the sound of it, there should be more about this in the not so distant future.

      I always appreciate your insightful comments.

    2. If I knew you'd respond to my criticism with footage of me, I wouldn't have said anything. I guess you'd say it's putting my footage in my mouth. -- I worked hard for that joke.

  2. good grief! Miss Miller makes a return to City Council Meetings and I miss it!


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