Friday, July 8, 2016

• Mayor For a Day 2016

On Wednesday July 6th, 2016, Ashley Fox was Mayor For a Day in Wildomar. 

Ashley has been active in the community for a couple of years now. In 2014 she earned her Girl Scouts Silver Award with the Freedom Swing project.

Her morning started bright and early with breakfast at the newly opened Yellow Basket. Originally the plan was to attend the Chamber of Commerce breakfast, but being it was the same week as a national holiday, they didn't have one this month. 

When Yellow Basket owner, Tom Boussiacos, heard about it, he was happy to not only host the breakfast, but sponsor it too. He then suggested that a return trip for lunch would also be provided by Yellow Basket. 
Ashley Fox, Tom Boussiacos, Bridgette Moore.

To be environmentally friendly, the Mayor, and Mayor for the Day, rode around in the Fox family's vehicle that transports Ashley's wheelchair, piloted by her mom Kimberley.

It doesn't have a mechanized lift, so at every stop, it was necessary to place a specially designed ramp at the back of the minivan, bring the chair down to ground level, refold the ramp, and then help Ashley into it.

At first I just watched, then quickly realized that a second set of hands would lighten the load and quicken the pace for all. 
UT photographer Andrew Foulk snaps a few pics for the newspaper.
After Yellow Basket, they were off to a meeting at City Hall with Steve Falk, from HOPE, and the discussion centered on a coming round table/summit of local organizations to address the local homeless population.
Steve Falk of HOPE and Mayor for the Day Ashley Fox.

Between the first meeting at city hall, and lunch, was a trip to the cemetery to look at an opening in the wall that isn't wheelchair accessible; a possible Girl Scout Gold Award project bringing it up to ADA standards.

Then over to Marna O'Brien park to see the newly moved Freedom Swing, that's its own story, and discussion of a second ribbon cutting for it.

At a horseshoe shaped table during an RTA meeting with local elected officials.

The next stop was all the way up in Riverside, at an RTA meeting. After the meeting they gave a tour of the facility to Mayor Ashley and the group.
The tour was given by Bob Bach of RTA. Looking off in the direction of the bus wash.

Showing where the buses are stored when not in use. This facility houses 60 buses with even more that get parked outside. It's a veritable hive of activity in the late evening hours as the buses are turned in and then cleaned and refueled.

Pointing to an area that has older buses that are no longer in commission.

Here Ashley discusses bus service, including Dial-A-Ride, at The Farm with Virginia Werly.
From there it was back to City Hall for another meeting which didn't finish until 4:00pm, when she called it a day.

She had to leave before I could ask her a couple of questions about her day, so I emailed them to her instead. The answers are shorter than they'd have been had I asked them in person.
At the end of her long day, showing a certificate commemorating her time in office, and beaming a big smile too.

Which part of the day did you find most difficult?
Trying to stay awake (with a smiley emoticon with tears of laughter).

Which part did you enjoy most?
Eating (with another smiley emoticon).

Which part surprised you, or you didn't anticipate?
[Hearing about] the way the RTA handles the money (when the bus drivers turn their fares in at the end of the day).

Do you see yourself participating in local government in the future?
No. (To which her mother added, "At least she's honest lol")

I asked Mayor Bridgette Moore more about "Mayor for a Day" and how Ashley was selected.
Back in 2010, I had two Mayor for a Day programs. For 2016, probably will just have the one day (July 6th). I have always picked a young person (preteen/teen) that has/is making changes for the better, in our community.
As you know, 15-year-old Ashley Fox raised the funds to purchase and install a wheelchair swing at Marna O'Brien Park. By doing this, she has made the park a destination spot for those in wheelchairs to come and enjoy the swing and park. What I especially love about Ashley is that she does not let her own wheelchair define her. She is a cheerleader and a Girl Scout. She sold enough cookies to earn a cruise to Canada! In her young life, she has already provided awareness about what people in wheelchairs can accomplish and she promotes accessible programs.

•        •        •

From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California, a good evening.

—Jerry Dunphy, 1921-2002

Wildomar Rap tip of the day: 
Don't wait to be asked to do something that you can tell you should already be doing.


  1. An excellent report of a special day. Thanks.

  2. Way to go to the Mayor to recognize Ashley as the shining star and true leader that she is, we are all so much better with Ashley leading the way and making the world a better place.
    Janet Jaworski


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