Wednesday, August 31, 2016

• City Council Election 2016 Update: Gonzales Out

Just got an election update from Wildomar city clerk Debbie Lee. 
(Note: you got the same email if you're signed up for them)

Before anyone had a chance to meet Linda Gonzales she has withdrawn from the race for the city council seat of District 2.

Wow, "health issues" — I sure hope she's ok. 

I'd imagine that they couldn't stem from pre-existing conditions, because if they had, she wouldn't have put her name into consideration in the first place... right?

I sure hope she has a speedy recovery.

In the meantime, congratulations to Dustin Nigg on his victory in November. It'll be interesting to see how many votes will come from a single district... and how many will go to each candidate.

It is too late to take her name off the ballot or withdraw her candidate statement.

In the last election that was held in a presidential year, Bridgette Moore pulled in 4,874 votes. I think that's the record for any one council member.

This includes votes from all five districts, and with each voter being able to vote for two candidates.

That record is safe as long as we have districts. 

Now the question is, what will the new record be? Dividing that by five, it seems as if getting 1000 votes will be a tall order to fill.

We should start an office pool.

I'm sure that Dustin Nigg will still want to do a "Better Know a Candidate" blog, and that should be out sometime in September.
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"The fellow who laughs last may laugh best, but he gets the reputation of being very slow-witted."
— Leo Rosten 1908-1997

Wildomar Rap never liked being asked, "orange you glad I didn't say banana?"

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

• Lake Cervera?

Don't get your fishing gear ready just yet, and keep those PWC's dry docked for a bit longer too. 

Though it looks like a lake is forming between Cervera and the Lutheran High School, I'm guessing it's not part of the masterplan. 

In a more serious tone... 

Yesterday I noticed that there was a lot of water collecting in an otherwise parched field, but I had places to go and forgot about it. 

Today, as I was nearing Windsong Valley (right at the corner of Central and Cervera), I happened to see it again, this time a much larger pool of water. 

I got my old iPhone out and used it's video capturing ability.
(Note to self: iPhones suck as video cameras). 

It seemed to be coming straight from the fire hydrant near the corner. 
(See video below)
The ground is quite wet where the sidewalk would be, and I bet many pedestrians have soaked their shoes walking through it.

It also has a bit of a dank smell to it that often accompanies stagnant water.

I wonder who is responsible for hydrant maintenance?

City, county, EVMWD, Cal Fire?


UPDATE

I've since learned that leaky hydrants are EVMWD issues. 

If you come across one, their number is (951) 674-3146. When I called in there was a silly phone maze I had to get through. After about a minute I just started mashing the zero button and got straight to the operator. 

Hey, it's their water bill, you'd think they'd mention the emergency stuff right out of the gate.

By the end of the day, the hydrant had been bagged by EVMWD.

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A neurotic is a man who builds a castle in the air. A psychotic is the man who lives in it. A psychiatrist is the man who collects the rent.
— Jerome Lawrence, 1915-2004

Wildomar Rap built many castles in the sand but never a river in a field.

Monday, August 29, 2016

• Resource Summit 2016

Wildomar's first Resource Summit had a great turn out. I counted more than 30 people in attendance representing more than a dozen (actually more than 20) organizations.

Among them were: 

  • HOPE 
  • Project Touch
  • 211 (which is a resource in itself)
  • TIP (Trauma Intervention Programs)  
  • RTA 
  • Helping Hands
  • Dream Center
  • Oak Grove Center 
  • Women Organizing Women 
  • EVMWD
  • Elks Lodge
  • Rotary
  • Wildomar Chamber, 
  • and several local churches including: Gracepoint, Latter Day Saints, Lake Elsinore First Assembly of God, and OakStone Community Church.

A panoramic view of the group at the U shaped table made from 6 folding tables 10 mins before the meeting started. 




Earlier in the day I'd asked Mayor Bridgette Moore about the meeting.

The idea of the Summit came about with wanting to learn more about what each church and non-profit is providing for our citizens. By doing this, the City can even better assist our residents.  The needs will vary but having the information put into a directory will give us all better access to the resources available.

On the agenda for tonight is "What's Next?" I would like to have this type of gathering 2 times or 4 times a year - if the majority of the attendees tonight feel that is something they want. By meeting again, we will only further the education and support.

The meeting began with the Mayor welcoming the attendees and a giving little background to how it came about. 

Earlier in the year, Wildomar Code Enforcement specialist Keith Ross suggested that the Mayor meet with Lakeview Chapel regarding the many things they offer the community.

She met with them in January and thought it would be a good idea to get as many of the local churches and organizations together at one time to discuss ways to help the needy in the area.

The original month for this meeting was going to be April, but the scope grew and the date was postponed until August (it's always difficult to juggle so many different schedules).

The Mayor then introduced the various organizations and each spoke about their roll in the community.  

At the halfway point of the two hour meeting, everyone went into groups of 5 or 6 and discussed three topics.
  • Panhandling
  • Definition of homeless
  • How people end up homeless

After about 20 minutes, everyone took their original seats and the three topics were discussed. 

A universal view was that you shouldn't give money to panhandlers. 

One suggestion, if you're so inclined to give to a person asking for money, was to keep a granola bar and a bottle of water in your car and offer those to the person instead of money. 

That along with the contact info for 211, which is basically just a phone number that connects the caller with resources in their area.

The point of the meeting was to gather information to compile a list of the various community resources, and for the local organizations to network and better know each other.

When the group was asked about another meeting, there was enthusiastic support for one, and though the aim is for a quarterly meeting, busy holiday months have to be kept in mind. The next meeting has been scheduled for Monday October 24th from 6:00pm to 8:00pm.

After the meeting was over I asked Mayor Moore how she thought it went and she said, "Excellent, it was a great turnout, and everyone made great contacts."

My impression was along the same line. I had thought it was going to be a small group, maybe ten people. How nice it was to open the doors to the chamber and see so many people there.
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If the good Lord had intended us to walk, he wouldn't have invented roller skates.
— Willy Wonka, (Gene Wilder) 1933-2016


Wildomar Rap will always love Gene Wilder's portrayal of Willy Wonka. 

Sunday, August 28, 2016

• Various and Sundry Things

This is a catchall blog about things that aren't quite worth stand alone updates, but I wanted to mention just the same.

Have you seen the sign touting a new Sushi Bar... COMING SOON? 

It's located to the west of the USA gas station (on the northeast side of the Clinton Keith overpass). To the contrary of what the sign is asserting, there is no such restaurant coming to that location.

After asking around, I discovered that nothing is slated for that area at this time. 
I have seen [legit] signs for a new sushi place at the new Wildomar Square retail area.


•          •          •
Over at the northern edge of town (Mission Trail and Malaga) we see some Lake Elsinore City Council election signs.
I like both of those guys, I just don't like their giant signs in Wildomar.






There are no code violations (some have asked), the fence is private property, but it's still bad form in my view. 

That corner is slated to be upgraded to a gateway "park" at some point. It's in the pipeline, but not with any dates attached to it yet.

•          •          •
I was driving past McVicar and saw that it wasn't reopened yet.

It looked like it was at least several days away from opening, even though the sign says it should have been opened on the 26th.
Photo taken August 27th around 1:00pm.

Let's just hope the hangup is due to sunspots (or some other such natural phenomenon), and not some local yocal that has busted loose from the funny farm thinking the road hasn't been constructed 100% according to the specs —which it has... or worse yet, threatening to sue about it.

•          •          •
I started noticing clusters of these "Support Clean Air" signs around Windsong Valley. 

Have you been seeing them too?
Signs like this tell me that the people behind such a campaign were obviously raised after we cleaned the air up. Too bad they can't be transported back the mid-70s for just a week. They'd probably die of fright without their smartphones, then being told to go outside and ride a bike from dawn to dusk... without a helmet no less.
I can't wait for the *SUPPORT CUTE PUPPIES* signs that are sure to follow.
Based on the logic of the "clean air" signs, if you don't have one of these signs in your yard, could it mean that you hate puppies?


You can rest assured that such slogans are often a ruse.

Anyone else remember the Prop 47 rally cry, calling it the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act

That's an all-time greatest lie if ever there was one.

I'm sure the clean air commandos don't like to be reminded that, in the not-so-distant past, you could be a stone's throw from the mountains, and still not see them. 

Below is a very educational video put out by CARB (California Air Resource Board) in 2008. 

It runs about 18 mins long, but is well worth your time, especially if you don't remember what bad air really looks like.

It shows how we've cleaned our air, going from 148 smog alerts in 1970 —in the LA area, to ZERO smog alerts in the year 2000.

  

Another stat in the video is that vehicles today are 99% cleaner than they were in the 1960s.

I'm sorry that we can't have our cake and eat it too, but we can't have a modern life and expect there to not be signs of our existence. 

We've done a good job of cleaning up the air, and those that have made it happen deserve a round of applause.

Still, I'm guessing that many in the clean air brigade would gladly put millions of people out of work if it they thought it would reduce a few more molecules from the air. 

Who needs jobs anyway, or the sustenance their paychecks provide, when we can just run around like chicken little instead?
•          •          •

I still haven't met city council candidate, from District 2, Linda Gonzales yet. I keep expecting to run into her as she's out meeting the voters at various events. 

From all accounts I've heard, she's a very nice person. I'm looking forward to meeting her and asking her if she'd like to do a "Better Know a Candidate" blog. 
 
   
I've already confirmed with the other candidate from District 2, Dustin Nigg. The best time to upload such blogs is mid to late September, just before early voting gets going.
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It's absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.
— Oscar Wilde, 1854-1900 

Wildomar Rap employs a tedi-ometer and tries to keep the needle on the charming side of the equation whenever possible.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

• Three Events, One Day

Saturday morning saw Natalie's Rascals celebrate their first year in business. 

They had free doggie treats, a prize wheel (we won a mud bath for our dog - I'm guessing they'll be washing the mud off before returning him to us). They also were holding a raffle with many terrific prizes (winners to be drawn at the end of the day).

Natalie (middle holding poodle type dog), along with some happy customers.
There were also $10 microchips being offered to pet owners.
Nicely decorated treats on display. Inset shows the microchip promotion.


A couple of hours later, Discount Tire Centers had their grand opening.
A look at the front of Discount Tire Centers.
It was a fun time, and weather was great too. 

There was a Grilled Cheese Truck that had many tasty options, all courtesy of Discount Tires, plus several vendor booths.
Abby Benoit gets her arm painted.

KOLA radio was doing a remote broadcast, and they had a couple of games/contests during the time I was there.
Winners of the kissing contest were the Gary & Carrie Brown and Jaimie & Ben Benoit.




At 1:00pm there was a ribbon cutting for welcoming Discount Tires to Wildomar.

•          •          •
In the evening, Marna O'Brien Park was the site for Astronomy Night 2017.
Kids lining up for tickets to win a telescope.

About 80 tickets were given out to kids hoping to win one of twelve telescopes; thanks to the sponsorship of PVM and Interwest.

An estimate of 120 to 150 people attended.
Boy Scout troop 332 was selling popcorn.

Crew 332 was selling My Buddies Pizza, and they were able to put all the proceeds towards their projects. Thanks to My Buddies Pizza, and their generosity, for giving a big discount on the pizza and George Cambero for picking up the rest of the tab.

Also in attendance were the Temecula Valley Astronomers, the regional agency called WRCOG, SoCal Edison, Wildomar's Mayor Bridgette Moore, Mayor Pro-Tem Tim Walker, Councilmember Ben Benoit and District 2 city council candidate Dustin Nigg. 

During the presentation.
Since My Buddies Pizza showed some community spirit tonight, I'd like to let people know that they have a 25th anniversary party coming up soon. Check the flyer for details.


•          •          •

‘It is an old maxim of mine that when you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.’
— Sir Arthur Conan Doyle/Sherlock Holmes, 

Wildomar Rap [remember to insert humorous anecdote here].

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

• Special City Council Meeting August 2016

This meeting didn't have a definitive start time. Usually, closed sessions (where the council meets with the city attorney to discuss issues not ready for public dissemination) are held before or after the set time. 

The agenda for this meeting read: CLOSED SESSION - 7:00 P.M. SPECIAL MEETING IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING THE CLOSED SESSION.

The reason that this meeting had to be scheduled in this uncustomary fashion was that they needed to guarantee a quorum would be in attendance to vote on item 2.2 General Municipal Election – District 4.

Without three members voting for it, there would have been an election in District 4 with only one candidate, Bridgette Moore, listed —which would have wasted precious taxpayer money. With only one candidate, why go through the dog and pony show of a meaningless vote?

Normally, it wouldn't be a problem getting the requisite number of votes, but Councilmember Marsha Swanson is away on a Summer vacation, and Mayor Moore can't vote on the item since she is the subject of it. 

Councilmember Bob Cashman couldn't promise to make it back from his day at work in time for a regular start time of 6:30pm, or even a postponed start time of 7:00pm.

The next best option was this format.

The first thing that came out of this meeting was from the closed session. 

SoCal Environmental Justice is suing the city and Strata Baxter (the Baxter Village project). The council voted unanimously to defend against it.

2.1 Roth Senate Bill 817
This is our annual attempt to regain our confiscated VLF funds. If the governor signs it, it would be an addition of about $1.9M to the annual city budget.

Click image to see details.
There was some discussion about if there was a quote in print, from Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, about why Governor Brown keeps vetoing this same bill year after year. Councilmember Cashman said he'd heard about it, but never saw it in writing.

I couldn't help myself, so when it was public comment time, I reminded the council that there is a direct quote from the Assemblywoman in some local blog discussing it.

Below is the excerpt from Wildomar Rap's blog of October 2015. 
Wildomar Rap:

Bringing it back to legislation, maybe you can talk about SB 25 which was going to help Wildomar. I don't know if it's even worth trying anymore with the current governor. 

Melissa Melendez:

SB25 was a bill where they took away the [portion of the] Vehicle Licensing Fees that went back to the cities. Wildomar was one city, and Menifee as well, where when they calculated their budget, they calculated that money in with the other money they were supposed to be getting.

Then the state, in 2011, took that money away, and so there went Wildomar's budget. There has been a bill three years in a row, my entire time in the legislature, they have done a bill to give that funding back, because it was promised to these cities.


The cities didn't do anything wrong, they played by the rules, but the state took it (VLF funds) away. Three years in a row I helped with this bill and three years in a row the governor has vetoed it.


Now I will tell you, and I don't mind saying this out in public, that I had a conversation with governor Brown a couple of months ago. We were at dinner, not just he and I it was a group of people((which led to some laughter among the attendees)). But it just so happened that he was sitting right across from me... I got the lucky seat.


So I said to him, "Governor Brown, we have this bill coming up which will really helps two cities in my district [by] giving back their vehicle licensing fees. They were pretty hard hit, what are your thoughts on that?"


And he paused for a minute, and he looked at me in his Jerry Brown way, and he said, "What was the percentage of votes I got in Riverside County?" 

((The assembled let out a protracted gasp at that))

He actually said that to me. 


I was stunned, I said, "uhhh... Well... you know, it was probably higher in some other areas of the state." 


And he replied, "I think it was about 22 maybe 23%, so I'm not really motivated."


So that bill is never going to pass (be signed into law), ever.
This item was just for the council to discuss it, no action was to be taken here. 

Still, when I saw this posted on councilmember Benoit's facebook page today, I couldn't resist throwing my two cents in there too.

2.2 General Municipal Election – District 4
City clerk Debbie Lee gave the brief presentation to the council, less Mayor Moore (who had stepped out of the room for this item), the key factor was the cost. An estimate of $5k to $7k was given to hold an election in District 4.

When the budget was being made, there were no districts and the estimate for an 'at large' election was $35,000.

There were a grand total of three people in the audience for this "historic" meeting; Mr and Mrs Wildomar Rap, and Wildomar's Chief of Police, Captain Leonard Hollingsworth. 

I was the lone public commenter. I told them that I'd run into a couple of councilmembers from neighboring cities, Greg August of Menifee and Maryann Edwards of Temecula. They were of the opinion that an election, even with only one name on the ballot, was their preference.

In fact, Greg August is also running unopposed this year and he was adamant about wanting to be on the ballot. He didn't want to be 'appointed'.

Councilmembers have a lot of responsibilities, but they don't have the same background as a city clerk —whose job it is to know the ins and outs of elections.

Debbie Lee made it clear that even write in candidates still have to qualify. They still have to pull papers and qualify, they just don't get their names on the ballot or their statements in the voter pamphlets.

She further wanted to speak to the related comments from Maryann Edwards and Greg August about it being better to be elected.

A nomination paper is an election. Those people that have signed that, have elected you to that office. It's not an appointment. I too was confused about that until, in my last city [that I worked for], it got clarified for me. The nomination papers aren't just names saying "yeah, go ahead" it's people electing that person. If you cancel the election and appoint Bridgette, what you're in essence doing is saying she has been elected, and she does serve as if elected; it's even in the election code that way. 

Wildomar City Clerk Debbie Lee
Below is a video link that has the lone public comment, the council comments, Debbie Lee's comments and the vote.
Now Bridgette Moore gets to hold the titles of Mayor and Councilmember Elect until her next term begins in December 2016, when she loses the "elect" part. Congrats!
=================
UPDATE
=================
Candidate Linda Gonzales withdrew from the election on August 31st, but too late to save the election costs.

===================

Here's a bit of unfinished business from the meeting that revealed the continued lawsuit against Walmart.

I was thinking about the road improvements slated for Bundy Canyon near the freeway. 

The improvements are to be completed before Walmart is allowed to open. There is no incentive for them to begin the road improvements (which includes widening, traffic signals and improvements to area drainage) while they are still in litigation.

Walmart has made it clear that it takes just under one year from first shovel in, to doors opening. It's a fair assumption to conclude that the road improvements would be finishing up around the same time that Walmart is ready to open.

Basic math tells you that if they'd have already started the process, then the countdown to the Bundy improvements would be underway. With a completion date of sometime in 2017.

But no. 

Everything is on hold because a no name person in the community, that claims to be impacted by the project, has decided to hold things up. They know they can't win, but to some people, just the power of jerking with the masses is payoff enough for them.

So, when the Bundy Canyon improvements are delayed by a year or more, just remember that was a gift from the yet to be named litigant in the case.
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I'm throwing rocks tonight. Mark it, Dude.
— Donny, “The Big Lebowski” 1998 


Wildomar Rap has yet to lose a bet when Casa de Rap is wagered against boxes of day old donuts, and not even when the ante is upped by a flat, room-temp Coors Light.

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