Monday, February 13, 2017

• Wildomar City Manager Visits Murrieta Rotary Club

First, a brief recap of who writes Wildomar Rap. 
If you are deathly allergic to back stories, skip down several paragraphs.

Hi, my name is Joseph Morabito and I've lived in W'Town (pronounced Dub Town) since April of 2001. 

I have a lovely wife named Grace and we've been married for 18 years. Once the nest emptied out, we started to get out a bit more and eventually found our way to the city meetings at city hall. That was in late 2013.

Before that, we never had been to a city meeting or function of any kind. 

Since then, I've basically had a 98% attendance rate for such things... and I started to write about what I saw (blogging) starting in October of 2013. I write Wildomar Rap for my own amusement, but am glad that it is also known as a source of reliable information in town

I don't get paid and am NOT affiliated with the city. It's my goal to be truthful, but I'm not a journalist (which is probably a plus in the era of FAKE news) so if you detect a fair amount of opinion here, welcome to the blogosphere.

I've learned a fair amount about a lot of Wildomar people (the good ones and the bad ones), and also the slow inner workings of local government (a ton of checks and balances go into every move that is made). I know most of the people connected to the city these days, and haven't met one that isn't a solid person, dedicated to doing their job(s).

There are a number of people in town that dislike most of the people in the city government for one cockamamie reason or another. Some see the electeds and the staff as people on par with their counterparts in notorious places like Bell or Beaumont.

Sorry, but that just isn't the case. 

We definitely need to keep vigilant, and keep an eye on how things are run. After all, they are only human, and humans can do many things differently from one day from the next.

Believe me, as a blogger, you don't know how much I'd like for one of the city officials to start acting foolishly. Then I could draw funny pictures of them and mock them like I do those in Wildomar's renown Team Crank, aka the Cantakerotti.

In the meantime, there aren't any stinkers to be found... but we can always hope that someone goes rogue and sets themselves up for ridicule... until then, the wise ones will keep their powder dry.

Anyway, in that time I've become a member of the Wildomar Chamber of Commerce, and the Wildomar Rotary Club.  
(Most of you that've read this far are saying, "Okay, and... what's that have to do with the city manager?" patience my friends.) ☺

The Rotary Club is an international service club that seeks to help people throughout the world in a variety of ways. A key aim is its polio eradication campaign. 

• Locally the Wildomar Rotary raises money that goes towards RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) where a select number of local high school juniors are sent to a three day camp that helps them develop leadership skills.

Wildomar Rotary has a yearly project of handing out personal dictionaries to all the third graders in town.
Rotarian Andy Morris speaking to the third graders of Donald Graham Elementary in September of 2016 during the 3rd Grade Literacy Program. Click this link to view the blog.

•Wildomar Rotary puts on a yearly BBQ (slated for July this year) and co-hosts the yearly Breakfast With Santa event at the fire station.
Link to Blog about BWS.
• Wildomar Rotary also puts on a yearly event designed to encourage bicycle safety, at Marna O'Brien park. Kids are encouraged to bring their bikes on that day, where they'll learn some key rules to riding on the roads. Helmets are provided for those that don't have one, and there is family friendly entertainment with a professional BMX team. 

This year's event will be on Saturday May 13th → be sure to mark those calendars now.
Click this link to view the complete blog.

• These are just a few of the things that Wildomar Rotary does in the community. 

(Yipee!!! but what about the city manager?)
(all in good time) 

When you first join the Rotary Club, you're basically a newbie that has to show you're serious about being in the club. Full members have a blue badge, greenhorns get a red badge (sounds like it should've been green).

There are several things you have to do in order to shed the red badge. One of those things is to visit another club. I chose to visit the Monday meeting of the Murrieta Rotary Club at Richie's Diner.

Lo and behold the guest speaker was our very own Gary Nordquist (the city manager). He basically gave a shortened version of the state of the city speech.
Wildomar City Manager Gary Nordquist sharing the wonderful world of Wildomar with the Murrieta Rotary Club during one of their Monday luncheons at Richie's Diner.
Here's some common knowledge facts that he shared:
• He's been with the city all but about the first six months after incorporation.
• He had been the Wildomar Finance Director for four years before getting the City Manager's job.
• He worked in the private sector for twelve years in Fortune 500 companies, and in the aerospace field at Hughes Aircraft for seven years. 
• He's been in public administration for about 25 years.
• He worked for Fontana for 15 years, and Ontario for another 3 years before coming to Wildomar.

"A lot of things in business do not apply in government, but where they do we incorporate those processes and techniques."

—Gary Norquist

• In 2012 the city annexed the Cemetery District in the operations of the city.

Nordquist has a sense of humor too. His first notable line was:

"I'm also the general manager of the cemetery, so when you ask me... 

...Yes, I do know where all the bodies are buried"

• The city council doubles as the board of directors for the cemetery at no additional cost.

He shared his "Magic Kingdom" analogy of SWRivCo. (It has Temecula as Fantasyland, Murrieta as Tomorrowland, Menifee as Jungleland, Canyon Lake as "It's a small world" and Wildomar as "Frontierland").

My favorite part was when he got to Adventure Land (Lake Elsinore), "They talk about 'Dreaming the Extreme' but there's like, at least eighteen different ways you can hurt yourself in that town." (Which brought some hearty laughs out of the attendees.)

• The city has 35,000 people in 24 square miles with a build-out of about 52,000 people (according to the current general plan).
• Home ownership is about 84%. "People who buy in town, live in town."
• Based on the current general plan that the county did for Wildomar before we incorporated, there is room for 11.8 million total square feet of retail space (6 million already developed). That leaves another 5.8 million SF, which is equivalent to 4 Temecula Promenades. "We need some adjustment to this to bring [the numbers] down. We need to refine the general plan they prepared for us."
Baxter Village is a mixed use project with retail, homes and apartments. The "Brown House" is there.

"You've probably seen the old blue house, west of the 15 freeway...

(wait for it) 

 ...up on blocks!"

Wildomar City Manager Gary Norquist (tossing out the zingers.)

 • Just north of Clinton Keith, on the east side of the freeway, Westpark Promenade. (Link to blog discussing Westpark)
Super Walmart going in on Bundy Canyon on the east side of the freeway, 194,000 SF. Still in litigation over environmental issues. It's expected to be resolved in six months.
• MSJC Wildomar Campus. "Maybe in the next three years we'll be seeing the groundbreaking. It's going through the EIR process now. It will start with about 8,000 students and maxing out at 15,000.
• Capital improvements on Bundy Canyon from about The Farm, west. "Funding is an issue. We have plans already to go, funding is an issue to do the construction, we're still looking for funding for that."
Widening Clinton Keith going west from Murrieta. Looking to remove the choke point where the two cities share a boarder. Plans are done, and a request for funding ($2.3M) was sent in the Fall of 2016, still waiting to hear back on it. 

What's the upshot of this blog?

Two things by my count.

First, if you are thinking that you'd like to get more active in the community, but aren't sure how to do it, consider contacting the Wildomar Rotary Club and checking us out.

Second, Wildomar is in a good position with the executive we have, and not only is his temperament steady as she goes, but he dishes out the wry one liners like a pro. 

On Wednesday, February 15th, there will be a "budget workshop" at the city council chambers.  The public is invited to come and help in the process. Even if all you'd like to do is be a fly on the wall, sitting there and observing, that would be very much welcomed by the city staff. 

You might even get a chance to hear our city manager uncork a zinger or two too!
•          •          •

I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.
Will Rogers

Wildomar Rap is pretty dang darn sure that good ol' Will Rogers never bothered with lying about those he lampooned. I wonder what he'd think of Twitter and all the FAKE news these days.

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