Thursday, April 13, 2017

• City Council Meeting April 2017

At the top of the meeting was a report from city attorney Thomas Jex. That, "the city council unanimously voted to defend the litigation," discussed in the closed session.
Direct from the agenda.

If you had thought that Wildomar's favorite member of the Cantakerotti had withered away, you'd have been wrong. 

She's busy as ever suing you and me, costing every one of us money

Lawyers aren't free, and every time Thomas Jex is on the case, defending the litigation, even just reading one of her long winded complaint letters, it costs the city many hundreds of dollars... on the low end.

Just wanted you to be apprised.

• Changing of the guard for the Wildomar Queens.
Outgoing Miss City of Wildomar, Jessie Taylor, tells of her experience
in the program as the younger "Queens" look on. 

• Former Wildomar chief of police, Dave Fontneau spoke about Cops For Kids and that they will be having a golfing fundraiser. If you'd like to participate in it, visit their webpage or facebook page.

• Local bus drivers Kat Garrett and Angie Couch were recognized for being chosen Bus Drivers of the Year by the CHP.
 L-R: Mayor Tim Walker, Councilmember Bridgette Moore, Angie Couch and Kat Garrett.

PUBLIC COMMENTS (non agenda items)
• Kenny Mayes announced that he'll be leading a Fit After Fifty class at the library. If you're interested in joining the class, either call the library to get more info or visit the Friends of the Library facebook page.

• Joseph Morabito congratulated the council on getting the VLF funds back (though it's not a done deal). Then opined that the city meetings need to be live streamed, that the city needs to get an official social media presence and would like to see a Sheriff's Report included as part of every city council meeting.

• Miss Miller sang for us. She mentioned RTA buses, sustainable revolution, and so many other things I couldn't keep up... though my favorite line from here was, "I have to admit my car has a large engine, however I'm not driving it this month to make up for driving it at all. I'm selling it when it starts to run again."

Hey Miss Miller, which is it... you're not driving this month because you're showing your solidarity with the environment, or that your jalopy is on the fritz? 

Also, how does a car "start to run again"

One time my 1970 VW Bug wasn't running, and I gave it two years to "start to run again" but it only cooperated with me after having it towed to a mechanic and giving them more than $200.

• Tim Huizenga of Murrieta spoke about the proposed Camelia Townhouse Project and the irreversible impact it would have on the existing neighborhood. He made a strong case for not allowing the zoning change.

• Pete Kee, also of Murrieta and speaking on the Camelia Townhouse Project, invited the council to visit the site before voting on it, even though that would be months away.

Council Communications
This is where the council relates back things they've learned during the past month, or things they've done. I don't usually report on this part of the meeting because it's just a long list of where the council members have appeared in their official capacity. 

However, I did think that the comments from Mayor Pro-Tem Ben Benoit, regarding the recent state tax increases and how it touches on Wildomar's long lost VLF funds, were worth covering (watch the video clip for the details). 
Had to love how Miss Miller shouted from the audience "Democrats got the money for you!" 

Yes Miss Miller, the Democrats in Sacramento have taxed the poor once again. Of course you think that is awesome possum... you're a progressive's progressive and love high taxes.

One thing I'd like to bicker with Ben about is where he said:

"It included a future vote for all citizens on the 2017 ballot. It will lock those funds into just being transportation dollars so they can't do that (steal the earmarked money for other uses) again. I fully realize that a lot of the transportation money has been taken out and has gone other ways it shouldn't have. This money, at least, once that goes to the public for a vote, will be locked in."

Mayor Pro-Tem Ben Benoit
The voters have already passed TWO such constitutional amendments forbidding Sacramento from taking the transportation funds, and both times they've found ways around it. 
Link to UT Story about it.

So, just like you're not going to count the VLF funds until you see them, I won't believe the state won't play the old shell game with this money either. 
2.1 Bundy Canyon Resort Apartment Project
This is a gated apartment complex that will be tucked away out of sight, but the impacts of 140 families needing access from one ingress/egress point, at a perilous curve on Bundy Canyon, will be felt even if the units are out of view.
It started with Ben Benoit recusing himself from the item since his day job is as a spokesman for a regional apartments association.

City Planner Matt Bassi shared a powerpoint presentation with the council, one I already blogged about when it was in front of the planning commission. 

Public speakers on this item included Miss Miller, Joseph Morabito and George Taylor.

Concerns included ingress/egress from Bundy Canyon, and the amount of funds the project would contribute to the Measure Z park fund.

It was nice that even before the public speaker slot was hit, that the council was already on top of the issues involving safety on Bundy Canyon in regards to this project.

There had been a traffic study that said adding 140 additional families, all using the same single road to enter and exit the development, did NOT warrant a traffic signal. 

Can you imagine what it would be like trying to turn left, towards the I-15 in the morning, or left while heading west (from The Farm) in the afternoons, without a traffic signal at that location? 

Then add more than just your car trying to do that at peak traffic times, and you can see where that was a recipe for disaster.

Thing is, because the traffic study didn't call for a light, the council couldn't legally require one.

Thankfully, before the item came to a vote, the developer and city staff called for a five minute recess and hammered out a deal where there would be a temporary signal there instead of nothing. (It's temporary because Bundy Canyon will be getting some major work done to it at some point, and it will be affecting that very curve where the signal is needed). 

That left the Measure Z Question to be answered.

"We talked about per unit, for apartments at that time (when Measure Z was being discussed), but what was approved by the voters [was] $28 per parcel. That the apartments sit on one parcel, it's $28, that's what they contribute. Recognizing that, we do have a municipal services CFD that they are encouraged to participate in. We will use that technique to accommodate the additional costs for putting on our recreation system and our park maintenance. So we will be capturing some of those funds."

Wildomar City Manager Gary Nordquist  

Measure Z is far from perfect, but that's what it took to open our parks back up after some dimwits managed to find a judge that was willing to punish 30,000 people for a clerical error on the part of the county. 

A reasonable judge would have just ordered the wording corrected and kept the funding in place to support what every other city has, and pays for... parks.

Still, I don't think that the project's point man Larry Markham did his cause any favors when he said, "We have an extensive recreation complex. We think we have a very well amenitized project that we (the residents) won't be going offsite that much to use the parks."

Great Larry, but if personal amenities is all it takes to be exempt from paying for the local public parks, I'm thinking that many people would line up to opt out.

This passed 3-1-0 (Moore voting against it, which caused Miss Miller to shout out "Bridgette" in an approving manner as she left the building).

Don't look for this to begin anytime soon. If the "suer chick" doesn't work her magic on this, then look for other things to trip it up. I'd be shocked if grading started before 2019. 

2.2 Zoning Ordinance Amendment 
This was basically a formality at this point. It was discussed at the October 2016 city council meeting, but the council asked the staff to go back and further simplify the format.

This hit the planning commission at their last meeting, and the only alteration that was made to the sign that the staff had suggested, was adding the city's website to the bottom. 

This is the type of sign that would have been posted at the property where the Camelia Townhouse Project is proposed to go, had this ordinance been in effect at the time. 

This type of sign will be posted at [proposed] construction sites at least 10 days before any city hearings. Which would NOT have covered the Camelia meetings held at Sycamore.

3.1 Third Amendment to Agreement for Employment of City Manager
The long and short of this is that our city manager, Gary Nordquist, has been retained for the next 4 years. It's odd to be in a position to know what other people make, but that is the nature of the beast in public life.

He has had the same pay rate since he took the post back in December of 2012. 

He is slated for consecutive raises over the next four years. He'll go to a base salary of $191,000 as of the start of 2017. It then increases about $10K per year for the rest of the contract.

   • $201,000 effective 1-1-2018
   • $210,000 effective 1-1-2019
   • $219,000 effective 1-1-2020

The contract also calls for a 10% annual bonus to be removed from the contract and replaced with a "retirement health savings program plan" where the city will "contribute which is equal to 8% of his salary". 

Good gig if you can get it.

Each council member praised the work he has done since taking over the position. For many years he did both the job of city manager and finance director.

To hear the council member's comments, take a look at the video. They begin at the 2:30 mark.
I'm just some guy that's been going to the city meetings since 2013, but from what I've been able to ascertain, I have always been pleased with what I've seen from Gary Nordquist's leadership of the city... and he's a good guy too.
•          •          •

The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it's the illusion of knowledge.

– Daniel J. Boorstin 1914-2004

Wildomar Rap tip of the day: breathe in, then breathe out... it's always worked for me.


  1. It was refreshing to see one council member starting to question the wisdom of all these apartments, condos and townhouses in rural wildomar. It was also nice to see the other female council member question the adequacy of the number of parking spaces currently required for the above projects.

  2. Just a note to all Wildomar residents..Whether you are pro or con for many of the subjects that Joe covers in this blog ,you should be thankful for the effort that Joe puts into your community.He and Ken Mayes are wonderful sources of information.They keep your local news and events up front and hopefully make you aware of whats happening ! To quote a celebrity from cable news..They keep it 'fair and balanced ! '

    1. I appreciate the sentiments, and I'm sure that Ken Mayes does too.


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