Saturday, December 30, 2017

• 2017 Year in Review

2017 is all but in the books now, and there were many things that caught the eye of Wildomar Rap during the year that are worthy of reflection. 
My favorite photo of the year. 
A beautiful first day of Autumn. Looking easterly from about 300 feet above Marna O'Brien Park.
In 2017 there were 120 Wildomar Rap blogs (looks like someone needs a new hobby), and from those I culled out many items that are worthy of another mention.

The question is whether to cite them chronologically, or by how impactful they were? Hmmm... let's go with the order in which they came, and then I can elaborate where it makes sense... deal?

If it took place in Wildomar, or affected Wildomar, it got consideration. For those that are curious about the original write ups, each entry will also be a link to the blog in question.

Melissa Melendez (Assemblywoman for Wildomar) was slated to speak in front of an American Heart Association group in Wildomar but was then dis-invited due to her support for President Trump.

• Wildomar got a new Chief of Police, Captain Dan Anne.

• Caring Hearts (local charitable org) was recognized by Assemblywoman Melendez at one of her community coffees.

• Storm Damage, including a sinkhole on Grand Avenue, came with the heavy rains of early 2017.

• Wildomar's new Visioning Statement.
So let it be written. So let it be done.
• The heavy Winter rains brought out the poppies in many parts of town

• The first real sign of the Camelia Townhouse project was seen as a neighborhood meeting held at Sycamore Academy, where the developers met with nearby neighbors and others that were concerned.

As it turned out, this ended up being one of the biggest local stories of the year, and was mentioned at least a dozen times in this blog.

• Prop 64 and how to approach legal selling of recreational pot was another big story. The crowd at one of the meetings tested Mayor Tim Walker's mettle, and he appeared rattled more than once as he appeared to lose his cool. In the end, the subject was postponed until 2018.

• Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez held the first of two of her community coffees in Wildomar. There was a third scheduled, but it had to be scrapped when it was slated to be on the same day as the State of the City event.

• April 1st saw the best ever Wildomar based April Fool's blog when two videos of the Brown House being blown up were uploaded to Wildomar Rap's YouTube channel.

• Governor Brown, as part of the SB-1 gas tax theft (can you detect my subtle bias here?), finally played his Wildomar VLF chip, "giving back" the money he took from us many years earlier. Well, he didn't actually give back the estimated $10,000,000 he stole, but he promised he'd stop stealing the approximate $2M per year from then on.

• Wildomar got two new bus shelters. One in front of the library and the other in front of Falcon Square (between Jolie's Day Spa and Freddy's Tacos).
Councilmember Bridgette Moore cuts the ribbon for the new bus shelter.
• Wildomar got its first Little Free Library, located at DeJong's Dairy.
The little free library was installed by Kaylyn Turner.
• Wildomar hosted two 5k races within a couple of weeks of each other. The first was known as The Justine Lee Pesicka Memorial Foundation Water Safety Awareness 5k Run/Walk. The other was the 2nd annual ALS One 5K, which also had the yearly Bicycle Safety Event, and a health and safety fair going on at the same time.
As the ALS One 5K started.
• Memorial Day saw a change up in the way it had been done before. A local church that had been doing it for quite awhile came to the city and said it was just more than they could handle... so the city took it over. Considering that this all happened with less than a month until the event, it was still a solid, heartfelt and moving event. 
Longtime Wildomar resident at The Farm, George Taylor (no relation to Jessie Taylor the singer) salutes during the singing of the national anthem. His wife Gayl is to his right.
• Wildomar hosted the Little League TOC (tournament of champions). This was the first time that the tourney came to the W, and it lasted more than a month at Marna O'Brien park. Also in the mix was the Challenger Division, where special needs players also had an All Star game.
Tim Underdown reminds the players about sportsmanship, having fun and staying hydrated before the AA match that had Wildomar playing against Temescal Valley. After a great comeback, Wildomar ended up being bested by a run. 
• The Camelia Townhouse project finally came back to the planning commission. It was an overflow crowd, and a far longer than usual meeting —that was often bordering on being out of order— where the project was given the thumbs up and then sent up to the city council to make the final decision on. 
This was a common reaction after a public speaker finished speaking during the planning commission meeting that the Camelia Townhouse project was discussed.
• Definitely the saddest moment for the community of Wildomar in 2017 came with the death of long time resident, early proponent of cityhood, planning commissioner and all around good guy, Stan Smith.

• The solar eclipse, an event that was shared all across the country, left it's mark (or should I say shadow) on Wildomar too.
Wildomar Mayor Tim Walker gets a gander of the eclipse through special glasses.
Girl Scout Marissa Hill finished her Gold Award project, which was a combination water fountain installed at Marna O'Brien park. In addition to a regular water spout, it has one set at wheelchair height, one for pets, and also one to fill water bottles.
Marissa Hill readies the oversized scissors as she's about to cut the ribbon dedicating the fountain.

• Las Vegas shooting Victim, Chelsea Romo, returned home to a near hero's welcome. 
People lined both sides of the street as Chelsea Romo's car approached.
• The State of the City, emceed by Mayor Tim Walker. An enjoyable evening, even if it seemed to be the length of two speeches for the price of one. ☺
A collage of the Mayor... it appears that he favors the left side of the room here. ☺
• Halloween saw DeJong's Dairy transform into the Scary Dairy, and crowds swarmed (nearly overwhelming the event). Also, the city's annual Trunk or Treat had its biggest showing in its 4 year history.
A look at the sea of people that attended Trunk or Treat 2017.
• The biggest story of the year had to be the fire that started at the Wildomar off road park. Thankfully no one died or was seriously injured. The blog covering the fire was continually updated with photos until the fire was no longer news.
Mayor Pro-Tem Ben Benoit and Councilmember Bridgette Moore using the facebook live feature to share with the people of Wildomar in real time, as they track one of the airplanes.
• After many rumors throughout the year, the Wildomar Chamber of Commerce elected to fold up and become part of a new, super chamber, with Murrieta. 

• Just as many new restaurants were about to come online, longtime Wildomar establishment D'Canters unexpectedly closed its doors.
The lettering had been scrapped off the entry door and window.
• After many years of anticipation, Wildomar Square finally opened. With it came Taco Bell, Angelo's Pizza, The Habit, Robeck's, Jersey Mike's, and Dunkin' Donuts.
Will Baxter Village take as long to construct as Wildomar Square?
• The city held it's first Parks Visioning Workshop at city hall, with more to come in the new year. This meeting was specifically dealing with the unnamed 27 acre park near Ronald Reagan Elementary school.
This is still an issue, and if you are interested in Wildomar parks, you need to be part of it.
• No specific blog was written about the unceremonious bulldozing of the Brown House, but it was mentioned on the Wildomar Rap facebook page. 
The Brown House in mid disassembly. The tower gone and the blue siding removed.
One of two eyesores that were removed from Wildomar in 2017.
This infamous piece of junk made it to the scrapheap about six weeks ahead of the Brown House.
• The procession for fallen fire fighter Cory Iverson only passed through the town for no more than five minutes, but when overpasses are shutdown, as was the case on Baxter Road, it's a big deal. 
Those in uniform stood at attention from the moment the procession was in sight, 
until it had completely passed and was out of sight going south.
There were many other things that went on in town in 2017, but didn't make the highlight reel. Quite a few events at Marna O'Brien park, including concerts, the yearly eggstravaganza, the city's 9th birthday, and an Eagle Scout project.

Things to keep an eye on in 2018

I predict that Prop 64 and the city of Wildomar will be making headlines one way or another. With a new mayor, though all council members all have the same one vote on the issues, could see this being steered much differently than it was in 2017.

The 2018 city council elections will also be something to watch. There will be three seats due to come before the voters, districts 1, 3 and 5 (Benoit, Walker and Swanson). 

It's my guess that, barring unforeseen occurrences, all will be seeking reelection. Papers must be "pulled" sometime in July if you're interested getting your name on the ballot. 
This is the council district map. If you're in district 2 or 4, you're on the sidelines in 2018.
The question will be, who will the challengers be? 

Will they be from a pool of known quantities, will they emerge from obscurity, or will there be none at all? 

I've heard from one person that is eager to file papers for district 3, but it doesn't look too good when they don't bother attending any city meetings, and don't really seem to understand the process either.

Time for a last thought and a new word. 

In 2016 I made a Christmas parody song (based on Up On A Housetop) called Christmas In Wildomar. In it there were "presents" for the city council, and Wildomar Chamber of Commerce.

I got the "present" for the city council correct, having Governor Brown give back our money... but was only half right with my gift to the Chamber. 

My dulcet tones suggested that their gift could be "eateries" and that came with the opening of Wildomar Square. 

Thing is, I didn't see the Chamber folding up its tent and allowing itself to be swallowed up by Murrieta's Chamber of Commerce. (face it fellers, that's just what happened, no matter what spin you attempt to put on it).

What I failed to address in that song was a gift for Wildomar Rap... but one was delivered just the same. 

It came in the form of the city cranks (aka the Cantankerotti) finding new members, and even finding a way to get their patron saint to make a triumphant return to most city meetings. 

As a blogger, I love sharing the stories about community spirit, new businesses, local achievement and other positive topics. 

But throw me a bone now and then, and allow me to get opinionated when it comes to people that have a severe case of gooberitis.
Gooberitis manifests itself by forcing the afflicted person to say patently ridiculous things during public meetings, or on social media, and never pausing when they are shown to be wrong.
Happy New Year, and may you all have a banner 2018... which I graciously extend to anyone that would bother being a hater of this blog too.

•                •                •

"Whether you think that you can, or that you can't, you are usually right."

— Henry Ford

Wildomar Rap is usually right, whether it thinks it can do something or not.

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