Thursday, October 10, 2019

• City Council Meeting October 2019

The key takeaways from this meeting include shade structures at two of our parks, and the tabling of changing Wildomar Road's name to Old Wildomar Road, but let's begin by highlighting the presentations.

Proclamation: David Lower’s 100th Birthday. He's lived in Wildomar since 1987, and is both a WWII and Korean War veteran.
R to L: Joseph Morabito, Marsha Swanson, David Lower, Ben Benoit, David Lower's daughter, Dustin Nigg and Bridgette Moore. 

Photo courtesy city of Wildomar's facebook page. Original caption: Tonight, we celebrated Mr. David Lower’s 100th birthday. He served in both WWII and the Korean War. Happy birthday, young man... and thank you for your service!
Mr. Valdez gave a presentation of happenings at William Collier Elementary School.
Link to William Collier Elementary School's website.
There was also mention of a Community Candlelight Tribute (19th annual ceremony is set for November 30th, sorry not sure of the details) and an Acknowledgement that Wildomar is a Purple Heart City.

Items 3.1 and 3.2 were GPIPs (General Plan Initiation Proposal). I love every chance I get to dust off my old Mario and Peach cartoon to illustrate what a GPIP is... so here goes.
I see a GPIP as asking if you can ask, because if you were actually asking in the first place, you'd go directly with the GPA (General Plan Amendment).
In the end, both applicants were given the green light to position themselves for a full GPA (General Plan Amendment) in the future. 

One GPIP asked if they could change an old approved plan of 108 single family homes to 288 apartments. 
The key concern from the council was the traffic impacts.
The other GPIP dealt with a 3+ acre property on Grand that asked to be subdivided into four lots, all greater than half an acre. 

Neither were given unanimous attaboys, but enough encouragement to reach for the next level. I don't anticipate seeing either project come back for at least six months, more likely a year.

3.3 First Quarter Budget Report
The important news from this item involves the sidewalk project along Mission Trail in the Sedco Hills part of the city.

Councilmember Ben Benoit asked if this will finish the sidewalk project all the way to Malaga Park, and that was confirmed.

I had asked in an email what the estimated start/finish dates are and the answer I received was: Estimated start date is January 6th and the estimated completion date is February 7th. 

3.4 Award of Construction Contract – Installation of Park Shade Structures at Wildomar Parks Project
This was approved by unanimous vote, but not without discussion. What started out in 2018 as a $50,000 project, morphed into $157K. 
Artist's rendition of Marna O'Brien park's play area.

Being a member of the city council makes being a blogger difficult in situations like this. I want to tell you how I saw it, but I'm not here to "throw shade" in any direction. I want to maintain a good working relationship with all that are part of the city machine. So, out of an abundance of caution and respect for others that don't have their own blog to give you their "side", I won't be getting into specifics here. If you'd like to see the video below at the 1:28:30 mark for this item. 
The good news is that there will be shade structures at both Marna O'Brien and Windsong parks before next Summer.

3.5 Santa Rosa Plateau Special Event
There was an agreement to hold the SRPNEF brewfest event at Marna O'Brien park for the next two years. It was also reiterated that Santa Rosa Plateau is CLOSED for all uses... so please don't even go up there if you don't live in one of those communities.

3.6 2020 Parks Special Events Calendar
Below is the tentative 2020 city event calendar. I asked if we could add an Earth Day event/recognition, and Mayor Pro-Tem Dustin Nigg suggested the same thing during future agenda items.
Might as well mark your calendars now... I have. ☺

3.7 Resolution to Change the Name of Wildomar Road to Old Wildomar Road

Remember that green box up above with the reminder? Yep, it sort of applies here too. In the end, this item was tabled.

As for me, I was against changing the name of Wildomar Road to Old Wildomar Road without direct input from the residents on that street. 

Councilmember Ben Benoit, who represents the district that Wildomar Road is in, also wasn't in favor of this the way it was presented, and he motioned that we put this off for a month to get more information. 

3.8 Business Registration Program Amendment
This was supposed to be an easy item, but I didn't like the way part of it read. The part I didn't like was removing the exemption for some home based businesses.

Since I have a home based business that got the exemption, I spoke with the city attorney before the meeting to see if there was a conflict of interest for me to be part of this item. It was determined not to be a problem so I played my part.

If you watch the video, you'll see that I was primarily concerned with very small home based businesses. Businesses that don't have employees, customers, inventory etc. Imagine a house cleaner that lives in Wildomar but works in other cities, or someone that sells crafts on Etsy. To me, it would be better to offer business registration at a reduced rate, than have them skip it because they'd rather save the $75 or $50.

I compared other public things, like RTA, where the fare they charge does NOT cover their overhead. The same applies to parks too. They cost us, but are a benefit to the community. 

I was trying to suggest that keeping track of smaller home based businesses, through a low cost registration for those that qualify, would be a good way to keep track of such businesses. My suggestion continued that by removing the exemption, we were disincentivizing very small home based businesses from participating.

I'm not the most articulate person when doing public speaking, and it showed as I failed at conveying that point.

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The last bit of news came during the future agenda items portion of the meeting.

I asked for a future agenda item where the city council can discuss citywide clean up days where volunteers can help keep the city clean. That seemed to get a majority of the council to give a head nod.

I then asked for a future agenda item where the city council could discuss the merits of using the city's email and social media to advertise/promote local, approved, nonprofits and their events. Three of us agreed, and it should be coming to a future city council agenda.

The last news nugget came when Councilmember Bridgette Moore asked that there be a special meeting to discuss commercial cannabis. I quickly agreed, but there wasn't a third member that wanted to see it happen.
Green box reminder time again... I'm going to try and give an opinion, but I'll be pulling punches and going with kid gloves here.

I'm still new to being on city council, and I'm still somewhat of an idealist when it comes to my approach to the job. For me, if one of my colleagues were to ask for a future agenda item that I didn't get, or did get but didn't support, I'd STILL approve it to be on a future agenda.

Again, perhaps I'm being idealistic, but there should always be room for more discussion. Discussion doesn't equate to support.
Note: the meeting doesn't start until about the 4:30 mark of the video.

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"Consider the postage stamp, son. It secures success through its ability to stick to one thing till it gets there."
– Josh Billings

Wildomar Rap has always been delivered without postage of any kind.

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