Saturday, May 30, 2020

• City Council Meeting: Commercial Cannabis May 28, 2020

This was a long meeting, more than 4 hours which came after years' worth of wrangling and 12 months of painstaking work by the subcommittee and staff.

It's never easy to have to make a decision when the community is split, and that proved doubly true with this item. 

I'm not going to go over the nuts and bolts of this item. Here is a link to the press release (City of Wildomar Press Release on Commercial Cannabis May 29, 2020) for that purpose. Here is a link to the ordinance as it appeared in the agenda packet (use this link) if you want to drill down into the details. 

There was also a write up in the Valley News, but I found several mistakes in it and already told the reporter. Here's the link if you'd like to read it. 

Below is the video of my comments that explained my yes vote on commercial cannabis in Wildomar.
I started off by acknowledging that both sides of this argument are comprised of good people, with good intentions, have made good points, and their concerns were worthy of being heard and deliberated on. 

Which, for each council member and much of Wildomar's staff, had been the case for months, and that I was truly sorry that my vote was likely going to disappoint a sizable part of the city and many of my friends. 

I also pointed out that all five council members would be facing angry constituents when this was all over. 

Though the five of us have different methods and approaches to our elected position, we all want the best for the city and its residents... even when we're faced with a split decision on an issue that has deep emotional ties for many. 

I took issue with a survey that was done in the past and will demonstrate why I would never rely on such data to base my vote on.

Below is a slide that shows the support for Measure AA as the survey suggested. The total was a prediction that 68% would vote for it.
Slide from presentation at the April 2018 city council meeting.
Link to blog covering that meeting
Hear is a slide that shows the actual results from a legally recognized vote at the ballot box.
Link to ballotopia webpage with these results.
The math is really easy to do, and missing by 10 baseline points equals being off by 17%, well outside of even the most generous margin of error. If I were commissioned to do that survey, I would NOT be using it in my highlight reel.


The survey was of 900 voters throughout the city

Let's consider that. 

We have well in excess of 15,000 voters, but this survey only sought out 900 of them. The only way to have ever been considered is if you've submitted your email or phone number to the registrar of voters. 

I know that my info isn't listed (though my wife's is), and having seen the list of registered voters in District 3 during my campaign, I can tell you that no more than 75% have their phone numbers listed, and no more than 65% have an email listed.

In district 3 there are over 3,600 registered voters. If you divide the 900 total that were surveyed, by the five districts, that would mean roughly 180 people per district were contacted by email or phone. That was enough to satisfy the opposition, and have them proclaim that it stood for "the will of the people".

Remember, the point of the survey was to attempt to gauge what the voters were likely to do in the ballot booth of 2018. They should have put it on the ballot then, but chose not to, even though there were plenty of people urging them to... including me.


However, after the true results of the 2018 election came to bear, and the predictions of the survey nearly missed their mark entirely, then that was the precise moment to STOP using it as the base of your argument. 

If you still want to say the survey was "the will of the people" fine by me, but at least now you know why most people don't accept that.

I slotted this as the my favorite public comment
Below is a video by a public speaker identifying himself as Russ Ward and as an Air-Force Vet that has been a resident in Wildomar for 8 years. Here are some highlights, but please take the two and half minutes to watch it. 

I'm interested in making comments based on the fact that we're considering entering the market and being cannabis retailers here in Wildomar. I'm a United States Air-Force veteran, eight years I served this wonderful country, and God bless America. 

I fought in Desert Storm, and I believe in having the freedom of choice. I hear all these comments and people saying things, and I respect everyone's opinions, but [...] it kind of makes me a little sick to my stomach. 

I listened for a long time and debated whether or not I should chime in and at this point, this country is about choice, and about freedom. 

I understand people are scared about this but I think what people are saying with this, "it's ok but not in my backyard" or "it's not ok at all"... the people are going to do it regardless of whether or not Wildomar has a dispensary. 

It's going to be just like any other business. There will be enough to supply and help people in the city and if you don't want [to partake] then you choose not to.

If you want to raise your family and teach them to say, "Hey, we don't use cannabis." then that's your choice. 
— Russ Ward, Wildomar Resident

  

To compromise or not to compromise?
The only other issue I'm going to cover here is compromise in politics

It was fairly evident that there was going to be little compromise from the opposition even dating back to last year. Which, if they were the majority, that would be one thing.

However, when you know coming in that you're going to come up short in the vote department, why wouldn't you trade your vote for something you personally are stating the community would want?

I don't comprehend standing on principle when it's going to cost you more of what you wanted. Like it or not, even on a city level, this is politics and compromise is often necessary for one side or the other; that's how things get done.
Real life example of being willing to trade a vote for something that would benefit the community.


Back in the January city council meeting representatives from the Santa Rosa Plateau asked for $5000 of taxpayers money to help them get past the devastating fires from last year.

I don't know how common that is, but I'd never seen such a thing in all the years I'd been going to city council meetings... which extends years before my election.

I asked what they were willing to give Wildomar in exchange for that money. 

All I got was puzzled looks.

I suggested that they could offer Wildomar residents free admission to walk on their trails for a month. I even suggested that they could make it in the hottest time of the year, but still, there was no willingness to make that happen.

So, though I had been willing to trade my vote for something that I thought the community would benefit from, I remained the lone nay vote due to lack of willingness to compromise. 

Funny addendum... though the Santa Rosa Plateau only asked for $5000, the council offered to give them $10,000 instead.


I was satisfied with the draft ordinance for commercial cannabis as it was presented. It already had a 600 foot buffer zone when it came to "sensitive uses" which included schools, daycares and parks.

I asked if we could get another vote, or two, in favor of the ordinance (that we all knew was going to pass) in exchange for pushing out the distance from 600 to 1000 feet.

The response I got was, "My vote can't be bought like that."

I can respect that, but if I knew I was on a losing end of a vote (like in the green box above) not only would I have made the suggestion to begin with (like in the story above), but if the suggestion would have come from another source (fellow council member or in the case of the Santa Rosa Plateau above, from them) I would change my vote to get some form of concession that I could share with my constituents... telling them, "I couldn't get what I wanted, but was able to get something."

Use this link to the video of the suggestion of a compromise

That's it, end of blog.

I'd like to state again that this was a difficult situation and it caused all of us stress and sleepless nights, and I'm sure that's true for many members of the community on both the pro and con side of this as well. 

Now that this is behind us, I'd like to see the various community leaders move to the middle and help the healing to begin. Part of that isn't tolerating lies and distortions on your Facebook pages/posts, allowing such things to go unchallenged is keeping the divisions going.

Another part is that you won't look to sue the city over this, just trying to gum up the works and cost the taxpayers money in legal fees by throwing one losing lawsuit after another at your neighbors, trying to derail what is years overdue in coming.

If you truly have the best interests of the community at heart, I challenge you to prove it with calming words and actions rather than just giving it lip service as you continue to rip at its seams.

Below is the video of the hour and eight minute council discussion and vote.


Complete four hour video below


POST SCRIPT
This blog was highly edited from the first version, it had been cathartic to write, but it was better off getting shelved. 

Still, I made some graphics that were going to be included. I'm going to put them here, without explanation. For those that don't know the background, they can infer what they might have represented. 

One person actually suggested that I equated Sriracha sauce to retail cannabis. Sad and pathetic.
FB Stats as of 10am (5-30-20) regarding the press release as shared by WR's facebook page.
Stats after Wildomar's press release was shared on Wildomar Rap. I would love to compare their stats to these. 
Everyone knew that a baseball reference was coming... right? 
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Things that are done, it is needless to speak about. Things that are past, it is needless to blame.

– Confucius 

Wildomar Rap imagines that most people may agree with the wisest man Earth's ever known, but knows that they can't resist themselves at the same time.


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Friday, May 29, 2020

• Press Release: Wildomar City Council Approves Commercial Cannabis

Wildomar City Council approves commercial cannabis sales and licensing regulations including cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, and testing laboratories with 3-2 vote

CITY OF WILDOMAR PRESS RELEASE 23873 Clinton Keith Road, Suite 201 Wildomar, CA 92595 Phone (951) 677-7751 Fax (951) 698-1463 www.cityofwildomar.org 


APPROVED FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE BY: Gary Nordquist

WILDOMAR CITY COUNCIL APPROVES COMMERCIAL CANNABIS SALES AND LICENSING REGULATIONS INCLUDING CULTIVATION, MANUFACTURING, DISTRIBUTION, AND TESTING LABORATORIES WITH 3-2 VOTE 

WILDOMAR, CA – At an Adjourned Regular City Council meeting on May 28, 2020, the Wildomar City Council approved two (2) new Cannabis Ordinances with a vote of 3-2. Mayor Pro Tem Bridgette Moore and Council Member Marsha Swanson voted no on the passing of the ordinances. 

The ordinances will have a second reading by the Council at its June 10, 2020 meeting with an effective date of July 10, 2020. The City could start taking applications following this date. 

Commercial cannabis retailers will be permitted in the C-1/C-P and C-P-S commercial zones subject to approval of a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) and Development Agreement by Planning Commission and City Council. Cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, and testing laboratories will be permitted in our I-P and M-SC industrial zones also subject to approval of a CUP and Development Agreement by Planning Commission and City Council. 

Limitations to cannabis businesses include a 600-foot distance separation requirement from public and private schools, commercial daycare centers, youth centers, and parks; and a 100- foot distance requirement from a residential dwelling unit. Stringent security requirements and other operational requirements will be imposed on the businesses. 

Council also unanimously passed regulatory license fees associated with cannabis businesses. 

“This is an important step for Wildomar to welcome cannabis businesses to the city,” said Mayor Dustin Nigg. “We are business-friendly, and the intent of this passage is to regulate the industry that is already in our city illegally.” 

For more information regarding cannabis businesses in Wildomar, please contact Matthew Bassi, Planning Director at (951) 677-7751, Ext. 213.



Thursday, May 21, 2020

• Getting Tested For Covid 19

Today many of the local elected officials in the region descended on Storm Stadium (actually named The Diamond) to promote getting tested for Covid 19.


L to R: Canyon Lake Mayor Jordan Ehrenkranz, Lake Elsinore Mayor Brian Tisdale, Menifee City Councilwoman Lesa Sobek, Lake Elsinore City Councilwoman Natasha Johnson, Canyon Lake City Councilman Jeremy Smith, Menifee Mayor Pro-Tem Matt Liesmeyer, Wildomar City Councilman Joseph Morabito, Murrieta Mayor Gene Wunderlich and Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco. 
Though it's not something I would have guessed I'd be needing to do back at the first of the year, here we are. 

Do I feel symptomatic? No, I don't feel ill at all. 

So then why get tested? I'll let Sheriff Bianco answer that one.
I arrived early and had a chance to take a selfie with our Sheriff, Chad Bianco... and if you're wondering, the answer is "of course I let him know that it was me that got his video to go viral a couple of weeks ago." 🙂
It's unbelievably important that we get a wide variety of testing. We need healthy, [non]asymptomatic people to test. It's all about numbers. If we only have sick people [being] testing, that we already know they're positive anyway, it appears that 90% of Riverside County is infected and sick. We know that's not the case

We need to get a wide variety of people tested. It's quick and easy. It's free. It's a good peace of mind too. We can all assume that we're not positive, but we can verify it with a test. I want to encourage everybody to come down and do it so we can put enough numbers into the data so we get a real picture of Riverside County, not what skewed numbers look like. 
  —Sheriff Chad Bianco, May 21, 2020
Below is the video link of him saying it in real time... the audio isn't the greatest, but it works. 

I've included a 6 minute video of the morning. It has the testing and the few moments I got in front of the local news cameras... because let's face it, the allure of the camera is too great to pass up. 



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Be able to back up a car for a considerable distance in a straight line and back out of a driveway.

– Marilyn vos Savant 

Wildomar Rap is amazed at how a genius is delighted by basic skill sets.


This blog was produced for viewing on a desktop or a laptop. Though it's been optimized for smartphones, the formatting can look odd on a smartphone or if you get this delivered through email (such as missing video links). Link to proper format.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

• City Council Meeting May 2020

This was the third consecutive city council meeting that was held remotely. 
You're NOT a hero if you harass a business owner or employee over this issue.

The main takeaway from the meeting can be summed up by this passage from the May 8th Press Release, especially section 2A: 

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the City Council of the City of Wildomar as follows: 

SECTION 1. High Priority Items for General Fund Revenue 
A. Police and Fire Emergency Core Service Levels 
B. Building, Safety and Code Enforcement Services 
C. Road Repair 
D. Quality of Life Services. 
E. Animal Control 
F. 20% General Fund Reserve

SECTION 2. Other Items 

A. The Enforcement of State and County Orders related to COVID-19 is NOT a local priority.
Though this is more symbolic than anything else, it's a strong message to the community that we aren't happy that our economy is crumbling under these unprecedented restrictions we've been under for two months. (Which isn't about "profits", it's about everyday people making a living and providing for their families.) 

Below are a few key comments from the council members. I highly suggest that you cue up the video to the 46:30 mark of the video and watch it as it unfolded. 
Joseph Morabito, District 3

• I know this is mostly symbolic because we don't have a lot of power in Wildomar, there's not a lot of money for [enforcement], but I wouldn't want for this to be misconstrued by business owners that have state licenses, that we're giving them our thumbs up and blessings to open up. Whether it's a beauty shop or a restaurant and you're going to risk your state license, I would suggest waiting until the state gives you the go ahead. 

• I suggest that if you're asked to wear a mask to go into someone's business, just show the proprietor some respect and wear the mask. 

• If I could offer that even if the governor gave us money [to do so], and unless there was some direct order, I still would not want to go and check the restaurants that [were to choose] to open. Unless there was a true mandate with our name on it, Wildomar, I wouldn't want to go around to the various restaurants or any other [state licensed] business [trying to shut them down].

• If I had any other thoughts [beyond what] I've already added, it would be to again ask the people that are out there to try and be neighborly and stay out of making this a political or partisan issue because it isn't one. 
Ben Benoit, District 1

• I understand that the RSO isn't enforcing these items, I've heard that various levels of the county whether or not they're enforcing some of these things, it's definitely for us to say that "we're not" —I completely understand. 

• I also understand that this is purely symbolic. I still want people to be safe. It's ultimately up to that business owner. I think that they're going to be out there, protecting their employees, and I'd think they'd want to put up a sign that says "If you're going to come in, please wear a mask." I think that's still an appropriate thing to do with what's going on, and I think people need to respect that. It's the business owner's property. 
Marsha Swanson, District 5

• I think that the six items that we have in priority (see the resolution) those are our priorities. We can't go around and enforce and make everybody put on a mask, take off a mask, stay home, not stay home. The people are doing what they do, and I don't know how you could keep up with all of the enforcement and the costs that would it be when our budget is going to be cut about 25% again. 
Mayor Dustin Nigg (Dist 2)

In response to a public comment asking if this means we can reopen: 
Technically no, we're all right now having to abide under the State of California's guidelines. I can tell you that the six local cities [...] are meeting every other week with the intentions of "applying casual pressure relentlessly to the Governor."

What that means is we're drafting letters after letters after letters. Things like this order that we're discussing right now, the directive basically saying, "Hey this is where our money is going for service levels," and more explicitly outlining where the money is NOT going, and the money from the city will not be going to the enforcement of county and state health orders regarding Covid19. 

But the true 'black and white' answer to your question is it's pretty much maintain the posture we've been in for the last two months, and I'm sorry to say that. 
Gotta love "applying casual pressure relentlessly", nice 😊. 
Let's hope the modern version of "death by a thousand cuts" is effective here... but if lingchi is too gruesome to even use as a metaphor, how about "kill 'em with kindness" instead?


Reopening Parks
The discussion of reopening the parks picks up around the 1:41:30 mark of the video. Below is a quote from Wildomar's city attorney regarding parks use.
Whatever outdoor activities are normally done in groups should not be done, but outdoor physical activities that can be done with just members of your household, or [by oneself], that would be permitted under the State's orders.
  —Thomas Jex, Wildomar City Attorney
My thoughts regarding reopening parks are summed up below. Please see the video for the remarks by the other council members.

For children [using parks] it's really a parental decision. It's something we can't and we don't want to patrol. There's going to be a lot of people out there that are going to try to go under the tape [at the playgrounds] or whatever it is, so instead of creating "criminals" it's better in my opinion to make it where the parents make the choice, or if they're young adults, they're making their own choice anyway.
- Wildomar City Councilman, Joseph Morabito
There will be signs up reminding you about social distancing and best practices. You need to make your own informed decisions about your health and the health of your family. 

City Manager's Report
• May 25th will be a virtual celebration of Memorial Day. If you're signed up for city emails, you'll be notified as the details become available. 
• It was shared that there has been an uptick in graffiti in town. If you see graffiti, please report it at this link.
Click this image to sign up for city emails.

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"Wagner's music is better than it sounds."

– Mark Twain

Wildomar Rap isn't half as good as Wagner's music sounds.


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Sunday, May 10, 2020

• Viral Video Recap

Hey, it's Mother's Day... but you already knew that. I have a quick bit of no sports Sunday fluff to take up a small bit of your time.

It deals with the video I shared on Tuesday, May 5th 

No, it wasn't about Cinco de Mayo, it was of Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco giving a well crafted speech during the Board of Supervisors meeting. Take another look if your memory has already dimmed a bit.
My key takeaway was where he said he wouldn't be 'making criminals out of business owners and single mothers for exercising their constitutional rights', and there cannot be a "new normal"... any "new normal" is an attack on our basic rights.

Even before he was done speaking I knew that I wanted to share his words with the community. So I backed up the video, hit record and then uploaded it to the Wildomar Rap Facebook page (LINK to page)

I then shared it in a couple of key Facebook community groups (What's Up Lake Elsinore/WULE and Wildomar Friends And Community/WFAC) and left it at that. 

Not long after that my FB notifications started pinging and didn't let up for about two and half days. As of about twenty minutes ago, it had eclipsed 400,000 views and 7,500 shares.
Link to the Sheriff's Facebook page.
There have been more than 29,000 reactions on Facebook, and as you can see below, the overwhelming majority were positive. 
Haters gonna hate.
Of course there is always going to be negative feedback... probably the same Philadelphia Eagle fans that booed Santa Claus. 


Wildomar Rap had about 300 new likes/follows, but one person simply couldn't stomach another minute of WR and hit the eject button, and another 57 people hit the "Hide all Posts" button because their delicate feelings didn't know what to do in the face of a strong Sheriff that took his oath to defend the US Constitution seriously during a time of highly questionable edicts from the governor. 
I also happened to upload a copy of it to YouTube as seen at the top of this blog. Even without advertising it, somehow it got 6,700 views, 150 positive reactions and over 40 comments just out of thin air.
It's safe to say that this video has been far more viral than Covid19 ever dreamed of being. (Don't you dare be offended that I mocked a virus that has no feelings. I did NOT mock any people that have had it, including my wife's two cousins in Toronto that died from it.)

As we know, the Sheriff's comment went viral all over the nation... and yes, I'm claiming partial credit for that. 

If it had been up to the local news outlets (other than Wildomar's number 1 trusted news source that is) do you think they would have played his entire comment?  Of course they wouldn't have.

I didn't see the entire clip at Press Enterprise, Valley News or Patch... did you?

The clip I made, and uploaded within 30 minutes of it being uttered, is what got this thing rolling. 

Am I trying to turn this into a "Dig W'Rap" moment? 

Of course! 

I'm savvy enough to know that this is a once in a lifetime moment never to come around again, and I'm going to share it with you... if you aren't keen on it, you can join those other 57 people and hit the "Hide all Posts" option. 

Like I've long said, nowhere is it written that Wildomar Rap is required reading. ☺

Again, Happy Mother's Day, and I hope you're all well.
•                •                •

A good idea will keep you awake during the morning, but a great idea will keep you awake during the night.

– Marilyn vos Savant

Wildomar Rap generally sleeps like a baby.

This blog was produced for viewing on a desktop or a laptop. Though it's been optimized for smartphones, the formatting can look odd on a smartphone or if you get this delivered through email (such as missing video links). Link to proper format.

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