Thursday, June 25, 2020

• City Council Meeting: Budget Meeting June 2020

Another Zoom city council meeting in the books. 
Meeting Recap

3.1.A-B FY 20-21 Budget Amendments
Look around the 20:00 mark of the video below to watch the item 

Due to the Covid19 induced downturn in the economy there is an anticipated shortfall in the budget. There were a couple of ways to approach that. 
Numbers aren't easy to report on when there are rows and rows of them. If you want specific details, please use this link to access the agenda packet. The budget item starts on page 10.
One suggestion was to wait another couple of months to see if the cuts are indeed necessary (when it comes to things like projected sales tax revenues, there is a considerable lag time between an event like the onset of a pandemic, and when the treasury starts to notice a reduction in anticipated moneys)

The other option was to make cuts to the budget now, and if it turns out that they weren't necessary (or as necessary as feared), adjust back as those facts come in. 

It was a 5-0 vote to cut the budget now, but it was originally looking like a 3-2 vote at the start. 

The two newer members of the council (Mayor Nigg and Joseph Morabito) wanted to follow staff's suggestion and "ratify the [existing] budget and take another look in August" to see if changes needed to be made or not.

The three seasoned council members all wanted to make whatever corrections now. They've all gone through difficult budget times in the past, and it didn't take much persuasion on their parts to shift the other two members' viewpoints to make it unanimous. 

Whenever there are budget cuts, there are reductions to services too. The services that take up the lion's share of the budget, such as law enforcement, will be affected. 
Areas that will see a cut

a. *Reduction in law enforcement service level (70 hours of daily patrol to 63 hours of daily patrol,10%) temporarily until City finances recover from COVID-19 effect. A net reduction of $479,700. 

b. Adjustments to Fire Service estimated labor costs. A net reduction of $126,700. 

c. A salary freeze and deferral on staff merit increases as of July 1, 2020. The net reduction is $58,500. 

d. Limiting the use of City Attorney legal consulting to only services covered by the monthly retainer fee and developer-reimbursed work in private development. A net reduction of $213,500. 

e. Reducing attendance at meetings, conferences, travel, and training to cut costs and avoid possible staff exposure to COVID-19. The net reduction is $55,700. 

f. Reduction of $50,000 in the Housing Element Study and delaying of the Landscape Design Guidelines projects ($35,000) in Community Development until later. The net reduction is $85,000. 

g. A reduction in service hours and hourly billing rates from contract staff providers. A net reduction of $113,100. 
I went off the board with a non-baseball analogy to explain that I'd rather take my lumps earlier than later when I mentioned famous people that end up with jail sentences (Michael Vick, Martha Stewart, etc) when they don't have to report to jail for several months. 

If I were in that situation, I'd just report as early as possible so that I'd be able to be finished with it months earlier.

So though I was initially happy to do a two month wait and see on the budget cuts, I was even more happy to see that the council wanted to get the pain out of the way now and if it turned out to be overly cautious, readjust at that time.
*Note: the reduction in law enforcement services won't take effect until after 4th of July, and Lieutenant Kent will be keeping a close eye on the service levels and will make recommendations as needed.

2.1 Capital Improvement Program Status Report – 4th Quarter
Look around the 1:32:00 mark of the video below to watch the item 

The biggest news involved Bundy Canyon Rd and parts of Lemon St. 
If you visit the agenda packet, beginning on page 63 you'll see several graphics like this one that will give you details on the current CIP projects. (Capital Improvement Program) LINK
There are still three "little loose ends" that need to be buttoned up, one includes everyone's favorite state agency, Caltrans, for the right of way. 

The aim is to bring a construction contract to the city council at the September meeting. Construction to begin this year. Remember, this isn't the entire stretch of the road. This is in several parts, but the first part is just about in the chute now. 

The other item that was highlighted was parts of Lemon. There wasn't a start time nailed down, but it's getting near the top of the list and I see it getting addressed within the next year. 

City Manager Report
• Public city council meetings are tentatively set to restart in July, and city hall is slated to reopen July 13th. The situation is fluid, so there could be changes to one or both.

• There is a website for reporting fireworks to the sheriff's department, here's a link to it. 

• A Hospital Heros video was shared. We all made videos with our phones and sent them in. I believe it was early April. I'd been wondering if anything was done with them... and here it is, thanking the local healthcare workers. 

Future Agenda Items
There were two items put forward by Joseph Morabito (that's me)
1. Make Juneteenth an official holiday in Wildomar
2. Revamp the fireworks ordinance.
Call me anything you want to. Go ahead and try and make the asinine comparison to WWII Germany where people were encouraged to inform on their neighbors (we've all heard such ridiculous comparisons before)... because, well, you know, reporting illegal fireworks and 'sending people to death camps' are practically the same thing, right? (Insert combination eyeroll/facepalm here). 


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Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.

– Harriet Tubman

Wildomar Rap hasn't completely mastered patience yet, but is getting closer.


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Sunday, June 14, 2020

• Unity in the Community Rally

This week I had the opportunity to attend two rallies that were held in the same location, that were both focused on the same issues in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd. 

Below you'll see the stated purposes of the event.
Why We're here 
(3 points of purpose)
1. Denounce and fight against racism
2. Promote unity amongst all races
3. Lay a foundation to bridge the gap between law enforcement and citizens
I can't imagine a single person living today not being in full support of such goals. Then again, I've heard people actually say that they want to abolish the police. 

That was actually said by a man that claimed to be a representative of the Inland Empire division of Black Lives Matter at the rally last Tuesday. 
Gary L. Adams asked for the police officers and local elected officials to join him.
This rally was better organized, but only drew about a third of the crowd size of the other. I can't answer why, because all the other indicators should have pointed to the Saturday rally as having 1000 people attend instead of around 100. 
Taken during the intermission. I know two faces in that photo. In green is Ivory Spann and Captain Lujan of Riverside County Sheriff's department (also Wildomar's police chief) is near the center.
The weather was much cooler. This was scheduled to end around lunchtime, the other started at lunchtime. This rally had the backing of several well known local churchleaders, the other was organized by a couple of well intentioned, but very green and youthful people.


I don't know why this event didn't draw a large crowd, and I won't bother surmising. 
A new friend, Quinlan "Q" Strong. You can see in the inset in the upper right where we had been standing near each other when Pastor Willie Oliver encouraged those nearby to reach out to each other. 
Below are a series of videos that I live streamed on Facebook. These are some very inspirational messages. The image quality isn't all that great and it's somewhat out of sync, but it's the audio that's important. 

If you have the time, I suggest listening to each of them. Here is a link to the full seven video playlist. Below are the seven separate videos.

First is from Lake Elsinore Mayor Brian Tisdale. He thanked the organizers and those that attended. 


Pastor Willie Oliver had a very powerful message, "We need to understand what true unity is."

He timed it to last 8 minutes and 40 seconds, that's the length of time that George Floyd had a knee on his neck. 


Senator Melissa Melendez spoke next and she talked about the divisions that are perpetuated by the media "left, right and everything in between" making money as the divide us.

Wildomar Mayor Dustin Nigg told the crowd that "racism and police brutality are never ok." He also quoted one of his colleagues on the city council, "We are all one large community, made up of dozens of smaller communities. When one of is hurting, we are all hurting". 


Pastor Phil Valdez asked, "What really can I do? I still believe that one person can change the world." 


Beau Arbuthnot was easily one of the most compelling of all the speakers. His perspective is more unique than most. He is both a preacher and a police officer, "I'm not defending what happened [to George Floyd], we stand in solidarity and that's why we're here. Every cop that is here, every police officer that is here is very upset. Disappointed. Hurt. When I saw that on television I was hurt because I knew I had to go back to work the next day. I knew I had to deal with this anger, frustration. Guess what, I'm in between. I'm angry. I'm frustrated, but I gotta go back to work again."


Event organizer Gary L. Adams asked his family to come to the front. "This is what we look like. This is why I despise racism. Because in my family we got it all."

The family of Gary L. Adams.
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The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them.

– Ida B. Wells

Wildomar Rap is all about the light of truth. As Oliver asked, "Please sir, may I have some more?"


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Saturday, June 13, 2020

• City Council Meeting June 2020

There were several noteworthy items that came from the three and half hour, June 10th city council meeting.
Meeting Recap 

2.1 Large Family Day Care Home Code Amendment
This item was mostly to acknowledge new state rules. It removed some hurdles for family daycare business that serve between 7 and 14 children.

BACKGROUND / DISCUSSION: (details from the agenda)

On September 5, 2019 Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law Senate Bill 234 (SB 234), referred to as the “Keeping Kids Close to Home Act.” SB 234 is intended to ease the process for family childcare homes located in residential zoning districts. This new law went into effect on January 1, 2020. Before the enactment of SB 234, state law, authorized a city to either classify “a large family daycare home” as residential use of the property or to provide a process for applying for a permit to use the property as a large family daycare home. This bill now requires a large family day care home to be treated as a residential use of property for purposes of all ordinances. 

Family daycare homes are licensed in two categories: large family daycare homes, which may care for 7 to 14 children and small family daycare homes which provides family day care for 1 to 6 children. Procedurally, large family day care homes currently require a plot plan application and processing fee in accordance with Section 17.212 of the municipal code. After an application is deemed as complete, the Planning Director has 30 days to schedule the time and date on which the Department’s decision on the application is to be made. No less than 20 days prior to the decision date, the Planning Department sends out a notice to surround property owners that a large family day care home application is being considered. Surrounding property owners may request a Director Hearing in writing. If no request for a hearing is made, then the planning department is required to approve, conditionally approve, or deny the application. The decision of the Planning Director shall be considered final unless within 14 days of the date of the notice of decision to the applicant an appeal there from is filed.

Under SB 234, large family daycare homes that provide childcare will now receive the same land use and zoning and permitting exemptions small family daycare homes receive. Therefore, all family based childcare options beginning January 1, 2020 are now considered a residential use and cannot be considered a change of use for building or fire code purposes. They also cannot be made subject to a business license, tax, or any other fee. This means the city can no longer require a business registration for large family day care homes. State law had also given some property owners the impression that absent a written agreement with a licensed childcare provider, they can refuse to rent or sell a home to childcare providers. SB 234 clarifies that childcare providers can have remedies and procedures available to them under the Fair Employment and Housing Act. This bill further clarifies that licensed family daycare homes are allowed to operate in apartments and other types of multifamily units.

2.2 Urgent Care CUP Code Amendment

Without adopting this code amendment, an urgent care that would like to open in Wildomar could have done so "by right" and now they'll have to get a Conditional Use Permit first. There is an urgent care in the process of getting ready to open in Wildomar Square.

2.3 Trash Collection Services Liens
This is pretty much a yearly item. In short, ALL residents are required to be part of trash service even if you are willing to cart your garbage to the dump yourself. When I first learned of this I thought, "That seems unAmerican to me." 
Before you go off on a "How dare they tell me I have to pay to get my garbage hauled away" rant, the rationale makes sense. If it wasn't mandated, so the story goes, many people would illegally dump their garbage or just stack it up in their backyards. It's a health issue and they are contracted to pick up your trash if you pay them or not.
Long story short. If you don't want to show up in a city council agenda for being a deadbeat, and worse, having a lien against your property, pay your bills. There is one homeowner that has amassed an unpaid bill of $2,371.94 so far. Congrats... I guess. 

Here is a link to the agenda packet if you want to see if you're on the list. We have more than 10 people that owe over $1000, and I think I know at least two of those names... YIKES! Skip down to page 357 and it goes to 365.

Do you rent your property out? 

If you were wise you would pay the trash bill yourself and then just add it to the rent. Otherwise, if they try to skip out on their trash bill, the trash haulers will be coming after you anyway, not them.

3.1 FY19-20 4th Quarter Budget Report
There will be a special budget meeting on June 24th to go over this in detail. Due to the Covid19 economic fallout, we are looking at cutting the budget. The question is were, and how much. 

3.3 Public Works Maintenance Annual Report
Call outs: Responded to approximately 20 after-hour calls for service for collisions, spills, fallen trees, roadway debris and other incidents 
Recap Items:
• 11,000 SF of potholes repaired, approx. 66 tons of AC cold mix used
• 165 New signs installed or replaced, including new Vehicle Regulation, Wildomar Trail & No Trespassing signs
• 80 Hrs of graffiti removal completed o Approx. 225 Hrs spent removing illegal dumps from ROW and roadway
• Approx. 92,260 LF of ROW cleared of weeds & tumbleweeds (approx. 17.5 miles)
• Trimmed 220 trees blocking signs & sidewalks o Refreshed approx. 50 Stop bars & legends
• Installed new Palomar & McVicar/Frederick crosswalk
• Conducted striping & stenciling work citywide as requested o Refreshed red & white curb along school & hospital zones
• Completed citywide catch basin cleaning
• Completed citywide arterial sign inventory o Completed School zone sign inventory
• Conducted several storm patrols during various weather events
• Conducted non- glysophate pre and post emergent weed spraying along ROW citywide
• Addressed sidewalk complaints at Marna O’Brian and Windsong Parks
• Addressed sinkhole issues as requested
• Removed weeds along Grand Ave Trail & ROW 2
• Repaired fencing as requested o Cleared mud & debris several times after storms
• Boarded up abandoned house as requested o Utilized Hot mix crew to address issues citywide as directed
• Utilized equipment to repair wash out on Cottonwood, importing 40 tons of rock base.
• Graded both Cottonwood & Lost Roads twice o Restrung approx. 50 sections of rope at Grand Ave trail

• Began cataloging info on new Collector App

The part I am most eager to share is the new way to report issues in Wildomar. You'll be able to attach photos starting July 1st. 
Use this link to report an issue in town
Remember, this is your city too, and if you see something you want addressed, to wait around for others to report it... and then whine that an RV has been in a field for months when you should have reported it long before. 

I plan on doing a stand alone blog regarding this shortly.

3.4 Establish Speed Zones on Various Streets: Phase III and Final City-Wide List of Streets
Some of the speeds seem far higher than they should be, but the city does NOT have the discretion to put up any speed limit we'd like. There is a prescribed method of doing speed surveys that must be adhered to in order for the limits to be legal. 

I was taken aback by the speed limit on Gruwell St. After reading the legal speed limit in the agenda (see above) I went over and drove it heading east from Grand. With my normal driving habits, I barely got to 40 MPH. 

This road is going to be a ZERO TOLERANCE speed zone. Other roads you can expect a cushion of a few MPH over the limit and still not get cited for speeding... but not here, or on Union St. 

Last note on this item. 

Councilman Ben Benoit spoke about potential legislation from Sacramento that may make it easier for local jurisdictions to set speed limits that don't rely solely on speed surveys. Let's hope that gets through.

I don't get how we would be setting speed limits based on the fact that many drivers are speeding. Then again, when has government mishmash made sense?

Below is the video of the entire meeting, including the second reading of the commercial cannabis ordinance which was covered in its own blog. LINK 
  

•                •                •

When we're young we're tempted to leave it up to time to correct mistakes, and when we're old the temptation is to lapse to that bittersweet attitude of remorse — if only we could go back.

– EG Marshall (CBSRMT)

Wildomar Rap chooses bittersweet remorse over milk chocolate remorse every time.


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Thursday, June 11, 2020

• City Council Meeting June 2020: Commercial Cannabis Second Reading

The meeting lasted about three and a half hours, and the key item, the second reading of the newly adopted cannabis ordinance, took up about seventy-five minutes. 

I'm going to break this meeting into two blogs. This one for the cannabis issue, a future one for the rest of the meeting.

This has been a long and sometimes contentious journey in getting to this point and I'm not going to rehash everything again. It's time for the community to heal and I respectfully ask the various community leaders to take a similar approach.

Here is a link to the press release (City of Wildomar Press Release on Commercial Cannabis May 29, 2020) with more details.

For an ordinance to take effect it is first voted on (that happened during the last meeting on May 28th), then it comes back to the agenda the next meeting for "the second reading" (which always goes to the consent calendar unless one of the members of the council wants to change their vote, or if the public would like to discuss it again) It goes into full effect 30 days later.

Spoiler alert... I'm not going to break down this issue here. I'm sure that few, if any, are interested anyway. However, if you'd like to see what's been written on this over the years, please follow the key words at the bottom of the blog.

It's really time to put this behind us, and the best way to do so is to not keep going over old ground. 

In the manner of the famous Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce, "Hear me! I am tired. My heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands I will bring up the survey no more forever." Except this one last time...

The rationale that I disagree with can be paraphrased this way. It's based on comments seen in the video titled: Council Discussion.

It was argued that the city had used a survey company several times in the past. First for the parks (Measure Z) and they said it would pass, and it passed.

So far so good.

Then the example of the additional one cent sales tax (Measure AA) was pointed to. The company said it would pass, and though they were off by 17%, it did pass. 

Read this blog if you want more of a breakdown on the breakdown regarding this survey 

It was then said that the same company was used to ask the residents of Wildomar if they wanted cannabis businesses in the city. 

The response from the company was: Do not put it on the ballot, it will not pass.

Let me stop everyone there. Did you spot what I spotted?

First, the company used for the survey, according to this narrative, had only been used ONCE prior (Measure Z)

The second example (Measure AA) was actually part of the same survey that asked about cannabis businesses. 

Here's the kicker and I'm flummoxed that this seems to constantly be going over so many heads here.

The point of surveying voters is to see how they might vote in the coming election. That makes 100% sense when it comes to things like "voter approved tax increases" (which both Measure Z and Measure AA were tax increases).

What makes ZERO sense is to have a survey company try to predict the outcome of a referendum, then come back with "Do not put it on the ballot, it will not pass."

One more time. 

Who gives a flying (expletive) if it would have passed or not? 

Referendums on such things should be allowed to be hashed out among the voters and whatever campaigns they put together in the run up of election day. Just the same way we do for candidates. They shouldn't be circumnavigated with a survey.

The point of a referendum isn't to try and divine if an issue is likely to pass or not with a survey of 5% of the voters
District 3 has more than 3600 registered voters.
Only 180 were part of the survey.
You don't even have to do the math, I did it for you.
The point is to have ALL THE PEOPLE vote no matter what their answer may be.

If the actual concern had been having the voters choose, then that should have been the stated goal from the first moment this came up back in early 2017; not suggested at the eleventh hour when it was finally realized that the cause had been lost long ago.

I'm stopping here.
Gramps is always dependable with some down home common sense.
I've long known all the members of the council, and four of us were all part of the same Rotary Club until I needed to step down at the end of last year. They're all caring and concerned individuals and we're all friends.

We've all worked side by side, volunteering in the community on countless occasions, and though this did test us all a bitI know that it's already water under the bridge and we'll all be there working in unison to serve and promote Wildomar for years to come. ☺☻
#GoWildomar

There are two videos below. One with the public comments, another with the council discussion and vote. If this is important to you, watch the videos. They run about an hour and fifteen minutes between the two of them.

•                •                •

It's the little things, the very insignificant details that become our undoing. The microscopic blunders, invisible to the untrained eye, just as easily emerge as glaring discrepancies to the more sophisticated observer.

– EG Marshall (CBSRMT) 

Wildomar Rap has one of the most untrained eyes in the biz.


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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