Thursday, January 30, 2014

• It's a Stop Sign Stupid

Over on Harvest Way East, in The Farm area of Wildomar, there's a three way intersection that people aren't sure if it's real or maybe just a suggestion. Thalya Barrett spoke at the most recent city council meeting about it, as did her husband Jr Barrett and neighbor Dena Piraino on the issue of cars that either do rolling stops, or simply blow through it outright.

This intersection has seen many near misses, and Thayla's therapy cat was hit here.

I was there from 4:30pm to a little after 6:00pm. As was Mayor Pro Tem Ben Benoit. Actually, it was Ben that was going to go and check it out in person, and after reading Thayla's facebook post on it, I invited myself over. It was good to meet some more of my fellow Wildomartinis, including Brian and Amanie McDaniels and their son Luke, while taking a look at what's been plaguing them.

I set up a video camera to see if we could capture any people that didn't feel up to pressing the brake pedal. I did catch some, and plenty of others went for the rolling stop. 

Then I turned it into a video game... check it out... it even has Boots Day's  Yakkity Sax under it, so you know it has to be good. ☺


Thayla Barrett collecting signatures.

I wasn't really sure what to expect. 

I didn't realize that the Barretts were actually between the two stop signs. So the problem is that people don't stop... whereas earlier I thought it was speeding (which is probably happening the further one gets from the stop signs). 

When you get right down to it, it's just people feeling that some laws aren't important enough, or don't apply to them, and aren't worried about how their actions affect others.

Personally, I don't see how speed bumps would change the attitudes of those that don't want to stop... unless you were to put the speed bumps right at the stop sign.


She has been gathering signatures, to take to city hall, asking for assistance at this intersection. She's gathered 175 so far, and has only had 3 people show opposition.

I heard Ben Benoit talking about having Public Works Director/City Engineer Dan York take a look at the various options. It'll be interesting to see what can be done about it. Imagine if people simply would respect the fact that they are driving in a residential area... you know, a neighborhood, and just showed some respect from the get go. Too Simple... I know.

When I was leaving, it was after the sun had set. The first thing I noticed is that The Farm is DARK at night. I've heard about how they don't have street lights, and now I can appreciate the ones in my neighborhood more. I almost got lost just trying to get across the street back to my own car. ☺☺☺

...but seriously, I wanted to drive the road in question, so I went up the hill, then back down. Though there are signs that alert you to the coming stop signs
There are existing signs alerting drivers to the coming stop signs. For reference, north is towards Bundy Canyon.

there still needs to be painted warnings on the street, further back than currently exists; plus, what is there, could use a fresh coat of paint. That would help a lot more than how it sits today; just basic markings right in front of the stop line.

How it currently is (on the left), and what it could look like with larger warnings painted on the street (on the right).


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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

• Toni McAllister is out at Patch

Today I received this email.

It's always a sobering moment when a person is unceremoniously let go. Though I've been vocal about not liking the Patch because of the very rude troll culture there, I have always appreciated it's 'hyper local' news and the stories that Toni McAllister has presented us. No other source has given us so much about our area.

I haven't heard the final fate of Lake Elsinore-Wildomar Patch at this point, but I can't imagine it can last without quality leadership... so if you'd like to go over there and express you thanks to Toni for the work she's done, now's the time.

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Saturday, January 25, 2014

• Bee Canyon Clean Up

Plenty of debris to go around.

Today a group from Wildomar joined the Calguns cleanup effort in Bee Canyon... which is way out past Hemet

Doug inspecting for casualties after the drive.
We left W'mar (pronounced Dub Mar) at about 7:00am and then met and parked at the Ranger Station. At that point we piled into the Dub Mar Duece, driven by Doug Ames. It was a fun ride in the back of that thing to the cleanup area. I have to hand it to our combat troupes that make their living being transported around in vehicles like this one.

A great group of people made it out there today. Including Lori Olson, Amber Mayes, Mike Ames, Riley Olson, Brandon Benline, and Zach Olson. Also Robbie from CalGuns was in our area too. 
Unpacking the gear for the clean up.

A look from the target area.

A look from the Deuce.
Ahh, nothing better than picking up other people's garbage.
It didn't take long, maybe an hour and a half, but it finally got cleaned up enough to pass muster anyway. We filled many full size trash cans, plus dozens of plastic garbage bags too. Several pickup trips were made to the dumpster.
Now we get to set up and shoot.

Amber Mayes shoots the Yugo AK pistol while Mike Ames watches on.

Joseph, meet Yugo AK pistol

To top it all off, Ron, the CalGuns organizer, and his wife bought the clean up volunteers pizza and soda. That was nice, and it hit the spot to be sure!


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Thursday, January 23, 2014

• City Council Meeting Jan 22, 2014

Thoughts on the City Council meeting. 

The meeting started with 2013's mayor, Tim Walker, handing the gavel over to 2014's mayor, Marsha Swanson. Recognition and a plaque for Van Wilfinger who had been serving the city in the Building Safety & Inspection Department since day one back in 2008. Followed by one of Wildomar's boys soccer teams getting recognition for a successful season.

Public Comments were opened up and Thayla Barrett spoke first and discussed her concerns with traffic, specifically speeders, in The Farm development. Dena Piraino, also from The Farm, spoke about the same concerns. William Barrett, added to the topic of speeders and those that fail to stop at stop signs in The Farm and said, "We're even willing to reach into our own pockets, to offset the costs, of what it would take to install speed bumps."

Council Comments 
Bridgette Moore: 
  • Metioned attending RTA meeting,  
  • PTA meeting at EHS, 
  • Attended the Regional Family, Youth and Health Task Force
  • The parks subcommittee meeting from the night before. The fence at Windsong will be on the agenda of the February 12th city council meeting. 
  • Mentioned a local scout looking to make Eagle Scout with the project of rehabbing the dog park at Heritage Park.
  • Also mentioned that she attended the Blue Light Ceremony, which honors fallen officers, at the Riverside County Administration building. 
  • Reminded people about Wildomar Little League, and having last chance sign ups this Saturday at the ball field near the cemetery... then she actually referred to Wildomar Rap for spotlighting local businesses. (Thanks!)

Tim Walker
  • Attended an Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District meeting, and discussed the worsening conditions of the draught we're heading into. 
Ben Benoit
  • Spoke of the RCA [Riverside Conservation Authority] and being asked to be on the executive committee. 
  • He discussed the HERO Program. For those that aren't familiar, click the following link: Riverside County Hero Program. 
  • Spoke of the RCTC [Riverside County Transportation Commission], CMAQ [Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement ] funds used for the bike lanes on Grand. 
  • Met with a Murrieta Creek Trails group, discussing the potential trail that would go from Temecula to Lake Elsinore. 
  • Also attended a League of Cities meeting in Coachella.

Bob Cashman
  • Spoke about Bob Devine and being really happy with the work he'd done as a long time planning commissioner. That "he was always detailed... for the way I am." "He had to... with his job increase...he was unable to do both —work and be a planning commissioner. Some of us... we do work."

Marsha Swanson
  • Spoke of attending and conducting the Parks Subcommittee meeting.
  • Spoke of the Student of the Month through the school district.

 It was a long meeting, so here are the highlights that I took from it.

First up is Bob Cashman on Agenda Item 1.10

I do have a discussion on this. I don't believe that this housing element is correct in regard to what the future of the city should look like, and I'm very concerned about several parts of it... including its location in an environmentally... some of the project is located... some of the parcels are located in an environmentally sensitive area. I can't even understand why we would be considering apartments in those areas, others are on Clinton Keith. To me, Clinton Keith is a business corridor, and I don't see where high density apartments are a logical thing. I know we have to meet the housing element, but I don't think that these choices were good choices, and I think... the reason I think this happened is because we tried to use one plan. Take one sort of designation and say, "Oh well, all these parcels because they were... for some other reason... designated a certain way... that they're going to be the ones we use because it's a simple way to do it." So anyway I intend to vote against portions of this housing plan just like I had done at the first hearing.

Look, who am I to question Bob Cashman? I'm just some guy that hasn't even reached 50 yet, and I certainly haven't put in an iota of the time he has with Wildomar, but somehow he just doesn't get it on this one.  

No one in Wildomar desires to see these MUPA overlays. Such "one size fits all" makes ZERO sense here, in a place that has been around since the late 1800's. Our city is already mapped out, and NOTHING will be changing the way it is —even if it were for the better. The die has already been cast, and the roads have been paved (except Lost Rd that is, but that's another story).

Thing is, these are not the desires of any Wildomartian, these are the edicts from on high in Sac-to. Did you miss the part about this housing element being approved and now we're on the 8 year cycle and not the 4 year cycle? You also have to know that 'final approval', of any project, would have to come before the council. Those MUPA overlay areas, don't have any approved projects on them (I don't even know if there are any proposed projects for them either). You said that they are in areas that aren't good. Where are the places that you'd like them in instead? You're a council member that disagrees with the majority, I hope it's not too big of a leap to think you have a better plan... so where are your choices for the state mandated MUPA overlays to go, and why weren't they adopted?


On Agenda Item 2.2 Development Impact Fee Study there was some confusion by some wording that came in late. In the end, the wording that would have allowed a 50% reduction in the fee increase (yeah, I know talk about a headache) was defeated 4-1 with the lone nay going to Ben Benoit

We all hate taxes and we all hate fees. Thing is, without them, we'd be living in lean-to laden wasteland where Mel Gibson would be looking to siphon out the last few drops of petrol from your John Deere riding mower. Marsha Swanson mentioned that the current fees, not counting DIF fees, are between $40k-$50 per home.

[I just redacted my own comment about such taxes and fees... this is a 'family show' afterall]

 So, though we hate taxes and fees, if there is new development, it makes sense that those moving into the area, are adding to the kitty, not subtracting from it. 

We don't need to be the bargain basement of SWRivCo.
Pony up with the cash, or go build in Blythe.


The other two parts of the meeting that I took notes on were about the grass in the parks and a new Planning Commissioner.

There were some fair concerns raised about planting grass at the onset of a drought. No one can predict the weather, outside of a couple of weeks, but our current dry conditions are a real issue. Hydroseeding is scheduled for mid February. With parks being up to full speed, ready for heavy foot traffic —like soccer, within three months. But if we have a persistent drought, we may be forced to turn the water off to the parks even with measure Z money at the ready.

The idea of synthetic turf was brought up. Personally, I would rather have dead grass with patches of thorns in it, before having astroturf. It is well documented to be very hot in the Summer, to cause injury and harbor bacteria and pathogens. There are plenty of hits to be had on a google search of pathogens and synthetic turf
MRSA anyone? 
Here's a link that gives the pros and cons of synthetic turf.

Another interesting factoid about synthetic turf, besides it making Dave Concepción a hall of fame shortstop, is that it costs about $7 per square foot to install, whereas hydroseed is 5¢ per sf. I just wonder how long dog pee sits on it before it finally evaporates?

Last bit of news is that there were eight applications handed in for the vacant Planning Commission post. Marsha Swanson selected Gary Brown. I have met him several times. The first time at the David Soto search. The second time at the CERT training courses, and the last time at the Breakfast with Santa event. He's a longtime Wildomar resident and has a good head on his shoulder. I look forward to chatting with him next time we cross paths. 

There is still one more empty seat on the Planning Commission. Bob Cashman will be making the selection for the remaining spot. I'm openly cheering for someone under 45. I think we have the old guard contingent covered and now let's think about getting the perspective that some new blood would bring. 


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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

• Windsong Fence Issue Gets Sent To Full Council

I'm just going to write a quick synopsis of the meeting.

A lot of discussion, but nothing decided tonight. The Windsong Park fence issue is being sent on to the entire council to decide, without a recommendation one way or the other.
I'm guessing there were at least 30 people in attendance and there were many on both sides of the issue. Though the clear numerical edge went to those that wanted the fence to remain up. 

I get their points... a little, but I still find it hard to believe that taking a five minute walk around the corner from my house would lead me into such a war zone... that's what the tales of woe in re living next to Windsong Park sounded like to me anyway.

Maybe we can get Uncle Jerry Brown (or is it Grandpa Jerry? but I digress...) to call in the National Guard to keep the peace in Bosnia-Windsongovina... Ha Ha! (you're supposed to laugh at that one, or at least roll your eyes).

I Am posting a 40 minute video that has arguments from both sides and the comments from the subcommittee and city manager on the issue.   

Everyone had good input, and though I still want to see the fence come down, it's good to see that neighbors can be decent to each other even when they're in the midst of a disagreement. 

Joseph Morabito and Monty Goddard after the meeting.

The other news was that we took another step closer to getting a Parks Commission. The early looks at it have it with 5 volunteer members, and a student as a sixth non-voting member, that would meet once a month. More on this as it develops.
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Sunday, January 19, 2014

• Windsong Fence: Up or Down?

This Tuesday, at 6:30PM at City Hall, there will be a Parks Subcommittee Meeting where the fate of Windsong Park's fence will be addressed.

The question will be:
Should it stay...
 ...or should it go?
Here are links to two different letters to the editor of The Patch. Read them yourself to get a more in depth look at the opposite POVs.

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I have spoken many times to my fellow Windsongian, Monty Goddard, about this fence. It's obvious that this park, and the fence, are beleaguering him. From the first time I met him last year, till the most recent conversation we had a couple of days ago, this has been his primary focus. 

Still, like having empathy for those that live in the flight path of an airport, though I'd feel for their difficulty, my empathy wouldn't go as far as to stopping flights at the airport, and my empathy doesn't extend here to wanting a fence up at the park.

I've heard two competing arguments about what the fence is supposed to keep out. Originally, I took it to be kids in their late teens, hanging out after the park was closed. 

In the last conversation I had with Monty, he said it wasn't the kids that were there in the wee hours of the morning, but adults from other areas, that would come in after the bars had closed... and would proceed to hold loud parties regularly.

I'm not exactly sure how such info was ascertained [that it was adults from neighboring cities], but if residents are having to endure loud impromptu parties in the parks, the police should be directed to make such things a priority to break up and deter. We are the ones paying them, and they should be paying attention to any areas that have a known pattern of problems. 


If you have an opinion about this fence, you should either write an email to the Parks Subcommittee Members
Mayor Marsha Swanson
Council Member Bridgette Moore
telling them your point of view and/or attending the meeting Tuesday January 21st at 6:30PM at City Hall.

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Saturday, January 18, 2014

• Better Know a Local Business: Ace Hardware

In my series of "Better Know A Local Business" I present  ACE Hardware , managed by Kassandra Wachtel. This a family owned business that currently employs thirteen people and is located off of Clinton Keith Rd in the Albertson's Shopping Center.

♪♫ ACE is the place with the place with the helpful hardware man... and woman.♫♪   Come on, you remember that jingle too... if not, click the image to see a vintage ACE Hardware TV commercial.

Wildomar ACE Hardware is an active member of our community. It has donated toward many community causes —like our parks, including the tile painting fund raiser. 

I was asking Kassandra when their busiest time of the year usually is, and she was quick to tell me, "Springtime, with the peak being May/June."

Which made sense after I had asked her what the busiest departments are...  
Garden and Paint.
Interesting things I learned while visiting ACE Hardware today include:
  • They are an authorized Craftsman Tools dealer. With the same warranty that you'd find at Sears.
  • They carry Benjamin Moore paints.

  • They rent things like generators, pressure washers, sump pumps and carpet cleaners.
  •  They have a community bulletin board where tradesmen post their business cards or flyers.


They carry Stihl outdoor power tools. From chainsaws to weedeaters, blowers to shop vacs. And they also do the repairs on Stihl outdoor power tools when they need it.

Of course they have the usual things you'd expect in a hardware store too.
  • electrical
  • plumbing
  • faucets
  • nuts and bolts and nails etc.
  • pesticides
  • key cutting
  • patio furniture and barbecues
And some things you might not expect like:
 Pet Supplies, Pool Supplies and Canning Supplies.
So I asked Kassandra a question she hears all the time... "But what about those big box competitors of yours?" 

She grinned and said that topic comes up regularly. From what I got out of the conversation is that, ACE Hardware is a local store with competitive prices, which takes an active part in the community, and strives to provide excellent customer service. 

It's nice to be able to shop local while supporting a business in Wildomar. If you haven't visited ACE Hardware yet, do so to see what they offer. If you usually drive into Murrieta or Lake Elsinore for your hardware needs, you may just find out they have what you need without having to drive to another city.  

ACE Hardware's online presence.
Take a look at some of the pictures I took of the store.
Key cutting done while you wait.

A large selection of patio and outdoor furniture.
A selection of items that the younger crowd would love too.

Friendly employees, and gotta like that "No Hassle Returns" sign.

ACE Hardware is full of many fun things.
These little trees have more fruit on them
than the one I planted three years ago.

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