Saturday, July 26, 2014

• Wildomar Night at the Diamond in LE

This was the first "Wildomar Night" I attended at the Storm game, and the weather couldn't have been better for it. Not only did the Storm win big by scoring in most innings 11-4, there was a spectacular fireworks show too. I haven't seen live fireworks in many years and they did a nice job.

But that wasn't all. I had a chance to hear our city clerk, Debbie Lee, sing the national anthem and I know she did a good job since I got goose bumps as she hit the crescendo.

Still, that wasn't it... not only did I get to watch mayor Pro-Tem Ben Benoit throw out one of the first pitches... um, what can I say... sorry Ben, there are no open spots on my fantasy team's pitching staff... but I got to watch a pregame presentation of Ashley Fox and her Freedom Swing project.

I didn't get a chance to speak to her at the game, but I have to guess that it was a great experience to be down on the field as she was.

Her project, a wheel chair accessible swing at Marna O'Brien Park, will be unveiled this August 23rd starting at 5pm. I suggest you carve out some time to go see our community in action.

Watch the video to get a feel of the evening.


The author of Wildomar Rap has never thrown like a girl... not even when throwing left handed. ☺

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Saturday, July 19, 2014

•Movie Night in the park... Windsong Style.

Tonight about 100 people came out to watch Despicable Me 2.

It was really an enjoyable evening. The temps couldn't have been better and it was great to see friends with their families, enjoying the park. Other than the lack of a true parking lot, and only having portable toilets, Windsong Park is almost better suited for the movie in the park than Marna O'Brien is.

A look from the the screen about half an hour before showtime.

When I was a kid "movies in the park" were at the Drive-In and we used to go at least twice a month back then. Being from Riverside, we had the Van Buren and the Magnolia Drive-Ins to choose from, though we occasionally ventured over to the Rubidoux Drive-In too.

I still remember being under ten and running around the playground near the screen. Well, there are no Drive-Ins anymore, so the movie in the park is a great modern substitute. I'm sure that many kids that came tonight will remember it well into their adulthood.

There are two more movie in the park nights scheduled for this Summer. 

August 8th and August 23rd. On August 8th the movie is in conjunction with "Camp Out at the Park" and on August 23rd there will be a movie after the ribbon cutting of the Freedom Swing. (If you don't know what that is, please follow this link to read about it)

If you have kids or not, plan on coming out and being part of the community. See you there.

As the movie is about to begin.
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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

• Feather Banners Beware or Notes on the Planning Commission Meeting

Tonight's planning commission meeting had no "General Business" just changes to zoning ordinances.

2.1 on the agenda took the longest time. It was relating to temporary banners for commercial, office and industrial zones. Things like Grand Opening banners, temporary banners, promotional banners and special event banners... "feather banners" were discussed too.

Examples of various "feather banners". 

After about 40 mins of discussion, the commission adopted (5-0) the resolution that also will ban inflatables like:

Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube Men 

and giant blue gorillas.

2.3 on the agenda was also about signage. This time about large signs along the freeway. After a bit of wrangling the resolution was passed 4-1 with Commissioner Langworthy being the only no vote. She thought that signs should be allowed to be as high as the highest one in town (current record holder is 71 feet tall). 

After the meeting I asked Planner Director Matt Bassi about the signs on the fence at the Monte Vista shopping center, which had been discussed earlier. Once the city council adopts 2.1 of tonight's agenda, the signs/banners on that fence would become illegal. Sorry, but that fence is horrible looking with all those banners draped all over. 

Thing is, as local resident Kathy Bundy asked about code enforcement during the meeting, all these ordinances will mean little since there is minimal code enforcement for such things in Wildomar. Also, I've run into a ton of resistance when it comes to code enforcement in this town. So I doubt we actually will have the will to follow through even once these zoning ordinance amendments are adopted by the full council... but I can always hope.

 ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼

So, at a previous city meeting, the issue of light pollution came up, and my good friend Sheila Urlaub mentioned the new Shell gas station sign during the public comments, and asked if it was compliant since —it looked like a big bug catcher glowing so brightly at night. If you look at the sign in the daytime, it's just a very tall sign. At night however, there are many empty slots that were not covered, and therefore emit great amounts of light at night.

Before the meeting Assistant Planner, and all around good guy, Alfredo Garcia told me that they checked it out and the owner opted to shut it off at night until they can update it. Too bad they didn't think of the light spilling out while they were installing it. 


Monday, July 14, 2014

• So You Want To Be A City Council Member

At the last city council meeting City Clerk Debbie Lee mentioned that those wanting to run for city council had to make an appointment with her, that was to last about an hour, and I asked Council Member Tim Walker if I could sit in on his meeting, to which he replied yes.

This is an election year, and three of the five city council seats are up for grabs. Though, truth be told, it's going to take a miracle to unseat any of the three. All three take their positions seriously, and all are doing a god job. We have Mayor Marsha Swanson, Mayor Pro-Tem Ben Benoit, and Council Member Tim Walker that have had the requisite meeting with Debbie Lee.

There is a fourth appointment set, but that name will only be released if the person chooses to tell people, or they return the paperwork with the $450 fee. Though I did learn that there is NO FEE if you choose to not post a candidate's statement in the Official Voter Information Guide.

The time period for filing papers is from July 14th until August 8th. If any of the three incumbents fail to turn in their papers on time, then there will be three additional days added, though they would be excluded from that additional grace period. (Gotta love the various rules that go along with elections, and there are a ton of them).

Here are the points that most stuck out to me:

  • Wildomar Logo may NOT be used in connection with your campaign... or as I learned, for any other purpose including facebook. (One of you facebook admins should be expecting a call soon... just sayin'.)
  • August 19th, candidate orientation at the city council chambers.
  • City Clerk's office will be Mon-Fri, 8-5 during this period. Make an appointment —unless you like waiting around.
  • Election day is November 4, 2014.
  • The term concludes at the first city council meeting following the election, and the official canvass 2018.
  • Candidate must be at least 18 years of age.
  • You must be a resident within the city of Wildomar.
  • You must be registered to vote at your current address.
  • You need 20 signatures, from registered voters within Wildomar. It's highly recommended that you get 30.
  • Get ready to give financial statements. COMPLETE statements at that.
  • $450 deposit, which you will be getting some back (this goes to the printing of your candidate's statement). 
  • All the paperwork needs to be filed together.
  • You cannot withdraw your candidacy after the nomination paper filing deadline. Even if you drop dead, you'll remain on the ballot.
  • You have to pick a ballot designation. Such as; Businessman; Community Activist (giggle giggle), Grandmother (assuming it applies), Long Time Resident, or nothing at all. You may not choose a political party or say you're "Retired". There are 13 pages from secretary of state of guidelines for Ballot Designation... which you shouldn't confuse with Ballot Statement... there, you can say more about yourself... but still not a reference to your political party since this is a local election. You can't make false statements [I'm thinking that must be a new one] ;)
  • You have ten days to make sure your statement is correct and how you want it to appear. After that, it's going in as submitted. You're limited to 200 words.
  • Campaign disclosure statements. Get ready for a can of headaches here. Plenty of numbers to make your eyes glaze over. 700 form
  • If you plan on spending over $1000 you have to file the paperwork. If you aren't planning on spending $1000 you should be getting your concession speech ready as soon as possible.
  • If you are late with your filing, you'll be penalized $10 a day —up to $100.
  • You'll need to talk to the planning department about your political signs. They cannot go up any sooner than 90 days before the election or stay up more than 10 days afterward. (Someone should be notifying Zellerbach about this rule). They cannot be in the public right of way, they cannot impede a line of sight, if your sign is in the wrong place it will be picked up by code enforcement, you can't nail them to trees or utility posts (again, this must be new since that's about the only place I usually see them). 
  • Be prepared to have your signs stolen and/or defaced. There is nothing the city can do about it. It's up to you to investigate or call the police about it. If they get graffiti on them, they will be removed.
  • December 10th will be swearing in time for the winners.
  • If you win, you'll be getting $300 a month. It will bump up to $400 if/when Wildomar hits 50,000 residents.
  • Candidate order on the ballot will be determined August 14. The Secretary of State does a randomized alphabet draw to determine order.
  • On your mailers you cannot use false or misleading information. (Again, I'm thinking that as long as you don't say something very obviously false, like that you are a Time Lord that travels around in the TARDIS, saving mankind —you'll be fine since all I ever seem to see is severe bloviating in campaign mailers.)

Dr. Who is not on the ballot this year.

  • You cannot electioneer at a polling place... something that has been done by the spouse of a council member in the past. If you want to do that, then learn to count to 100 feet, and shout your name from there.
  • Wildomar is about 50% vote by mail. So if you wait too long to start your campaigning, there's a good chance you'll get the short end of the stick. Just check out the results of the 2010 Wildomar elections if this fact confuses you. 
  • You'll get a CD version of the candidate handbook (we're paperless now... woohoo!).
  • Only one person can circulate the paper to gather the 20 necessary signatures.
  • If it turns out that the only ones that file papers are the three incumbents, then the city council will vote whether or not to have the election. A savings of $35,000-$38,000 if that were to eventuate.

I'm hoping to be able to chat with each of the candidates as we get past Labor Day. Letting you get a fuller picture of who wants to represent our city. It's always fun to have a horse race, but the three incumbents we have, have been doing a good job and it's not like any of them have been there too long. Marsha Swanson has been in for 6 years, and Ben Benoit and Tim Walker haven't even made 4 years yet. I'm a term limits kind of guy, but I'm not for getting new people, that won't know the ropes, simply because the calender dictates it.

Lastly, you should be prepared to put in real hours if you win. This isn't just a photo-op. This means you should be prepared to read the agenda for the meetings —all of it. You should also consider yourself an ambassador of the city and be at as many city functions as you can realistically make. In other words, if you're in town, be there, and since events are known months in advance, work them into your schedule. Also you should be prepared to communicate with your constituents. Ignoring emails and phone calls is something that isn't cool. 

You can use my city seal for WillyMar because it's cooler than the original... no offense, nothing personal


Wildomar Rap has never left a single political sign out to fade in the sun.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

• City Council Meeting July 9, 2014

Tonight was a pretty light meeting. Both parts were over by 7:30ish.

Debbie Lee and Mayor Marsha Swanson.


Things that made a blip on my radar included: 
  1. Ashley Fox speaking to the council about her wheel chair project.
  2. Debbie Lee getting recognition for five years as a city employee. 
  3. Cottonwood Canyon showdown with the Johnson family.
  4. The topic of trash fees/fines for those not getting service.
  5. AB 1521/SB 69 is getting closer to the governor's desk.
  6. Bus service in Wildomar, a meeting is set for September 8th from 4:00-7:00PM at the library for more discussion. 
  7. Filing period to run for city council is from July 14th through August 8th. Get your $450 ready and your 20 qualified signatures ready!

1. The last fund raiser for Ashley Fox's wheel chair swing project will be at the Lake Elsinore Storm game on Friday, July 25th. The dedication to the swing will be at Marna O'Brien Park on Saturday, August 23, 2014.

 Click for link

2. See picture... pretty self explanatory.

3. This is an interesting story. I need to ask for more details... but from what I was gathering, a long time access road is threatening to be closed by new owners. I'm sure there are two sides to this one... now if we can figure out the details, that would be great.

4. It seems that some residents, that have never received trash service, and have always taken their own trash to the dump, are being threatened (my word) with back due notices (which can lead to worse things) even though they've never been served. It was nice to see Council Members Bob Cashman and Tim Walker showing concern for those that are basically being charged for something they have never received. 

5. Council Member Ben Benoit was discussing his two recent trips to Sacramento, where he kept hammering away for the cause of Wildomar, which is tied up in the AB 1521 and SB 69 . Those bills are the last hopes of the Wildomar, Menifee, Jurupa Valley and Eastvale to have significant portions of their budgets restored. In our case, we're looking at fifty bucks a head or $1.8M a year... which is about 20% of our annual budget. Benoit was hopeful that the bill(s) would make it to the governor's desk in short order. If that happens, and you care about Wildomar, you're going to be asked to get your old pen and paper out to flood Señor Moonbeam with info he already knows and blithely ignores... but I'm game if it gets that far.

6. Council Member Moore was at the RTA meeting and was displeased to find that there is no planned service for Bundy Canyon in the plan that covers the next ten years. If this is important to you, be heard at that meeting. There is a meeting at the library scheduled for this, though I think the last time I was on a bus, other than the one that went to Harrah's a few months ago, was before I could drive. 

7. I hear there are only 4 people that have set up the necessary appointment to run for city council —three of which are incumbents.

I'm going to be thoroughly disappointed if no one from Wildomar's Cantankerotti class is willing to throw their hat in. Come on guys, just search your couch cushions again... you and your throngs of loyal adherents are sure to have that piddly amount of money lying around. The hard part will be getting the 20 qualified signatures, they do have to actually reside in Wildomar, but we're all counting on you to give it that old college try — for the Gipper, and all that rot.

I told you it was a quick meeting. 

Wildomar Rap, grinding out hackneyed cliche's since late 2013. Dare to find us on FaceBook.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

• A Visit to Oak Meadows Ranch

The ranch has gotten into the Press Enterprise with the headline: Warrant served, animals impounded at Wildomar sanctuary
Link to story here

There was another story by the PE about Oak Meadows, dated June 6th. 
Cats impounded from Wildomar horse sanctuary 


I recently had a chance to visit Oak Meadows Ranch and a chat with owners Craig and Debbie. 

A panoramic of the a gathering area and the arena.

I had a pad of paper and about a dozen questions for the pair and I started with, "How did you choose Wildomar?"

Craig answered, "I used to live in Wildomar, actually I'm one of the originators of starting the city. I bought in Wildomar when it was still county, and they had a group meeting that I attended. They said, 'we know we're not a city, but we can buy freeway signs that say Elevation and Population for this amount of money but because we're not a city, we don't have any money'.  I stood up and I said, "Here's my twenty bucks —everyone match me," and I'm the one that put the signs on the freeway."

When we started with our horses, we bought two. Lisa and Hercules. Two thoroughbreds that turned out to be racehorse offspring.  Hercules is a great grandson of Secratariat, Lisa is a great great grandaughter of Man O'War.

Craig and Debbie in front of a pond and some of the stables.

We boarded them at a ranch that had a great manager, they were underweight and basically rescues. We were told that we had to put 100 pounds on each of those horses, "here's how you do it."

We were taught how to fatten up a horse. We were told what to buy, what to do, how to feed, so we started doing that. Then she (the ranch manager) was getting horses left at the front gate because people started losing ranches —this was back two years ago.

After helping out, and seeing several horses left at the ranch, Craig and Debbie considered starting their own horse rescue.

These poor animals were being abandoned, starved, slaughtered. At the time horses were being let go in the Santa Ana river bed with their papers in their halters. There's no food in the Santa Ana river bed, they all would have died of starvation or injuries so we wanted to start helping take care of that. We had the funds, we had the ability, so we started the non profit and started rescuing horses and in two months we had eight horses. We were paying $250 apiece where we were boarding.

They were told they were too big for the ranch they were using and that they would need to find something bigger. 

So Craig asked Debbie, "How many horses would you like to rescue, and she said 'as many as we can.'"

That means a lot of property, and I was driving by this place (the future Oak Meadows Ranch, 21 acres) and it was available, I contacted the owner [and asked] if I could lease option to buy for a horse rescue, and here we are.

How often does your vet visit?
Our vet is here almost every single day. He loves to ride, and when he came to us —he's retired now, and he said, "I'm a retired vet, and I like to ride, would you like to trade?"

So I said, "Pick a horse." He lives a few minutes away at The Farm and is on the Board of Directors of the Ranch.

How many volunteers do you have?
It's actually not that hard to take care of them. Feeding takes about an hour and a half. We have a quad with a trailer so we just drive around toss hay, and my [Craig's] son-in-law helps us, he volunteers his time.

As for volunteers, we get contacted almost everyday with people wanting to volunteer. We probably have on record at least 100 volunteers, but day to day we'll get 4 or 5 a day, sometimes 6 to 10. Last weekend we had 20 Saturday and Sunday. The whole ranch was spotless by ten o'clock in the morning.

Later on as we were touring the northern part of the ranch, I saw Brandon, their son-in-law, hard at work watering and attending to stalls.

To get a glimpse of the ranch, and some horses at play, watch the video.

How many horses do you care for?
Right now we have 73 or 74. We are permitted up to 105.

Typically, how long does a horse stay at Oak Meadows Ranch before finding a new home? Do you rescue them, get them healthy and then find someone that wants a horse?

When we bring them in, they're abandoned for several reasons.

One is, they probably have bad feet/aren't rideable/lame, or they're underweight. There are several reasons they might be under weight. they either have worms, an eating disorder, just plain starved... people [some horse owners] are just plain stupid.

When we get a horse in it usually takes a minimum of two months to get its weight back or heal its feet.

For example, we just rescued a thoroughbred that was lame. We have an excellent farrier here who discounts all of his work to us, and donated over $4000 worth of work last year alone. So we called him out and said, "this horse came in with shoes, it's lame, can you fix it?"

So he pulls the shoes off and one of the nails is in the sole instead of the hoof and there's an abscess. So we pull the nails and treat the abscess, wait eight weeks —which is the time frame  between one treatment to another. So he comes back out, we trim her up, but she's still limping. So we treat the foot with  MSM, that's like glucosamine for us. Wait eight more weeks, call him out again, and it's decided that she needs to wear egg bar shoes [to correct some feet problems]. Eight weeks later we run her, and there's no limp... we fixed it. Now that horse is available for adoption. It took about 4 months to get it ready to go.

We've only had five horses adopted out. We're a sanctuary, we didn't go into this sell horses or flip horses.

Do you get a chance to ride often?
We're busy, but we try to ride at least once a week.

How long have you worked with horses?

I [Craig] grew up on a Ranch up in Utah and my uncle was a race horse breeder. So I got to ride his a little bit, but didn't really start with them until April of two years ago [2012].

I've heard that you have special needs kids visit your ranch.

We have schools, with autistic students, that come out for field trips, and bring three, four, five kids at a time. They'll come out and brush the horse, talk to the horse —it really brightens up both the kids and the horses. 

The old lethargic horses, that don't look like they're happy, [when we] put an autistic kid next to it... it's a beautiful thing to see. They're both helped out, the horses just glow. They literally get taller. They puff up. They're proud of themselves. It's just awesome to watch it.

What do you do with the manure?

We actually mulch it back into compost, we have a worm farm. We also do sell some of it. People will come and buy 50 pound bags or a truck load —same with the chicken manure.

If people want to donate, how do they do it? 
Is it tax deductible?

We're a 501 c3. It's 100% tax deductible. It's under Blue Pearl Project. We help horses throughout the whole United States. When we're contacted from people from places like North Carolina, that can no longer take care of their horses, so when they call I [Debbie] find local rescue for them. I know pretty much all of the rescues in the United States. If someone says to us, "I want to donate to the Blue Pearl Project, but I want it to go to Days End Horse Rescue, Blue Pearl Project will take that donated money and send it to Days End Horse Rescue. We don't just help here, but we're a national rescue.
They can send a check made out to Blue Pearl Project, or they can go online and use paypal.

If people would like to visit, how should they go about it?

It's best for them to call us, schedule an appointment, that's the way the city prefers it. Call us or send us an email and we say "yes".

Then Craig jokingly threw in:
So yeah, they can just show up. 

Do you have more plans for Oak Meadows Ranch?

We have a vision. It would have been done if we hadn't been stopped. The vision is a little cowboy town up on the hill... and a little Indian villiage on the other side. We've got a Tee Pee ordered and a sweat lodge that's going to be built. The Pechanga Indians are helping us.

[Speaking of the ranch] It was dead property when we got it. Everything you see, we put here, other than the three buildings in the back.


I then asked them about any trouble they've encountered, and that part of the conversation would take up an entire blog itself. They've been hassled by neighbors that haven't even bothered to introduce themselves. 

They've been hassled by Wildomar's infamous Cantankerotti, that loves to spout their idiocy on a website called Patch. 

They've had Fish and Wildlife called on them... to which they passed the inspections. 

They've had the local animal shelter called on them by people that NEVER visited the ranch. Again, they passed that inspection. 

They were attacked on a local Wildomar FaceBook page, bogus claims of them starving horses, were made by people that have never set foot on the ranch. 

They told me the same people had been pestering them just the day before about the same things.

I had a short chat with both Assistant City Manager Dan York, and later with Mayor Pro-Tem Ben Benoit about Oak Meadows Ranch. From what I got out of it is that the city doesn't want to make trouble for them, just to make sure that all the permits and codes are being followed.

As Ben was saying, "There are many 501 c3's in Wildomar, and they have the right to do certain things on their land. That doesn't mean that because you can do it, you can avoid the permitting process."

Ben made fair points.

— as an aside —

Whenever I hear people say "Wildomar is Rural" I laugh. 

You mean that junk pile on Palomar is rural

I never saw anything this fancy on Green Acres. This place is better than Boberta's Thrift Store.


Or those run down shacks on either side of Central as you approach Grand... you mean that is "rural" too? 

Does anyone remember the leaning shack that used to be next to this... before it burned down about five years ago?


After visiting Oak Meadows Ranch I finally saw something I'd call "rural" here. 

Oak Meadows Ranch looks to be a emerging jewel in the Wildomar crown and I'd like to see our city help them in their endeavor. If they've put the wrong foot forward, let's be neighborly and help them find the proper path before taking out the cudgel and walloping them.

Oak Meadows Ranch. An actual place in Wildomar that is rural.


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

• Now We Are Six

We had a Home Depot?  j/k

If you were near the corner of Palomar and Central today around 6:30PM you probably heard the peal of the bell that sits on the Wildomar Elementary campus. Happy Birthday/Happy Anniversary.


After the crowd gathered, Council Member Bob Cashman spoke for a few moments about the bell and the history behind it.

  • It weighs 640 pounds. 
  • The bell is made of cast iron
  • It had to be lifted about 40 feet in the air to be installed in the belfry. They built a structure next to the tower, and along with a crane, got it up to a platform and then slid it across to a structure that resembles the existing one, that was atop of the old school.
  • The bell used to be rung at the beginning of school. It alerted the students to line up for class. The bell was also rung at recess, the end of recess and at the end of the school day
  • There are two time capsules under the Bell to be opened in 2058.

  • Watch the short video to hear how the bell sounds.

    A lot of people rang the bell, especially from the younger crowd. A memory that will last a lifetime to be sure.


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