Thursday, August 28, 2014

• Meet Johnny Salas and Armani Too

Today at 11:30am I meandered over to Stadium Pizza, the weekly home of the Wildomar Rotary Club. On today's agenda was the presentation of a $600 check to Johnny Salas. A longtime Wildomar resident that has a condition known as Arthrogryposis [as I learned during our conversation]. The money was to help defray the outstanding balance on his new Service Dog, Armani.
Johnny and Armani

WR: How long have you been in Wildomar?
JS: We've been in this area for awhile, but actual Wildomar... I've been here since I was in 6th grade.

WR: What is your ailment?
JS: Arthrogryposis. It mainly affects the joints, hips, knees, ankles. I've had a total of six corrective surgeries. I wear orthopedic braces, called KAFOs. They come all the way up to here (pointing to his hip area). I've been wearing these since I was about one.
These images of KAFO braces came up during an image search.

WR: How does arthrogryposis affect your daily life?
JS: Because this is all I know, it's always hard to say... I've always been one to try not to let it hold me back at all.

WR: I had originally thought of that question before knowing if your condition came about in your teens, or if it were from birth.
JS: Right, I totally understand. Little things that average people [don't give a second thought to] like getting like getting up from the floor. Getting up is more difficult. Walking upstairs or uphills is really hard because of the limited rotation in my hips.

WR: Who's idea was it to get a service dog?
JS: My girlfriend is the one to suggest it. I've never been one to want to admit that I needed help. We were talking for awhile and she said, "I think it would be good for you." At first I was almost opposed to it, thinking 'I don't need it'... I'm fine. 

But if I was out with my girlfriend, she literally would have to have her hand on my back, pushing me up hills, or pulling me up stairs. 

Then it clicked.

Maybe this is something we should look into... this might be able to actually help me.

WR: How old is Armani and how long have you had him?
JS: He's 4 years old and I've had him about two and a half months.

WR: What was the cost for the dog?
JS:  Total cost, altogether, was close to $10,000. They can be as high as $30,000 depending on the place... it was a lot. We did a lot of fundraising. My girlfriend and I were literally in tears a couple of times because of how generous people are and how willing everybody was to help. It was definitely very humbling to have to ask people for money.

I play music at my church and a friend of mine had asked me to play at his church and at the end of the service they'd ask for a donation for me. So I went, and there were probably about thirty students in their twenties, all together they raised just under $1500.

He didn't like getting into specifics about how much he still owed for the dog, you can see he had a similar shyness about the question in the video too. I totally understand that. 

I'm not one to speak much about money either. Not my money, not your money, not how much I paid for things nor how much you paid for things. 

However, this is a blog about his service dog, and the costs associated with it, and his fundraising efforts... so it's one of those times for me to get out of my comfort zone. After today's check, he still owes about $2900.

WR: Since you mentioned that you play music, what instrument do you play?
JS:  I play acoustic guitar and do lead vocals.

WR: How long have you been doing that?
JS:  For about twelve years.

WR: How did the Wildomar Rotary Club hear about your situation?
JS:  I am close friends with Sarah Zamora, who is the mayor's [Marsha Swanson's] granddaughter, she saw my post on FaceBook and said, "My grandma's part of the Rotary, I think we can help you out." 

A group shot of those helping raise funds for Johnny and Armani at Marna O'Brien park. Sorry, but other
than Johnny, Armani, Marsha Swanson and Bridgette Moore I don't know the names of the other helpers.

WR: Tell me about how you've bonded with Armani?
JS:  It was almost like I was intimidated at first, because this is my first... I've had a dog before, but it was a Pomeranian. He was the first big dog, but it didn't take long to realize he was just a lover. He's just such a cuddler. We do really good, once in awhile he tries to jump in the bed... he's too cute to tell him to get down sometimes.

WR: If people would like to help you with the balance of what you owe, how do they do so?
JS:  There is a website called YouCaring or my FaceBook Page.

Note: when I went to the YouCaring site, it mentions that the fund raiser closed well short of the goal. Also his FaceBook page is set to private (who can blame him in today's world). So if you'd like to help out, it appears you're going to have to send a private message at YouCaring or FaceBook first.

What a pleasure it was to meet such a cheerful and thoughtful person as Johnny Salas, and his oversized teddy bear Armani too. It's always inspiring to see people that are pushing past the obstacles that would crush many of the rest of us.

Kudos to the Rotary Club for helping out one of our locals. Especially to those that really put in the time. I'd name names, but you didn't do it for that purpose. You know who you are and your efforts are appreciated.


Above is the video of Johnny Salas being presented with a check in the amount of $600. It brought his outstanding balance down from $3500 to $2900.

▼ ▼   ▲   ▼ ▼   ▲   ▼▼   ▲   ▼ ▼  ▲  ▼ ▼   ▲   ▼ ▼   ▲   ▼▼   ▲   ▼ ▼

Clicking is such a sweet sound.
I will leave you with a short poem from Lord Byron

Much that I sought, I could not find;
Much that I found, I could not keep;
Much that I kept, I could not free;
Much that I freed, returned to me.

That basically is telling you to sign up for Wildomar Rap updates before arthritis sets in.

Monday, August 25, 2014

• credibility

    • the quality of being trusted and believed in.
      "the out of town blog's credibility has been hammered once again by making more outlandish claims."
      synonyms:trustworthiness, reliability, dependability, integrityMore

      • the quality of being convincing or believable.
        "the out of town blog's anecdotes have scant regard for credibility"
        synonyms:plausibility, believability, tenability, probabilityfeasibilitylikelihood,credence;

Without credibility, a person is sunk. 

"Great," you're saying... I haven't bothered with sophomore vocabulary since... well... since I was a sophomore. What's this topic about?

It being election season and all, noise levels are beginning to rise... even in our small city. Though the only discernible noise seems to be coming from 27 miles due east. (hint: the new location of an infamous blogger that has stalked Wildomar with unmatched relentlessness for years).

I have a real question for those that have had the dismal misfortune of catching the acts of the local hate bloggers since they first slithered ashore.

Has "Zak" ever been a straight shooter?

Has he always come with the same predictable tripe?

He is so formulaic.

I'd love to see an assembly of his ardent followers. 
I'm thinking it would resemble an old movie from the '30s.

Back to the topic of credibility.

So, despite the fact that Señor Poison Pen has been living far from Wildomar since the first of the year, his unabated loathing for this city keeps pumping the bile out around the clock. I guess he needs an outlet for it, so he continues to post about our city, and now about the coming election.

Gee, we're all on pins and needles awaiting his every pronouncement.

Of course he is endorsing both challengers. Just as he endorses the lawsuits that have long plagued this city. Like I said, he is tediously predictable, so everyone one of us saw that pitch coming —as if it were a beach ball on a tee. No wonder why he keeps his comments shut off. If he actually engaged people, instead of sniping from the peanut gallery, he'd get disrobed more times than Charlie Brown does.

I wonder if CB writes a nasty blog about an adjacent city too?
If he does, I bet he also keeps the comments shut off.

So, other than his long history of being off base, what makes this worth mentioning here?

He's been on a tear of late. Trying, yet again, to tarnish the city council with half truths, especially those running for reelection. Conversely, attempting to pump up the "leadership qualities" (cough) of candidate Gary Andre. Of course he never mentions any of Mr. Andres numerous glaring weak spots that would make him an atrocious selection for the city council. All he wants is one of the old guard in there, no matter how poor of a choice it would be.

* * * * * * * * *

Let's use the example of a used car to see what it looks like when you only tout the positive, while doing your best to shield the negative.

C'mon, you can trust me.
 Salesman from Hemet: This beauty seats seven; it was used by a the local convent to bring the infirm to church; never driven more than 100 miles a month; it recently had new tires and wiper blades put on it; it is a classic car that has been in town for decades.

potential buyer opens the hood.

 Experienced Wildomar Voter: Hey buddy, there ain't no engine in here.

 Salesman from Hemet: Eh, a mere technicality.

The writer of the blog being discussed here is no better than a classic, 1950's era used car salesman. Hey, that isn't a slam... entirely that is. Those guys knew how to ply their trade, and were successful. Same here, he knows what he's doing, and he loves knowing how many he can fish in.

Here is another tidbit to look at.

He lifted a question from a facebook page that is dedicated to the coming Candidate Forum. He contends that it was directed at Gary Andre, as if that were a bad thing, though it was asked of all of the candidates. Here is the quote from the blog:

"Since Gary Andre has been physically disabled for a long period of time, the following question is disingenuously posed, “Have any of you ever had, or do any of you currently have any mental… health issues, drug or alcohol addiction? Do any of you currently take painkiller medication on a daily, or regular, basis that could potentially interfere in making sound decisions?” should only be perceived by most rational voters as an unwarranted intrusion into Andre’s personal medical history."

That's one way to look at it I guess. But another way to look at it is —do we want someone up on the dais that is under the influence of pain medication? It's not a slam on him if he is. My wife hurt her back in January, and is only just now getting healthy enough to return to work. She's been on a few different pain meds and she can tell you first hand, as can I, that her memory gets affected. 

I've watched Gary Andre speak at city hall many times, I've also spoken to him several times. He's made many good points on certain topics. I heard him remind the Parks Sub-Committee last year, that the ground in October is very hard, and it will be next to impossible for volunteers to plant trees [on the Great Day of Service]. 

He also made some solid points about the grass at Marna as they were doing the hydroseeding. Credit where credit is due, there isn't a single person that would give the current turf at Marna a glowing report. It's choked by weeds and something needs to be done about it.

He's also worked for the trails in Wildomar and Riverside County.

Gary, thanks for the time you've put in.

Like I've said before, "Nice enough fellow" but that doesn't make him qualified to be one of our five city council members. I'm not saying that because of his views that I don't share, I'm saying that because of the entire package that comprises the candidate. Including his well known pugnacious tendencies.

If you haven't had a chance to meet Gary Andre, this is a small slice from back in April at a city council meeting. The sound is a bit iffy, but it'll give you glimpse of the man.

* * * * * * * * *

Now let's examine the views, from that same blog, on newcomer Israel Leija and his bid to be a city council member.

"I’ve never met this candidate, and have no context with which to comment on his ballot statement... It appears that Israel has professional and life experience  equal to any of the three incumbents  and is worthy of your consideration for his successful efforts to become a candidate with commendable stated goals."

And he throws around words like "paranoia" and "fear"?  As if any serious candidate would be in a swivet because there is an election ahead. Just more from the crowd that habitually abuses hyperbole and relies on distortions since their actual points don't resonate with more than a few disgruntled people that forgot how to get along with others.

Ok, let's parse the quote.

He's never met the man, and all he knows of him is what he read in a "candidate" statement.

If this were a studio audience we wouldn't need laughter and applause signs. 

Though he admittedly knows nothing about the candidate, he's ready to conclude that he "has professional and life experience equal to any of the three incumbents".

Are you serious?

...and I bet you're hungry enough to eat the entire Budweiser team of Clydesdales too. Enough of the mindless exaggerations for once in your life.

I don't care if you like or dislike Marsha Swanson, Tim Walker or Ben Benoit. To ignore reality and then blithely suggest that Mr. Leija's experience level is anywhere near on par with the others —people that have been active in the community for years— is beyond that of the dullest witted out there.

It only shows the disdain he must have for his readers, as if assuming that they are so intellectually lazy that they would just gobble up his words, like they were coming from on high. Then again, they are his readers and he ought to know.

Oh wait, time for me to predict what Zak will do next.

He'll proclaim that I wrote this as a diversion, because of the ever gripping, and insurmountable consternation, that one of the two challengers is bringing in their wake among the other candidates (or some other such nonsense).

Yep, dats gotta be it... or it could be that there are no credible challengers in this race... no offense Israel. As for those that might like to see a different face up there; they have no real alternatives.

Hey likely voters.

Some of you may want to vote the incumbents out, but you'd better have a competent replacement in mind (which there aren't any in this election cycle). City business shouldn't be such a joke to you, that you'd put any warm body up in one of those chairs. This isn't a high school popularity contest, no matter what the out of town bloggers may suggest.

I still haven't met candidate Leija, but plan to at the Candidate Forum that is scheduled for Tuesday, September 23rd at Elsinore High School, unless he comes to a city meeting first. 

I'll ask him how he feels about being endorsed by the blogger in question. Any serious candidate would disavow any direct or implied endorsement from that source. First, who would want to be associated with it, or the small crowd that sings its praises? Second, it's not like he has an inspiring track record when it comes to Wildomar elections and those he backs. Remember, without credibility, what's the point?

♫ ♪ Oh what fun... it is to blog... in an election year in a small town. ♫ ♪


Saturday, August 23, 2014

• What's Happening and a "Dust Up at Annie's Cafe"

Press Release:
Coffee with a Cop Wildomar

On Wednesday, September 17th, 2014, from 9am to 11am, the Riverside Sheriff’s Department’s Lake Elsinore Station will host Coffee with a Cop . 

The event will be held at the Starbucks Coffee at 32080 Clinton Keith Road, in the city of Wildomar. 

—The Starbucks on the west side of the 15—

 Deputies from the Wildomar Police Department and community members will come together in an informal, neutral space to discuss community issues, build relationships, and drink coffee. All members of the Wildomar community are invited to attend.

Out and About:
Chat with a Resident Near a Park
While out walking my two dogs I had the occasion to bump into Monty Goddard, he lives near Windsong Park and is on the Measure Z Oversight Committee. He was relating to me the events of a late night in July where two cars full of revelers showed up near midnight, hopped the fence to the park, and partied until 3am.

He promptly called the police, and sent emails to all five members of the city council about it. An hour later, with the party still going on as it had been, he called the police again, but was told it was a "low priority call" and would have to be patient... he also sent another email to the council —a bit more pointed this time.

At one point near 2am, one of the two carloads of youth left, but that didn't end the noise.

Have you ever noticed that voices travel well in the middle of the night? Yeah, me too... and if you are speaking at a normal voice, appropriate for 2:00 in the afternoon, it sounds like shouting at 2:00 in the morning. 

Compound drunk people in the middle of the night, with Summer heat (people sleeping with windows opened) and you can see where troubles would arise. He was relating to me the slurred words of a female in the park, "I can't drink anymore vodka I have a class at 8am."

So, if I'm remembering the story correctly, at 3am he called again, a little less cheerful than before, and asked for a callback from the responding deputy. The other car left before the police arrived, but as it did head out of the neighborhood, a police car followed them out.

Still, no citations were written. There can't be a sane person out there, not even my friend Sheila Urlaub, that would think this kind of thing should be permissible. If we don't have a Zero Tolerance policy for such things, then I think it makes sense to implement one.

He finally did get a call back at 3:30am, and Bridgette Moore was the only one to return any of his emails. 

Pencils Ready:
Things To Put On Your Calendar
Movie in the Park: TONIGHT Saturday August 23, from 6pm-10pm. The movie is Disney-Pixar's Cars. The snack bar will be open and serving hot dogs, chips, popcorn, hot chocolate, coffee. It will be manned by Troop 332. Put them boys to work!

Monday August 25, 2014 Parks Subcommittee Meeting at City Hall. If you have concerns about the parks, this is your chance to speak directly to those in charge of them.

Saturday September 6th, from 7am - 9am: Coffee & Cars. I'm not sure what this one is... I'm thinking that non-gearheads are invited too. I guess I can show up in my 1970 VW Bug... the question will be: Should I wash it first?

Saturday September 13th, from 10am to 2pm at Marna O'Brien Park there is a Bicycle Safety Event. The flyer says, "Children of all ages" are invited to this FREE event. Hey, I'm almost 50 years old, and I'm not a kid... but everyone is invited. Let's cause a traffic jam with more people than Marna can handle at once —deal?
No offense to the fine sponsors of this event, but I had to cut that part of the flyer out for space considerations.

Let's not forget the item at the top of the page: Coffee with a CopWednesday, September 17th, 2014, from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM at the Starbucks on the west side of the Freeway.

Astronomy Night Star Party Saturday September 20th, 6pm-10pm. The first Astronomy Night was great, if you didn't go the first time, I suggest not missing this one. 

There is a Candidate's Forum scheduled for 6:30pm on Tuesday September 23rd, at Elsinore High School. All five candidates have RSVPed. It is being hosted by the Wildomar Chamber of Commerce and the moderator is slated to be LEUSD Board member Tom Thomas. A facebook page has been created to field questions from the public that may be used. 

What, what, WHAT??
Dust Up at Annie's Cafe

So a little bird left a bug in my ear about something juicy.

Since I haven't spoken directly to either of the two parties involved I will leave out names. Allegedly a certain Wildomar City Council candidate was campaigning at Annie's Cafe while other people were trying to enjoy a meal between songs and dances there. (if you've never been to Annie's be sure to ask if you can wear one of their funny hats when you do). Now back to the story.

I will blur the candidate in question because it seems like the right thing to do.

I like horseys too.

So this candidate, not the new comer that no one has met and not any of the incumbents —you do the math, was trolling about handing out fliers asking for donations.

When an Annie's Cafe regular had had enough, as the story goes, an argument ensued, that had to be "broken up", after she asked him "How dare you run and sue the city at the same time?"

Seems like a legit question to ask.

So let's peruse the recent resume of this candidate here.
  1. Is tight with the group that constantly sues the city.
  2. Didn't finish even a full year of a two year term as Trails Volunteer.
  3. Impersonated a city code enforcement officer.
  4. Argues with potential voters when asked basic questions.
  5. (those are the nice things. The other stuff would burn your ears off.)
The Cantankerotti must be proud of the horse they have in this race. 

It's been my goal to have a sit down with all those running, then write basic "Meet the Candidate" blogs about them.  I've had RSVPs from Leija and the three incumbents. I've been looking to meet up with Andre, to ask if he'd be interested, but he's failed to show up at any city event or meeting for me to do so. I guess I should go have breakfast at Annie's (Lake Elsinore) if I want to meet him, instead of a city event or meeting.

I've never claimed to be a  journalist and I don't pretend to be unbiased, but still, I'm far more fair than anything else you'll read regarding our city. 

When it comes to Gary Andre, he will only get four types of votes

  • The first is from those that don't know his history. 
  • The second is from those that seethe whenever they see a picture of Bridgette Moore. 
  • The third is from people that absolutely will not vote for an incumbent... even if they've been doing their jobs and the challenger would be in WAY over his head.
  • The fourth is from those that do know his shtick and like it.

He will not receive a single vote from people that take Wildomar seriously. Those that would knowingly vote for him —basing their vote on his past— are those that are simply looking for another "no" vote and some contentious city council meetings. 

So, in a way, from the perspective of a spectator and a blogger... it would be good sport if Andre catches lightning in a bottle and wins. 

It won't be good for our city, but it will please the out of town bloggers and activists that still plague our little hamlet.

Join Today!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

• Planning Commission Meeting Aug. 20, 2014

I've been going to city meetings for the past year, and I think I haven't missed a single planning commission meeting in that time... though there have been a couple of regularly scheduled meetings that have been cancelled, including next month's.

Here's what I've taken away from that experience.

I am so glad that I'm not a landowner in this town.

Let's take this little, odd shaped, piece of land where Corydon meets Mission Trail for example. There used to be a rock yard there, I bought a bunch of stepping stones there in the past, but it's been gone for what seems like the better part of three years now.

Plot of land in question.

From what the developer/owner said —he first wanted to come in with some high density housing, but was told that most likely wouldn't fly here. Funny thing about that, I remember a former Planning Commissioner that said he understood the need for high density, but didn't like that it was all being put into one area of town (presumably the area near Kaiser). Well, this area is at the other end of town and would have made a lot of sense, but the developer opted to heed the planning department and went into another direction.

It's currently zoned CR (commercial retail), and he wanted the zoning changed to add some light industrial. Let's all remember that this part of the process is actually before the proverbial first step. It's NOT a GPA (it's a GPAIP - General Plan Amendment Initiation Proposal (pre-application review). A step that will soon be relegated to the history books, but is still needed today.

The developer came in with retail in the front portion and light industrial in the back. Most of the commission was holding out for only retail on the entire property. If you are familiar with the retail area north of the Baxter off ramp and east of the 15, you may agree with me that having a retail business that is tucked away, out of plain sight for people driving by, can be a death knell.

However, I did enjoy the optimism of long time Wildomar resident, from the farm, George Taylor on the topic. He reminded us how Temecula did not allow Walmart to build on a certain plot of ground years ago... and how later that land was developed into what is now The Promenade.

"You don't know what might happen here, in the future, with commercial real estate"
—George Taylor—

He can't really be comparing the two... is he?

I understand that people like to exaggerate to make a point, but please there should be limits. If you want to say, "I'm hungry enough to eat a horse" we understand that bit of hyperbole. There is no need to accelerate it up to, "I'm hungry enough to eat the entire Budweiser team of Clydesdales."

There is no way to compare a vast open area, that later became a regional mall, to a relatively small piece of land that is simply going nowhere. If we wait, as was suggested, and skip over the current owner's plans, it will not become The Wildomar Promenade... at least I don't think it will be.

The developer was speaking of possibly having automotive related retail in the front of the property. Things like custom tires or car stereos. Items that come with high prices, hence are good sales tax generators. Certainly as good as the "dress shop" I heard tossed out as an alternative.

The thing that got to me, and Commissioner Bobby Swann touched on it a bit, is the reverence that seems to be paid to a document that was put together before we were a city; by only a handful of locals.  I hear it took almost three years, and I bet it was a ton of work, but it was put together in another time —before our economy went  >>poof<< . Sorry, but there is no document that is above being revised as time marches on.

Even our own US Constitution has been revised dozens of times. If that hallowed document can be amended, so can our General Plan.

Still, that isn't the best part. Am I the only one listening at these meetings?

This General Plan Amendment Initiation Proposal (pre-application review) request on the part of the applicant will NOT be an approval of anything. It simply allows him to start the process, and if his plans don't fit within the desires of Wildomar, he'll be told NO —then.

Once our official General Plan kicks in, which is sooner than later, this 'pre' first step will be eliminated in the GPA process. This part of the process is what is called a formality. Meaning: rubber stamp it, and let him be told 'NO' later if his ideas don't work in our city.

In this cartoon, Peach is playing the part of Wildomar and Mario is the developer.

Asking the applicant about the specifics at this point is like asking your spouse if he/she wants sour cream and chives on their baked potato... six months from now. Let's deal with today first.

*   *   *

There was also another GPAIP by someone wanting to build 48 homes on 15 acres off of Baxter.

Click to see the full info at the city's website.

I'm not sure if that's good fit or not, but still what was all the wrangling about at this juncture? This was another one of those formalities that should have been kicked upstairs to the city council to deal with. This was not the time to ask the applicant anything. When at a restaurant we don't give our food order to the hostess. Time and place my friends.

Lastly, there seems to be some romantic notion among many that we are "rural" and they want only to see The Ponderosa on one side of the street, South Fork on the other.

Pa better keep this a secret, Hoss and Little Joe ain't gonna like it one bit.

Sorry, but in the words of SE Hinton, that was then, this is now.

Take a realistic view of our city —Google Maps is great for that— and you'll see that it is not some rural place with swaths of pristine open land. Click the link and you'll get an aerial view of our city. It's already been built and we can only be considered "rural" when compared to metropolitan areas like LA, or other major media markets.


Click This Now!

Wildomar Rap has never attempted to eat a horse, much less a Clydesdale, though I hear they are rather tasty.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

• How Donating Time Saved Me a Bundle

Yesterday I had the high honor of being asked if I'd like to videotape the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that City Council Member Bridgette Moore and Scout Leader Doug Ames were about to undertake.

They had been challenged over the weekend by Mayor Marsha Swanson, when it was a typical hot August day, but they had bigger plans than a simple bucket of water over the head. They had a mini production in mind and wanted to involve Wildomar's Boy Scout Troop 332, so they scheduled it to be after their regularly scheduled scout meeting.

By the time 7:00PM rolled around the sun was setting and a small crowd had gathered outside the VFW to watch the festivities. The video tells the story.

Here are a couple of snap shots taken by intrepid field photographer Grace Morabito.

Doug Ames and Bridgette Moore getting doused.

Amber Mayes, Lori Olson and Stewart Moore awaiting a brisk shower.

♫ ♪ Signed, sealed, delivered.... I'm soaked. ♫ ♪

Among the bucket brigade is Mayor Marsha Swanson.  On your marks. Get set...

GO!   Andrew Latham, Michael Ames, Riley Olson, Brandon Benline and Carlo Pulido take one for the team.

The gift that keeps on giving.

I wonder if there is a badge for this?

Oh, how did I save a bundle by participating? 

Well, it takes some time to edit video and by the time I was done —and it was uploaded— it got to be pretty late. Just as I was about to fall asleep I heard the first rattling of a thunder storm and jumped out of the sack, ambled outside to the lawnmower and covered it up. As it turns out, it rained quite a bit and I saved about a hundred bucks by NOT having to take it into the shop to be fixed. Thanks Troop 332.

There are two morals to the story.

First: it pays to donate.

Second: when you are faced with the Ice Bucket Challenge, do it on a hot afternoon.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *
Click to find WR on FaceBook.

Monday, August 18, 2014

• Slow Down at Brown

Today speed radar signs were installed at David A Brown Middle School

Savvy drivers [read: ego inflated jerks] will know that this is not a 'Red Light Camera' style sign with penalties attached, and will ignore them from the get go. Let's hope the number in that group is a small one.

Installation of the sign on the northbound side of Grand approaching the school.

◄                                                        ►

While out snapping some pics I bumped into Wildomar Public Works Superintendent Les Chapman. His concern is safety for the students.

As he was telling me, "If it isn't safe enough for my kids, it's not safe enough for anyone else." 

Les Chapman speaking with one of the installers about the fine tuning.

.-- .. .-.. -.. --- -- .- .-. / .-. .- .--. / .-. ..- .-.. . ...

We first heard about these signs when Council Member Bridgette Moore brought it up at the February city council meeting. Initially it seemed that the signs were dead in the water when the rest of the council didn't embrace the thought of adding anything to the budget. Then in March we received a PARSAC grant [Public Agency Risk Sharing Authority of California] thanks to diligent work by our City Clerk Debbie Lee. So we got these signs without adding to the budget.

This driver thinks 44 is the new 25.
While out taking these pictures I found that every single car was more than 10 MPH over the speed limit. Some were traveling in excess of 50 MPH.

I did notice that the speeds decreased from the first radar reading until the last per car. So, if a car first registered at 44 MPH, it was likely that they'd slowed to 30ish by the time they past the sign. However, one guy only dropped from 50 to 49. Hey, he had places to be and speed laws (stop signs included) are just suggestions... right?

When I was there, school was in session and there were no students present. Two of my three children went to this school and I remember how congested it would get during drop off and pick up.

Les was telling me about a time when school was being let out, he saw cars lined all the way up both sides of the street, with teenagers everywhere and some arrogant driver drove over the double yellow line to pass up a few cars before the crossing guard got to the middle with the stop sign. Come on people, would you like others driving that way when your kids are about to cross the street? (wait, don't answer that...)

I asked Les about getting a more visible crosswalk in front of the school on Grand, and there is one slated to go in. I don't think it's the lighted one, but one that has the large stripes in the direction that traffic flows, instead of the two narrower ones that cross the street. Let's hope that makes a difference.

I believe this is the style that Les was talking about.

Now what we need are unannounced visits from the local sheriff's deputies, ticket book in hand and pen clicked, about every other week to keep the scofflaws in check.

I want to thank Kenny Mayes for tipping me off about this installation. Though he and I have our differences, we both want the best for our community. He also writes a blog, and it can be found at this link:

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Click it or ticket!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

• Water Restriction Time: Stage II

I'm guessing that we all got one of these in the mail.

Click the image to enlarge it (or do that finger spreading thing if you have a smart phone).

The question is, did any of us read it?

Complaining about the local utilities is as American as apple pie, and for good reason. There is a long track record of shell game antics when it comes to those that provide basic necessities to us. We all remember ENRON and as for water, just google DWP Slush Fund and read about the ruckus that's been roiling LA for months not to mention the local LEAPS project that seemed more like a three stooges scheme than an environmentally sound idea.

Curly: We'll pump water up a hill at night, then send it downhill in the daytime.
Voila, we'll be millionaires!       Moe: Why you imbecile, I oughta brain you!

Thing is, this isn't about that end of things. It's about how much water we have here versus how many people we have wanting to use water here. California is a desert and we've never gotten much rain even in the "normal" years. However, we've basically doubled our population since the time I was in grade school, so something's gotta give.

I've always quibbled with the overuse of the term "drought"... unless we were actually in one, which California has been for some time now. Still, I remember times when we were coming out of a good rainy season, and people saying, "That doesn't mean the drought is over." Ummm, yes it did.

The thing I've never quibbled about is that we are in a constant state of having a water shortage. Unless historic weather patterns change, and we start getting rain like they do in the Pacific Northwest, we will have water shortage conditions as long as California exists with its ever-burgeoning population. So that makes it incumbent upon the residents to use the resource wisely.

If you look at the postcard from EVMWD you'll see things that are reasonable. Do you really need to bathe your driveway or sidewalks?

There is a water wise landscape workshop Saturday, September 13th from 9am-12noon at EVMWD.

EVMWD also has a page with tips on how to save water indoors.

Speaking of saving water indoors... a couple of years ago EVWMD had a program that we took them up on. It was a toilet exchange deal.
My free toilet can beat up your toilet everyday of the week!

I'm sure we all love toilet talk [ewww] but seriously... the two we got from them have been great. Check that, one of the two failed after nearly a year and they replaced it right away. For all the jokes about having to flush 5 times when you have a lo-flow toilet, that simply hasn't been the case. It's one-and-done around here!

Oh, and one other thing about the model they installed (the Stealth). They are the taller type, and after being perched on high for the last couple of years, I giggle when I visit people that still use the short kiddie level toilets... but to each his own. ☺

Anyway, we have more people in this state than we have water, and for all the chest thumping some people like to do... that's what we Americans love to do whenever we get a chance, no matter what the topic is, but I digress... water is something we can't do without, and a laissez-faire attitude isn't going to cut it. I'm not so sure that I'm in favor of the fines that have been proposed. $500 for over watering is what has gotten people's attention.

According to EVWMD, this is a double no-no since the watering is after 6:00AM and the sidewalks are wet.

Quote from the USA TODAY:
Though Gov. Jerry Brown had urged a voluntary 20% reduction in water use, figures released last month indicated a drop of only 5% statewide for the year. But the State Water Resources Control Board on Tuesday updated the monthly survey from water districts to show that consumption had increased 1% in May compared with a year ago.

Well, Yeah... we have more people, so even if individuals find a way to use less water, we should expect that overall use will go up.

When we moved into Wildomar back in 2001, we had a ton of grass. Being on a corner, it wrapped all the way around the house. We first removed the side yard grass, then the front yard grass and now we are reduced to a patch in the backyard that is about 12x30. [The dogs have to have something to try and turn yellow, plus it only takes me about three and a half minutes to mow.]

Most of my neighbors still have full grass front yards. 

We enjoy the park-like views from our front windows... just glad the water bill isn't being sent to our address.

As much as I'm a code enforcement type of guy, I'm not ready for any neighborhood water watch committees. People are paying for the water they use, and the billing is tiered. The more they use/waste, the steeper the bill. That seems like punishment enough at this point in time. Thing is, many people are stubborn folk and they ain't gonna let the gubment tell them how to live. So I'm thinking that voluntary restrictions will be short lived if we have another dry year.

Below is one of my favorite pictures. It was taken during the day we had heavy rains back at the end of February. I'm thinking that this person doesn't read his/her water bill very closely.
♪ Sprinklers in the rain... (sing it as Gene Kelly would).

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