Monday, January 26, 2015

• Parks Schedule 2015

Tonight was a Wildomar Parks Subcommittee Meeting. The two members of the committee are Council Member Marsha Swanson and Mayor Pro-Tem Bridgette Moore.

Lots of good information from the agenda and the public speakers. The agenda covered special events,  park rules and policies, and signage.

Here is the proposed schedule of special events for 2015. The firm list will come after the city council votes on it.

Also mentioned were two Astronomy Nights Aug 22nd and Sept 19th. 

Last year Wildomar had many good special events; start saving the dates now. 

•   •   •

The part of the meeting that dealt with park rules was fun and lively. When you get down to it, respectful people DON'T need rules, and disrespectful people couldn't care less.

Rules are here due to those that have no regard for others, and those people (to be read pejoratively) will only follow rules if there is an authority figure there forcing them to conform to community standards. If your ears are burning, then YES I'm talking to you.

The topic of flying drones was brought up. A person that lives near the park had a guy flying a camera equipped drone hovering near his backyard fence. He went over to the park and found a guy with a suitcase worth of computer equipment that controlled it.

I'm thinking that your right to fly your camera equipped drone, ends where my backyard begins.

The other rules were pretty stock and standard... though some of the wording led to some discussion.

Alcohol was discussed... can you imagine a kid's birthday with the adults kneedeep in a hops fueled bender? Glad that one got laughed out.

Also things like golfing in the park, along with archery, and "games of hazardous nature".

"Games of a hazardous nature" sure seems wide open for interpretation.

What does it take to be considered "Hazardous"?

A toddler being hit in the head with a frisbee, is that hazardous? Sure it was an accident, but seems "hazardous" at the same time... that could also apply to a baseball or a football that takes unpredictable bounces.

Parks aren't perfect, and there is a certain amount of shared responsibility when sharing a park with others. To paraphrase one public speaker, we don't want parks where about the only thing you can do is walk in and walk back out.

As for "Signage" it was regarding the wording that will be put on rules signs that will be at the park. Unless these kinds of signs, with rules, are new or something... I don't remember ever seeing any in any park I went to when I was growing up (though I did see those types of signs at public swimming pools). If they were there, I didn't even notice them.

Point being, signs have no real meaning to kids that have parents that don't teach them respect for others. So rules signs are basically something for kids to tag since they won't be reading them, much less being concerned about how their actions will negatively affect others. The other kids already know right from wrong and won't need to read them either.

A look at what the signs will look like. Including the non emergency number to report problems.

Also mentioned was the development of a skate park on the north side of Corydon at Lake Elsinore's Serenity Park. Construction is to begin this year, and there's talk of a bicycle area too.

•      •       

Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively.
― Dalai Lama XIV

Sunday, January 25, 2015

• Wildomar Planning Commissioner Victim of Road Rage Assault

On Saturday afternoon January 24, 2015, Wildomar planning commissioner, Bobby Swann, was the victim of road rage in Menifee. Take a look at his first person account of the incident below.

• • •

After the incident, when the police were there, the perp shouted to Swann as he was being arrested:
"Please don't press charges, I've never been in trouble before, I've never done anything like this before, I just snapped."

Sorry pal, but you should have thought about that before you crowbarred the man.

At that point Swann said to the cop, "He could have killed me", and the cop agreed.

The perp also admitted that he took the metal rod out, because it was exactly where Swann said it would be in the truck, but he said he didn't use it. Just holding the metal rod while he punched Swann? Yeah Right! 

Hmmm... punched? Wow, that guy must pack a wallop since Swann ended up with a concussion. 

Bobby had to do a citizens arrest since he was the only witness. They were cuffing him as Swann was leaving the scene.

At first, like a typical guy, Swann tried to walk it off after rubbing some dirt on it. He had many people telling him to go to the emergency room, but he scoffed. Thing is, about quarter till nine he started getting neck pains and he decided it best to be safe than sorry.

The CAT scan showed that he was in the normal range for everything, so there was no danger of anything more severe happening.

Doubling down on the worthiness of his man card, Swann was back to work the next day. The rumor is that he rubbed an aspirin on the bump and carried on as usual.

•      •       

Anger is never without a reason, but seldom with a good one.
—Benjamin Franklin

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

• Planning Commission Meeting: Walmart

Let's jump to the end... all the three items on the agenda passed 4-0. Commissioner Bidwell wasn't in attendance. Next stop is in front of the full City Council... not sure if that's the next meeting or not at this point.
Walmart had a full team that started at the foyer, with many easels holding various poster sized images.
There were 31 public speaker slips filled out, though most chose not to speak. Those people were in support of the project. There were no people there to speak against the project. Though many concerns were raised.

Chief among the concerns were drainage issues, whether Walmart will be utilizing reclaimed water for irrigation, light pollution, due diligence, police and fire services, being able to attract more big box stores, shame on the same old people filing lawsuits, road construction and traffic.

There were no real fireworks, though the evening did start with another of Ray Johnson's hilarious document dumps. Thing is, Walmart doesn't even know that guy exists. Walmart has bigger fish to fry than that minnow. They have a group that follows them around from project to project and that's the legal hurdle they'll be looking to overcome.

A look at the rare Ray Johnson minnow.

I was expecting more hoopla, there was even a cop on duty to keep the rabble-rousers at bay... but none showed up. There was an overflow crowd, with about fifteen people listening from the hallway.

I had to chuckle when Walmart's attorney stood up and said they had been collecting "supporter cards" and that they've received 785 cards in support and only 10 against. Come on now... that is flat out silly. I've been running a poll, and out of 74 current votes, 39 are against it, while 35 are for it. I'm sure it's not accurate, but it's not any worse than Walmart's skewed stats on it.

City Engineer Dan York answered a question about when the road improvements would be done. He said that all the improvements will be done before the store opens, but I interpret that as they won't be finishing the roads until right before the doors of Walmart open.

The commissioners all made some points.

Commissioner Gary Brown asked about the closing of the existing store on Grape St. The answer he got was that it will close after the Wildomar store is opened and the Wildomar location is slated to open before the new Walmart that is planned for Lake Elsinore.

Commissioner Bobby Swann said he had questions... until Dan York answered them all. Also earlier in the meeting Bobby Swann asked about the Ray Johnson letter, here's a link to that part of the video.

Commissioner Stan Smith made good points about this project when he said that "Walmart didn't create the demand, they just are responding to the demand... Without commercial retail sales, Wildomar will not have the necessary funds to make needed improvements or increase public safety."

I also like Chairman Veronica Langworthy's inquiry about access to the Shell station from Walmart. Good point Veronica, I sure hope that Shell station is smart enough to play ball and think about what will bring them more customers, and not how to horse trade themselves into a corner that ends up cutting off much needed access for them after the raised median is put in on Bundy Canyon.

Below are some video links to the meeting.

First link is for the presentation of the project by City Planner Matt Bassi, and Mark Teague.

The video below is where the public comments can be seen. I edited out where Alfredo Garcia was reading out names of those that filled out speaker slips, but didn't want to speak.

The last video is where you'll see the commissioners discuss the project. Also where Dan York answers many questions about it.

After some discussion, of a way to get from Walmart to the Shell station in the comments below, Kenny Mayes brought it to my attention that in the plans, there is a place in the designs for such access where Sellers leads into the proposed Walmart. 

See the image below, the red circle showing the linkage between Walmart and Shell. I'm assuming the plans are correct, so I'm not sure why it was ever a topic. I'll have to ask for clarification when this comes before the city council.

•      •       

Nobody forces you to work at Wal-Mart. Start your own business! Sell something to Wal-Mart!
—Kevin O'Leary

Monday, January 19, 2015

• Grove Park

Grove Park is a proposed MUPA (multiuse project) located on Clinton Keith and Yamas Drive.

The plan is to have 50,000sf of Office & Commercial/Retail (about 4.8 acres of the site). A park that is 1.8 acres, an Oak Preserve that is about 1.3 acres, on the "north site" and 162 apartments (735sf-1,281sf per unit stacked three high) on about 7 acres on the "south site".

There's is no need to get too deep into the specifics at this point. We're at a very early stage here. They will be needing to complete an EIR and it will be well after Summer before this project gets to the Planning Commission.

If you have questions or concerns about this project you can contact City Planner Matt Bassi.

Matthew Bassi Planning Director
Phone: 951-677-7751  x 213

You have a couple of more days to get your statements in if you want them to be part of the EIR.

There were 6 public speakers.  Speaking about things ranging from trails, max occupancy rules, roads, drainage, whether the park will be a city park or a private park, Clinton Keith widening, and when I spoke I mentioned the apartments. I was wondering if they were going to be overpriced like the ones that are currently here in town, or something affordable that the local youth might be able to afford.

Matt Bassi answered my query by saying something like, 'Most likely the prices will be set by the market. The apartments at Oak Springs Ranch has had to reduce their prices and are still only at 50% occupancy.'

I've been to Oak Springs Ranch and the apartments are nice... but they are STILL only apartments... and they are STILL in our humble little Wildomar... not Irvine.

Stay tuned... more on this as the year unfolds.

 •      •       

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.
—Albert Camus

Saturday, January 17, 2015

• Pool Shark... Who Me?

Have you ever played "Scotch Doubles" in pool before? I hadn't, and I have to say it's far better than the traditional game of doubles I'd played growing up. You remember where there are two teams of two, and you alternate turns?

The difference here is that when player one of team A sinks a ball, the it's now player two's turn instead of player one running the table. It makes it where you are shooting more frequently and it also prevents a particularly good player from running the table.

Also, I like the "ball-in-hand" rule after a scratch. You don't take a ball out as a penalty and you can put the cue ball ANYWHERE on the table. Not just behind the line (aka in the kitchen).

The event was a fundraiser put on by the Wildomar Chamber of Commerce. It was held at Pins N' Pockets which is in Lake Elsinore, near the casino and across Mission Trail from Annie's restaurant.

For the entry fee, the participants were guaranteed at least two rounds of best 2 out of 3 pool competition, some pizza and soft drinks and a gift bag. The winners of the tournament got a trophy and a fleece pullover from Rincon Casino.

The inclusive times were from 10am to 3pm though many teams were out by lunch. I got there at 10am and practiced a couple of games with Gary Brown. I couldn't hit a single ball into a pocket, other than the cue ball that is. It wasn't looking good for me, even though as a young teen we had a pool table and I used to sort of know how to play.
Southpaw Gary Brown, looking down his stick at the cue ball, with his game face on, and his sunglasses in the cool position.

So the tourney got underway, I was paired with Ryan Sundholm, an APA member that knew his way around a billiards table. We lost the first match in two games. Then we lost the first game of the next round when I hit a the eight ball in while there were still about 12 balls left on the table.

It wasn't looking too good at that point, but we won the next two games, and then won all the remaining matches to get to the finals. We lost the first game with all our striped balls still on the table. Then I chunked several shots in a row and it was looking bleak. I remarked to my partner, "Looks like I'm sucking up all the luck left in the tank with those shots."

But he just smiled and said something like, "Let's just get through this game and get to the rubber match."

Pretty tall order when they only had three balls left on the table and we had five, but we got on a tear, and I even knocked the eight ball in to secure the win. The final game was a seesaw, but the other team scratched when all we had left was the eight ball, and with the ball-in-hand rule, it was a gimme that Ryan sunk with confidence.

On the left are the runners up, with the red trophies. On the right are the winners, Ryan Sundholm and Joseph Morabito.

Much thanks to the players from Riverside APA. They made it a fun outing. I didn't have a partner to start with, so they assigned me to Ryan Sundholm. Which, as it turns out, is the better way to do it. Had I gone with a friend, it would have been fun, but most likely over by lunch.

Afterwards I was told about a Tuesday night league... I think it's a league... in Canyon Lake and asked if I'd like to participate. That was nice to hear for sure, but I was playing way over my head today, so I thanked them but declined. I did tell them that I'd pass the message along. They especially are looking for female players to participate.

If you're interested in such, give Kimberly Pankonin a shout out at either her facebook page or Riverside APA's website.

 •      •       

Thursday, January 15, 2015

• As The FaceBook Drama Turns

Time for another installment of Needless FaceBook Drama in li'l ol' WillyMar.

As some of you know, I write a blog called Wildomar Rap. Aren't I the master of the obvious? :)

I started writing this blog in 2013 only a few weeks after saying, "only a great fool would write a local blog..." uh oh... if the shoe fits I must be Cinderella.

For those that have seen most of my blogs you know that I recap as much of what goes on in Wildomar as I can, at least the things that I'm aware of. A lot of focus is on City Hall, City Council meetings, Planning Commission meetings, citywide events, more localized events, Parks, local businesses like DeJong's Dairy, community profiles like the one on Ashley Fox, last year's City Council elections and the like.

I would never have taken on such an endeavor had it not been for the local Wildomar FaceBook pages, and getting to know many members of our community. However, I being of the Aspergers persuasion, I tend to be too honest and see things in black and white at first blush... and by June of 2014 I chose to disengage from those sites since I have a difficult time understanding people's attempts at subtle sarcasm. Though I miss the Wildomar FaceBook pages at times, I do NOT miss the silly drama that goes on there.

Good fences make good neighbors, and FaceBook tends to remove the fences. Then we start to see more of our neighbors than we want to. Then the veneer of  new "friendships" we've made start to show wear and tear quickly.

Many people, most people, keep it in check and go with the flow, not taking any of it seriously. It's just a diversion... as it should be. Yet others make it their avocation, and end up making a mess of things for themselves and others.

Though I left those groups, my wife Grace has remained in them. She likes to post links to my blogs... and I like it that she does since it gives more people a chance to see them. All goes well when she posts the links at the various groups in question except for one called WILDOMAR FRIENDS AND COMMUNITY (WFAC).

Without getting into the minutia, I met the owner of that group back in 2013. He lives around the corner from me and I had many pleasant encounters with him. One time he had troubles at the local vet and I went down there when he put out a call for help. Another time, on a hot August night, we both made a midnight walk around Windsong with our dogs, and he pointed out to me where several infamous Wildomarians lived. A few days later I gave him a bag of homegrown grapes.

All was well until one Friday night when some FaceBook drama got underway. He was going after Martha Bridges based on something she had said at The Patch. I thought it was unfair and actually defended her, as did the assistant admin of that group Michelle Swann. Before that night was over, he'd blocked me and had quit that group.

I suggest that is the real rub of why he won't allow reference to Wildomar Rap in his group. He says this blog is controversial... ok, I'll accept that. But who is it controversial to? Those that sue the city and don't like me pointing out how detrimental they are to us all?

WFAC has more than 2600 members in his group, yet he doesn't want them to have easy access to timely news that comes in Wildomar Rap. Hey, I get that. It's his ball, and he can pick it up and take it home with him whenever he wants to. He gets to make the rules, no matter how inconsistent and slanted they become.

So that brings us to today. The thread is included below, current up till the last time my wife looked at it. After she had left it for a few moments, Sheila Urlaub, one of the two Admins at Wildomar's other main FaceBook group, had posted a comment in support of Wildomar Rap.

"...we allow it [Wildomar Rap] on wildomar group and that difference of opinion is not divisive."

In a matter of moments the entire thread was gone, and Sheila was blocked from that group.

And you wonder why I continue to eschew the local FaceBook groups?

I've never done a "Hey Like My Page" campaign. If you want to like it, so that you can be informed of things going on here, then by all means, like it. But I have never been one to go in for fake internet stats, and I don't see the point in a ton of fake likes. At this point, without ever asking for people to "like" it, it's slowly climbed to over 230 likes. Thanks to those of you that are interested.

Though I don't use the local groups myself anymore, I can suggest the two that I'm aware of, though there are probably a dozen more out there too.

First is one simply known as Wildomar that has about 1500 members, including many of the city officials (here's the link).

The second is called Wildomar Neighbors, with only about 150 members and many of those are in the first one (here's the link).

I'm sure that WFAC serves a great purpose, but I can't see the point of it since every other thread seems to get deleted once it starts to get "controversial" and any good thread ALWAYS goes that way. It's the nature of the beast.

So what was the point of this blog? Well, another of my Aspie traits is a highly tuned sense of right and wrong/fairness. When I was told that Sheila Urlaub was removed from that group because of defending this blog, after finishing rolling my eyes and shaking my head, I thought it shouldn't simply fly under the radar. She is a good and fair person that anyone would be glad to have as a friend.

"Oh no" she speaks her mind and won't back down when she's in the right or you are dodging basic questions about a subject you brought up. Such a crime these days, and especially in that group.

Without further ado...


Someone's image was in the screen capture and I was asked to remove it. So that I don't have to do this more than once, I pixelated all the rest of the faces and names too. This really becoming a boring topic... glad so many are so easily entertained.

Ok, so now I was told that the image I used was mean. I'm not in any of the threads, but was told that by using a very famous, and easy to find image of a kid making a silly face, I was defaming people with Down's Syndrome. The lengths people will go to try and make a point. People, that is flat out silly, but I'm not here to throw gas on the embers. I've now switched the image to a very banal drawing of a girl. Let's hope that's the end of it.

Next my wife will be wanting to be blurred, pixelated or changed to one of the Disney Princesses I'll bet.

This came after several links to blogs had been deleted over the past week plus. Topics like Baxter Village, the recent Greenwaste Cleanup event, and an update about Walmart. As you can see from those that posted, they didn't want to have the links censored. They wanted to decide for themselves if the content was too controversial or not.

I'm sure that my wife will get tossed out of that group after this blog gets uploaded. C'est la vie.

It's just been learned that Sheila Urlaub wasn't permanently banned, just givin a three day "time out".

But, as expected, Grace Morabito was banned from his group... and also personally blocked by him. Atta boy Mr. 44 year old, way to show her, and I bet that'll keep any of the rest of your flock at WFAC from daring to talk back to you too.

I've grown tired of this topic and now the comments are going to moderation, which means that most likely they'll never see the light of day so save it. Also, Because I've had people tell me what a bad guy I am... I'll post a screenshot I had a year ago to show that my blogs WERE permissible, and that there was a friendship, of sorts, between WR and WFAC.

You'll notice that the first of WR blogs that were posted to WFAC were NOT posted by me, and a de facto invite to post more was established.

You'll see that I was in the group, for about a week, before I had to hit the eject button. I remember what it was about... a friend of mine was having his very good name dragged through the mud by none other than the founder of WFAC... again, without cause or justification.

 •      •       

Conflict is drama, and how people deal with conflict shows you the kind of people they are. 
- Stephen Moyer

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

• City Council Meeting January 14, 2015 Recap

Let's go down the agenda.

First up was Wildomar City Attorney Thomas Jex reporting on a new lawsuit against the city and Cornerstone Church.

A group calling themselves "Cornerstone Concerned Area Residents" which if it were a more honest name would be something like "Area Residents That Hate Everything About Cornerstone Church" but what's in a name... right?

The reportable action on that topic was that the City Council unanimously voted to defend the lawsuit. This was another Ray Johnson special, but this time the group is headed by a guy named Jim Filanc.

Interesting that the last time Cornerstone had a proposed project in front of the council, this guy had said, "We want the city to have all the facts on what the impact will be on traffic on Monte Vista," he said. "We don't want to stop them from developing. We just want to make sure they pay their fair share and that it's a condition of the project."

Well, I guess times have changed since there is a comprehensive EIR and they [Cornerstone] are more than paying "their fair share" for this project.

  • Ethan Edwards received recognition for his Eagle Scout project. 
Eagle Scout Ethan Edwards with Mayor Ben Benoit.
  • We met the outgoing Fire Chief Steve Beech's replacement Joel Vela and Division Chief Geoff Pemberton.

Public Comments
There were seven public speakers tonight. Of note were:

  • Kenny Mayes speaking about the need for a Food Truck ordinance and wondering when we will be getting the promised Parks Commission. 
  • Miss Miller wanted the council to set aside other work and put their efforts on stopping Chemtrails and Global Warming. 
  • Bill Keane (sp?) wanting a stop sign on Wesley at Union to slow down the speeders.
  • Kristan Lloyd spoke about the historic significance of The Brown House and wanted it known as Wildomar Heritage Museum from here on out. She also took issue with the word, dilapidated, that the city has used in connection to the Wildomar Heritage Museum.
Just to be fair, the word may not be along the lines of "Cozy" or "Quaint" or "Historic" but a person would be hard pressed to find a more apt word for the current condition of the Wildomar Historic Museum than Dilapidated.

  • Matt Patrick was speaking about speed issues on Via Sarah.
  • Judy Gugliemana represented the Wildomar Chamber and some of their coming events.
  • Kathy Bundy spoke about a planned Volkswalk on June 6th which is National Trails Day.

2.1 and 2.2 were continued to the February meeting.

3.1 Baxter/Susan GPIP
This was covered in Wildomar Rap last year when it was in front of the planning commission. 
This was one of those, "yes you can ask permission to ask permission" moments again. If I were the developer/landowner I'd seriously think about scrubbing this plan the way they envision it. 

You know you're in trouble when Council Member Tim Walker says, "Miss Miller was right" and Mayor Ben Benoit says, "I'm with Miss Miller here." Referring back to her public comments on the project and the area in general.

My favorite part of her comment was when she blamed all the concrete in the area for a bee sting she recently got in the jugular vein which now requires her to sleep with gloves for the next two weeks. She also saw some lion foot prints near Clinton Keith... then she slammed her papers against the podium and stormed out.

This passed 3-0 with Bob Cashman recusing himself since he lives near the project.

3.2 Gracepoint Church Public Use Permit Extension
They need a two year extension to complete their project due to funding and illness that hit the project manager. It passed 4-0.

3.3 Professional Services Agreement
Dan York was speaking about the Parks Masterplan and Traffic Signals in relation to DIF fees and TUMF fees. It was more sausage making and after my eyes finished glazing over I heard the vote go 4-0 to approve. 

City Manager Report
Gary Nordquist mentioned the coming Walmart public hearing on January 21, 2015 at 6:30pm. A scoping meeting for the Grove Park project this coming Monday at 6:00pm.  

He also gave the final numbers for the Green Waste Cleanup Event. The Marna O'Brien location had 132 signers and went through 16 bins and collected 30 tons at a cost of about $2300 paid to CR&R. On the other side of the freeway, at the La Estrella area, there were 78 signers (no bin count) but the services were donated by Waste Management.

He mentioned how the new Subway on Bundy Canyon is progressing.

City Clerk Debbie Lee thanked the City Staff, the City Council and her "Wildomar Family" for the condolences she received after her mother passed. 

Future Agenda Items
Bridgette Moore wants construction project signs to be addressed. (Example: A sign at the new Subway construction telling passersby what the project is, and projected finish dates).
Bob Cashman wanted Wildomar's historic structures designated or recognized. He's counted 14 such structures. 
Tim Walker wanted to get school test scores for Wildomar specific schools, away from LEUSD.
Ben Benoit Wants an option for various neighborhoods to be able to avoid the Windsong Valley slurry boondoggle when their neighborhoods are scheduled to be re-slurried, by paying additional monies through their HOAs if desired.
Marsha Swanson wasn't at tonight's meeting.

Mayor Ben Benoit adjourned the meeting in honor of Debbie Lee's mother.

  •      •       

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

• New Light on Ortega Highway

Well, it's official. There's another new light on Ortega Highway that will be slowing down your commute. It's located less than half a mile east of La Pata. Oh the joys that await.  >:(

Traffic signal at the new intersection of Ortega Highway and Gateway Place.

Anyone that has commuted on Ortega Highway regularly can tell you how much longer the drive has gotten in recent years. Add to that the relatively new traffic light at Gibby Road, where the trash trucks all merge onto Ortega Highway starting at about 6:30am every weekday morning, and what used to be less than an hour can now be 90 mins... depending on where your final destination is.

Thankfully I only use Ortega once a week these days, but last week this light wasn't there in the morning, yet was up by my early afternoon return trip. Today, it was functioning and though I was passing Gateway Place at 5:45am, and those new apartments aren't occupied yet, I still had it turn yellow on me as I was entering the new intersection.

Well, good luck to those that have decades more commuting to do on that road... you'll need it as they build out that new area near La Pata.

  •      •       

For shame, doc. Hunting rabbits with an elephant gun. Why don't you shoot yourself an elephant? 
- Bugs Bunny

Monday, January 12, 2015

• Baxter Crossing Scoping Meeting

Tonight was an EIR scoping meeting for a project that is tentatively named Baxter Crossing. I say "tentatively" because last year Mayor Ben Benoit was expressing interest in having Baxter Rd's name changed to something like Wildomar Parkway Click here for a video of it.  It would be kind of funny to name a place such as this after a street that no longer has that name, so we'll have to see how that one goes.

A view of the project with the surrounding areas showing.

The project, as it is currently configured, is comprised of 70,000sf of commercial retail. With four sit down restaurants included in the mix. Also, in the north east part of the project will be 204 apartments that go up to three stories. Last in the Multiuse Project (MUPA) is 70 houses.

Pardon me if I'm not overly excited about 204 apartments that are stacked three high and abut the freeway... especially if they come with similar rental price tags as the other new apartments in town have. Those things cost more than a typical mortgage, and hundreds more a month to rent than a typical house. Places well out of reach of the local youth looking for their first place, yet wanting to stay local.

Keep in mind that the new Wal-Mart is supposed to be 200,000sf by itself. Yes, that's a Supercenter but the 70,000sf that is proposed here is barely a third of that. Maybe there is a way to lose 25 of the houses, and 80 of the apartments and put a bit more retail in there.

Oh, I also didn't see any public park area in there either.
A detailed look at the project design.

In this image you can see where the deadly Baxter Rd/Central Ave jackknife will be smoothed out a bit. The dotted line represents the existing road as it stands today. The road is going to need to be better aligned no matter which project goes in due to safety and traffic concerns.

Bad news locals that live where Baxter becomes a dirt road... you won't be able to fly off the paved road at full speed, kicking up clouds of dust anymore.

The Brown house has been factored into the designs of the new retail development. After speaking to a few members of Wildomar's Historical Society I was a bit more swayed into it's value for the city. Like John Lloyd and George Cambero were remarking, the house was built long before there were ADA guidelines, and the house will need to be brought fully up to code. It will look beautiful when rehabbed.

That was in response to my concerns that I would hate to see a less than beautiful building sandwiched into a new shopping area.

The key question with the Brown House is about funding. Where will the money come from for the refurbishment? It's currently owned by Wildomar Historical Society and they have plans to fundraise to pay for the costs.

If you have questions or concerns about this project you can contact City Planner Matt Bassi.

Matthew BassiPlanning Director
Phone: 951-677-7751  x 213

The final day to submit questions for the EIR is Jan 19th, but he can discuss the details any time. He prefers email as the best method of communication.

There are several more steps for this project this year alone, with a bigger meeting set for sometime in the fall. In the meantime, those that use the area as an Off-Road Park will still have free rein out there. Being at the north end of Windsong we can hear the sound of the action just like it was a scene from that '70s classic movie On Any Sunday.

Take a look at the Mock TV Ad I made for it.

Though I refer to Wildomar's historic Brown House as a Haunted House in the video above, I'm 95% sure it isn't actually haunted... even though it's been at its current location for nine years now and those window coverings are da bomb! ☺
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Try some more. The strawberries taste like strawberries, and the snozzberries taste like snozzberries.

Snozzberries? Who ever heard of a snozzberry?

*We* are the music makers... and *we* are the dreamers of dreams. 
—Willy Wonka to Veruca Salt

Saturday, January 10, 2015

• Winter Snow Storm Green Waste Cleanup Recap

Today was Wildomar's "Winter Snow Storm Green Waste Cleanup" event. Since we have two different trash companies in our town, there were two different drop off points.

For the west-siders we were assigned to Marna O'Brien Park. For the east-siders, they were sent to a drop off point near Ronald Reagan Elementary School.

From what I could gather, Waste Management donated the bins, whereas CR&R only cut Wildomar a discount on the containers. Just for that, I'll be adding extra dog missiles into my trash next week in protest.

Mayor Ben Benoit at the head of the line of trucks.

Around 12:30 I asked how many truckloads had been made, but stats weren't being kept. However, since people did have to sign liability waivers, there was a rough estimate that could be had. There were 14 lines per sheet, and at Marna there had been more than 7 pages filled. Over at the Ronald Reagan site, more than 5 pages had been filled. Many people made multiple trips so I'll put my math wiz beanie on and estimate that there were at least 300 trips between the two sites.

[BTW my math wiz beanie hasn't been calibrated in a few years, so I may have underestimated by a lot]

When I left Marna O'Brien Park the line up was still down the street, around Bryant and, as rumor had it,  it was almost all the way to Grand.

Mayor Pro-Tem Bridgette Moore checking papers to make sure everyone was from Wildomar.

Not having a truck, I figured I'd just put my trees into the green can over the next several weeks, but local resident Jaime Fernandez offered the use of his truck. Not only that, but he helped load it and he spent more than an hour in the line up waiting for his turn to unload it. I felt bad about it, but he smiled and said he was happy to do it.

A look at the west side drop off area at about 12:30. 
The line up was said to be shorter at the east side location. When I got there at midday, there weren't too many trucks or cars lined up, but Shelia Urlaub had snapped a picture from one of her three trips that showed quite a line up... though not nearly as impressive as we west-siders had to put up with. ☺

A look at the line up at the east side staging area.

Of Wildomar's elected officials, I saw three in action. Ben Benoit, Bridgette Moore and Tim Walker. I missed Marsha Swanson since she was doing the early shift on the east side. She had just left before I wandered over there. The only one that didn't show was Bob Cashman... the same guy that wanted to be either Mayor or Mayor Pro-Tem.

Let me take a moment to say this. I don't know why our City Council Members take such pride in their work. I don't know why they put so much time in where it clearly isn't part of their duties. I can only tell you this, I am very thankful that they care that much to not only be there, but to actually work.

And they didn't just work for ten mins, they put in some legit volunteer work, so that those that brought their green waste wouldn't have to wait longer than necessary. Imagine if we had a city council with five Bob Cashmans on it. Nice fellow and he even goes to most City Council meetings... but is that all we really want from an elected official? Perfunctory effort? I don't.

Kudos to the four that went and made the event all the smoother. I'd also like to add into that list Planning Commissioner Gary Brown. He and his wife were working tirelessly, helping people unload their vehicles. Let me also include the many other volunteers that were there. Without so many people willing to help others, people they've never met and most likely won't see again, this wouldn't have worked out so well.

Council member Tim Walker pitching in.

Below is a 72 second video. It'll give you a feel of what was going on over at Marna O'Brien Park.

Over at Marna O'Brien Park, there were some able bodied people that didn't feel like helping people unload... and I'm pretty sure they were actually paid to be there by CR&R. Oh sure, they weren't being paid to do more than move the big blue bins, but imagine how much quicker their morning would have gone if they'd done more than play pocket pool during the down time.

The new version of "Rock, Paper, Scissors" called "Pockets, Head Scratch, iPhone"... a favorite among the bored.

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Man is the only animal that can be skinned more than once. —Jimmy Durante

Friday, January 9, 2015

Green Waste Clean Up Reminder

After all that snow we had on New Year's Eve many trees were damaged. The City of Wildomar has contracted with the two trash companies to help with the cleanup.

To clean up my downed trees it'll take about 6 weeks worth of filling the green can... or I can make one trip to my designated green waste drop zone and be done with it.

Be sure to bring an ID that shows you live in Wildomar. 

From what I was told, there is no limit, but you can't be silly and try and bring yard clippings or other waste. This is about getting the downed trees cleared away from public view and to help out the residents that were hit hardest. Still, if all you have is a couple of branches, they won't turn you away... but I'd be wondering why a person with that little wouldn't just use the regular curb service.

Below you'll see some of my downed tree limbs... it was a veritable treemageddon at my house.

Remember, it's from 8am to 2pm, but don't try and show up with ten trucks full at five mins before 2pm. Reminds me of the stories my auto mechanic friend tells me about the people that show up five minutes before closing, on a holiday eve no less, wondering if he can change a timing belt or maybe put on some new brakes. Be smart and show up early on.

This is a Rain or Shine event.

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♫ ♪ Rock-a-bye baby in the tree tops, when the snow blows —in Wildomar— the cradle freeze, when the bough breaks the trees will come down and probably crush anything below it. ♫♪

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

• Walmart Update

Today I attended the Wildomar Chamber of Commerce's monthly breakfast at Denny's. The guest speakers were a team from Walmart and they were giving the latest info on the pending project.

Direct from Walmart's informational handout/flyer.

The main point man for Walmart was Phil Serghini.
 Phil Serghini, Walmart's public affairs director, showing how big the EIR is for this project.

Here are some of the points I jotted down.
  • In RivCo there are 12 Supercenters, with more than 12,000 employees (sorry, I'm not going to call them associates) with an average wage for full time employees of a little over $13 an hour.
    • The Supercenter in Wildomar is set to be 200,000sf
    • A Supercenter is a combination of a discount/general merchandise store and a grocery store. 
    • 300 new jobs.
    • Next step: planning commission meeting January 21, 2015.
    • Once they get a shovel in the ground it takes about 355 days for a Walmart Supercenter to be opened for business.
    • About 45 days before they open they will fill it with merchandise.
    • 110 jobs on the construction site.
    • "We do expect this project to end up in litigation."
    • "We're extremely careful in developing the EIR (environmental Impact Report). The EIRs end up being tremendously big and detailed, we do that to protect ourselves from litigation."

    Time for a little head scratching and doing some WR style analysis on some of that.

    • The last time the topic of Walmart wages came up, late last year sometime, I had heard that they started ALL employees at $13 an hour.... now it's been revised to $13 is the average, and that's for full time employees. Maybe I just had some wax build up in my ears or something... looks like I'd better switch to Pledge.
    • 300 new jobs includes those that are already working at the Grape St location in Lake Elsinore. I listened to the recording I made twice and it wasn't clear that there will be 300 additional jobs, or just 300 jobs at that location.
    • 110 construction jobs are great, but don't tell me that even 50% are going to come from Wildomar. I've known people in industrial construction and they commonly drive hours to a job... I bet they won't even have 10% of the construction jobs filled by WildoMartinis. I don't have a problem with that reality, just don't tout the 110 as if they were going to be filled by locals.

    Charlene So speaking about traffic around the proposed Walmart.
    Key points from the traffic discussion:

    • Constructing Canyon Dr. (A short street that will be directly south of the project)
    • Widening Monte Vista from Bundy Canyon to Canyon Dr.
    • Widening Bundy Canyon to 6 lanes from the freeway to Monte Vista.They will be installing 3 signals. One at the project ingress/egress on Bundy Canyon, another at Canyon Drive and one at Bundy Canyon and Monte Vista.

    There were three questions of note during the Q&A session.

    First up was Kristan Lloyd.

    Q: In that time frame do you do the traffic lights prior to the project or after [construction]? As a good neighbor, even putting one light in [ahead of schedule] would be significant to look at.

    A: It's really hard to say right now because of the scope of the street widening. If it were just a signal it would be a little easier to schedule. You can't put the signal in until after the road is widened. We'll do it as quickly as possible, but in all likelihood all of the street improvements probably won't be completely finished until about the time we open.

    In other words... sorry, but no. The lights won't be up and running until our doors are opened.

    George Taylor asked about the time frame and it being about a year to complete. 

    Phil Serghini answered this way: 
    Assuming that we are approved in the planning commission process, there is someone that sues us (Walmart) regularly, it's like a cottage industry. That person has solicited information from Wildomar, along with other records requests, so we think we're going to be sued here, and once that happens we don't know how long that will take. The plan check process takes six months to a year to get the plans through the city.

    Hmmm... sounds like the APEs will have some competition here. Now the real question is, 'which of those old primates will kick off before the ground breaking?' Looks like a ghoul pool is in order.

    I wanted to cut through the impending litigious haze, so I asked, "I have a question about litigation time. In Walmart's history, what's the quickest, the fewest number of months, versus what is the longest amount of time between initiation of litigation and it being finalized?"

    Matt Nelson, Walmart attorney, stated "It could be anywhere from six months to three years."

    Phil Serghini followed up with:
    Gresham Savage is the law firm and they've been through this on a lot of different projects. We know where we've slipped up in the past, so we know where in the EIR process to really make sure we do it right. People get frustrated because it takes so long... if it were a different store, and different name than Walmart we probably wouldn't have that problem. With Walmart we cross every t and dot every i.

    So if it's between six months and three years, what's your guess? I'm going with 21 months.

    Please participate in the informal poll about Walmart.
    Click to go to poll

    Almost forgot something... for full disclosure I just joined Wildomar's Chamber of Commerce. If that makes me a toady sellout in your eyes, oh well.

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    The optimist pleasantly ponders how high his kite will fly; the pessimist woefully wonders how soon his kite will fall. 
    —William Arthur Ward 

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