Tuesday, January 31, 2017

• Ortega Highway Closure: UPDATE

Anyone that uses the freeways during rush hour has seen the effects of Ortega Highway's closure. 

Commutes for daily drivers have gone from bad to worse as drivers try and navigate either the 15-91-241/55 morning nightmare or the 15-76-5 route through Oceanside.

There was press release from Cal-Trans telling us that, weather permitting, the road should be opened three weeks from today (February 21st?).

I learned about this from Riverside County Supervisor Kevin Jeffries' facebook post.

Earlier in the day I had heard on KFI radio that Riverside County was one of only 8 or 9 counties in the state not given emergency/disaster status and asked if I heard it correctly.

If you've lived in Riverside County for long, you've seen Governor Brown's hand in many things meant to tweak us for not voting for his tax hikes half a decade ago. 

To think that the news media made a big deal about "Bridge-gate" where the charge was that the New Jersey governor was said to have a hand in one bridge closing, in one area, for one weekend. 

In the meantime, the constant nose thumbing that Brown does to us goes on without any fanfare from the media. 

Noteworthy snubs include the yearly veto of vital funds for the four newest California cities, all in Riverside County.

Which leads me to wonder what Governor Brown may have up his sleeve when it comes to Riverside County's empty supervisor seat (4th district). The seat became open upon the death of John Benoit late last year.

By law, Gov. Jerry Brown has the sole authority to appoint John Benoit’s successor. 

If you remember the last time Brown was in this position, he intentionally appointed someone as supervisor (Chuck Washington) that was from the opposing party of the man that had left the post (Jeff Stone).

Leopards don't change their spots, and neither do geriatric partisans like Jerry Brown. I've learned to expect the worst when he's on the case and it involves this area. 

What did my rant about Brown have to do with Ortega Highway? Probably not much, but it was too obvious of a link to pass up noting. 

One astute Facebook user posed an interesting question on the Kevin Jeffries' thread. It was in reference to Riverside County's official request for disaster status.

That's a good question.

What good does Riverside's status have to do with getting a road that is in Orange County fixed? 

Here's to hoping that the three weeks go by quickly for all those impacted by the closure.
•          •          •

"The faults of the thief are the qualities of the financier."
– George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

Wildomar Rap still is pondering over which of the two roles mentioned by Shaw, Brown most accurately fits.

Friday, January 27, 2017

• Coffee With Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez January 2017

Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, 67th Assembly District, had her first community coffee of 2017

She packed the house at RJ's in Murrieta and proceeded to go down the legislative update list she'd provided to the people in attendance.
A look at about 30% of the people in attendance.

For those of you that haven't been to one of her community coffees, she doesn't give a speech. She reads most of the items on her legislative update, then takes questions on any topic. They typically last about an hour.

One of my favorite quotes of her's was, "Luckily right now it's early in the year so they haven't done a lot of damage yet," which was met with amused laughter from the group, and she followed up with, "give us time."

Her two sided handout was broken up by things you'll love and things you'll hate.

She started with the things you'll love side first.

AB 27 - Rape as a Violent Felony
This bill will make all forms of rape a violent felony. 

It's stunning to think that RAPE, of any kind, can be off the Violent Felony list. 

However, even though rape nearly always means FORCED SEX ON A PERSON WITHOUT THEIR CONSENT, somehow there are actually some types of rapes that don't qualify as violent. 

Directly following this morning's community coffee, the assemblywoman was interviewed on KFI and this was touched on while she was on the air with Gary Hoffman and Shannon Farren. Apparently if a rape victim is passed out (from either drugs or alcohol) it's not classified as violent. 

Here is a brief list of "non violent" rape: 

• statutory rape
• rape of an unconscious person
• rape of an intoxicated person 
• rape using a controlled substance.

The only one I'd be willing to hear a counterargument to is statutory rape. Some of those are boyfriend/girlfriend with a nominal age gap this side or that side of 18, aside from those... rape is rape.

When asked, "Who would be against such a bill that would make all rape a violent felony?" The answer was, "The ACLU."


Upholding the Second Amendment
The stunner here (or not so much, considering the braindead one party rule up in Sacramento) is that Melendez was taken off the Public Safety Committee, though she's been the Vice Chair for the four years she's been our Assemblywoman.

That's the committee that hears all the gun bills, all the law and order bills, all the crime and punishment bills.

It's her reward for doing too effective of a job up there. 

It was basically a political vendetta on the part of the Speaker of the Assembly because MM was too effective at countering Sacramento's bull crap. They wanted someone less effective to get the position.

Utilizing Existing Funds for Road Repair
They've tried in the past to get this commonsense legislation passed, but to no avail so far. 

The aim is to pass legislation that says: Sacramento has to use the money collected for transportation, FOR TRANSPORTATION.

Sadly, this kind of commonsense is eschewed by California's Democrat majority.
Legislative Whistleblower Protection Act
This will be the third attempt on the part of Assemblywoman Melendez to get this through. As it stands, the laws that protect whistleblowers does NOT apply to the staff of legislators. 

My bet is that it will go down to defeat just as it has before. Nothing quite as nauseating as the unctuous stench that comes from legislators exempting themselves from the laws that apply to the rest of us.

Franchise Tax Credit
This is aimed at assisting businesses that would like to relocate to California, giving them a five year exemption on the Franchise Tax Fee.

This was beyond my understanding, but if it concerns you, contact the Assemblywoman's office. They'll give you the pertinent details.

Sober Living Homes Bill
This isn't about stopping such group homes. We want people to straighten out their lives [from substance abuse] and sober up. Many need the help of such facilities. The problem is that if a group home is comprised of six or fewer "guests" there is no regulation.

As it stands today, anyone can open up a "sober living home" and not need any training or other qualifications. 

Sorry, but if we're going to regulate lemonade stands and what can and can't be sold at the park snack bar during a city sponsored event, I want group homes in my neighborhood to be regulated too. 
A look at the crowd from the other side of the room.

Next, the bad legislation on the 2017 horizon:
aka Things we'll hate.

AB 1 (Frazier) & SB 1 (Beall)
This bill, among other things, would increase the gas tax by at least 12¢ per gallon and the diesel tax by at least 20¢ per gallon.

Of course, if the majority party, that has been ruling the capital for generations, would just use the money already raised for road repairs, such tax increases wouldn't be needed for road repair.

AB 5 (Gonzales-Fletcher)
This is one of those government overreach bills that wants to dictate to businesses more rules about new hires. It apparently aims to require businesses to offer more hours to existing employees before hiring additional employees.

Here's the problem. Some people still think we live in America, and want LESS regulation, especially on this level, not MORE of it.

This was discussed for awhile. 

It's surmised that the authors of this bill are looking for a way to "encourage" (cough... more like "force") businesses into having more full time workers. 

A noble idea, but one so shortsighted that it would only find favor in California's heavily biased seat of power.

In a sane world, where many onerous obligations don't start to kick in after about 30 hours, bosses and managers would far prefer having full time employees. 

However, when you start dictating to businesses what types of benefits you must offer your full time employees, anyone with a brain would have been able to see the spike in part timers, as they began taking over the full timers.

Repeat after me the well known aphorism: the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

AB18 (Pan)
According to the handout, "This bill undermines the role of the parent by establishing seven, incredibly vague "rights" for youth in California in order to determine the best interest of the children."
If you can't read the graphic, follow the link at the bottom of the blog.

As Melendez was reading the proposed "rights" from the website, I kept waiting for something along the lines of, "...and a flying unicorn for every child," to be one of the proposed new "rights."

Must we revisit the aphorism mentioned above so soon? Good intentions or not, some things are nothing but poppycock on steroids. This being one of them.
•          •          •

As the hour was winding down, there was one guy that was having a problem. It appeared that he'd been in contact with the assemblywoman's office many times before, as she remembered the man and his story, and it sounded as if he already has a private appointment with her.

As compelling as his story may have been, something about his friend racking up $74,000 in legal fees trying to defend a lawsuit over a "fraudulent" $120 invoice, time and place, sir. 

This was neither the time nor the place for personal problems. At one point a couple of CHP officers approached him to maintain order. I think without their intervention the guy would have continued to escalate.

Based on the fees he claims were paid to defend a bogus case should remind everyone why so many people just settle cases. You can "WIN" the lawsuit, and still end up on the short end of things.
•          •          •

I spoke to Melendez's representative, Branden Webb, and asked when we can get one of these community coffees in Wildomar. I has happy to hear his response that they're working on it and we should expect one in Spring.

I urge all Wildomartinis to make time on your schedule to attend if at all possible. The way to know when such community coffees are happening is to sign up for the Assemblywoman's emails. 

•          •          •

Hell isn't merely paved with good intentions; it's walled and roofed with them. Yes, and furnished too.
– Aldous Huxley

Wildomar Rap reminds you that whenever you find yourself meandering down the primrose path, there's no better mode of travel than a hand basket.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

• FAKE News?

I think most of us have become tired of what has become known as FAKE news.

Without touching any of the FAKE national news, let's just talk about two local cases of it.

The first is dealing with Ortega Highway.

A sinkhole developed on Wednesday January 25th on Ortega Highway. 

That part is REAL NEWS, it's closed!

The road will remain closed to through traffic for the better part of three weeks.
Graphic from Orange County Register story.

The FAKE part of the story is the picture that has been floating around.

Facebook is a good way for people to share local info quickly, but all too often popular threads get taken over by bored people that try to derail a topic or just are sharing information that they don't know is false.
This FAKE image was shared by a resident on Councilmember
Bridgette Moore's thread on the topic of the Ortega Highway sinkhole.
Most people see such an image and take it as legitimate. Looks real enough at first glance.

Other than the silly over the top bottomless pit, the fact it's not in the place that has been reported, coupled with the hills not showing the signs of two weeks worth of rain (it's bone dry in that image), or that those weren't the types of clouds in the sky, it would make for a passable April Fools prank.

Our esteemed Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez was even hooked by it when she unknowingly tweeted the fake photo out.
I can't wait to ask MM about this at her next community coffee,
which happens to be tomorrow. (Friday January 27th At RJs in Murrieta)
Here is a look at the real sinkhole as captured and shared by a Facebook user.

No harm no foul here since no one was hurt, but then there is another recent local story where a person's reputation was attacked with false statements being repeated on Facebook.

In Canyon Lake a resident's dog was attacked by a bird of prey on January 14th. From there false rumors spread like wildfire.

Before they knew what had actually happened to the dog, the police were called out and the dog owners were asked, "[W]ho they thought could be responsible for harming their dog."

They'd reportedly had some run ins with a neighbor in the past, so his name was given to the officer. 

Instead of reporting the angst of losing her dog to a personal diary, Facebook was chosen instead.

Quote from the Friday Flyer article.

If being accused of shooting a neighbor's pet and being hounded on social media wasn't bad enough, the falsely accused man then had to put up with intimidation from a crowd of local residents. Not to mention many far flung places too.

The story made it's way to KTLA, then went viral. It was found at FOX 13 Salt Lake City, the U.K. website Dailymail, and Georgia Newsday.

He had the courage to go and and speak directly to the crowd outside his home (presumably his neighbors), something that an innocent person would think a reasonable move, but when people are driven by emotion instead of logic things don't always work out as planned.

An officer on the scene had to intervene.
Additional quote from the Friday Flyer article.

This trickled down to the local Facebook pages and someone suggested that "False accusations should be considered criminal acts."
No need for this to be a federal case when a civil case will more than make the point. That's what the courts are for, and this sure seems to be a solid case of libel if ever there was one involving neighbor v neighbor.

Facebook is the prevailing mode of societal communication these days, and just like crank/prank calls of the past were part and parcel of that world, internet trolls are part of the modern one.

With that said, if Wildomar Rap comes up with a humdinger of a silly story, and you notice it's April 1st, do the math.

Still, if and when that glorious day comes, such 'stories' will be clearly marked as a joke, just in case your senses aren't up to snuff that day. ☺

•          •          •

When I was a kid, among the other embarrassing things I would do, and there's a list of stupid things, but I would make these dumb comedy tapes. I would often make prank phone calls, but I would also do it with friends.
– J.J. Abrams

Wildomar Rap thinks that the pranks that kids did on the phone in the 1970's don't quite measure up to what happens everyday on social media. 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

• "Urgency Shmurgency" The Scofflaw Doth Proclaim

So much for the "Urgency Ordinance Extending a Temporary Moratorium Pertaining to Private Marijuana Cultivation and Non-medical Marijuana Facilities" that was passed at the last city council meeting.
Old King Canute was a crazy old coot, and it seems as if the lesson he taught us needs to be repeated over and over again. You can't hold back the tide.

For all the talk about trying to regulate medical or retail marijuana in town (or keep it out of Wildomar entirely) look what has popped up on Clinton Keith (just west of Palomar where Bear Creek Feed once operated).

The subject of marijuana dispensaries is going be on the front burner for most of 2017 as the city council tries to navigate the turbulent waters that pit the "yes, yesterday" crowd against the "no way in hell" crowd. 

With most of us stuck in the middle understanding that the tide is going a particular direction whether we like it or not.

Below is a video link to the most recent city council meeting where it was voted to take the preponderance of 2017 to address the issue of marijuana shops in town. 

We all know that code enforcement in Wildomar is at a premium (along with everything else that costs money), and it makes me wonder how wise it is to SPEND money trying to shoo away legal REVENUE GENERATORS... even if the product is icky? 

Especially when such efforts will often be fruitless, and have no impact on the use of the product in question. It's better to tax and regulate it than to encourage people to skirt the rules and let neighboring cities garner the tax revs.

Yes, we know that the state isn't going to issue pot shop licenses until 2018, but if Wildomar looks to maintain the ban beyond the moratorium, it's just going to be one endless game of Whack-A-Mole... which got me thinking about an all knew game called Whack-A-Weed. 

The picture below was taken January 14, 2017.
A look from the other side of the locked gate on Clinton Keith.

If King Canute's lesson about wasting your time trying to halt the tide still hasn't convinced you that folly isn't a great target to have in your cross hairs, let me share a funny image I found on the internet. 

It says it all when it comes to legislating things that you can't control.
We have bigger fish to fry than pothead suppliers.
On the other side of the coin...

Something that gets me is that there is a sign up before they've opened for business. I heard that Wildomar has already sent out a code enforcement officer to check them out, but they weren't open. 

This business operator either knows he's running afoul of many laws, or he doesn't. 

If he doesn't, sounds like a stereotypical burnout, oblivious to much. If he does, how come he wasn't smart enough to put that sign up LAST?

Yes, other businesses, the ones that have gotten their business licences from the city (like all reputable businesses do) put their signs up as soon as possible to advertise.

But when you're knowingly opening up a business without the proper paperwork in hand, why signal the city officials before your cash register has rung up one sale?
•          •          •

Saturday, January 14, 2017

• Girl Scout Fundraiser at the VFW

This morning at the VFW Girl Scout Marissa Hill, of troop 1122, spearheaded a pancake fundraiser that brought in over $800. 

$380 of that came from the breakfasts, with an additional $430 coming from direct donations. 

Way to go Wildomar!

The project is a water fountain for people and dogs at the park (similar to the one in the photo below). Her goal is to raise $5000 for the project and to complete it by Summer. 
There are several different versions of fountains out there, this picture is just to give you a basic idea of what she'd like to do. I'm not sure of the particular model she's chosen.

The breakfast was cosponsored in part by the Wildomar Rotary Club and DeJong's Dairy. The eggs and the milk were donated by DeJongs.
Marissa Hill shakes hands with George Cambero as she thanks him for coming to the fundraiser. Something she did with all those that came out. 

Breakfast was served from 8:00am to 11:00am with about 80 adults partaking.
Another eager eater waiting patiently to devour some sausage, eggs and pancakes.

If you'd like to donate to Marissa's project, please contact Hortencia Hill at (909) 239-2620. Checks payable to Girl Scout Troop 1122.
•          •          •

Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family... in another city. 

– George Burns, 1896-1996

Wildomar Rap can check that one off the ol' bucket list.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

• City Council Meeting January 2017

The meeting opened with the ceremonial Passing of the Gavel from 2016 Mayor Bridgette Moore to 2017 Mayor Tim Walker. Followed up by a brief presentation to the 2016 mayor. (Both in the video below)

Next was a fitting moment of silence to honor Mayor Pro-Tem Ben Benoit's father who passed away in December.

• Library update: The librarian mentioned the teen book club, the knitting and crochet club and the Friends of the Library having meetings this month.

• Fire Department update: Busy month of December as they participated in several community events, and going on 230 calls. Of which 75% were medical related, with a total of 54% being handled by station 61.

Public Comments (on non agenda items)
• Ken Mayes talked about the pitfalls of installing a water fountain at the dog park.
• Monty Jordan, interim director of Animal Friends of the Valleys, wanted to put a face with the name and encouraged people to come visit the shelter and "welcomes questions anytime."
• Miss Miller pronounced Councilmember Benoit's name "Ben-note". I couldn't tell if she was honoring his father or slamming him with her comments involving him. She lost me when she blamed last year's gas leak in Porter Ranch for all the rain this year and the freezing temps in the midwest and eastern parts of the USA, and Europe. 

All this time I had been thinking that rain in the rainy season was normal, and that freezing temps were just part of Winter. 

Consent Calendar
This is comprised of items that generally don't need to be discussed, though a council member or member of the public can "pull an item" for discussion or comment.

While Kenny Mayes was discussing his concerns that the rules of engagement for pulling an item weren't clear enough, there was an interruption (in the form of loud whispers at the city clerk's desk, being handled by Deputy City Clerk Janet Morales).
This interruption lasted nearly 90 seconds. Tell me Sir Lame-a-lot, why is it that the rules of decorum don't apply to you? Why do you insist on making a spectacle of yourself instead of following the rules set out for everyone else?

Lo and behold it was Gerard Ste. Marie making a repeat performance of his August 11th interruption.

 We get it, you know you have no actual basis for your deeds and your only other option is to gum up the works any way you can. Nice work if you can get it... I guess.

It's the actions of guys like this that have driven the prices of houses into the stratosphere, making it next to impossible for the young generation to ever realistically purchase a home of their own in California.

2.1 Nova Homes Residential Project

The developer wants to build 77 condos that range from 1700sf to 3100sf on 11.25 acres.

A few more details of the project can be found in the blog covering the October Planning Commission meeting. 

The project is located between George and Iodine Springs
about 250 yards north of Clinton Keith.
These are condos, not apartments, which is something our area can use. 

Funny thing, a letter came five months after the close of the public review period —by the same guy that interrupted tonight's meeting. Full of the same horse hockey that is always put forth by that contingent. 

Public Comments
• Miss Miller came out against this project (stunner, right?). She mentioned burring owls and snakes that she's seen slither from one hole to another hole across the street (that is one charmed life she leads). She left off with "Plant hemp, not buildings."

Due to the last minute letter, this item was continued to the February 8th meeting.

2.2 McVicar Residential Project
This project calls for 48 lots on 19.2 acres. It even came with the approval of a nearby resident that usually has little good to say about anything.

In the deal, the developer will be improving Palomar with curb, gutter and sidewalk even where his project doesn't touch (from the intersection north past Plow Boys).

That didn't stop Miss Miller from babbling on for more than her three minutes until Mayor Tim Walker had to invite her to leave the podium.

This passed 5-0

2.4 Urgency Ordinance Extending a Temporary Moratorium Pertaining to Private Marijuana Cultivation and Non-medical Marijuana Facilities

The long and the short of this is that the city council will take the next 10 months and 15 days coming up with how the city will deal with retail marijuana shops. 

There is no rush since the state has already made it crystal clear that they won't be issuing such licenses themselves until 2018.  

You can be for or against the idea of recreational pot shops in town, but that has no bearing on this agenda item. It makes sense to measure twice and cut once on such a weighty issue as this.

If this issue is important to you, then you need to be signed up for the city email blasts. There will be many workshops, and other meetings, where this will be discussed, and everyone's input is welcome and encouraged.

Public Comments
• Kenny Mayes thought that there was no reason to delay since "hundreds of other cities, with the help of their citizens, are already passing regulations". 

"Hundreds"? There are 482 incorporated cities in Cali, so I guess that's possibly a real number. But that statement would suggest more than 50% of the cities, which is no way accurate. 

• Miss Miller almost came unglued as she nearly shouted "Ten months? It's going to take you ten months to figure this out?"

She then suggested that the council might have connections with the pharmaceutical companies, and showed some worry that big pharma (my phrasing) might reduce the strength of weed making people need to buy twice as much. 

This is where I'll insert the video of her 4 complete turns at the lectern. It's 12 inglorious minutes, but hey, she has her fans. If she wanted to, she could be a YouTube star with followers all over the world.

Below is a video link to Item 2.4 in its entirety. 
Oddly enough, it's more than three minutes shorter than the Miss Miller video, and three of those are from her.

In it you'll hear the city attorney lay out the point of the ordinance, the public comments, and the council discussion — including the "homework" that Councilmember Nigg said he did.

3.2 Master Drainage Plan
This was mostly a non item in my view. It was about paying the contractor that finished the Lateral C-1 project on Palomar. Thing is, the contractor really misrepresented the city according to resident Tom Gavaghan. 

I liked the council's concern for what this resident went through. 

After the meeting, several staffers met with him looking to make this right... let's hope that happens quickly.

Watch the video to hear how a construction company, that pulled a check from Wildomar, disrespected a local family.

3.3 2017 Special Events Calendar
This should have gone through without any dissent, but Kenny Mayes spoke out on the injustice (my word) of the "same old events" being offered. (could he have been talking about the egg hunt, 5ks, movies, concerts, trunk or treat, and breakfast with Santa?) 

He wants to see park events aimed at seniors and teens.

Hey, I agree with trying to get something for seniors on the books, but if you ever go to a park event you'll see that there are plenty of "seniors" there. Often with their grand kids.

Just like people don't read city council agendas while buying stamps at the post office, more often than not people that are advanced in years have no interest in park events. 

Then again, if there was a shuffleboard or bocce ball court at the park, maybe they'd come from miles around. 

Is there a senior citizen version of an Eagle Scout Project? 

If so, I know someone that should head a team of seasoned citizens in building such a thing. I'm guessing that the city would warmly embrace such an idea.
First look at the 2017 special events calendar.

•          •          •

Take time for all things: great
haste makes great waste.

— Benjamin Franklin, 1706-1790

Wildomar Rap would like to encourage that part of the Cantankerotti contingent to show more haste when it comes to their document dumps. The guy on the twenty dollar bill wasn't counseling the likes of you to dawdle as you insist on waving your flag of ineptitude.

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