Saturday, February 25, 2017

• THINK Together and EarlyAct Team Up to Help Vets

There is an arm of the Rotary Club called EarlyAct Club. 
April Watkins is on the left, the students leaders of EarlyAct, starting third from the left is VFW President of District 3 Brenda Wardrip, local VFW President Cari Gardner, and Ayesha Sabree Program leader.

If you visit their website you'll see that EarlyAct aims to teach its members: 
  • Caring 
  • Respect
  • Empathy
  • Responsibility
  • Tolerance
  • Citizenship
  • Compassion
  • Friendship
  • Leadership
There is an EarlyAct club at Wildomar Elementary School headed by April Watkins and the student president is Victoria. She shared some details about the clubs' latest service project.
During the presentation, Brenda Wardrip and Cari Gardner answered many questions from the kids. One was from Isabella asking where the blankets were going to go, and the answer was to the VA hospital in Loma Linda.
The project was to make blankets for veterans that are in the hospital, and present them to the local VFW for distribution. In all, they made ten large, colorful, comfy blankets.

In total, there were about 100 of her fellow students that helped make the ten tie blankets. The idea was to help the veterans, so that "they could get better, and to stay warm when it's cold," she told me.
The kids were listening attentively as their questions were answered. Rosalyn (sp?) asked, "How many people are sick?"  Cari Gardner answered, "There are lots of them. A couple of weeks ago we served up hamburgers and hot dogs for them and there were over 1500, serving all the patience in the wards and the nurses and doctors. There are a lot of them there." 
It took about four months to complete the project and they worked on it after they'd finished their homework at THINK Together. 

Victoria told me that she likes being in the EarlyAct club because it makes her feel good to help others. 
The THINK Together group that also doubles as the EarlyAct Club.
Great job EarlyAct members, you're on a path to being fine adults!

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Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.
– Mark Twain, 1835-1910

Wildomar Rap loves to astonish.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

• Special City Council Meeting: Vision Statement

I'm going to break this blog into two parts. The first will cover the basics, the second will be opinion.

The meeting started with the flag salute and then went into public comments. 
From left to right: City Manager Gary Nordquist, City Attorney Thomas Jex, Councilmember Bridgette Moore, Mayor Tim Walker, Mayor Pro-Tem Ben Benoit, Councilmember Dustin Nigg and Councilmember Marsha Swanson.

Public Comments on non agenda items.
• Sycamore Academy came by and thanked Mayor Tim Walker for coming to their annual Science Showcase last week (link to blog covering it), they brought cookies for him too. 

• Janice Lee of Geri-Fit spoke about her business, invited the council to her ribbon cutting (Saturday, February 25th at 9:00am), and also talked about a free osteoporosis workshop and Zumba classes at her location. 
(Blog about Geri-Fit as it was about to open)

1.1 Vision Statement for the City

The nearly 2 hour meeting has been uploaded for those that would like to see it. It was hosted by WRCOG's Rick Bishop and he had a cordless mic and usually faced the council as he went through a PowerPoint presentation (which doesn't make for a great looking video).

He differentiated vision statements, mission statements, mottoes, slogans.

A vision statement shares the optimal desired future state of what the city wants to achieve and be over time.

A mission statement flows from the vision statement.

An example he shared was if Carl's Jr's vision statement is to make the greatest hamburgers in the world,  a mission statement within that is to make sure that people get served within two minutes of their order.

Rick Bishop

From Wikipedia
It was established that a vision statement shouldn't be too long, and that ideally it should be something that could be memorized. 

First, a list of attributes was made. 

Wildomar assets

Things like community, open space, rural, and hometown feel, among other things that were included.
Alfredo Garcia wrote out the list on the easel.


The vision statement took several turns before the final version was finished being coined: 
The City of Wildomar will be a safe and active community, responsibly grown, with quality infrastructure while keeping a hometown feel. 

The way the meeting had been going, and the earlier rather wordy versions looked, it was a pleasant surprise to see it all come together at the end. The vision statement is realistic, succinct, and easy to understand. Good job!

Which leads to part 2.

There was one ornery resident that seemed to think her opinions reign supreme in the land, that made the meeting far longer and more tedious than it needed to be. I had thought that I'd go off on her here, diagram all the stupid things she said, but thought better of it. She isn't worth more of my time than that, if you'd like to hear her act for yourself, cue up the video... she's all over it like rash on a kid with chicken pocks. 

My take on the process of having a vision statement is mixed. 

I get it, such things are normal for cities to have, and this meeting didn't cost any extra money. So even if at times it felt like an exercise in futility, at least it could be filed under the no harm, no foul category.

A vision statement for a city such as Wildomar is akin to a retiree enrolling into a four year university seeking a bachelors degree... because it was something they'd missed out on when they were younger. Unlike a kid fresh out of high school, going to a university, seeking to build a solid foundation as they grow and mature. 

The latter is a good first step, the former is a noble desire to back fill something they shouldn't have skipped in the first place... but let's not pretend that they are even close to the same thing; they aren't!

Wildomar may only be 8 years old in city years, but in community years, we're 135 years old. There are things that can't be undone here and will always hamper any vision statement that is settled on.

When I was sitting there, listening to the ideas for a Wildomar vision statement, I couldn't help but think to myself, "Hello McFly, have you taken a look around lately?"

Such grandiose visioning statements make complete sense if you're looking to carve a city out from an orange grove, and calling it Irvine. Same would go with any other vacant area that was about to be developed, but I don't see how it's applied to a place that's long been established. 

The brutal facts are that the die was cast long ago and it didn't land very favorably for 21st century Wildomar (and beyond).

While other areas like Temecula, Murrieta, Menifee and even Lake Elsinore were modernizing, the people in charge of Wildomar took another path, and that has led to us being what we are today. Pleasant, but not remarkable.

Does that mean we shouldn't have a vision statement? 

I didn't say that. 

It's a great idea to have a vision statement and the one that they came up with was quite good.

The problem is that I don't see it as anything more than a nice thought with little practical value. All the vision statements in the world won't bring us the money to fix the roads, or address many of the wants and desires of the population.

Like I learned long ago, measure twice and cut once

Obviously the oft venerated David A. Brown —along the William, Donald & Margaret trio, and any others that were in charge back in the day, failed to do that with li'l ol' Willy Mar, and we are what we are.

•          •          •

"Time cools, time clarifies, no mood can be maintained unaltered, indefinitely. Time changes us all, or it should. There are those who resist, who hold on, who refuse to let go of yesterday's truths even though they have been revealed as today's lies."
– EG Marshall (CBSRMT) 1914-1998

Wildomar Rap really, really, REALLY hopes that that self important gas bag runs for city council in 2018. Come on, put up or shut up already.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

• Sycamore Academy Science Showcase 2017

On Thursday February 16th, from 5:00pm to 6:30pm, Sycamore Academy held it's 8th annual Science Showcase.  
Wildomar Mayor Tim Walker has to do a double take after seeing Sycamore Academy Assistant Principal Jeff Morabito. Someone who looks remarkably similar to the author of W'Rap.
The school has more than 550 students, ranging from transitional kindergarten through 8th grade, and all of them participated in the fair.

The kinder and 1st grade classes do group projects, whereas the students from 2nd through 8th do individual projects. 

Hey, where's the Tapatío or Sriracha sauce?
The teachers lead them on how to use the scientific method and how to do the projects while following the state guidelines for the state science fairs. 

Though competition doesn't start until the students reach 5th grade, the 2nd graders follow the same guidelines. 
I know that dropping them usually makes them NOT work.
The school has had participants that have had their projects in the county science fair, which is typically a month after the local event. Some SASCA students have then gone on to a competition at Cal State San Marcos. 
I had to throw in a random shot of my brother taking a picture.
•        •        •

“I never teach my pupils, I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.”
Albert Einstein, 1879-1955

Wildomar Rap reminds you: you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it play Marco Polo.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

• How to Report Something to Code Enforcement

Has this happened to you?  

You're driving around town and see something that needs attention. It could be dumped furniture/trash, abandoned vehicles or graffiti.
Looks like it might make a comfy bus stop, if moldy couches that have sat in the rain don't bother you too much. These were on Solida Del Sol, across from where the future MSJC campus will be someday. Photo taken at about 1:00pm February 14, 2017.
Do you know how to report it?
There is a city web page for such things. 

Here is what the Code Enforcement page looks like.

At the bottom of the page there is a form asking for the location of the "possible" code violation, and some personal info from the person filing the complaint.

One thing that is missing is a place to attach a photo or a video of the problem. It seems that such an option would make code enforcement's job all the easier.

I filled out the form, entered the captcha code and hit submit report. Instead of it thanking me for my time and diligence, it gave me a message I wasn't expecting. (see image)

It said: Email couldn't be sent. This email account has sent too many messages in a short amount of time. Please try later.

Ummm... errr... Yes, I have sent messages to code enforcement before, but the last time was probably a year ago, and I'm guessing I haven't sent five in total.

Later I was told that the city was having issues with some emails.

The work around is to send an email to the mayor and your city council member. While you're at it, CC Wildomar Code Enforcer Keith Ross. (

The couches were carted off the next day. Photo taken at about 3:00pm February 15, 2017.

We are a small city, with a small budget and a tiny staff. When we, as fellow Wildomartinis, see things that need attention, report them. Otherwise they might just sit there for months.

The city is working on getting it's new website up and running and hopefully when that happens the code enforcement portion will be updated too... with ways to post photos of the issue at hand. 

I still have to scratch my head when I contemplate what kind of lowlife degenerate would cart their garbage furniture to a remote location like this, and then just dump it. 

As long as we're talking about illegally dumped crapola... let's take a stroll down memory lane. I made this mock commercial after seeing a large dumping ground near the corner of Wesley and Palomar. 
It's only 47 seconds long, so take a look at it.

While I have your attention, I want to share a fun photo I took. 
Few things are as cool as a Wild Omar sticker!

•        •        •

The basic fact about human existence is not that it is a tragedy, but that it is a bore. It is not so much a war as an endless standing in line.
H. L. Mencken 1880-1956

Wildomar Rap has a facebook page and a Twitter machine. Feel free to check them out... or not.

Monday, February 13, 2017

• Wildomar City Manager Visits Murrieta Rotary Club

First, a brief recap of who writes Wildomar Rap. 
If you are deathly allergic to back stories, skip down several paragraphs.

Hi, my name is Joseph Morabito and I've lived in W'Town (pronounced Dub Town) since April of 2001. 

I have a lovely wife named Grace and we've been married for 18 years. Once the nest emptied out, we started to get out a bit more and eventually found our way to the city meetings at city hall. That was in late 2013.

Before that, we never had been to a city meeting or function of any kind. 

Since then, I've basically had a 98% attendance rate for such things... and I started to write about what I saw (blogging) starting in October of 2013. I write Wildomar Rap for my own amusement, but am glad that it is also known as a source of reliable information in town

I don't get paid and am NOT affiliated with the city. It's my goal to be truthful, but I'm not a journalist (which is probably a plus in the era of FAKE news) so if you detect a fair amount of opinion here, welcome to the blogosphere.

I've learned a fair amount about a lot of Wildomar people (the good ones and the bad ones), and also the slow inner workings of local government (a ton of checks and balances go into every move that is made). I know most of the people connected to the city these days, and haven't met one that isn't a solid person, dedicated to doing their job(s).

There are a number of people in town that dislike most of the people in the city government for one cockamamie reason or another. Some see the electeds and the staff as people on par with their counterparts in notorious places like Bell or Beaumont.

Sorry, but that just isn't the case. 

We definitely need to keep vigilant, and keep an eye on how things are run. After all, they are only human, and humans can do many things differently from one day from the next.

Believe me, as a blogger, you don't know how much I'd like for one of the city officials to start acting foolishly. Then I could draw funny pictures of them and mock them like I do those in Wildomar's renown Team Crank, aka the Cantakerotti.

In the meantime, there aren't any stinkers to be found... but we can always hope that someone goes rogue and sets themselves up for ridicule... until then, the wise ones will keep their powder dry.

Anyway, in that time I've become a member of the Wildomar Chamber of Commerce, and the Wildomar Rotary Club.  
(Most of you that've read this far are saying, "Okay, and... what's that have to do with the city manager?" patience my friends.) ☺

The Rotary Club is an international service club that seeks to help people throughout the world in a variety of ways. A key aim is its polio eradication campaign. 

• Locally the Wildomar Rotary raises money that goes towards RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) where a select number of local high school juniors are sent to a three day camp that helps them develop leadership skills.

Wildomar Rotary has a yearly project of handing out personal dictionaries to all the third graders in town.
Rotarian Andy Morris speaking to the third graders of Donald Graham Elementary in September of 2016 during the 3rd Grade Literacy Program. Click this link to view the blog.

•Wildomar Rotary puts on a yearly BBQ (slated for July this year) and co-hosts the yearly Breakfast With Santa event at the fire station.
Link to Blog about BWS.
• Wildomar Rotary also puts on a yearly event designed to encourage bicycle safety, at Marna O'Brien park. Kids are encouraged to bring their bikes on that day, where they'll learn some key rules to riding on the roads. Helmets are provided for those that don't have one, and there is family friendly entertainment with a professional BMX team. 

This year's event will be on Saturday May 13th → be sure to mark those calendars now.
Click this link to view the complete blog.

• These are just a few of the things that Wildomar Rotary does in the community. 

(Yipee!!! but what about the city manager?)
(all in good time) 

When you first join the Rotary Club, you're basically a newbie that has to show you're serious about being in the club. Full members have a blue badge, greenhorns get a red badge (sounds like it should've been green).

There are several things you have to do in order to shed the red badge. One of those things is to visit another club. I chose to visit the Monday meeting of the Murrieta Rotary Club at Richie's Diner.

Lo and behold the guest speaker was our very own Gary Nordquist (the city manager). He basically gave a shortened version of the state of the city speech.
Wildomar City Manager Gary Nordquist sharing the wonderful world of Wildomar with the Murrieta Rotary Club during one of their Monday luncheons at Richie's Diner.
Here's some common knowledge facts that he shared:
• He's been with the city all but about the first six months after incorporation.
• He had been the Wildomar Finance Director for four years before getting the City Manager's job.
• He worked in the private sector for twelve years in Fortune 500 companies, and in the aerospace field at Hughes Aircraft for seven years. 
• He's been in public administration for about 25 years.
• He worked for Fontana for 15 years, and Ontario for another 3 years before coming to Wildomar.

"A lot of things in business do not apply in government, but where they do we incorporate those processes and techniques."

—Gary Norquist

• In 2012 the city annexed the Cemetery District in the operations of the city.

Nordquist has a sense of humor too. His first notable line was:

"I'm also the general manager of the cemetery, so when you ask me... 

...Yes, I do know where all the bodies are buried"

• The city council doubles as the board of directors for the cemetery at no additional cost.

He shared his "Magic Kingdom" analogy of SWRivCo. (It has Temecula as Fantasyland, Murrieta as Tomorrowland, Menifee as Jungleland, Canyon Lake as "It's a small world" and Wildomar as "Frontierland").

My favorite part was when he got to Adventure Land (Lake Elsinore), "They talk about 'Dreaming the Extreme' but there's like, at least eighteen different ways you can hurt yourself in that town." (Which brought some hearty laughs out of the attendees.)

• The city has 35,000 people in 24 square miles with a build-out of about 52,000 people (according to the current general plan).
• Home ownership is about 84%. "People who buy in town, live in town."
• Based on the current general plan that the county did for Wildomar before we incorporated, there is room for 11.8 million total square feet of retail space (6 million already developed). That leaves another 5.8 million SF, which is equivalent to 4 Temecula Promenades. "We need some adjustment to this to bring [the numbers] down. We need to refine the general plan they prepared for us."
Baxter Village is a mixed use project with retail, homes and apartments. The "Brown House" is there.

"You've probably seen the old blue house, west of the 15 freeway...

(wait for it) 

 ...up on blocks!"

Wildomar City Manager Gary Norquist (tossing out the zingers.)

 • Just north of Clinton Keith, on the east side of the freeway, Westpark Promenade. (Link to blog discussing Westpark)
Super Walmart going in on Bundy Canyon on the east side of the freeway, 194,000 SF. Still in litigation over environmental issues. It's expected to be resolved in six months.
• MSJC Wildomar Campus. "Maybe in the next three years we'll be seeing the groundbreaking. It's going through the EIR process now. It will start with about 8,000 students and maxing out at 15,000.
• Capital improvements on Bundy Canyon from about The Farm, west. "Funding is an issue. We have plans already to go, funding is an issue to do the construction, we're still looking for funding for that."
Widening Clinton Keith going west from Murrieta. Looking to remove the choke point where the two cities share a boarder. Plans are done, and a request for funding ($2.3M) was sent in the Fall of 2016, still waiting to hear back on it. 

What's the upshot of this blog?

Two things by my count.

First, if you are thinking that you'd like to get more active in the community, but aren't sure how to do it, consider contacting the Wildomar Rotary Club and checking us out.

Second, Wildomar is in a good position with the executive we have, and not only is his temperament steady as she goes, but he dishes out the wry one liners like a pro. 

On Wednesday, February 15th, there will be a "budget workshop" at the city council chambers.  The public is invited to come and help in the process. Even if all you'd like to do is be a fly on the wall, sitting there and observing, that would be very much welcomed by the city staff. 

You might even get a chance to hear our city manager uncork a zinger or two too!
•          •          •

I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.
Will Rogers

Wildomar Rap is pretty dang darn sure that good ol' Will Rogers never bothered with lying about those he lampooned. I wonder what he'd think of Twitter and all the FAKE news these days.

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