Friday, July 27, 2018

• Clinton Keith To The 79: NOW OPEN!

If you've ever had jury duty, or other reasons to go to the Southwest Justice Center, you've had to take the 15 south, then exit at Murrieta Hot Springs Road, travel east for about five miles until you hit the 79, then turn north (left) and travel another couple of miles.

Not anymore!
Parking for the event began well east of the unique looking animal crossing overpass.
The road is officially open, or it will be when they get done cleaning up the remains of the ribbon cutting ceremony.

The crowd was far larger than the organizers anticipated, and people were parking both east and west of the animal crossing overpass. (That's what I'm calling it.)
From the west side of the overpass looking east. The idea is to give wildlife a way to go from north to south (or vice versa) without having to cross the six lanes of Clinton Keith Rd. Let's hope the fury critters figure it out. ☺
The line up of speakers included Juan Perez (Director Riverside County Transportation and Land Management), Chuck Washington (Riverside County Supervisor from the 3rd District), Jonathan Ingram (Mayor of Murrieta), Michael Naggar (Temecula City Council), Aaron Hake (External Affairs Director, RCTC), Rick Bishop (Executive Director WRCOG) and Charles Landry (Executive Director, Western Riverside County Regional Conservation Authority).
County Supervisor Chuck Washington speaks to the attendees.
Though there was no campaigning for (and not even a mention of) Prop 6 (the repeal of the gas tax that will be on the ballot this november) it was mentioned by Aaron Hake that the funds for the Clinton Keith project came from a 2002 sales tax increase known as Measure A, and how Clinton Keith to the 79 was specifically mentioned in that ballot measure.
I took this shot from the north side of the animal crossing looking in a westerly direction. You can see the bridge that allows for animals to cross underneath as cars travel the road.
This is what the surface of the animal crossing looks like. I estimate it to be between 120 and 150 feet wide. It felt similar to the distance a catcher would throw the ball from home plate to second base on a full size baseball field.
These "tunnels" are massive. There are also bike lanes in each direction, and protected sidewalks.
A look from another angle.
There was a ribbon cutting, but everyone and their mother either had a DSLR, a video camera or a smartphone looking to take a shot of it. I opted to be first in line for some food instead!  I bet that no one else got a shot of the ribbon and the large scissors... I'm ready for my Pulitzer now. 
State Senator Jeff Stone was slated to attend, but he was at the Cranston Fire (Idyllwild). His representative, John Hunneman, spoke to the crowd in his place and shared a fascinating story about who Clinton Keith was. 

As it happens, a relative of Clinton Keith lives in Windsong Valley and was talking to me about doing a blog about him a couple of weeks ago. They're trying to hunt down some photos first.

In the meantime, give the new extension a try. It took me only a couple of minutes to get from the new twin tunnel overpass to the 215. Such a time saver if you travel that way.
Wildomar had two representatives at this event, one was official: Assistant City Manager Dan York. The other was unofficial: City Council Candidate Joseph Morabito in blogger guy mode.
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"Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?"
– H. M. Warner, founder of Warner Brothers, in 1927

Wildomar Rap is grateful that H.M. Warner wasn't introduced to the concept of blogging in his lifetime.

This blog was produced for viewing on a desktop or a laptop. Though it's been optimized for smartphones, the formatting can look odd on a smartphone or if you get this delivered through email (such as missing video links). Link to proper format.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

• RivCo DA Speaks in Wildomar

Riverside DA, Mike Hestrin spoke for about 40 minutes at the Wildomar Rotary Club. He took a dozen or so questions and then stayed after for anyone on one that people wanted to engage in. 
Riverside County DA Mike Hestrin at the July 26th Wildomar Rotary Club meeting.
The DA spoke about a couple of task forces he's put into operation, Gang Impact Team and the Cannabis Regulation Task Force. 

There have been a couple high profile raids in the county using the Gang Impact Team. One out in Coachella and the other in Hemet (from the powerpoint, there seemed to be a lot of arrests and a lot of confiscated guns... enough to help a small country overthrow their leader)

He was telling us that another one was in the works, but he couldn't elaborate... I guess he thinks the bad guys read Wildomar Rap or something. ☺

The Cannabis Regulation Task Force deals with more technical aspects of the law when it comes to cannabis. Now that it's legal in the state, there are laws that have to be followed. Including environmental laws that are often ignored by illegal growers, where they use and then dump pesticides, often stealing water or electricity. Then there are the illegal pot shops that show up out of nowhere.
Quote of the day

"You wanted it legal, congratulations, it's legal. Now you have to follow the law."
— RivCo DA Mike Hestrin
I asked about a new law that I'd recently heard about, but didn't think it could possibly be real... but it is real!

It's known as AB 1810, which has been labeled by some as a rush job bill backed by the governor (according to many sources, including the San Diego Union-Tribune)
"Now, in the worst example of rushed reform yet, Gov. Jerry Brown this week signed into law Assembly Bill 1810 — a budget “trailer bill” with no credited author that takes effect immediately. It includes a provision that appears to allow defendants charged with any crime to get the charges put on hold and perhaps eventually dismissed if they can persuade a judge that the offense resulted from a mental disorder that a mental health expert says is treatable."

Please follow the link above to read the entire Op-Ed.
The idea that any criminal, much less a serious offender such as a murderer or a rapist, could claim their actions were due to a mental disorder, which could include something as common as depression, and then avoid the judicial system, is appalling. Let's hope this one gets overturned before any lasting damage can be done.
Use this link to visit the Wildomar Rap facebook page.

The added bonus was the last minute change to the DA's plans... he landed babysitting duties as his wife was needed elsewhere. His two-year-old son didn't make a peep, as he was content to wear his fireman's helmet, play with dinosaur toys and draw with crayons. Kudos to this little tykes parents, they're doing something right.☺

Last week's guest speaker was State Senator Jeff Stone, and in the past six months, Sheriff Stan Sniff and Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez have spoken to the club too.
State Senator Jeff Stone addressing the Wildomar Rotary Club, July 2018.
Riverside County Sheriff Stan Sniff, April 2018.
State Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, November 2017.
I didn't really plan on this being a free advert for the Wildomar Rotary Club, but as long as I'm this far into it... the club meets on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of the month, at noon, at the Elks Lodge on Mission Trail. 

For those that can't meet in the day, there is one evening meeting per month. The location is Pie Nation, and it's held on the third Thursday, meeting starts at 6:30, but it's suggested that you get their earlier than that if you're going to be ordering food. (If you haven't been into Pie Nation recently, they've expanded the restaurant into the adjoining unit, there's plenty of seating.)

There is no charge to attend, and there are no obligations to join. The Club's website can be found at this link, where you'll find write-ups of recent meetings.

There is also a club facebook page. You can check it out to see who the coming speaker(s) will be, and other updates around town: LINK

For those that don't know what the Rotary Club is about, we're a service organization with over 1.2 million members worldwide. Rotary International was established in 1905 and the Wildomar club was established in 2009. For more information about Rotary's mission, visit the Rotary International website: LINK
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"You can pretend to be serious; you can't pretend to be witty."
– Sacha Guitry

Wildomar Rap once pretended to speak Italian and is now married to a Sicilian. Caveat Emptor ☺

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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

• Neighborhood Watch Meeting: Homeless Issues

The most recent neighborhood watch block captains meeting had a presentation about homeless issues. Something that is an increasing problem, not only for Wildomar and the region of SWRivCo, but the state and the nation too. 
Officer Robert Glaser leads the meeting centered on homelessness.
First thing to remember is that being homeless is not against the law.

The next thing you should keep in mind is that your compassion, if you're the type that wants to give money, food, clothes or even water to the homeless, makes YOU part of the problem in 2018.

Many well intentioned people give money to the homeless, but as it was stated by officer Robert Glaser, "Stop handing out money." 

He went on to say that if you'd like to help, which is a good and noble idea, then donate to local charities that are working in unison with local authorities and using current methods of approaching the homeless issue. 
Have you heard of this?

A well known scam is where a woman will parade out small children in order to induce you to give her money, or even diapers (which are then just taken to Walmart for a refund). 

These are NOT homeless people. 

According to the information at the meeting, they are Gypsies that come in from Orange County. They often drive up in a high end car, then get into their "homeless" appearance/costume and proceed to make many hundreds of dollars.

This is not only a scam, it's illegal, and when caught the children are turned over to CPS. If you see mothers using their children in such a way, be strong, and don't give them anything. Call the police instead.
In the past, providing food, clothing and small amounts of money was a good approach, but those days are gone, and most of today's chronic homeless aren't cut from the same cloth as those 10 years ago.

A startling statistic that I heard involved homeless vets. The stat given on legitimate claims of being a homeless vet was estimated to be about 10%. That means, 90% are lying to you when they say they're a homeless vet.

Officer Glaser knows the homeless in our area, most by name, and he estimates that there are about 150 between Lake Elsinore, Wildomar and the unincorporated areas. When I asked him the number in Wildomar, he said it was around 15.
After the meeting I showed officer Glaser this photo I'd taken the other day in the Stater Bros parking lot. He immediately recognized him and said, "That's Mark. He recently lost his wife".
A new non profit that is dealing with the homeless issue, that is working hand in hand with the local cities, is known a The SWAG (Social Work Action Group). I have a request into them to do a "Better Know A Local Charity" blog and hope to have that ready in the next few weeks. 

Other things to remember:
Don't enter any homeless encampments on your own. The police are trained for such situations and are armed and usually have back up. In addition to physical dangers from confronting people on "their" turf, you could also be exposed to hazardous things like Hepatitis C.

The meeting had plenty of other concerns raised; such as property crimes.

It may seem simple, but it was reiterated over and over, if you see something suspicious, call it it. 

The nonemergency number to call is 951-776-1099. You should add this to your phone so you can use it if necessary.
You want to make your home less of a target. Don't do things that will invite burglars to think your home is an easy target. It was said that if you get a new TV, break up the box and put it into the trash where it's not advertising that you just made a new purchase to passersby. 
A key factor that was stressed by the officers was: DON'T JUST "REPORT" IT ON FACEBOOK.

Though they do look at some of the local facebook pages, they don't monitor them. If you're having an issue, call the police first, and post on social media last (if ever).

It was also suggested that you can call your city council member to report issues too.

Something I hadn't really thought of before was what constitutes a crime? If someone slashes your tires, and you don't report it, it is NOT considered a crime. Oh sure, you were done wrong, but legally speaking, it's only a crime if you report it.
This patch is on the sleeves of those contracted to patrol Wildomar.
Another nugget of brilliance I mined from the meeting about social media was when you see discussion of an alleged crime in your area, ask them if they've contacted the police yet, and what's the status of the investigation. 
More than one example of a serious crime, that was bandied about on local facebook pages, was shared by the attendees to the officers in the room.

Incidents that were said to have happened the previous Friday night. Things that would have gotten a priority 1 status and therefore would have been known throughout the station.

The officers drew a blank on the claims. Things that were melting some of the facebook pages, apparently didn't even get called in. 

If you're witnessing a crime, call 911 and report it. Facebook may be a place to get likes, but it's not the place to flag down a first responder.
It may be hard to believe that people would post erroneous info on a topic so important as public safety, but it happens all the time. Most often such posts come with noble intentions, but as a thread grows, often the details can get distorted and take on "facts" that aren't actually facts.

Use this link to visit the Wildomar Rap facebook page.
Some of you may know that I'm running for city council, and that Wildomar will be having a measure on the ballot asking the voters to approve a one cent sales tax increase. The council has earmarked this potential money for public safety, roads and code enforcement.
Districts 1,3 and 5 will be on the ballot this year.

How will you be voting on it?

I've never met a person that likes taxes, but I've also met very few people that don't want (demand) better services in Wildomar. 

The average person here wants our community to be safe(r), and we currently can only afford sheriff services that are at the 2011 levels (that's WITH the $2M in VLF funds restored to the budget that had been taken since 2011), our population has increased by 3,000 people since then. 

As it was, the 2011 levels weren't what they should have been for a population the size of Wildomar.

If we want better, we are going to have to pay for it. One of the allures that Wildomar had when we were unincorporated was the lower tax rates compared to areas like Murrieta and Temecula.

Well, we do pay lower tax rates, and it's very obvious too. Again, we all loath taxes, but we all seem to want the first responders to be top notch, even if we don't budget for top notch... not to mention roads and other amenities too.

Anyone else see the disconnect here?

If we want to talk about ancient history, the run up to Wildomar's incorporation, I wasn't in favor of becoming a city. Even with my eyes closed, I could see that we didn't have the tax base to properly pull it off. 

Other cities have big ticket items like car dealerships, big box stores (and not just one called Walmart), they may have big entertainment draws (like an old town, wineries, movie theaters, Dave & Busters, etc) that bring in tax dollars.

Wildomar has none of that. 

Our big ticket item is basically wrapped up in our eight gas stations, and the smattering of restaurants we have. 

Again, that's all ancient history, and we are a city now, and there's no reason to think that'll ever change. Time to move forward, but that takes a bigger budget than was originally forecast when we became a city.

At the neighborhood watch meeting, we learned about Lake Elsinore's POP Team (Problem Oriented Policing) and sanctioned citizen patrols they have there. If we'd like such things in Wildomar, we are going to have to pay for them.

When asked my opinion on the coming ballot measure, asking for an increase in local sales tax, I tell people to vote their conscience. If they are dead set against taxes (I'm generally in that camp) then vote against the measure. 

Just do so knowing that you will also be voting to keep public safety measures at a barebones minimum with little actual hope of increasing coverage.

There was a recent 5%-7% increase in costs associated with Wildomar's police coverage... just because... aka inflation

The same principle applies to the gas tax repeal: Prop 6. 

I love the idea of letting Sacramento know how disgusted we are with their incessant desires to raise our taxes. 

We already pay too much in this state!

I get it and concur, but again, just remember... a vote to repeal the gas tax, is actually a vote to keep Wildomar's failing roads from any chance of improvement in the foreseeable future. 

The legislature set it up that way, and if we repeal their 2017 pride and joy, known as SB1, they will be looking to punish us, especially so in SoCal. Just brace yourself for that reality if it gets repealed.

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If you cannot bite, never show your teeth.
– Chinese Proverb

Wildomar Rap suggests not bearing your teeth even if you can deliver a rather impressive bite. Everyone loves surprises. ☺

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Friday, July 20, 2018

• Various and Sundry Things Vol 5

A couple of things went down this week that I thought were worthy of a mention. 

In no particular order...

Item 1: Wildomar got it's first crackdown on homeless encampments in quite a while. The press release says, "a total of 9 homeless camps in the city of Wildomar and unincorporated county areas around Lake Elsinore."

I wish we had the number for just Wildomar. When I first read it, I thought this was only talking about our city. I'm relieved that the "9 homeless camps" weren't all in the W.

Next on the wish list is to get them cleaned up, and fenced off to prevent them from perpetuating.

Press Release - Quality of Life Crimes and Trespass Enforcement
City of Wildomar Police & Riverside County Sheriff, Lake Elsinore Station.
Link to original FaceBook post sharing this Press Release.
On July 19, 2018, in an ongoing effort to reduce quality of life crimes associated with members of the homeless community, and to provide assistance to those in need, a collaborative operation was conducted by the Lake Elsinore Sheriff’s Station, Wildomar Police Department, Wildomar Code Enforcement, U.S. Department of Forestry Police, Riverside County Housing Authority, Riverside County Homeless Outreach, Riverside County Veterans Affairs, Riverside County Code Enforcement, and SWAG (Social Work Action Group). 

The involved agencies visited a total of 9 homeless camps in the city of Wildomar and unincorporated county areas around Lake Elsinore. The operation resulted in 2 people arrested and transported to the Cois Byrd Detention Center. 

The arrests were made for the following crimes:
• 1 drug related charge
• 7 arrest warrant services
• 1 trespass violation

In addition, 13 people were connected with services to assist with chemical dependency and were also provided information for services to assist with home placement, of which 6 accepted. Due in part to the successful combined efforts of the agencies involved, and its positive impact on public safety and for the overall quality of life of those who live in the community, further sweeps will be conducted in the future if needed. The Lake Elsinore Sheriff’s Station would like to thank everyone who participated for their assistance in the operation.

Further information from the County of Riverside Department of Public Social Services Homeless resources is available here;
For County of Riverside Code Enforcement, you can find more information here;
For City of Wildomar Code Enforcement, you can find more information here;

SWAG, Social Work Action Group is a nonprofit volunteer organization partnered with communities and Riverside County Agencies within the Lake Elsinore – Temecula Valley in their collective efforts to aid those in need of community support. You can find out more information or how to volunteer, here;
Item 2: SoCal Edison had a community meeting dealing with the new concept (at least new to me) known as PSPS (Public Safety Power Shut-off). It's their "last resort public safety measure to mitigate wildfire risk".
Link to the SCE webpage discussing this.
The meeting was held at Edison's Wildomar location, and there were several displays, with very knowledgeable reps to give details on the different aspects of the new policy, and how it could affect someone.

There was also a powerpoint presentation that lasted about half an hour, followed up with a Q&A between the residents (which ranged up to Horsethief Canyon to Deluz) and a panel of Edison experts.

Safety was the key point being made by team Edison.
The information seemed to pertain more to people that live in high risk fire areas, not so much for those that live away from such areas, and that have their power lines underground.
The American Red Cross had a display table which showed their 3-Day Bag for emergencies. It's available at their website, and it listed for $99. It was pretty impressive, but that cost is pretty high. They offered a free worksheet on how to create your own 3-Day Bag for a lot less, at an estimated $1.75 a week over 21 weeks (under $40). LINK to the webpage with this bag.
If you'd like more info about this topic, visit SCE's website for details: use this link.
A look at some of the new items Edison is using on their power poles.
In the back is a fiberglass crossbeam.
Item 3: Trash Truck Fire. 
Thursday, July 19th, there was a CR&R truck that caught fire. The story made its rounds on FaceBook. I believe that no one was hurt, and everyone had their trash hauled away as usual that day.
Photo Credits: Doug Gates
Photo Credits: Doug Gates
Item 4: The Hive is finally about to open.
Located at the northwest corner of Clinton Keith and Palomar.
For what seems like 2 years, The Hive has had a sign up saying "Bee Patient"... and I'm sure it took the patience of Job for the proprietors to not lose their cool while the behind the scenes issues were being addressed, but the day is finally approaching that they will be opened full time. 
Photo taken in November 2017.
They've had a couple of soft opening nights from what I've heard, but their website still says Bee Patient, and that their grand opening will be in mid August.
I am bee-ing patient... but it's not easy. ☺
I can't wait to see what's inside. This is from the website, link below.

(951) 678-0722

Item 5: This sign just showed up on Palomar, about a quarter mile north of the cemetery, but I'm not really sure what it means... other than the obvious that loads of fill dirt are likely to start arriving there soon


I didn't see any start dates listed, but there are hours of operations listed.
The sign is adorned with the official city seal. I called the number listed "for information" at 1:30pm on Friday, and after about 8 rings I got their automated phone message machine. Maybe someone else has already gotten through to them and can share what's up at that site.
Item 6: Bonus item... Wildomar's world's famous lone chimney seems to be the site of a war between taggers. 
According to google maps, the first tag was there by March.
The blue "art" was there first, then some meanie with a spray can ruined it for all the cars that drive by it. Some people have no respect for other people's work. (That was sarcasm, and I'm sure you detected it with ease... right?)
Sometimes the chimney has no graffiti (below), other times it has graffiti over other graffiti.
If not an all out tagger war, I think we can at least classify it as a conflict or a skirmish... minimally it's a tagger tiff.
This is from Bing Maps 2015... who even knew there was such a thing as "Bing maps"? lol
We managed to knock down the old graffiti house that overlooked the freeway, how long until we can get this eyesore leveled? Inquiring minds want to know.
We've been liberated from this monster's grasp for nearly a year now.
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By the way, you may have heard that I'm running for city council. I'll be turning in my nomination papers this coming Tuesday. Remember to vote this November, and if you have questions or concerns, please email me about them.
Click the image to visit the campaign website.
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Coming events do cast their shadows before them, the trouble of course, is that only in hindsight is that warning shadow perceived or realized... usually too late to change the march of fate.
– EG Marshall (CBSRMT)

Wildomar Rap doesn't cast a shadow since it's 1/64th vampire, and therefore it's been too late to change the march of fate from the get go.

This blog was produced for viewing on a desktop or a laptop. Though it's been optimized for smartphones, the formatting can look odd on a smartphone or if you get this delivered through email (such as missing video links). Link to proper format.

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