Wednesday, January 23, 2019

• Parks Visioning Workshop Part 3

Another step in the long journey towards more parks in Wildomar.
Longtime Wildomar parks leaders pose for a picture.
Bridgette Moore, Tim Underdown and John Lloyd.
This blog will be a very brief recap of the most recent Parks Visioning Workshop and a video link to the 20 minute presentation.

I counted about three dozen residents in attendance, and another dozen or so staff members at this workshop. It was the largest crowd of any parks visioning meetings I'd been to. 

Like past parks visioning workshops, there was a presentation and then time for questions and answers in the back of the room around large posters of parks designs.
A handout like this was filled out by those in attendance. The idea was to place a number in the boxes of which you'd like to see developed first.
The parks will come on line in phases over time, but nothing has been approved thus far. Costs weren't gone over in detail at this meeting. Some cost estimates are $15M for the 27 acre park and $7M for the 11 acre park. (Thanks for asking those questions Kenny)
Before getting loose with, "that's too damn much money" understand that there are grants available for much of the funding. 

Plus, nice things aren't free.
This will be coming to city council sometime in late Spring/early Summer. That presentation will be comprehensive and livestreamed.

To get more details, watch the video or take a look at the past blogs on this topic.

There have been five previous blogs that got labeled "Parks Master Plan" dating back to October of 2014. 

The first can be found in the link below and the others can be accessed by clicking on the "Parks Master Plan" tag at the bottom of the blog.

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Wait for that wisest of all counselors, Time.
– Pericles

Wildomar Rap is still waiting.

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.

Monday, January 21, 2019

• Protest At Busy Intersection

I was about to go shopping at Barons when I got a text asking if I knew why Frontwave Credit Union (Wildomar's newest banking entity located in Wildomar Square) was being protested. 

I did a brief google search, but got no answers so I figured I'd just go over and ask them what was up... after shopping that is.
As seen at 2:30pm from ARCO across the street.
I parked by Taco Bell and walked up to the half dozen or so picketers (if that's a fair description) and asked what the protest was about. I don't know what I expected, but clear/detailed answers weren't in the cards.
Pro Tip: If you're going to protest, be able to answer why you're there/what the issue is... just a suggestion, but a pretty solid one if you ask me.
Once I realized I was asking the wrong person (it took me about 3.5 seconds) I asked who was in charge. I was pointed to a couple that were on a return trip from the AM/PM Mini Market, laden with snacks and beverages, when I asked them about their protest.

There was a bit of hesitation and what seemed like looks of distrust.

I let them know that I do a blog in town and that people were interested in what was up. Seemed like a golden opportunity to tell their side of the story if they wanted to. 

I didn't get any detailed stories from them, but they did tell me that they were protesting the corporate office, and it was over wages. That was truly the gist of it.

I asked if they were from the area (I told them they were in Wildomar, in case they weren't sure) and I was told they were from Moreno Valley. I asked if they'd be back tomorrow to repeat the protest, but the leader said she didn't know yet.

Frontwave was closed due to the MLK Jr holiday, so I couldn't ask them for their take (Sorry Alina).
Many of the "protesters" were busy on their phones on the backside of the banners.
I'm learning new stuff all the time these days... and today I learned that people will drive an hour to protest something they can't really put a finger on when asked about it. I hope whatever the wage issue is, that it gets resolved soon.

If this seems like a case of paid protesters to you... you're not the only one to draw that conclusion. 

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If you don't heal what hurt you, you'll bleed on people who didn't cut you.
– Unknown

Wildomar Rap isn't a bleeder, and doesn't plan on becoming one anytime soon. 

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.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

• City Council Meeting January 2019

It was a relatively short meeting, adjourning by 7:45pm. The key topics from my perspective were agenda items 1.6 (not discussed), 1.7, 3.1 and 3.2.

Before any of those items, there was a presentation where 2018 Mayor Ben Benoit handed the gavel over to 2019 Mayor Marsha Swanson. 
This is a screen capture from the live video.
Item 1.6 
2 Vacancies on the Measure Z committee.
Link to Measure Z page on city website.
This is a great chance for you to get more involved in your community!
Link to Measure Z calendar.

Item 1.7 Amendments to Personnel Rules
This dealt with increasing the amount of sick time city employees can accrue. 
This starts at the 31:00 mark in the video below. Council discussion begins at 42:20.

This was a very heady item that ended up being voted on separately (from the rest of the consent calendar)

The key sticking point for me was boosting the accrued sick time that an employee can bank went from 320 hours to 640 hours. In the original language an employee could cash out 50% of 320 hours and the proposal was to bump that to 100% 0f 640 hours.
One thing to keep in mind here is that if a person uses their sick time, then there is no accrued sick time to bank. 

The idea is to use the banking of sick time as a carrot to persuade an employee to not call in sick if they can work through a time they aren't feeling 100% on a given work day.

The difference between cashing out unused sick leave the year it is earned, and waiting until the end of an employee's tenure with the city is that it will be paid based on the final wage/salary they were earning, not the wage/salary of the year the sick time was originally earned.
The rationale is to remain competitive with other local cities, and what they offer. That way we don't lose quality personnel to other municipalities that can offer a better compensation package.

I used a sports analogy. (Better get used to it, because I like to do that a lot... even from the dais) ☺
There was a chart that showed how this is addressed in Eastvale, Lake Elsinore, Menifee, Murrieta and Temecula.
Comparative chart with other local cities.
The sports analogy was that we, Wildomar, will always be a "small market team" (think Minnesota Twins or Pittsburgh Pirates) and we can't compare ourselves to the New York Yankees or LA Dodgers (Temecula, etc)

We'll never be able to compete with those other cities when it comes to what we can offer employees. 

What we can offer is a fair compensation package and a different pace, but if a larger city can offer more money (like the Yankees or Dodgers can), and top dollar is the key factor for a said employee, then they'll understandably take the better offer. That's just life in a small market.
There was a distinction made between the executive and management employees, and the rest of the city employees. The proposal is to allow the executives and management to get 100% cash out from day one. The other city employees follow the table below.
Longevity has its advantages.
When it comes to the regular employees, it would take someone being continuously employed by the city for 15 years to get to the 100% mark. 
Maybe it's because I've never been an executive/manager (I've been my own boss since I was 22), but I don't see why a distinction should be made. 

If the idea is to incentivize the NON use of sick leave, then why wouldn't we extend that to everyone?

We have a small staff, and we prefer it when they don't feel compelled to use the sick time that they might otherwise exercise.
It could be argued that allowing them to accrue sick time over that span would work as an incentive for them to avoid using sick time over their career when they're feeling subpar, but still able to work. A bonus of sorts. 

Bonuses are good things. Who out there doesn't like to have them offered for work well done?

The vote was 3-2 to table the item.
A motion was made by Councilmember Ben Benoit and seconded by Councilmember Joseph Morabito.

The keys of the motion were to have staff present a chart with, not only the sick time hours, but also those of vacation time to better compare and understand where we're at compared to other cities.
There was an explanation as to why this type of item was on the consent calendar and not a regular agenda item: This type of item has been brought to the city council 11 times since incorporation, and other than when it was being created as an ordinance, it's been on the consent calendar.

I respect protocol, but as I stated from the dais, I'd prefer this type of item (that deals with proposed changes in monetary outlay) to be a regular agenda item with a staff presentation. I need to know what I'm voting on. 

Item 3.1 
Resolution of Intention to Change the Name of Five Contiguous Interior Residential Streets to One Continuous Street Name: Wildomar Trail

As of today, there is no date set for when this name change will occur.

Item 3.2 
FY 2018-19 Mid -Year Budget Report
The key notes are that we voted to add to our first responders in the 2019-2020 fiscal year are as follows.
• For Police, the addition of a motor officer and a community patrol officer. Proposed FY 2019-20 cost would be $565,000;
• For Fire, the addition of a Medic Squad. Proposed FY 2019-20 costs for three additional staff for the Medic Squad would be $783,700;
• One-Time Costs for Police would be the purchase and equipping of a motorcycle. Proposed FY 2018-19 cost is $50,000.
• One Time Costs for Fire would be the purchase of the Medic Squad vehicle and related equipment. Proposed FY 2018-19 costs is $225,000

The video feed begins well before the meeting started. Skip to the 14:45 minute mark to get to the beginning of the meeting. 

Bookmark the following link that leads to the City of Wildomar's video page: 

Note: these early video feeds are still in the beta stage of things. The camera was a temporary camera (as seen in the photo below) and a permanent camera will soon be installed. The live feed will eventually include the presentations that can be seen on the four monitors in the council chambers.
Red arrow indicates temporary camera location.
Kenny Mayes decked out in solidarity with his "French brothers" protesting high taxes.

Which was the basis for the line of the night uttered by resident Monty Goddard when commenting on the proposed traffic patrol officer in item 3.2: 
"This is one of the rare occasions when... the protestor from France and I are in disagreement." 
That bit of levity can be seen at the 1:08:30 mark of the video.
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What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.
– Pericles

Next on Wildomar Rap's to do list: learn how to weave.

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.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

• Hit and Run Collision Causes Power Outage

New Year's day evening power outage hits many areas of Wildomar. 

It started with a hit and run accident at the intersection of Bundy Canyon and Orange St a few minutes before 7:30pm.
A few images from the scene.
City council members Ben Benoit and Bridgette Moore were on the scene within moments and kept the city up to date with details. 

Details from the event include: 
1) That no one in the incident needed to be transported to the hospital, which is a minor miracle in itself when you consider that a power pole was turned into splinters. 
2) An arrest was made at the scene and the suspect was transported to Southwest Detention Center.
3) Power outages were reported in the neighborhoods surrounding Ronald Reagan Elementary and the Albertson's shopping center. Lights flickered but stayed on in Windsong Valley and The Farm.
The light at the intersection of Bundy Canyon and Orange remained out of service through the night and into midmorning.
4) Signal lights were reported to be out in many areas, including Mission Trail and Bundy Canyon.

The number of "customers affected" started out over 1000. Then went down to about 100, and then to just 10 by 9:00pm.
You can get this type of info first hand by going to SCE's webpage
or using their Smartphone App.

We've been told that it's only a matter of time before the city's facebook page is up and running. So far there are only 70 people that "like" it. If you're a facebook user, and you want to follow city issues like this power outage, you should visit the link below and click the appropriate boxes. 

I'm guessing that this incident will show up on next year's "Year In Review" blog. ☺
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There are two men inside the artist, the poet and the craftsman. One is born a poet. One becomes a craftsman.

– Émile Zola

There are two men inside Wildomar Rap, both are busy at the moment... fighting over who will dominate the remote control.

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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