Saturday, March 30, 2019

• Community Spirit: Indy Purkiss

Let me introduce you to a remarkable young person named Indiana, Indy for short. 

She's a 10 year old Wildomar resident, student at Ronald Reagan Elementary and first came across my radar when she delivered a public comment to the city council in February 2019. 
Indiana Purkiss as seen from the dias.
Her cause deals with a park in her neighborhood that has been closed longer than she's been alive.
This was taken during the height of our rains this year. 
She'd like to see it reopened. Below are the highlights of her public comment.

My brother and I want to redo it (Canyon View Park) but we need to get your permission first. Our plan is to organize some neighborhood cleanup weekends where we can: 
1) sweep and repaint the basketball court; 
2) cut and pull out all the weeds in the grass and make it look nice; 
3) clean up the whole hill and make it look nice; 
4) pay for and put together a playground and a basketball hoop; 
5) invite friends and family to come and play at the park. 

Pretty cool, huh? I just need your permission for a cool park in our neighborhood.

April, Indy, Dallas and Matt Purkiss
We don't have any parks in our neighborhood, and it would be really cool to have one. A lot of kids live here and we would love a place to run around and play. It would be really great if you could consider letting us build up this abandoned park into a useable space for us kids to play. I look forward to hearing from you.

-Indy Purkiss, February 13, 2019 
Take a look at the two and a half minute video below, it takes a lot of courage to speak in public, especially when it's in front of elected officials.
Wanting to know more of the history of the shuddered park, I was directed to John Lloyd, a longtime champion of Wildomar parks. 

He gave me a brief overview as he remembers it. Note, he refers to it as "The Pit Park".
Ah The Pit!

The County accepted a Flood Control Basin as a park in the late 80’s early 90’s. Developers for County communities were allowed to free wheel and cut corners frequently.

If you take Canyon Ranch Road off of Bundy to the north and follow it all the way up to Gafford Road, then turn left and go a block to Great Falls Road you are at the corner of The Pit Park.
You can see the walking trail that goes around the lower park, but is fenced off.
There used to be a walking trail around the top of the pit and a basketball ½ court with picnic tables down in the bottom.

The old Parks system used to maintain the park and people used it all the time. I tried unsuccessfully to get the walking path at the top re-opened but I was shut down each time.
The walking trail.
When Supervisor Buster couldn’t get his additional park tax in the late 90’s he threatened and eventually closed the parks. Huge mistake. Since the parks were closed all forms of park funding were revoked, tightening the budget would have fixed the issue but he was determined to make a point, we all paid that price.

Flood control took over the Pit since there were no park funds to keep it safe and the area needed to have a good working flood control basin. At the same time all the other parks were fenced and closed.
A look at the basketball court from beyond the double fencing.
Later, Flood control refused to return the park to the community. They felt it was not a safe location for a park and at the time they wanted the County to take over all responsibility for it if it was re-opened as a park. The County backed off and in no time at all the Pit became a graffiti nightmare.

Later when we became a City I asked to see about getting it re-opened but City Council wouldn’t support the idea because the cost to maintain it wasn’t included in the park tax and being a flood control basin the maintenance can be pretty heavy.

I still think it should be re-opened if possible. The community has nothing in that area and folks used to really appreciate that little park.

So that’s the history of The Pit Park.
Where there's a will, there's a way. I've heard reports of homeless activity in the park and in one of the other photos above you can see bike jumps. The fence is only keeping regular folks from using it.
I don't know what can be done about this long closed park, but I think it's worth asking. If this is something that interests you, consider emailing the city with your thoughts on it. 

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Keep your face always toward the sunshine - and shadows will fall behind you.
– Walt Whitman

Wildomar Rap would have to wear a hat and sunglasses to follow this advice... I hate squinting.

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Friday, March 29, 2019

• Adios Walmart

It's official, Walmart will NOT be coming to Wildomar. 

After more years than I can count, the Walmart saga is unceremoniously over. To steal a phrase, it's not as bad as Amazon leaving New York, but it's still a setback.
(official press release further down in the blog)

You win some, you lose some.

Philip Serghini, Walmart's  Director of Governmental & Public Affairs, on why Walmart is not going forward with the project on Bundy Canyon and Monte Vista Road. 
Philip Serghini of Walmart seen at a January 2015 Wildomar Chamber breakfast at Denny's.
He cited a change in Walmart business and development strategy and online purchase/store pick up, they are scaling back their building program and the Wildomar site was one that was targeted for sale.

Walmart does not have a buyer for the property as of today.

In some corners it's considered to be good news/bad news... at least there is now a decision on the property status which may help the surrounding property owners go forward with their projects.

To me it's more bad news than good, but at least we don't have to keep wondering about it. 
The news is pretty fresh at this point, but I have to wonder if it will affect the Bundy Canyon Road widening project since Walmart had been conditioned to do much of it on that part of the road.
I remember first hearing about Walmart coming to Wildomar almost ten years ago. Then it started getting serious when they held community meetings back in 2014.

Below is a short video of the March 11, 2015 city council meeting where Walmart was originally approved. 

It's assumed that The President of Wildomar, a longtime opponent of Walmart coming to town, is ecstatic that his years of railing against the "Evil Walmart" has paid off. 
(If you don't know who that is, just ask The Wildomar Stop Sign... he may be able to help you with it.)

It's safe to assume that Miss Miller is also happy that Walmart won't be coming. Below is a classic clip where she shouted "no" as the city council voted to approve the project.

With Walmart being removed from the future of Wildomar, that also means several hundred thousand dollars in yearly revenue to the city, if not a million dollars now that the Proposition AA sales tax increase is but a few days from being implemented, will be off the table too.

If you'd like to read past blogs that touched on Walmart in Wildomar as it was going through the planning process, please click on the Walmart tag at the bottom of the blog.
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“There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again.”
– George W. Bush

Wildomar Rap has to conclude that W was talking about Walmart in the W.

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Thursday, March 28, 2019

• Budget Workshop 2019

It was a light crowd at the March 27th, 2019 budget workshop. The total number of residents could have been counted on Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown's pitching hand. 

But I did livestream this on Facebook, and as of 9:40am the next day, the stats say that three have been 275 views. 
It's not easy to know what the numbers really mean...
coming from facebook and all, but this is what they tell me.
Below is a link to the video

It's on facebook and you probably have to have a facebook account to access it. I tried downloading it so that I could edit it (I hate the vertical format) but when I put the file into my editing software the audio was way out of sync. 

Note to self: I'm going to need to bring my proper video camera along to these less formal meetings so I can capture better images with quality sound.

Items from the community included:
1) Wanting the city to invest in a better method of patching potholes.

2) When will improvements on the 27 acre park begin
3) Recover the 2018 CDBG funds that are being used to improve the sidewalks on Mission Trail at the north end of town.
4) Rebidding contract services that have been in place since the city was incorporated.
This is something I've had several people bring up to me, and I've been interested in the answer too.

The contracts of Interwest and PV Maintenance were specifically mentioned. Assistant city manager Dan York responded that "both of those contracts are still operating on 2009 unit costs."

There are times that putting such contracts out to bid can create cost increases where they could have stayed flat. (sleeping dogs and all that)

One example was of the park security contract. 

It had been humming along for the past several years at under $1000 a month. When the vendor was unable to continue fulfilling the contract, a RFP was sent out, and the new cost is more than $4000 a month.
5) Are we looking at Menifee and how they've started their own police department?
6) Pavement assessment. It's scheduled for the May city council meeting.

My thoughts on three people coming to a town hall meeting where the public's input was requested:
People are content with the direction the city is headed in. When people are content, they don't look to rock the boat.

Afterall, when people storm the castle, it's not to bring a dozen roses. 

There is still time for you to add your thoughts to the budget process. Posting your thoughts on facebook is good for sharing your ideas with your neighbors, but if you'd like to have your ideas be seen by those that can do something about them... well... 

Send your emails to Robert Howell and put "budget" in the subject line:

To stay up on city news releases be sure that you're tied in with the various ways to stay connected.

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My Best Friend is a person who will give me a book I have not read.
– Abraham Lincoln

Wildomar Rap would love to have a chance to give Honest Abe a copy of our CAFR and see if he doesn't revise that quote a tad.

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Sunday, March 17, 2019

• City Council Meeting March 2019

This was a presentation heavy/regular agenda light type of meeting. Even the items on the agenda were mostly rubber stamp type items. Things that needed to be passed and didn't come with any controversies. 

1. William Collier Elementary School 
Principal Manny Valdez led the presentation and students Blake Baoloy, Eveny Leon, Crista Kerr, Katelyn Parckys and Isabella Herrera each participated as well. Watch the video below to hear what a good job they all did.
2. Eagle Scout – Damion Gonzalo 
3. Eagle Scout – Josh Robles
Eagle Scouts Damion Gonzalo (left) and Josh Robles (right) watch as Mayor Marsha Swanson passes the microphone to Senator Jeff Stone's Chief of Staff Glenn Miller, while Congressman Ken Calvert's representative Brenda Dennstedt looks on. 
4. Library Update 
5. Animal Shelter Update 
6. Reality Rally Presentation

To get the details from presentations 4, 5 and 6 please watch the video at the bottom of the blog starting around the 20:00 mark.

Consent Calendar item 1.5 Measure AA Citizen’s Oversight Advisory Committee

To me, this was the key news from the meeting. 

The city is looking for five interested residents to fill this committee. I'll add language from the agenda packet so you'll have a clear understanding of what this committee is. 

A. The responsibilities and duties of the Committee shall be limited to:
1. Review expenditures of Measure AA revenues to ensure the monies have been expended in accordance with the authorized purposes of Measure AA. 
2. Understand allowable expenses of Measure AA monies, which is a general purpose tax.
3. Understand municipal revenue collection and distribution from local, state and federal sources.
4. Prepare and submit to the Chief Fiscal Officer of the City an annual public report on the expenditures of Measure AA tax revenues for the previous fiscal year. The Chief Fiscal Officer will then submit the public report to the City Council per Government Code section 50075.3.
5. Receive and review the independent auditor’s report as required by Section 3.22.050 for Measure AA revenues and expenditures.
B. The Committee shall not have any budgetary decision authority and shall not allocate financial resources.
C. The Committee shall have no authority to direct, nor shall it direct, City Staff or Officials.

For purposes of clarification, it is important to note that this committee is an oversight committee, much like the Measure Z Oversight committee. Because of this the committee will not have any oversight in how the monies are to be spent, but rather how the monies were spent, ensuring they were spent in accordance with Measure AA. 
If you'd like to be part of this committee, please email the city clerk and request an application.

3.1 Update Participation in the Transportation Uniform Mitigation Fee (TUMF) Program
When new homes are built, they contribute to the TUMF fund (Transportation Uniform Mitigation Fee). The key to this agenda item was to shift the collection of such fees from the city, directly to WRCOG (Western Riverside Council of Governments).

By eliminating the two step process in the fee collection, it frees up valuable time for city staff to attend to other matters. There is a yearly audit that no longer needs to be prepared by the city, and WRCOG will not have to do their end of the audit at the 18 cities they service.

3.2 Ordinance Regulating Wireless Telecommunication Facilities in the Public Right-of-Ways
Typically, the wireless carriers seek to install antennas and other equipment on existing poles in the public right of way, including street lights and utility poles. These facilities are called “Distributed Antenna Systems” (DAS) and are more commonly referred to as “small cells.” The proposed Ordinance (Attachment A) establishes permit requirements for the installation of wireless telecommunication facilities in the public right-of-way.

A streamlined permit is available for proposed small cell facilities that will be collocated on an existing pole in the public right of way. A standard permit is available for proposed small cell installations that require the construction of a new pole. In the unlikely event that a wireless carrier proposes to install a larger facility in the right-of-way, it would be subject to the established Wireless Communication Facility permitting process that applies to private property in the Zoning Code. Streamlined and standard permits would be issued administratively unless appealed.

Small cells that are proposed to be located on City-owned street lights or other poles would be exempt from permitting requirements under this Ordinance. To install small cells on a City-owned pole, each carrier would be required to enter into a Master License Agreement with the City that will govern the review and approval process for each installation, and include a license fee that the carrier must pay to the City for the privilege of installing its equipment on a City-owned pole.

It should be noted that on September 27, 2018, the FCC released a Declaratory Ruling and Report and Order entitled “Accelerating Wireless Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure Investment; Accelerating Wireline Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure Investment.” This Declaratory Ruling limits local control over small cells in several respects. The Ruling imposes new “shot clocks” on the time a municipality can take to review applications to install small cells, limits the processing fees and license fees that municipalities can charge, and limits the scope of aesthetic review.

The Report and Order went into effect in late January 2019. Several cities across the country have filed lawsuits on the grounds that this Ruling oversteps the FCC’s authority, and those suits were consolidated and are currently pending in the 10th Circuit. Because the 10th Circuit has declined to issue a temporary injunction blocking the implementation of the Report and Order, this Ordinance was drafted to be compliant with the Report and Order. Depending on the outcome of this litigation, amendments may be needed to this Ordinance in the future.
City Manager Report:
There will be a meeting at the Lake Elsinore Cultural Center on Wednesday, April 17th at 6pm discussing homeless issues in the Wildomar/Lake Elsinore/Lakeland Village areas.

Future agenda items:
Joseph Morabito asked to strengthen code enforcement. 

If you watch the video, starting at about the 1:37:00 mark, you'll see that I need a ton of polishing still. 

I'm finding out that it's a lot easier being eloquent when I'm on this side of the keyboard, than that side of the dias. ☺
Bridgette Moore asked about a spay and neuter program (which had been brought up in the animal shelter update earlier in the meeting).

Ben Benoit mentioned wanting a letter to Caltrans regarding freeway safety in the Sedco area where there is no guardrail to keep cars from crashing down into the city. He also asked staff to prepare a basic report regarding commercial cannabis so that the council can take a look at and discuss from there.

This is where I'm handcuffed with posting my opinion (the Brown Act). I'd love to add more thoughts here, but it's best to wait until it officially hits the agenda. 

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Life is always a tightrope or a feather bed. Give me the tightrope.
– Edith Wharton

Not sure where Ms. Wharton grew up, but in Wildomar Rap's world, it's more of a choice between regular and decaf... and decaf is NEVER opted for. (Maybe that's what she meant?)

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Thursday, March 14, 2019

• Poppies and Butterflies 2019

We've been hearing a lot about the Super Bloom ten miles up the freeway in Lake Elsinore off of Lake Street, but we have a modest version of a Super Bloom here in Wildomar too.
Families descend on Wildomar poppies that are near Salida Del Sol.
At the same time there has been [what seems to be] millions of butterflies traversing Wildomar on their migration north. I first noticed swarms of Painted Lady Butterflies Tuesday and their flow hasn't subsided yet. Below you'll find a few smartphone shots I made of them.
This Painted Lady is pretending to be a poppy.
If I don't move, you won't see me.
Resting for a few seconds before continuing the journey north.
An in action shot as it takes off, (or was it landing?)
This honey bee wanted to be blogged about too.
I've prepared a 2 minute video that gives a drone's eye view of the poppy field. It's set to some upbeat, early rock 'n roll style music. There is a brief glimpse of what the field looks like in Summer for a contrast.

If you take a look at the 2017 super bloom blog (link) you'll see there were more flowers then... but if we get more rain this season, who's to say.

I'm also including the 2017 video I created for that blog. No drone footage, and no RnR either. Just steady shots and nature sounds. It runs less than 2 minutes.
Here is a link to "10 Fascinating Facts About Painted Lady Butterflies" if you'd like to learn more about them.
If this is what the lineup of cars looks like on a school day, what is it going to look like on a Saturday?
Here is a look at the super bloom taken in the hilly areas that overlook Lake Mathews.
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Anything that is too stupid to be spoken is sung.
– Voltaire

Wildomar Rap has rarely been compared to a musical, but I can see the argument.

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Thursday, March 7, 2019

• Veteran of the Year: Gary Welsh

Local Vet Honored

This a bit late in coming since he was selected last year, but as our Assemblywoman, Melissa Melendez, jokingly put it, "He was named in November but has been avoiding me because he doesn't like being in the spotlight and he doesn't like to be recognized for the things that he does." 

"In order to present him with this resolution this evening we had to kind of, you know, go ninja style on him and surprise him. He didn't know we were going to do this —sorry Gary," Melissa said with a grin. 
Gary Welsh and Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez.

"Basically the reason why Gary is getting this recognition is because he is a veteran and has been serving veterans —for years. I think that warrants recognition. I know a lot of veterans in the district, and it's hard to pick one, but I can tell you 'this is a guy who doesn't do it [to get] a pat on the back'... which is why we had to sneak in here."
- Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez
He served in the United States Army from '63 to '66 as a medic. His service included tours in Europe, including Germany and France. His first year in the military he went to work on an ambulance. Afterwards he worked at Loma Linda VA Hospital, he did that for the next 29 years as a volunteer.

During this time Gary joined the American Legion in 1966 and later became a member of the Elks Lodge. He has a love of motorcycles and belongs to the motorcycle club called The Rough Riders.

Of the many things he helps out with, you may also know him to be the calm, smooth and steady Bingo caller at the Elks Lodge.
Gary's fellow Rough Riders watched on as he was honored.
Gary was asked to say a few words and he began with, "Well, that's humbling."
No stranger behind the mic, Gary addresses the Bingo crowd with some thoughts.
Then continued, "Volunteering and working for the community, helping veterans and everything, is something we do (motioning to The Rough Riders), all my brothers, myself, the Elks, and you guys (motioning to the Bingo audience). Because 100% of the budget from The Elks Veterans Foundation comes from Bingo. So, I want to thank you guys for helping us do what we do. Without you we couldn't do this."
Gary Welsh and Melissa Melendez pose with The Rough Riders.
This chapter of The Rough Riders focuses on military veterans and their families.
He continued, "I want to thank my brothers for always being there, for everything that they do, and they don't just do it here in our small little community; it's worldwide."
Gary Welsh, Melissa Melendez and Exalted Ruler of the Elks Michael Cain. 
He finished with, "Melissa, (after a short pause and with playful banter) I'll never forgive you." To which those in attendance gave a hearty laugh as they applauded.
VFW Post Commander Steve Regalado spoke of coming to know Gary better over the two years that he's been at the helm of the VFW, and just today they worked together to help a homeless vet get back on his feet.
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“Whatever you are, be a good one.” 
– Abraham Lincoln

Wildomar Rap is always humbled to be a fly on the wall at such events as these. Thank you Gary for always being there with a smile and a firm handshake.

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