Sunday, April 28, 2019

• National Donate Life Month

April is National Donate Life Month... though there are only a few days before the calendar switches to May, you can choose to become a donor any time of the year. 
We all know the little pink dot that represents donor status on our driver licenses.
I've had that dot on my license since it was an actual physical sticker.
Here I pose with Pinky (that's what I'm calling him) and Erika Heranic.
I was first approached by Erika Heranic, two year recipient of a heart transplant, back in March. I was glad to help facilitate the city issuing a proclamation for April being Donate Life Month in 2019, and even more glad to represent the city at the Run/Walk event at Cal State Fullerton this past Saturday.
Mayor Marsha Swanson, holding poster of Dylan Stump, looks on as Erika Heranic speaks about Donate Life at the April city council meeting.
It was a busy morning with a lot of people in attendance, at the One Legacy run/walk event at Cal State Fullerton.

Though it was a decidedly upbeat event, the sobering reality that a family's loved one had to be gone in order for the organ recipient to still be standing, was always present.
Joseph Morabito, Erika Heranic, Dan and Dana Stump holding a poster of their son Dylan.
My daughter Sheena and I walked with the family and #hugsfordylan team, which was more than 120 people. A camera crew was following the Stump-Heranic group the entire event. 
The cameraman captures the moment Erika crossed the finish line.
The point of the yearly event is to raise awareness about being an organ donor (this was the 17th year)

If I can be blunt here, once you're dead, you really aren't going to miss the organs that can save, or at least greatly improve, other people's lives.
Notice how few people actually end up donating. Stats are in the double green circle.
It can be an emotional issue for some people, whether or not to sign up to be a donor. Funny thing though, when the shoe is on the other foot, there aren't many that balk at accepting someone else's donation to save a loved one. Consider paying it forward by signing up today.
If you, or a loved one, ends up being one of the 3 in 1000, the faint silver lining for you will be a second chance for others that are dragging their feet to death's door. (Yes, I love dramatic flare whenever I can use it)
On a personal note, it was great to be able to be at the event with my recently married daughter, Sheena Ray (that's her married name, not a short middle name). She learned to knit at the age 12 or 13 from her Italian nonna (grandmother) and hasn't put the needles down since. She was knitting as we participated in the walk and even posed with Pinky the donor button. Good times. ☺
That's me, wearing a Dylan Stump button, with Sheena "the walking knitting machine" Ray.

Pinky and Sheena Ray team up on a scarf.
Please take a moment and read the more detailed story of Erika, Dylan and Dana Stump at this link.

Use this link to sign up.
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Whatever status symbols we achieve through things, are transitory. Whatever we gain in life, or for that matter —death, lasts only in proportion to whatever we have to give; emotionally, intellectually, spiritually.
– EG Marshall (CBSRMT)

Wildomar Rap is happy and humbled to have been part of this event, and hopes to be able to do so again in the future.

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.

Friday, April 19, 2019

• Homeless Outreach Update Meeting April 2019

Wildomar/Lake Elsinore and surrounding county areas have received a $1.5 million dollar grant to address homeless needs. The even better news is that additional moneys were granted too to bring the total closer to $4.2M. (see graphic below)

Though homelessness, which I categorize the bulk of it with the more accurate term vagrancy, is statewide, it is well known among the homeless that our area pays well.

Here is a story that was shared by Lake Elsinore Councilwoman Natasha Johnson. 

She works at a credit union in Lake Elsinore and she noticed a woman and two small children panhandling around the ATM.

After awhile she went out and told the woman that should couldn't be there asking for money. The woman only retreated to the curb, but didn't leave. At that point the councilwoman called the non-emergency line for the police. An officer happened to be nearby and confronted the beggar.
Posters that will be hanging in participating businesses.
The woman agreed to leave. Any guesses to how much money she told the officer she collected in the four hours she was there?

If you thought $100 or $200 would be a good haul, I wonder what you'd think of the $662 she pulled in from saps that think they're doing a good deed. 

In total she had more than $3000 on her at that time.

This story is found at the 1:27:30 mark in the video.
Remember the movie quote, if you build it they will come?
It could be reworded this way in regards to panhandlers: 
If you hand them money, 
more from out of the area will come. 
It doesn't get any plainer than that.
It's great to be charitable, but only if your money is going to a good cause. Give to one of the non-profits in the area that are geared to alleviating the blight of homelessness, not perpetuating it.
The nuts and bolts of the meeting 
Wildomar, Lake Elsinore and surrounding county areas were recipients of a $1.5M grant from the state to address homelessness. Primarily in regards to a shortage of shelter beds in the area. Currently there are ZERO beds in the entire region.

Pro Tip: with the laws of the state the way they are, if there isn't an alternate place for them to go, the options the police have become greatly limited.
How the grant money is divvied up. In raw percentages, 20% goes to Wildomar since we have 20% of the individual homeless, but I didn't detect any territorial vibe between Lake Elsinore and Wildomar over the money or how it will be spent. It's a regional issue.
The stats as compiled by SWAG.
Most of the local homeless have ties to our area. Below are a couple more slides from the meeting.
Brian is now off the streets thanks to the persistent efforts of SWAG. There have been 26 "street exits" over  the last 13 months.
Officer Glaser along with SWAG. 
The money is to be used on housing the homeless.
There is no magic unicorn place where everyone will be happy with the eventual locations of housing. ***Please see Nicole Dailey's quote on the topic below
Wildomar Councilmember Bridgette Moore

• Wildomar will have some funding [beyond this grant], it won't be anything near the numbers that you saw on the screen. We did just pass measure AA, it's a one cent sales tax, it just started April 1st, but the one cent sales tax is being divided up between police, fire, roads and homeless. It'll be a portion of that one cent, so there is some funding there, but not the numbers that you saw up there.
Highlights from Nicole Dailey, Assistant to the City Manager of Lake Elsinore

• We're looking at housing subsidies. The idea of funding up to five, potentially five, properties in our whole area, in our whole region that would be leased through SWAG or another non profit. 

We basically pay for all the costs associated with that house. Maintenance, landscaping, rent. What these houses can do is allow us to take somebody off the street and put them in a house immediately.

*** One of the things I challenge our community on a regular basis to recognize is, if these homeless individuals in our community, on our streets, are not housed, where do we think they will go? We have to provide them a way off the streets. If we don't they will be in our vacant fields. They will be on our business porches. They will be walking our neighborhoods, and they will be walking the streets at 6AM trying to warm up everyday. We can't forget that they can't just disappear, and they can't just go to jail. It's a much larger challenge and we have to start thinking about where we can send them and how we can help them.

• [A]s you saw, a majority of the homeless are from here, are connected to here. Their family members are here. There's a reason they're here. That doesn't mean there aren't [homeless here from out of the are]. What about that other 25%-30%? This is what SWAG says, and remember they're (SWAG) all across our region, so this is very important for our community [to understand], "Because we pay better out here." 

What do I mean by "pay better"? Panhandling... we give too much here, we care too much here. So I actually think that's a larger challenge than us coming up with services to help.
Highlights from Lake Elsinore Mayor Pro-Tem Brian Tisdale
• I'm a little ticked off at some of our neighbors that are in our [homeless] alliance that didn't do the declaration because in that partnership it would have allowed us to share some of the money with them. So we're calling those folks out and we're not going to let other cities dump on us, other counties dump on us, or anybody else dump on us. 
• I want to touch on the question on the continued funding. The answer is we going to always going to go after money because the homeless problem is not going to go away, and we're going to do what we have to do because if there's a problem here the people that are sitting her (in the audience) are impacted if we do nothing. The cost of letting someone roam on the street is going to hurt us. It costs our police, it costs our fire [department], it costs everybody. So if we have to take tax payer dollars to solve a problem, we'll do that, and I'm willing to take that risk politically.
If this item interests you, before blasting off on facebook, please invest the time to watch the video... then, blast away if need be. 

The second part of this blog could be titled: careful for what you wish for.

After the meeting, within earshot of Officer Glaser,  I mentioned that I'd like to see the homeless camps, while pardoning his interruption he said, "What are you doing tomorrow at 2:00pm?"

Officer Glaser met me at city hall and we toured several areas that are either active or inactive homeless camps in Wildomar.

The camp near the Hospital, which can be seen by some of the balconies of Santa Rosa Apartments, was an incredible sight to see. I didn't take any pictures, but I can share photos that were shared by the Sheriff's Department earlier in the week.
This is one of the dwellings that sit less than 100 feet from the road the Hospital sits on.
The amount of stuff down under those old growth oak trees was staggering. There were five to six distinctive homesteads (for lack of better word).
Aaron Petroff of SWAG seen talking to one of the camp's inhabitants.
Some had makeshift floors, others had little fences, one had a deck that was supported with boards nailed into an oak tree.
This picture was shared by the manager of the apartment complex that overlooks part of the homeless camp during the most recent city council meeting. This is the view from at least one of the balconies of the apartments that rent for about $2500 per month.
I was told about "Honey Holes" (a euphemism for an open air privy) but was spared the fly infested visual which were dug close to the nearby apartments.
I was in this exact spot. Not really sure what they had in mind with those long tree branches.
From this location we drove west on Clinton Keith and spotted a panhandler near the McDonald's. Officer Glaser knew him by name, and that he had several warrants. He was arrested and transported to the jail without incident.

This is a image in Google Maps from April 2018.
He was told about his options, given SWAG's number and encouraged to get help, and that there is now a zero tolerance policy for panhandling in that area.

It was odd to me that there is less of a charge for panhandling on the freeway off ramp though that seems inherently more dangerous to everyone involved.
I had taken this shot a few days earlier at the same spot. Not sure if it's the same person or not, but appears to be.
There's a state law that deems it an infraction, whereas panhandling on private property is coupled with trespassing and after being warned, becomes an arrestable offense. 

This Google map image is dated December 2016. People wouldn't stand there if they were being paid well. 
The rest of the tour had us discovering an abandoned vehicle with Arizona plates, near an encampment that looked deserted, close to the Murrieta city line. 

As we neared the end of the tour, heading back to city hall, we passed another homeless man that was lounging behind Ace Hardware. Officer Glaser knew him by name and told me that he had no warrants, wasn't panhandling, and wasn't bothering anyone. He had a right to be there and that it wouldn't be helpful to overall plan to make more of it than driving by.

Community outreach is a delicate balance, and it was good to see the professionalism of our sworn officers up close.

The Denouement

Remember to make reports to the police, not just to facebook. 

This would include: trespassing, vandalism, theft, panhandling and encampments. If someone is being aggressive or threatening, call 9-11. 

Facebook is fun and all, but it's just some dot on the map in cyberspace. If you want important matters dealt with in the real world, use the non emergency number for the police: 951-776-1099.
•                •                •

There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.

– Henry David Thoreau

Wildomar Rap can decode the above. Handing out money to panhandlers is "hacking at the branches" which is basically a feel good measure that is a waste of time that makes things worse for society. Don't do that. 

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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

• City Council Meeting April 2019

The meeting began with a moment of silence for CHP Sergeant Steve Licon who had been killed on duty by a drunk driver on April 6th.
David A. Brown Middle School gave a presentation and shared a video put together by their students.

Billy MacKell was honored for achieving the rank of Eagle Scout.
Back row (sitting) City Attorney Thomas Jex, Ben Benoit, Bridgette Moore, Joseph Morabito. Front row Mayor Marsha Swanson, Darrell Connerton of Senator Jeff Stone's office, Billy MacKell, Nancy MacKell, Brenda Dennstedt of Congressman Ken Calvert's office, Cynthia Bennett of Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez's office and Bill MacKell.
April is National Donate Life Month and One Legacy was on hand for the proclamation. There is also a Mayor-athon in Fullerton April 27th.

Erika Heranic shared her story that led to the need of a heart transplant. Mayor Marsha Swanson is holding up a poster that shows the 19 year old donor (Dylan Stump) that helped Erika live.
Next were quarterly reports from the police and fire departments. 
The number of calls dropped by 4% from the year before.
There were no graphics from the fire department.
Here are the key items from the meeting the way I see it.

1) The Bundy Canyon road widening and improvement has been put on hold until the full funding can be procured.
2) The city will be looking to hire an economic development director in the next month or two.
3) Item 3.1 brought a stronger ordinance against the parking of commercial vehicles on public roads. 
This is going to be a great tool for the city to help alleviate the nuisance of commercial vehicles that park on streets, especially in residential areas, but also in other areas

It was asked in two public comments why this doesn't include RVs. I had the same question too. 

The short answer is that this ordinance is specifically addressing commercial vehicles. RVs would be for another ordinance.
“[Regarding RVs parked on the street] currently there is a 72 hour provision, the way that our municipal code reads it's not intended that our public streets are intended to be a storage facility for RVs. So, if it is the will of the council at some time in the future staff would be able to look at that and address that item, but that's not tonight.”
— Assistant City Manager, Dan York
4) Measure AA Oversight Committee applications are still being taken through the end of the month. Use this link if you'd like to apply: LINK
5) Planning Commissioner applications are also being accepted through the end of this month with the intention of appointing a new commissioner at the May city council meeting.
6) The City of Wildomar now officially owns 1405 street lights. The retrofitting to LEDs should be complete in about three months. Maps will be available on the city website detailing which streets are next and which have been completed.

If you have an outage or other concern about your street light, don't call SCE, report it to the city.

Future Agenda Items
Councilmember Ben Benoit asked for a policy on the presentations that are at the start of city council meetings.
I've been talking about this for years. I think that presentations/recognitions are a valuable part of our civic duty, but there are occasions where they take up more time than the actual meeting. I look forward to a new policy that keeps the presentations, while at the same time respecting everyone's time by limiting the time each item is allotted.
Mayor Marsha Swanson suggested freshening up Sedco Bulevard.

Below is the video of the full meeting which picks up as the flag salute ended. The action picks up at about the 3:30 mark.
•                •                •

It is unbecoming for young men to utter maxims.
— Aristotle

Being that Wildomar Rap isn't a young man anymore... no worries here.

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Sunday, April 14, 2019

• Double Dose of Fun at Wildomar Egg Hunts (2019)

Were you at either the morning Eggstravagana or the nighttime teen egg hunt? 
The technique was the same, just the ages were different.
Both were a great time for the many that attended. 
The under ten kids ruled the day...
...the teens ruled the night.
There were no official head counts, but it's safe to say that several hundred attended both. The teen event was a first for Wildomar and if you take a look at the short video, you'll get a feel for how many kids were out looking for glow in the dark eggs and what the vibe was like. 
After about 10 minutes of combing through the grass, the lights were turned on to glean what was missed, or clean up any broken plastic eggs.
This area was set aside for egg hunters with the special needs. In the teen event, special needs kids got a couple minute head start if they were accompanied with a parent or guardian. 
The daytime event had a bounce house, craft area, glitter art, and face painting.
Kids love getting their faces painted.
The evening event had cornhole, giant sized Jenga and Tap Snap.
Keith Jared of Tap Snap calibrates his magical machine.
The park event season is just getting underway for 2019, be sure to sign up for city emails to be alerted. LINK TO SUBSCRIBE

You can also follow the city's facebook page: LINK TO FB PAGE

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Nothing valuable can be lost by taking time.
– Abraham Lincoln

Wildomar Rap thinks Abe must not have been to too many egg hunts in his day, or doesn't value Tootsie Rolls, Smarties or m&m's.

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Thursday, April 4, 2019

• Cops For Kids Golf Tournament 2019

Many people in the community are familiar with Cops For Kids.
They're a local non-profit that is more than twenty years old, that started out by giving gifts to underprivileged kids at Christmas. 

If you want more information about Cops For Kids check this 2017 blog.

That original mission has evolved over their history 

In addition to Christmas gifts, Cops For Kids operates year round and do other things including: 
     • Providing clothes for underprivileged children during back to school time.
     • Emergency housing.
     • Transportation to school.
     • There was an example given of supplying the necessary parts to repair the family automobile so that they could get their kids to school.

Cops for Kids also awards $10,000 in Scholarships every year.

All of these things take money, and one of their key fundraisers is a Springtime golf tournament. If you'd like to participate and have a set of clubs (or can borrow a some) this is a fun event to be part of.
Do you like football and golf? Then the annual Cops for Kids Golf Tournament is for you! Join retired NFL players on the golf course at Dos Lagos! Register today!

The Annual Cops for Kids Golf Tournament is coming up on Friday, May 3, 2019. 

This is the major fundraiser for Cops for Kids. They are looking for golfers and raffle prizes. Every year, retired NFL players come out and play golf with the participants. 

Register for yourself or a foursome at this link.
For more information, please contact Dave Fontneau 951-245-3389

•                •                •

I have a tip that can take five strokes off anyone's game... it's called an eraser.

– Arnold Palmer

Wildomar Rap is the eraser.

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Tuesday, April 2, 2019

• How To Use Code Enforcement (2019)

Quick story with a quick turn around. I got a text from an unknown number that said, "If your [sic] looking for a quick Wildomar Rap blog, see if anyone knows who abandoned a boat full of garbage on the corner of Penrose and Front street...."
I take it that the owner got lost on his way to the lake. 
That's not really what Wildomar Rap is about. Still, I thought I should take a drive over and see what they were talking about.
Just 50 more payments and this baby is all mine!
Yep, it was indeed an abandoned boat full of garbage alrighty. If it wasn't so sad and pathetic, it would have been hilarious. Who does such a thing? 

Dude must have been thinking, "Well, while I'm at it, I might as well get rid of those old, lopped off tree branches I'd been saving for a rainy day."

Though a dumped boat wasn't something worthy of being blogged about, I did report it to code enforcement. In less than a day it was being towed away. 
See ya later alligator. (let's hope not)
What is worth blogging about is reminding people how to report such things to the city.

First, visit the city's website, cleverly called:

Pro tip: There isn't a green arrow or circle on the actual website.
Once there, you'll see a drop down option called HOW DO I? 
Just another click or two away.
There are quite a few options to choose from, but if your issue isn't listed, there's a box for that too.
Like 31 Flavors, so many choices.
If you have difficulty in using the Customer Request Portal, you can email your code enforcement requests directly to code compliance.

There's more than one way to skin a cat... or so I've heard.
Here is a look at the online services portal where you can log in to see the status of your issue.
Link to the webpage in question.
The moral of the story is: Don't tell blogger guy about an issue (or Facebook), report it to code enforcement so they can take care of it.

Here's a blog to the 2017 version of this very topic, but the city webpage is different, so it's now out of date.
•                •                •

The first business of the philosopher is to part with conceit. For it is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.
– Epictetus

Wildomar Rap isn't a philosopher, and the above is only a suggestion for bloggers.

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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