Wednesday, October 30, 2019

• Press Release: State Senator Jeff Stone Resigns Seat

Press Release
Senator Jeff Stone Accepts Trump Administration Appointment -Will resign his seat in the State Senate effective November 1, 2019

Temecula, CA - - State Senator Jeff Stone has accepted an appointment to serve as the Western Regional Director of the United States Department of Labor. Stone will resign from the State Senate on November 1 and begin work in his new position on the same day. The Western Region of the Department of Labor includes the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.

"I am deeply honored to be appointed by the President and look forward to continuing my public service in this new and exciting position," said Senator Stone. "The nation under President Trump is experiencing unprecedented economic growth that requires a highly trained and skilled workforce. I look forward to supporting Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia to advance the Department's mission of fostering the training of America's workforce and protecting the interests of America's wage earners, job seekers, and retirees.

"I will always be grateful to the people of Riverside County for having granted me the opportunity to represent them and be a voice for our shared values," Stone concluded.

Senator Jeff Stone was elected to the State Senate in 2014 and reelected in 2018. As a State Senator, Stone has championed policies that promote economic growth and protect taxpayers. Stone began his public service in 1992 with his election to the Temecula City Council. In 2004 Stone was elected to serve on the Riverside County Board of Supervisors.  In addition to his public service, Stone owns his local business, Innovative Compounding Pharmacy. Senator Stone is a graduate of USC, where he earned a Doctor of Pharmacy degree.

October 30, 2019
Contact: Dave Gilliard
Phone: 916-626-6804


Senator Jeff Stone Endorses Councilman Matt Rahn
in 28th District Special Election
Senate GOP Leader Shannon Grove Joins In Endorsing
Temecula, CA - - Today, State Senator Jeff Stone endorsed Temecula City Councilman Matt Rahn to fill out his term in the 28th Senate District. Stone is resigning from the Senate on November 1 in order to accept a Presidential appointment. Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove joined Senator Stone in endorsing Matt Rahn. A Special Election is expected to be called in conjunction with the March 2020 Primary. 

"One of my major considerations when deciding to accept this appointment from the President was to make sure our district continues to be represented by someone who shares our values and commitment to protect taxpayers, expand Riverside County's economy and be a strong advocate for public safety," said Senator Stone. "Councilman Matt Rahn checks all those boxes and more. He is a dedicated public servant with an impressive background and I am very happy to endorse Matt."

Matt Rahn has over twenty years of experience as a university educator and researcher, and land use and policy expert. Throughout his career he has tackled some of the most fundamental issues facing our region, including water quality, water management, public safety, wildfires, transportation, renewable energy, and open space, all while being a steadfast voice for taxpayers and for common sense government.

Matt received his Bachelor's and Master's Degree from the University of Nevada Reno, his PhD from UC Davis and San Diego State University, and his law degree from the University of San Diego.  Matt and his wife Kelcey and daughter Delilah have lived in Temecula since 2010.  

Monday, October 28, 2019

• Library: Pumpkin Painting Contest

If you're a regular at the Wildomar Library you already know about their extensive activities calendar, if you didn't even know there was a library in Wildomar, then your kids surely missed the chance to paint a pumpkin this afternoon.

There were three divisions 
Basically it was grouped by preschool, elementary school and middle school. 

I had the honor of being one of the judges, along with Lynne Mayes and Sandra Brautigam, library manager.

It wasn't easy choosing, since all of them would make a parent proud (like how I worded that? ☺). There was also a "staff's choice award" chosen by longtime library helper Rafael Hermosillo.
Three of the four winners posed for a group photo... with a little help from dad. ☺

Rafael Hermosillo speaking to all the artists.
The artists as they were being polled about next year's Halloween event.
I heard that this artist has won, with different blind judges, four years in a row.
This pumpkin was painted to be a hedgehog (not Sonic, mind you) so it was purposefully on its side. 
This blue pumpkin was chosen to receive the staff's choice award.
Jack Skellington was also a favorite.
Check out the facebook pages of the library and the Friends of the Wildomar Library to see what other events they have planned for the community.

If you're one of those NEVER FACEBOOK types, then you can use the phone or send a message to get info.
(951) 471-3855
Send Message From This Link

34303 Mission Trail, Wildomar, CA 92595

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The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.
– Flannery O'Connor

What a coincidence, Wildomar Rap doesn't change according to your ability to stomach it either.

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.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

• Trunk or Treat 2019

The 6th annual Trunk or Treat event at Marna O'Brien Park was the scene of countless smiles.
The first booth that most trick or treaters went to was the Wildomar city booth. In this photo you see councilmember Ben Benoit offering three different types of m&m's. For some, it was an easy choice. For others, it was like a trick question on a pop quiz. ☺
I was alongside Ben Benoit at the city booth for two straight hours handing out w&w's (m&m's upside down to go along with the city's costume theme).
There were plenty more upside down m's throughout the park, but getting us all together for a photo was impossible. Left to right: Joseph Morabito, Gary Nordquist, Bridgette Moore and Ben Benoit.
Something that sprung up organically was the formation of a line. There had never been a "start" line in the past, and I'm still not sure how it came about in 2019. 
The top photo was taken just outside the city boot, and you can see that it stretched all the way to the Faith Bible Church ice cream truck. The bottom image shows the crowd size around 7:15pm.
Councilmember Bridgette Moore even told those in line that "there isn't a line, feel free to visit other booths first," but most chose to stay in the line anyway. 
 Two of the three bounce houses that were busy all evening long.

The view from the south end of the parking lot.
Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez and staffers had a booth. They dressed as Wizard of Oz characters. 
Relic VW, on Mission Trail, was in the park handing out candy. Their haunted VW Bus was pretty cool.
Living Hope Lutheran Church put together another spectacular booth. In years past they had group costumes from "Where's Waldo", Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, The Wizard of Oz and in 2019, The Sandlot.
A look at the Cops For Kids and City of Wildomar booths at about 7:30pm.
Next up on the city calendar is the State of the City, which will be held at the Elks Lodge on October, 30th 2019.
If you'd like to attend, you don't really have to dress in your "50's best", but those of us on the council probably have to (gulp, lol). You also can skip the VIP portion and just come for the Mayor's presentation.
The last event of the year will be Breakfast With Santa, Saturday, December 14th, at fire station 61 (on Gruwell St). 

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Don't let it end like this. Tell them I said something.
– last words of Pancho Villa

When the time comes, Wildomar Rap would like something equally as eloquent to be remembered by. 

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, October 19, 2019

• League of California Cities Convention 2019: Brief Recap

Before attending city meetings in 2013, I'd never heard of The League of California Cities, which was formed about 120 years ago.
From the LoCC website on its history:

A coincidence of events resulted in creation of the League of California municipalities in 1898. It began with a letter from young Ben Lamborn, city clerk of Alameda (population 17,000), to the more than 100 cities in the state. Mr. Lamborn had been instructed by his council to inquire about other cities' experiences with a new mechanical device (a road roller). Drafting his letter, he found that the road roller question took less than the top half of the paper. So, "to make it look better," he filled up the page with additional questions. Name of city? Population? When incorporated? Officials? Etc.

For the rest of the history, please use this link.
In short, it's a group of cities that have banded together in efforts to help preserve the "local control" desires of cities and towns against the one size fits all approach that all too often permeates Sacramento's governance. 
The current map of LoCC divisions.
Instead of giving you the textbook version (which would be lengthy and boring) let me just give you my understanding after 10 months on the job... which undoubtedly will be much different as the years go by and I continue to learn.

The League provides valuable training on a myriad of pertinent topics that have direct effect on how a city is run. 

Sure, it's easy to spout off about how this should be done, or that should be done, until you win the election and find out that if you even step on one of the lines (much less go outside of them) you will soon find out what a ton of (legal) bricks feels like as they crush you with ease.

Back in January I attended the New Council Members training, which was in Irvine. That came with a laundry list of don'ts... and barely a smattering of dos.
This is an easy question to answer. 
First, what kind of stupid question is this? If you have ever asked such a question in your day to day life, please don't seek any position in which people are supposed to put their trust in you... and that includes dog catcher. Second, well, there really is no second... other than you'll be looking at a ton of trouble if you think such things don't apply to you.
Ethics training, sexual harassment (avoidance) training are two things that must be taken and retaken at least every other year.
The arrow points to where I was during a new council member training course.
The various League divisions have bi-monthly meetings. 

The point of which is to update the members of legislation that is working its way through the capital, and to further strengthen relationships between local cities. I've attended all the meetings this year, which occur on Mondays... and often require a great deal of driving to be part of them.
Rearing and ready to go!

The long awaited "brief recap" of the recent convention
Wednesday morning offered many sessions starting with one for council members and mayors. This was followed by a Riverside Division lunch and information session. Then there was the opening General Session where members from all over the state spent two hours listening to various speakers. 

The last presentation of the day I attended was entitled: The Sixth Council Member, Social Media. 

This seemed like a reworking of the training I had back in January where it touted the value of social media, while also coming with plenty of examples of how public officials can land in hot water if they try to quash the rights of the public in such forums. I was hoping for fresh ideas on how to further use social media to engage the residents... perhaps next year. ☺

Thursday started early with the topic Re-imagining Modern Policing in California. From there we had a chance to traipse through an expo that had countless new ideas for cities to consider adopting (next year I'll take some photos to give you an idea of it).

The second day's General Session included a speech by LA's Mayor, Gil Garcetti. (Without getting political) I can say that he is a polished orator, and he did talk about homelessness in his city. In the end, I can tell you that I'm glad I'm 90 minutes away from his city, and that I like the approach that our police have been taking on the issue, far more than his.

The next topic to learn more about was called Achieving an Accurate Count in the 2020 Census. An accurate count is necessary, and as we get into 2020, this will become more of a topic on the local level.

A new subgroup for rural cities is being formed, and I attended the inaugural meeting. The idea is that larger cities are the ones that seem to get most of the oxygen in politics, and the hope is that if the rural cities come together, they (we) might have a chance to get more attention when we need it.

Since this was the first meeting, some cities attended that were small, but far from the intent of the group. Los Altos and Palo Alto were hoping it was based on population, and if you know anything about their demographics, they aren't hurting for representation in Sacramento. 

It was understood that there are three basic rural categories. One attendee summed it up as Large, Medium and Small. I was sitting with a council member from Lindsay (Population 13K, Median Household Income $30K and Median Home Value $133K) and they are the true definition of "rural", located in Tulare County. 

Many of the other cities represented in the room were similar to Wildomar... a little bit country, and the rest... well, let's put it this way... having a freeway down the middle sort of puts the kibosh on that bucolic feeling that Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote about. We're only rural when compared to a metropolis like LA, SF, SD or even Long Beach.

Other than joining the email list, getting to see how many attended (the room was packed. I'd guess there were more than 100 represented) and being ready to respond to calls for action, there wasn't a lot more that happened in the short time span allotted. 

At this point in the day, there were meetings held by several special interest caucuses (African American, Asian Pacific, Latino, etc). I could have returned to the expo for more free pens and stress relief balls, or attend one. 

I opted for the latter and attended the LGBTQ Caucus meeting. Not a lot happened during it. After introductions, they chose the next year's secretary and VP. 

Last for the day was Preserving Community Identity. That's a tough one when your city doesn't have a long standing identity that the residents recognize, but I did learn a lot about Norco, as one of their council members spoke about how they preserved their community identity.

The conference ended Friday early afternoon and two of the bigger topics were gone over back to back: Hidden Cost of Tackling Homelessness and How Are You Managing Adult Use Cannabis? 
The comparative costs of homeless people on communities.
The current homeless crisis in the country, and especially in California, has taken decades to arrive at, and there is no easy fix on the horizon. 

I'm not going to give you my long winded reasoning on what I think have been the major contributing factors, but suffice to say, suggesting that we put the homeless in wood chippers and feed them to the coyotes isn't an option (an infamous suggestion by the self stylized President of Wildomar — if you aren't familiar, count yourself blessed).

One way or another, this will be costing the taxpayers money to handle, and hopefully solve at some point. In the meantime, based on the information, and then the questions from the other city council members, I can tell you that we in Southwest Riverside County are far better off than many other jurisdictions. I'm so glad that we brought in SWAG along with electing a new sheriff. 

Then there was cannabis... which most of you know, we're in the 4th quarter of coming up with an ordinance here. I wish that you could have heard some of the presentation. A key take away was moving away from calling it "the black market" to simply, the unregulated market. 

It was put forward that creating regulations for cannabis will NOT be inviting cannabis into the city... because it's already here. It's a matter of looking to regulate what has been present all along. That is something that needs to be considered, no matter how much you hate the hippie lettuce. 

The only thing left on the conference agenda was lunch (who actually eats arugula? I thought I liked everything, but that stuff is bitter as can be) and the closing ceremonies. The outgoing League president made way for the 2020 president, as a few more board members were chosen too.

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Last note, there were dozens of classes that overlapped. I'm guessing that they repeat now and then so that everyone will have a chance to attend most of them over time, or at least the ones that apply to their city. It was a very busy two and a half days... and that's not counting the driving. 
Some people can accumulate two feet worth of those badge add-ons. You can tell by my hair that I was ready to return to the friendly confines of Wildomar by midday Friday.
It was a great experience and I hope to be able to use the information to be a better representative for the people of Wildomar. 
•                •                •

Someone who loves a neighbor allows him to be as he is, as he was, and as he will be.  
– Michel Quoist

Based on that, Wildomar Rap must love each of you as much as a favorite aunt.

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, October 10, 2019

• RSO Press Release: Robbery by Force

"On Thursday, October 3, 2019, investigators located Jarbi Recinos in the area of Clinton Keith Road and Interstate 15 in the city of Wildomar."
Press Release:Robbery by Force or Fear
Agency:Riverside County Sheriff’s Department
Station Area:Lake Elsinore
Written Date:October 8, 2019Time:11:00AM
Incident Date:February 4, 2018Time:4:30PM
Incident Location:Shoreline & Grand Avenue, Lake Elsinore
Reporting Officer:Sergeant Ray Ricken
File Number(s):L180360037


Jarbi Recinos
During the past year, Lake Elsinore Sheriff Station deputies investigated several complaints of theft stemming from an individual offering to sell a vehicle.  The suspect would meet the victims at a location and take their cash offer, through force or fear, without turning over the vehicle. 
The Lake Elsinore Station Detective Bureau identified additional victims during the investigation from the cities of Moreno Valley, Perris, Riverside, and San Diego, along with the suspect, Jarbi Recinos , a 23-year-old resident of Eastvale.  On Thursday, October 3, 2019, investigators located Recinos in the area of Clinton Keith Road and Interstate 15 in the city of Wildomar.   Recinos was arrested without incident and booked at the Cois Byrd Detention Center for robbery.
The investigation is on-going and anyone with further information on this case is encouraged to contact Investigator Esteban Carranza from the Lake Elsinore Sheriff’s Station by calling (951) 245-3300.
This was a couple of days ago, but I'm just now seeing it... thought you'd want to see it too.

• City Council Meeting October 2019

The key takeaways from this meeting include shade structures at two of our parks, and the tabling of changing Wildomar Road's name to Old Wildomar Road, but let's begin by highlighting the presentations.

Proclamation: David Lower’s 100th Birthday. He's lived in Wildomar since 1987, and is both a WWII and Korean War veteran.
R to L: Joseph Morabito, Marsha Swanson, David Lower, Ben Benoit, David Lower's daughter, Dustin Nigg and Bridgette Moore. 

Photo courtesy city of Wildomar's facebook page. Original caption: Tonight, we celebrated Mr. David Lower’s 100th birthday. He served in both WWII and the Korean War. Happy birthday, young man... and thank you for your service!
Mr. Valdez gave a presentation of happenings at William Collier Elementary School.
Link to William Collier Elementary School's website.
There was also mention of a Community Candlelight Tribute (19th annual ceremony is set for November 30th, sorry not sure of the details) and an Acknowledgement that Wildomar is a Purple Heart City.

Items 3.1 and 3.2 were GPIPs (General Plan Initiation Proposal). I love every chance I get to dust off my old Mario and Peach cartoon to illustrate what a GPIP is... so here goes.
I see a GPIP as asking if you can ask, because if you were actually asking in the first place, you'd go directly with the GPA (General Plan Amendment).
In the end, both applicants were given the green light to position themselves for a full GPA (General Plan Amendment) in the future. 

One GPIP asked if they could change an old approved plan of 108 single family homes to 288 apartments. 
The key concern from the council was the traffic impacts.
The other GPIP dealt with a 3+ acre property on Grand that asked to be subdivided into four lots, all greater than half an acre. 

Neither were given unanimous attaboys, but enough encouragement to reach for the next level. I don't anticipate seeing either project come back for at least six months, more likely a year.

3.3 First Quarter Budget Report
The important news from this item involves the sidewalk project along Mission Trail in the Sedco Hills part of the city.

Councilmember Ben Benoit asked if this will finish the sidewalk project all the way to Malaga Park, and that was confirmed.

I had asked in an email what the estimated start/finish dates are and the answer I received was: Estimated start date is January 6th and the estimated completion date is February 7th. 

3.4 Award of Construction Contract – Installation of Park Shade Structures at Wildomar Parks Project
This was approved by unanimous vote, but not without discussion. What started out in 2018 as a $50,000 project, morphed into $157K. 
Artist's rendition of Marna O'Brien park's play area.

Being a member of the city council makes being a blogger difficult in situations like this. I want to tell you how I saw it, but I'm not here to "throw shade" in any direction. I want to maintain a good working relationship with all that are part of the city machine. So, out of an abundance of caution and respect for others that don't have their own blog to give you their "side", I won't be getting into specifics here. If you'd like to see the video below at the 1:28:30 mark for this item. 
The good news is that there will be shade structures at both Marna O'Brien and Windsong parks before next Summer.

3.5 Santa Rosa Plateau Special Event
There was an agreement to hold the SRPNEF brewfest event at Marna O'Brien park for the next two years. It was also reiterated that Santa Rosa Plateau is CLOSED for all uses... so please don't even go up there if you don't live in one of those communities.

3.6 2020 Parks Special Events Calendar
Below is the tentative 2020 city event calendar. I asked if we could add an Earth Day event/recognition, and Mayor Pro-Tem Dustin Nigg suggested the same thing during future agenda items.
Might as well mark your calendars now... I have. ☺

3.7 Resolution to Change the Name of Wildomar Road to Old Wildomar Road

Remember that green box up above with the reminder? Yep, it sort of applies here too. In the end, this item was tabled.

As for me, I was against changing the name of Wildomar Road to Old Wildomar Road without direct input from the residents on that street. 

Councilmember Ben Benoit, who represents the district that Wildomar Road is in, also wasn't in favor of this the way it was presented, and he motioned that we put this off for a month to get more information. 

3.8 Business Registration Program Amendment
This was supposed to be an easy item, but I didn't like the way part of it read. The part I didn't like was removing the exemption for some home based businesses.

Since I have a home based business that got the exemption, I spoke with the city attorney before the meeting to see if there was a conflict of interest for me to be part of this item. It was determined not to be a problem so I played my part.

If you watch the video, you'll see that I was primarily concerned with very small home based businesses. Businesses that don't have employees, customers, inventory etc. Imagine a house cleaner that lives in Wildomar but works in other cities, or someone that sells crafts on Etsy. To me, it would be better to offer business registration at a reduced rate, than have them skip it because they'd rather save the $75 or $50.

I compared other public things, like RTA, where the fare they charge does NOT cover their overhead. The same applies to parks too. They cost us, but are a benefit to the community. 

I was trying to suggest that keeping track of smaller home based businesses, through a low cost registration for those that qualify, would be a good way to keep track of such businesses. My suggestion continued that by removing the exemption, we were disincentivizing very small home based businesses from participating.

I'm not the most articulate person when doing public speaking, and it showed as I failed at conveying that point.

•                •                •

The last bit of news came during the future agenda items portion of the meeting.

I asked for a future agenda item where the city council can discuss citywide clean up days where volunteers can help keep the city clean. That seemed to get a majority of the council to give a head nod.

I then asked for a future agenda item where the city council could discuss the merits of using the city's email and social media to advertise/promote local, approved, nonprofits and their events. Three of us agreed, and it should be coming to a future city council agenda.

The last news nugget came when Councilmember Bridgette Moore asked that there be a special meeting to discuss commercial cannabis. I quickly agreed, but there wasn't a third member that wanted to see it happen.
Green box reminder time again... I'm going to try and give an opinion, but I'll be pulling punches and going with kid gloves here.

I'm still new to being on city council, and I'm still somewhat of an idealist when it comes to my approach to the job. For me, if one of my colleagues were to ask for a future agenda item that I didn't get, or did get but didn't support, I'd STILL approve it to be on a future agenda.

Again, perhaps I'm being idealistic, but there should always be room for more discussion. Discussion doesn't equate to support.
Note: the meeting doesn't start until about the 4:30 mark of the video.

•                •                •

"Consider the postage stamp, son. It secures success through its ability to stick to one thing till it gets there."
– Josh Billings

Wildomar Rap has always been delivered without postage of any kind.

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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