Friday, January 31, 2020

• Little Free Library Number 8

A good sized group was on hand for the dedication of Wildomar's 8th Little Free Library.
The crowd was comprised of students and staff from Donald Graham along with family, friends and community members.
Many thanks go out to the Rupp family, Donald Graham Elementary and LEUSD for the installation of Wildomar's newest Little Free Library. 
Natalia Rupp, the spearhead of many of Wildomar's Little Free Libraries, also a former student of Donald Graham Elementary, addresses the crowd.
Photo courtesy Mark Dennis LEUSD

Principal Konecni asked me to say a few words, but with the unexpected caveat of not mentioning what was about to be revealed from under the red tablecloth. That was an adventure. ☺
Photo courtesy Mark Dennis LEUSD
The new Free Little Library was able to be installed through a program called The Impact Library Program, which is part of the Little Free Library organization.
After a drumroll and a countdown.
The artwork was done by the school librarian, Karen Fazekas. Principal Laura Konecni looks on.
A look at all three sides of the new Little Free Library.
The first three patrons of the Donald Graham Little Free Library.

Mark Dennis, from LEUSD, who also was in attendance to take photos, spoke for a moment and mentioned the Lake Elsinore Valley Education Foundation, which was founded after the passing of Dr. Sharron Lindsay in 2007, had provided the first books for the new Little Free Library.
In the photo are Natalia's father, Natalia Rupp, her mother and children, Principal Laura Konecni, City Councilman Joseph Morabito (me), and the new LFL.
Photo courtesy Mark Dennis LEUSD

Use this link to go to the official facebook page.
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You're never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child.
— Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss)

Wildomar Rap is almost too old, but still wacky enough to read to children, and often can be heard employing silly voices. 

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Thursday, January 30, 2020

• Wildomar Cannabis Ordinance Initial Study-Neg Dec: Planning

Below is from the official email from the city on the commercial cannabis ordinance. There is a link takes you to a 122 page document that includes the proposed ordinance.
The City of Wildomar (City) is the lead agency for the preparation and review of an Initial Study/Negative Declaration (ND) for the proposed Cannabis Ordinance project (ZOA No. 2020-04). 
The cannabis ordinance will establish a regulatory framework for the licensure and operation of cannabis businesses in the City and includes modifications to the text in the City of Wildomar Municipal Code.
A new code section, Chapter 5.76 (Commercial Cannabis Licensing) would be added to the City of Wildomar Municipal Code, and modifications to the existing Title 17 (Zoning) would be made. Cannabis retailers would be allowed with the approval of a conditional use permit within the C-1/C-P (General Commercial), and C-P-S (Scenic Highway Commercial) zones.
Cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, and testing laboratories would be allowed with the approval of a conditional use permit in the I-P (Industrial Park and M-SC (Manufacturing-Service Commercial) zones. No cannabis business is allowed to be located within 600 feet of a public/private school, a day care center, youth centers, and parks.
The City is requesting comments for the Cannabis Ordinance project IS/ND. The public comment period for the IS/ND will begin on Thursday, January 30, 2020 and conclude on Friday, February 28, 2020. Written comments can be sent to Matthew C. Bassi, Planning Director, City of Wildomar Planning Department, 23873 Clinton Keith Road, Suite 201, Wildomar, CA 92595. Comments can also be emailed to
The Planning Commission is tentatively scheduled to review the IS/ND and proposed ordinance at their regular meeting of April 1, 2020.
Please click on the link below to access the IS-Neg. Dec. document from the city’s CEQA environmental documents center webpage:
If you have any questions, please contact Matthew Bassi at (951) 677-7751, Extension 213.
If you're signed up for Wildomar Updates, you already got this email. If not, follow the link below and sign up.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

• PIT Count 2020

Here's a brief recap of the 2020 PIT Count. 

If you're asking what a "PIT Count" is, it's a Point In Time count of the homeless. The mandate was to stop counting by 9:30am, we started in the field at about 6:30am after a 5:30am meeting at the Lake Elsinore Cultural Center.

This will be a photo driven blog, with more than three dozen photos, but I'll tell you upfront that we only counted four people. There were three interviews and one sighting as we were driving. Other than that, we mostly encountered empty tents or other makeshift abodes.
At the morning briefing at Lake Elsinore's Cultural Center.
Photo originally on SWAG's Facebook page.
As the sun was coming up just east of Inland Valley Drive. 
This was our second stop. We had started out behind the USA gas station and interviewed two men. As it turned out, we only found one other person "at home" for the interview. This location was east of Inland Valley and north of Kaiser.
This was one of the more eyeopening parts of the day. This is the entrance to a tunnel that goes from the north side of Clinton Keith and east of Iodine Springs, under Clinton Keith and let's out a bit northeast of City Hall.
The first part of the tunnel/pipe was corrugated metal.
This shot was better illuminated with my flashlight.
The midway part of the structure was the living quarters, but again, no one was there. You can see at the right side of the photo an area that was about eight to ten feet lower than the main path. That is where a mattress and other garbage was located. 
Surprisingly, it didn't reek. Also, the temperature was rather nice compared to the outside temps.
Creature comforts, and looks like someone had done a Trader Joe's run too.
The inner artist will out.
This wheelchair was located near the end of the tunnel.
I guess it was good that no one was home here. 
Anyone missing a mountain bike?
We parked near The Habit and then trekked about a quarter of mile along the freeway, heading south, to the next spot
This was our third and final interview of the morning.
If you're missing part of your baseball card collection from 1981, I think I found about a dozen cards. Sorry to report that your triples of Al Oliver are no longer in mint condition.
You can see City Hall on the horizon of this photo as we headed for the tunnel that goes under the freeway.
Easy access to the tunnel as the fence has been gently peeled away.
In we go.
Most of us bumped our heads more than once through this, at most the ceiling was five feet high. It was a workout to walk hunched over, and it got a little claustrophobic too.
We emerged on the eastside of the freeway, just under the drive thru line at Starbucks. That was a major work out for our glutes. I have a feeling that there will be some lingering soreness this evening.
We came across this marker as we walked towards the back of McDonald's. Back in 2015 a dead body had been discovered in this area.
There was a surprisingly large amount of room among the oak trees that most of us never do more than drive by as we enter the Albertsons shopping center.
A full sized couch was at the bottom of this area. At first we weren't sure if someone was asleep there or not.
The area would make for a nice parklike setting with the right kind of attention.
One of many things discarded down there.
It was sad how much garbage there was down there.
Most of the group chose not to go into this narrow pipe. It went under the driveway that acts as the primary ingress/egress to Albertsons.
We parked on Stable Lanes Road and trudged up the hill. Again, most of us just drive by this area, and we end up missing out on how large this area is. 
One thing you can say about this camp that can't be said about any of the others... at least this is "clean". Look at all the filled trash bags. This is probably less than 50 yards from Clinton Keith.
Scattered bedding about 25 yards to the east of the white tent above.
You can see some terracing into the hillside here. I was told that last year there was a tent and what amounted to as a porch/veranda there.
A rarely seen view of the Clinton Keith/Hidden Springs intersection.
More terracing and other indications of human activity.
A tent and a baby stroller about 100 yards north of Clinton Keith. 
At our last stop, we had to traverse a makeshift bridge over a boggy mire.
Again, no one was home, though it was obvious that this was not an old and abandoned camp.
Was this a decoration or was it for a child? We couldn't determine one way or the other.
A little touch of home.
Final thoughts
It seems that the homeless population has chosen to avoid the PIT Count. Whoever the powers that be are on the state and county level should consider shaking this yearly event up. At this rate, it's turning into a perfunctory measure... checking a box, but not really accomplishing anything. 

Just based on the camps that we visited, my guess is that there have to be at least a dozen regulars, if not two dozen.

The three that we did meet up with were happy to participate, and in exchange they were given a drawstring backpack with toiletries and also a McDonald's breakfast sandwich.

There are no real solutions in the pipeline for this problem. A problem that makes everyone's lives more difficult. Be it that of the community, of local businesses, of our first responders and more difficult for those going unsheltered too. The current approach adopted by the state is a lose-lose-lose-lose.

At this point, all we can do is continue playing whack a mole and hoping that they get tired of street life and finally accept help from SWAG.  
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A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin.
– H.L. Mencken

Wildomar Rap is a blog that, when it smells flowers, looks around for tacos.

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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