Category Archives: Daily Ruminations

WHAT HAVE THEY SAID IN THE PAST

We will start with the seats up for re-election in November of 2018.

Marsha Swanson, District 5

If she runs this will be her 4th time. In 5 separate articles she has used the word Rural 1 time. I have hi-lighted certain, what I feel are important, statements made by her.

She was elected the first time on February 5, 2008. She received 2,209 votes placing her third place behind Bob Cashman and Bridgette Moore. In that election 6,517 people voted on the measure to incorporate.

She ran the second time on November 2, 2010 for a full four year term. She garnered 2,889 votes placing her once again in 3rd place behind Ben Benoit and Timothy Walker.

The third time was a charm, nope, third place again behind Timothy Walker and Ben Benoit.

http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/sdut-candidate-marsha-swanson-wants-to-hit-the-ground-2007dec23-story.html 

AARON CLAVERIE – The Californian December 23, 2007

“We moved here because of the rural atmosphere and we wanted a safe and clean place to raise our children,” she said.

“You’re not going to be able to bend the rules,” she said. “The ethics have to be there, because this is a job that can easily be swayed by some people.”

“I have so much pride in my community and I want to see it move forward effectively,” she said. “That doesn’t mean you can please every person every time, but you can’t sit on the sidelines and complain if you’re not willing to act.

She supports cityhood because it would give residents local control of their tax dollars and allow a council to tailor new developments based on what Wildomar wants, not what Riverside County leaders think it should have.

The top issue facing the area is traffic and the condition of roads, she said.

Another important issue for Swanson is the law enforcement presence in Wildomar

At some point, maybe three or five years after incorporation, the city could even start thinking about forming its own police department, she said.

Another issue Swanson would like to tackle as a council member is the dearth of community gathering spots.

Seniors need a place to meet. Children need a place to meet. And there needs to be more park areas, she said.

To pay for construction of the community centers and the establishment of new park land, Swanson said, developers will be asked to chip in their fair share.

http://articles.latimes.com/2008/feb/07/local/me-ievote7

“Wildomar has wanted its own identity and to be a city for a long, long time,” said Marsha Swanson, one of the council winners. “The first thing we need to do is find a city manager.”

Swanson said the start-up should go smoothly because “we all get along.”

http://thevalleybusinessjournal.com/community-news/item/599-city-council-candidates-faceoff/

October 1, 2010

I WILL….keep a balanced budget, be a strong voice for the people, listen to your concerns.

Wildomar is a City in progress; we need to improve our roads, keep our parks open and have strong police and fire departments – and one day our own community center.

Marsha Swanson

https://patch.com/california/lakeelsinore-wildomar/meet-mayor-marsha-swanson

At that time, local government didn’t exist. If we wanted to touch government, we had to drive to Riverside. That was before the freeway was in, so it took awhile to get there. So it was nice to have some input [with the MAC]. In the three years that I was on there, the library went in. We didn’t get to pick the name, but we did get to pick many of the things… what the building was going to look like, the colors. That kind of got me started.

Ms. Swanson’s memory is a bit fuzzy, the Mission Trail Library was opened on July 28, 2001. The library was named the Mission Trail Library because it served more than just the people of wildomar (per http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2001/Jul/27/library-to-open-in-wildomar/ )

The 15 freeway was opened in 1985 per

http://myvalleynews.com/local/election-responsible-growth-key-in-wildomar-council-election/

By Kim Harris on October 31, 2014

Swanson said if re-elected she will work to do what is best for the city of Wildomar and its residents.

“I am asking to be re-elected because I do not see myself as a politician, but as a community member,” she said. “I will work for the good of Wildomar residents. Wildomar has been my home for 40 years. I am a wife, mother, grandmother and businesswoman. I care where we are now and about the future of Wildomar.”

Her Person Goal statement on the city website says:

To have local control and balanced growth within our City.

DOES IT FIT

The consensus of the wildomar city council on February 22, 2017 was expressed the following vision statement:

 

The City of Wildomar will be a safe and active community, responsibly grown, with quality infrastructure while keeping a hometown feel.

 

Does Camelia Townhomes fit the bill.

Safe

First off this is going to be a gated community, therefore off by themselves and isolated from the city. There will be a no-man’s zone of at least 20 ft in width between one block wall and another, that borders single family homes in Murrieta, that will be heavily planted with tall shrubs, (Rhus Lancea, African Sumac is a dense shade tree, rather graceful with its arching branches and weeping foliage.) This no-man’s zone is an invitation for mischievousness or tomfoolery.

IS THIS SAFE ?

Per Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) for this project, page 96, The nearest sheriff’s station is located at 333 Limited Street in Lake Elsinore, approximately 9.9 miles northwest of the project site (at 60 mph that is ten minutes away). Traffic enforcement is provided for Riverside County in this area by the California Highway Patrol, with additional support from local Riverside County Sheriff’s Department personnel. The highway patrol stopped handling all traffic related events when wildomar became a city in 2008. Our current level of service is 0.4 officers per 1,000 population.

Per the MND page 97 the project will not induce substantial population growth and therefore would not be expected to substantially increase the demand for police protection services.

Is this safe, NO

There is talk of 2 million dollars being returned to the city, but, until it gets here it’s not a sure thing

Currently the city of wildomar has one fire station located 2.8 mile away. There is mutual aid provided by Station 75 which is 2.7 miles away.  There is also Station #5 in Murrieta which is 1.9 miles away.

The population is projected to be 538 new citizens at the calculated rate of 3.3 per single family unit used by the city.

Using the State of California’s Occupancy Standard of 2 persons per bedroom plus one additional person per dwelling unit, with 436 bdrms occupancy would be 163 +872 for a total of 1035 possible new residents. (Almost double what developer projects using the city’s formula.

Furthermore, the project is not expected to result in activities that create unusual police protection needs. (city must have a crystal ball)

Again is this safe ?

 

Active Community

As an active community the city council adopted a Multi-Use Trails map in 2011. Many housing developments throughout the city have Multi-Use Trails along their borders, some along Palomar St., others along Grand Ave.

The city is prepared to spend millions on such a multi-use trail and bicycle lane project the entire length of Grand Ave.

This site has no such trail even though one appears on the City of Wildomar Multi-Use Trail Map as W-E-02A. The developer claims the trail (Southern Immigrant Trail) is on the other side of the roadway. 

Question have you ever seen two way bicycle traffic on a roadway

(See Cross Sections of Washington and Jefferson)

This is what the developer is required to finish before they sell any homes. Notice the asphalt extends 1/2 of the roadway plus one lane only. The rest is to be provided by whomever builds across the street. (Except for that portion  that is part of this development on Jefferson Ave. in wildomar

Responsible Growth

Our neighbors to the south have asked that their quality of life not be destroyed by this project which will hover over their backyards invading their privacy. The developers response is we will plant more shrubs. We will not lower the height of the development nor will they move the structures back to simulate the feel of single family homes with backyards.

Is it responsible growth when a planning commissioner chastises these longtime homeowners for not planting enough vegetation in their yards.

NO

 

Quality Infrastructure

Wildomar Parks will receive

There are 20 parcels of which 16 will pay the Measure Z Tax. At $28.00 per parcel this amounts to $448.00 annually to pay for maintenance, operations and programs for the 538 new citizens (.83 cents a head per year) (Current residents pay approximately $10 a head).

The city will claim additional money will be collect through the Mello Roos fees extracted from this project, problem being there is no accountability for that money like Measure Z funds which haS an Oversight Committee.

The city will also collect a one time parks land fee of  $96,087.33

And a one time parks infrastructure fee of between $452,033.22 – $636,956.73

If these were 163 single family homes the same park land and infrastructure fees would be collected along with $4,564.00 annually for maintenance operations and programs ($8.48 per head instead of 83 cents)

The Wildomar Library will receive no money for expansion of the library. The Wildomar Library will receive no money for new books. The only money the library will receive will be for maintenance and operation of the existing facility which is currently undersized per county standards

Per a study done by the American Library Association:  Funding levels for Riverside County libraries remain at desperately low levels, barely more than a third of the national average on a per capita basis.

In 2014, to correct this underfunding, Riverside County adopted a Developer Impact Fee of $115 per single family dwelling and $80.00 per multi-family dwelling. Wildomar in the same year adopted nothing for libraries, no books no building.

The County of Riverside General Plan Standard is 0.50 sq.ft. per per resident. Looking at Wildomar:

The Wildomar Library on Mission Trail is 5,384 sq.ft.. With a population of 35,168 (January 2016) the square footage should be 17,584 sq.ft..We are currently at 30 ½%. Even below the county deficit with no money for expansion.

Keeping the Hometown Feel

 

This is going to be difficult when you look past the immediate connection of Jefferson Ave. in Murrieta to Palomar St. in Wildomar.

Looking past means looking at what other cities connected to this corridor the stretches from Rancho California Rd. in Temecula  to Main St. in Lake Elsinore a stretch of 17.2 miles

Temecula in March of 2005 in their Circulation Roadway plan discussed key roadway improvements with included expanding Jefferson Ave from Winchester to the city line from a 4 lane arterial to a 6 lane urban arterial highway.

When looking at the HIGHWAY 395 CORRIDOR STUDY FOR SOUTHWEST RIVERSIDE COUNTY compiled in 2012 after 2 community workshops were held. 20 members of the community attended the workshop in wildomar, similar to the previous workshop in Temecula which also had 20 community members.

The Murrieta City Council approved a plan to widen Jefferson Avenue north of Kalmia Street to 6 lanes due to increased traffic volumes. In certain locations, portions of the roadway are already built to this ultimate width and would only need to be restriped to achieve the 6-lane configuration.

Caltrans noted that it will be important to analyze the effects the Corridor improvements will have on the adjacent I-15 interchanges. Highway 395 serves as the primary alternate route for the freeway.

The 395 study states the current condition in wildomar as Two-lane facilities which are common in purely residential and rural land uses where volumes are typically lower.

 

Keeping the Hometown Feel is Going to be Kind of Hard with traffic whizzing by at 50 miles an hour.

Freedom Swing at Marna O’Brien Park One Year Later

 

 

 

Towards the end of the video it appears someone has gotten tired of waiting for the city to unchain this swing in the park. This is the second time I have noticed the latch having been bent so the citizens that paid more than $31,000 could use this apparatus that has been installed twice in the same park. (The first time it was installed it was removed less than a month later, after having failed a safety inspection.)

Some still Photos show the swing has a broken catch that hold the ramp in upward position

Upper Right side of swing has broken clip. The swing is also leaning to one side for some strange reason.

My Matilija or Fried Egg Poppy

Bought this as a 1 gallon plant a year ago. Was the most expensive plant I have ever paid for at $35.00 from Armstrong Nursery in Temecula.
I has finally paying off with daily new blooms that are approximately 5 inches across.

The wife’s hand in this one gives you an idea of how big

This plant that started out as a 1 ft X 1 ft plant is now over 7 feet tall and at least that wide

SOMETIMES MIRACLES HAPPEN

Wildomar has become the recipient of two new bus shelters in town. One is located in front of the Wildomar Library.

The next one is at Central and Palomar a stop for the clockwise southbound Route 8 bus.

That make 5 covered bus stops (out of approximately 67 stops) in Wildomar all on the southbound side of road.

My bad. The last time I went by the Wildomar Assisted Living Facility in August of 2016 they didn’t have a covered bus stop and they now have one in April of 2017.

There is also ONE at Inland Valley Hospital, at the south end by the Surgery Center. (Done know many people who would take the bus to have a surgical procedure done.

The miracle was dashed by the announcement there would be a ribbon cutting for the new stop at the library. The cost of this dog and pony show would be better spent on additional stops across from 4 of the newest covered stops, much like they have in Lake Elsinore at Malaga.

While chasing down information about bus stops, which was difficult because no one wants to talk, it became apparent the biggest delay in getting new covered bus stops has to do with the American Disabilities Act which requires any upgrades to existing bus stops be made ADA compliant. That means curbs and wheelchair accessibility, can’t put a covered stop in the dirt.

Is Wildomar About to Get Trump’d

This is a proposed park that will use precious Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) to construct. These monies have been handed out with the following intent :

“The program allocates annual grants to larger cities and counties to develop viable communities by providing decent housing, a suitable living environment, and opportunities to expand economic opportunities, principally for low- and moderate-income persons. To achieve these goals, program-funded projects must satisfy one of three U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) national program objectives required in 24 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) 570.208: provide a benefit to low- and moderate-income persons, prevent or eliminate slums or blight, or meet other urgent community development needs due to disasters or other emergencies.”

This project, Malaga Park or Gateway Park, first came to light in December of 2013 when the city set aside $100,000 of CDBG money to fund the proposed project which will consist of landscape architecture, planting,irrigation and aesthetic improvements and the installation of walkways, paths and monument sign

Because this project meets none of the above, except maybe providing refuge for those leaving a neighboring facility (not the doctors office) it proves once again that a Federal Program is being abused by local officials. These abuses have resulted in now 2 administrations trying to eliminate it (CDBG).

Barack Obama’s FY 2012 Budget to Congress stated:

While flexibility may be one strong characteristic of the CDBG program, the use of funds and how states and communities distribute their funds lead to resources spread across many activities, diverse constituencies, and geographies without clear or focused impact. This makes the demonstration of outcomes difficult to measure and evaluate.

President Trump’s upcoming budget proposal calls for slashing funding for a block grant program primarily because it was difficult to determine whether it was getting the desired results. “The federal government has spent over $150 billion on this block grant since its inception in 1974, but the program is not well-targeted to the poorest populations and has not demonstrated results,”

Also, ostensibly to better the lives of low-income residents, the city proposed to “pave and repair sidewalks along Wildomar Rd. and Secdo Blvd. at a cost of $91,867 for FY 2015-16.

The city set aside another $75,533 to purchase a property to be used as a community garden in FY 2016-17

Lastly, and the only project designed to really help a depressed area, the city set aside for FY 2017-18 $110,067 in funding for a Fire Hydrant project that will decrease the risk of loss due to a fire and increase the fire protection system currently in place in the target area, primarily the Sedco area of Wildomar. (After a local eating establishment had perished in a fire)

It has been said “The CDBG is a $3 billion program that ostensibly goes to developing poor communities but mostly goes to Graft, Corruption and Waste. It blows massive amounts of money on wasteful projects, while seeing huge chunks disappear into administrative costs.

The Heritage Foundation, called the Community Development Block Grant program a “slush fund for urban mayors.”

The CDBG program is chock full of cronyism and corruption and should be eliminated. Much like the corrupt city redevelopment agencies, what actually ends up happening is that this money gets funneled by politicians to friends with connections for various projects that aren’t really about helping the poor at all. http://reason.com/blog/2017/03/16/the-community-development-block-grant-pr

 

A Win for Transparency in Government

The cloak of secrecy has been pierce

I wrote an article back in September of 2015 concerning the practice of government workers, being they City Manager’s, City Council Member’s, Planning Director’s, etc, conducting City Business on personal devices. These devices such as cell phones, computer’s, tablets, email accounts when used for city business are now subject the to the California Public Records Act so sayeth the California Supreme Court who on this day Thurday, March 2, 2017 at 10:00am release their opinion

Here, we hold that when a city employee uses a personal account to communicate about the conduct of public business, the writings may be subject to disclosure under the California Public Records Act (CPRA or Act).1 We overturn the contrary judgment of the Court of Appeal.

The entire opinion can be read in the following PDF

 

http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/S218066.PDF

 

The Embarrassment Continues in Wildomar

On February 11, 2017 I wrote an article about the poor condition of the City’s ball fields.

In that article was a video of a gentleman pumping out water from the first and third base area.

Early last week the city attempted a poor fix for this flooding by bringing in material of unknown origin (the origin will be known and reported when the city pays the invoice). This material was used to fill-in what was deemed the low spots, therefore the problem, around 1st and 3rd base.

Today after approximately 0.50 (one-half inch) of rain in a 12 hour period the flooding is back only worse as it has spread further into the infield.

The problem is a result of no maintenance on these infields since the city took over the parks from the county. These fields need to be laser-screed to ensure the water flows away from the infield. This process will require that the drainage swales are not higher than the ball fields.

This poor state of maintenance extends to all three fields currently in the one city park.

This city also needs to eliminate the gophers before someone breaks their leg.

The embarrassment continues well into the evening

Citizens of Wildomar Check Your Tax Bill


Pieter Brueghel the Younger, ‘Paying the Tax (The Tax Collector)’

The property owners of Wildomar need to check their property tax bill to ensure they paid the proper amount for Measure Z Parks Tax.

Notice the Measure Z Tax which is $14.00 per installment or $28.00 Annually

Unbeknownst to the Measure Z Oversight Committee which has never questioned whether the proper amounts have been billed and collected, some properties are being bill and improper amount.


Notice the improper amount of tax on this property tax bill, it totals $33.00 Annually

A responsibility of the Measure Z Oversight Advisory Committee can be found in the City of Wildomar Municipal Code Section 3.18.060 Oversight committee.
By no later than March 1, 2013, the City Council shall establish a Wildomar Community Parks Funding Measure Citizen’s Oversight Advisory Committee to advise the City Council regarding the collection and expenditure of tax revenues collected under the authority of this chapter. The Committee shall consist of at least five members, who shall be residents of the City. The terms of the Committee members and their specific duties shall be established by resolution of the City Council. (Ord. 71 § 1, 2012)
The question asked when the voters approved the Measure Z Parcel Tax can be found in Resolution 2012-38:

These responsibilities are further expounded upon in Resolution 2013-37 Exhibit A
Role, Responsibilities and Duties
The responsibilities and duties of the committee shall be limited to:
3. Understand municipal revenue collection and distribution from local, state and federal sources
Per City of Wildomar Municipal Code 3.18.080 Special tax.
Commencing as of July 1, 2013 and continuing annually thereafter, there is imposed a tax on all parcels in the City for the privilege of using community park and community park related facilities, programs and services and the availability of such facilities, programs and services. The maximum tax rate imposed hereby shall not exceed $28.00 per parcel per year. For purposes of this chapter, “parcel” means a unit of real estate in the City as shown on the most current official assessment roll of the Riverside County Assessor. (Ord. 71 § 1, 2012)

In the haste to satisfy their financial obligation many people just pay their taxes without looking closely at the detail. Now is the time before the next installment is due to look at the details and make sure you are paying only what you should be paying.

If the amount on your tax bill is incorrect please e-mail your councilperson and ask why? With the Measure Z Oversight Committee in place to protect your interest how can this happen.

Especially after the infamous quote found in http://www.pe.com/articles/committee-661787-tax-measure.html  “Officials have said the committee was key to the Measure’s success, citing nationwide distrust of how tax dollars are spent.”

Councilmembers e-mails can be found at the following links:

District 1
Ben Benoit, Mayor Pro Tem

District 2
Dustin Nigg, Council Member

District 3
Timothy Walker, Mayor

District 4
Bridgette Moore, Council Member

District 5
Marsha Swanson, Council Member

 

Santa’s Dough and the Annual Report Go “Poof” in a Puff of Smoke

Santa’s Dough has disappeared like Santa up the chimney right along with the Measure Z Annual Report.

It appears that the Measure Z Oversight Committee’s reviewing of the the funds collected during the Breakfast with Santa starting in 2013 has come to an end, this along with preparing the Measure Z Annual Report.

During the February 2016 Oversight Committees meeting Agenda Item #2.2 Special Events several events will no longer be funded with funds from the Measure Z Parcel Tax, amongst them is Breakfast with Santa (a co-event with the Rotary Club)
Wildomar Night at Storm Stadium (a co-event with the Chamber of Commerce) and Drive-in-Movie (a co-event with Wildomar Little League). These events will now be funded through the Wildomar General Fund. Good luck keeping track of that money.

This still leaves the question of what happened to the original $4.000 budgeted for the 2016-17 as shown in the 1st Quarter Report.

In the Mid-Year Report this $4,000 has disappeared from the Revenue Summary: Breakfast with Santa (a category that no longer exist) and has been switch to the Revenue Summary: Special Event Revenue which had no budget listed.

Finally, the Measure Z Annual Report is usually reviewed, approved and forwarded to the City Council during the January February meeting. This year the last mention of this report was during September 8, 2016 meeting item #2.2 Annual Report Writing Process wherein “It was the consensus of the Committee to prepare the Annual Report from the Committee to the City Council.”