“Let’s make some noise … Yes On Parks.”
That was the chant coming from more than 50 Measure D supporters who walked through a Wildomar neighborhood Saturday to raise yes votes for the June 7 ballot initiative. The Measure asks local voters whether they are willing to pay an annual tax in order to fund the city’s three parks.
Families with small children, senior citizens, and high school kids turned out for the event, which began at Wildomar Elementary School with a ringing of the city’s historic bell and then trekked along Central Street over to nearby Windsong Park for a hot dog barbecue.
Carrying “Yes On D” and “Yes On Parks” signs and banners, the walkers cheered as some supportive passing motorists honked their horns.
But while there was optimism among the group, there was also commitment to a tough road ahead leading up to the June 7 election.
John Lloyd, chairman of the Wildomar Blue Ribbon Parks Advisory Committee and organizer of Saturday’s event, said there is much misunderstanding and confusion among local residents about the ballot initiative, and he intends to continue campaigning door-to-door through Election Day.
“Many people think it’s a monthly tax,” he said of Measure D. “And they think it’s a big Mello-Roos because of the big 4-foot-high (“No On D”) Mello-Roos signs.
“It’s an annual tax,” he continued. “And it’s $23 the first year and will never go higher than $28 (a year).”
City Councilwoman Bridgette Moore was also on hand Saturday. She said the tax is subject to adjustment for inflation, but argued that an adjustment on the maximum $28 annual assessment is small. Any increases, Moore said, need to be put to the voters.
“We can’t even raise it $1 a year without 66.66 percent voter approval,” she said.
Measure D imposes the tax on Wildomar residents who own property in the city, and Moore said many residents think the tax is based on parcel size.
“It doesn’t matter what size parcel you own, the tax is the same,” she said.
As the walkers congregated at Windsong, residents throughout the city were going about their Saturday afternoon business, some of them oblivious to Measure D.
Sitting inside Arriba Baja Grill in Wildomar at Hidden Springs Road, local patrons shared their thoughts on the upcoming election.
John Barbee and Kristen Jacobson, a pair of Wildomar 20-somethings, chatted over lunch. Neither is planning to vote on June 7.
“I have no idea what it’s about,” Barbee said of Measure D, as Jacobson shrugged her shoulders about the initiative.
Trina Thomas and John Head moved to Wildomar six months ago from Menifee. They aren’t planning to go to the ballot box either.
“I won’t vote if I don’t know what it’s about,” Head explained.
Carly Amick, who only became eligible to vote in recent years, said she didn’t know anything about the initiative other than the signs she sees in her neighborhood.
Wildomar residents John and Kathy Ollier admitted they didn’t know anything about Measure D either but said they like the idea of community parks and would be willing to pay the tax.
“I am all for parks for kids -- and for us,” Kathy said.
As she pumped gas at the 7-Eleven across the way from Arriba Grill, 21-year-old Wildomar resident Deborah Smith was outspoken and enthusiastic about the Measure.
“Oh yeah, I think it is extremely important,” she said. “I have a niece and nephew who use the parks all the time. I am definitely going to vote yes.”