Perchlorate Settlement News

In response to this article below by Ryan Hagen I reached out to now former Councilman Ed Scott that has been the lead person for Rialto on the perchlorate cleanup settlements. Here is his email statement on this issue:

The settlement announced by the US EPA is important for several reasons not discussed in the Sun Newspaper. The 50 million announced is just part of the overall settlement. This settlement will bring 4.7 million directly to Rialto along with the $500,000 in the PSI settlement and end the appeals against the County. Rialto settlement bring another 4 million In total this brings 9.2 million dollars which will used by Rialto to refund perchlorate surcharges to Rialto’s water users who have been bay the surcharge for the last 10 years. For my household for example this would mean up to an $879.00 refund to my family. Additionally with this settlement in December the City Council will be able to end the perchlorate surcharge on your water bill.

More importantly this will bring a clean up of our water basin to be paid for by responsible parties. The combination of the County clean up system and the Emhart system will cost the parties over 110 million dollars.

This is a huge victory for Rialto and its residents as the council member who has dedicated a great deal of my time on these settlements I thank the Council for having the faith in me to accomplish these settlements. Their persistence and courage is something the residents should be proud of.

As I say good bye to the City Council and its residents I Am proud to be able to say we are done with the perchlorate litigation.

Ed Scott

Mayor Pro Tem

What came out in the Sun Newspaper today has the possibility to be troubling due to the current fears over revenues in a city struggling to remain afloat. Here are the apparent comments from city staff according to the SUN:

According to city documents, the elimination of the surcharge will reduce the scheduled Jan. 1 monthly water rate from $46.59 to $35.54, for the “typical single family residence.”

The surcharge elimination will cut revenues by roughly $892,000 for the remainder of fiscal 2012-13, according to city staff.

Read more: http://www.sbsun.com/ci_22160115/rialto-new-city-council-ready-roll-perchlorate-surcharge#ixzz2Eg3hJGKz

Whatever the case NOW is the time to get involved in the issues plaguing our city, the time of sitting idly by not getting involved are gone. If Rialto is REALLY your home and you want to see it succeed YOU must get involved. There are many ways to get involved if you don’t know how contact us here by emailing rialtonw@aol.com and we will help you plug in.

 

EPA, companies reach agreement over contaminated water at Rialto Superfund site

Ryan Hagen, Staff Writersbsun.com

Posted:   12/05/2012 12:23:18 PM PST

RIALTO – Nine companies and the Defense Department have agreed to pay about $50million to clean 160 acres of contaminated water, a milestone in a lawsuit with decades-long roots.The Environmental Protection Agency, one of the parties in the suit to clean the B.F. Goodrich Superfund Site, announced Wednesday that it had made an agreement with Emhart Industries, Pyro Spectaculars and others it considers responsible for perchlorate and trichloroethylene that caused the closure of drinking wells in Rialto and Colton.

“We now have a commitment from companies to fund the cleanup and the companies – the parties – rather than the residents of Rialto or Colton or the federal government are paying for cleanup work at the site,” said Wayne Praskins, the EPA’s project manager for the site. “It also helps ensure a safe, dependable supply of drinking water for residents in the area.”

The agreement, filed Tuesday, gives responsibility for the first portion of cleanup to Emhart Industries, which bought a company that reportedly released perchlorate – a chemical that may disrupt the thyroid’s ability to produce hormones needed for normal growth – as it manufactured flares and other pyrotechnics during the 1950s at the Rialto site.

Emhart and other settling parties – the Defense Department and more than six companies – will pay whatever that costs, estimated at $43million. Rialto and Colton will split $8million, with Rialto getting slightly more, according to attorney Danielle Sakai of Best Best & Krieger in Riverside, who represents Colton in the suit.

That will cover 30 years of designing, building and operating groundwater wells, treatment systems and other equipment that will first stop the spread of perchlorate and trichloroethylene – TCE, an industrial cleaning solvent that may damage the nervous system, liver and lungs if ingested or breathed, according to the agreement.

“The cleanup will probably continue for decades because the science of groundwater is once pollutants get into the groundwater, it takes a long time to get them out,” Praskins said. “Once the cleanup facilities are built and start operating, at that point we will have stopped any further spread.

“That’s our short-term goal. The goal is to clean it up to the point that water can be used at some point in the future without having to clean it further.”

Rialto and Colton, which had sued the companies in 2004, joined the agreement and called it a large victory that would lead to others.

“This is a long, hard fight that was all about getting clean drinking water for Colton residents,” said Sakai. “This is something that has been going on for a long time, and we’re pleased that we’re working our way toward a resolution.”

The agreement follows another in March that requires payment of a combined $4.3million to the EPA by Pyro Spectaculars Inc. and other companies.

The EPA initially listed five parties – Emhart, PSI, Ken Thompson Inc., Chung Ming Wong and B.F. Goodrich – as responsible for decades of potentially hazardous waste dumped at the site when it made it eligible for federal funding by adding it to the EPA National Priorities List in 2009.

B.F. Goodrich is the largest company that still has not made an agreement, but negotiations are in the “details” phase and should be finalized within months, Praskins said.

ryan.hagen@inlandnewspapers.com, 909-386-3916, @sbcitynow

Read more: http://www.sbsun.com/ci_22130014/more-than-50-million-settlement-reached-contamination-superfun.html#ixzz2EIrqAg6x

Swearing in & Reception Ceremony City of Rialto

Below is a invitation from the newest member of Rialto’s City Council Shawn O’Connell. If you can’t make the reception and meeting watch the council meeting its somthing I know you will enjoy.
Councilman Elect Shawn O'Connell

Councilman Elect Shawn O’Connell

Good morning,
I just wanted to extend an invitation to my swearing in ceremony that will take place on December 11, 2012.
Reception (food/drink);
When:   Dec 11, 2012 4-6pm
Where:  Rialto Library
              251 W 1st St
              Rialto, 92376
Swearing In;

When:    Dec 11, 2012 6pm
Where:  Rialto City Council
              150 S Palm Ave
              Rialto, 92376
      (Note: walking distance from Library. Both events are open to the public).
If you are available, I would love to share this moment with you.
Sincerely,
Shawn O’Connell

Assemblymember-Elect Cheryl R. Brown Says Small Business Growth and Job Creation are Necessary in the 47th AD

Assemblymember-Elect Cheryl Brown introduces herself to Frank, the store owner of Sierra Car Wash in Fontana after receiving a car wash.

Assemblymember-Elect Cheryl Brown introduces herself to Frank, the store owner of Sierra Car Wash in Fontana after receiving a car wash.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 25, 2012

Contact: Ashley Jones

(909) 645-3853

 

ASSEMBLYMEMBER-ELECT CHERYL R. BROWN SAYS SMALL BUSINESS GROWTH AND JOB CREATION ARE NECESSARY IN THE 47THAD

 

In recognition of Small Business Saturday on November 24, Assemblymember-Elect Cheryl R. Brown (D-47) patronized small businesses located in the 47thAssembly District to encourage everyone to shop local and shop small.

 

“I’ve owned a small business for almost 40 years and I understand the challenges and sacrifices that business owners encounter daily. I deeply admire and respect the contributions that our small businesses make to the communities in our district,” said Brown.

 

Small Business Saturday has attracted millions of consumers nationwide since its formation in 2010. Small Business Saturday occurs annually between Black Friday and Cyber Monday and encourages the nation to celebrate their local businesses by “shopping small.”

 

“Reportedly, two-thirds of jobs in the 47th District are provided by small businesses,” said Brown. “And nationally for the last two decades small businesses have created two of every three jobs in the United States.”

 

Encouraging small business growth and job creation are among Brown’s top legislative priorities for 2013.

 

“Promoting small business growth and job creation is important to me because our district suffers from some of the highest unemployment rates in the state,” said Brown.“In many of our sectors, the unemployment rate has reached double digits. We have to look at how we can create more jobs and strengthen our local economy.”

 

“Government policies can pave the way for small businesses to thrive,” said Brown.

 

Assemblymember-Elect Brown represents the 47th Assembly District, which includes San Bernardino, Rialto, Colton, Bloomington, Fontana, and Grand Terrace.

 

For more information contact (909) 645-3853.

Power Point Slides from the UUT Workshop

Deborah Robertson Makes a Failed Stance

This week I David Phillips learned another hard but valuable lesson.

I had a long conversation with Mrs. Deborah Robertson about her intentions with our police department. She did state that her only intention was pension reform but she never said at the cost of 22% of the cities budget. Yes she is holding her Vote on the Special Election Hostage over the Police officers paying their full 9% pension costs. Her statement to me was my goals while in office havent changed since my campaign.

She has this power for many reasons:

  1. The biggest reason she has this power is the council took the entire month of October off for the election. Knowing full well the decision on the special election must be made before December 1st to make the deadline for the special election in March (Utility Users Tax sunsets in June 2013). This gives Deborah the leverage necessary to squeeze the Police for what she wants now.
  2. The tax Measure “V” that just died over the cities inability to be straight and honest with the community.
  3. Talk of the PERS tax being re-instated.
  4. That the last 2 chiefs have rebuilt the police into something we can be proud of and staffed the department with people that will bend to a TYRANT forcing her will upon the electorate to see the awesome programs and resources not be lost at the cost of severe arm twisting. FYI the police have taken concessions for the last 4 years with no end in sight.

So whats the solution?

First its supporting the Utility Users Tax at 8%. All council members stated they dont support raising it beyond that point at the workshop last Tuesday.

Second email, call and text Deborah Robertson and tell her what you think of her hard line stance and what it does for her ability to show she wants to work with the council and the community rather than fight us and try to rule with an IRON FIST.

Deborah Robertson

Email: robertsonformayor2012@gmail.com, robertsond@rialtoca.gov,

Phone: Office- (909) 820-2525 Fax- (909) 873-2921 Cell- (909) 644-8520

Third be at the council meeting on Tuesday November 27th and voice your concerns over the possibility that she will vote no on allowing the community to vote on the future of our city and our police.

Fell free to jin us on the Rialto Now Facebook Page or the Rialto Residents for Rialto PD group at the following link:

http://www.facebook.com/groups/309058217201/

Below is a message put out last night

****Urgent Action Required***

Deborah Robertson is holding the communities ability to decide on the need of the Utility Users Tax hostage. She has made a strong ultimatum to the cities most important barging unit. Pay you full 9% pensions or I vote no one the Utility Users Tax Special Election. We must show our support for these men and women to have enough time to discuss this impact on their families. The vote on the Special Election must be unanimous one no vote and it doesn’t happen. Plus because council went dark in October this is it. If the vote doesn’t happen in November the special election wont happen prior to the tax unset in June.

We need a mass showing of resident support for these vital men and women. Make signs and show up.

 

 

Public Workshop regarding the Utility Users Tax

Hello Rialto Now readers there is a workshop we need to attend our very TAX DOLLARS depend on it.

merchantcircle.com

Five Years ago the city put a Utility Users Tax on the Ballot it was sold as a way to pay for Police and Fire supplies, services and Equipment we thought exclusively. Now looking back it was thrown into the general fund and used a revenue source to keep the city afloat. I am very proud of you Rialto residents for showing the city council that lies and using the fact that we like our fire and police services as tax hostages with measure “V”. Sadly though because we told them with our vote on measure “V” to be honest with us and stop lying they are floating the idea of raising the Utility Users Tax.

Now the Utility Users Tax expires in June 2013. City Council is holding this workshop to get your opinions as well as hopefully show what services will need to be cut and personnel we will lose if its not extended. Another reason to hold the workshop is to float increasing the rate to as much as 15% up from 8%. At 8% they bring in just over $11 million they were banking on measure “V” bringing in about $5 million the amount we are short year to year.

What happens from here:

  1. Workshop to get the cities temp on an increase or leaving it the same, showing the cuts that will be made if the tax isn’t extended and talk of impending bankruptcy if it fails.
  2. The results will be tabulated together and city staff will make a recommendation to the council on a direction to proceed at the November 27th council meeting. Be advised this council meeting is just as important as the workshop, why? Because the decision to reinstate the tax and put the issue on a special election ballot in March must be made in November. If the decision isn’t made in November and unanimous the tax will end and the city will be scrambling to find ways to pay its obligations.

I hate taxes more than life itself, we never seem to get real representation in our government and the unions have the elected officials ears so we are unheard. We also pay the highest taxes across the board here in California and these taxes crush the hard working middle class as well as chase away the wealthy job creators to other more business friendly states.

With that being said I will vote for the extension of the Utility Users Tax but only at 8% and only if the city doesn’t lie to get the tax passed just tell us what you need!!!!!!!!

Finally please contact Mr. Joe Baca Jr. and let him know it’s important that he does his job as a Rialto City Council Member and attend Tuesday’s workshop. He ran for this office now he must take time out of his schedule to work through this issue together.

Below is the information on the workshop:

Utility Users Tax Workshop

The City of Rialto is conducting a Public Workshop to receive updated information regarding the Utility Users Tax. The Workshop will take place at 6:00 pm on November 20th at the Civic Center 150 So. Palm Ave.

http://www.ci.rialto.ca.us/gov_5913.php

First Council Meeting Since the October Election Blackout

Seems like we should have had those meetings in October after all.

Because no City Council Meetings were held in October due to the Election we had a stacked calendar tonight.

They had the Utility Users Tax on the end of the agenda and choose to address that TAB item first. What that TAB item was for was city staff laying out the ground work for the workshop that will be held November 20th. What seemed the hardest was getting the council on board to attend the workshop, the biggest problem maker was Joe Baca Jr. I’m not sure if he was still licking his wounds from November 6th or if he really only cares about parks and that’s it but he had a scheduling conflict with that day and refused to adjust his schedule.

What the UUT (Utility Users Tax) is the 8% tax on all the utilities you use in the city of Rialto and amounts to a little more than 11 million dollars for the general fund. The way it was sold 5 years ago was a tax to help pay for Police and Fire operations looking back it was probably sold the same way Measure “V” was if you don’t vote for this the police and fire will suffer. I was young and not living in the city back then so I was listening to what my parents, in laws & friends were telling me about the UUT.

What’s scary now is they began floating the idea of raising the percentage to as high as 12% as a way to punish voters for not falling for their lies with Measure “V”. I don’t like this tax but if they are straight with the community and don’t raise the percentage because it means such a big piece of the general fund.

What also was annoying was the fact that things are changing with the sale of Rialto’s water and waste water systems to Viola and West Valley Water. The deal was for 30 million dollars, tonight it was brought up that there is an additional 5 Million the city can borrow, that we have to pay back. There was talk of your 100 percent increase in rates over 4 years would be more if they borrowed that money.

City Staff brought up bringing back the Per’s Tax. I’m not familiar with this tax but Council was scared to death of another lawsuit from our friends the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. Apparently Howard Jarvis stopped Rialto from doing this long ago. If they bring it back and Jon Coupal wants to sue on a residents behalf I will be first in line.

Everyone kept saying we don’t want to raise taxes then talked about a new way to tax the community. Also Transparency is the buzz word right now all of the Council People want to provide it even though they have been hiding things from us for years. Even June Hayes RUA Committee member was blown away by the new talk of 5 million in available borrowed money.

Ed Scott tried to equate the 5 million to a homeowner who buys a house then finds out they qualify for more money and takes it. A homeowner can only take more money if the value of the house meets the desired loan amount. Also its not free money it does raise the interest and principle monthly payment.

So 5 million is what percent of 130 million its 3.84 percent almost a filth of the entire loan and when your talking millions that’s not chump change.

So lets re-cap:

*Water and Waste Water rates will go up for the next four years.

*Rialto wants you to possibly pay 12% on your UUT (up from 8%).

*Rialto pays 8-10 cents more per gallon than cities like San Bernardino that have higher sales tax than Rialto.

*Late fees were increased largely in part to Mr. Everyone Else Is Doing It Why Not Us.

So what should we do?

First off plan on being at the UUT Workshop on 11-20-12 at 6pm.

Second call, email and ask him in person if given the opportunity. Him I mean Joe Baca Jr. who for some reason refuses to attend the UUT workshop on 11-20-12 he claims to have plans. So do I Mr. Baca my parents will be in that week from out of state yet I will be there and I am not a paid member of the city of Rialto just a concerned resident.

Joe Baca Jr.

Email: Bacaj@rialtoca.gov

Phone: 909-820-2525

Second attend the Council Meeting on 11-27-12 because there they will make the final vote to officially sell off the water and waste water, vote on whether to put the UUT on the ballot in March and at what percent and its the last day for Ed Scott, Mayor Grace Vargas and Deborah Robertson’s last day as a council member so there may be some interesting exchanges at this meeting.

Tomarrow I will Re-cap the rest of what I stayed for.

 

Coffee with the Chief overview

Coffee with the Chief was held at Coffee Nuttz at 8am.

Chief Farrar talking with the attedees

Rialto pd staff in attendace Chief Farrar, Captain DeAnda and Lt. Karol and Volenteer Cordinator Judy Roberts.

Captain DeAnda and Lt. Karol and Volenteer Cordinator Judy Roberts

Chief Farrar began with showing off the new Ford Taurus police units.

New Canine Car Ford Taurus Utility

Chief Farrar announced officer Nelson as the new Community officer. He will attend the outreach programs the Police Department puts out as well as schools and will be the begining of the eventual return of community policing to Rialto.

Dr. Michael Neeki, who regularly works in the trauma center at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Rialto, pulls double duty as a tactical medic for the Inland Valley SWAT team. Click this link for the full story on CBS 2 news http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2012/11/12/rialto-er-doctor-trades-in-scalpels-for-guns-as-swat-volunteer/

Newest reserve officer was sworn in. Chief Farrars goal is to beef up the reseve unit to give Rialto PD the ability to add officers to the street at a low cost.

Grants submited for police officer supplies like bullet proof vests. Also Lt. Karol also spoke about a grant to get a vehical to help deal with big rig traffic in the city.
Someone asked if people can help with grant writting and Chief Farrar said all help would be great and appreciated.

Air Support Unit last 2 months logged 200 hours of flight time. Also Redlands PD has decided to join this joint effort. With thier addition to our regional Air Team Rialto now has the availability of thier fixed wing Air Support Unit a great resource.

Javier palitto helped design the new badge which will be displayed at Council Meeting tonight. Badge will display Rialti PD’s commitment to the Community. Come on out and see the badge or watch on TV tonight. Also Chief Farrar will be introducing the first new Rialto Police Officer graduating Topof Class.

Resident gave the police big kudos for thier work with Community and the School District.

Question was raised about new Mayors ability to work with police? All three command officers said they have always worked well with all Mayors and council members and look forward to working with Mayor Robertson.

Plan is by next year to reintegrate the Narc program.

The Crowd about 20 in attendance

Also the Chief updated us on the canine unit and Cash for Gold businesses:

 

The Rialto Police Canine Team competed on November 2nd and 3rd in the Riverside County Sheriff’s 17th Annual Canine Trials. The canine team did excellent competing against 40 other canine teams, from all over California, Texas, and Baja Mexico.

Officer J. Maltese and K-9 Smoky – First Place in Building search (3 years in a row) and
Third Place in Area Search

Officer C. Compton and K-9 Jango – Second Place in Area search and Fifth Place in Area Search for Narcotics
Officer A. Anderson and K-9 Gilly – Second Place in Protection and Fifth Place in Parcels Narcotics
Officer J. Breen and K-9 Kimo – First Place in Protection

The moritorium on new Cash for Gold businesses has been lifted and in iys place are stiff restrictions these businesses must follow much like those for Pawn Shops in an effort to keep people from selling stolen items there.

Coffee With The Chief Of Rialto Police

11 Nov 2012 Leave a comment

Coffee with the Chief

Local area residents and leaders come together to learn and diologe about Police services in the city of Rialto.

Tuesday November 13, 2012

8:00 to 9:00 am

Coffee Nutzz, 119 E. Foothill

“Coffee with the Chief” offers resident’s an opportunity to personally meet their Police Chief and other representatives in a casual setting. At “Coffee with the Chief” community members will learn about the police department, special projects, and other related events. Please join Chief Tony Farrar for “Coffee with the Chief”.

“Spotlight” Interview with Rialto Unified School Board Member Edgar Montes

11 Nov 2012 Leave a comment

Member: Edgar Montes
email: emontes@rialto.k12.ca.us

We would like to introduce Mr. Edgar Montes to those of you in Rialto that may not know him. Mr. Montes is one of our School Board Members here in Rialto. I have had the privilege of speaking and interacting with Mr. Montes over the last 2 years and have found him to be someone that cares for the children and the community. Mr. Montes has made it his job to stand in the GAP for our schools and children. Something else less involved people may not know is the riff that exists between the City Government and the Rialto Unified School Board and no one knows why this is, it’s like the Hatfield’s and Mac Coys. Mr. Montes has begun slowly interacting in various city functions and answering questions in reference to Rialto Unified School District when he can. You can find Mr. Montes attending Coffee With The Chief, Area Command Meetings, Rialto’s Farmers Market & the occasional City Council meeting.

He is an honest and open Board Member and works as a peace maker when the situation allows. One thing with Mr. Montes that I have come to experience is you wont ever agree 100% on everything but with Mr. Montes you know where he stands, and in the end its on the side of our kids and schools. Don’t be afraid of disagreeing with Mr. Montes because that won’t hurt or hinder the relationship but make it stronger and give it a solid foundation on where everyone stands.

I would like to thank Mr. Montes for his time answering our questions:

 

 

RIALTO NOW – Tell us a little about yourself were you raised here in Rialto? What’s your story?

EDGAR MONTES – I was born in the summer of 1979 in Upland, CA. I have lived in Rialto since 1988. At that time I attended Maple Elementary in Fontana, my parent’s house although it was within Rialto city limits was actually within the FUSD boundaries. Much like today were Rialto Unified School District boundaries cut into parts of Fontana, Colton, San Bernardino and Lytle Creek. I attended Alder Middle School and A.B. Miller High School also in Fontana. So although I attended public school in Fontana, I was indeed raised in Rialto.

RIALTO NOW – What was the driving force behind your desire to run for School Board for RUSD?

EDGAR MONTES – My wife and I bought our home in Rialto in 2002. With 20 years left on our 30 year mortgage we have no plans of leaving Rialto anytime soon. I love my community. I grew up here and have seen first-hand the ups and downs and all the good and bad about our tiny 4 miles wide 8 miles long city.

Going to school in Fontana and having friends and family all through-out the Inland Empire I saw many similarities in some of our public schools. For example; the loss of public school funding over the years, and how that loss of funding and mismanagement of public tax-payer’s dollars affects kids from “socially-economically-challenged” backgrounds. The switch from Junior High Schools to Middle Schools and with that the loss of Junior High Sports teams. Arts and music programs cut or reduced. Increased focus on test scores. Decreased focus on the development of “the basics”like reading and writing, math and science. Above all as a parent and a product of our public schools, I understand the many challenges parents, students, and schools face in these tough economic times.

RIALTO NOW – Have you ever run for any elected office in the past?

EDGAR MONTES – No. I was elected in November of 2010. It was my first time running for elected office, but not the first time I ran for something. In High School at Fontana A.B. Miller High, I ran for A.S.B. President my senior year and won. I also ran for school site council at A.B. Miller after graduating from there and was also elected.

RIALTO NOW – What is your background in regards to education?

EDGAR MONTES – As far as my college education goes, I have put that on hold for now. With 11 year old twin boys, a 3 month old baby boy, a small family-owned business to run, and a democratically elected position as a Rialto school board member, I want to wait a little before going back to school. I am the kind of person that if I will not be able to commit myself 100% to something, than I won’t even bother wasting anybody’s time. I was attending San Bernardino Valley College and the University of Phoenix Ontario Campus before that at the time I ran and got elected to the school board.

It’s important for me to point out that I have been criticized by some as a college student on the public school board for not being a college graduate. Some people have even gone as far to criticize me for the community college I was attending. For example at a time when our school district was laying-off many teachers and cutting programs for students because of the loss of funding, I took a stand against the wasteful spending of $70,000 (public tax-dollars) to send 30 school district employees and two school board members to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania for a supposed “one week leadership training.”My fellow school board colleague Michael Ridgway said “there is nothing like this locally. If you want a Harvard education, you go to Harvard. You don’t go to (San Bernardino) Valley College. These are world-class presenters. Education is expensive. The only thing I have found more expensive than education is ignorance.” My response to him was this “I have also met my share of “educated fools” and that I don’t undermine anyone or judge anyone by their level of education or where they went to school.”

The San Bernardino Sun Newspaper wrote an article about the issue of the Gettysburg trip and even wrote an editorial supporting my stance on the issue. What matters most to me on a school board or any elected office is “common sense.”

RIALTO NOW – With school district budgets getting slashed every year what are your ideas on still offering a quality education?

EDGAR MONTES – I believe that even with the loss of revenue for public schools it is still possible to give a quality education to ALL students. I am a strong supporter of grant writing, I asked for grant writers for our school district on a contingency contract, meaning they would only get paid a percentage if they got us grants. Unfortunately, at the recommendation of our superintendent the board opted to go with a grant writing company that charged $5,000 per month for six months that did not produce any grants. I also am a strong supporter of partnering with local businesses in the community. If we reach-out to the local businesses in our school district, they can help us by donating to our schools, sponsoring our students, and working with us to build bridges not burn them. I also believe the city of Rialto would be a great partner in the education of our students. There was a time when our school district and city worked together on many things and you and I both know that is no longer the case. But I remain optimistic and will continue to push for rebuilding that relationship, because what is good for our city is good for our parents and students and what is good for our parents and students is good for our communities.

RIALTO NOW – How important are sports programs and the arts to you within the confines of public education?

EDGAR MONTES – I am a strong supporter of sports programs and arts, and I can say that because you can find me and my sons at school games, art competitions, and at school district talent shows. Many children don’t know they have a gift or special talent for something and it’s important that we help all students find what interests them, what drives them and tie that into their education. Some kids are great leaders, others make awesome drawings. I saw a student from Rialto High School free-style spoken word poetry, powerful and moving.

RIALTO NOW – The current school of thought is to prepare every student to enter college. Do you agree with the thought that every student should and can go to college?

EDGAR MONTES – I believe that every child should be given support, guidance, and encouragement to go to college. The sad reality is that only about 15% of high school graduates actually go. Many people know that if you constantly, repeatedly tell a child that they will “never amount to anything” most likely, not always, but most likely they won’t. And vice versa, if you constantly and repeatedly tell a child that “they can and will be successful in life and do something great”, most likely they will.

RIALTO NOW – As someone who studied education, I know that not every student is college bound, yet through our Regional Occupational Programs we can prepare those students to be successful in the work force. What value do you place on RUSD and its Regional Occupational Program?

EDGAR MONTES – I place a very high value on any ROP at any school district. Preparing students for the workforce is critical to any family and community as a whole. ROP is a great way to give students the resources and skills needed for many vocational careers. Aside from the ROP offered to students at the high schools like ROP Jr. Navy and ROP Jr. Marines, etc., through our Adult ROP high school graduates and adults can enroll in our Adult Education Program. Through our Adult School we offer Career Technical Courses like Word Processing/Keyboarding, and Intro to Computers. In adult ROP students can take specialized courses like Office Operations and Technology, Business Technology Lab, Pharmacy Technician, and Pharmacy Clerk. I not only want to continue these much needed programs, but would to like secure funding to expand them.

RIALTO NOW – What is the biggest factor that can help ensure quality teaching? Is certification a measure of quality?

EDGAR MONTES – I think certification is good, but I don’t think it’s the best way to measure quality teaching. I think quality teaching can be measured by pro-activeness, the ability to adapt to new technology and the ever changing times. Most Hispanics/Latinos/Chicanos have native-indigenous roots, and we use many metaphors when speaking. There is a saying in Spanish I would like to share with you. Here it goes “La vaca que da leche, de lejos se ve” which is difficult to translate but I will try, “the cow that gives milk, you can see from far away.” School principals, parents, and students know quality teaching when they see it.

RIALTO NOW – One of the jobs you have listed on Face book is an education advocate, can you explain what this is.

EDGAR MONTES – An Education Advocate is anyone involved in advocating for student’s education in any way. I have advocated for students education since my sophomore year in high school when me and a group of students organized a student walk-out to protest awful treatment of students, unfair discipline practices, and a hostile learning environment to name a few. Regardless of what anyone says, that walk-out brought many changes to Fontana A.B. Miller High School that by my senior year our high school was award the “California Distinguished School Award.” Did I mention I was elected A.S.B. President that year? As an education advocate I have advocated for students and parents all across the Inland Empire from Big Bear to Perris, and for everything from unfair suspensions/expulsions to speaking at public board meetings. As an education advocate I also attend rallies organized by activist, school employee unions, and community organizations against the state budget cuts to education. Now I am an education advocate for parents, students, and employees as a member of the Rialto school board.

RIALTO NOW – I have had many friends in the city of Rialto remark on the state of your special education programs here in Rialto Unified School District. The biggest complaints are that this department seems to miss the mark more and more frequently. Are you aware of this issue, and if so what are some steps to fixing this?

EDGAR MONTES – The problems of Special Ed in our district are something I became aware of when I was running for school board in 2010. I witnessed parents and students along with Special Education advocates speak at school board meetings many times. Their complaints and their concerns regarding Special Ed were never responded to or addressed. After I got elected I took on the problems head on, I’ve been fighting for the children of Special Ed and their Parents ever since.

For the record let me first say that there are many good-hearted employees working in Special Ed. Many employees of Special Ed give 110% of themselves to the students and need full support of the RUSD leadership starting with the board of education first, and the superintendent second. Without the full support of RUSD leadership how is Special Ed staff supposed to help the students and parents. Recently a group of about 40 parents and members of the community held a protest in front of the school district office; it came out in the Sun Newspaper back in May I believe. I am only 1 vote on a board of 5. I can only keep speaking up and hope that we get some new board members that will “truly” listen to parents, staff and the community, otherwise nothing is going to change.

One of the arguments made by Dr. James Wallace former Assistant Superintendent Deputy Chief of Staff, then Assistant Superintendent of Student Services which oversaw Special Education, now Assistant Superintendent Deputy Chief of Staff again, is that RUSD spends the most amount of money compared to neighboring school districts. Whether or not that is true, the question is how much of the revenue spent by RUSD for Special Ed has actually trickled down to students and the classrooms? For example, how much money has RUSD spent on attorney’s fees for fighting parents and Special Ed advocates instead of giving the students the services they deserve. I believe in accountability, where is it? We can’t blame the Special Ed teachers, Speech Therapist, Psychologist, or any one from our Special Ed department. We need to hold accountable those at the top.

RIALTO NOW – How can our readers reach you to get more information?

EDGAR MONTES – I can be reached anytime 909-202-2485 or emontes@rialto.k12.ca.us

Previous Older Entries Next Newer Entries

Get your questions answered

Free presentations being offered by Covered California Certified Educators trusted partner in San Bernardino County–The San Bernardino Training and Employment Agency (SBETA).

Free presentations being offered by Covered California Certified Educators trusted partner in San Bernardino County–The San Bernardino Training and Employment Agency (SBETA).

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 42 other followers