Residents Reaction to Local Goverment Corruption

Yesterday was the Grand Opening of the Rialto Farmer’s Market and it was nice. What was really great was seeing local elected officials out meeting the public and having open and frank discussions about the problems facing our city. The Farmer’s Market is the brain child of Barbara McGee Rialto City Clerk. She was informing us of her plans to expand the shopping opportunities at the weekly Farmers Market as well as add other vendors (other than produce or food) to the market. Southern California has the best climate for long growing seasons and we can grow most types of foods because our mild temps in the winter and warm summers that produce bumper crops.

Mrs. McGee made a statement that I thought was interesting and sad, people kept calling in and asking where is city hall? Most of the people here in Rialto are not really invested in this city and community, and that is in large part due to todays society. Today we are closed up in our homes, we commute longer distances to our jobs, technology has replaced the need to leave your home and with the turn over in homes over the last 7 years people move more often and have less time to make strong neighborhood connections. So with a strong media push we hope that this Farmer’s Market brings the community out and fosters more active people.

Councilwoman Deborah Robertson was also at the Farmers Market and was out speaking with residents as she prepares for her Campaign kickoff for Mayor of Rialto tonight at her home. She told me that there is a serious lack of communication with the community and the council. As Mayor she said that will change. I personally have sat and worked on many projects in the city and for the communities greater good, it wasnt always easy but when she figured out one I wasnt going away and two it would look bad for her to not support this issue she backs down or gets on board. For example when the council decision was to not put the American Water Referendum on the ballot Mrs. Robertson texted me to inform me because she knew I would want to know. This is the kind of openness we need in our next mayor not someone who barks commands at everyone and allows smoking in his bar, underage drinking (as reported from RUSD teachers and employees that frequent O’Leary in down town).

One resident listening to the Councilwoman and other residents told me that she feels very nieve. She doesnt know how people who took an oath to give us a nice city to live in can be so evil and hurt so many people with little to no regard for the families that stand in their wake. (reference Scott, Palmer and City Attorney Gutierrez).

Also another problem I have been screaming about is safety in our parks and rec zones. You can build lots of parks and stadiums and trails………. That’s all great but who is going to protect them? Our Police Department does everything they can but untill city council finds innovative ways to get communities and businesses involved in and invested in our public use facilities being safe places to be they are all a big waste of money, and money isn’t in large supply today.

Council wants to bring Target, Lowes, Super Wal-Mart and the Lytle creek Development that will bring people to the city as well as more and more problems. Can we really fend off the jump in property crime, petty theft and personal theft from these new retail centers while trying to keep gangs from taking over our parks? No not currently, ask Redlands how hard it is to have all this and a safe city. Its hard but they cope with a volunteer staff that dwarfs paid personnel.

Call these elected officials and ask them real hard questions, lets lay it on the line.

This Home Looks Worse In Person

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It makes me sick to know that one of our long time goverment officials lives in a home with a front yard like this.

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Having broken down rusted cars that look like they belong in an old junk yard shoved up against tall over grown bushes shoved up against the front of the house. This neighborhood is nice with clean homes with attractive lanscapes. This homowner needs to attend and seriously take advantage of volenteer Thompsons home tips 101.

Would you like to live across from this house.

Rialto should be a level playing field where no person no matter their standing or position should be above the laws, rules or ordnances.

Yet time and time again People like Ed Scott, Ed Palmer and Jimmy Gutierrez break laws, rules and ordinances and either escape any penalty or skate by with a slap on the wrist.

Ed Scott – Barks at city staff and residents, appears to break city ordinances 18.72.010, 9.26.030. Updated picture of this residence and violations coming tomorrow night 7-18-12.

Ed Palmer – Apparently Mr. Palmer doesnt even live in the CITY OF RIALTO he lives in the county area as accused by the main opposer of the Lytle Creek Development. It looked true as Ed Palmer excused himself during the argument over whether the project should even happen.

Jimmy Gutierrez – Has been arrested for drunk driving and allowed to plead NO CONTEST and still remain the City Attorney for both Rialto and Chino. Reports are coming in that Mr Gutierrez makes $50,000 a month from the city of Rialto alone, and that he still charges for a slew of other things he does as our attorney. I wonder how much he charged the city to tell council to not allow the residents to vote on the water issue.

Volunteer Thompson with Rialto PD has taught over and over again about the broken window issue, meaning if your home looks horrible and un kept the rest of the neighborhood will follow suit. As well as attract crime and unpleasant people I know from resent experience if you’re looking to buy a home you will avoid the areas at look like no one cares.

This is clearly a violation, it’s just like Ed Palmer living in the county area and not in the CITY LIMITS yet he still is on city council. Ed Palmer, Ed Scott both must excuse themselves every time an issue comes up in downtown cause they own half of it. Both need to be ousted.

Budget incentives propels move to consolidate Fontana, Colton, Rialto SWAT teams

The Article below is from the San Bernardino Sun highlighting our regional SWAT team.

It’s a great cost saving feature as well as allowing the team to utilize the resources that the three cities have accumulated.

I personally cant wait to see this team at community events in the city and hear of them helping local gang units hit warrant homes and rid us of idiots that want to baricaide themselves.

Inland Valley SWAT.

It’s the new face for the elite, Special Weapons and Tactics arm of three area police departments: Fontana, Colton and Rialto.

Each department will contribute its SWAT officers to the combined unit, now headed by Fontana police Lt. Obie Rodriguez, although that post will rotate to the other agencies in the future.

Equipment for the combined force of 45 is being stored at a central, undisclosed location.

This was a decision that wasn’t taken lightly and didn’t happen quickly, Rodriguez said.

For more the two years, the departments have been conducing joint training operations.

Cooperative arrangements like the SWAT team merger will be the wave of the future in law enforcement, said Larry K. Gaines, chairman of the Criminal Justice Department at Cal State San Bernardino.

“It’s a way to maintain high level of service and at the same time reduce costs,” he said.

The SWAT merger is not the first combined effort by the three police departments. Earlier this year, Rialto and Colton hooked up with Fontana’s new police helicopter, expanding that city’s sky patrol into their own backyards.

“I’ve often said that crooks don’t know a border,” said Fontana Police Chief Rod Jones.

Fontana’s public safety is interconnected with its neighbors, he said.

“Certainly the economic times are a driving force of this (the cooperative efforts),” said Rialto Police Chief Tony Farrar.

The merger provides the three cities with greater expertise, better equipment at a reduced cost, said Farrar and Jones.

Additionally, there is a greater opportunity for grant funding when there’s a regional effort, Farrar said.

“This (the SWAT merger) was discussed some time ago, but the timing wasn’t right. This is really a longtime overdue,” Farrar said.

For smaller departments, like the three cities have, the SWAT position is collateral – officers assigned to it perform other duties and only take on their SWAT role in emergencies or during training, Rodriguez said.

Under the joint arrangement, each department is reducing its individual SWAT officer force, he said, noting that the three cities benefit from the potential strength of the much larger 45 person team.

In 2000, Murrieta and Hemet joined forces for a new combined SWAT team, said Murrieta police Lt. Tony Conrad.

“Savings are are realized in both training costs and personnel costs. Equipment costs can also be cut as the teams utilize equipment owned and maintained by their partner team,” Conrad said.

“As police departments look at more innovative ways of working, there are some elements which will not work in this kind of cooperative agreement,” said Stephen G. Tibbetts, a criminology professor at Cal State San Bernardino.

SWAT teams work because their training is very standardized, he said. “It doesn’t depend on local knowledge.”

 

Re-Cap on Coffee with the Chief

On July 10th people in the community met with Chief of police Tony Farrar, Captain Randy De Anda & Volunteer Judy Roberts to talk about issues concerning the residents in the city of Rialto.

It was a nice showing of new and old faces to the coffee with the chief events.

Chief Farrar started the meeting with updating us on some of the recent goings ons within the department.

  • Nationwide grant giving police departments ability to hire additional police officers. There were 117 total positions nationwide and Rialto PD received 5. These positions will fund for 3 years for each position. When asked what will happen to the officers once the grant money is over Chief Farrar stated that officers moving to other departments, retirements would take place over the years to allow these officers to be ready and working so that they can fill the gaps. This grant is geared to give military veterans the ability to find work.
  • Rialto PD has done some aggressive hiring and we have 8 candidates going through the sheriffs academy 3 will graduate in September 6 started on 7-9-12 and there is one lateral position. This hiring will help fill the gaps created by the mass retirements a year and a half ago.
  • Sgt Gibbs will be the person in charge of building up our Reserve Program. The reserve program is where people who are sworn officers donate time working in our department to help us put more boots on the ground. Sgt Gibbs is a Background Investigator and will be able to handle the backgrounds on these prospective officers and bolster this important program.
  • On July 10th Chief Farrar went before city council to obtain final approval on our part in the new regional SWAT Program. THis means we will combine resources from Colton, Fontana & Rialto to share the resources and save money on certification, training and equipment maintenance.
  • Chief spoke about COP Link a regional program where law enforcement agencies all over the county can more quickly and efficiently share information on suspects, crimes and other information that may span from city to city.
  • Chief spoke about the awesome things our SCAT team has been doing in the city and county, like the POT bust in the corn field.

There were issues brought up by the residents as well They ranged from aggressive panhandlers and pushy homeless making it hard for people to shop in Rialto. The amount of illegal activity in our parks in the late hours and the need for posted park hours that the police and community could enforce. The amount of young children being put on Rialto Streets to sell candy and other items in the late hours of the night. Chief Fararr made mention of the need of a permit local businesses would obtain to have the ability to walk and solicit homes in the city of Rialto.

These meeting are a great way for you to be able to meet other people who care for this community. This venue is the best way to get your questions answered and know the Police Department heard you.

If you have an issue, problem or concern this is where you will get answers.

One comment that came up that started a little debate was, Do you think the Chief of police should live in the same city he works in? Why or Why Not? Post your answers here or on the Facebook or Twitter sites and get the dialogue going.

New alliance may run Rialto’s water system

If the agreement has remained unchanged then there are still BIG problems in Rialto.

On the surface the BIG problems with the private agreement are:

  • guaranteed profits by 30% a year for 30 years.
  • Contract is for 30 years.
  • Lack of oversight on runaway rate increases.
  • Big development like Lewis Properties, Wal-Mart and Lytle Creek Project taking advantage of people who live here and are left to pick up the pieces.
  • Price it costs the City to get out of the deal if the contractor isnt performing as promised.

These are just a few of the issues on tap and that should draw us to a pause. We need to wait after the election and we have new council members sitting at the dias that will preside on the cares of the people not pander to their own political agenda.

Yes they are saying what we want to hear now but remember its an election year. It wont be the same this time next year if we don’t make major changes it will be more of the same.

Below is the article from the SB SUN writer Jim Stienberg who could care less what the community has to say he just regurgitates what the city feeds him. He seems to like their Cool-Aide.

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Jim Steinberg, Staff Writersbsun.com Posted:

07/11/2012 06:24:41 PM PDT

RIALTO – About two years ago, the West Valley Water District was looking to help the city of Rialto manage millions of dollars in upgrades to its aging water system. But it ended up walking away from the challenge, because raising that kind of money was beyond its capabilities, said Anthony “Butch” Araiza, district general manager.

Now West Valley – which already supplies water to half of Rialto’s residents – is taking another look at helping out.

But this time around, the financing aspect is not an issue.

The city of Rialto solved that problem by establishing a contract with San Francisco-based Table Rock Capitol, which is providing the financial backing for a 30-year concession agreement to outsource Rialto’s water and sewerage operations.

Table Rock, doing business as Rialto Water Services LP, has replaced New Jersey-based American Water Works Co. Inc. as the operator, and is talking with West Valley and Veolia North American about running the city’s wastewater plant.

West Valley’s staff members and its attorneys are reviewing the 1,600-page concession agreement “to make sure we feel comfortable,” Araiza said in an interview on Wednesday.

“We want to help, but we want to make sure this is not bad for West Valley Water District,” Araiza said.

Officials from Table Rock could not be reached for comment Tuesday or Wednesday.

In a prepared statement, Mike Story, Rialto’s city administrator, said on Tuesday that the concession agreement “stands unchanged.” Necessary improvements to both the water and wastewater systems will proceed as planned, he said.

The agreement “additionally enables the city to fill a damaging financial gap left by the closure of the redevelopment agency,” Story wrote.

Even though American Water is out of the picture, the planned rate increases will continue, as a Proposition 218 protest vote last month failed to muster the numbers needed to block the nearly 115 percent increase in water and sewer rates by 2016.

Contact Jim via email or by phone at 909-386-3855.

 

Read more: http://www.sbsun.com/ci_21055865/new-alliance-may-run-rialtos-water-system#ixzz20QUY6qa7

Water Debate Update

Rialto Now readers we have some news on the front lines of our water debate. Yes the city made a horrible decision to not place the American Water sell off on the November Ballot, it seems if these reports are true they are finally listening, but why now? Well Councilman Ed Palmer is running for re-election on a failed platform of being there for the community & calling the city on wasteful spending that lasted a little more than a year and died. Reports are that Councilman Ed Scott isn’t seeking another term as Councilman and is seeking the job of Mayor as current Mayor Vargas is ending her time as mayor. As well as Councilwoman Deborah Robertson is also taking another stab at Mayor but her seat on council isn’t up for grabs this go around.

So with Deborah Robertson was absent and the city decided to change its course on the outsource water agreement and the 2 possibilities are Veolia North American who currently works with our waste water systems and East Valley Water District (EVWD) that currently services the top portion of the city’s water services and has worked on removing perchlorate groundwater plume.

What is important now is to continue the pressure and make sure we know about any concession agreement from here on out, we are allowed to ask questions for clarity and that the City Council stops referring to any balloon payment from any other outside companies as Redevelopment money. I have had personal conversations with people inside the state controllers office that such money may fall into the states preview to take since all RDS’s departments are no to be eliminated. Call it what it is money the RUA has owed the general fund for years………….

Ed Scott said that the thing holding up our In & Out project was the state finishing up with old RDA projects. He later said he didn’t know why things were taking so long and blamed the City Staff for not keeping Council informed of time lines and issues.

Were looking for Honest hard-working people to fill Council seats, if the news is difficult give it to use straight and allow us the community to see where we can help make the hard choices for our community together. Also we need Council Members that let us know we are heard, listen to us and don’t bark at us when you don’t like what we say.

American Water is out as operator for Rialto

Jim Steinberg, Staff Writersbsun.com

Posted:   07/10/2012 10:33:57 PM PDT

The yearlong suspense over whether New Jersey-based American Water Works Co. Inc. will manage Rialto’s water and wastewater system is over – it will not.”My gosh this is wonderful. I hated those people (American Water). I don’t feel comfortable with a company on the Stock Exchange,” said Toni Volinski, a longtime Rialto resident, who has been opposed to the American Water deal from the get-go.

“We wouldn’t have a lot of control – and that frightened me,” she said.

The financial backer of the 30-year concession agreement that made American Water the manager of Rialto’s water and wastewater department has removed American Water as the operator, Peter Luchetti, authorized officer of Rialto Water Services LP, wrote Mike Story, Rialto’s city administrator.

Leading the list of potential replacement operators, Luchetti wrote, is Veolia North American, which has managed Rialto’s wastewater treatment plant for years and nearby West Valley Water District, which has been a long-time partner with Rialto in the cleanup effort for a large perchlorate groundwater plume.

At its June 26 meeting, the council voted 4-1 to approve a rate increase that would propel water and sewer rates 114.8 percent by 2016.

Mayor Pro Tem Ed Scott, in an interview Tuesday, said he and councilman Ed Palmer, who led a subcommittee to evaluate water service alternatives for Rialto, had told Rialto Water Services that a substitute for American Water was needed.

Scott said a well-organized resistance to American Water necessitated the action to find another company to manage Rialto’s water operations.

Scott was referring to the campaigns organized by the the Utility Workers Union of America. “Replacement of American Water would be excellent news and a victory for Rialto ratepayers,” Mark Brooks, a union spokesman, said.

The Utility Workers Union has several contract issues with American Water across the country.

This is the Letter From Mark Brooks & Stop Rialto Water Rate Hikes.

Dear Rialto friends and neighbors:

I am writing to let you know about a potential huge victory for ratepayers in Rialto!

Although this may seem like a “good news/bad news” story, in our view Rialto citizens are on the verge of overturning the City Council’s very bad decision to contract out the City’s water system to for-profit American Water Company.

But first the bad news: 

Last week four members of the City Council decided not to place our referendum challenging the Concession Agreement for the water and wastewater system on the ballot for a public vote.*  A majority of the City Council – everyone EXCEPT Council Member Baca – made this absurd decision, even though the County and the City have both certified the fact that we submitted far more than enough signatures from Rialto voters to place this issue on the ballot.

We believe the City’s excuse for not placing this issue on the ballot – that we supposedly failed to attach the entire 1,600 page Concession Agreement to our voter petitions – is completely bogus.  There is nothing in California law that would require us to do this.  In addition, even if the City Council thought it had any grounds to refuse to place this issue on the ballot, the City is ignoring the long-standing California procedure that is required to ignore a valid referendum petition submitted by the voters.

We believe the four members of the City Council who made this decision are engaged in a desperate attempt to prevent Rialto voters from passing judgment on the proposed Concession Agreement.

And now for the good news:

We have received reports that the City may replace American Water as the proposed operator for Rialto’s water system under the Concession Agreement!

If the City indeed makes this decision, this will be a huge victory for Rialto ratepayers.  The City’s own reports have consistently shown that for-profit American Water’s participation in this deal is one of the important reasons for the proposed water rate hikes.

What’s more, we understand that neighboring West Valley Water District might be a “preferred” replacement to operate the City’s water system.

Although the UWUA has never taken any position on who should operate the City’s water system (other than the City itself), in our view this would be good news for Rialto.  West Valley is a neighboring public water system – rather than an out-of-state corporation like American Water – and already provides water services to roughly half the City of Rialto.   Moreover, we believe American Water has a demonstrated track record of hostility toward the rights of utility workers.

So what about the referendum petition?

Unfortunately, the City Council’s decision not to place the referendum on the ballot probably means that someone would have to incur considerable legal expenses to sue the City to overturn this misguided decision.  The UWUA is not in a position to incur these significant expenses at this time.

Even so, you should know that any Rialto voter who signed the petition against the City Council’s decision may have the right to sue.  Obviously this would be a big undertaking.  Moreover, we believe any Rialto voter or group interested in pursuing that fight should act immediately!  We may be able to refer any Rialto group or voter interested in pursuing this further to appropriate attorneys.

Celebrate the victory!

There can be no doubt that – if indeed he City reverses its decision to contract out Rialto’s water system to American Water – this victory will be a direct result of your many efforts over the past year to oppose the Council’s misguided decisions!

In our view, any decision to replace American Water as the operator of the Rialto water system would be a huge victory – for ratepayers and for workers.  As we have said many times before, any deal to contract out the City’s water system to American Water would be a bad deal for Rialto ratepayers.

Thank you for your many efforts in this struggle.  We will continue to keep you informed.

Sincerely,

Mark Brooks

Utility Workers Union of America/SOS Rialto Water

* Please note that Council Member Joe Baca, Jr. voted AGAINST the City Council’s decision not to place our referendum on the ballot.   To his credit, Council Member Baca has consistently opposed the Rialto Council’s misguided decisions concerning this entire issue.  In our view, Council Member Baca has shown real integrity throughout this debate over the future of Rialto’s public water system.

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