Former Councilman Words Reach Out Amidst Miss use of Public Funds and other Issues

Written by: David Phillips

Councilman O’Connell must spoke to me a lot about how long he thought he had to live after a accident that led to a stay in the hospital. He also knew that the work of advocating for the people and calling out wrongs came at a cost. Like any advocate worth their salt they stocked away information and resources in the event that they were unable to expose it themselves that the information still got out.

Well in the case of Rialto Mayor Deborah Robertson and her Jazz Fest Such information has been made available. Below you will see a letter from Councilman O’Connell that will make you wonder why the Mayor would try to hold yet another event using the resources of yet another non profit.

“Those who do not learn from history, are doomed to reapeat it” George Santayana

From Councilman O’Connell:

As elected officials we have an ethical responsibility to bring to the attention of our colleagues and our constituents any acts that are perceived to be in violation of our City policies, ordinances or State Law. We must do so even if it would be harmful to ourselves, or not in our best interests to do so. We do not have the luxury as elected officials of looking the other way or pretending it didn’t happen. This letter is intended to inform the City Council of the potential misuse of city funds and personnel and to seek guidance on how to proceed. As such, it this letter has been distributed to Mayor Deborah Robertson, Mayor Pro Tem Joe Baca Jr., Councilman Ed Scott, City Administrator Mike Story, and City Attorney Fred Galante. Please place this on the February 9, 2016 city council agenda to be discussed in closed session regarding legal issues and personnel.

 

At the City Council meeting of 3/10/15, Financial Director George Harris provided a presentation for the Council regarding an upcoming Jazz Fest scheduled for April 2015.

 

After the presentation, questions were asked as to whether or not the jazz fest was a city related event; since they were extensively using City resources (the City seal, this council, city personnel, selling tickets from city offices, etc.)

 

During the presentation, Director Harris stated that the event was not a city related event. It was a private event hosted by the Rialto Youth Collaborative, a non profit 501 c3 which he oversaw.

 

Director Harris stated that they had sold approximately 100 tickets, with an additional 300 tickets reserved. According to Director Harris, they needed to sell anywhere from 3000 to 3500 tickets to make enough money for this event to be successful. Otherwise he planned on canceling the event.

 

A few weeks later, during an organizational meeting for this event with the principals involved, we are informed that Director Harris attempted to cancel the Jazz Fest by telling Mayor Robertson that he was going to cancel the event due to the lack of sales. It’s not clear why Mayor Robertson was even participating in this event (and previous meetings) but we have been informed that at that meeting she told him no and instructed him to continue forward. At no time was this a City of Rialto event and Mayor Robertson, as a City official, did not have the authority to tell Director Harris to continue with this event.

 

Based on that directive, Director Harris continued forward holding the event in April. The event was a total loss, eventually selling only the original 400 tickets according to Director Harris.

 

According to Director Harris, the final result ended in a $30,000 loss for the charitable organization the Rialto Youth Collaborative, an outstanding bill to a contractor of $6,000.00, and an approximate $40,000 unpaid bill owed to the City of Rialto. It is this $40,000 that we as elected officials are responsible to account to our constituents. At no time was Director Harris given the authority by the City Council to spend this $40,000, nor could anyone else have authorized the use of City personnel or property because it would require council approval.

 

During the public presentation on 3/10/15, Director Harris clearly stated he would need to sell at least 3,000 tickets to cover the event. He also stated he would pull the event in case he didn’t reach the required tickets sold. Apparently he tried to cancel the event but when he was told no by Mayor Robertson, his only hope was to sell the 2,600 tickets on the day of the event itself to prevent a total loss. He did so by gambling city assets that he had no direct authority to use.

 

Also, during meetings with Mike Story, Director Harris was told by members of the City Council and Mike Story to immediately stop using city resources & employees to support this event. He was directed to remove the City Seal, discontinue using city telephone numbers and staff to sell tickets, etc. Director Harris did the opposite, even though he stated that he fully understood the direction of the Council. He continued advertising on city property, using city personnel to sell tickets over the phone and on city property.

 

As elected officials for the City of Rialto, we are entrusted with the duty to ensure that all assets of the City are used in a legal and transparent manner. Regardless of the amount spent, the fact that it was city funds and spent in direct opposition to the direction of this City Council makes this a serious issue. Additionally, based on Director Harris’s statement that he decided to use city funds because he was underwater in the event and that was the only way to attempt to make his money back. This logic shows a reckless and potential illegal use of city funds and resources.

 

Based on the information received that Mayor Robertson had a direct involvement with this Jazz event, her attending numerous meetings of this event, and her directing Director Harris to continue when he attempted to stop the event (regardless of its impact), it would appear that she was not impartial to its final outcome regardless of the impact it might have on this city. Based on this involvement, it is respectfully requested that she excuse herself from any deliberation on this matter.

 

We have serious concerns in regards to Director Harris using and accessing the charitable funds from the Rialto Youth Collaborative, but our responsibilities as elected officials require us to focus on Director Harris’s failure to follow the Council directions, potential abuse of city resources and the fact that the funds have to this date not been paid back to the City. As such, it is our recommendation that this letter and a more detailed report be forwarded to the District Attorney and any other appropriate agency for investigation. Even though this is not an easy recommendation, we believe that it’s an appropriate one. The public has a low level of trust of elected officials and they demand complete transparency and responsibility of us all. Failure to act on this item, might be perceived by the public as acquiescing or being complicit in the use of these assets. It was later learned that Mayor Robertson diverted at least $10,000 from the Jazz Festival to another foundation she is on with Greg Bell. Mike Story got involved and had the money returned. (Why would Mike Story get involved? It was not a City event). Then it was learned that the night before the event, Mike Story called up Table Rock and tried to get them to donate $50,000.00 to the event so that it would not go bust. (Again, why would he get involved, another misuse of City resources)

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Internal Affairs Investigation Ruins K9 Partner “Jordy’s” Career

Initial reports are that the city has paid over $6000 in boarding fees for former officer Glen Andersons partner Jordy. He was kept at Adlerhorst in Jurupa for ten months at $25.00 per day. This poor hardworking police dog is one of the greatest victims of whatever the Police Chief had an issue with former officer Glen Anderson.

The department purchased a new dog costing around $11,000 from Adlerhorst using money from the police department that could have been spent elsewhere if the Police Chief had not cut ties with the Friends of Rialto Police K9 program. Reports are that K9 Jordy was given back to Adlerhorst for another dog the a new K9 officer choose. Rialto Police added two officers since officer Glen Anderson was fired. These officers will be going through the basic class which cost is approximately $5,000 each costs that the Friends would have normally paid. Due to the length of time Jordy sat at the kennels he was no longer desirable for purchase by any other police agency and was sold to a private party.

This awesome police dog and a former Military Veteran (K9 Military Dog) was locked up, had to spend his birthday in a cage all because of an issue our Police Chief had with one of his officers. Whether officer Anderson was fired for a good reason or for a power struggle the Dog paid the ultimate price for something that was out of his control. The blame falls to Chief Deanda since his actions against former officer Anderson led to Jordy’s lockup.

It’s not just Rialto Now that is worried about Jordy one of our biggest critics since we began writing about the issues at the PD commented this on one of our last articles:

“The only person i feel sorry for is the dog Jordy. woof woof. Free Jordy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Mark Peterson

The people of Rialto have the added burden of costs that are not needed because of the chief’s actions against the Friends of Rialto Police K9’s.

We have received some heat for these stories. These stories are not meant to be done put of spite but to inform the people of Rialto about what is going on in your city. Lets look back at some of the things we have highlighted that if we didn’t write about our failed leaders would have been able to hide their failures and get away with the consequences we the people have to pay:

  • Selling off Rialto’s water – We were key in trying to shut this action down working to highlight that the cities scare tactics were nothing more than just that scare tactics. We also pointed out that NONE of the improvements would ever be made. Five years later we keep electing the same people and all that has been done is our rates are skyrocketing and some of the water meters have been replaced. Almost every single improvement is YEARS behind schedule and our leaders could care less.
  • Money moved around to pay for pet projects – We have been harping on the money movement game for years. It wasn’t until former councilman Shawn O’Connell saw it for himself did it come to a stop temporarily. Were now doing it again and allowing our leaders to get away with it.
  • Councilman Trujillo & Sanctuary Cities – Had it not been for this blog newly elected Councilman Trujillo would have held his sanctuary city meeting and Fontana Herald reporter would have reported it in a much different light. If not for this blog we would be in jeopardy of loosing MILLIONS in federal dollars.

So when we write about these actions it is up to you to dig into them for yourself and look at each situation with clarity and not allow personal relationships to cloud your judgement.

 

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Comic Con Comes to the Inland Empire

 

For tickets to the Ontario event go to http://vor.us/99c4c

COMIC CON REVOLUTION COMES TO

THE ONTARIO CONVENTION CENTER

 

Ontario and the Inland Empire Get Their Very Own Comic Con at

The Ontario Convention Center in Ontario California Saturday May 13, 2017

 

Ontario, California March 8, 2017 – The Ontario Convention Center located at 2000 E Convention Center Way, Ontario, California will be the home of Comic Con Revolution.  The Inaugural 1-day event at the Ontario Convention Center will be held on Saturday, May 13, 2017.  The show brings Heroes, Villains, Princesses, Pirates, Aliens and so much more to the Inland Empire.

Comic Con Revolution is an event for long time comic collectors as well as first timers and families who want to experience the excitement.  Hardcore fans will recognize many of the names on the guest list while families and first time comic convention attendees will quickly see what makes these events so much fun.

Attending comic cons can be expensive – we want to make it affordable.  Comic Con Revolution offers a variety of pricing options so that the entire family can enjoy the experience.  Adult tickets are $25, teen tickets (13-17 years-old) are $15 and kids 12 and under are free with the purchase of an adult ticket.  One adult ticket allows for up to two free children’s ticket.

For tickets to the Ontario event go to http://vor.us/99c4c

“We are very excited to bring an authentic comic con experience to the City of Ontario and the Inland Empire community as a whole,“ said Atomic Crush Events co-founder Mike Scigliano.  He added, “The team behind Comic Con Revolution is working overtime to bring you an amazing experience.  Come join the revolution!”

“We are thrilled to welcome Atomic Crush Events to the Ontario Convention Center” said Michael Krouse, President and CEO, of Ontario Convention Center.   “Finally our very own Comic Con!  We know visitors to this event will be in for a treat with the planned program, exhibitors, and camaraderie of fellow collectors.”

Comic Con Revolution, a family friendly environment, will feature a full day of programming and events which includes panels featuring screenwriter Doug Jung who wrote the scripts for movies including Star Trek Beyond.  Other panels include creating comics, creator & comic spotlights, cosplay panels, kid’s panels, and capped off with a Cosplay Contest.  Our show floor will feature exhibitors & vendors who sell movie memorabilia, toys, t-shirts as well as full guest list of top industry talent.

For tickets to the Ontario event go to http://vor.us/99c4c

Guests currently scheduled to appear include Karl Altstaetter (Mirror), Tim Bradstreet (Marvel Comics Covers), Sandy King Carpenter (Producer Ghosts of Mars, Vampires), Matthew Clark (Injustice: Ground Zero), Mike Collins (ABC’s of Halloween), Neo Edmund (Clan of the Vein), Joshua Hale Fialkov (The Life After), Derek Fridolfs (Li’l Gothams), Joel Gomez (La Muerta), Steven Gordon (X-Men Evolution Animated Series), Travis Hanson (Life of the Party), Ray-Anthony Height (Midnight Tiger), Doug Jung (Screenwriter Star Trek Beyond, God Particle, Scalped), Scott Koblish (Deadpool), Mike Kunkel (Herobear), Hope Larson (Batgirl), Livesay (Dr. Strange), Scott Lobdell (Red Hood & the Outlaws), Pamela Lovas (Regular Show), Raychul Moore (Cosplayer & Gamer), Todd Nauck (Spider-Man), Whilce Portacio (Comic Legend), Livio Ramondelli (Transformers), Paolo Rivera (Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1953), Patrick Scullin (Super Siblings), Beth Sotelo (Grump), Cat Staggs (Wonder Woman), Art Thibert (Superman), Gus Vazquez (Big Hero Six),  Vivid Vidka (Cosplayer), Dave Wagner (Dot Problems) and Tommy Walker (Actor on Netflix’s Daredevil) .  Additional announcements will be made as guests continue to confirm and support the show.

For tickets to the Ontario event go to http://vor.us/99c4c

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Rialto identified as one of the most difficult cities in SB County to obtain public records.

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY BEAU YARBROUGH — SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA NEWS GROUP

In an article penned by Beau Yarbrough we see that Rialto is one of four cities in San Bernardino County to not respond or fufill  California Public Records Act requests from San Bernardino Sun reporter. Out of 24 cities that were requested Adelanto, Fontana, Grand Terrace & Rialto never filled the request or even responded.

This should not come as a surprise to anyone that has ever requested documents from our city or its many departments. Rialto is one of the most secretive cities in the county, even our blog has been a sore spot for the city leadership as items that used to be kept quite now float to the surface on the pages of our blog. Councilman will demonize us and city leaders may curse us under their breath but the simple fact is that Rialto residents have very little idea what goes on at city hall.

To be completley honest we have never filed one of the California Public Records Act requests because we have known for a long time what Beau Yarbrough has found out they are Dead on Arrival. Here at Rialto Now we rely on honest people giving us information or using on the spot video to prove what has been said in secret. The best example of this would be newly elected Councilman Rafeal Trujillo and his secret Rialto Sanctuary City Meeting. Had we not had video proof of what was going on few would have believed what we were telling them.

Former Councilman Shawn O’Connell used to say that before he was on the council the city would ignore his advocacy groups Freedom of Information Act requests until they began to serve them in open public council meetings and still had to pressure staff to get the information requested. This election the issue of a lack of information that is readily available to city residents is severely lacking. We also found out in this election that the person who is responsible for this information seems to have little time to process requests.

It will be interesting to see how the city responds to the SB Sun article.

Rialto Police Chief Cuts Ties With Friends of Rialto Police K9 Program

Earlier this week our offices received a letter that is addressed to Rialto Police Chief Randy Deanda, Mike story and city of Rialto.

This letter goes into detail about the knowledge of the city of Rialto approving the work done on the K-9 obstacle course and yard. It also goes into detail about an interaction with our police chief and the president and founder of friends of the Rialto Police K-9 Association.

The letter details a complaint where Chief Randy Deanda banged on Greta Hodges door and personally delivered a letter stating that the friends of the Rialto Police canines were no longer to be involved with Rialto Police canines the letter also stated that Randy Deanda had spoken to Rialto city council members and that they all agreed with the chief on this decision the letter also goes into the fact that Chief Deanda apparently brought a witness with him Captain Wilson from the police department to verify that he delivered the letter.

The letter details that Chief Deanda opened a internal affairs investigation and officers interrogated Greta Hodges founder of The Freinds of Rialto Police K9 on the telephone and at the canine obstacle course the letter states. As of June 20th 2016 the police department no longer need the services of the friends of the Rialto Police canines a group that has funded canine operations in the city of Rialto for decades. It’s hard to Fathom with a basically cash balance budget that we would be in a position to start funding K9 purchases and operations when there’s a non-profit organization willing to do the work and provide the funding. It’s also odd that a police chief can by himself without any written Authority from city council mayor or the city administrator tear up or sever ties with an organization like this. The letter also states that Chief Deanda said that the Police Departments budget has approved and they no longer need the help of the Friends of Rialto Police K9’s. This is confusing as Rialto is looking at yet another extension of the Utility Users Tax or the creation of a Public Safety tax to provide police services.

Another point of reference that the letter spells out is the way that the Chief’s actions have hurt the Friends of Rialto Police K9 with other officers, vendors, donors and the city leadership. This action by Chief Denada has created what some say an unnecessary division among the Friends and the Police Department.
From what we can surmise is that this all began with whatever issues lye between Chief Deanda and Former K9 officer Glen Anderson who was fired last month after a lengthy IA investigation.

Another victim of this situation is former officer Glen Anderson’s K9 partner Jordy who has been stored at the Alderhorst training facility for almost a year now. It is very concerning for some in the community and The Friend’s of Rialto Police K9 that this powerful skilled dog has been allowed to be an additional victim of this sad series of actions.
We looked further into the authority of the Chief to be able to cut ties with this organization and it appears it is up to him but it is odd that this type of decision would not be made public.

Rialto Police Department Names Erica Duque Officer of the Year

Courtesy Photo/rialto police From left: Cpt. William Wilson, Chief Randy De Anda, Volunteer of the Year Richard Montano, Ofc.of the Year Erica Duque and Councilman Rafael Trujillo. Third annual Rialto Police Awards.

Officer Erica Duque was named the officer of the year at this years awards ceremony for the Rialto Police Department. Officer Duque is a Rialto Native growing up here and going to school here. Officer Duque comes from a long line of Law Enforcement professionals and is a dedicated public servant. Officer Duque still has family that lives here in Rialto and that has kept here up to date on what is going on here in our city both on and off work. Officer Duque has worked with the Community Policing and Reentry Support Program in her most recent assignment. Officer Duque is putting her unique knowledge of Rialto and her care and compassion for everyone to work to help her colleagues solve more problems and obtain results that can make Rialto residents proud.

Photo Courtesy Cpl Gregory Marquez. From left to right Probation Officer Vicky Whitworth, Officer Dwuan Rice, Officer Erica Duque and Cpl Gregory Marquez

Not only did Rialto Recognize Officer Duque for her outstanding work but her whole team was awarded for the work they have done together. Below is what Cpl Gregory Marquez said about his staff:

I chose Officer Dwuan Rice and Officer Erica Duque. I also was allowed by the Probation Department @sbcprobation In the selection of a probation officer who would be assigned to my team. Since my old partner Probation Officer Bradley left there wasn’t a doubt in my mind Probation Officer Vicky Whitworth could easily slide right into his spot. In the last year they have worked non-stop from the time they come into work until the time they leave and even get random texts and phone calls from me asking them to complete a task 😄. Last Friday our team received a Unit Citation which is a great honor recognizing our hard work! I also wanted to add that we could have not completed our tasks without the love and support from our Explorers and Volunteers as well as Code Enforcememt Officer Dave Hernandez and his team!

As someone who had the pleasure of growing up with officer Duque I can attest this is a well deserved award.

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Photos of Students Inside Public Classrooms Used for Political Purposes

This Photo was taken from the Social Media page for Sam Torres

Written by David Phillips

On Thursday March 7th on the Facebook page of Sam Torres a former Councilman in Indio had the following caption with a photo of him reading to kids:

16 “When you are helping the Hebrew women during childbirth on the delivery stool, if you see that the baby is a boy, kill him; — with Donna Brisendine-McDowell, William Muse, Frank Reyes and 14 others.”

I saw this photo because Mr. Torres tagged Assemblywoman Reyes and Community College Board Member Frank Reyes in the photo, since I am connected to them on Facebook I saw the post as well. Mr. Torres decided used his original photo with the kids faces in plain view (we covered the kids faces to allow them some dignity) In full disclosure the above statement was a portion of scripture that Mr. Torres was taking from the bible to show how Christians hate immigrants. I am still confused to what his meaning is sadly that is not my biggest problem.

My issue is with the use of a photo where Mr. Torres seems to be reading to school children on Dr. Seuss’s Birthday and adding the portion of scripture that says to KILL THE BABY BOYS!!!!!!! When I asked if he thought THIS Photo was the appropriate photo to use in this given situation and that the parents may be upset to see their kids photos used in this way Mr. Torres said the following:

“Good points all David. I have regularly been asked to participate in our public schools on everything from gang intervention to read across America. There is a crisis being created and it is affecting these and millions of children’s lives. While your points are well taken, I don’t see where you offer any solution or support for their cause or situation. I would rather be accused of politics than withdraw and do nothing because someone disagrees with me. History and the almighty will judge us all. I hope that I am found to be on his side with his sheep than in the wrong with the goats. Respectfully.”

The argument over what our kids are exposed to in California Public Schools has regained center stage with the Election of Donald Trump & majority control in Washington DC with the republican party. These two actions have seemed to send Liberal Californians into a frenzy. For decades in California our kids have been bombarded with the left wing ideas of right and wrong. Parents complain but their words fall on deaf ears because of the control the Democrat party has here.

Now we have photos from a day where literacy is the focus of the day and we take that photo and use it with a verse in the bible that refers to killing male children? Then you ask the person creating the post if this was the best choice of photo and he goes off into a mindless rant? I’m sorry but did I miss something?

 

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