Those Who Do Not Learn From History Are Doomed To Repeat It

For 15 years the city council has been using the Utility Users Tax (UUT) to supplement our cities ability to operate. It didn’t begin this way the 1st time the UUT was put into place as a way to enhance services and provide a bridge to increased tax revenues that would replace the UUT giving the city the ability to allow it to sunset and go away. Well since then some very big things took place making that a hard pill to swallow, here is what has made that impossible:

  • The recession happened – The ever so wise politicians decided that everyone deserved to be able to purchase a home even if they could not afford it. So they created things like State your own income, 4 year interest only loans and allowed people to sell torn up houses for 10 times what they were really worth. Was it any surprise the whole thing fell down around itself and left cities in a very poor place?
  • RDA Money Taken Away – Gov. Brown in all his wisdom decided to take away Redevelopment money away from California cities. This money helped them grow their city and promote why people should spend their tax dollars there verses other cities. This money also made it possible to afford to give developers sweet deals to bring development to local cities.
  • The City’s PERS contract enhancement in 2010 – As a way to entice employees to sign a new employment contract without a raise as a way to say you will have a sweeter retirement later on.
  • Poor investment performance at CALPERS – This has led to the increased PERS cost in the City of Rialto.
  • Retail has come but – The retail stores and shopping are finally coming but not in the numbers that we were told. The new Lewis Shopping Center will bring no more than the new Super Walmart in the south end. Also Mayor Robertson’s warehouses are bringing more problems and not more money. Still many of the warehouses pay tax to cities like Ontario with agreements that cripple small towns like ours.

So last council meeting our city council and mayor were supposed to look at the cities financial future with the community present. According to Mike Story and Robb Steel at the last Budget Finance Committee meeting that city council had the following issues with the Budget Finance Committee’s recommendation:

  • The Budget Advisory Committee didn’t formally recommend what the committee thought city council should do with the cities surplus. Should it remain at 50%?
  • City Council wants to know if the committee would bless spending the cities reserves?
  • City Council doesn’t feel right declaring a state of physical emergency when we have a budget reserve.
  • City Council wants to increase the amount on businesses to as much as 12% and lower it on residents to 6%.
  • City Council no longer believes that Seniors alone should be exempt from paying the tax only low income seniors.

The reason we titled this story “Those Who Do Not Learn From History Are Doomed To Repeat It” the popular saying by George Santayana because we find ourselves walking down a similar path. The last time the Utility Users Tax was placed on the ballot for renewal Deborah Robertson was the lone wolf standing in the way. She was throwing a fit and holding her vote hostage until she got what she wanted. This year she is the problem once again but this time it doesn’t seem like public safety is going to blink. You see we have the #1 fire department in the State if not the Country you are more likely to survive a cardiac arrest event here than anywhere else. Also here in Rialto our paramedic program provides an income for the city budget offsetting fire costs, in every other city in the region these services are paid out to minimum wage workers for a private ambulance agency.

Keeping to the topic of public safety lets not forget that it was former police chief Farrar who did the 1st study on the use of body cameras on police officers. That study led to such amazing results that Rialto was one of the 1st agencies in the USA to use body worn cameras department wide. As you can see from the image above officer use of force has dropped as well as citizens complaints of use of force. Also Rialto is one of the few agencies that still has an active Community Policing program and youth intervention programs that are producing results.

Sadly the writting on the wall with everything going on right now is that our city council is playing chicken with our public services and a massive looming debt. Many members of the Budget Advisory Committee see the Mayor and Councils actions as dangerous ways to run a cities finances. One member said that looking at $170 Million pension and health debt over the next 10 years, not moving the Utility User Tax to a vote and even discussing spending reserves is a dangerous course of action. Another member said that council is saying I know I’m get a pay cut next year but I am taking the expensive vacation anyway, this is no way to budget.

So where are things now? Well Council refuses to address the public again with this topic or even the new information on just how bad our budget looks like if we don’t act now. The Budget Advisory Committee on December 18th will hear just what council and the mayor are looking for in regards to spending reserves and playing with the reserve limits. The topic of making seniors pay for the UUT when they have not been required to in the past will also be discussed. The Budget Advisory Committee is a public meeting even though staff refuses to use the cameras in the room and stream the meetings on You Tube the meetings are public. They start at 6 pm and end at 8pm.

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Rialto Now Hosts Christmas Giveaways

Christmas is here and we know that not everyone gets excited about that. Many people in our city and region still struggle every single day but the pressure of the holidays is even worse. Having a family to feed is tough enough without having to worry about Christmas presents and food.

Well have no fear Rialto Now is here to bring a little light to the holidays. Throughout the month of December leading up to Christmas we will be doing a series of giveaways. Some of them you can win something for yourself and others are where you will nominate and get a chance to bless someone else in need.

The 1st giveaway will begin on Wednesday December 6th at 10 am on our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/rialtonow

If you would like to participate and provide a giveaway simply email rialtosnow@gmail.com

Assembly Woman Reyes Gas Tax Set To Hit the Pockets of Poor People in the 47th District

So as California Democrats wage war on Donald Trump and gas powered cars they seem to forget who they promised to protect, the poor and the little guy. The party that claims to be for the little guy has a bill that promises to stick it to you every single day.

Earlier this year actually all in one week a bill was drafted that would raise gas prices and vehicle regisration was pushed through the State Assembly and Senate then the Gov. jumped up and signed it right away. This tax like so many others was sold as the savior to our states broken roads yet all it was nothing more than yet another way for Democrats to pad their pockets and payoff campaign contributors. The bill was co-authored by Senator Jim Beall (D-San Jose) and Assembly Member Jim L. Frazier Jr. (D-Discovery Bay) so you may be asking why would we lay this on Assembly Member Eloise Reyes front step? Well there are plenty of reasons:

  1. For eight years former Assembly Member Cheryl Brown refused to vote for a bill that spent money on things other than roads even though the tax led people to believe that was the purpose.
  2. Former Assembly Member Cheryl Brown saw that a tax like this hurt the hard working people of her district.
  3. Former Assembly Member Cheryl Brown knew that there would be effects that people would not realize until it was too late. One of those would be the increased cost of delivering goods to stores.
  4. Eloise Reyes told people who worked on her campaign that she voted yes on this bill because the Gov. threatened to take away future money if she didn’t.
  5. One of the largest reasons for this tax is the assault of any car in California. Democrats are working hard to force you out of your car and into mass transit. They are creating yet another class war where poor and middle class wont have access to cars but the rich elite will.

Under Senate Bill No. 1, the gasoline tax will increase by 12 cents, from 18 cents to 30 cents per gallon, the excise tax on diesel fuel will rise 20 cents, to 36 cents per gallon; the sales tax on diesel will also go up by 4 percent, to 9.75 percent.

As part of the legislation, motorists will also have to pay an annual vehicle fee, though that doesn’t take effect until Jan. 1, 2018. The fees range from $25 for cars worth less than $5,000 to $175 for those valued at more than $60,000.

Additionally, a $100 annual fee on electric vehicles will be imposed on owners in lieu of gas taxes beginning on July 1, 2020.

Earlier this month in Riverside, Gov. Jerry Brown, at lectern, speaks in favor of the gas tax increase with Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount), left of Brown, and state Senate leader Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles), right of Brown. (Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

None of this money will go to expanding any freeways, 40 percent will go to mass transit (Gov. Brown’s Bullet Train to Nowhere) and parks (not transportation related). Millions of dollars in tax money did go out in the form of payoffs to legislators to buy their votes some as close as Riverside County. So local Assembly members are so poor at their job and weak under pressure that they blindly vote or allow themselves to be bullied by Gov. Brown.

Isn’t it time we have someone represent us that will stand in the GAP for us and not cower at Gov. Brown?

Make sure you fill up your gas tank before Novemeber 1st because after that the cost of taking kids to school, going to work, running errands and visiting family will cost you more and more.

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Interview with Fontana School Board Candidate Kareem Gongora

Here at Rialto Now our Moto is “Informing the public one post at a time”. Campaign signs can’t tell you about a persons character really it is only an indicator of how much money they have because signs are EXPENSIVE!!!!!!

With that being said each candidate has been given opportunities to have an interview published with our informational blog/website. Please read the questions and answers below and get more informed about this school board race.

Full disclosure this is a Special Election for a seat that will be up for grabs again in November 2018.

Give us some background on the history behind this school board election?

  • Late last year a serving Board Member was elected to Fontana City Council leaving a vacancy on Fontana Unified School District’s School Board. The four remaining Board Members implemented a thorough interview process to fill the vacancy and I was one of the finalist. However, at the end of this process the Board was deadlocked and chose to fill the vacant seat by holding a special election. While it has been a journey filled with many obstacles I promised my children – all students at FUSD schools – that I wouldn’t stop until I was in a position to help lead the District and ensure that they and their classmates are receiving the quality education they so richly deserve.

What do you think makes you the best choice for voters in November?

  • I’m a life-long Fontana resident and a product of FUSD. My wife and I chose to raise our children in Fontana and send them to the same FUSD schools I attended when I was their age. However, I’m running for School Board in order to ensure that the education our students receive is better than the one I did and that they have more opportunities than I did. As a member of the Fontana Planning Commission and Chairman of the San Bernardino County Committee on School District Organization, I have experienced leading deliberative bodies through building consensus among my peers. That is the leadership that FUSD’s Board needs now, more than ever, in order to craft excellent public policy that enhances educational equity, improves special education programming, and keeps our students safe.

Many believe that school board seats should be more about what is good for the school and not ties to a particular political agenda. What are your thoughts on this.

  • Politics must begin to take a back seat to education in our community. Too often representatives elected by the people to do what is best for them and our students end-up placing their own interests – including the potential trajectory of their political careers first. Earlier this year, I drove to Sacramento twice to testify in front of Senate Education and Public Safety committees about legislation our community desperately needed to safeguard our children from child predators — the legislation earned bipartisan support in both committees. I also joined a local non-profit to testify in front of the State Board of Education to advocate for equity and stronger accountability measures for our school districts – specifically low-income students, English learners, students with disabilities, and other racial and ethnic groups.

A lot of attention has been given to this election should be about the kids. What are your thoughts on this.

  • As a parent, all I think about is creating better opportunities for children within my community– I grew up here, I live here, and want all of our children to be successful. This is why one of my priorities is advocating for social and emotional learning programs, to effectively help our children apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage their emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. This was my focus when I helped establish the WATCH DOGS program at my son’s middle school.

With most budgets at max capacity how vital are public/private partnerships to provide more for Fontana students?

  • As a school district, public and private partnerships are critical to improving learning conditions and environments for students. In fact, this is something I was able to accomplish when I was in charge of federal and state grants that provided financial literacy, nutrition education, and healthcare access to families.
What can you bring to the table for parents that a skeptical that anyone on the school board or in district office are being wise stewards of Fontana tax fillers?
  • I want students, parents, community members, and business owners to be more involved in the decision-making process. As a Board Member, I will be fully accessible and open to new ideas to not only engage, but include recommendations to how we can operate more efficiently and be better accountable.

How vital is it to you that local business owners step out and help train tomorrow’s innovators and business owners? How have you stepped up and put words into actions?

  • I think it is incredibly important that we expose our youth, at an earlier age, to the idea of attending college, seeking a trade, or business ownership to help create a plan for them. This is vital to economic development in our community and I want our children to help drive that. Too often, we have only exposed our children to certain industries, but the jobs of tomorrow have yet to be created. Our children need exposure, which is why when I developed after-school programs, I placed an emphasis on bringing different careers and backgrounds to inspire students. In fact, one of my biggest accomplishments is organizing Fontana graduates to come back and mentor students in the school district through Fontana Foundation of Hope, Big Brothers Big Sisters Inland Empire, and the Fontana Unified School District. My next project will be providing access to high school juniors and seniors with internships at local businesses. I work in human resources for the tenth largest county in the United States and I want students to be prepared to fill these positions.

Reporters side Note:

Whoever you pick in November as your person for Fontana School Board I can tell you that when it comes to political ideals Kareem and I are miles apart. Yet he is approachable, willing to sit down and hash out ideas and even come under harsh digital attack and scrutiny. Yet this man remains willing to help and listen. Every year both Kareem and I go to a local continuation school to talk to kids that struggle with life choices and their education about the opportunities before them. School board elections should not be about political affiliation they should be about people that are ready to get their hands dirty and work hard for students and parents.

Over $71 Thousand Donated to Fontana School Board Candidate

A collection of campaign contributions have come in for Fontana School Board member Mars Serna. Over $71 Thousand in campaign contributions have come in for a special election against one other person community advocate Kareem Gongora.

Now we all know that elections need money and normally the people giving money want something in return. So what do the people donating to Mars Serna’s campaign want? Well let’s look at who is donating:

  • Burrtec Waste Industries $20,000
  • Phil Cothran $4,579.38
  • Clifford Young Sr. $1,000
  • Constance Young $5,000
  • Academics in Art Charter $40,000
  • South Highland Management $500

Now what would a trash provider get out of donating to a small school board seat? Maybe a sweet deal on a contract? Even bigger than that is the $40 thousand dollars coming from a Charter School in Orange County believe us when we tell you this money does not come without massive strings attached.

This election is a special election that once the election is over and the winner is sworn in they will have less than a year until their seat is up for re-election. The real story here is a power grab by Warehouse Warren (aka Fontana Mayor Aquenetta Warren) she has two votes that will do her bidding on the School Board and since her third puppet is now on Fontana City Council she needs another one. Her pick is Mars Serna.

Speaking to Kareem Gongora the other candidate in this election isn’t taking donations like these he is relying on family, friends and the community to send him to the Fontana Board not large corporations and Charter Schools.

We have asked Mars Serna to sit down with us and he refuses so I guess he would rather leave us to make up our own minds about these dirty campaign contributions.

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Changes coming to Rialto Police Department Leadership

Information sent to us today indicates that changes to the top leadership rolls will be coming to Rialto Police Department.

As of October 1st former Police Chief Mark Kling will come on as a “Consultant” to help transition current Police Chief Deanda into “Retirement”. Police Chief Deanda should be well versed in the retirement process as he regularly tells the story of how he was needed so much in the city of Rialto that he was asked to return to work three times after filing for retirement.

In the communication from City Administrator Mike Story he laid out the struggles a quick departure like this will bring “As the city administrator, I must ensure there is a smooth transition of leadership and place leading up to and after chief Deanda retirement. Ideally, organisations have about 1 year to plan the transition of executive leadership. Chief Deanda will be retiring from public service and three short months on December 28th 2017 there for once Chief Deanda submitted and I accepted his notice of retirement, plans for executive leadership transitioning were set into motion. As an organization, filling the position of a retiring police chief is Paramount to community safety, department operations, and intergovernmental Affairs across departments so there are minimal service interruptions”.

Earlier today the Chief was witnessed briefing his command staff on the coming changes in his Department. Those pictured with the Chief at Mimi’s in North Fontana were Captain Andy Karol, Lt Robert Smith, Lt Dean Hardin and Paul Stella. Staff could overheard the chief talking about the memo from Mike Story and the impending changes.

Nobody will ever know the true story on why we have such a quick departure since past leadership has made sure a replacement was already on the ground before major changes took place. For example:

  • When Chief Kling left he had vetted and prepared Captain Tony Farrar for the promotion.
  • Fire Chief Matt Fratus knew he was not going to work forever so he hired Sean Grayson our current Fire Chief to eventually replace him.
  • When Police Chief Tony Farrar was on his way out he secured the promotion and placement of Chief Deanda.
  • Even City Administrator Mike Story announced months ago of his coming retirement at the end of this year.

So when something is outside the ordinary you have to ask yourself what is the real story? What we do know is that the city has found itself under more legal action brought by staff that claim they were fired, discriminated or retaliated against without merit and some of those cases have began to settle out of court. The latest claim was made know yesterday September 26th 2017 when a $125,000 claim was filed claiming misconduct by a former employee of MHM & Associates.

Answers that will need to be answered are:

  • How much is the city going to pay 2 police chief’s?
  • Will Deanda’s removal begin to bring the lawsuits to a close?
  • How do you attract a quality Police Chief in a Financially Strapped city like Rialto?

There are more questions than answers.

Today we got some of the answers from City Administrator Mike Story who said that Mark Kling will be working on a $15,000 dollar contract for three months to help during this transition. Mark Kling is one of the brighter spots in Rialto Police Department history as he led the Police Department out of the scandals of the past and the poor public trust of the police department. City Administrator Mike Story said that this money came out of the city administration budget already earmarked for consulting.

We will update as more information comes in.

Have a story you think people should know about? Email Rialtosnow@gmail.com

Keep up to date via social media by following #rialtonowcovers

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San Bernardino Unified Still Struggles With Weapons On Campus

Last year San Bernardino Unified was rocked with a school shooting that left 3 people dead one of the dead a student along with another student injured by gunfire. Ever since the shooting last year San Bernardino Unified spoke about strict standards for dealing with access to school campuses and weapons being allowed on campus. So one would think that staff who were deeply effected by the loss of a student and colleague would understand how important keeping weapons off campus would be right?

Some staff at Paakuma School say that yesterday reports of a physical fight between two staff members led San Bernardino School Police to find a weapon in the car of one parties vehicle. The letter from school principal Victoria Morales seems to offer a different story, one that has a gun but omits the employee fight.

Angelic Davis posted the post above on Next Door that confirms the same story that the School Principal put in the letter. We reached out to the Principal as asked in the letter and we were directed to the District Communications office where after getting hung up on twice we were finally able to leave a message.

What is odd here is that arrest records are not confidential when a crime is committed at a school yet the District is circling its wagons around this situation and controlling the conversation. San Bernardino Unified is already coming under attack as their move from citations to peer court is blowing up in their faces as the program is not providing the results.

At 4pm Tuesday we found out that Anita Rene Scott a Counselor at the school was arrested for bringing a loaded gun onto school grounds. Linda Bardere the district spokeswoman said ” It was locked in the employee’s personal car, which was in the parking lot on school propoerty. At no time was the weapon brought out or shown”. District officials said that another employee shared information that Anita Rene Scott claimed to have a firearm in her car. Anita Rene Scott posted $25,000 bail Tuesday and was placed on administrative leave.

We will keep you up to date as more information comes in.

To provide tips or have an event highlighted on our media email rialtosnow@gmail.com

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