After the election turmoil remains high for West Valley Water

After the dust settled after the most recent West Valley Water Board elections the turmoil has yet to settle. Many were surprised to see the current board that was left virtually in tact except for the election of new comer Channing Hawkins and that this board relinquished the seat of President to the newly elected Board Member Hawkins. So have said that this seems to be a trap to set Board Member Hawkins up to fail. We have reached out multiple times to speak with Board President Hawkins about this but have failed to speak to him.

West Valley Water District board member Channing Hawkins reaches after being voted in as President of the West Valley Water District, during a board meeting in Rialto, Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019. (Photo by John Valenzuela, Contributing Photographer)

Whatever the case Board Member Hawkins is the dully chosen Board President and seems to be on a course to make changes within the structure of the Water District. The most notable change is the live streaming of board meetings via Facebook Live and then posting a video recording to the Water Districts newly created YouTube channel. The recent implementation of these two sources have removed a large barrier between the Water Board and the Rate Payers as many people work long hours and have family obligations that make it difficult to show up to regular meetings let alone all the special meeting West Valley has had lately. Now rate payers can remain informed on what is going on without having to disrupt their already busy lives.

About the time that Board President Hawkins took the position of Board President many of the Water District Managers took that opportunity to deliver a letter of no confidence in West Valley Water GM Clarence Mansfield. The letter from the West Valley Managers demanded that he be fired because of poor leadership and alleged cronyism. This letter was put out suspiciously close to a SCNG investigation into a laundry list of problems since Mansfield was hired, they also pointed out his salary of $225k dollars as well.

As someone that has been covering this Water District long before the Southern California News Group. There have been problems for 6 to 8 years with West Valley Water Board where former Board President but still a current Board Member has been running the Water District into the ground and has been using questionable hiring practices since he sat on the Water Board. Another thing is I know Mr Mansfield and I haven’t spoken to him recently I can tell you he has learned the hard way to try and get his job done without running directly afoul of the elected people over him. He was railroaded at LA DWP years ago when questioned certain internal practices, then was made the scapegoat for the laundry list of failures in the sale of the City of Rialto’s Water and Waste Water to Veollia where he was the first GM to tackle that project. Now he is the GM for a Water District that was upside down in questionable behavior for years before he got there.

Board President Hawkins seems genuine in his interest to be transparent holding Facebook Lives to go over the agenda with constituents prior to meetings and there doesn’t appear to be any visible bias in the decisions he has led the district to make. Quite the opposite the oldest and most long standing Board Members have openly attacked Board President Hawkins for some of the preliminary moves he has taken.

Only time will tell what these changes will bring about and what if anything will change with the General Manager job for this struggling water agency.

Click here to read about Martin Piñon as Interim Human Resources and Risk Manager

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West Valley Water District Looks To Yet Another Consultant To Solve Internal Problems

On February 4th 2020 West Valley Water put out a press release on the hiring of yet another upper level manager and consultant to fix the laundry list of problems West Valley Water District has faced. The newest person that has claimed they will do what nobody else has been able to do is Martin Piñon who will be acting as the Interim Human Resources and Risk Manager. According to the press release, In addition to implementing best practices and standards for human resources, Piñon will manage the District’s personnel activities including salary and benefits administration, workers’ compensation, risk management, safety, training, employee relations, recruitment and selection. Pinion will also ensure that the District is in compliance with employment laws and work with management to correct employee deficiencies, apply disciplinary actions, address grievances and follow-up with complaints and inquiries.

Among his long list of experience and education the notable piece is that he has a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University San Bernardino. Now your asking yourself why is that the portion of Mr. Piñon you focus on? Well for years Board Member Clifford Young a fixture at Cal State San Bernardino appeared to be using his influence over the hiring process to gift high level positions to people he favored from said college.

Piñon said about his appointment “It’s not rocket science,” said Piñon. “We’re going to turn it all around.”

Board President Hawkins said that Piñon’s hiring was directly tied to his appointment as board president and the district’s “renewed, collective commitment to ratepayers.

All matters regarding employment have been taken off GM Clarence Mansfield’s plate and the recommendations from Piñon will fall to the 2 member committie of President Hawkins and Vice President Crowther. The hiring of additional staff isn’t over as Mr. Piñon has already stated that Legal Counsel and an additional HR firm will need to be hired to fix what is broken. Another very expense and time consuming item on Mr. Piñon’s agenda is a comp and class study to look at pay and wages.

Now we don’t know Mr Piñon and we hope he can accomplish everything he said he can, but knowing the track record of West Valley water over the last 8-10 years this just looks like more of the same and more wasted money being spent!

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Will Socialism Save Rialto?

Many of your local, state and federal leaders are leading the charge to throw the Rialto region into the arms of socialist leaders. Leading the charge is 47th Assembly District Woman Eloise Reyes. Eloise and her team of mini socialists are flooding the district pleading with young people to push the socialism king Bernie Sanders into the presidential race. Bernie Sanders is trying to sell his dream of fairness and equality with Free Education and Medicare for all to the masses.

The Washington Examiner posted and article about the woes of Medicare for all in Canada. The Canadian system is what Bernie Sanders has in mind for the United States Medicare for all. In the Canadian system people can not pay to have private insurance that would provide them quicker access to specialists and procedures. This is what Bernie Sanders plan has in mind for Americans as well.

In the Washington Examiner article “as a result, everyone must wait their turn for care paid for by the public system. Last year, Canadians faced a median wait of nearly 21 weeks to receive specialist treatment after getting referred by a general practitioner. Certain procedures come with longer waits. End-to-end, patients waited a median of 39 weeks for orthopedic surgery in 2019.”

Everyone remembers the train wreck Obama Care created with overcrowded hospitals and waiting rooms, a California website that took years to get off the ground and a lie of if you like your doctor and your plan you can keep them. After watching that hot mess of a health care fiasco Millennials claim to be craving more inept government control led by our failing leaders.

 

City of Rialto Proves that SB1 Gas Tax Isn’t Going Towards Roads

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One of the biggest issues when it come to increased taxes on fuel in California is the waste and miss management of those precious tax dollars. We knew that 40% of the current Gas, Registration and skyrocketing Diesel Fuel fees were not going to go to any type of road improvement but we thought the governor would start with some road projects right? Heck with a petition drive to repeal the tax well on its way to a 2019 ballot box near you that would have made sense right? Nope they seem Hell Bent on spending what money has already been collected on people who don’t even pay the tax!!!! Leading the leftist charge to force people who drive to pay for others transportation is the City of Rialto and Mayor Deborah Robertson.

The city that has made National News with a Failed Public/Private partnership with Veoilia, made National Headlines as Junior Councilman Trujillo tied to label the small city a sanctuary city and now as they approach bankruptcy over pension obligations and failed tax measures they are doubling down on bad ideas by spending $200k of SB1 funds on public trails rather than on crumbling roads in serious need of repair in a city that can’t afford to fix them.

Mayor Robertson seems to have her eyes elsewhere since she spends more time in San Diego, Sacramento and Washington D.C. than she does in the very city she ran for mayor in. As you can see in the story below Mayor Robertson seems to care little about the miles of damaged roads that run through her city. She also still ignores how her safe routes to school program is falling flat on its face. As she try’s to get kids to walk to school local schools she forgets that she is asking these families to walk past drug houses and areas full of gang members.

Mayor Robertson is currently on yet another full on battle against her local police officers which leaves her with few advocates within the department. Also Mayor Robertson has created massive divides among her office and the local school district administration. The cross walk she is pictured in (above) was a PR stunt and the cross walk was only fabricated to look that way for her photo ops. This once again proves she has no concern for the community only her future political advancement.

City of Rialto Using SB 1 Funds for its Active Transportation Plan

February 7, 2018

For many residents without cars in the City of Rialto, public transportation serves as the lifeline to employment and educational opportunities.
However, Rialto severely lacks the infrastructure that can help residents, particularly those who are low-income, get to the transit station and to jobs and school.

The city’s efforts to remedy its transportation infrastructure issues are now accelerating thanks to some much needed funding. The city just received $200,000 in SB1 funding to create an Active Transportation Plan, which comes directly on the heels of a grant to support Safe Routes to Schools.

Currently, there are only 1.5 miles of shared use paths, and just over 10 miles of bike paths. Most of the bike lanes are narrow and located on wide roadways with high speed limits. Because of this, many bicyclists choose to use sidewalks instead, upsetting many pedestrians.

Neighborhoods on the north side of town currently face the greatest challenges. This gap effectively prevents these residents from accessing Metrolink, which provides service to employment opportunities in other communities.

“Many individuals in Rialto face limited employment options based on the transportation choices available to them”, says Mayor Deborah Robertson. “Planning a holistic active transportation network will provide access to economic opportunities for residents without cars, and will increase public transit options by providing first-and last-mile connections on foot and by bicycle.”

Without clear solutions, the situation for residents will likely worsen. As Rialto continues to grow, most new housing is anticipated to occur in the northern neighborhoods. By creating an Active Transportation Plan, the city hopes to address deficiencies and identify additional bicycle and walking improvements in all areas of the city.

The city has experienced great success implementing its new Safe Routes to School Program. Along with efforts to host a walking school bus event at six schools, the city just recently enhanced the crosswalk in front of Myers Elementary to support a healthy and safe way for students to get to school.

– See more at: https://www.cacities.org/Top/News/News-Articles/2018/February/City-of-Rialto-Using-SB-1-Funds-for-its-Active-Tra#sthash.0jbARRuc.dpuf

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Come out to Menchies & Pieology in Rialto to support our Rialto High School Cheer

IT’S TODAY IT’S TODAY!! Don’t forget to come out to Menchies in Rialto to support our Rialto High School Cheer 20% of your purchase will be donated to the team! Don’t forget to show them the flyer.

 

***Remember must show flyer (printed or on phone) in order for your purchase to count.***

Come on out to Menchies in Rialto this Friday from 2p.m.-11p.m. Then come join us on Monday at Pieology in Rialto for some pizza! A percentage of your purchases will go towards the Rialto High School cheer team. All support is greatly appreciated!

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

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