Big Checks Written to Pay off One Union for Pushing Permanent Tax on Residents

The city is super proud of themselves for taking the last bit of control away from the voters on getting spending in this city under control. As they were preparing for the June 5th vote the city was working out a lucrative payoff program for the Police Department.

“On May 31, 2018, the parties reached an oral tentative agreement on the terms for a successor MOU, the deal points of which are set forth below and affirmed by the execution of this formal written Tentative Agreement by the parties’ labor representatives.” (Police Union Agreement)

Let us tell you why we believe that this agreement is a slap in the face to the people who live in Rialto. Let us go over a few key points before we move on:

  • We are not against the Police getting paid for the job they do.
  • We realize that the Police were working on a contract that was two years old.

What happened is that the city of Rialto approved an 8% back pay lump sum check for Rialto Police Officers and Management for two years, then a 8% pay increase for the 2018-2019 fiscal year. There are two big problems with this move:

  • The city has no extra money – for the last 5 years we have been basically cash balanced meaning we can pay our current bills but if the car breaks down we are screwed. Our budget has zero room for any sizable hit to it.
  • The Vote to make the Utility Tax Permanent was only an increase in the respect that it is here forever. The only way the city can make more money on it is by increasing the rate above 8%.
  • The city is $150 Million in debt to PERS and Retiree Health Benefits and there is ZERO plan on how to pay those costs.

Another problem with this raise is the fact that as our population is increasing our police force is shrinking. Nobody inside city hall seems concerned with the fact that Rialto Police Department is less likely to be able to handle this city with less and less staff. Not to mention popular shopping and dinning centers that are coming on board. How is Rialto going to handle the influx when staffing levels continue to drop?

Members of the Rialto Budget Advisory Committee wanted to add staff positions to the department while giving a 1.5 percent pay increase to the Police. The community members saw that just throwing money at the problem wouldn’t solve the issue of the public’s ability to feel safe. Chairman Stacey Augustine said as a manager of a major plant in Rialto he learned that simply giving employees more money would not change everything that was wrong in a workplace. Members Joe Rayden and Michelle Sanchez were concerned that the additional funds were not spent on hiring new officers.

Rialto Police have had a lot of recent turnover. The turnovers have applied pressure to the city to make a move to make employees happy and pay them back for pressuring community members into backing the permanent Utility Users Tax. Was this turnover simply about making less money or are there deeper roots? We do know that for the last two years the following has happened:

  • Police Chief Randy Deanda ripped apart a happy and functioning police department.
  • Officers were targeted for removal just because the current political power players didn’t like them.
  • Money was spent on personal witch hunts.
  • Police management staff have abused travel spending and lied to justify travel.
  • A long standing non profit that supported the police department with providing vital funds for specialized departments is still barred from doing their work.
  • Officers, Cpls, Sgt’s and Lt’s all have left the city for other departments.
  • Outside of pay the latest class and comp study showed Rialto Police Officers making at or above the median for other agencies of similar size..

If money was the sole issue why is the Dispatch Supervisor and a veteran officer still leaving after this deal was approved? Also one prominent Sgt recently made his intentions of an early retirement known, if he kept working he would make more in retirement than he will now? So if it is just money why is he leaving?

The problem is that Rialto is not learning from any past mistakes:

  • You can’t promise what you don’t have.
  • You can’t spend what isn’t coming in.
  • You can’t depend on the leadership of intern staff in high level positions in difficult years.

Rialto has spent money or promised to spend money they do not have over and over again. They added $2 million to redeveloping Frisbee park, They have locked Rialto into an agreement to build a 22 acre park in the new Renaissance area with no funds for that park, handed over hundreds of thousands of dollars to the police with this new raise (regular officer alone will make an extra $6 thousand a year with the new raise) and still funnel money to special interests and development buddies that dump money into their campaigns.

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More Employees Exit the City as Police Department Remains in Turmoil

Former Police Chief Mark Kling has quite a task before him as he was brought in to clean up the mess his former Lt. made when he was promoted to Police Chief in 2016. Former Chief Randy Deanda ripped through the department and left a wake of corruption and destruction that are still being felt today. Many saw Police Chief Kling’s return as a sign that better days are ahead but that hasn’t happened.

Both the rank and file in the department have not seen the action everyone was expecting and promised with Kling’s return. Everyone has been left with a weird feeling that normally comes after someone you trust comes by and slugs you in the stomach then walks away with the thing you care about most. Even this blogger has been left with a sour taste in my mouth as there seems more corruption to expose in Rialto than there are people worthy to defend.

Rialto has already seen an exodus of staff fleeing the city leaving many jobs to fill and other staff members to pick up the slack. Development services is not only down 4 or 5 key positions but we have interim staff making recommendations for the next 10 years of critical budget shortfalls due to extremely generous retirement packages.

Rialto Police is probably one of the hardest hit by this exodus of staff. According to sources close to the Police Department there are 10 sworn officers working for Rialto that are testing with other agencies. Two female staff members are already on their way out. Dispatch Supervisor Angela Haddad and Police Officer Cheri Shaffer are both leaving Rialto.

Dispatch has been one of the areas hardest hit with employee retention. Many of the dispatchers who worked in Rialto were subjected to poor working environments, quite a few were married to someone on the job and when their spouse fell into one of the departments witch hunts they were collateral damage and other agencies pay better and have more room for moving up in your career.

In 1997 Rialto had 124 sworn personnel now they only have 89. In 1997 Rialto had a population of 83,000 people. As of 2016 Rialto has a population of 103,314 people. These figures show that Rialto’s population grew by 20,314 residents and the amount of officers dropped by 25 sworn personnel. Add to that the addition of the In & Out area, Super Walmart shopping center and now the Renaissance shopping center opening this year there will be many more people here in the city of Rialto.

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While You Were Sleeping Massive Changes Took Place in Rialto

 

 

On June 12th 2018 the Rialto City Council voted to move animal control services over to Riverside County rather than look to keep those operations local. Interim Police Chief Mark Kling went on and on at the June 12th meeting saying how nice the Riverside County Shelter is and how this will be better for Rialto. The Police Chief asked three of the people from the Riverside County west shelter to come out and do a presentation.

What was poor in this presentation is that there were a lot of games being played when it came to the shelters’ kill numbers. When Chief Kling spoke about Devore he used exact numbers when referring to Riverside County’s kill rates, they spoke in vague percentages. There was no mention of any issues are problems. For example what happens when the shelter runs out of space or how will the city get the word out to people, letting them know where they can find their lost pets as of July 1st. This is very concerning since it is right before the July 4th holiday when most people loose their pets. There is no money being dedicated to getting the word out in mass in the next four days (thank god for this blog). We did speak to John Welsh with Riverside County Shelter systems and he did say he would be reaching out to local media (including this publication) to work to educate residents on the change in shelter services

While the Riverside shelter is beautiful and very state of the art, we have questions on whether the facility is designed to handle animal services for two counties let alone two of the biggest counties in the State of California. John Welsh told us that this contract was possible because of the work that Riverside County has done to address their numbers of animals housed in their shelters. John Welsh seemed pretty optimistic that there wouldn’t be any problems with reaching capacity.

We sat down with Police Captain Wilson with Rialto Police and he said that this is not a perfect situation, but it was something worth looking into. He also broke down some of the items that were not clear in Police Chief Kling’s presentation to council on June 12th.

  • Devore requires injured animals to be taken to a vet prior to being admitted to the shelter forcing the city to pay a separate vet bill – Captain Wilson was not sure why in house vet services covered by SB County are not used to cover these costs.
  • Devore doesn’t like to take cats and will not take kittens. Currently if we have kittens we have to take them to Grand Terrace at a cost of $70 a kitten.  Riverside County will take cats and kittens as part of the contract – Reports from people living in the Riverside County area are reporting that even though Riverside County takes kittens,  they euthanize them (see image below). John Welsh from the Shelter system wasn’t sure about the complaint below but did acknowledge that they are getting better at dealing with felines.
  • Riverside County has a panel set up for animal seizures from homes found to be unfit costing the city money to hold the animals while the case is adjudicated – What this will do is build a greater barrier between owners who may be likely to seek out an opportunity to fix the problems found and keep their animals.
  • There is no plan to address the longer travel time to the new shelter when picking up lost animals – According to the last Southern California Associated Governments local profile on Rialto “32 percent of Rialto households own one or no vehicles”. This means over a third of our population will lack the needed resources to travel 55 mins to get to the shelter to pick up their animals. Another problem is that 7.8% work and live in Rialto, while 92.2% commute to other places meaning that people who have a car to get to this far away shelter are at work and stuck in traffic. The Riverside shelter does not have late hours and are only open for a short time on Saturdays and closed on Sundays.
  • There is no plan in place to deal with the problem of what happens when the shelter is full – Riverside County already has a big problem with lost and abandoned animals. Now with Fontana, Rialto, Loma Linda, Grand Terrace and Colton adding animals to the system the question isn’t if , but when they hit capacity. John Welsh told us that this contract was possible because of the work that Riverside County has done to address their numbers of animals housed in their shelters. John Welsh seemed pretty optimistic that there wouldn’t be any problems with reaching capacity.
  • When asked about the accusation that Riverside County is reaching well outside their boarders in an effort to fill the gap of a lack of adequate funding in a County facing massive budget shortfalls Captain Wilson confirmed knowledge of Riverside County hasting budget problems and that these contracts would provide some relief – So the question is how can we guarantee that we will still get what we have been promised out of the contract and that they wont start making massive cuts to save the program? John Welsh admitted that the shelter spent the last year in the red but that they did not hunt out this contract, the city of Rialto came to them.

We spoke to someone in the office of SB County Supervisor Janice Ruthaford. They claimed that Riverside County was poaching San Bernardino County cities in an attempt to cover cuts in funding, that SB County has set aside $10 Million to develop a new state of the art animal control facility to be placed in a more central location to cities in the valley that currently use Devore. Dan Flores from Josie Gonzalez office also confirmed that there is a plan to build a facility here in the Inland Valley region. He did say that if they did not have the partners from local cities that they may be forced to re think the design and capacity of the facility.

The problem with this is that the change in shelter services was made without any public input. The Police and city are quick to run out and promote the latest tax increase or law, but when they are looking at a hot button issue like moving animal shelter services they are tight lipped and move under the cover of darkness.

The problems that still exist are access to the animals for the Rialto population, why the city was so tight lipped about the change and why are they still waiting to tell people about the anticipated change in shelter locations? We here at Rialto Now feel confident that we have spurred the right people into moving with the information sooner rather than later.

 

 

RUSD, First K-12 District in So Cal to Own/Operate Compressed Natural Gas Station

Rialto, CA, June 18, 2018 – The Rialto Unified School District (RUSD) has made regional environmental history as the only K-12 school district in Southern California to own and operate a Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) station that will, unprecedentedly, also to be opened to the public 24-hours, a day, seven days a week.

The Grand Opening/Ribbon Cutting for the new CNG Fueling Station, located at 261 South Lilac Avenue, in Rialto will be held on Monday, June 25, 2018, from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. “Our new station allows the District to lower the cost of fuel, while increasing our operational efficiency in ways that are environmentally responsible for our students and our community,” said Mohammad Z. Islam, RUSD Associate Superintendent of Business Services. “Our drivers currently have to drive to the cities of Fontana or Riverside to obtain fuel for our 38 CNG buses at a much higher cost.”

Over a decade ago, the District’s Transportation Department began the dialogue of providing clean fuel school buses. Five years ago, the RUSD Board of Education authorized the implementation of the CNG station, “In 2006, the RUSD Transportation Department began the journey of reducing our carbon footprint on the environment by incorporating clean fuel school buses, which reduces the amount of carbon dioxide emitted
during the transporting of students,” added Dora Parham, RUSD Transportation/Garage Manager. “Our buses are yellow, but our fleet is turning green.”

 

The District shared a strong business partnership with the California Energy Commission (CEC), Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee (MSRC) and The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD). “The hard work of our staff and the focus-based support of the Board of Education will now benefit our entire community of Rialto,” stated Dr. Cuauhtémoc Avila, RUSD Superintendent. “This is another success story in which, innovative, smart decisions are made in the best interest of our younger generation. Although we are educating our students, through modeling the importance of environmental science, the District is also excited to offer this fuel service station to the entire community of drivers.”

For more information on the CNG Grand Opening, please contact Syeda Jafri, Director of Communications/Media Services, at (909) 820-7700, Ext. 2127. For corporate account information to utilize CNG services, please contact Derek Harris, Lead Risk Management and Transportation Agent, at (909) 820- 7700, Ext, 2110.

Truth on Measure M

We have been inundated with attacks on Social Media and in the comments of this blog. The worst of the attacks we choose to moderate. Since the Measure M supporters keep attacking us and the No on Measure M group we thought it would be fitting to tell you what they are not. Also lets kick this off with one of their statements to us for publishing the No side of this measure:

TheREAL FACTS About Measure M Measure M is a tax increase. The 8% Rialto Utility Users Tax (UUT) was given to the …

You misquoted the article, little nugget

So the people who get these benefits are clearly Yes on Measure M supporters and for good reason. They have a vested interest in Rialto having money since they work here including councilman Scott. Having 100% health coverage means they pay nothing towards their health plan (see video below). The city told the Budget Advisory Committee that city management staff and elected leaders have 100% coverage for LIFE!!!!

So of course the Thompson’s and Councilman Scott want to keep taking your money they need it for all of their perks. This is not to say our staff should not be taken care of in retirement but we are the only Public Agency in the region that offers:

  1. Health Care benefits that are covered 100% for management and elected leaders.
  2. Cover up to a family in retirement for life.

So this means that if you still have dependent kids the city will offer them Health Benefits even if you are retired. Not even Rialto Unified offers this perk to their staff. When you retire from Rialto Unified only the retiree is covered any spouses or kids have to pay for their own benefits.

Another nugget that came out in the comments of our blog is the fact that one approved the council can raise or lower the rate as they see fit. These words are not mine but those of Resident/Budget Advisory Member/City Employee for an outside city Lupe Camacho. Lupe is a great person that seems to be looking for the truth but her affiliation with our least favorite councilman makes it hard to tell who is controlling who.

“My statement never implies that council is “only” able to increase the tax without tax payer input. Let’s be clear. Fact: Our elected governing board would be able to “Increase” or “Decrease” the tax.” Lupe Camacho

Lupe went on to chastise me on how I responded to her comments. I focused on the fact that council can increase the Utility Users Tax and she was upset that I didn’t point out that they could lower it too. From my experience with this council they will never give you back a dime but they may find a way to take your last dime.

“When you choose to omit the fact that our elected board can also select to decrease the tax, you are interjecting your personal opinion and skewing the facts. Although you may have your own valid reasons for believing that, it is your opinion and it should be stated as such.
I personally do not share your point of view on the fact I have stated above and I just want to be clear about it.” Lupe Camacho

Another fun fact is the Yes on Measure M people are stressing out pretty bad since it looks like they are going to loose badly June 5th. They have become so desperate that they are promising to recall dirty elected leaders, a spending over site board and more safety.

  • Promising to recall dirty elected leaders – Love to see who is going to fund that, recalls are not cheap and the yes crowd likes dirty elected leaders.
  • A spending oversight board – Any board would be picked by the same people they are supposed to watch and the current oversight committee has had issues with people shitting down discussion and wants to hear nothing about abuse of spending. Also this isn’t in the ballot measure so the city is bound to nothing.
  • More safety – Even with the Utility Users Tax the city is $150 Million in debt we can’t pay so please show me where this safety is coming from?

Finally the city isn’t telling you that even if Measure M passes there is a Ballot Measure on the November Ballot that will make Measure M a thing of the past the California Two-Thirds Vote for State and Local Revenue Increases Initiative (2018).

“The measure requires tax measures to include a statement of how the revenues can be spent. If the revenue is to be used for general purposes, the law must state that the revenue can be used for “unrestricted general revenue purposes.” These requirements would apply to increases in state and local taxes. In the case of local government taxes, the measure requires that a statement of allowable uses be included in the ballot question presented to voters. Any change to the statement of allowable uses of revenue would have to be passed by two-thirds vote of the electorate in the case of local government taxes, or (3) a two-thirds vote of the electorate in the case of local citizen initiative taxes.” Legislative Analyst’s Office

Every poll put out has Measure M loosing 70-30%

So don’t buy into the last ditch efforts to twist your arm, you are not alone and yes you are taxed to death.

The council choose to play Russian Roulette with finances of the city. City Staff and the budget advisory committee advised the council to remain with the 5 year sunset and the council ignored that recommendation.

The Mayor choose to play chicken with the voters.

http://www.lao.ca.gov/BallotAnalysis/Initiative/2017-050

https://ballotpedia.org/California_Two-Thirds_Vote_for_State_and_Local_Revenue_Increases_Initiative_(2018)

How Regional Boards Are Eating Rialto Alive

Hello Rialto hope everyone is doing well.

We are just a few weeks away from the City of Rialto asking you to further burden yourself with a Tax (Measure M) that you will no longer ever have control over. We thought it would be good to start spilling out the massive problems with the Mayor and Councils approach to development.

Our fellow video blogger Gary Gileno put together a video about how city councils in other cities have a major impact on the lives of residents like Rialto. The video that Gary posted is about City Councilman and Regional Government Thug Alan Wapner. Why is this important to Rialto? Well many on the Ontario Council have made statements that they don’t fear upcoming unfunded liabilities within the PERS program because they are flushed with cash.

What most people don’t know is that the Medline Warehouse brings in over $6 Million each year in tax revenue Rialto only gets $3 Million each year. The other $3 Million goes to Ontario because of a deal Ontario worked out with Medline. Yes we took on a tenant that still has to pay money we should get to a city FLUSHED with CASH!!!! Must be a nice problem to have.

All of this was done without even letting the public know……..

Watch the video above and see what else this demon and his cohorts have planned for cities like Rialto.

While we get shorted on the full tax bill for these massive warehouses our roads are torn apart, our air gets more dirty and dangerous Big Rigs take over our roads.

Are the West Valley Water Board Members Getting Paid Too Much?

As Rialto area tax payers are going to be asked to tax the living HELL out of themselves in June we thought is was time to once again start to air the dirty laundry of local officials. We also would like to remind you that each time these people ran for office they SAID they were running for the people  to have a transparent voice yet all they seem to be doing at West Valley Water is getting fat off of the ratepayers.

West Valley Water District Received my freedom of information act documents concerning amounts paid to board members for the months of January and February 2018.

January           February

Kyle Crowther      1176.00            1470.00

Michael Taylor    1470.00          1470.00

Greg Young          1323.00           1470.00

Don Olinger          588.00             735.00

Clifford Young    1470.00           1470.00

Total                     5439.00           6615.00

This of course is only for meetings they attended, in addition Clifford Young get 530 + each month for Long Term Care with Cal Pers which brings his monthly amount to $2000, Mr. Olinger gets closer to what board members have received in past years and in fact if a board member went over $5000 in a year they had to justify the exceeded amount.

Good thing WV has 34 million in the bank.

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