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.

 

 

Rialto’s Budget Advisory Committee Proposes to Bring Back PERS Tax

Look we don’t want to say we told you so but…. we did!

We told you it was only going to get worse and we told you that the people leading this city could care less how much people struggle and how expensive it already is to live in the Inland Empire. Yes the Police, Fire and City Staff want to squeeze every bit of money you have until you are sucked dry!

The video above is a portion of the Facebook Live we did at the last Budget Advisory Committee meeting. In this meeting a tax that was fought off years ago never went away and there are a lot of people on the committee that want to bring it back including Police and Fire union reps. The fire union thinks you will be ok with another tax because this one can’t be abused like the Utility Tax, Trash Road Fee and all the grant money that spills into the city. You see this money can only be used to Pay PERS, it wont cover all of it but will cover a portion of the massive $20 Million a year (growing by $1.5 Million a year).

So ask yourself, Are you ready for ANOTHER tax?

Hmm seems like we have been saying that a lot lately? We wonder if the people are going to wise up soon?

More taxes on the horizon are:

  • Increased gas taxes
  • Sales Tax
  • Fire Tax

Heck soon you will be taxed on the air you breath!

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)

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

Rialto-Cross-Walk-Pict.jpg

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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Seniors Under Attack by Rialto Mayor and Council

 

A few weeks ago the City Council was tasked with a job. They were asked to look at Rialto’s financial future and take a series of actions to begin to lead us from the eventual cliff. What they did was very different.

The city of Rialto has had a Utility Tax since 2003 according to staff reports. Many cities have utility taxes but Rialto’s is unique since it contains a sunset. Every 5 years our Utility Tax comes to and end forcing the people to vote to reinstate the tax normally for another 5 years. As you will see from Interm City Manager Rob Steel’s presentation.

Rob Steel laid out a very comprehensive breakdown of the history and future of Rialto’s need for this tax. Next was the BAC (Budget Advisory Committee) with their recommendation to City Council. The BAC with much debate and study came to the conclusion that keeping things the way they are is the best bet for Rialto and is the least risky of the options. Rialto City Council barked that the BAC was not formed to mull over the UUT (Utility Users Tax) but to look for alternatives to new monies in Rialto. The problem is without the UUT there is no more of a Rialto. The UUT represents 18% percent of our general fund budget. Our general fund is already barley functioning and under $130 Million in unfunded burdens over the next 10 years and we can’t afford to loose 18% of our budget. Also City Council ASKED the BAC for their thoughts on the UUT and where things should go. Really City Council was simply looking for a rubber stamp to attack seniors and play Russian Roulette with Rialto’s Future.

After this the Mayors true plans and intentions were brought to light. She did all she could to poison the Budget Advisory Committee and bend them to her will. She found out that not everyone believed the same thing but that the recommendation was built off of a majority vote of the residents on the committee not any of the employees representing the various bargaining units. What Mayor Robertson is about to show you is she has little concern for Rialto’s ability to have sustainable growth in a safe city.

Given the chance these people would find any legal way to tip the scales in their favor to win an election for themselves but when it comes to obtaining a ballot measure that will pass and give Rialto the chance at a sustainable future they ignore every poll and conventional wisdom and make the most illiterate decision.

Now Ed Scott wants you to believe that the big bad unions are inside the Budget Advisory Committee meetings strong arming the residents on the Committee. Nothing could be farther from the truth the Union representatives have been helpful and respectful they are not even voting on the various recommendations the Committee is send out to Council (recommendations they choose to ignore). Ed Scott asks the residents to take the Committee by the horns well were doing just that but were taking City Council down to the Corruption starts with the failed leadership of the city. Does anyone believe the way you manage a horrible upcoming situation by spending your savings and saving less? Councilman Ed Scott does!

Ed Scott brings up the Monrovia Example, this has not been brought up but I asked Iterm City Administrator Robb Steel about it here is what he told us:

“Monrovia adopted a multi-prong strategy to pay down its unfunded liabilities for pensions.  The key component of it was to issue pension obligation bonds for their unfunded liability ($111 million).  I have attached the staff report that describes their program, which includes modest employee concessions and other revenue enhancements.  I have also attached the rating agency report on the proposed bond issuance to provide a sense of Monrovia’s overall financial condition.  The basic strategy with POB’s is to borrow funds at say 4% and invest with PERS (or a separately established trust) that earns say 7%.  If the raised monies are used to pay down the unfunded liability with PERS (for example), the City’s annual payments to PERS will be re-amortized and reduced (similar to using one time money to pay down your mortgage, then refinancing the balance).  The freed up cashflow can then be used to sustain services, or pay down the debt even faster.  The potential savings are significant (on $100 million as example, a 3% spread represents $3 million per year in interest savings in year 1).

This can be a good strategy, but it is not without risks.  The City establishes general fund secured debt that must be paid as a priority above all other expenditures, which limits financial flexibility and may force cuts in essential services during a financial disruption.  The bond investors may condition the financing on compliance with certain financial standards (minimum reserves, balanced budgets, etc.) that may seem reasonable but which may limit choices.  It can be a good move; it just warrants some discussion of the risks.  Our neighbor to the east defaulted on its payments for POB’s and spiraled into bankruptcy largely to shed that obligation.  

Jumping in to the hot topic of the day, in order to issue POB’s the City must demonstrate balanced general fund budgets and stable financial futures.  The S & P Report attached describes Monrovia’s current financial posture as quite stable and strong, with but a few reservations.  We would not receive a similar finding, in large part because our revenue stream is interruptible.  It would be very difficult (I think impossible) to borrow monies at reasonable rates when 20% of your revenue stream may be cut off every 5 years.  A permanent revenue stream (of some sort, does not necessarily have to be a utility tax) would be necessary to address this issue and allow the general fund to issue debt with a strong repayment forecast.  Alternatively, the City would need to compress expenditures by 20% to balance its budget and that we know would require dramatic service reductions.  At present, the City General Fund would not in my opinion receive an investment grade credit rating unless we collateralized the debt with something very secure (substantial cash reserve).”

Anyone interested in following in San Bernardino’s footsteps?

Joe Baca Jr. is not a risky guy when it comes to politics. He is a moderate like his father and isn’t known for taking on causes unless he knows for a fact he can shield himself from the consequences. For example when the city was in the process of selling of our water for 30 years he was the lone no vote. This did nothing for the people and Joe Baca Jr was well protected since he knew that the rest of the council was in lock step to sell away Rialto’s Water future. So in this matter why would he risk going after seniors and putting Rialto into a very tough spot financially? He doesn’t have to agree with his fellow council members on anything other than the fact that there is a need for a financial emergency. There seems to be more to this that what we see on the surface and there are a lot of behind the scenes conversations taking place to get everyone on the same page on such a horrible idea.

Not only is Rafael way out of his league here but he missed a golden opportunity to show he is the man of the Hispanic people. He has no idea what he is doing and his ignorance isn’t something that you can say comes from a good place because he is trying to make a difference. To add insult to injury he missed a golden opportunity to plea for better bilingual outreach. He left that up to Mayor Robertson and the Vice Chair of the BAC.

Councilman Carrizales is sitting in a seat where a man once sat who stood up for Rialto better than any other elected official and he had no use of his legs. Everyone is waiting for Councilman Carrizales to work to represent the people on the dias, nothing personal he is a great man and a devoted husband and father but Rialto needs leaders that lead in tough times like these not read off a pre-written script. When people act so far outside their character it leads one to believe what is really going on here.

Joe Baca Jr. went into what they can do in the future if the need for the Utility Tax ever changes but these are just words that will never happen to distract people from what is really going on.

Finally Dennis Barton reminds the Budget Advisory Committee that the council only cares about a recommendation that is unanimous meaning if certain members have different ideas of feeling those are to be shut up and closed down. Then the Mayor pitches a fit because she wants to make sure she is around to control this process and make sure her will is done. Also see Rafael Trujillo’s ignorance of how elections are run because he doesn’t even know that ballot information is in English and Spanish.

 

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Mayor Robertson Chooses Travel Over Doing Her Job Locally

Is Mayor Robertson your Mayor the the warehouses Mayor?

On January 9th The Mayor and City Council missed the third opportunity to do their job and allow Rialto to have a shot at a better financial future. As you will see in the video below not only was the Mayor not here in Rialto doing her job, but Mayor Pro Tem Scott choose to lie about where the Mayor was.

We need people who are in local politics for the people and the community. So many are in it for lush perks, power and the ability to travel on the Taxpayers dime. There is no reason for the Mayor to be in Washington D.C. when there is work to be done here. Also if she had a conflict she could have scheduled a special meeting to go over the new draft documents and move this issue forward. Also why is Ed Scott lying for the Mayor???

Video

Tonight Rialto’s Budget Advisory Groups Looks To Make A Very Important Recommendation To City Council

One of the major issues hanging over Rialto’s future is the Utility Users Tax (UUT). Since 2003 the UUT has provided additional money to the cities finances and allowed Rialto to maintain growth and remain solvent unlike neighbors like San Bernardino and Colton.

The budget finance committee was formed via a action from city council. Each elected member of the council and mayor picked two people to represent the city as solutions were looked into on how to deal with budget problems that seemed to have been hidden from public view, a consequence of not controlling our elected officials and the old game of kicking the unpopular decisions down the road.

The budget finance committee has one 2 hour meeting to send a recommendation to city council on what the committee thinks needs to be done in regards to the UUT. The scary part is that there seems to be no consensus on where to go from here. Add to that our state legislators are burying the fine people of California in tax after tax nobody is in the mood for more taxes.

The only problem is are you ready for Rialto to become as unsafe as San Bernardino? Rialto is able to boast that you are more likely to survive a cardiac event if you live in Rialto than anywhere else in the Nation because of the technology existing in Rialto Ambulences. Rialto was the 1st department in California to go full body worn cameras.

Here is what Rialto has to look forward to according to data presented to the Budget Committee:

Public Works
Elimination – $1.5 Million
• Personnel – $880K • Approximately 11 positions
• Eliminate OT for Special Projects/Events
• Services & Supplies – $670K • Reduce frequency of street & sidewalk
maintenance
• Reduce weed abatement, graffiti & trash
clean-up
• Reduce park maintenance
• Reduce facilities maintenance to safety and
asset protection
• Reduce fleet maintenance to “run to fail”
approach.

Fire
Elimination – $3.6 Million
• Personnel – $3M • Approximately 23 positions
• One Ambulance, Fire Engine and Station
Unstaffed
• Reduce Administrative Staffing
• Services & Supplies – $600K
• Program Eliminations
• Arson Investigations, SWAT Medic, Explorer
Post
• Sudden Cardiac Arrest Survival and Fire
Containment rates will drop
approximately 40%.

Police
Elimination – $5.6 Million
• Personnel – $4.2M
• Approximately 36 positions
• 20 Sworn, 15 Non-Sworn, 10 Part-Time
• Elimination of Programs – $1.4M
• K-9, SWAT, SCAT, Traffic, SRO, Community
Liaison, all Task Force Positions
• Loss of Grants will increase cost of
reductions to City ($950K).
• Outsource Animal Control & Jail services
• Fleet “run as close to fail” approach
• Change from proactive to reactive
enforcement.

These are just the big three and still don’t represent cuts to smaller departments. So the purpose of this article is to ask you. Given this information would you support the UUT again?

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