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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Eisenhower High School gets Soled Out for Dunn Elementary Kids

It doesn’t surprise us anymore when we hear about awesome amazing things happening at Eisenhower High School. For those who grew up and attended Eisenhower High School we didn’t have as much to be proud of. Well current Principal Scott Sparks has worked hard to change all of that from community service to classroom education and sports Eisenhower is working hard to produce awesome adults that are guaranteed to make an impact on the world.

Now I can tell you right now that Scott Sparks would tell us that he is only a small part of what has been happening at Eisenhower, and while that may be true he isn’t just sitting back with his feet up. Scott Sparks has worked hard to bring in leadership that shares his vision and work hard to make that vision possible. From staff in the office to ASB and Sports Eisenhower has swallowed up some serious professionals invested in making tomorrow bright for students that want the help.

We didn’t record this video this was taken from Rialto Unified’s Facebook Page. If you would like to be kept in the loop with what is going on in our kids schools go to www.facebook.com/rialtounified

Thousands Spent On Lavish Retirement Party For Mike Story

Update 11/30 2:15 p.m.

Mike Story called us after this article was published. After people that our staff brought up information that was never made available to us we felt the need to see it for ourselves and get information from trustworthy sources. We worked on trying to ascertain the information on this event and were unable to. We spoke to Mike Story in person on November 20th and he said he had nothing to do with the party. At this point we were ready to drop this story and move on as this is Mike Story’s last month of employment. At the Council meeting Tuesday November 28th not only did council do nothing to address the cities financial woes by tabling tab 2 of the meeting but proceeded to talk about Giant Cake, Olives and other nonsense. It was at that moment when we decided to force the truth out by going with what information we had already gathered. Guess what the story was 8 hours old and people were tripping over themselves to set the record straight. Below see the corrected information. 

The following information was sent at the request of Mike Story via Angela Perry:

It was these Business Owners/Developers, as well as community individuals that made donations for Mike’s Retirement.  NO CITY FUNDS WERE USED.  The remainder of the funds are being donated to the City for the Rialto Institute of Progress.  The other reception that you may be referring to, in your blog, was put on by “IHELPIE” a Senior Citizen organization and their volunteers, which was held November 29that the Senior Center after a taping of Senior Voices.  You are more than welcome to attend his upcoming Reception being held on December 14th at Patio West from 5:00 – 7:00 pm; which is also being paid for from the Donations from business owners and the community.

11/29 10:30 p.m.

With Rialto on the brink of Bankruptcy if voters don’t approve the extension of the Utility Users Tax you would think Rialto would be watching every cent right? NOPE, they are out spending money like they just won the lottery  They are spending money in poor ways but not on this party. As you can see from the video above the elite of Rialto had a secret high dollar lavish party at the Sierra Lakes Golf Club to honor outgoing City Administrator Mike Story.

Spending tax dollars like this is one of the reasons that Rialto taxpayers are in for a world of hurt soon. Mayor Robertson and her council have spent thousands on special events for the political elite in warehouses, shut down public parks for Jazz Events that end up costing taxpayers thousands due to low ticket sales and gifting of public buildings to private organizations that are close to the mayor. Earlier this year Rialto Departments were forced to cut budgets by 20% as a way to find more money to pay to defend lawsuits and the consequences of not fully paying our PERS obligations.

When Mike Story was pressed about this party he becomes very uncomfortable and says I had nothing to do with it. Now we have 3 out of 5 of our elected leaders laughing about Cake, Olives and funny stories. Mike Story a person who in hard financial times made hard choices to get Rialto through a storm other cites like Colton have still not pulled through has shown an extreme lack of leadership by allowing this party to go on Mike Stated that every expense that comes from the city he has to sign off on so he had nothing to do with the party and no tax money was spent on it. Early estimates put the cost of this one event near $20k dollars!!! What makes matters worse is there are still 2 more parties for the residents to pay for to celebrate Mike’s retirement There are 2 more parties but these parties are apparently being covered by businesses or outside sources. On top of that there is a celebration for outgoing Police Chief Deanda that means the taxpayers are going to pay for three retirement parties We were unable to identify where the money from the party for Randy Deanda is coming from.

Update

Scott Beard CLAIMS that not one single dime from this party came from tax payers pockets. While we await his proof (more than words) we will deliver whatever can or will produce.

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As 2017 Comes To An End 2018 Brings New Political Challengers

Both Rialto and Fontana are in for one heck of a ride when it comes to political campaigns in 2018. Next year more money will be sucked out of the economy and into the pockets of political hopefuls. Here is a breakdown of who is already setting up campaigns for 2018 to challenge some very unpopular people:

Rialto:

  • If Rialto City Council can get their act together the cities Utility Users Tax will be on the ballot as early as April 2018. If this tax is unsuccessful the city of Rialto will be looking at bankruptcy as early as 2019.
  • Ed Palmer is back and he is taking the gloves off. After loosing to Mayor Warehouse Robertson in 2016 he was on a short list to fill a vacant spot on West Valley Water Board. Now he is back to take on Ed Scott for a city council seat and word on the street is all of his knowledge of everyone’s secrets are on the table!!!
  • Joe Baca Jr. is up for re-election in 2018 but he has his sights set on jumping into the seat Josie Gonzales will vacate in 2020. He will tell Rialto residents he is here to work for them but his plans will be to jump ship halfway through his term showing Rialto residents where is true commitment lies.
  • Ed Scott will also be up for re-election and according to his own statements will be running a Mayor Campaign in Fontana. He has tons of experience running campaigns for people as you saw in 2016 when he ran a campaign for a made up person named Lindsay Fretter. Nobody ever saw this candidate and yet she put up signs and actually got votes!
  • Former candidate for City Clerk in Rialto Ana Gonzales will be throwing her hat into the ring for city council in 2018. She wanted to run for city council in 2016 but was told it was not her turn by her political affiliates to make way for a Carrizales/Trujillio council grab. Now she has apparently benn given the blessing of her camp and she is ready for yet another campaign.
  • Rialto will have a new Police Chief and a New City Administrator which means that Rialto’s future is unsure.

Fontana:

  • Fontana Mayor Warehouse Warren is up for re-election and she already has to announced challengers Fontana Mayor Pro Tem Jesse Sandoval and Former Rialto Police Chief Deanda. Warren squeaked out of two recall attempts one by the local Tea Party group and another by the Fontana Progressive Democrats. Neithier group showed any steal will to bring anything other than noise which left Warren to purchase the votes she needed to now control both Fontana City Council and School Board.
  • Newly elected School Board member and puppet for Warren and her desires will be up for re-election next year meaning in an already busy year with money flying everywhere he will look to the Inland Empire Business Association for more massive handouts. Group leader Phil Cothran will be very busy trying to keep his two friends happy, paid and elected.

Other notable campaign races of course is the California Governor race. Also will be a ballot measure to repeal the latest gas and registration tax and make any further attempts to raise gas and registration taxes must come in the form of a vote from the people.

 

 

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Meet West Valley Water Board Candidate Anthony “Butch” Araiza

Welcome to our individual interviews with Candidates running for local elections. All candidates were given the same questions and allowed the freedom to answer as they see fit. We did not alter any of the responses so you are hearing things directly from them.

In this interview we are introducing you to Butch Araiza. Mr. Araiza is a person who has basically lived his entire life in the Rialto area given back in so many ways and has worked his entire life at West Valley Water. There are a couple of candidates that have an extensive background in providing utility services to this region and Butch Araiza is one of those candidates, enjoy.

1) Tell us about yourself where did you grow up, go to school and work before?

I was born and raised in Rialto. I was in one of the first classes to go through Boyd Elementary, and then I went on to Rialto Middle School and Eisenhower High. I’ve taken courses at Valley College and Cal State San Bernardino, and while those were important in helping me learn the science behind water distribution, my real education came on the job. I started at West Valley Water District when I was 19 years old, thinking it would be a good summer job–I went on to work there for 52 years. I started out in irrigation, working to help get water to the citrus groves that used to cover the area, and I slowly worked my way up through just about every department in the district until I reached the level of Superintendent. As Superintendent I was responsible for all field operations for several years. After that I become Assistant General Manager for 10 years before becoming the General Manager. I served as General Manager for 20 years.

2) How does your past make you a good candidate for West Valley Water Board?

I have been involved in water for almost my entire life. I’ve served in the management of the District for over 35 years. I know water. And I also know this community because I’ve been involved in it my entire life too. I’ve been a member of Rialto Rotary for over 20 years, and have served as president of the club several times. I’ve been one of the organizers of the Rialto Run Whatcha Brung car show since it began. I was a member of the Rialto Planning Commissionfor 8 years, and served as Chairman for several of those. I spent over 20 years on the board of the Friends of the Rialto Police K-9s. And finally, I was a member of the Oversight Committees for the last two school bond measures for Rialto Unified School District. Almost all of that work was as a volunteer, because I care about this community.

3) Some of you are incumbents what have you learned since being elected or appointed that you didn’t know until you sat in the elected seat?

I am not an incumbent, but I have been involved with the water board for the last 20 years. The thing that has most surprised me about recent elections is the amount of partisanship that has become a part of it. In the past we’ve had people with different viewpoints on the water board, and there have been disagreements over policy, but I never once questioned that board members were making decisions based on the well being of the district. In the past four years that has changed. Certain board members have become far too involved in the hiring and firing practices of the district, and they have taken a direct hand in managing the district by directly overruling the day-to-day decisions of district management (the people who have experience in these issues, and who are paid to make those decisions). Additionally, I have seen board members do things like initiate baseless investigations just so that they could send out negative campaign literature claiming that other candidates are “under investigation.” And, of course, those investigations are dropped as soon as the campaign is over. I would encourage voters to research these issues carefully before believing anything they receive in the mail. And I hope, that if I am elected, I can help restore an ethical water board (I know that Linda Gonzalez and Robert Bourland also share this hope which is why I have endorsed them for the other open seats).

4) How important is transparency to you? 

I believe transparency is extremely important to good governance. Many of the changes that have been made to the Board of Directors’ rules and procedures since I left management are troubling to me because I feel that they decrease transparency. I support an ethics code for the board and a return to the rules of order that existed prior to last four years.

5) Do you believe that partisan politics have a place within a water board seat?

No. A board seat is a non-partisan position meant to oversee the management of the Water District. The board is there to set overall policy for the district, approve budgets, and to make sure that the district manager is doing his or her job. Those are not partisan issues. 

6) What is your impression of the communitiesfreedom of speech?

I believe that freedom of speech is the cornerstone of our democracy. Without a free discussion of the issues no consensus or compromise could be reached, and only those with the right “opinion” would be allowed to participate–a system like that is not sustainable and it’s not good for the people. On my Facebook page you can find my direct cell phone number. I put that there because I want the people in this community to be able to speak to me directly; to voice their concerns, criticisms, and even just to talk about the district. I welcome it all. Speech is very important to me.

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/ButchAraiza/

Cell Phone(909) 644-2417

7) What are your thoughts on budget surpluses? Should they be a certain percentage of the overall budget or are they even important? 

The district should not have extreme budget surpluses. Of course, in any given period of time there will be times when the district is able to get good deals or somehow decrease costs resulting in a short term budget surplus, and that’s good–it’s a sign of good management. But sustained budget surpluses are a sign that rates can be decreased. Now that is not to say that the district should not have savings. If a large natural disaster struck our community, without savings the district would have no efficient way to rebuild any infrastructure that is damaged and it would be difficult to restore service to the community without taking out expensive loans. Everyone needs a rainy day fund and the district is no different. That said, the district currently appears to be in a good financial situation and I feel confident in guaranteeing that I will not vote for any rate increases unless there is some catastrophic change in that.

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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.

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