Rialto Mayor and Council Pay Off More Political Favors With Tax Dollars

Rialto Mayor is looking to give $100,000 contract to her friend Luvina Beckley who is the CEO of MHM & Associates to run and facilitate the State’s Prop 47 Grant. Besides being highly inappropriate given the relationship they share. It’s also odd that the Mayor is giving Luvina Beckley access to run a state grant because Luvina Beckley has been disbarred from having anything to do with Federal Grants for three years. In a letter from the National Corporation for Community Service spells out why Luvina Beckley is being disbarred.

“Accordingly based upon the reason set out in the August 19th 2016 notice of proposed debarment which is hereby Incorporated by reference and further discussed above I hereby confirm my earlier decision to debar you for a period of three years this department is based on the determination that you.

Violated the terms of a public agreement or transaction so serious as to affect the Integrity of a corporation program.

Engaged in inappropriate activity that was so serious and compelling a nature that it affects your present responsibility to engage in transactions with the federal government.

This department is effective for the following cover transactions as specified in 2 CFR part 180.

Procurement contacts that are subject to Federal acquisition regulations 48 CFR chapter 1 and non procurement transactions including but not limited to Grants Cooperative agreements scholarships fellowships contracts of assistance loans loan guarantees subsidies insurances payments for specify uses and donation agreements.”

The tab item reads as you can see below:

TAB 4 17-669 Request City Council to Adopt Resolution No. 7172 Accepting the Board of State and Community Corrections, California Proposition 47
Program Grant Award in the amount of $996,975 and Authorize a 3 year Contract with M.H.M. and Associates in the amount $99,000 for
program monitoring, report writing, compliance, project data collection and program recommendations.

Luvina Beckley who has been not only a close person friend of Mayor Robertson but also a political ally of the Mayor and Council members had been working on Federal Grants over the past 3 years. Before his passing Councilman Shawn O’Connell grew uneasy of the way MHM & Associates were handling grants on the cities behalf but lacked any support from his fellow council members to bring things under control. Now we are allowing a person to handle a State Grant when they have been barred from handling Federal Grants.

As this grant was being written various local organizations were asked if they would be able to offer supports to provide services to the grant program. Some that offered letters of support or programs to make the grant possible are becoming concerned as they learn about the grant manager and the problems that have existed with the Federal Grant Disbarment.

The people making this decision tonight are:

Deborah Robertson Mayor – drobertson@rialtoca.gov

Ed Scott Mayor Pro Tem – edscott@rialtoca.gov

Joe Baca Jr Councilman – jbaca@rialtoca.gov

Rafael Trujillo Councilman – rtrujillo@rialtoca.gov

Andy Carrizales Councilman – acarrizales@rialtoca.gov

Eisenhower Sings the Praises of 2017 Senior Class

Photo taken by Career Center Teacher Nancy Samir Ibrahimi

Eisenhower has been on a big push to honor and push their students great accomplishments into the spotlight. If you get the text message updates from the schools ASB Department you would have been bombarded by not only updates on upcoming events but a constant flow of celebration messages on students being excepted into a wide variety of colleges. Some schools “say” that college is a desired goal of every student. At Eisenhower the embody the very traits that send a clear message that the school is proud of every students accomplishments.

30 students from Eisenhower High will be going to one of the largest colleges in the Inland Empire UCR Riverside. The top majors by a majority of the 30 UCR accepted student are: PreMed, Criminal Justice, Psychology, Nutritional Science, Biology, Business and Marketing.

Now the goal is to find ways to keep our young people in Rialto or at least keep them close to home. You see while these bright young people are off to seek higher learning in some awesome popular fields of study, what are we doing to provide great opportunities to bring their education and skills to businesses close to home. As it stands now Rialto leadership only cares to open opportunities for our young people to work in warehouses or at Super Walmart.

The question is how far will these parents allow the leadership of Rialto to sell away any opportunity for these young people to return home?

Congrats to all of the Graduating Seniors in Rialto.

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Easter event comes to Rialto

Rialto’s Spring Eggstravaganza April 15th. JOIN US for the Tea Cups Ride, Magic Show, Egg Hunt, Photos with the Easter Bunny and MORE!

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Former Councilman Words Reach Out Amidst Miss use of Public Funds and other Issues

Written by: David Phillips

Councilman O’Connell must spoke to me a lot about how long he thought he had to live after a accident that led to a stay in the hospital. He also knew that the work of advocating for the people and calling out wrongs came at a cost. Like any advocate worth their salt they stocked away information and resources in the event that they were unable to expose it themselves that the information still got out.

Well in the case of Rialto Mayor Deborah Robertson and her Jazz Fest Such information has been made available. Below you will see a letter from Councilman O’Connell that will make you wonder why the Mayor would try to hold yet another event using the resources of yet another non profit.

“Those who do not learn from history, are doomed to reapeat it” George Santayana

From Councilman O’Connell:

As elected officials we have an ethical responsibility to bring to the attention of our colleagues and our constituents any acts that are perceived to be in violation of our City policies, ordinances or State Law. We must do so even if it would be harmful to ourselves, or not in our best interests to do so. We do not have the luxury as elected officials of looking the other way or pretending it didn’t happen. This letter is intended to inform the City Council of the potential misuse of city funds and personnel and to seek guidance on how to proceed. As such, it this letter has been distributed to Mayor Deborah Robertson, Mayor Pro Tem Joe Baca Jr., Councilman Ed Scott, City Administrator Mike Story, and City Attorney Fred Galante. Please place this on the February 9, 2016 city council agenda to be discussed in closed session regarding legal issues and personnel.

 

At the City Council meeting of 3/10/15, Financial Director George Harris provided a presentation for the Council regarding an upcoming Jazz Fest scheduled for April 2015.

 

After the presentation, questions were asked as to whether or not the jazz fest was a city related event; since they were extensively using City resources (the City seal, this council, city personnel, selling tickets from city offices, etc.)

 

During the presentation, Director Harris stated that the event was not a city related event. It was a private event hosted by the Rialto Youth Collaborative, a non profit 501 c3 which he oversaw.

 

Director Harris stated that they had sold approximately 100 tickets, with an additional 300 tickets reserved. According to Director Harris, they needed to sell anywhere from 3000 to 3500 tickets to make enough money for this event to be successful. Otherwise he planned on canceling the event.

 

A few weeks later, during an organizational meeting for this event with the principals involved, we are informed that Director Harris attempted to cancel the Jazz Fest by telling Mayor Robertson that he was going to cancel the event due to the lack of sales. It’s not clear why Mayor Robertson was even participating in this event (and previous meetings) but we have been informed that at that meeting she told him no and instructed him to continue forward. At no time was this a City of Rialto event and Mayor Robertson, as a City official, did not have the authority to tell Director Harris to continue with this event.

 

Based on that directive, Director Harris continued forward holding the event in April. The event was a total loss, eventually selling only the original 400 tickets according to Director Harris.

 

According to Director Harris, the final result ended in a $30,000 loss for the charitable organization the Rialto Youth Collaborative, an outstanding bill to a contractor of $6,000.00, and an approximate $40,000 unpaid bill owed to the City of Rialto. It is this $40,000 that we as elected officials are responsible to account to our constituents. At no time was Director Harris given the authority by the City Council to spend this $40,000, nor could anyone else have authorized the use of City personnel or property because it would require council approval.

 

During the public presentation on 3/10/15, Director Harris clearly stated he would need to sell at least 3,000 tickets to cover the event. He also stated he would pull the event in case he didn’t reach the required tickets sold. Apparently he tried to cancel the event but when he was told no by Mayor Robertson, his only hope was to sell the 2,600 tickets on the day of the event itself to prevent a total loss. He did so by gambling city assets that he had no direct authority to use.

 

Also, during meetings with Mike Story, Director Harris was told by members of the City Council and Mike Story to immediately stop using city resources & employees to support this event. He was directed to remove the City Seal, discontinue using city telephone numbers and staff to sell tickets, etc. Director Harris did the opposite, even though he stated that he fully understood the direction of the Council. He continued advertising on city property, using city personnel to sell tickets over the phone and on city property.

 

As elected officials for the City of Rialto, we are entrusted with the duty to ensure that all assets of the City are used in a legal and transparent manner. Regardless of the amount spent, the fact that it was city funds and spent in direct opposition to the direction of this City Council makes this a serious issue. Additionally, based on Director Harris’s statement that he decided to use city funds because he was underwater in the event and that was the only way to attempt to make his money back. This logic shows a reckless and potential illegal use of city funds and resources.

 

Based on the information received that Mayor Robertson had a direct involvement with this Jazz event, her attending numerous meetings of this event, and her directing Director Harris to continue when he attempted to stop the event (regardless of its impact), it would appear that she was not impartial to its final outcome regardless of the impact it might have on this city. Based on this involvement, it is respectfully requested that she excuse herself from any deliberation on this matter.

 

We have serious concerns in regards to Director Harris using and accessing the charitable funds from the Rialto Youth Collaborative, but our responsibilities as elected officials require us to focus on Director Harris’s failure to follow the Council directions, potential abuse of city resources and the fact that the funds have to this date not been paid back to the City. As such, it is our recommendation that this letter and a more detailed report be forwarded to the District Attorney and any other appropriate agency for investigation. Even though this is not an easy recommendation, we believe that it’s an appropriate one. The public has a low level of trust of elected officials and they demand complete transparency and responsibility of us all. Failure to act on this item, might be perceived by the public as acquiescing or being complicit in the use of these assets. It was later learned that Mayor Robertson diverted at least $10,000 from the Jazz Festival to another foundation she is on with Greg Bell. Mike Story got involved and had the money returned. (Why would Mike Story get involved? It was not a City event). Then it was learned that the night before the event, Mike Story called up Table Rock and tried to get them to donate $50,000.00 to the event so that it would not go bust. (Again, why would he get involved, another misuse of City resources)

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Internal Affairs Investigation Ruins K9 Partner “Jordy’s” Career

Initial reports are that the city has paid over $6000 in boarding fees for former officer Glen Andersons partner Jordy. He was kept at Adlerhorst in Jurupa for ten months at $25.00 per day. This poor hardworking police dog is one of the greatest victims of whatever the Police Chief had an issue with former officer Glen Anderson.

The department purchased a new dog costing around $11,000 from Adlerhorst using money from the police department that could have been spent elsewhere if the Police Chief had not cut ties with the Friends of Rialto Police K9 program. Reports are that K9 Jordy was given back to Adlerhorst for another dog the a new K9 officer choose. Rialto Police added two officers since officer Glen Anderson was fired. These officers will be going through the basic class which cost is approximately $5,000 each costs that the Friends would have normally paid. Due to the length of time Jordy sat at the kennels he was no longer desirable for purchase by any other police agency and was sold to a private party.

This awesome police dog and a former Military Veteran (K9 Military Dog) was locked up, had to spend his birthday in a cage all because of an issue our Police Chief had with one of his officers. Whether officer Anderson was fired for a good reason or for a power struggle the Dog paid the ultimate price for something that was out of his control. The blame falls to Chief Deanda since his actions against former officer Anderson led to Jordy’s lockup.

It’s not just Rialto Now that is worried about Jordy one of our biggest critics since we began writing about the issues at the PD commented this on one of our last articles:

“The only person i feel sorry for is the dog Jordy. woof woof. Free Jordy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Mark Peterson

The people of Rialto have the added burden of costs that are not needed because of the chief’s actions against the Friends of Rialto Police K9’s.

We have received some heat for these stories. These stories are not meant to be done put of spite but to inform the people of Rialto about what is going on in your city. Lets look back at some of the things we have highlighted that if we didn’t write about our failed leaders would have been able to hide their failures and get away with the consequences we the people have to pay:

  • Selling off Rialto’s water – We were key in trying to shut this action down working to highlight that the cities scare tactics were nothing more than just that scare tactics. We also pointed out that NONE of the improvements would ever be made. Five years later we keep electing the same people and all that has been done is our rates are skyrocketing and some of the water meters have been replaced. Almost every single improvement is YEARS behind schedule and our leaders could care less.
  • Money moved around to pay for pet projects – We have been harping on the money movement game for years. It wasn’t until former councilman Shawn O’Connell saw it for himself did it come to a stop temporarily. Were now doing it again and allowing our leaders to get away with it.
  • Councilman Trujillo & Sanctuary Cities – Had it not been for this blog newly elected Councilman Trujillo would have held his sanctuary city meeting and Fontana Herald reporter would have reported it in a much different light. If not for this blog we would be in jeopardy of loosing MILLIONS in federal dollars.

So when we write about these actions it is up to you to dig into them for yourself and look at each situation with clarity and not allow personal relationships to cloud your judgement.

 

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Rialto identified as one of the most difficult cities in SB County to obtain public records.

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY BEAU YARBROUGH — SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA NEWS GROUP

In an article penned by Beau Yarbrough we see that Rialto is one of four cities in San Bernardino County to not respond or fufill  California Public Records Act requests from San Bernardino Sun reporter. Out of 24 cities that were requested Adelanto, Fontana, Grand Terrace & Rialto never filled the request or even responded.

This should not come as a surprise to anyone that has ever requested documents from our city or its many departments. Rialto is one of the most secretive cities in the county, even our blog has been a sore spot for the city leadership as items that used to be kept quite now float to the surface on the pages of our blog. Councilman will demonize us and city leaders may curse us under their breath but the simple fact is that Rialto residents have very little idea what goes on at city hall.

To be completley honest we have never filed one of the California Public Records Act requests because we have known for a long time what Beau Yarbrough has found out they are Dead on Arrival. Here at Rialto Now we rely on honest people giving us information or using on the spot video to prove what has been said in secret. The best example of this would be newly elected Councilman Rafeal Trujillo and his secret Rialto Sanctuary City Meeting. Had we not had video proof of what was going on few would have believed what we were telling them.

Former Councilman Shawn O’Connell used to say that before he was on the council the city would ignore his advocacy groups Freedom of Information Act requests until they began to serve them in open public council meetings and still had to pressure staff to get the information requested. This election the issue of a lack of information that is readily available to city residents is severely lacking. We also found out in this election that the person who is responsible for this information seems to have little time to process requests.

It will be interesting to see how the city responds to the SB Sun article.

Rialto Police Chief Cuts Ties With Friends of Rialto Police K9 Program

Earlier this week our offices received a letter that is addressed to Rialto Police Chief Randy Deanda, Mike story and city of Rialto.

This letter goes into detail about the knowledge of the city of Rialto approving the work done on the K-9 obstacle course and yard. It also goes into detail about an interaction with our police chief and the president and founder of friends of the Rialto Police K-9 Association.

The letter details a complaint where Chief Randy Deanda banged on Greta Hodges door and personally delivered a letter stating that the friends of the Rialto Police canines were no longer to be involved with Rialto Police canines the letter also stated that Randy Deanda had spoken to Rialto city council members and that they all agreed with the chief on this decision the letter also goes into the fact that Chief Deanda apparently brought a witness with him Captain Wilson from the police department to verify that he delivered the letter.

The letter details that Chief Deanda opened a internal affairs investigation and officers interrogated Greta Hodges founder of The Freinds of Rialto Police K9 on the telephone and at the canine obstacle course the letter states. As of June 20th 2016 the police department no longer need the services of the friends of the Rialto Police canines a group that has funded canine operations in the city of Rialto for decades. It’s hard to Fathom with a basically cash balance budget that we would be in a position to start funding K9 purchases and operations when there’s a non-profit organization willing to do the work and provide the funding. It’s also odd that a police chief can by himself without any written Authority from city council mayor or the city administrator tear up or sever ties with an organization like this. The letter also states that Chief Deanda said that the Police Departments budget has approved and they no longer need the help of the Friends of Rialto Police K9’s. This is confusing as Rialto is looking at yet another extension of the Utility Users Tax or the creation of a Public Safety tax to provide police services.

Another point of reference that the letter spells out is the way that the Chief’s actions have hurt the Friends of Rialto Police K9 with other officers, vendors, donors and the city leadership. This action by Chief Denada has created what some say an unnecessary division among the Friends and the Police Department.
From what we can surmise is that this all began with whatever issues lye between Chief Deanda and Former K9 officer Glen Anderson who was fired last month after a lengthy IA investigation.

Another victim of this situation is former officer Glen Anderson’s K9 partner Jordy who has been stored at the Alderhorst training facility for almost a year now. It is very concerning for some in the community and The Friend’s of Rialto Police K9 that this powerful skilled dog has been allowed to be an additional victim of this sad series of actions.
We looked further into the authority of the Chief to be able to cut ties with this organization and it appears it is up to him but it is odd that this type of decision would not be made public.

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