All Residents Pay A Unpopular Fee, but Not All Benefit From It

On May 28th we learned something about our least favorite fee in the city that should have your blood boiling. For the last 4 to 5 year you have been paying and ever increasing tax on your monthly trash bill. This TAX was added to deal with Rialto’s streets that are deteriorating much faster than Rialto officials can keep up at least that is what we were told.

On May 28th we found out that streets that are in poor repair will not be fixed with the Trash Fund money, only newer streets will get any work done from the Trash Tax. There is a promise that they will seek out a way to do something for those residents but they say that as we head for Bankruptcy!

Activists told the city council and the residents that the city would find ways of putting this money back into their own pockets and moving street maintenance money around to other pet projects. The last honest Councilman caught his colleagues playing games with this money shortly after it was approved.

Councilman O’Connell was interviewed by Sun reporter Leslie Parrilla and said:

“We gave the impression that we were going to use that money to help improve the roads,” O’Connell said.

The increased rates for the city’s solid waste collection, recycling and disposal service rates were passed to help maintain Rialto’s deteriorating roads. But after the fees started being collected, the roughly $1.2 million normally budgeted annually for road improvements dropped to $600,000 this year, instead of increasing with money from the new fee.

“It seemed to me the citizens got it right when they said, ‘be careful, they’re going to take advantage of it,’ ” by moving money around, O’Connell said.

The plan was to decrease the Trash Tax and fix the roads with Measure U. Well a year later Councilman O’Connell passed away unexpectedly and since then here are all the things Measure U is targeted to cover:

  • Millions in behind street maintenance.
  • Reduce the now PERMANENT Utility Users Tax by 25%.
  • Cover our $150 Million Dollars of Unfunded Liabilities.
  • Provide for more cops.
  • Provide more money for Recreation Programs.

The only problem with these promises is that even with best case scenario is that the tax would bring in $15 Million a year. As of today there is less than $10 Million in an escrow account while the tank farms sue us. It looks so grim that the Mayor and Ed Scott are publicly talking about settling for way less than expected just to get something.

While that goes on Burrtec spends thousands of dollars on campaigns for elected officials that act as rubber stamps for their programs and agendas. While Burrtec is holding a fundraising party for the Mayor they got:

  • Rialto residents to pay for the damage thier trucks do to the road.
  • A 10 year contract that never expires because it renews for another 10 years each year and we have to give them 10 years notice if we want out of the contract.
  • They got $1.3 Million back in their pockets that was supposed to go to create a community garden for the North End of the city.
  • We now are forced to pay burrtec through our property tax bills so we can’t see the many times they raise our rates.

So the only question is, are you mad yet? Don’t forget gas goes up 5.6 cents a gallon on Monday July 1st for more on that story click here!

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City of Rialto Chooses New City Manager After 2 Year Search

Photo from the OC register

Since December 2017 Rialto has been without a permanent City Administrator. There have been three men to fill the top seat on a temporary basis as the Rialto City Council made poor choices that have moved us closer and closer to financial disaster.

First to fill the seat was Assistant City Administrator Robb Steel he lasted for a short stint prior to looking to take a step back into his old role. Then the City Council brought back  Ahmad Ansari, a former public works director and city engineer, as interim city administrator. The most recent person to fill the interim chair is Rialto Fire Chief Sean Grayson.

The spot at City Administrator isn’t the only position to sit without a permanent place holder over the last few years. As the city ignores the looming reality of the unfunded pension liabilities and private vendettas are allowed to hurt employees from bad leaders the city has struggled with attracting new talent. This has shown in the length of time it took to fill this position as well as Police Chief and the fact that is took two years to find a finance director. There have also been jobs in public works and code enforcement that the city offered employment to people and those people turned the city down!

One thing that all Rialto residents and business owners should pay close attention to is the cost of this salary. The article we wrote in the Rialto Record December of 2018 still rings true today. Rialto is spending money it doesn’t have and next years budget which starts in one month is going to be a HOT mess. Your Rialto City Council have spent MILLIONS on raises for employees that we can’t afford.

I say all this to show you how little your city council cares about the taxpayers!

Rod Foster worked as the city manager for the city of Colton, not really the beacon of innovation and clearly not a city to model after. Mr Foster then followed Eileen Gomez to the city of Laguna Niguel. Rod Foster spent ruffly four years at the city of Laguna Niguel and left at the same time as his assistant city administrator. Now Rod Foster may be a very nice man nothing here is to say he isn’t, the problem is can Rialto afford a City Administrtor at the tune of a quarter of a million dollars a year? Rod Foster the new city administrator and Mark Kling the Chief of Police make half a million dollars in Salary alone!!!!

Now you would think that there was a lot of discussion on this appointment and the other top candidates names were presented right? Nope they acted like this effort was a simple, everyday line item and passed this without any explanation or discussion. After the quick motion and second then the comments came. Mayor Robertson spoke about some special trip to Mommie Helens Bakery and her sole reason for picking Rod Foster was his sweet tooth! Ed Scott even more childishly asked Rod Foster to protect him from the many people that Ed Scott has upset over the years, maybe if Ed Scott doesn’t sue Rod Foster he may protect him!

In Rod Fosters defense community members like Gary Grossich and Eileen Gomez have nothing but positive things to say about Rod Foster. These are marks in his favor but why would someone like Rod Foster want to come to Rialto?

To make matters worse Rialto still has no plan on how to deal with $150 Million in unfunded liabilities!! They are still waiting for magic money to fall from the sky! Mark my words bankruptcy or insane tax increases are right around the corner!

Here is what the contract says on the Agenda:

The following provides a summary of key provisions of the proposed employment agreement with Mr. Foster:

 

•                     Salary:  Annual salary would be $240,000 annually.

 

•                     At-will nature of employment: The position of city administrator is an at-will position serving at the pleasure of the City Council.

 

•                     Term: A term of 5 years, which can be extended by the parties for 1 year following a positive performance evaluation.

 

•                     Severance: If Mr. Foster is terminated without cause, then he will be entitled to severance as follows:

 

0-6 months with City                                          monthly salary times 18

6-24 months with City                                          monthly salary times 12

After 24 months with City                                          monthly salary times 6

 

If terminated for cause, Mr. Foster would not be entitled to payment of any severance.

 

•                     Benefits:

 

o                     The benefits would generally consistent with those of the City’s department heads, except as specified in the employment agreement.

 

o                     Vacation leave: Provided 120 hours up front. Thereafter, accrual would be at the rate of 6.15 hours per pay period.

 

o                     Sick leave:  Provided 120 hours up front. Thereafter, accrual would be at the rate of 10 hours per month.

 

o                     Administrative leave: 140 hours per year.

 

o                     Deferred compensation: $750 per month.

 

o                     Vehicle: Provided a City-vehicle for business and incidental personal use.

 

o                     Educational incentive: 7.5% of regular base salary based on master’s degree (same as provided to eligible City department heads).

 

o                     CalPERS: Mr. Foster would be enrolled in the City’s 2% at 62 retirement plan consistent with the requirements of state retirement law for “new” CalPERS members. The employee contribution under this plan is presently 8%.

 

o                     Health insurance coverage and retiree health: Same as for department heads.

 

o                     Relocation reimbursement: Up to $8,500 if Mr. Foster moves to San Bernardino County and within 25 miles of City Hall within 2 years.

 

o                     Life insurance: Benefit amount equivalent to 2x amount provided to department heads.

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Rialto City Hall Hemorrhages High Ranking Staff

In a sign of what is going on under the surface of Rialto City Hall another high ranking longtime employee of the City of Rialto’s management team has left the city of Rialto. Human Resources and Risk Management Director Lucy Garcia has left the city of Rialto for another unknown agency. For the last year and a half the city has lost seven main leadership positions and has only managed to fill one of them. We learned late last month that Development Director and Assistant City Administrator Robb Steel will be leaving this August.

To make matters worse is the City is on its 3rd Interm City Administrator, the people that the city has offered code enforcement and city engineering jobs to turned them down and nobody wants to be our police chief so we brought back Kling who is on a mission to destroy the relationship between the community and the police. Nobody wants to work here and we should strongly question anyone who chooses to except a job here.

Sources inside city hall say that Lucy Garcia left because she was being asked to withhold information from employees and do things that were not ethical. The information coming out of city hall isn’t surprising to me since I watched Lucy get attacked by the city council over giving the Budget Advisory Committee the information we asked for and not holding things back.

I will point out once more there is no plan for dealing with our $150 Million in Unfunded Liabilities and they just keep adding more and more public safety positions. Just in the last Council Meeting in March the Police and Fire Departments have added staff that were frozen over future cost concerns. Now Rialto has a new police captain we can’t afford and the fire department is adding a Deputy Chief to the payroll.

Never in my life have I looked at such a blatant disregard for financial ethics and common sense.

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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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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Rialto Relay for Life event kicks off tomorrow with a Celebrity Guest

Below is a list of events and some of the awesome things in store for tomorrow. The local celebrity that can be seen in Rialto regularly showing off what is cool to do and see right here in our little town is pretty popular. The exact time for the local celebrity arrival with his ever so popular live video stream that is seen by hundreds of thousands of Facebook users hasn’t been announced but as soon as we find out you will know so stay tuned/

Join Joel Greene as he helps to kick off the Rialto Relay for Life event. This year the Rialto event is looking to raise $30 Thousand to combat cancer. If you would like to help them hit that mark you can donate any amount by clicking here.

Relay For Life is the signature fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. Relay is staffed and coordinated by volunteers in more than 5,200 communities and 27 countries. Volunteers give of their time and effort because they believe it’s time to take action against cancer.

Join us at these events to bring communities together to remember loved ones lost, honor survivors of all cancers, and raise money to help the American Cancer Society make a global impact on cancer.

Time: 9:00am

We’ll kick off the event by celebrating everyone who’s been affected by cancer. Whether someone’s been diagnosed for 10 days or been cancer-free for 10 years, they gather together for the crowd to cheer them on.

Survivors & Caregiver Lap

Time: 9:30am

Survivors define courage and inspire those facing a cancer diagnosis. Their strength is honored with each step they take around the first lap. If you know anyone who’s overcome cancer, invite them to join.

Caring for others is such a selfless act, which is why we honor caregivers with a lap. They often walk with the person they’ve supported.

Fight Back Ceremony

Time: 10:00am

Have you ever wanted to see a cement truck up close? Climb inside a cherry picker? Explorer a firetruck? Join us for a second annual Touch-A-Truck event.

Kids Corner sponsored by Target with games, crafts and activities for kids of all ages.

Be your own builder. Join us for a kids workshop sponsored by the Home Depot where kids can use tools to build their own creations.

Time: 4:00 pm

We will talk about what we can do beyond the event to fight back against this horrible disease.

Time: 9:00 pm

Each Luminaria bag represents a loved one lost to cancer, brings support to those affected by it, and honors survivors. This powerful moment gives people the opportunity to grieve but also offers hope and comfort.

Closing Ceremony

Time: 10:30 pm

We celebrate all that we’ve accomplished together and remember those we’ve lost. Together, we commit to take action and help end the pain and suffering of cancer.

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

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