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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Spelling Out Rialto’s Financial Future Without The Utility Tax

Rialto is in a very critical point in our cities existence and many may be looking to the incoming development as a saving windfall. We are here to tell you that this isn’t the case Rialto is in a tough spot and its going to take everyone doing their jobs to get us through it.

The reason we say everyone doing their jobs is right now some staff and the community are the only ones stepping up to the plate and if the rest of the players don’t figure that out, own their bad and get on board with getting things back on track it is going to spell disaster.

Here are the players as we see it and what they need to do to get things moving the right way:

  1. The Community – This group of people have been doing a lion share of the heavy lifting. Most people believe they have no recourse and they must accept bad leadership and money mismanagement. This is not the case even though we may be on a certain leaders team it never hurts to remind those leaders we support we can no longer give them blanket support for a laundry list of bad calls. You can see how the city council is fracturing as they all split off to their specific groups and ask for help with dealing with the others. When it comes to the Utility Users Tax the community can’t support TAX AND SPEND Liberals in such high majorities when voting and then look at a tax that actually provides us services we all say we want to keep as a bad thing.
  2. The City Council – I have never been a fan of forming a consensus I believe it leads to to many back room deals and excludes the community at large as a few key power groups ideology reigns supreme. Yet on this issue I see it as juvenile to allow the whole city to suffer just to make a political point. I say this because the issue of declaring a financial emergency still hangs in the balance and is holding up Rialto’s ability to see where we are going over the next 10 years. City Council is playing political chicken with our future, information that has come from staff says that City Council is having an issue declaring a state of emergency because we still have a healthy surplus. A surplus that will only afford Rialto a 6 month time frame of stability if the worse was ever to happen. It seems like City Council wants us to be broke and defaulting on loans before we do anything to right our unstable future. I don’t know anyone that would look at their personal or business finances and see a real financial avalanche heading their way and not do anything within reason to stop what seems to be inevitable. One of City Councils epic failures was the 3% at 50 PERS offering. According to sources to help with employee retention Councilman Ed Scott brought this in. Now this program is no longer offered to new employees but employees already in this program have it no matter what.
  3. The Mayor – Mayor Robertson has done a very good job of pushing the blame for failures onto other people or pretending that things are better than they really are. Mayor Robertson is the biggest holdout when it comes to declaring a state of financial emergency in this city and this isn’t the 1st time she has pulled this stunt. Four years ago she pulled the same stunt as she threw a tantrum and asked public safety to make massive concessions like no longer being able to cash out comp, sick, holiday or vacation time, $300 cut in uniform allowance and no raise. Now she is taking things a step further as now Mayor Robertson wants to once again ask Public Safety to forgo a raise, loose all special assignment pay and take everyone back one full step in pay. Remember this is the same Mayor that wanted to give herself a massive raise for a very part time job.
  4. Staff – Staff plays a big role in what is going on here since they seem incapable of giving the Council, Mayor and Community a true and honest look at the consequences of staff recommended actions. Many times staff have fallen on the sword for the Mayor and City Council to shield them from the consequences of their actions. Yes staff works hard and puts in long hours but when they keep the truth from the community or shield the electeds from the consequences of their actions they sully all the hard work they have put in.
  5. City Attorney – Some day we will have a city attorney that doesn’t rip us off (Jimmy Gutierrez) and we will have one that has the testicle fortitude to stand in the gap and advocate for the community rather than cover up for the Council and Mayor. In one case the city has spent $720,000 already in defending the city in a legal case that could have been fixed had someone stopped everyone’s egos. Also the City Attorney needs to remind the Mayor that giving away buildings to friends and political allies is a slippery slope to gifting of public funds. We are not saying this is the case but a property on Riverside Ave in Downtown seems to have changed ownership without any other public consideration and it has a lot of people scratching their heads.

 

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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.

Local Elected Officials Want To Increase Their Own Pay While Residents Are Busy Planning For Thanksgiving

mad-3-want-money

Well the corruption that comes along with electing the wrong people normally comes after the new people are sworn in but not in Rialto apperently and not with this rag tag crew of Council Members and Mayor. On Tab 5 of the Rialto City Council agenda for the November 22nd meeting city council members will be giving themselves a raise of $713.11. Currently Our city council makes $918 a month plus medical, dental and vision benefits will be making $1,631.11 the Mayor is by the ordance required to make 150% more than city council so Mayor Robertson will be giving herself a raise from $1,377 to $2,446.66 and increase of $1,069.66 who also gets medical, dental and vision benefits.

The language that gives them this power is listed on the cit council agenda and pasted below:

WHEREAS, the Rialto Municipal Code at Sections 2.12.030 provides that the Mayor receives compensation based on one-hundred fifty percent of the compensation paid to the council members;

The Rialto Municipal Code, at Section 2.12.040, entitled “Council Members,” shall be amended in its entirety to read as follows, with the revised language displayed in redline format: “Under the California Government Code Section 36516(c), each member of the city council (including the Mayor) shall receive compensation in the amount of one thousand six hundred thirty-one dollars and eleven cents ($1,631.11) per month.”

We spoke to City Administrator Mike Story and he cleared up a lot of things for us:

  1. The City Administrator asks City Council at every regular election cycle if the elected body would like to add a pay increase for city council to the agenda, every 2 years.
  2. Last time this was done was 2008 and according to Mr. Story the increase was approved.
  3. Mayor Robertson, Ed Scott & Joe Baca Jr. all approved of having the pay increase on tonight’s agenda.
  4. The decision must be made tonight the incoming council members CANNOT vote on the pay increase.

We talked to a few people about this raise and they were not at all happy about it:

“The city dumps us into a bad water deal, leaves us with torn up streets and taxes us on our trash but they want raises no way” Amber

“Until we give our employees an increase in pay we should not even be thinking about council raises” Councilman Ed Palmer

“We don’t have money for K9 training, we backed out of the Regional Helicopter Program and cut our hiring more public works people but we have money for Council raises?” Javier

“I never looked at what the compensation for city council was the pay wasn’t my motivation for running. I don’t think that city council pay should be increased and if I was allowed to vote on this item I would vote no.” Andy Carrizales Councilman Elect

“We should have a county measure to restrict cities in our counties from raising their pay arbitrary.” Matthew

One thing that everyone wondered was why would Rafael Trujillo leave a higher paying position as a Water Board Director with West Valley Water? Now we know it’s because he will be walking into a massive pay increase which he was aware of since he is highly tied to Mayor Robertson, Council Member Ed Scott and Council Member Joe Baca Jr.

Join your fellow community members in telling the Mayor that there will be no raises until some promises are filled https://www.facebook.com/events/907011846096289/

 

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Rialto Fire Department Rolls Out Plans For Illegal Fireworks Enforcement

illegal fireworks sign

So as promised by former Councilman Shawn O’Connell and current Councilman Ed Palmer along with Rialto Police & Fire the enforcement of illegal fireworks has continued to improve in an effort to make 4th of July Safe & Fun for everyone.

Above is a photo from the Rialto Fire Facebook page with these words:

“Attention Rialto residents! Yard signs available. Come and get a sign for your yard to help support our “Illegal Firework- Free Zone”. Signs are available at Rialto Fire Station 201 (131 S Willow Ave)
As a reminder: Fireworks that are not purchased from a licensed firework stand are illegal. Property owners will be issued a citation in the amount of $1000 if illegal fireworks are discharged on your property.”

Well last night we found out via Rialto Fire Chief Matt Fratus that this year along with improved dispatching of fire units using Rialto Police Dispatch the Fire Department is now adding a drone to identify where illegal fireworks are being used.

 

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Rialto Public Safety Resources Coming Under Attack

December 1, 2015 I'd like to give a big shout out to Mike Hayes from the city of Rialto for restoring our lights back of the canine training yard. Thank you Mike and team!

December 1, 2015
I’d like to give a big shout out to Mike Hayes from the city of Rialto for restoring our lights back of the canine training yard.
Thank you Mike and team!

The photo above was taken from the Freind’s of Rialto Police K9 Facebook page. The team said let there be light and apparently the city made it so. So why now are the lights gone and people from the program upset over recent actions?

Rumors began swirling last week that Rialto Public Safety agency has been targeted by a select number of city council members over a vendetta from a very tense vote over what events should be labeled city events and have access to the Tax Payer General Fund Account.

Late last week we were made aware of the action to shut down the Freinds of Rialto K9 training yard. Apparently a couple of people who sit on our collective city council including the mayor were upset that the mayors efforts to cover her tracks in causing $10,000 to be lost from the Tax Payer funded General Fund in connection to the Mayors State of the Woman event. The details are not clear at this point but we do know that the K9 Training Yard operated by the 501c3 Non Profit Freinds of the Rialto Police K9 program has been red tagged and lights, training boxes and demo car have all been removed without a valid reason from the City of Rialto. According to reports we have received the City Leaders and the Chief of Police are experiencing some memory loss because they claim to have no prior knowledge of the improvements to the K9 training yard. What is funny is the Rialto K9 Friends Association was recognizied for the efforts that Eagle Scouts Tyler James and Trevor Benson made to bring shaded seating and lights to the Freinds of Rialto Police K9 training yard.

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As you can see is the efforts of the work on the K9 training were part of a public meeting of our city council so why are they playing dumb? The efforts to upgrade the training area were so open knowledge that the department gave out awards to tyler the youth involved in rasing the funds recived and the award was covered in the Rialto Record Newspaper.

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We spoke to Cheif Deanda today and he gave us his word that this effort with the K9 training Yard was not politically connected in any way. He also said that his abilities to speak freely were constricted by the ongoing investigation. What exactally is being investigated was not made clear but Cheif Deanda told us that once the investigation was over things would be made available.

Keep checking back as we will update the story as information comes in.

Rialto Mayor, Mayor Pro Tem & Councilman Spin Miss-use of Public Funds Into Tears and Past Tragedy’s

Questions over the Mayors use of public funds for her State of the Woman started with a request from City Treasurer Ed Carrillo to the state and county organizations that are responsible for keeping elected officials from overstepping their authority and keeping them honest. Ed Carrillo (as seen in our prior story) reported Mayor Deborah Robertson for her use of public funds, city resources and staff to put the event together, repair bathrooms and other misuse of funds (Here it from the City Treasurer Below):

As you can see from the City Treasurer he has many concerns. Two years ago when the city succeeded in selling the community on Measure “U” a measure that imposed hire fees on the Gasoline Tank Storage farm in the south end of the freeway. When the city went on their PR push for this measure the city promised these things:

  • The City told us that they would be transparent with all money that was spent here in Rialto no matter the source grant funds to general tax fund expenditures the money would be spent wisely.
  • A Yes vote on Measure U will finally require the billion dollar oil and gas companies who store their fuel in the “tank farm” on South Riverside to sacrifice just like Rialto residents and small business have. 
  • If Measure U passes, Rialto residents will get a break in the form of lower utility taxes with a cut the utility tax by 2%.
  • Safety measures for the dangerous rails to trails project.

None of these things are happening and we doubt they ever will. What is happening and what was happening as these promises were being made was a raid of Rialto’s general fund and city resources. When was the last time the city came by and covered the cost of repairing your roof? Fixing your plumbing? Redoing your bathrooms? When was the last time the city ever covered the cost of turning on your utilities or even paying the bill?

Mayor Robertson worked very hard to insulate herself from these bad choices by having City Administrator Mike Story say he was the one who authorized the city staff to make repairs on a privately owned building, turn on utilities, pay utility bills and use staff time and resources to set up this event. Special sound and camera equipment were also purchased for this event. City Administrator Mike Story said that the use of the building was donated so the additional costs were appropriate. Normally when you rent a facility the costs are not $20 thousand and your not required to make improvements to the rental property.

To make matters worse is there is a private trust attached to this event and the GENERAL FUND!!!!!! This private trust cost the city of Rialto’s  General Fund an additional $10,500 due to improper reporting practices!!!!! So lets do the math…….

10,500 + 20,000 + 9,000= $39,500

Rialto Special Events ListAs you see from the image above the Mayor Deborah Robertson’s event is only supposed to cost $9,000 not $39,500. You see the Mayor Robertson thinks she is above being questioned. She thinks she is better than the rest of Rialto. So over the last few years we watched our former airport and beautiful fields that used to be filled with wildflowers of all different colors being filled with big ugly warehouses right in the communities back yard. Can you guess where Mayor Robertson is holding her self promotion events now? Inside the very warehouses she pushed on our small community. Mayor Robertson complains that there is nowhere BIG ENOUGH to hold her event. Yet it is unclear if the Mayor has ever looked to use one of the three gyms that at any of the Rialto High Schools or even asked to rent space from Calvary Chapel Rialto, Sunrise Church or Lighthouse for the Blind all who have large newer buildings that would accommodate the Mayors event.

Councilman explains his issues with the money being spent on this event.

Below is a complete record of the tab item where Ed Scott uses his sons death and the Mayor cries to try and cloud the issue with emotion and taking your eyes off of all the money being spent on the mayors private event.

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