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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Changes coming to Rialto Police Department Leadership

Information sent to us today indicates that changes to the top leadership rolls will be coming to Rialto Police Department.

As of October 1st former Police Chief Mark Kling will come on as a “Consultant” to help transition current Police Chief Deanda into “Retirement”. Police Chief Deanda should be well versed in the retirement process as he regularly tells the story of how he was needed so much in the city of Rialto that he was asked to return to work three times after filing for retirement.

In the communication from City Administrator Mike Story he laid out the struggles a quick departure like this will bring “As the city administrator, I must ensure there is a smooth transition of leadership and place leading up to and after chief Deanda retirement. Ideally, organisations have about 1 year to plan the transition of executive leadership. Chief Deanda will be retiring from public service and three short months on December 28th 2017 there for once Chief Deanda submitted and I accepted his notice of retirement, plans for executive leadership transitioning were set into motion. As an organization, filling the position of a retiring police chief is Paramount to community safety, department operations, and intergovernmental Affairs across departments so there are minimal service interruptions”.

Earlier today the Chief was witnessed briefing his command staff on the coming changes in his Department. Those pictured with the Chief at Mimi’s in North Fontana were Captain Andy Karol, Lt Robert Smith, Lt Dean Hardin and Paul Stella. Staff could overheard the chief talking about the memo from Mike Story and the impending changes.

Nobody will ever know the true story on why we have such a quick departure since past leadership has made sure a replacement was already on the ground before major changes took place. For example:

  • When Chief Kling left he had vetted and prepared Captain Tony Farrar for the promotion.
  • Fire Chief Matt Fratus knew he was not going to work forever so he hired Sean Grayson our current Fire Chief to eventually replace him.
  • When Police Chief Tony Farrar was on his way out he secured the promotion and placement of Chief Deanda.
  • Even City Administrator Mike Story announced months ago of his coming retirement at the end of this year.

So when something is outside the ordinary you have to ask yourself what is the real story? What we do know is that the city has found itself under more legal action brought by staff that claim they were fired, discriminated or retaliated against without merit and some of those cases have began to settle out of court. The latest claim was made know yesterday September 26th 2017 when a $125,000 claim was filed claiming misconduct by a former employee of MHM & Associates.

Answers that will need to be answered are:

  • How much is the city going to pay 2 police chief’s?
  • Will Deanda’s removal begin to bring the lawsuits to a close?
  • How do you attract a quality Police Chief in a Financially Strapped city like Rialto?

There are more questions than answers.

Today we got some of the answers from City Administrator Mike Story who said that Mark Kling will be working on a $15,000 dollar contract for three months to help during this transition. Mark Kling is one of the brighter spots in Rialto Police Department history as he led the Police Department out of the scandals of the past and the poor public trust of the police department. City Administrator Mike Story said that this money came out of the city administration budget already earmarked for consulting.

We will update as more information comes in.

Have a story you think people should know about? Email Rialtosnow@gmail.com

Keep up to date via social media by following #rialtonowcovers

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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.

Councilman Rafael Trujillo looks to get North End residents excited about a new discount market.

On August 3rd Councilman Rafael Trujillo posted a post about checking out one of the newest stores to be brought to Rialto’s last chance to finally bring something that residents want.

“My wife, Mirella, and I were checking out the market set to open as part of the Renaissance Marketplace in 2018. Any feedback?”

I’m not sure he was really prepared for the feedback he got. Residents in Rialto are TIRED of all of the discount markets being dumped in our area. We asked on our page if Rialto needed another discount market let alone one in the North End Development.

Julie said “No, have enough of those …. Drive down Baseline between Sycamore and Willow and there are a couple of hole in the wall dollar type shops, a Dollar Tree, a 99 cent store, Big Lots, Walmart (grocery), Stater Bros (grocery), Superior (grocery), Family Dollar, Walgreens, CVS, DD;s Discounts, Fallas, and Save and Tell…. if we want discount stores we can go there, can we maybe get a Hobby/craft store? How about an Ulta or Sephora? How about a Bath and Body works? See’s candies? Some kind of Family type entertainment? Hot Topic, Forever 21 ?? we really do not need another outlet type store, grocery or otherwise”.

You can’t help but agree with Julie or the throngs of other people chiming in on the Councilman’s post. Jason said this about the Councilman’s post It makes me sad to see that you as a councilman believe this to be a good option for Rialto. We need to make our city better and stop bringing in trash stores. Looking at the images you showed how is anyone supposed to be excited for a store that sells discounted garbage items that are of poor quality?” Families are spending real money that isn’t being captured here because our city seems to think were nothing more than a bunch of poor people looking to search through cheap 2nd class items. Families have commented that they spend $160 to $200 a month on stores that offer better quality and fresher options. That is $2400 of tax money going out the window with each families year fresh food bills.

Now you may say hey your being to hard on Grocery Outlet, I’m sure they offer great products…. right? Actually to offer such cheap prices and not take coupons they are selling some interesting stuff:

  • Grocery Outlet doesn’t accept manufacturer coupons, because their prices are already low. When a grocery producer has excess inventory or the packaging—not the actual product—is damaged, discount grocers like Grocery Outlet buy these products for pennies on the dollar.
  • Unlike traditional grocery stores that stock the same items weekly, discount stores stock items depending on what they get in (mostly overstock from other stores). So when you see something you like, stock up and stock up fast, because it might not be there tomorrow.
  • Often, when bigger stores pass overstocked products to grocery outlets, items are close to the expiration date. Knowing what “Sell By,” “Best if Used By,” and “Use By” dates mean will help you determine whether you can use a product before the quality starts to deteriorate.
  • Frozen foods are great deals at discount grocery stores, because they can live past their purchase dates as long as they’ve been kept frozen. YUCK
  • According to the USDA, cans with small dents are safe to eat. So if you see cans with small dents and banged-up boxes, it doesn’t mean the food is bad; it just means traditional stores can’t sell them.

  • Specialize in cut-rate food and household goods not “good enough” for your average supermarket.

To make matters worse is the following tid bits the City Planners are hoping you don’t notice:

  • In the next year at least 3 more discount stores will pop up around Rialto. These stores include Aldi, Five Below and now Grocery Outlet.
  • Still to this day the old Fresh & Easy building and the old ralphs in the North End of the city sit empty.
  • Plans are to bring ANOTHER fitness center to the old Ralphs building.

Were not sure about you but sooner or later Rialto residents need to hold their city planners feet to the fire and stop the flood of discount stores.

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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

City Administrator Mike Story Final Parting Words

Dear Mayor Robertson and City Council,

It has been my privilege to serve the City of Rialto for the past 32 years. Since 1985
when I started working for Rialto as a Planner, then as a Director, in that time I believe
we have accomplished some extraordinary things together. I can say without
hesitation that serving as your City Administrator has been the highlight of my
professional life. Thank you Mayor, Mayor Pro Tem and City Council Members for the
honor and privilege you have given me to serve our community.
Rialto, too, has meant so much to me and my family. Janet and I moved here in 1981,
and we could not have found a better community in which to raise our children and
grandchildren. Rialto has been and will forever be our home.
So, after a 41 year career of working in city government for the cities of San Dimas,
Duarte, Fontana and Rialto, the time has come to move on to the next stage of our
family’s lives, and therefore this is my formal notice to the Rialto City Council that I
intend to retire from active service on December 23, 2017.

I wanted you to know well in advance in order to ensure a smooth transition. I am also
happy to offer any help in recruiting and/or working with the next City Administrator –
again to ensure as smooth a transition as possible.
Again, I would like to thank you, the Mayor, Mayor Pro Tem, Council Members,
Department Heads, City employees and the community for all of your support all these
years, and I look forward to accomplishing more over these next six months. We’ve
got an amazing staff at City Hall, and I am confident that greater things are yet to
come, and greater things are still to be done in Rialto.

Sincerely,

Mike Story
City Administrator
City of Rialto

Story by David Phillips

Mike Story was one of the more honorable men to hold the position of City Administrator. Unlike many of his colleagues in other cities he worked hard to make local government work for the taxpayers. Mike is a man of strong character and a man of God. He has been a role model and second father to many youth growing up in Rialto. I was one of those youth and I can tell you that Mike has been someone I look up to. One of legacy setting items Mike Story will leave the city of Rialto with is his dedication to education of the Public Administration process. Mike created and ran the Institute of Progress which gave people a first hand look at the who, what where and why of the operations of local government.

Mike is also one of the few public employees in the nation that worked tirelessly to lead with his actions and not just words. When the city was in serious trouble in regards to the budget he was the 1st person to take massive pay and benefit cuts to show that he was not going to ask anyone to do something he wouldn’t 1st do. His integrity shows out in the words of former Police Chief Tony Farrar.

We also can’t forget the man who wore integrity like a God given tattoo Former Councilman Shawn O’Connell. I can remember many conversations with Councilman O’Connell where had it not been for an ethical leader like Mike Story Councilman O’Connell would not have had the impact he had for the city of Rialto.

History will remember those who stood in the gap for strangers with no care for the personal cost. History will remember you Mr. Story have a great retirement.

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Mayors Jazz Fest Returns After Costing Taxpayers $40,000 in 2015

Rialto Mayor Deborah Robertson seems to really enjoy two things Jazz and Using Public Money. As spelled out in yesterdays article former councilman Shawn O’Connell laid out in a letter the series of issues that followed. Let us be clear were not against live music or raising money for non profits that do good work. What does drive us crazy is when an elected official uses their power to get privileges that would never be afforded to any other group or citizen. We have laid out what about this event is driving us insane:

  • Using city offices and time to sell tickets for a private event.
  • Using massive amounts of public safety resources, promising to pay for the services used and never fulfilling that promise.
  • Shutting down a Park where youth sports happen knowing full well that sports field space is seriously limited.
  • Using elected power to hang banners off of Outfield netting for free freeway ad access.
  • Bringing massive amounts of alcohol into a park in a community full of kids knowing that people will be driving through those neighborhoods under the influence.

I have a lot of experience running events in this city. When the Rialto Community Coalition wanted to hold a Sober Skater event at a local park they were forced to change venues. They were also told that they could not block access to the community at large while running their event. The event was free and for a great cause to give kids something to do while on spring break that channeled their energy into something positive. Even though the event was free and open to everyone the cities special events committee stuck their noses into the event and almost shut it down.

Now Mayor Robertson has joined forces with Fontana Mayor Aquenetta Warren the Mayor currently fighting a recall attempt over her actions in bullying the community. These two are lumping in Mayors from Colton and San Bernardino into this event. To top it all off even though the three other cities have established concert venues that could accommodate the Jazz Fest these mayors are shutting down the largest park in Rialto that is 90 percent Soccer use exclusive.

The fact that yet another group of sports players will be kicked off of their fields (on a Sunday) when they are the busiest proves a lack of concern and care for Rialto Youth sports. Also this park is the same park that held this years 4th of July Festival and the parking lot was so inadequate that people were parking on dirt fields all over the place making traffic a NIGHTMARE. This year will be extra horrible as Ayala Drive is under a major construction and widening project and with normal daily traffic is a struggle. Add to the already difficult nature of this area’s traffic the burden of a concert and you must wonder why?

Many are now trying to get around Deborah Robertson’s lack of ability to tell the difference between a city event and a private event. The mayor is sending people to our blog posts to post about how awesome the event was and how they thought it was a city event. See the comments back and forth between our Facebook page and Andrea Brayboy she is working hard to try and convince us that its ok to shut kids out of a baseball park, waste $40,000 and lie to the people.
Andrea D Brayboy We live down the street from Frisbee Park and ended up with a Cabana. Despite the horrible weather, it was a beautiful event. E everyone had a wonderful time despite the rain. There was a diverse group enjoying the vendors and music. The Eisenhower HS jazz band and Choir did an excellent job performing with David Benoit. My father in law drove in from LA and had a blast. My husband and I have been waiting for this event to return because it was GREAT for our city.
Rialto Now Its great that you had a good time and Jazz music is great. Do you think it is ok to sell tickets from city offices on city time? Do you think its OK to use public resources and never fully pay them back like you agreed to? Things can be a great idea but when our leaders choose to not follow through on promises and outright lie to the community.
Andrea D Brayboy Again, I had a wonderful time. I am not and was not privy to the ins and outs of the funding sources. However, i was under the impression that it was a City event and purchased my tix at the municipal office. And now 2 years later I still feel that it was an EXCELLENT event that would make its city proud. Our children shined along with our police and small business owners. I hope they continue to host events such as that.

The Rialto Record had to print a correction to a story they wrote on the Jazz Fest because they called it a city event in the article and it clearly wasn’t:

An article published in the April 16 edition of The Rialto Record incorrectly said the upcoming Rialto Drop In Jazz Festival is presented by Rialto Mayor Deborah Robertson and the City Council. The information about the April 25 event was obtained from the event website, www.rialtojazzfest.com. The information was published in error and should state the jazz festival is not affiliated with the City of Rialto and is a private event presented by Deborah Robertson, who happens to be the city mayor, in partnership with the Rialto Youth Collaborative.

Add to all of this the non profit that Mayor Robertson has pegged to be the victim of this years Jazz Fest is Athletes for Life run by Greg Bell. Now wait where have we seen that name before? That’s right in the letter from former Councilman Shawn O’Connell:

“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.” 

Just to prove that Greg Bell is tied to the Athletes for Life foundation we went to their website and found our proof:

“Athletes for Life™ has been providing guidance and leadership programs to youth since 1989. AFL was founded by former NFL running back, Greg Bell, who spent his childhood rising above the negative peer pressures of his neighborhood. He became a world-class athlete at the University of Notre Dame and went on to enjoy a productive eight-year career in the NFL.”

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-2017-mayors-freeway-jazz-festival-tickets-33030506133

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