Council Looks To Put Tax Money In Danger To Help Special Interests

Rialto has seen a boom in development this year with the opening of the new Super Walmart development on the south end and the Renaissance development in the north end of town. Each development has come with its own unique set of challenges to reach the point of completion.

The last few developments that have been handled by one developer have seemed to fall short of the promises made and this developer is a close friend and campaign contributor to Councilman Ed Scott.

Fernando Acosta is a business owner and developer who lives here in Rialto. He owns the Popeye’s fast food restaurant on Ayala and Baseline and has been the developer of the In-N-Out Burger restaurant pad and now the area of the Cracker Barrel.

The In-N-Out pad was one that still to this day has issues that the developer and city failed to address:

  • The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf almost didn’t happen.
  • There was supposed to be a Miguel’s Jr.
  • Other retail uses were planned but never added.
  • Responsibility to clean the lot still resides with the city.

Now Mr. Acosta is the developer of the Cracker Barrel site and has hit a bump in the road and Mr. Acosta is looking for the city to bail him out!

As you can see staff is telling the city council that this is a bad idea and a bad position to be in. Mr. Acosta is more than a year out on completing pad 3, yet he wants the city to put our money in jeopardy. Staff points out multiple times that this is a bad idea and reminds the council that this is General Fund money and that the city has already assisted Mr. Acosta.

To add insult to injury the council directs the City Treasurer to broker a finance deal for Mr. Acosta between the city and Banner Bank. When was the last time the city ever bent over backwards for a resident or business owner in this city when it came to the financial dealing of a new house or business construction?

Councilman Ed Scott claims he doesn’t want to see the project delayed but empty stores still exist across the street in the Renaissance development and that hasn’t hindered anything? There are tons of empty buildings all over Rialto especially on Foothill – one of Rialto’s most heavily traveled routes. Where is the city council jumping to intervene in those situations? Maybe it is because there are no campaign contributions in it for them in those situations?

Another item that should cause great concern to Rialto residents is that Mr. Acosta stands to make a lot of money on this deal. So we’re going to put tax dollars and the city into a risky position so a developer can make a ton of cash? Does that smell to anyone else?

The truth of the matter is that Cracker Barrel is already well under construction and the other tenants are ready to begin construction soon. Mr. Acosta has done this before – promised tenants that never materialize. I looked at his presentation to city council as a bad pitch on Shark Tank. He spoke of offers to fill spaces but never produced any proof, it seemed clear he was pulling a favor from the campaign favor bank!

See video of the full tab below!

Video

Assembly Member Eloise Reyes Staff Labeled as Out of Control

Eloise Reyes has been your assembly member for about two years now and nothing has changed, right?

Wrong. She has made this area more divisive and polarized than ever before. One major change may not look so bad on the surface, but it is now affecting Moreno Valley.

Under former Assembly Member Cheryl Brown Rialto had a strong young man acting as our liaison with the Assembly Member’s office. I can tell you as someone who had issues with connecting to the Unemployment Office Cheryl Brown’s staff helped a lot more than the current staff. Before Eloise won the election we had Josue Castillo as our Rialto liaison. Josue lived in Rialto and really made you feel like they cared, even if you were not aligned politically.

Now we have Daniel Peeden, a progressive Democrat who gives you the feeling he is trying to intimidate you rather than help you. He spends his time pushing a very strong progressive agenda and it doesn’t feel like he cares who the Assembly Member cuts down or steps on along the way. If you’re not a progressive you have no worth to him. He spends his time attacking our County Supervisor Josie Gonzales (a Democrat) on warehouse projects in the Bloomington Area, yet has given a pass to the City of Rialto as they dump warehouses right on top of long established neighborhoods and eating up prime real estate in Rialto.

This has been going on for 2 years and it is getting old, but this isn’t the reason we penned this post. This isn’t a political attack on Eloise to unseat her because she is running unopposed.

This post exists to call attention to Public Officials being held accountable for acting like children and feeding an angry mob.

Daniel is a twin (Darrell Peeden); his twin was seeking an open seat on the Moreno Valley Unified School Board. Darrell and Daniel Peeden posed with another person with an F Trump sign! Now we can love or hate the president if we want, but if you A) represent a community on behalf of an Assembly Member maybe you should have a little more tact on how you publicly share your disdain, and B) if you’re running for school board maybe you shouldn’t be using profanity publicly because you’re representing Students, Parents and Staff. You are supposed to be an example to them.

Why is Eloise Reyes getting attached to this post? She condones this behavior and celebrates it. As you see in the photo below her staff are given kudos for working hard on ignoring constituents that don’t align with her politically and shoving through a very progressive plan of action. Remember that this seat has been Democrat forever but never with a person or staff so dedicated to whipping the assembly district into a frenzy.

Reports are that no call from the assembly member has gone out to remove this photo from social media and Darrell Peeden was appointed to fill a vacant seat on the Moreno Valley Unified School District without an election of THE PEOPLE!

Normal everyday people are already so full of hate, shouldn’t our elected officials and their staff be required to use just a little bit of thought when creating social content?

Ed Scott & Rafael Trujillo hold secret meeting with Rialto Budget Advisory Committee

Wednesday August 8th at 6 pm Council members Scott and Trujillo held a non public meeting to address the recommendations sent to city council from the Budget Advisory Committee. Councilman Scott spoke about not being prepared to address an already overdo 2018-2019 budget that began July 1st of this year. Over and over Ed Scott proved who he was aligned with the Police and to a lesser extent the Fire Department.

Over and over Mr Scott made city staff out to be people who lied on a regular basis and kept information from him and the Budget Advisory Committee. It became clear in the meeting that a 8% 2 year retro pay raise PLUS an 8% raise for Police was appropriate in Mr Scotts eyes. Even though the city was starring down the barrel of massive debt to bloated employee pensions plus continued poor judgement in picking people to contract with in the city Mr Scott said the Police deserve a very high raise.

Budget Advisory Committee member Joe Rayden tried to show Mr Scott the error of this massive raise looking back to staff report that said at 3% the city would find itself deeper in debt so 8% would speed up the cities ultimate failure to meet financial obligations it did no good. Mr Scott barked at anyone that would even hint at the Police raise being a bad idea.

Many wonder where Councilman Scott and Trujillo were planning to get the money a little over 2 million in total to cover just this one raise? Looks like the two councilmen are looking at cutting Capital Improvement projects in the north end of the city. One project Ed Scott has on the chopping block is the $1.05 Million set aside since 2015 for additional community gardens in the north end of town. Those who don’t know it there are ZERO fresh food options available north of baseline also with home lots becoming more and more dense home gardens are becoming less available. When Mr Scott was asked why not fire the employees that lie and fail to move projects along he failed to respond.

Other projects that Councilman Scott is looking at adding to the trash bin is a planned park in the new north end development, one that the city told builder Lewis that we would build. We have already spent some of the money that Lewis gave to construct the new park in the Renaissance Marketplace Area and the city has some sort of agreed obligation to begin building the park once Lewis begins building the homes.

Also the Budget Advisory Committee wanted more accountability in regards to travel. The recommendation was that anyone wishing to travel on the cities dime out of the $100 thousand a year that the city council spends on travel the person would pay for the travel, give a brief written report about what taxpayers got out of this trip then they would be reimbursed. This would save money because less people would travel just to get a free trip on the taxpayers dime. Ed Scott said it wouldn’t save money because you would have to hire a special person to write his report because he is a legislative person and doesn’t write his own reports!!!!!!

Councilman Trujillo sat there never really said much and I was unsure if he even knew why he was there.

The final kicker was when I asked Pam Kennedy the council administrative assistant if this meeting was going to be open to the public.

David – Is this meeting going to be a public meeting?

Pam – No, not public.

So I was surprised to see a member of the public come in and join the entire meeting. I loved having anyone from the public there because that means more people want information. What annoys me is that nobody seems to know what is going on down at City Hall.

Big Checks Written to Pay off One Union for Pushing Permanent Tax on Residents

The city is super proud of themselves for taking the last bit of control away from the voters on getting spending in this city under control. As they were preparing for the June 5th vote the city was working out a lucrative payoff program for the Police Department.

“On May 31, 2018, the parties reached an oral tentative agreement on the terms for a successor MOU, the deal points of which are set forth below and affirmed by the execution of this formal written Tentative Agreement by the parties’ labor representatives.” (Police Union Agreement)

Let us tell you why we believe that this agreement is a slap in the face to the people who live in Rialto. Let us go over a few key points before we move on:

  • We are not against the Police getting paid for the job they do.
  • We realize that the Police were working on a contract that was two years old.

What happened is that the city of Rialto approved an 8% back pay lump sum check for Rialto Police Officers and Management for two years, then a 8% pay increase for the 2018-2019 fiscal year. There are two big problems with this move:

  • The city has no extra money – for the last 5 years we have been basically cash balanced meaning we can pay our current bills but if the car breaks down we are screwed. Our budget has zero room for any sizable hit to it.
  • The Vote to make the Utility Tax Permanent was only an increase in the respect that it is here forever. The only way the city can make more money on it is by increasing the rate above 8%.
  • The city is $150 Million in debt to PERS and Retiree Health Benefits and there is ZERO plan on how to pay those costs.

Another problem with this raise is the fact that as our population is increasing our police force is shrinking. Nobody inside city hall seems concerned with the fact that Rialto Police Department is less likely to be able to handle this city with less and less staff. Not to mention popular shopping and dinning centers that are coming on board. How is Rialto going to handle the influx when staffing levels continue to drop?

Members of the Rialto Budget Advisory Committee wanted to add staff positions to the department while giving a 1.5 percent pay increase to the Police. The community members saw that just throwing money at the problem wouldn’t solve the issue of the public’s ability to feel safe. Chairman Stacey Augustine said as a manager of a major plant in Rialto he learned that simply giving employees more money would not change everything that was wrong in a workplace. Members Joe Rayden and Michelle Sanchez were concerned that the additional funds were not spent on hiring new officers.

Rialto Police have had a lot of recent turnover. The turnovers have applied pressure to the city to make a move to make employees happy and pay them back for pressuring community members into backing the permanent Utility Users Tax. Was this turnover simply about making less money or are there deeper roots? We do know that for the last two years the following has happened:

  • Police Chief Randy Deanda ripped apart a happy and functioning police department.
  • Officers were targeted for removal just because the current political power players didn’t like them.
  • Money was spent on personal witch hunts.
  • Police management staff have abused travel spending and lied to justify travel.
  • A long standing non profit that supported the police department with providing vital funds for specialized departments is still barred from doing their work.
  • Officers, Cpls, Sgt’s and Lt’s all have left the city for other departments.
  • Outside of pay the latest class and comp study showed Rialto Police Officers making at or above the median for other agencies of similar size..

If money was the sole issue why is the Dispatch Supervisor and a veteran officer still leaving after this deal was approved? Also one prominent Sgt recently made his intentions of an early retirement known, if he kept working he would make more in retirement than he will now? So if it is just money why is he leaving?

The problem is that Rialto is not learning from any past mistakes:

  • You can’t promise what you don’t have.
  • You can’t spend what isn’t coming in.
  • You can’t depend on the leadership of intern staff in high level positions in difficult years.

Rialto has spent money or promised to spend money they do not have over and over again. They added $2 million to redeveloping Frisbee park, They have locked Rialto into an agreement to build a 22 acre park in the new Renaissance area with no funds for that park, handed over hundreds of thousands of dollars to the police with this new raise (regular officer alone will make an extra $6 thousand a year with the new raise) and still funnel money to special interests and development buddies that dump money into their campaigns.

Image

Why were the unintended consequences of Rialto’s shelter switch not considered?

On June 12th 2018 Rialto moved into a direction that would change how Rialto handles shelter services. Many other things are and will be effected with this change. When this blogger asked specific questions about consequences of moving shelter services from Devore to Riverside County everyone points you back to minor savings.

Let’s look at these consequences in light of the $67,000 savings:

  • 32% of Rialto residents do not have reliable transportation to get to a shelter that is 55 mins away – More low income families will be impacted by this change and will be separated from their pets in some cases forever.
  • Current Cat rescue programs will no longer be able to help with the stray cat load – Programs currently working with Devore on our stray cat load will not be able to work with Riverside County do to the added distance.
  • Overload of animals and hitting capacity – Even though John Welsh from Riverside County Animal Control and Lt Smith from Rialto Police are sure we wont hit capacity there doesn’t seem to be a plan in place for the what if’s. With Rialto, Colton, Grand Terrace, Loma Linda and Fontana all sending animals OUTSIDE of the county of origin many believe that capacity will be reached.
  • Slower response from animal control staff – Our 2 animal control officers already do a ton of work and work hard to get to calls as soon as possible. Now they are going to travel farther and fight the same traffic as everyone else meaning more calls will be pushed off until the next day. Also the police chief is pushing off adding staff until NEXT YEAR!!!!
  • San Bernardino County has set aside $10 Million to develop a state of the art facility in the greater Rialto Region – This means that the county is looking for an opportunity to build a state of the art facility that is closer than even Devore.
  • If partner cities like Rialto don’t come back this will effect how the facility is developed – Contract cities like Rialto, Grand Terrace and Fontana help keep shelter facilities open and operating. If San Bernardino County can’t get cities to come back the the new center will be built for a different population and placed closer to existing contract cities.

There is an answer to this abuse of power and lack of fore site the people must call the council and demand action. From where the people stand there are 2 options:

  1. Return to San Bernardino County and broker a better deal that help’s Rialto deal with budget issues but keeps shelter services closer.
  2. Address distance issues and sit down with rescue organizations that are unable to preform vital services at the new shelter.

Want to talk about Humane Treatment of animals? Lets talk about this dog right here. This Police K9 was left in a cage not aloud to do his job or be with the police he was trained to work with just because the city council decided to attack his human handler. We spent almost $8,000 on locking this dog in a cage and ruining his career. Just in case you were wondering the dog we bought to replace this one cost $10,000 and the city bought the replacement dog and paid the bill for the kenneling of this dog. Prior to this witch hunt the Friend’s of Rialto K9’s used to cover K9 costs but our council has allowed them to be chased off and abused.

Want to help? Well it is time to email, call and text our leaders and let them know you wont stand by and allow them to act recklessly while things get out of control. We need to act now to make a change time is on nobody’s side.

MAYOR: DEBORAH ROBERTSON
MAYOR PRO TEM: ED SCOTT
COUNCIL MEMBER: JOE BACA, JR.
COUNCIL MEMBER: RAFAEL TRUJILLO
COUNCIL MEMBER: ANDY CARRIZALES

Image

While You Were Sleeping Massive Changes Took Place in Rialto

 

 

On June 12th 2018 the Rialto City Council voted to move animal control services over to Riverside County rather than look to keep those operations local. Interim Police Chief Mark Kling went on and on at the June 12th meeting saying how nice the Riverside County Shelter is and how this will be better for Rialto. The Police Chief asked three of the people from the Riverside County west shelter to come out and do a presentation.

What was poor in this presentation is that there were a lot of games being played when it came to the shelters’ kill numbers. When Chief Kling spoke about Devore he used exact numbers when referring to Riverside County’s kill rates, they spoke in vague percentages. There was no mention of any issues are problems. For example what happens when the shelter runs out of space or how will the city get the word out to people, letting them know where they can find their lost pets as of July 1st. This is very concerning since it is right before the July 4th holiday when most people loose their pets. There is no money being dedicated to getting the word out in mass in the next four days (thank god for this blog). We did speak to John Welsh with Riverside County Shelter systems and he did say he would be reaching out to local media (including this publication) to work to educate residents on the change in shelter services

While the Riverside shelter is beautiful and very state of the art, we have questions on whether the facility is designed to handle animal services for two counties let alone two of the biggest counties in the State of California. John Welsh told us that this contract was possible because of the work that Riverside County has done to address their numbers of animals housed in their shelters. John Welsh seemed pretty optimistic that there wouldn’t be any problems with reaching capacity.

We sat down with Police Captain Wilson with Rialto Police and he said that this is not a perfect situation, but it was something worth looking into. He also broke down some of the items that were not clear in Police Chief Kling’s presentation to council on June 12th.

  • Devore requires injured animals to be taken to a vet prior to being admitted to the shelter forcing the city to pay a separate vet bill – Captain Wilson was not sure why in house vet services covered by SB County are not used to cover these costs.
  • Devore doesn’t like to take cats and will not take kittens. Currently if we have kittens we have to take them to Grand Terrace at a cost of $70 a kitten.  Riverside County will take cats and kittens as part of the contract – Reports from people living in the Riverside County area are reporting that even though Riverside County takes kittens,  they euthanize them (see image below). John Welsh from the Shelter system wasn’t sure about the complaint below but did acknowledge that they are getting better at dealing with felines.
  • Riverside County has a panel set up for animal seizures from homes found to be unfit costing the city money to hold the animals while the case is adjudicated – What this will do is build a greater barrier between owners who may be likely to seek out an opportunity to fix the problems found and keep their animals.
  • There is no plan to address the longer travel time to the new shelter when picking up lost animals – According to the last Southern California Associated Governments local profile on Rialto “32 percent of Rialto households own one or no vehicles”. This means over a third of our population will lack the needed resources to travel 55 mins to get to the shelter to pick up their animals. Another problem is that 7.8% work and live in Rialto, while 92.2% commute to other places meaning that people who have a car to get to this far away shelter are at work and stuck in traffic. The Riverside shelter does not have late hours and are only open for a short time on Saturdays and closed on Sundays.
  • There is no plan in place to deal with the problem of what happens when the shelter is full – Riverside County already has a big problem with lost and abandoned animals. Now with Fontana, Rialto, Loma Linda, Grand Terrace and Colton adding animals to the system the question isn’t if , but when they hit capacity. John Welsh told us that this contract was possible because of the work that Riverside County has done to address their numbers of animals housed in their shelters. John Welsh seemed pretty optimistic that there wouldn’t be any problems with reaching capacity.
  • When asked about the accusation that Riverside County is reaching well outside their boarders in an effort to fill the gap of a lack of adequate funding in a County facing massive budget shortfalls Captain Wilson confirmed knowledge of Riverside County hasting budget problems and that these contracts would provide some relief – So the question is how can we guarantee that we will still get what we have been promised out of the contract and that they wont start making massive cuts to save the program? John Welsh admitted that the shelter spent the last year in the red but that they did not hunt out this contract, the city of Rialto came to them.

We spoke to someone in the office of SB County Supervisor Janice Ruthaford. They claimed that Riverside County was poaching San Bernardino County cities in an attempt to cover cuts in funding, that SB County has set aside $10 Million to develop a new state of the art animal control facility to be placed in a more central location to cities in the valley that currently use Devore. Dan Flores from Josie Gonzalez office also confirmed that there is a plan to build a facility here in the Inland Valley region. He did say that if they did not have the partners from local cities that they may be forced to re think the design and capacity of the facility.

The problem with this is that the change in shelter services was made without any public input. The Police and city are quick to run out and promote the latest tax increase or law, but when they are looking at a hot button issue like moving animal shelter services they are tight lipped and move under the cover of darkness.

The problems that still exist are access to the animals for the Rialto population, why the city was so tight lipped about the change and why are they still waiting to tell people about the anticipated change in shelter locations? We here at Rialto Now feel confident that we have spurred the right people into moving with the information sooner rather than later.

 

 

Rialto After the June Primary Elections

 

Anyone that felt like I did about the June 5th Primary here in Rialto probably said “why did I waste my time”.

City Hall, the Unions in this city and Table Rock Capital the company responsible for the massive water rate increases with nothing more than a few new water meter to show for it made a full court push to remove any accountability from the City Council to spend our money wisely.

The phone calls from prominent people living in Rialto were non stop and made this blogger very sad for Rialto’s future. The police and fire unions did everything in their power to make sure you were scared to tell the city that their reckless spending would not fly any longer.

What was worse were the calls from supporters the next day to fluff their feathers and show off!! The most disappointing one was long time resident Gretta Hodges who was swayed because someone named Mr Willson and Amy Crow said they would be fired if the measure did not pass. These two people who had no idea who would be let go used their power and influence to sway a person who was dead set against loosing the checks and balances of a 5 year sunset.

So I guess everyone is prepared for loss of control and higher taxes for the sake of other people who they don’t even know.

Bright spots after this election?

Jason Anderson beat District Attorney Ramos from his seat in office. Hopefully this means that the Public Integrity Unit will finally start doing their jobs and not allow dirty reckless politicians hide their laundry list of dirty deeds.

The Utility Tax can still be defeated in November as there will be a measure on the ballot to undo any tax that isn’t passed by 2/3 of the voters.

A measure to roll back harmful gas and car registration fees will be on the ballot giving taxpayers thousands of dollars back in their pockets.

Image

Previous Older Entries