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.

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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

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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.

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Truth on Measure M

We have been inundated with attacks on Social Media and in the comments of this blog. The worst of the attacks we choose to moderate. Since the Measure M supporters keep attacking us and the No on Measure M group we thought it would be fitting to tell you what they are not. Also lets kick this off with one of their statements to us for publishing the No side of this measure:

TheREAL FACTS About Measure M Measure M is a tax increase. The 8% Rialto Utility Users Tax (UUT) was given to the …

You misquoted the article, little nugget

So the people who get these benefits are clearly Yes on Measure M supporters and for good reason. They have a vested interest in Rialto having money since they work here including councilman Scott. Having 100% health coverage means they pay nothing towards their health plan (see video below). The city told the Budget Advisory Committee that city management staff and elected leaders have 100% coverage for LIFE!!!!

So of course the Thompson’s and Councilman Scott want to keep taking your money they need it for all of their perks. This is not to say our staff should not be taken care of in retirement but we are the only Public Agency in the region that offers:

  1. Health Care benefits that are covered 100% for management and elected leaders.
  2. Cover up to a family in retirement for life.

So this means that if you still have dependent kids the city will offer them Health Benefits even if you are retired. Not even Rialto Unified offers this perk to their staff. When you retire from Rialto Unified only the retiree is covered any spouses or kids have to pay for their own benefits.

Another nugget that came out in the comments of our blog is the fact that one approved the council can raise or lower the rate as they see fit. These words are not mine but those of Resident/Budget Advisory Member/City Employee for an outside city Lupe Camacho. Lupe is a great person that seems to be looking for the truth but her affiliation with our least favorite councilman makes it hard to tell who is controlling who.

“My statement never implies that council is “only” able to increase the tax without tax payer input. Let’s be clear. Fact: Our elected governing board would be able to “Increase” or “Decrease” the tax.” Lupe Camacho

Lupe went on to chastise me on how I responded to her comments. I focused on the fact that council can increase the Utility Users Tax and she was upset that I didn’t point out that they could lower it too. From my experience with this council they will never give you back a dime but they may find a way to take your last dime.

“When you choose to omit the fact that our elected board can also select to decrease the tax, you are interjecting your personal opinion and skewing the facts. Although you may have your own valid reasons for believing that, it is your opinion and it should be stated as such.
I personally do not share your point of view on the fact I have stated above and I just want to be clear about it.” Lupe Camacho

Another fun fact is the Yes on Measure M people are stressing out pretty bad since it looks like they are going to loose badly June 5th. They have become so desperate that they are promising to recall dirty elected leaders, a spending over site board and more safety.

  • Promising to recall dirty elected leaders – Love to see who is going to fund that, recalls are not cheap and the yes crowd likes dirty elected leaders.
  • A spending oversight board – Any board would be picked by the same people they are supposed to watch and the current oversight committee has had issues with people shitting down discussion and wants to hear nothing about abuse of spending. Also this isn’t in the ballot measure so the city is bound to nothing.
  • More safety – Even with the Utility Users Tax the city is $150 Million in debt we can’t pay so please show me where this safety is coming from?

Finally the city isn’t telling you that even if Measure M passes there is a Ballot Measure on the November Ballot that will make Measure M a thing of the past the California Two-Thirds Vote for State and Local Revenue Increases Initiative (2018).

“The measure requires tax measures to include a statement of how the revenues can be spent. If the revenue is to be used for general purposes, the law must state that the revenue can be used for “unrestricted general revenue purposes.” These requirements would apply to increases in state and local taxes. In the case of local government taxes, the measure requires that a statement of allowable uses be included in the ballot question presented to voters. Any change to the statement of allowable uses of revenue would have to be passed by two-thirds vote of the electorate in the case of local government taxes, or (3) a two-thirds vote of the electorate in the case of local citizen initiative taxes.” Legislative Analyst’s Office

Every poll put out has Measure M loosing 70-30%

So don’t buy into the last ditch efforts to twist your arm, you are not alone and yes you are taxed to death.

The council choose to play Russian Roulette with finances of the city. City Staff and the budget advisory committee advised the council to remain with the 5 year sunset and the council ignored that recommendation.

The Mayor choose to play chicken with the voters.

http://www.lao.ca.gov/BallotAnalysis/Initiative/2017-050

https://ballotpedia.org/California_Two-Thirds_Vote_for_State_and_Local_Revenue_Increases_Initiative_(2018)

How Regional Boards Are Eating Rialto Alive

Hello Rialto hope everyone is doing well.

We are just a few weeks away from the City of Rialto asking you to further burden yourself with a Tax (Measure M) that you will no longer ever have control over. We thought it would be good to start spilling out the massive problems with the Mayor and Councils approach to development.

Our fellow video blogger Gary Gileno put together a video about how city councils in other cities have a major impact on the lives of residents like Rialto. The video that Gary posted is about City Councilman and Regional Government Thug Alan Wapner. Why is this important to Rialto? Well many on the Ontario Council have made statements that they don’t fear upcoming unfunded liabilities within the PERS program because they are flushed with cash.

What most people don’t know is that the Medline Warehouse brings in over $6 Million each year in tax revenue Rialto only gets $3 Million each year. The other $3 Million goes to Ontario because of a deal Ontario worked out with Medline. Yes we took on a tenant that still has to pay money we should get to a city FLUSHED with CASH!!!! Must be a nice problem to have.

All of this was done without even letting the public know……..

Watch the video above and see what else this demon and his cohorts have planned for cities like Rialto.

While we get shorted on the full tax bill for these massive warehouses our roads are torn apart, our air gets more dirty and dangerous Big Rigs take over our roads.

Common Sense Says No To Measure M

TheREAL FACTS About Measure M
  • Measure M is a tax increase. The 8% Rialto Utility Users Tax (UUT) was given to the city council and all they did is abuse the tax and waste time and money. Now to remove any responsibility to the voters they are giving themselves a permanent TAX increase FOREVER!!!!!!!
  • This levy on utility bills provides roughly $14 million in revenue per year. These funds go into the General Fund and are abused by the city. The mayor and council play games with your taxes and name buildings and parks after their political allies. The council needs this money to cover the MILLIONS in Lawsuits that they have single handily brought on Rialto Tax Payers.
  • To scare you into voting for this measure the city is using the old scare tactic of taking away police and fire services. Councilman Ed Scott has been Quoted saying that rialto police the bottom of the barrel.
    • The police never respond to complaints and are causing more problems then they solve. Rialto Police are famous for the drive by they do when they respond to a call. This consists of cruising by the location at 45 MPH. Rialto Fire spends more time outside the city under a mutual aide agreement than they do inside the city. Also they are preparing to stack a Fire Tax on top of this one next year. ALL WITHOUT YOUR CONSENT!
    • Reducing the Public Works Department by 11 positions, will make little change since the city looks horrid as it is so nothing will change.
  • Had it not been for dedicated people like us the Council was HELL bent on charging this tax on all seniors!
  • Rialto Fire charges annual fees to pick you up in an emergency leading to more people avoiding calling for help and risking further injury by waiting or self transport.
  • Rialto charges you a TRASH TAX because BURRTEC trucks are too heavy for Rialto streets but we can’t charge BURRTEC for it because they are political allies of Mayor Robertson.
  • $100,000 a year is paid so that our elected leaders can travel all over the country on your DIME.
  • Even if this measure passes Rialto will still be bankrupt in 4 years. The only difference is you will be stuck with a Utility Users Tax that NEVER ENDS!!!!!
  • The people signed onto this TAX are doing so to keep the flow of your tax money into their pockets. A small handful have been bullied into signing on to this tax. Multiple people have reached out saying that the Mayor said get on board or else.

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