Rialto Has a New Entertainment Destination

Rialto your theater has arrived!

One of the first tenants to open in the new Renaissance Marketplace made a big fancy splash last week. They held a series of Friends and Family and VIP openings prior to the official opening to the public on August 16th. Everyone was amazed to see the finished product that had been in the works for more than 4 years!

Former Councilwoman Lynn Hirtz was the one responsible for securing this keystone portion of the new Renaissance Marketplace. In a phone interview former Councilwoman Lynn Hirtz said “she was happy to see the new theater come to reality and she couldn’t wait to enjoy a movie here at home in what she has heard is such a beautiful finished product”.

Other notable dignitary’s that shared with us their excitment over the new center were Community College Board Member Joseph Williams. Mr Williams was “excited to see so much buzz about things happening in Rialto. There are good people here in Rialto looking for a place to have fun and enjoy life and I am glad to see this development provide that”. Another person excited to see the new theater was former Assembly Member Carter. Mrs Carter was “amazed at how beautiful they made the theater and really worked hard to integrate some of the local flair into the building”.

One common thread in everyone’s minds is that this theater is amazing!

Cinemark offers the following special options:

  • XD Sound Theaters – These theaters rain sound all around you as you are immersed in the most inclusive sound experience ever imagined as well as larger screens.
  • DBOX seats – These DBOX seats bring you into the action with motion activated seats where you can control the intensity level.
  • Luxury Seats – Every seat in the theater is a soft reclining seat with heat warmers and a swivel tray for all of your snacks.
  • Inside Restaurant – The inside of this theater is more than popcorn and soda they offer Pizza Hut pizza, Hagen Daz ice cream, Starbucks Coffee, Alcohol and Restaurant with a full menu!

Moviegoers can sign up for Cinemark Movie Club, a unique monthly movie membership program offering ticket and concession discounts along with other exclusive benefits for $8.99 per month. Movie lovers can instantly join and begin taking advantage of their benefits at all Cinemark locations by downloading the Cinemark app or by visiting cinemark.com/movieclub.

After touring this newest icon to hit the landscape it is clear that Rialto will do to other cities what has been happening to Rialto. This theater has the potential to pull people from neighboring cities especially Fontana.

Renaissance Marketplace Offers Rialto Local Shopping Opportunities

Rialto residents have been spending a lot of their hard earned money outside of Rialto because the options to shop here at home were extremely limited. Over the last 7 years a slow trickle of new options have moved into the area. Rialto leaders were so worried about the ability for new retail and restaurants to find success in Rialto that they would implore people to tell surveyors that they ate out at least 3 times a week so that we would fit into a certain demographic even if that wasn’t true.

The beginning of the new food options for Rialto was the construction of the In & Out restaurant pad that brought a Chipotle, Major Brain Freeze, Jersey Mikes and Wing Stop. There was supposed to be a Miguel’s Jr and Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf but that site proved to be maxed out on space.

Years later the Coffee Bean would happen on the opposite corner and the Super Walmart Development brought things like a relocated Starbucks, Menchies Yogurt and Hawaiian BBQ.

The real influx of desirable food options is this development the Renaissance Marketplace. This development gave Rialto what it was missing out on and that has sent us searching for better food and retail options. Some of the standouts are a Drive Thru Habit, Chick-fil-a, Wich Which and so much more. The Renaissance Marketplace also brought needed retail options into the Rialto area. Even though residents were promised a Target and many residents are still upset over loosing this retailer many of us knew they were never serious.

Rialto will now have a Burlington Coat Factory, Ross and 5 Below.

Outside of the food and retail the coolest part of this development is the new Cinemark Movie Theater………

Grand Openings & Other Fun Stuff This Weeked

Rialto has gone from dirt lots, to construction noise and finally new stores opening in Rialto.

We have already seen Five Below & 24 Hour Fitness open up and now things are really going to kick into high gear.

This week we saw WSS & Coffee Bean open up and the next couple months there will be a flood of new businesses opening coupled with your normal events that happen all year long. If you can make it you should check out as many of these Grand Openings as possible so you can learn about all the new stuff coming to Rialto. Also don’t forget about the last Movie night being held at Bud Bender park!

MOVIES IN THE PARK: Featuring The Sandlot
“Free Admission”
7:00 pm – 10:30 pm • Movie starts at 8:00 pm
Bud Bender Park • 235 N. Lilac Ave, Rialto
Blankets, jackets, and lawn chairs are suggested.
Information: (909) 421-4949

Grand Opening of 7-Eleven at Renaissance Marketplace 1130 W. Renaissance Parkway, Rialto. This Friday, July 27 from 10 am – 4 pm.

The City of Rialto will be taking some of the young ladies (ages 12-19) of the community on a field trip to the 6th Annual Girl Talk Conference. The theme of this year’s conference is Social Media, and the correlating hashtag is #ITSABOUTYOU. The conference will hold special workshops on various topics, including: art class, vision board/goal setting, self-defense, texting and driving, self-esteem, and more.
In order to complete your RSVP, a parent or guardian must download, fill-out, sign, scan and email the CITY OF RIALTO and GIRL TALK permission slips to rsmith@rialtoca.gov. Permission slips can be found here: http://yourrialto.com/wp-cont…/…/2018/07/Girl-Talk-Flyer.pdf
The conference, transportation, lunch, and a snack are FREE. Registration is limited to the first 20 young ladies who register.

Please Join Us In Celebrating the new WSS in Rialto, California!
630 W. Foothill Boulevard
Saturday, July 28, 2018
10:00am
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony: 10:30am
There will be music, free haircuts, refreshments, giveaways and more throughout the entire day!
Meet and Greets with:
Ramon Morales, Ivica Zubac and Z-Ro

This community event will feature free health screenings, resources, and backpacks until supplies last! Join us. You won’t want to miss out!

Who: Assemblymember Eloise Gomez Reyes, Senator Connie M. Leyva, Supervisor Gonzales, and the Bloomington Community Health Center

What: Backpack Giveaway and Health Fair

When: Saturday, July 28th from 9am-1pm

Where: Corner of Valley Blvd. and Cedar Ave in Bloomington
18601 Valley Blvd, Bloomington, CA 92316

For more information or to RSVP, please contact Roxanna Gracia at (909) 381-3238 or at Roxanna.gracia@asm.ca.gov

 

Will the City Council Choose to Overtax Residents This Week?

(Photo by Micah Escamilla/The Sun)

On Tuesday July 24th at 6pm the City Council has the task of looking at the next years budget and the impacts of $120 to $150 Million in debt over the next ten years. There are a lot of tax ideas on the table and for the most part the city staff and the budget advisory committee have not advised any additional tax increases.

What the council chooses to do is always a surprise……

The scary thing is that even looking down the barrel of hundreds of millions of dollars in debt the current council seems to be spending money like drunken sailors. Most recently the massive 8% raise that Rialto Police Department got with a 2 year retro pay back wasn’t cheap. Early calculations put this raise at almost an additional Million Dollars a year (money we don’t have). There is no fund plan to replace equipment for these cops or to add additional officers to the streets as Rialto prepares to open a 2nd major retail development, we simply paid off the cops for some reason.

What is sad is the Fire Department and other city departments all are still waiting for their turn to get a hand out and sadly we’re not sure there is anything left.

Some of the taxes your council will be looking at adding to your bills are:

  • Sales Tax – Several cities impose a sales tax surcharge of 0.25% to 1.0% to help pay for public safety services. Local cities with such levies include Riverside,  and Menifee, among others. If the tax measure restricts the use of funds for a specific purpose such as public safety, then
    Proposition 13 requires a 2/3 super majority vote. This creates a high hurdle for passage,due to the absence of overwhelming popular support. To avoid the 2/3 vote requirement, some cities establish the tax measure as a general tax (so they can abuse and steal this money as they see fit) and commit to use the funds to maintain or enhance public safety (often with advisory votes). Sales taxes are the City’s largest revenue source for the first time in years, due to the completion of several retail projects (Rialto Marketplace) and the capture of sales taxes from the Medline Industries facility. The City forecasts that it will receive $16,231,000 in FY 18, a growth of $9,053,377 since FY 12. Medline Industries reported quarterly sales taxes to the City for the first time in June 2017 and the City projects full year returns of $4,400,000. The City agreed to rebate 50% of this amount to Medline as an incentive to relocate its point of sale to Rialto, so the net benefit to the General Fund will be $2,200,000. As the Renaissance Marketplace completes toward the end of FY 18, sales taxes should receive another boost of approximately $750,000 per year in FY 19.
  • Utility Users Tax – The City adopted the Utility User Tax in 2003 as an 8% levy upon all utility consumption. This revenue projects for FY 18 at $13,890,500. On June 5, 2018, the City’s voters approved a permanent extension of this revenue source. This revenue has grown reliably by approximately $500,000 each year because of economic expansion, and may receive continuing boosts in the years ahead from new development (Niagara and Building 5/6). The principal risk (other than repeal) is the trend toward co-generation and legislative exemption of certain utilities from the payment of local taxes. Households are also “cutting the cord” and eliminating cable TV service and landline phone service, depressing those sources of utility tax income. This is now a permanent tax at 8% and is supposed to be reduced to 6% as promised after the passage of the tank farm tax. 
  • PERS Tax – In 1958, the City adopted Ordinance No. 414 creating a property tax surcharge to fund employee retirement. The City Council annually established the tax rate and collected the property tax. The rate ranged from a low of 0.1000 to a high of 0.1506, with a historical average of 0.1316. When voters approved the Utility Tax in 2003, the City Council did not abolish the tax, but simply set the rate to 0.0% each year thereafter. The City retains the authority to levy the tax. The current City Attorney opines that the City may use the revenues from the PERS Tax only to pay for benefits.
  • Residential Community Facilities District – A Residential Community Facilities District imposes a special tax upon the owners of new residential units offsetting the cost of public services, ideally producing a neutral fiscal impact to the City. Generally, residential development costs the City more in services than it provides in revenue, thus the special tax. The Developer of a new residential project approves the special tax and then passes it along to the homebuyer. The homebuyer considers this tax in the purchase decision.
  • Transient Occupancy Tax – Most cities in California levy a transient occupancy tax on short-term stays in local lodging facilities. Rates range from 4% to 15% statewide. Rialto’s rate is currently 9% of gross room revenues. Rialto does not have a significant lodging sector; however, developers propose two new hotels in the Renaissance Specific Plan and the City Council set high priorities for such development. Increasing the TOT rate may discourage these uses, and the City Council has reduced other development impact fees to incentivize the new hotels. An increase in the TOT requires a majority vote of the electorate at a general election. The current rate is 9% in Rialto.
  • Fire Protection District – A Fire Protection District provides a variant to the other forms of public safety taxes. A city may establish a Fire Protection District upon 2/3 voter approval – they are deemed special taxes under Proposition 13. The new district may levy an assessment as an ad valorem tax, a parcel tax, or other approved structures. The monies raised go directly to a special fund available only for fire protection
    services. These funds may supplant or supplement funding from other sources, including the General Fund, Community Facility District levies, and others. Ultimately, the new revenues from this structure release existing general fund revenues to support other services. The responsibility for managing the Fire Protection District typically resides with the City Council. The District could establish the tax at the full net cost of Fire Department (approximately $16 million) or some lesser amount. (This tax is levied on everyone, there are no special exemptions for Seniors or Low Income individuals)
  • Measure U – Adopted by voters in 2014, Measure U established a business license tax on fuel storage capacity. On November 4, 2014, Rialto voters approved a tax of up to $1.00 per cubic foot of liquid storage capacity for any wholesale liquid fuel storage business. The primary targets for the new tax were the businesses that operate the “tank farm” on Riverside Avenue, south of the I-10 Freeway. The businesses scheduled to pay the tax included, among others, Kinder Morgan, Tesoro, and Shell Oil. The tax did not apply to retail service stations. The City Council pledged to reduce the utility tax from 8% to 6% upon implementation of Measure U. On February 22, 2017, the Superior Court for the County of San Bernardino ruled in favor of the City of Rialto and determined that the tax was valid and enforceable. The plaintiff businesses then filed an appeal with the Appellate Court of the State of California. The parties expect to present the case to the Appellate Court in May 2018, with oral briefings approximately 6-9 months thereafter (late 2018 or early 2019). The City expects a decision before June 2019. Depending upon the outcome, either party could appeal to the California Supreme Court, lengthening the time before a final determination. The City holds approximately $22 million in escrow pending the court determinations. The annual revenue averages approximately $8 million. The pledge to reduce the Utility Tax by 2% reduces the annual revenue yield by approximately $3.6 million. (this tax was sold as the savior to our financial woes and now there are talks of settling with the tank farm operators making this entire effort a wash if the council were to keep their promise on reducing the Utility Users Tax).
  • Truck Transportation Fee – The BAC and the City Council have asked whether a fee can be levied upon truckers or trucking operations that burden City streets. The City would levy the fee on a per trip basis or some other logical driver using tracking technologies. The City Attorney opined that state and federal law likely prohibit a fee upon trucking for the use of City streets. A fee based upon weight may be permissible but the City could only impose the fee to recover permitting costs (and not generate revenue for public service costs). Based upon
    CA opinion, it does not appear to provide a significant revenue source except as a cost recovery mechanism for the regulatory costs. Keep in mind the Trash Fee (TAX) is completely legal. The city charges you a fee every month because trash trucks cause to much damage to the road. So the city can tax you but not the people responsible for the damage!!!! Also remember Burrtec has a 10 year contract with the city and single handedly funds the Mayors campaign efforts.
  • Code Enforcement – Cities often levy fines for non-compliance with property maintenance codes. Rialto issues administrative citations for code violations and collects a small amount of fines, penalties, and interest. The City Council directs Code Enforcement to obtain compliance, rather than collect revenue. Consequently, our implementation procedures routinely waive fines upon compliance. The City
    does collect out of pocket abatement costs. In 2015, staff proposed to levy additional costs for re-inspection costs but the City Council tabled the proposal for further clarification, again repeating the primary purpose of Code Enforcement. The City currently does not collect significant sums from code enforcement violations, primarily cost recovery for third party abatement costs.  The Staff Recommendation is that City Council revisit added costs for extraordinary Code Enforcement compliance issues, notably repeat offenders. BAC Recommends that the City Council add stronger provisions to the Rialto Municipal Code authorizing administrative citations to encourage compliance, seeking restitution from repeat offenders, and instituting procedures to resolve code violations expeditiously. Get ready for the hammer to drop!!!!
  • Street Sweeping Program – Most cities cite vehicles parked in areas scheduled for street sweeping. Throughout California, Regional Water Quality agencies are aggressively requiring cities to implement storm water remediation programs, and street sweeping programs implement this mandate. The City is developing the mechanics of a program to improve the efficiency of street sweeping. The City currently contracts with Burrtec for street sweeping services. Burrtec simply avoids parked cars, resulting in inefficient sweeping. The City must incur capital costs for signage installation, and recover its costs from fees. The goal of this program is compliance and neutral costs, and not primarily as a revenue generator. The City estimates the potential 1st year net revenue at $700,000.

So residents have to decide how much more taxes are you prepared to pay? How much more control are you willing to give and why are you allowing the council to act so recklessly with your money?

If you’re scared of talking to these people in public face to face then email them or call them. The only way they get the message is by knowing that there are others out there with questions!

MAYOR: DEBORAH ROBERTSON

drobertson@rialtoca.gov

(909) 873-8874

(909) 644-8520 Cell

MAYOR PRO TEM: ED SCOTT

edscott@rialtoca.gov

(909) 875-0653

(909) 746-7643 Cell

COUNCIL MEMBER: JOE BACA, JR.

jbaca@rialtoca.gov

(909) 820-2519

COUNCIL MEMBER: RAFAEL TRUJILLO

rtrujillo@rialtoca.gov

(909) 820-2525

(909) 562-2476 Cell

COUNCIL MEMBER:

ANDY CARRIZALES

acarrizales@rialtoca.gov

(909) 820-2525

(909) 586-2020 Cell

Planning Gina Gibson

ggibson@rialtoca.gov

(909) 421-7240

Robb Steel Development Services Director

rsteel@rialtoca.gov

(909) 820-8008

Ahmad Ansari Interm City Administrator

Office: (909) 820-2528 |

City Cell: (909) 644-2032 |

Email: aansari@rialtoca.gov

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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Real Leaders Step Up in Times of Need

One problem that plagues all departments in the city of Rialto is staffing issues. As you saw in our last post about how Rialto Police are having problems with keeping staff this situation is a little different. Yes Rialto Fire is having a problem with their Ambulance Operator program people are using it as a stepping stone to another department.

This shortage is due to the fact that California has many active fires going on so some of our staff are out fighting those fires. Rialto fire was looking at shutting down MA202 due to not having an available EMT. Well according to the Rialto Fire Department Facebook Page the Fire Chief Sean Grayson was not having any of that and decided to take matters into his own hands.

Fire Chief Grayson cancled his plans and came in to cover the ambulance and go from the top rank in the department to the lowest rank in the department.

“Last Saturday we had a severe staffing shortage with all the local fires going on. We were going to shut down MA202 due to us not having an available EMT. Rialto Fire Chief Sean Grayson responded to the call, canceled his family plans, and came in to work on the Ambulance. Yes, you heard me right!” Rialto Fire Facebook Page.

Rialto Fire and the Residents of a Rialto were lucky to have a Fire Chief Like Matt Fratus who was very humble and approachable. It is good to see that his replacement in Fire Chief Grayson is just as much a stand up guy. It is very unlikely to see a Chief do something like this. He could have bumped another ranking officer down to take the grunt work but he didn’t he seems to have pulled his own weight.

“Chief Grayson said he would not let the citizens of Rialto be without an Ambulance for 24 hours. While he was on shift he performed EMS inventory, washed rigs, and cleaned dishes. He also ran multiple medical aids and a CPR.” Rialto Fire Facebook Page

One thing we always want to remember when writting about corruption is to also call out awesome acts whenever we can!

Want to say thanks to the chief? Post a message to the Rialto Fire Facebook Page!

More Employees Exit the City as Police Department Remains in Turmoil

Former Police Chief Mark Kling has quite a task before him as he was brought in to clean up the mess his former Lt. made when he was promoted to Police Chief in 2016. Former Chief Randy Deanda ripped through the department and left a wake of corruption and destruction that are still being felt today. Many saw Police Chief Kling’s return as a sign that better days are ahead but that hasn’t happened.

Both the rank and file in the department have not seen the action everyone was expecting and promised with Kling’s return. Everyone has been left with a weird feeling that normally comes after someone you trust comes by and slugs you in the stomach then walks away with the thing you care about most. Even this blogger has been left with a sour taste in my mouth as there seems more corruption to expose in Rialto than there are people worthy to defend.

Rialto has already seen an exodus of staff fleeing the city leaving many jobs to fill and other staff members to pick up the slack. Development services is not only down 4 or 5 key positions but we have interim staff making recommendations for the next 10 years of critical budget shortfalls due to extremely generous retirement packages.

Rialto Police is probably one of the hardest hit by this exodus of staff. According to sources close to the Police Department there are 10 sworn officers working for Rialto that are testing with other agencies. Two female staff members are already on their way out. Dispatch Supervisor Angela Haddad and Police Officer Cheri Shaffer are both leaving Rialto.

Dispatch has been one of the areas hardest hit with employee retention. Many of the dispatchers who worked in Rialto were subjected to poor working environments, quite a few were married to someone on the job and when their spouse fell into one of the departments witch hunts they were collateral damage and other agencies pay better and have more room for moving up in your career.

In 1997 Rialto had 124 sworn personnel now they only have 89. In 1997 Rialto had a population of 83,000 people. As of 2016 Rialto has a population of 103,314 people. These figures show that Rialto’s population grew by 20,314 residents and the amount of officers dropped by 25 sworn personnel. Add to that the addition of the In & Out area, Super Walmart shopping center and now the Renaissance shopping center opening this year there will be many more people here in the city of Rialto.

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