Rialto City Council Doubles Down With $2.5 Million Dollar Employee Raises

The Rialto City Council prepares to pay off more election day favors tonight as the Fire Union receives a $2.5 Million Dollar increase the city can’t afford. I respect our public safety officials but running for political office in this city and taking the Rialto Fire Union meeting was a big mistake. I learned that the only way a person gets the nod or financial support of any union in this city is by vowing blind devotion to whatever that union wants no matter if we can afford it or not.

These are costs we can’t afford, Rialto is the only public agency that has failed to address the $150 Million Dollars in unfunded liability the city of Rialto faces. They report the number being only $126 Million but that is because the other $24 Million is unfunded liabilities to the cities Retiree Medical Benefit Fund. You may be asking yourself how did they address the $24 Million in unfunded liabilities to the cities Retiree Medical Benefit Fund? They are simply ignoring it!!!

Yes this is how your elected officials deal with major problems they just ignore it and go on spending taxpayer money like nothing is going on!

To those of you that think I am wrong to say our elected officials are bought and paid by the unions, all you have to do is look at the juvenile way Councilman Ed Scott dealt with being given a professional opinion. Ed Scott voted against emergency repairs to the waste water treatment plant, voted against much needed infrastructure repairs but voted yes on the tab item presented by the Rialto Fire Union!

In the agenda for tonight’s meeting staff says that the $2.5 Million cost for this public union pay off is factored into the budget. So why would I say that this is a misleading statement? Well what the staff report fails to mention is that the way we afford this union pay off is by illegally dipping into the cities reserve fund.

“The City Council adopted the FY18-19 Budget with anticipated adjustments. Hence, the proposed compensation increases for FY 18-19 have been absorbed in the current Fiscal Year Budget. Future enhancements will need to be incorporated into future fiscal year budgets.”

The future enhancements referenced in the staff report are:

  • A change from the cities own ordnance that dictates that the city hold 50% of operation costs in a reserve account.
  • Additional taxes on homeowners for a fire district tax.
  • Additional taxes on Hotels.
  • Additional Sales & Gas Tax.

Another strange thing is that the cities Fire Chief was moved into the place of Iterm City Administrator before this contract was put in place is now the one responsible for signing off on its validity.

For City Council Meeting [March 26, 2019]

TO:                                           Honorable Mayor and City Council

APPROVAL:                      Sean Grayson, Interim City Administrator

FROM:                      Lucy M. Garcia, Director of Human Resources & Risk Management

Another glaring point in this agreement is the additional money that the city is dumping into the fire station and union staff. Right now the city offsets the costs of the cities fitness center and pool by paying for each and every employee to have access to the cities gym and workout facilities. Now the city is spending $79,000 this year alone on what the city already provides?

Medical Assessments and Fitness Equipment:  To address safety, the parties agree to new annual health assessments and fitness equipment at the fire stations.  Costs:  $79,000 initially (including $54,000 in medical assessment costs and $25,000 in fitness equipment costs). Equipment maintenance costs and other annual testing will ensue thereafter.

What is worse is there is zero accountability that the Fire Staff will actually use said equipment and there are heavy maintenance and replacement costs that this contract fails to address and ignores.

To add insult to injury the Rialto City Council hidden in the Consent Calendar is an increase in the rate of pay for all Commissioners in the city of Rialto….. No Wait that is a pay increase for the only commission that is paid the planning commission! Once again people who said they would volunteer their time are being paid and now they are receiving a raise we can’t afford. Still to this day there is no plan for how to deal with the $150 Million Dollar Unfunded Liabilities.

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Feeding America Riverside / San Bernardino To Open Kid’s Market at Local Corona School 3/27

Feeding America Riverside | San Bernardino (FARSB) announced it will begin providing a free farmer’s style monthly Kid’s Market (KM) starting Wednesday, March 27, 2019 at Norco-Corona Unified School District’s Parkridge Elementary School at 750 Corona Ave., in Corona.

 

FARSB and local leaders will kick-off the new program with a ribbon cutting ceremony, open to community members with proper identification, at the school starting at 10:15 a.m. The ceremony will be immediately followed by a food distribution where each child will take home an average of 10-15 pounds of nutrient-rich product, including fresh produce.

Each KM provides fresh fruits and vegetables supplemented with other healthy shelf stable foods to at-risk children and their families who might not otherwise be able to afford such nutritious foods. Students receive a bag filled with locally grown produce and other food products once per month on a day that school is in session for the academic school year.

Feeding America Riverside | San Bernardino has collaborated with school administrative staff and teachers to promote the upcoming distribution to children and their parents and assist support the school as they recruit and manage volunteers (often school staff, older students and family members of students).

“There is great news,” said FARSB Director of Philanthropy Lori Butler. “One in five children is food insecure in the Inland Empire, whereas, just last year that figure was one in four children at risk of going hungry every day. These Kid’s Markets are designed to impact our communities and see that more children and families are being fed that might otherwise fall through the cracks.”

An additional Kid’s Market was opened by FARSB last week at E. Neal Roberts Elementary School in San Bernardino.

“While tens of thousands of families, including those served by FARSB’s more than 400 community partners in the Inland Empire, are receiving meals through our regular distribution programs, many of the poorest and hungriest children slip through the cracks. The KM program targets children by working at public schools where we find the highest percentage of children receiving free/reduced-price meals during the school week,” said Vanessa Mercado, Director of Programs at FARSB.

“By focusing our attention on how access to healthy foods affects educational outcomes, we are creating a holistic approach in supporting our community’s kids. Hunger causes a myriad of problems for students like missing class, inhibited cognitive and developmental growth and even poor academic performance. The Kid’s Market is a program that addresses these issues and removes one of the main hurdles to academic success for our Inland Empire kids, regular access to nutritional food,” added Mercado.

To RSVP for the ribbon cutting or for more information please contact Vanesa Mercado: vmercado@feedingamericaie.org.

 

About Feeding America Riverside | San Bernardino

Feeding America Riverside | San Bernardino began in 1980 as Survive Food Bank in response to the increasing concern about the dual problems of hunger and food waste in the Inland Empire. Today, FARSB is the primary source of food for over 400 local nonprofit organizations, distributing over 2 million pounds of food monthly to emergency food pantries, homeless shelters, soup kitchens, high-need elementary schools, halfway houses, senior centers, residential treatment centers, shelters for the abused, after school programs and group homes. More than 100,000 men, women and children,  rely on the food bank’s distribution center each month to make ends meet.

Rialto City Council Member Threatens Legal Action Against Interm City Administrator and City Attorney

On March 12th 2019 the Rialto City Council held yet another episode of As Rialto Turns. Apparently Iterm City Manager Shaun Grayson and City Attorney Fred Galante gave Councilman Ed Scott a recommendation that he abstain from TAB 1 on the city council agenda because the tab item touched on his area of residence.

This enraged Councilman Ed Scott as he is not accustomed to being told what to do. What is funny is this was only a recommendation it was not an order, but Ed Scott took it as he was being forced to abstain. Mr Scott brought up the reason as to why he would not be involved in this tab item but wouldn’t go into detail about why he believed this was taking place short of claiming it was political and was clear in the staff report.

What was even more surprising was how quickly Ed Scott shut down City Attorney Fred Galante’s attempt to explain his recommendation and adding “I don’t care to hear your reason” as the city attorney tried to explain his actions. What is funny when Councilman Ed Scott is being sued our money and attorneys are fine to give him legal advise as long as he agrees with it.

To add insult to injury Ed Scott voted NO on every other single tab item outside on the tab item presented by Rialto Fire (the union that paid to get him re elected). We are not sure why Ed Scott decided to try and derail over 6 million in much needed infrastructure projects even a $49,000 item for Emergency Slope Repairs at the Rialto Waste Water Treatment Plant. So Ed Scott was mad at the City Attorney and Interm City Administrator but shouldn’t he be able to grow up and at least vote for emergency repairs to our Waste Water Treatment Plant!!!

Look to our next story as we outline how staff are fleeing Rialto City Hall in droves and what this says about Rialto’s future!

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New Fire Prevention Specialist Richard Boltinghouse Joins Rialto Fire

Richard Boltinghouse joins the Rialto Fire Department Family from the City of Chino Hills where he served as the Emergency Services Coordinator. He was responsible for development of their Emergency Operation Plans, Hazard Mitigation Plan, and training for city staff for ICS/NIMS/SEMS.

Prior to working for the City of Chino Hills, Richard worked for the City of Corona Fire Department where he had almost seven years of combined employment and volunteer service. At Chino Hills, he served as an Emergency Management and CERT Technician. Richard currently resides in the City of Corona with his wife Christina and their 5-year-old daughter Faithlyn.

Richard has a bachelor’s degree in fire and emergency management from Kaplan University and a master’s degree in public administration from Cal Baptist University according to his Linkden profile.

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Rialto Middle School Holds Annual Career Day

On Wednesday February 27th Rialto Middle School held their annual career day where fifty three different presenters came out to expose the students to a wide variety of potential careers. Many were your traditional careers like law enforcement, teaching and the medical field. Yet there were many presenters that were from career fields we may not think of when we are preparing kids for their future!

One presenter was John Merchant a local voice actor, professional beat boxer and a radio DJ personality. John Merchant showed off his latest project he worked on was the Missy Elliot Project where musician Christina Hall pays homage to one of the most influential female rappers of the 20th century. John also spoke to the kids about how to be successful in life with something you are passionate about. John Merchant didn’t talk at the students he spoke with them.

We came to this interview unprepared because we thought that Kenny Landreaux just worked for the Dodgers organization in the front office. We were not aware that he played professional baseball. Kenny came to speak to the filed of being a professional athlete and working in other facets in the professional sports arena. It was pretty cool to see that Rialto Middle School had him out to speak to the kids.

We wanted to see Mike Kindrich’s presentation just because of our knowledge of what his employer Mercy Air does. Mercy Air operates private air ambulance service helping get critically injured people to a care facility as quickly and safely as possible. When we found out Mike was a helicopter mechanic that was even better. Mike spoke to his body of work and the many different opportunities that existed in the field he worked in. Mike is a A&P Mechanic this A&P license has given Mike the ability to work as a civilian for the army, a ride mechanic for Disneyland and now a Mechanic for Mercy Air.

One thing that was clear at this career day was that the staff were invested in seeing the students succeed now in school and in the future. This career day event was inventive, exciting and totally an out of the norm type of event for a public school. This event was something you normally see in a private school not a public school setting. I was honored to be able to get a chance to attend and cover this event.

Big thank you has to go out to Mr Rod Campbell who invited us to this event, the principal who was so welcoming, school counselors for going the extra mile and the school security staff that always had a smile each time we saw them on campus!

 

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Double Homicide Rocks Flores Park Neighborhood

Rialto Police Detectives working on incident scene – Photo by Jennifer Maher

On February 25th around 5pm a shooting was reported to Rialto Police on Baseline just East of Cedar. When Rialto Police arrived on scene they discovered two victims shot in a vehicle that was facing Westbound. Witnesses said that the victims vehicle was approached by the suspects vehicle and while in motion and while side by side shot into the victims vehicle numerous times striking the two occupants.

Rialto Fire arrived on scene and transported the victims to Arrowhead Regional where life saving treatment but both victims passed away due to thier injuries. Still at this time Rialto Police do not have any suspects. The official statement from Rialto Police Public Information Officer Lt Stella is that they still do not have a motive in this case. The incident shook the quiet community of Rialto known as the Flores Park Area and snarled traffic for hours as Rialto Police worked late into the night investigating this tragic event.

Rialto was once known for violence like this in the 90’s but has seen a sharp decline in violent crimes especially car to car shootings. To make matters worse one of the victims of this crime was a High School Student from Carter High School Jaylen McClain. Parents and staff from Carter High School said that this week counselors were on hand to help students and staff deal with this tragic loss. Officers speaking to students also spoke about first getting to know Jaylen when he was 9 years old and say that it is tragic that something in his life led him to be killed this way.

Witness statements posted to our Facebook page spell out what happened that evening:

Stayc PaulI was on my way to take my Grandbaby to softball practice about 4:50pm. I was headed down baseline. I was at the light, as I crossed cedar ppl were honking at a gray 2 door Honda Civic because he was half in one lane half in the turn lane. Looked like he was shot in the head. He was in the driver seat, and his head was slumped back. It must’ve just happened when I passed. I didn’t see a second person though”.

What is sad is 10 years ago this community was dealing with gangs, drugs and graffiti coupled with a lot of home invasion robberies. A group of residents banded together to help Rialto Police deal with the unwanted crime in their neighborhood. A lot of good work was done for a few years and crime in this area was down dramatically. When Rialto Police started giving up on resident outreach in this area because some in the community were not comfortable with corruption going on inside the department and city things have taken a sharp decline. Just one week prior to this shooting an armed robbery and suspect pursuit ended behind the communities elementary school prompting school officials to hold an brief lock down. Drug activity has been on the rise in this community along with personal property theft and graffiti.

Nobody wants to see Rialto slip back into crime and unrest but nobody knows how to stop the slide?

The Rialto Police Investigations Unit was contacted and is currently conducting an investigation into the double homicide. Anyone with information concerning this investigation is asked to immediately contact Detective Ralph Ballew at (909) 820-8055 or via email at Rballew@rialtopd.com

Rialto Leadership Lacks The Ability To Lead ALL of Rialto

With homeless population increasing every single day and the core of the city falling into disrepair many of the regular unconnected people in Rialto are asking if our leaders still have what it takes to lead all of Rialto. There is development happening in the North and South ends of the city but as you move closer to the city center the decay becomes quite evident. This question isn’t just something whispered about in quite circles but people are asking it out loud in public forums and there really isn’t any answer to the questions.

At the Rialto Unified School Safety Seminar the question was asked multiple times about what the city and schools are doing to deal with homelessness and the crime and consequences that come with them. Rialto Police Lt. Cameron Nelson said that the police departments hands are tied by new public camping laws (nobody ever references a specific law). The problem has become so bad that parks and schools are now dealing with homeless living in the or near them. One are that was brought up at the school safety seminar was the walking trail behind Rialto Middle School and Warner Elementary School. Both of these schools have access gates that open up into this trail. This BLOGGER brought up many concerns with this trail and having access gates to the schools. The powers that be said I was crazy and just trying to get in the way of progress. Now we have unstable people living where kids walk to school and have access to the schools. Does a child have to be hurt or go missing before anyone listens?

When it comes to what our leaders it seems that most of them are ok with Rialto becoming an homeless magnet. Mayor Deborah Robertson seems on a fast track to begin opening housing shelters in Rialto. When new laws are thrown in the public’s faces as the reason that more isn’t being done to fix the problem I wonder what benefit we get from the HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of $$$$$ we spend on lobbyists and having our elected officials travel with our tax dollars to Washington and Sacramento.

Some if the worst areas of our city are the main corridors that people travel every single day! Areas like Route 66 that are full of shuttered businesses, graffiti and homeless are far from the beacons of progress and prosperity that our leaders preach about.

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