Rialto’s Budget Advisory Committee Proposes to Bring Back PERS Tax

Look we don’t want to say we told you so but…. we did!

We told you it was only going to get worse and we told you that the people leading this city could care less how much people struggle and how expensive it already is to live in the Inland Empire. Yes the Police, Fire and City Staff want to squeeze every bit of money you have until you are sucked dry!

The video above is a portion of the Facebook Live we did at the last Budget Advisory Committee meeting. In this meeting a tax that was fought off years ago never went away and there are a lot of people on the committee that want to bring it back including Police and Fire union reps. The fire union thinks you will be ok with another tax because this one can’t be abused like the Utility Tax, Trash Road Fee and all the grant money that spills into the city. You see this money can only be used to Pay PERS, it wont cover all of it but will cover a portion of the massive $20 Million a year (growing by $1.5 Million a year).

So ask yourself, Are you ready for ANOTHER tax?

Hmm seems like we have been saying that a lot lately? We wonder if the people are going to wise up soon?

More taxes on the horizon are:

  • Increased gas taxes
  • Sales Tax
  • Fire Tax

Heck soon you will be taxed on the air you breath!

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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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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Once Again Fontana Leaders Are Able To Pull Off What Rialto Can’t

City council and the Mayor have told us Rialto is never getting anything nicer than a Stater Brothers and there seems to be no plans for a decent regular market North of Baseline for the foreseeable future. The common reason that is given are Rialto’s Demographics not sure what they mean by that and I would hate to speculate but………. From what we have been told there are to many people here that don’t make a lot of money.

What we find hilarious is the fact that we never run into elected officials anywhere in Rialto but man you sure do bump into them outside the city. Not to mention the normal middle class family spends about $500 a month or more at stores outside of Rialto. To add insult to injury just one mile outside of Rialto in the same area as the new Renaissance development is a Sprouts shopping center. Sprouts is a healthy organic store that works to provide local produce whenever possible. Their produce is better than any other store in Rialto now and in most cases much cheaper.

So what do you do when your elected officials spend thousands of dollars traveling to far away locations and eating and hobnobbing with rich developers all on your dime? What do you do when they promise you we did everything we could?

The problem is they only work hard for items that will help them out financially look at the companies that get the most attention in Rialto. Burttec gets a 10 year no back out contract plus we will tax the citizens for the damage your trucks do to the city streets. What does the Mayor get in return? Campaign Contributions and Burttec holds private parties and campaign fundraisers for the mayor. Lewis is another big example of buying influence. Lewis owns every single elected leader because if you cross them not only will they not give you money but they will spend money to keep you out of office. The City Manager has facilitated opportunities for Lewis employees to corner residents that have questions about their contracts and bully them into being quiet.

Our leaders are not out for the people they are out for themselves!!!!!

Seniors Under Attack by Rialto Mayor and Council

 

A few weeks ago the City Council was tasked with a job. They were asked to look at Rialto’s financial future and take a series of actions to begin to lead us from the eventual cliff. What they did was very different.

The city of Rialto has had a Utility Tax since 2003 according to staff reports. Many cities have utility taxes but Rialto’s is unique since it contains a sunset. Every 5 years our Utility Tax comes to and end forcing the people to vote to reinstate the tax normally for another 5 years. As you will see from Interm City Manager Rob Steel’s presentation.

Rob Steel laid out a very comprehensive breakdown of the history and future of Rialto’s need for this tax. Next was the BAC (Budget Advisory Committee) with their recommendation to City Council. The BAC with much debate and study came to the conclusion that keeping things the way they are is the best bet for Rialto and is the least risky of the options. Rialto City Council barked that the BAC was not formed to mull over the UUT (Utility Users Tax) but to look for alternatives to new monies in Rialto. The problem is without the UUT there is no more of a Rialto. The UUT represents 18% percent of our general fund budget. Our general fund is already barley functioning and under $130 Million in unfunded burdens over the next 10 years and we can’t afford to loose 18% of our budget. Also City Council ASKED the BAC for their thoughts on the UUT and where things should go. Really City Council was simply looking for a rubber stamp to attack seniors and play Russian Roulette with Rialto’s Future.

After this the Mayors true plans and intentions were brought to light. She did all she could to poison the Budget Advisory Committee and bend them to her will. She found out that not everyone believed the same thing but that the recommendation was built off of a majority vote of the residents on the committee not any of the employees representing the various bargaining units. What Mayor Robertson is about to show you is she has little concern for Rialto’s ability to have sustainable growth in a safe city.

Given the chance these people would find any legal way to tip the scales in their favor to win an election for themselves but when it comes to obtaining a ballot measure that will pass and give Rialto the chance at a sustainable future they ignore every poll and conventional wisdom and make the most illiterate decision.

Now Ed Scott wants you to believe that the big bad unions are inside the Budget Advisory Committee meetings strong arming the residents on the Committee. Nothing could be farther from the truth the Union representatives have been helpful and respectful they are not even voting on the various recommendations the Committee is send out to Council (recommendations they choose to ignore). Ed Scott asks the residents to take the Committee by the horns well were doing just that but were taking City Council down to the Corruption starts with the failed leadership of the city. Does anyone believe the way you manage a horrible upcoming situation by spending your savings and saving less? Councilman Ed Scott does!

Ed Scott brings up the Monrovia Example, this has not been brought up but I asked Iterm City Administrator Robb Steel about it here is what he told us:

“Monrovia adopted a multi-prong strategy to pay down its unfunded liabilities for pensions.  The key component of it was to issue pension obligation bonds for their unfunded liability ($111 million).  I have attached the staff report that describes their program, which includes modest employee concessions and other revenue enhancements.  I have also attached the rating agency report on the proposed bond issuance to provide a sense of Monrovia’s overall financial condition.  The basic strategy with POB’s is to borrow funds at say 4% and invest with PERS (or a separately established trust) that earns say 7%.  If the raised monies are used to pay down the unfunded liability with PERS (for example), the City’s annual payments to PERS will be re-amortized and reduced (similar to using one time money to pay down your mortgage, then refinancing the balance).  The freed up cashflow can then be used to sustain services, or pay down the debt even faster.  The potential savings are significant (on $100 million as example, a 3% spread represents $3 million per year in interest savings in year 1).

This can be a good strategy, but it is not without risks.  The City establishes general fund secured debt that must be paid as a priority above all other expenditures, which limits financial flexibility and may force cuts in essential services during a financial disruption.  The bond investors may condition the financing on compliance with certain financial standards (minimum reserves, balanced budgets, etc.) that may seem reasonable but which may limit choices.  It can be a good move; it just warrants some discussion of the risks.  Our neighbor to the east defaulted on its payments for POB’s and spiraled into bankruptcy largely to shed that obligation.  

Jumping in to the hot topic of the day, in order to issue POB’s the City must demonstrate balanced general fund budgets and stable financial futures.  The S & P Report attached describes Monrovia’s current financial posture as quite stable and strong, with but a few reservations.  We would not receive a similar finding, in large part because our revenue stream is interruptible.  It would be very difficult (I think impossible) to borrow monies at reasonable rates when 20% of your revenue stream may be cut off every 5 years.  A permanent revenue stream (of some sort, does not necessarily have to be a utility tax) would be necessary to address this issue and allow the general fund to issue debt with a strong repayment forecast.  Alternatively, the City would need to compress expenditures by 20% to balance its budget and that we know would require dramatic service reductions.  At present, the City General Fund would not in my opinion receive an investment grade credit rating unless we collateralized the debt with something very secure (substantial cash reserve).”

Anyone interested in following in San Bernardino’s footsteps?

Joe Baca Jr. is not a risky guy when it comes to politics. He is a moderate like his father and isn’t known for taking on causes unless he knows for a fact he can shield himself from the consequences. For example when the city was in the process of selling of our water for 30 years he was the lone no vote. This did nothing for the people and Joe Baca Jr was well protected since he knew that the rest of the council was in lock step to sell away Rialto’s Water future. So in this matter why would he risk going after seniors and putting Rialto into a very tough spot financially? He doesn’t have to agree with his fellow council members on anything other than the fact that there is a need for a financial emergency. There seems to be more to this that what we see on the surface and there are a lot of behind the scenes conversations taking place to get everyone on the same page on such a horrible idea.

Not only is Rafael way out of his league here but he missed a golden opportunity to show he is the man of the Hispanic people. He has no idea what he is doing and his ignorance isn’t something that you can say comes from a good place because he is trying to make a difference. To add insult to injury he missed a golden opportunity to plea for better bilingual outreach. He left that up to Mayor Robertson and the Vice Chair of the BAC.

Councilman Carrizales is sitting in a seat where a man once sat who stood up for Rialto better than any other elected official and he had no use of his legs. Everyone is waiting for Councilman Carrizales to work to represent the people on the dias, nothing personal he is a great man and a devoted husband and father but Rialto needs leaders that lead in tough times like these not read off a pre-written script. When people act so far outside their character it leads one to believe what is really going on here.

Joe Baca Jr. went into what they can do in the future if the need for the Utility Tax ever changes but these are just words that will never happen to distract people from what is really going on.

Finally Dennis Barton reminds the Budget Advisory Committee that the council only cares about a recommendation that is unanimous meaning if certain members have different ideas of feeling those are to be shut up and closed down. Then the Mayor pitches a fit because she wants to make sure she is around to control this process and make sure her will is done. Also see Rafael Trujillo’s ignorance of how elections are run because he doesn’t even know that ballot information is in English and Spanish.

 

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Spelling Out Rialto’s Financial Future Without The Utility Tax

Rialto is in a very critical point in our cities existence and many may be looking to the incoming development as a saving windfall. We are here to tell you that this isn’t the case Rialto is in a tough spot and its going to take everyone doing their jobs to get us through it.

The reason we say everyone doing their jobs is right now some staff and the community are the only ones stepping up to the plate and if the rest of the players don’t figure that out, own their bad and get on board with getting things back on track it is going to spell disaster.

Here are the players as we see it and what they need to do to get things moving the right way:

  1. The Community – This group of people have been doing a lion share of the heavy lifting. Most people believe they have no recourse and they must accept bad leadership and money mismanagement. This is not the case even though we may be on a certain leaders team it never hurts to remind those leaders we support we can no longer give them blanket support for a laundry list of bad calls. You can see how the city council is fracturing as they all split off to their specific groups and ask for help with dealing with the others. When it comes to the Utility Users Tax the community can’t support TAX AND SPEND Liberals in such high majorities when voting and then look at a tax that actually provides us services we all say we want to keep as a bad thing.
  2. The City Council – I have never been a fan of forming a consensus I believe it leads to to many back room deals and excludes the community at large as a few key power groups ideology reigns supreme. Yet on this issue I see it as juvenile to allow the whole city to suffer just to make a political point. I say this because the issue of declaring a financial emergency still hangs in the balance and is holding up Rialto’s ability to see where we are going over the next 10 years. City Council is playing political chicken with our future, information that has come from staff says that City Council is having an issue declaring a state of emergency because we still have a healthy surplus. A surplus that will only afford Rialto a 6 month time frame of stability if the worse was ever to happen. It seems like City Council wants us to be broke and defaulting on loans before we do anything to right our unstable future. I don’t know anyone that would look at their personal or business finances and see a real financial avalanche heading their way and not do anything within reason to stop what seems to be inevitable. One of City Councils epic failures was the 3% at 50 PERS offering. According to sources to help with employee retention Councilman Ed Scott brought this in. Now this program is no longer offered to new employees but employees already in this program have it no matter what.
  3. The Mayor – Mayor Robertson has done a very good job of pushing the blame for failures onto other people or pretending that things are better than they really are. Mayor Robertson is the biggest holdout when it comes to declaring a state of financial emergency in this city and this isn’t the 1st time she has pulled this stunt. Four years ago she pulled the same stunt as she threw a tantrum and asked public safety to make massive concessions like no longer being able to cash out comp, sick, holiday or vacation time, $300 cut in uniform allowance and no raise. Now she is taking things a step further as now Mayor Robertson wants to once again ask Public Safety to forgo a raise, loose all special assignment pay and take everyone back one full step in pay. Remember this is the same Mayor that wanted to give herself a massive raise for a very part time job.
  4. Staff – Staff plays a big role in what is going on here since they seem incapable of giving the Council, Mayor and Community a true and honest look at the consequences of staff recommended actions. Many times staff have fallen on the sword for the Mayor and City Council to shield them from the consequences of their actions. Yes staff works hard and puts in long hours but when they keep the truth from the community or shield the electeds from the consequences of their actions they sully all the hard work they have put in.
  5. City Attorney – Some day we will have a city attorney that doesn’t rip us off (Jimmy Gutierrez) and we will have one that has the testicle fortitude to stand in the gap and advocate for the community rather than cover up for the Council and Mayor. In one case the city has spent $720,000 already in defending the city in a legal case that could have been fixed had someone stopped everyone’s egos. Also the City Attorney needs to remind the Mayor that giving away buildings to friends and political allies is a slippery slope to gifting of public funds. We are not saying this is the case but a property on Riverside Ave in Downtown seems to have changed ownership without any other public consideration and it has a lot of people scratching their heads.

 

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California Recreational Marijuana Law Threatens Inland Empire Youth & Tramples on the Rights of Drug Free People

Since 1996 California has been slowly pushing harmful drugs into local communities. Not even the extremely liberal Obama administration would do anything to legalize Marijuana Federally, all the liberals did was stop enforcing Federal Drug and Immigration Laws.

Another issue is Pot Heads desire to smoke Marijuana doesn’t just effect them. Even before the 1st of the year Marijuana users have openly smoled this harmful drug without any fear of punishment. Shopping centers and neighborhoods have stuck of Marijuana’s awful smell. Shopping on Christmas Eve at the Food 4 Less in Rialto on Foothill we witnessed a male smoking Marijuana and driving, when we called dispatch we were told its not a crime and were hung up on. A few days later we were near the Del Taco on South Riverside Ave and a mother with a small child exhalled her Marijuana smoke into our window. The question is where does Marijuana users rights begin and others end? Is their right to get high more important than others right to not be exposed to such a harmful substance?

“If anyone gets hit by an Camary L.P. 3BIM196 let me know we can sue Rialto Police since dispatch told me it’s not illegal to drive a car and smoke weed and hung up on me”

Rialto is not immune to the problems that come with Marijuana use in California. Here is a brief list of some of the things Marijuana Legalization has brought to Rialto and the surrounding communities:

  • Back in August 2015 at an Area Command Meeting for Area’s 1&2 in the city of Rialto Officer Nick Partcher part of Rialto Police SCAT team the team responsible for gang, alcohol & drug enforcement said that Marijuana use is now just as big a problem with local youth as Alcohol use. That year youth Marijuana use exceeded both Alcohol and Tobacco use combined. (Rialto Now)
  • Back in May 2011 a home selling Marijuana turned shootout left two people dead in Rialto. The incident unfolded on the 900 block of North Beechwood Avenue at about 8:45 p.m. Wednesday. (ABC7)
  • Downey Police Officer Shot Three Times During Undercover Operation in San Bernardino. (KTLA)
  • Only On 2: Investigation Reveals Medical Marijuana Is Getting Into School Kids’ Hands. (CBS2)
  • SAN BERNARDINO >> SWAT officers served a high risk search warrant Friday at a medical marijuana dispensary where they found cocaine and a gun, police said. (SB Sun)
  • A 23-year-old woman has been arrested in connection with a February robbery attemptand shootout that left a security guard dead at a marijuana dispensary on the boarder of Rialto & San Bernardino, authorities announced Monday. (KTLA)
  • The pedestrian killed after being hit by a pickup has been identified as a 90-year-old Moreno Valley resident, the Riverside County Sheriff/Coroner’s office reported Sunday, Dec. 31 whose driver may have been under the influence of drugs. (PE)
  • Fontana Mayor Celebrates Drug Filled Rave As Three People Die, (Rialto Now)
  • December 2015 Amazon temp agency could not fill all of the jobs they had do to people not being able to pass a simple drug test. Over 60 percent of those who failed did so because they could not put their bong away. Even being given multiple chances to return and try again they could not pass the test.

In a message from the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy to local prevention providers. This data and reports further confirm what prevention providers have been warning ever since the lie of Medical Marijuana began to take shape youth use is on the way up. One area where prevention providers have been looking to get to is kids in Elementary and they have been getting resistance due to the thought that these kids are to young to be involved in drug use. This study show a major increase in drug use among youth 12 and older meaning kids in 6th grade are being introduced to drugs.

Another thing that the data shows is a driving force behind an increase in youth use is the widespread use in adults. This matches what the Rialto Community Coalition found in February during their Strategic Planning Session was that one of the biggest reasons youth use drugs especially Marijuana is because  of the lax attitude from adults. The investigative reports from David Goldstein on medical marijuana dispensary’s acting as a hub to get Marijuana to youth should be an eye opening period for parents. Now people can have plants on their property and can have an ounce on their person without getting into trouble.

One of the areas where prescription drug use has taken over our communities and youth is the raiding of Senior Citizens medicine cabinets. What scares regular non drug using people is the fact that seniors are re-living the 60’s and linning up to buy Pot. If they couldn’t be trusted to keep prescription drugs away from others what makes us think they will protect their Weed from young people? The Press Enterprise wrote a glowing article about people lining up to fry their brains and here is a list of the elderly:

  1. Craig Reinarman, a 69-year-old.
  2. Jeff Deakin, 66.
  3. 72-year-old Cathedral City resident who was among 13 people lined up at West Coast Cannabis Club in Riverside County before 6 a.m. The man, who declined to give his name, bought raw flower and five pre-rolls for $1 each in his first purchase at a marijuana store. He said he planned to smoke while watching bowl games during the day.
  4. Oakland City Councilman Noel Gallo.
  5. A 55-year-old Oakland man who would identify himself only as Big Jon, said he retired Dec. 31 and was finally free from the requirements of a commercial Class A driving license. “It’s been 32 years,” Big Jon said, adding that he’d been hearing about edibles and other products he’d like to try.
  6. Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin.
  7. Carol Wyatt of West Oakland and Carlos Hooks.
  8. Rome VanBergen, 57.
  9. Santa Ana Councilman Jose Solorio.
  10. Toby and Shara Edwards came from Florida to get high. Residents of Pensacola, Florida – “2,000 miles and 40 years away from California,” Toby Edwards joked – they bought $85 worth of cannabis-infused candies, topical lotions and pre-rolled cigarettes. “It’s completely illegal (in Florida),” he said. “The penalties are so severe you can lose your job. They can seize your property. It just isn’t worth it. This is so different.”
  11. Santa Cruz resident Tree Island, 69.
  12. Miguel Vargas of San Jose.
  13. Rigoberto Espinoza, 28.

State Sen. Nancy Skinner, who represents much of the East Bay, including Oakland and Berkeley, spent much of her morning between Berkeley Patients Group and Harborside in Oakland. “To me this is huge,” she said. “I want responsible use, but I also want use that is legal for everybody and equitable.” Recreational legalization, she hopes, will “finally put an end” to the criminalization of marijuana, which, she said, disproportionately affected black and brown Californians. Wow how are Liberals not the racist ones?

Another issue is the prevalence of youth using vaping products that people still try to push off as safe for youth use. As you see in the text below from the Press Enterprise article now our youth have a modern way to kill their brain cells.

By mid-morning, vapor pens and edible products were among the most popular items at the shop, with a number of Baby Boomers who smoked marijuana years ago interested in trying cannabis in new forms.

To add to an already troubling problem is the fear that Mayor Robertson is setting Rialto up to have Marijuana dumped on our poor city. As it sits now Marijuana shops are illegal in the city limits. Where we see trouble is the Mayors out right refusal to vote to put the Utility Tax on an April Ballot. Also the mayors appointee to the Budget Advisory Committee said at one meeting lets find the crappy part of Rialto and turn that into our Marijuana Zone!!!!

Only question is who gets to choose where the crappy part of town is?

The bottom line is that Rialto is in a serious mess. We have the following hurdles:

  1. No Police Cheif
  2. Officers leaving the city in massive numbers
  3. only 4 officers on patrol at any given tim
  4. No City Administrator
  5. $160 Million in unfunded liabilities
  6. Utility Tax Ending in June
  7. Out of control leaders with only their own best interest in mind

The Question remains when will we say enough is enough!!!!!!

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