Rialto Residents Brace for Another Gas Price Increase Yet Again

Because we are gluttons for punishment in California and especially in Rialto our fearless leaders are dropping yet another gas tax on people who buy gas in California. Rialto residents get additionally taxed because Rialto residents have to pay for damage that Burttec has caused to our streets.

California is poised to charge the highest taxes and fees on gas in the COUNTRY once the 5.6 cent tax increase goes into effect on July 1st. What is scary is that State leaders say they will still be BILLIONS of $$$$ short of what is needed to fix California roads. They are still trying to fix what is already there still they have no plans on how to increase lanes yet they keep increasing the population. These taxes are part of the SB1 bill that state Demoncrats approved in 2017 and California Voters failed to pass a proposition that would have killed SB1 and the pending tax increases.

Even with the increased taxes the state claims they will be $78 Billion short of what is needed to bring California Roads and Bridges into GOOD repair. Why are all these taxes not enough? Here are some glaring reasons:

  • More than 60% of the money from SB1 wont ever go to fund a single road repair project, this money is going to mass transit, failed high speed rail and bike lanes.
  • Caltrans is a drain on society, they work slow and have thousands of engineers that sit around. They agency is full of fraud, bribery, favoritism, bid rigging, and  spending work time to derail a citizen proposition.
  • California leaders have been robbing the road fund for years only to now say we don’t have enough.
  • Funding health care, drivers licenses, food stamps, public education and so much more for illegal aliens.
  • They even go so far as to give themselves yet another raise!
  • Don’t forget the massive looming deficit coming for the State in the Retirement System PERS!

So it looks like California and Rialto are in for more and more increases in taxes until they start speaking louder from the ballot box!

Click here to see how Rialto residents are paying for road services they will never get!

Rialto School Board Q&A with Russel Silva

Welcome to our third RUSD Board member Q&A out of six candidates. Russel Silva carry’s the very coveted endorsement of the Flores Park Neighborhood Watch. He also is a smart person that has offered some great responses. On thing that stands out to us here is the issue of opening up the rails to trails project to schools Werner Elementary and Rialto Middle School. Their is no safety plan in place by either the city or school district but the school district is moving forward anyway. Enjoy the read.

Russel Silva

Where did you grow up?  

I was born and raised in Hollister, CA. a small agricultural  community.  I moved to Ontario, CA in 1982 and then I bought a house in Rialto in April 1984, where I live today.

What High School did you graduate from?  

Graduated from San Benito Joint Union High School, Class of 1973. It was the only high school in San Benito County at the time.

Did you attend College? If so where did you attend and what was your major? 

Went to several junior colleges; West Valley in Saratoga, CA; Chaffee and San Bernardino Valley. My interests have mostly been towards engineering. No degree.

What is your current career field? How did you find yourself picking that career? 

My love is civil engineering. From the time I started working for the Engineering Department in Hollister I was hooked. Surveying, designing, drafting, inspection are just some of the duties I had. But the best fun was seeing the jobs I worked on come to life; housing tracts, shopping centers, industrial buildings, city infrastructure. As a kid growing up I never understood all the behind the scene stuff that makes a city function, or for that matter any successful organization. I guess engineering was in my blood.

How has your work life prepared you for the Rialto Unified School Board?

I have worked all my adult life so the majority of my education is a result of my ‘hands on’ experience. Having worked 24 years in the public sector and with my current job as Capital Projects Coordinator I manages bids, establish and write RFP’s and contracts for consultants and contractors, act as a project manager, and handle payment processing and change orders for the project assigned me. Every project has a budget and it I my job to make sure I stay on budget. I scrutinize all payments for accuracy and work progress, as well as all change orders to make sure that extra work does exceed the 10% public contract threshold. I rarely have contracts that exceed the 10%.

What do you see as the top three issues at Rialto Unified School District? 

Of course 1) student education and performance,  2) better fiscal control and accountability,  3) student safety, including on campus bullying.

What are your thoughts on Common Core?

The basic concept of the Common Core is great as it is trying to give every child nation wide the same opportunity to succeed and graduate with the same educational skills. The down falls; 1) I think it was thrown at us too fast. Teachers were not given ample time or training to unwrap this new program and present it to the students. 2) the textbooks and technology to make CC successful are behind. 3) because the way the system is set up to be taught, many teaches are handcuffed. What I mean is teachers all have their own style of teaching, but CC doesn’t allow for that. Sometimes teachers need to add that extra pop to grab the students attention. All in all I think it is a good system, but I wish it allowed a little more flexibility for the teachers. The District needs to provide more training as well.

With the new funding program programs like ROP are now in jeopardy of being lost. What are your thoughts on eliminating categorical funding and putting these programs in jeopardy?

Eliminating categorical funding for ROP, especially in lower income communities, jeopardizes the opportunity for some of our student to succeed. Face it, there are students out there that are not wired for college. By eliminating ROP you eliminate those students from having an opportunity to step into the working class right out of high school and become a productive citizen. Case in point, I would not be where I am today without the technical skill sets I received in high school.

The city of Rialto is moving forward with their rails to trails program. Some at city hall are pushing the school district to create additional access points at schools like Rialto Middle and Werner Elementary so students can access the school from the trail. What are your thoughts on this as it creates another access point for people that don’t belong on campus? 

Bad idea. Creating an access from an unmonitored, unsupervised community trail that is used not just by the average biker or walker or fitness trainer but criminals, pedifiles, child molesters, drug users and pushers is only asking for major trouble. At Warner Elementary that access gate would be 230 feet away from the nearest building and security camera. The District would have to station security to that gate every time it is in use to make sure the students are safe; and that costs money. If they use the security cameras by the time an insident is noticed and security is alerted, the incident is over and someone could be hurt. Cooperative agreement with agencies is common practice, but not at the cost of the life of a student.

Would you support working with people in the community to help Offer College and employment support to our young people as they enter the 21st century job market?

Absolutely! I love the idea of the Middle College for those students driven to achieve higher education. But I am also open to creating an internship program that will enable students to get hands on training in a field of their choosing with local agencies and business.

One big problem with our school board now is the pattern of abstaining from voting on issues leaving issues unresolved, what are your thoughts on this practice?

I think the bigger problem is that I don’t think the School Board is fully informed about many of the issues that they are asked to vote on. This leaves them having questions and discussions that lead to leaving issues unresolved. Administration works for the Board and part of their job is to keep the Board fully informed on all critical issues and contracts which I see not happening today. Many of the discussions the Board has in the open forum could have been answered with better communication from staff to the Board.

Please list any websites or social media links and/or contact information so the voters can contact your campaign. 

Email:rsilva4rusdschoolboard@gmail.com                                                                      Website: rsilva4rusdschoolb.wix.com/russel-silva                                           Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100008230744374&fref=ts

Rialto Candidate Forum @ Johnson Community Center

The room was full of people looking for information on a wide variety of offices

The room was full of people looking for information on a wide variety of offices

Have you heard of the FELLAS? I had not until just recently, but I knew a couple of the members that make up this group. Some of the most powerful African American Men here in the Inland Empire make up the core of this group one of which now lives in Rialto. Some of the core members are Terrance Stone of Young Visionaries, Joseph Williams of The Youth Action Project (Rialto Resident) and Hardy Brown II of The Black Voice News.

It was powerful to arrive early and see these men in action and see the passion for the community they have. My group Flores Park Neighborhood Group was asked to be a co-sponsor of the event and help with administrative functions of the event. This Forum was the best multi candidate event I think Rialto has ever had. The diverse array of canidates as well as the information that was given was priceless.

The slection of rotation was interesting and seemed to work out well. If anything was accomplished yesterday it was showing off who was ready to start on day one if they won the majority of votes in November.

The powerful stand out were the following and why:

Lynn Hirtz Rialto City Council – Lynn came prepared and blew away the audience with her list of council accomplishments and background working in Rialto and commitment to make sure we didn’t shut down the airport for nothing that we will have a beautiful development in the Renissance area of Rialto.

Paul Chabot speaks with community members. Here he is speaking with a Sara Garcia a Representitve with Assembly Woman Cheryl Browns office.

Paul Chabot speaks with community members. Here he is speaking with a Sara Garcia a Representitve with Assembly Woman Cheryl Browns office.

Paul Chabot Congress 31st District – Paul came out explained that their are big issues here in the Inland Empire and he is the true voice of the Inland Empire. As a Naval Officer, Reserve Deputy and a small business owner he had the knowledge and passion to best represent the 31st.

Dina Walker RUSD Board – Dina Walker came out prepared to let the parents know they would have a voice with passion, knowledge and experince in implementing created policy. She even went as far as to tell people she wasn’t and expert in everything with left many feeling like she was going to be a straight shooter something that has been missing for years in Rialto.

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Christina Gangier Congress 35th District  – This young firey passionate young business woman is ready to take Washington by the horns and advocate for the Inland Empire. Her big focus was job readiness of our youth and older unempolyed. She refereenced her work with preparing people to be able to use technology to obtain careers not just jobs. She unlike her opponetnt Norma Torres will not forget who she represents and promised not to have special interests tapping her on the shoulder while she is advocating for the IE.

The elected hopefuls that were in attendance:

Rialto City Council: Lynn Hirtz, Joseph Britt

Rialto Unified School Board: Lillie Houston, Russel Silva, Dina Walker

Congressional District 35: Christina Gagnier

Congressional District 31: Paul Chabot, Pete Aguilar

Valley College Board Trustee: Joseph Williams

San Bernardino County Schools Board: Hardy Brown II

 

Coruption at Rialto Unified School District runs deeper than reported

Here at Rialto Now we have been monitoring this story at a distance. Why? Because the people running Rialto Unified School District (RUSD) are corrupt money hungry attention seekers and they will step on whoever gets in their way or disagrees with them. Getting any School official to go on the record and be honest is like drawing water from a well in HELL.

With that being said RUSD teachers are beyond fearful of what or who could replace Dr. Cebrum when and if the RUSD Board decides he and his right hand man Wallace are to leave the district. Some of the worse RUSD administrators are feared to be on the short list of potential successors.

Read this article below written by the Daily Bulletin Staff and tell me if you still trust RUSD and its band of brothers:

 

RIALTO >> For more than eight years, a district accountant stole nearly one in every four dollars that passed through the Rialto Unified School District’s lunch money program, according to a forensic audit obtained by The Sun.

A lack of internal controls, including a security camera that was not in operation most of the time and shoddy record keeping, allowed Judith Oakes, the former longtime accountant for the school district’s nutritional services department, to allegedly steal more than $1.8 million from the district from July 11, 2005, to Aug. 6, 2013, according to the audit.

Further complicating things was a perception by school district employees that Oakes was untouchable because she had a personal relationship with school district Superintendent Harold Cebrun, according to the audit by Rancho Cucamonga-based Stewart Investigative Services Inc.

“Ms. Oakes was involved in an open personal relationship with the superintendent of the school district from 2010 to August 2013, which created a work environment wherein she was deemed unapproachable and could not be held accountable by her immediate superiors,” according to the audit summary.

Rialto police arrested Oakes, 49, of San Bernardino, on Aug. 7 at her place of work and subsequently charged her with eight felony counts of embezzlement and eight felony counts of misappropriation of public funds. She has pleaded not guilty to the charges. Her next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 14 in Fontana.

The case broke when Oakes’ supervisor, Cindi Stone, saw Oakes on a surveillance camera stuffing a bundle of $2,000 in $20 bills into her bra on Aug. 5 and Aug. 6. Stone notified district risk manager Derek Harris, who then called police, according to the audit and a search warrant affidavit.

Details of the criminal investigation were revealed in the forensic audit commissioned by the school district after Oakes’ arrest, a complete copy of which was obtained by The Sun on Friday via a Public Records Act request. It painted a picture of antiquated accounting procedures and lax oversight at the school district that allowed Oakes to allegedly steal thousands of dollars from the district on a weekly basis.

Oakes ramped up her suspected illegal activity in 2007. In one work week, from April 30 to May 4, Oakes allegedly stole $16,000, and discrepancies of $10,000 or more per week in that year were not uncommon, the audit shows.

Of the more than $8 million the district collected in student lunch money between July 2005 and August 2013, only $6.2 million was actually accounted for, a difference of more than $1.8 million, the amount Oakes is suspected of stealing.

The audit also found that cash collections and deposits were not compared to actual sales figures, and outstanding checks and deposits in transit to the bank were never reconciled. In addition, Oakes, not the clerk who actually counted the cash, was the one who handed off bank deposit slips to the armored car courier who transported the cash to the bank, implying that Oakes could have written cash amounts on the deposit slips that did not match those of the clerk who actually counted the cash.

A search of Oakes’ home turned up original deposit slips that had been replaced by Oakes and more than $34,000 in cash straps for various denominations. The cash straps are used in the money counting room at the school district to strap specific dollar amounts of specific denominations. The items were found in a large purse belonging to Oakes, according to the audit.

The environment Oakes worked in made it rather easy for her to commit her alleged crimes, according to the audit.

“The private office which was built for Ms. Oakes further assisted her embezzlement scheme by providing a private sanctuary in which she could safely take money from her top and put it in her purse and to also steal other monies without being seen by the office staff,” according to the audit.

As a 24-year district employee, Oakes became the trusted sole accountant of the nutritional services department’s funds.

Prior to the 2010-11 school year, lunch money collected from parents at the nutrition services department was sent to schools across the district to handle. But in the 2010-11 school year, a computerized point of sale system was installed in the nutritional services department that allowed the payments to be inputted electronically into student lunch accounts. Oakes is suspected of taking the money intended for those accounts, which was left in her mailbox in white envelopes by office clerks. Auditors suspect Oakes could have been taking up to $100 a week.

“The clerks who counted the money in the money room state it was not until after Ms. Oakes was arrested that anyone ever brought these white envelopes of money from parents into the money room to be counted,” according to the audit.

Oakes was also suspected of stealing cash payments made to the district by a pallet recycling business for broken, discarded pallets. The warehouse manager for the nutrition services department would turn the receipts for those payments in to Oakes, but the cash was never accounted for in deposit slips. Receipts from the pallet recycling business totaling $858.75 for 2012 and $737 for 2013 were found in Oakes’ desk, according to the audit.

Stewart Investigations made the following recommendations to the district:

• Either contract with a bank to provide cash counting services or have the clerks be responsible for cash counts and not have the accountant, or anyone who has access to the accounting system, participate in the cash counts.

• The nutrition services department should have two bank accounts — a receiving account with an appropriate interest amount, and a clearing account that is to be cleared down to zero at least every month. The rest of the cash would be moved to the cash in a county account.

• Any and all cash collections be receipted into the eTrition system so the accountant is assured all cash collections are in the system and reliable sales figures can be posted.

“The district has reviewed the audit recommendations and has implemented changes to improve our handling of procedures as it applies to checks and balances,” said district spokeswoman Syeda Jafri.

Cebrun’s attorney, Willie W. Williams, said Friday the information included in the audit is nothing Cebrun has not already disclosed to auditors and to the public in an October interview with The Sun.

“That’s absolutely consistent with what Dr. Cebrun has said to the press, Stewart Investigations and anyone else involved, and I think that underscores there was nothing nefarious going on where he would be concerned,” Williams said.

Williams, however, disputed the auditors’ determination as to how long the relationship between Cebrun and Oakes had occurred.

“(Cebrun) didn’t become acquainted with Ms. Oakes until the summer of 2011,” Williams said.

Cebrun admitted during his October interview to kissing and hugging Oakes but maintained the relationship and physical contact was strictly of a platonic, not intimate, nature.

As police have already said, the auditors noted in their report that there was no evidence of Cebrun or anyone else employed by the school district being directly involved in Oakes’ suspected illegal activity.

Cebrun’s chief of staff, James Wallace, whom Cebrun said was also a friend of Oakes who frequently accompanied them on outings, told investigators he had been in contact with Oakes a number of times after her arrest and considered himself to be “her unofficial counselor,” according to the audit.

Cebrun and Wallace remain on paid administrative leave, Jafri said.

“The district’s interest with respect to any relationship the superintendent and Ms. Oakes may have had is how the relationship impacted the work environment,” Jafri said, “and that issue is a confidential employment matter that the Board of Education continues to evaluate.”

Coming up in Rialto in October

Pepper Avenue Extension Groundbreaking         

The City of Rialto invites you to the Pepper Avenue Extension Groundbreaking. The City of Rialto is moving forward to greatly improve traffic circulation and access to SR210. This event takes place October 2, 2012 at 10:00 am north of the intersection of Pepper Avenue and Winchester Ave. in Rialto. For more information, please contact the Public Works Dept at (909) 820-2602.

Farmer’s Market         

Every Wednesday, from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm, Rialto City Hall, 150 S. Palm Ave. (Grass Area off South Parking Lot)!

Get Healthy, come out and pickup some fresh Vegetables and Fruit!

Coffee With The Chief

Come out and learn whats up within the police department and also have the ability to ask questions of the cities top law enforcement official.

Map of this months location is below:

Great oportunity to hear others issues and air out your own.

Candidates Come Out and Answer Your Questions

These events are being organized, sponsored and marketed by the community and local businesses there is no sponsorship by any city entity. Flores Park NW acts on its own and is not controlled by any agency. All candidates were given the opportunity to host a Q&A, October 16th, 24th, 30th & 31st are still open and available.

Get your questions answered and find out where the people running stand on issues that matter to YOU:

When: Tuesdays & Wednesdays in October @6pm

Where: Flores Park 1020 West Etiwanda in between Cactus and Cedar.

Who: Look Below

Deborah Robertson

Rialto Councilwoman

P.O. Box 852

Rialto, CA 92377

(909) 644-8520

Shawn P. O’Connell

Retired Police Sergeant

2542 W. Windhaven Dr.

Rialto, CA 92377

(909) 429-1138

Josef (Joe) Britt

Local Businessman

720 E. Madrona St.

Rialto, CA 92376

(951) 204-4013

Nancy O’Kelley

Former Principle Eisenhower High School

Running For RUSD Board

Citizen’s Academy

The Citizen’s Academy curriculum will include, among other things:  criminal investigations, traffic laws, radio communications, drug and gang enforcement, police ethics, police K9s, SWAT, crisis negotiation, crime analysis, and patrol functions.

Anyone interested in attending the Citizen’s Academy, please contact Lieutenant Kathy Thompson at (909) 820-2560, or an application can be located on the department’s website at http://www.rialtopd.com/, or obtained at the Rialto Police Department, 128 N. Willow Avenue.

Class size is limited to about 40 attendees, due to site capacity limitations.  Preference will be given first to Rialto residents.  You must be at least 21 years of age; no felony convictions; no misdemeanor convictions within the last 3 years; and no pending criminal cases.  The recent academy class filled up quickly, and classes are filled on a first come, first served basis.

Please submit your application no later than Wednesday, September 26, 2012.

Fire Department Open House

Join us at our Annual Fire Prevention Open House! October 13, 2012 from 9:00 am – 2:00 pm

Come out and meet some of the Rialto Fire Fighters and tour the station.  The kids will have a blast and sit in a fire engine! There will be demonstrations, food & games for the kids!

http://www.rialtoca.gov/documents/downloads/2012_Open_House_Flyer.pdf

The Haunted Fire Station

Fire Station #201 (131 S. Willow) will be a haunting place to be on October 26th & 27th.  From 5:00 – 10:00 pm, come see if you are brave enough to get through the “Scary Station”.

Halloween Hi-Jinks

The City of Rialto’s “Halloween Hi-Jinks” is an annual event that is held in downtown Rialto on Halloween night. This event takes place Wednesday, October 31st, on Riverside Avenue between Rialto and First Street from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. This is a free, family friendly event with a costume contest, guess the weight of the giant pumpkin contest, games, food and lots of candy. All booth participants are community organizations that provide a safe alternative for children to “Trick or Treat.” If you are interested in hosting a game booth and would like more information, please call 909 421-4949 or 909 877-9706.

Special Ed at a loss in RUSD

Below is an article from the San Bernardino Sun Newspaper on Parents Protesting the way RUSD treats their Special Ed cases.

Now I wasnt one the ground at this protest but I can tell you I have used my education in Child Development & Knowledge of School District Practices a time or two to help parents who were being walked over by special education staff at RUSD as well as pushy administrators. If you have a special ed student in RUSD you have eithier had to fight for services or your rights were never properly explained to you.

Within Special Ed you have all the control as the parent the school can only offer certain programs and intervetions, when its all said and done you must agree to their RECOMENDATIONS. If their rushing you call the meeting and re-scedule, when you come back let them know you will be recording the next meeting and everything will change, get an advocate there are tons of advocates that defend parents and kids on a daily basis & never just let an administrator levy a punishment against your kid because its too much work or its almost the end of the year. Because once you have been notified of your rights to challenge its almost a lost cause.

Most importantly if you feel lost contact somone for help school districts are no longer in the business of educating students they are for the most part there to keep people employed and run large budgets nothing more your children are mearly and ends to a means. I heard it all the time when I worked in public education “this place would be great if it were not for the students”.

RIALTO – More than 30 people protested the Rialto Unified School District’s policies and treatment of special education students Tuesday morning in front of the district’s administration building.

Parents, family members and those who said they were supporting parents carried signs calling for the removal of several key district administrators and the need for a state audit of the district’s special education program.

“Things have been going on behind closed doors at this district for a long time,” said Alejandra Rivera, who has a fifth-grade student in special education classes. “We thought the public should know what is going on.”

The protestors chanted, “no more abuse to special ed students” and other slogans as they walked on the sidewalk in front of the administration building on Walnut Avenue.

In interviews, several parents said that their complaints about the district’s handling of special education students has resulted in “retaliation” in the form of a visit to their home by San Bernardino County’s Child Protective Services or Rialto police.

Among the complaints, Rivera’s husband Jorge Rivera, who was an organizer for the protest, said the district is good at checking boxes showing that it provides services to special needs students, but that many times what is actually being provided has little value.

For example, his son receives speech therapy twice a week, but it is a group lesson with four other students lasting 20 minutes.

That means his son receives 10 minutes of speech therapy per week, not enough to help him overcome his many deficiencies, Jorge Rivera said.

The district has 2,257 children in special education, said Vivian Billups, attorney for the district.

Despite the financial hardships faced by the district, it has increased the number of professionals available to help special education students, she said.

The district has hired a board-certified behavioral analyst to help staffers address and understand behavioral symptoms and emotional disturbances.

The district has also hired two more psychologists and additional speech therapists, she said.

Additionally the district has been developing training for parents of special needs children and has established specialized track and field competition for special education participants, she said.

A parent advisory group has also been formed, she said.

“The district has a policy that it does not retaliate,” Billups said.

There are venues of complaint for retaliation, she said.

As to Jorge Rivera’s complaint of not enough time per student: ” … That doesn’t mean that the effort is not ongoing,” Billups said. “Just because a speech therapist isn’t two feet away doesn’t mean they are not receiving the benefit of the work.”

The speech therapist has likely developed a plan with the teacher to help the student progress, she said.

Read more: http://www.sbsun.com/ci_20630109/rialto-parents-protest-alleged-inadequate-special-education-services#ixzz1v0Vk0X8L

Make better choices

Also all of these board memebers have been given a list of interview questions for the Rialto Now blog and none have returned them its almost been a year. They don’t like to be questioned, and the funny part it was a softball interview nothing to telling of them. Only memeber Edgar Montes and member Martinez have even said they would complete them. Any resident looking to make their voice heard on our blog please go to www.rialtonow.wordpress.com and comment on the most recent or current story that you would like to have a story posted and we will email you with the nessicary information.

Voice of the People

Make better choices

Bianca Urbinasbsun.com

Posted:   04/25/2012 03:21:59 PM PDT

As I watched the April 11 Rialto school board meeting, I wasn’t surprised to see the board vote 4-1 (board member Montes voting no) to approve payment for board member Joanne Gilbert, who missed the March 28 board meeting where the board voted to issue pink slips to the classified workers.

Gilbert is not the first board member to be paid even though they didn’t attend the board meeting; board member Michael Ridgway last year was paid for two board meetings he didn’t attend.

 

 

This board also approved the superintendent’s contract where he is earning roughly $300,000 a year, including benefits, retirement and car allowance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This board also approved for 32 staff members to attend a leadership training costing the district more than $65,000.

This board also has set policy that each board member has three minutes to give their board report, all because board member Montes is asking questions.

This board also requires anyone who wants to speak during public comment to submit a card no later than 6:45 p.m. before the meetings and it has to be filled out (name, address, etc.), which violates the Brown Act.

This board also seems not to understand the purpose of the Brown Act and would prefer that board member Montes ask all questions behind closed doors.

Residents of the Rialto school district, three board members are up for re-election. Let’s make better choices.

BIANCA URBINA

Rialto

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