Archive for April, 2012

I think this letter has some serious implications. Back in March of 2011 the City of Riverside transferred aproxamately 140 properties from Redevelopment (A state agency made up the Riverside City Council and the Mayor) back to the City of Riverside.  State Controller John Chiang’s Office orders cities to reverse real and personal properties transferred prior to June 28, 2011.  Will this affect the agreement the City made with Riverside Community College and the 100 parking spaces it contracted to assume?  This was an agreement that the TMC team warned RCC not to vote on.  We warned Attorney Virginia Blumethal of the forthcoming crisis, but disregarded our information received from John Chiang’s State Controller’s Office, said the office is not an attorney and not qualified to make a legal opinion,  and voted for it anyway.  Mark Takano and Mary Figueroa were the only two to vote against it.
Will we now lose the Fox Entertainment Plaza?  Will we eventually have to sell the Fox Theatre? Which continues to run at a deficit of of over $2 million per year and currently controlled by the city.
Also, the Arlington Branch Library, which is actually collateral for the 2010 Recovery Zone Bonds.  How do you sell collateral?  Letter states that in the coming weeks will specifically review and audit cities , counties and public agencies that received assets, directly or indirectly, from a Redevelopment Agency after January 1, 2011.  The City illegally transferred these properties in March 2011 during Former City Manager Brad Hudson’s reign.  Another blunder of bad legal advice?  City Attorney Gregory Priamos should be held accountable for this!
Keep connected with TMC, the list of properties coming soon!
DEBATE OF THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE MAYORAL CANDIDATES

Today, Apr 26  Open Seating for the public 5:30 pm   DEBATE  6-8p  RIVERSIDE MAYORAL CANDIDATE FORUM, known as the RAINCROSS DEBATE is being held  at California Baptist University in the Wallace Theater at 8432 Magnolia Avenue, Riverside CA.  FREE EVENT

TMC, RATED RIVERSIDE’S MOST “SLANDEROUS” AND MEZZSPELLED, “MISSPELLED” AND “OPINIONATED” BLOG SITE!  TEMPORARILY BLOCKED BY THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE AT PUBLIC ACCESS SITES WITHIN THE CITY, THEN UNBLOCKED.  I GUESS YOU CANNOT DO THAT ACCORDING TO THE ACLU.  RATED ONE TWO STAR OUT OF FIVE IN TERMS OF COMMUNITY APPROVAL RATINGS..  TMC IS NOW EXCLUSIVELY ON FILE WITH THE COUNTY OF RIVERSIDE’S DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE, AND PROSSIBLY POSSIBLY ON FILE WITH THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE’S POTENTIAL SLAPP SUIT LIST… WE WILL HAVE TO ASK GREGORY ABOUT THAT ONE ( OUR PEOPLE WILL HAVE TO CONTACT HIS PEOPLE)… AGAIN, THANK-YOU COMMUNITY OF RIVERSIDE AND THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE EMPLOYEE’S FOR YOUR SUPPORT!  WE REALIZE IT’S TOUGH, SO HANG IN THERE.. COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOMED, ESPECIALLY SPELL CHECKERS!  EMAIL ANONYMOUSLY WITH YOUR DIRT OR FOR CONTACT!   THIRTYMILESCORRUPTION@HOTMAIL.COM 

While the City scrambles, TMC’s truth squad, oops, that’s the City’s tag line, has been blogging, reporting and speaking at Council Meetings as to why the Council should not have passed certain loans.  In addition, how passing these loans will come back to hurt the tax paying constituents.   The states silver bullet of termination appeared to be the only answer.  Now 10% of those Enforceable Obligations submitted to the State Finance Department were rejected for not following state guidelines.  Enforceable Obligations are legal contracts which declare that one person or agency owes another.  The question being asked is were these filing discrepancies inadvertainly overlooked by our protector of citizens, City Attorney Gregory Priamos?  And even their hired hand, Best, Best & Krieger?  Could these discrepancies possibly be considered faulty legal advice?  The City of Riverside shot back at the State Finance Department with the following letter.  According to the latest Press Enterprise the City Manager Scott Barber is defending some of the debt.

CLICK THIS LINK TO VIEW FULL DOCUMENT

In the response letter sent back to the State Finance Department by City Manager Scott Barber, he then agreed with the State on the following two items which could not be considered Enforceable Obligations.  But shouldn’t the City’s legal council, Riverside City Attorney Gregory Priamos, have been able to clear this question of what is enforceable and what is not?

Page 1, Line Item 38: Grant agreement between City and Housing Authority  $60,000,000.00                                     Page 2, Line Item 13: LM LS Targets of Opportunity-La Sierra/ Arlanza            $1,085,749.17

A total of $61,085,749.17 which is due to hit our General Fund.

What is really disturbing in the letter is that Mr. Barber states there are three items of concern that can give way to a rate payer lawsuit.  This in response if the State is unable to accept the debt, it will go to Riverside residents in the form of higher utility rates.  But in doing so, these would in essence be a violation of proposition 218.  These are Page 1, Line Item 29 ($4,329,897.60), Page 1, Line Item 30 ($328,039.22) and Page1, Line Item 32 ($4,793,600.00).   Which amounts to $9,451,536.85.

Self Appointed Citizen Auditor, Vivian Moreno, emailed the following letter to Vicki Hightower of the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office indicating our frustration with the use of local resources.  The letter was also read to the Council and Mayor at the April 25, 2012 public comment section in council chambers.

CLICK LINK TO VIEW DOCUMENT

The rejections came from California State Department of Finance to the tune of nearly $159 million in projects and debts from Riverside’s former redevelopment agency, potentially leaving the city’s general fund responsible for the amount lost.  Did City management commit fraud when submitting inaccurate information to the State of California for responsibility of payment?  What role if any did the law firm Best, Best and Krieger have in this?  Or is the responsible party ultimately the decision makers, the deciders, the Council and the Mayor?

         

CLICK THIS LINK TO VIEW THE COMPLETE DOCUMENT.

Above is the letter sent to Vanessa Kirks, Fiscal Manager for the City of Riverside dated April 13, 2012 from Mark Hill, Program Budget Manager for the California State Finance Department detailing the states rejections.  What was also found, was that the California Department of Finance sent 55 cities this letter out of over 400 cities with one or more items rejected.

CLICK THIS LINK TO VIEW THE CORRESPONDING DRAFT ROPS SUBMITTED TO THE CALIFORNIA STATE FINANCE DEPARTMENT BY THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE.  POINTS HIGHLIGHTED IN YELLOW ARE THE REJECTIONS DETAILED BY THE STATES LETTER.

What people need to know about the relationship between the Redevelopment Agency and the City of Riverside, is that Redevelopment Agency is a state agency.  The agency board is made up of your own city council, mayor and employees of the city’s development department. The City and Redevelopment are one in the same, they just change hats.  Ultimately, they are responsible for all actions and decisions.

The state then mandated that local oversight boards or succesor agencies be created to organize and dissolve the assets, debts and other obligations of the former Redevelopment Agency.  Loveridge stated, “The irony of this is that the state set up these local oversight boards but (the Department of Finance) is setting the rules of the game”.  True mayor, but did some of your oversight board actually know some of these loans were wrong? While others may have not?  Or were you steered inaccurate legal advice?  Also Mayor, when you met with the initial oversight board didn’t you set some rules of the game?  It appears that Mayor Ron Loveridge and County Supervisor John Tavaglione appointed each other for Chair and Vice Chair of the Board.  Conflict of interest?  Or just two peas in the pod?  Not to mention, it appears that John Tavaglione is covering all bets by endorsing three mayoral candidates, which are running against each other.  Former Councilman Ed Adkison, Councilman Mike Gardner and Councilman William “Rusty” Bailey.  But would these endorsements have have anything to do with John Tavaglione running for Congress?  Or further, even Richard Roth, Esq., oops General Richard Roth, Esq.,  who does quite a bit of legal work for the city, such as the current Sgt. Valmont Graham case regarding racial discrimmination issues and a proposed settlement offer in todays city council agenda.  Even though they are both endorsed by Mayor Ron Loveridge, is this a conflict of interest?  Or just bad, bad business?  Even Nick Tavaglione endorses General Richard Roth.  Possibly some relation to John Tavaglione?   “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive”  This is pretty bad legal situation for our city and someone needs to be disbarred, but the city which continues to exist in a clouded stupor and may not have the gumption to know the difference.  For example, there are City loans made to the redevelopment agency, if not repaid, could be a future hit to the $214 million general fund. The problem is our general fund will not be able to sustain the additional debt load, we our are currently in a deficit as it is.  Will this mean layoffs? Program cuts? Department cuts etc. etc.?  More utility hikes?

If you were to read the California Department of Finance Question & Answer, which appears our city management did not, it states what is acceptable and what is not.  The state even has Question & Answer on Enforceable Obligatons as follows:

CLICK THIS LINK TO VEW FULL VERSION.

The Oversight Board or Succesor Agency, with John Tavaglione and Mayor Ron Loveridge on the sidelines appeared to approve all the obligations for the former RDA and thought they could pull the rug over on the State Finance Department.  The City and the Oversight Board sent the state a list of obligations they said were allowed and should be paid under the 2011 law that dissolved redevelopment agencies.  The Oversight Board in itself was filled with conflicts of interest, and they obviously acted accordingly and expectably.  The state then enforced its own pre-released guidelines, and rejected particular line items accordingly.  State officials disagreed with a number of items on the list, including construction contracts for the new downtown fire station, Municipal Auditorium and Doty-Trust Park, as well as a disputed amount of loans from the city to the redevelopment agency and nearly $18 million from bonds issued in 2007 that the state says should not be spent.  The City of Riverside took offense, and threatened litigation, well Gregory did, possibly by default.

In response to the State Finance Department rejection letter, City Manager Scott Barber will now send the state a response letter early this week, while Mayor Ron Loveridge will follow up with a trip in person to Sacramento.  This will turn into a grand event by having his lobbying group, the League of Cities, behind him?

City Attorney Gregory Priamos stated, “We’re confident that by continuing to engage in a serious dialogue with the Department of Finance that we’re going to solve these issues without the need for litigation.”

But to even think that the city attorney would threaten the state with costly taxpayer litigation without considering the guidelines the state implemented,  would be considered political suicide.  Especially in a time when the city has less of a revenue stream, but not the city attorney’s office it seems.  But of course, this is an office which operates without transperancy and without the duty to divulge expenses to the public, of which the public are entitled to.  Many constituents in the City of Riverside are telling TMC that they are questioning Greg Priamos’s abilities and practices, which do not appear to be truly protective of our local constituents interest.

According to the letter sent to the City of Riverside by the State of California Finance Department the state says no to approximately 10% of the submissions, while the City of Riverside of course, as we are now aware, threatens litigation.  What the State is saying is that Enforceable Obligations (EO),  of which the State cites HSC section 34171 (d) , declares in part that Enforceable Obligations do not include any 1. Agreements, 2. Contracts or 3. Arrangements with City (that created the Redevelopment Agency), and especially the Redevelopment Agency itself.  So it appears that the City and the Redevelopment Agency entered into multiple loan agreements.  The law appears to be very clear, I’m not sure what part Gregory, our City Attorney and Best, Best & Krieger didn’t quite get?  I know that they are both sharp cookies and it would appear to me that they wouldn’t allow the city to submit erroneous paperwork purposely.  But what do I know, I’m only a common citizen..

But let’s go a little further down.  The State considers the following not EO’s.  You cannot make inter agency loans and that’s what the TMC truth team has been trying to tell the Mayor and the City Council.  Did the city’s lobbying group The League of California Cities say this was legal.? Did the Greater Riverside Chamber say it was legal?  Did our City Attorney Gregory Priamos say it was legal.  Did Best Best & Krieger, the City’s hired law firm, say it was legal?

There were loans between RDA and the City totaling $41.3 million.  There was a cooperative and an agreement between RDA and the City totaling $61.2 million.  There was a loan between RDA and the City Housing Authority totaling $1 million.  So far $103.4 million total

Then there was an unused revolving line of credit for $19.9 million.  Again it remained unused, but the City still tried to push this through for payment regardless.  The State said no, it’s not EO’s. New total is $123.3 million.

There are contracts with the city with other entities, not RDA, that the City tried to pass to the state as a Redevelopment issue for $19.9 million.  It said no, these are not EO’s. New total, $143.2 million.

There was various expenditures with no expenditure contracts, similar to how the City handles business with BB&K, with no contracts.  The state said no, this amounted to $15.4 million. New total, $158.6 million.

So for now, the City of Riverside claims victim status, blaming the state for themselves over extending the city’s finances.  We all know that the City is in denial, they will never admit fault, and will not take a bit of responsibility for their past voting record as they should.  Continuing to blame the State Finance Department for themselves incurring our $2 billion in Redevelopment debt, and of course, the constituents of this city will ultimately be responsible for the debt.  We must also not forget those who were in charge at the time of these occurrences, such as Former Chief Financial Officer/ Assistant City Manager/ Treasurer Paul Sundeen.

The truth of the matter is that the city can only ‘cry wolf’ a limited amount of times, before the residents of this community realize what they have done.  But in all fareness we must allow the city’s newly formed “truth squad” to respond to this conundrum, and we will wait to hear from them.

Interum Public Works Director, Tom Boyd is now named Public Works Director.

It is now time time to ask the Public Works Director the question the constituents have been waiting to ask, with regards to bids, contracts, change orders and accountability of which he has taken part of .

UPDATE: 06/01/2012: STATE FINANCE DEPARTMENT SEND LETTER OF APPROVAL TO CITY OF RIVERSIDE ALLOWING COVERAGE OF $26 MILLION OF THE ORIGINAL $156 MILLION ORIGINALLY REJECTED.  CURRENTLY, APPROXIMATELY $133 MILLION IS UNACCEPTABLE TO THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA AND REMAINS A DEBT OF THE CITY.

WHAT WOULD JOE ISUZU HAVE TO SAY ABOUT ALL THIS?

UPDATE:04/23/2012: CITY HALL SCUFFLE? Info has been brought to TMC that Councilman Chris Mac Arthur’s aid Chuck Condor was allegedly involved in a scuffle with another individual at City Hall.  Condor has been called on the carpet of City Hall for making derogatory remarks such as calling woman commenters “bitches” and “idiots.”  This was done in plain sight of others at city meetings.  Is Condor out of control?  Or is this an accepted part of City Hall culture?  TMC has been told Chuck Condor is now on administrative leave, ‘paid leave’?  That we do not know.  Is Chuck Condor going to lawyer up?

TMC, RATED RIVERSIDE’S MOST “SLANDEROUS” AND MEZZSPELLED, “MISSPELLED” AND “OPINIONATED” BLOG SITE!  TEMPORARILY BLOCKED BY THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE AT PUBLIC ACCESS SITES WITHIN THE CITY, THEN UNBLOCKED.  I GUESS YOU CANNOT DO THAT ACCORDING TO ACLU.  RATED ONE TWO STAR OUT OF FIVE IN TERMS OF COMMUNITY APPROVAL RATINGS..  TMC IS NOW EXCLUSIVELY ON FILE WITH THE COUNTY OF RIVERSIDE’S DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE, AND PROSSIBLY POSSIBLY ON FILE WITH THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE’S POTENTIAL SLAPP SUIT LIST… WE WILL HAVE TO ASK GREGORY ABOUT THAT ONE ( OUR PEOPLE WILL HAVE TO CONTACT HIS PEOPLE)… AGAIN, THANK-YOU COMMUNITY OF RIVERSIDE AND THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE EMPLOYEE’S FOR YOUR SUPPORT!   COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOMED, ESPECIALLY SPELL CHECKERS!  EMAIL ANONYMOUSLY WITH YOUR DIRT OR FOR CONTACT!   THIRTYMILESCORRUPTION@HOTMAIL.COM 

What the Press Enterprise has not reported, is that these rate hikes were brought to the attention of the City Council and the Mayor many many times over by Self Proclaimed City Auditor Vivian Moreno.  With denials and dismissive responses from Councilmembers such as Mike Gardner and Andy Melendrez, both incidently candidates for mayor.  We are not critics as the PE would like to state, but responsible and educated citizens reading the city’s own public records, and asking the questions which the constituents really want to know.   Many times the answers are dismissive and contradictory to the public records at hand.  How should we as citizens respond if not to continue to ask the questions, until they can finally admit the truth.  If public records state their will be an increase from 2012 to 2013 their will be an increase, if not, correct the records.  But now, it appears that the city has been compelled to admit the truth.  We warned of the purple pipe reclamation program, with an increase of $2.00.  A program that does not benefit the citizens in Riverside, especially when the City of Riverside is one of the few cities which owns their own water rights.  We are only at forty percent capacity the rest we sell to other municipalities at a profit.  If the water table was to exceed the fifty foot mark from the surface, this would endager building and infrastructure foundations.  Therefore the water table must be monitored closely and harvested accordingly.  Accordingly, sewer rates from July 1, 2009 to July 1, 2013 for a Basic Multi-Family Dwelling have increase from $14.94 to $25.77, this is an increase of 42%.  Currently $21.26 as of  July 1, 2011 to $23.97 July 1, 2012, and increase of 13%.  Sewer rates going up, $2.00 in July 2012, up to $3.00 in 2013. 

The tiered water and electrical rate hikes, by manipulation of the number scales.  A new charge for mosquito abatement for some household at $8.00 per household.  I just found out that back alley I must clear of weeds every summer is the city’s property.  In addition this is under duress of a $1,000 fine for not clearing the city’s property.  Mad yet?  In addition,  no one resident receives credit for cost and time of cleaning the city’s property.  Even the fire department is beginning to charge fees for services.  You would think that our tax money would suffice.  But it appears that these may have been implemented to sustain the unsustainable, especially the pensions.  These were labor negotiations by city leadership that were not in the best interest of the citizens.  Storm drain maintenance hikes from $2.83 to $5.82, to sustain storm drain maintenance, street sweeping and of course which leads to a reason to cite constituents with parking tickets to sustain new parking projects etc.  Trash rates will go up $0.46 per month beginning in July 2012.  All constituents were denied a real say in the matter or were misinformed.  We can say ‘fiduciary negligence.’  But it won’t stop there, there are the bonds which are coming due as a result of the Renaissance debacle.  The city will be blaming Governor Brown and the state for banning redevelopment, for the money they say will sustain the payment on those bonds.  But that’s not how it works.  The State of California stopped Redevelopment because of the abuse.  They will blame the state, while the city will not take responsibility, because that will mean they are now apt at making good decisions.  But what you find that does not change in the long run.  Because in the long run it is you who will have to pay for it in increase property taxes.

When I see a spade I call it a spade…”   - Oscar Wilde

It is no wonder that city residents feel they are habitually terrorized by the city and code enforcement agents who slowly drive by residents home to see what kind of violations they can find. Yes many have quietly said it could be Cuba or even the Third Reich, but I have to continue to remind them we live in a city called Riverside, also know as “The All American City”.

Is Redevelopment really over?  The State of California says it is, but will municipalities create something different?  Originally, Redevelopment was created to combat blight.  Areas of cities that didn’t contribute to the overall tax structure.  As Redevelopmentevolved it tended to benefit friends and others close to the Mayor, City Council and Management, rather than the overall community.  Established businesses which were contributing to the economy were then hit with another tool, ‘eminent domain.’  But the irony is, that the visionaries of government who saw an illusionary and unattainable conception created in essence blight.   Currently what we have downtown that is blighted and created by the Renaissance program under the supervision of the Mayor and City Council at a cost of close to 2 billion dollars to the taxpayer.  In addition, does not make a penny for the community as it was intended. They can blame it on the loss of redevelopment, but it couldn’t logically work with it.  Another improvisational plan appears to be in the works.  Infrastructure Finance Districts, originally created and intended to work one way, just as redevelopment, will they be strategically morphed again as redevelopment was, to the benefit of a few?  While on one hand, the taxpayer are just feeling protected by the end of redevelopment, others are recreating an alternative gravy train.  Let’s make no bones about it, Pavlovian would be jealous of how much salivation exudes in the mouths of politicians on this thought. Yes you may say it is a dogs world, but here’s how infrastructure finance districts work: a group of property owners (or residents if there are more than a dozen) in the specified area vote to allow a portion of property taxes that would ordinarily go to the general fund to be diverted to pay for construction and improvements to public property — things like libraries, parks and recreational facilities.  But ordinarily, property owners such as resident are not likely to go to the city and ask for them to place it on a ballot initiative.  So what may happen, would be the city goes to the people with a ballot initiative that the city would benefit the property owners.  This is quite slick… this is what would happen, financially speaking, property taxes would not go up, but the general fund doesn’t get as much money. The City would go along with the decreased amount in the general fund because, in theory, these public enhancements cause nearby property values to rise, ultimately putting more property taxes into the general fund in the future. But currently the City’s has been spending more than they are taking in.  So again, will this new concept debacle cause additional increases in property taxes at some point?  Probably so.. therefore people need to think before they vote, those who don’t vote, need to vote.  If you don’t vote, you are allowing your representatives to be truly unattended.  It is your duty to be part of the checks and balance system which protects our community.  Without it, we will continue to be afraid of government, whereby government should be afraid of the people.  We therefore hae to ask ourselves, does government fear us?  Or do we fear the government?  Thomas Jefferson said it best, “When governments fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny”.   Government is our servant, not our master!”  When the people fear the government, as with code enforcement abuse, tax abuse, service fees abuse, hidden tax abuse, a tiered utility rate abuse and the feeling that nothing can be done…you have allowed government to have victory.

More to come, new article in the Press Enterprise, again posted for a short amount of time then buried but worth reading, because it is what citizens as us, who the city has called ‘misinformed’, ‘idiots’ or if a woman, ‘bitches’, the allegations of falsification of records.  If it at all matters, Interum Public Works Director, Tom Boyd is now named Public Works Director.

It is now time time to ask the Public Works Director the question the constituents have been waiting to ask, with regards to bids, contracts, change orders and accountability of which he has taken part of .

TMC, RATED RIVERSIDE’S MOST “SLANDEROUS” AND MEZZSPELLED, “MISSPELLED” AND “OPINIONATED” BLOG SITE!  TEMPORARILY BLOCKED BY THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE AT PUBLIC ACCESS SITES WITHIN THE CITY, THEN UNBLOCKED.  I GUESS YOU CANNOT DO THAT ACCORDING TO ACLU.  RATED ONE TWO STAR OUT OF FIVE IN TERMS OF COMMUNITY APPROVAL RATINGS..  TMC IS NOW EXCLUSIVELY ON FILE WITH THE COUNTY OF RIVERSIDE’S DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE, AND PROSSIBLY POSSIBLY ON FILE WITH THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE’S POTENTIAL SLAPP SUIT LIST… WE WILL HAVE TO ASK GREGORY ABOUT THAT ONE ( OUR PEOPLE WILL HAVE TO CONTACT HIS PEOPLE)… AGAIN, THANK-YOU COMMUNITY OF RIVERSIDE AND THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE EMPLOYEE’S FOR YOUR SUPPORT!   COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOMED, ESPECIALLY SPELL CHECKERS!  EMAIL ANONYMOUSLY WITH YOUR DIRT OR FOR CONTACT!   THIRTYMILESCORRUPTION@HOTMAIL.COM 

May 2, 2012, Wedneday- Mayoral Candidate Debate Forum- 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM Universalist Unitarian Church, 3657 Lemon Street, Riverside, CA  92501.                                                                     

April 18, 2012-Pick Group Candidate Forum 6-8PM at Th Salted Pig Restaurant, 3700 12th Street Ana Yeager Lee 951-990-2573, anayeagerlee@gmail.com

April 19, 2012-Tyler Springs 12:00PM

April 19-League of Women Voters,The Group, Latino Network, Riverside’s NAACP  Candidate Forum, Orange Terrace Community Center, 20010 Orange Terrace Parkway, Riverside from  6:30-8:30pm

UPDATE: 04/20/2012: City Council has allocated time on Tuesday 04/20/2012  for President/CEO Cindy Roth to present and discuss Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce and its relationship to the City of Riverside.  Questions have been raised of City’s role in funding via taxpayer allocations of certain projects etc. with the Chamber.  The Greater Riverside Chamber is a non-profit, and questions have also been raised regards to conflict of interest as some have contracts with the city and its influence on particular projects which should only be a function between the council, mayor and the Riverside constituents.

UPDATE:04/19/2012: According to Former City Councilman and Mayoral Candidate Ed Adkison, City Manager Scott Barber divulged to him that the City of Riverside will have a $10 million dollar deficit.  Salvador Santana, of The Truth Publication, stated that the budget was balanced, this info he received in a recent 3:00 am meeting at the home of Finance Director Bret Mason.  Councilman Mike Gardner states we may have to use some of our reserves, but we have a balanced budget (I didn’t know the city had reserves, no one is yet able to pin point it).   According to the public records request act, TMC still sticks to premise that the City has more like a $90 million deficit.

UPDATE: 04/13/2012: BLOCKED WEBSITES HIGHLIGHTS TENSIONS BETWEEN COUNCIL, CRITICS.  Article in PE regarding the blocking of the Thirty Miles of Corruption on public city sites.  ACLU notified according to the Five Before Midnight blog, and has placed the City of Riverside on watch.

Most of the money to the chamber was donated between the years of 2005-2007 when Brad Hudson was city manager.  Cindy Roth CEO/ President of the Greater Riverside Chamber, a non-profit organization, was vehement against the city having a Citizen’s Auditing Committee.

CINDY ROTH, PRESIDENT/CEO OF THE GREATER RIVERSIDE CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE

As for the Greater Riverside Chamber of Commerce, it does nothing but collect paychecks. The office could be used for rental for income to the city. Cindy Roth laughs at how easy it is to hold a title and collect a big check and do nothing for it.  But that seems to be common with friends of friends. Several citizens looked to the Chamber for help and Cindy Roth never got back to them and really doesn’t cared as the fact no one will say anything to her.  — Airjackie, Commenter on the Press Enterprise 5:38 PM on 04/22/2012

Why would a non-profit care about local citizens participating in an oversite of the communities coffers?  Why would such an entity have presidence over the will of the people?  Further, Ms. Roth states that the City’s Finance Committee would suffice.  This has been a committee that has had an inconsistent track record of meeting, there have been times whereby it met twice a year..but since 2010 we see an up swing in Finance Committee Meeting, which is a good sign for the community.

FINANCE COMMITTEE MEETINGS 1999-2010 (CLICK IMAGE TO VIEW)

What would be so wrong for true dedicated oversite committee of local citizens for the community’s coffers?  What is Ms. Roth afraid of ? Is the Greater Riverside Chamber really a lobbying group?  Why would it matter to a non-profit organization such as the Chamber?  Well this struck us as odd, so we did a little investigation and found the following.

What many have also brought to our attention are the board members.  Many who receive contracts with the city, such as BB&K attorney Howard Golds and also Richard Roth, Attorney and husband for Cindy Roth, who is also running for Congress under General Richard Roth and endorsed by Mayor Ron Loveridge.

Also there was a great disparity which was evident between chambers, but is it legal to donate tax payer money to non-profits?  Click on the link under the image to view the full document.

           

GREATER RIVERSIDE CHAMBER      HISPANIC CHAMBER          ASIAN INDIAN CHAMBER        AFRICAN AM. CHAMBER

CITY COUNCIL TUESDAY AGENDA ITEMS APRIL 10, 2012:

ITEM #14  They simply want to raise your water rates from $2.83 to $5.82, they wanted actually to raise it to $10.00  Evidently Public Works is unable to work within their budget?

             

CLICK THIS LINK TO VIEW COMPLETE DOCUMENT

On the above Public Works document, on page four, it mentions that the Greater Riverside Chamber voted to increase our rate from $2.83 to $5.82.  This sends a message to the community residents that there is an underlying connnection with this particular non-profit and the city.  Could we consider that there may be a conflict of interest with some of the board members?

So if we don’t pass this we will have to take it from the general fund.. According to Barber, the loss of Redevelopment has a direct impact on the General Fund to the extent of $6 million.  Therefore an already strapped General Fund will have to make up the slack of programs dependent on it.  He said it is a tax increase, but that was put in place before proposition 218, and therefore it is not subject to a vote.  This is a tax increase, City Manager Scott Barber said, and that is partly why I believe the Greater Riverside Chamber supported it.   Not because they receive financial support from the city,  most of the support that the Chamber receives from the City goes to pay Festival of Lights and Keeping Riverside Clean and Beautiful,  and thats what financially goes to support the chamber and that’s what needed to be said.  Well this needs to be said, I would imagine that the Greater Riverside Chamber is under city contract for services related with the Festival of Lights and Keeping Riverside Clean and Beautiful.

Since the Storm Drain issue is about keeping curbs clean of debris.  Chris Mac Arthur made mention to the problem of street sweeping both sides of the street on the same day.  We can’t have friends or family over…  of course we know we will be ticketed. you cant have any activity on those days.

Councilman Steve Adams is confused about the time line regarding the Federal Mandate of the Storm Drain issue, it was actually put in place in 1948, not 10 or 20 years ago.  These are mandates by the Federal Government that are unfunded.

Vivian Moreno Councilman Mike Gardner had suggested that we increase the rate from $2.83 to $5.82  Have you asked the citizens of Riverisde to sweep their curb, like you you make us clean the alley ways, which is actually your alley way.  The Greater Riverside Chamber will approve anything that has any increases, because they need their ‘financial fix’.

Dvonne Pitruzzello, Lower the rates and let us spend our money here in Riverside.  Your sucking the residents dry, it may go along with the mayors plan to remove the low to moderate out and middle to upper income residents in, in order to pay these taxes, but in terms of economics, this does not work.  Stop bleeding the citizens, especially for the elderly, this is there food money.

In reference to this isssue, Councilman Paul Davis vehemently stated, “I may stand alone, but I will not do this tax”!    Passes 6-1… and yes,  even our “independent voice for Riverside”  William “Rusty” Bailey voted for it.  TMC thanks Councilman Paul Davis for being an independent voice for Riverside, standing for people not politics, demanding fiscal responsibility and challenging the status quo to improve our quality of life.  Wow, that just sounded vaguely familiar..

So has Mr. Barber ever thought of cut backs?  Why again hit and terrorize the residents with more increases.  Residents have to financially cut back, why can’t the city?  Residents are made to live within their means, why not the city?  What would the city do, if they didn’t have the power to tax and implement such fees etc.?  They would have to be like us, forced to live within their means.

ITEM # 25  We have a resignation in the Human Resource Department of Tyrell H. Lawyer, Commission on Disabilities, a year before the contract ends, March 1, 2013.  Does anybody want to hear Tyrell’s story?  I sure do..

ITEM # 28  Continue an agreement with the Goeske Center to pay their electrical bill and and their landscaping bill.  The cost to the tax payer $403,590.00 from the General Fund.  The Janet Goeske Center is a non-profit organization, and questions have been raised if this monies our considered a gift of public funds.

PUBLIC COMMENT ON THE APRIL 6, 2012 PURPLE PIPE PROGRAM:

On April 6, 2012 at the Board of Public Utilities Meeting to allow public comment on the issue of the purple pipe.  The purple pipe program is a new water reclamation program the city would like to implement, with of course, you paying the bill.

CLICK THIS LINK TO VIEW COMPLETE DOCUMENT

Not only was this meeting for the leyving of new fees for the purple pipe program, but for other issues.  One issue that we noticed, was Item #14 on the Public Utilities Board Meeting on their consent calender which was to approve a purchase order for the purchase and installation of office furniture for 3750 University Avenue.  Which was BB&K’s office space, whereby the City of Riverside assumed their lease, costing taxpayers $175,234.00 per month.  Well the furniture cost indicated in this item is for $280,691.84, but it doesn’t stop there.  They snuck in a change order, just in case they needed even more furniture, for $200,000.00  Usually change orders are brought back to council to be approved due to an unforeseen action which escalates the cost.  Therefore a justification needs to be brought to the attention of the council or board.  So the total cost for new furniture for their new place is $480,691.84, where does the old furniture go?  To that great office in the sky, I guess?  So, if they were to use their old furniture, and I’m sure it is not that old, we would have Tom Boyd’s needed $345,310.00 to pay for his storm drain, with something left over for a rainy day.  But of course, they may just use it for lunch.

CLICK THIS LINK TO VIEW COMPLETE DOCUMENT

But let’s take it a step further, the adopt a tree program, which is Item #13 the Tree Power Program.  It allows Public Works to pay out a maximum to each vendor or $150,000.00, but the total program is capped at $500,000.00

Questions are being asked on the purple pipe tax.  Some are questioning the extra expense Public Utilities recommends for more furniture.  Out with the old, in with the new style?  at taxpayer expense? ..during a down economy?  Is the purple pipe program being push to help pay the rent for BB&K’s old lease, but now the City’s new lease (or should I say we the taxpayer’s new lease)?  When we swap out, or take over BB&K’s lease, it will cost the taxpayer $175,234.00 per month.  Excessive?  According to market statistics we will be paying $1.00/ sq. ft. over current market trends.

Mary Sheldon, Five Before Midnight Blog,  blasted Councilman Steve Adams last weeks response of discrimination being funny..  Discrimination isn’t funny when at a recent settlement cost the taxpayers $1.6 million.

Dvonne Pitruzzello, 2012 Mayoral Candidate, said that we need the same type of reporting for the city attorney, that we have for the city manager discretionary spending.  Also stated regarding discrimination law suits, that we can lose federal and state funding if a city has to many discrimination law suits, and that’s not funny!   Further, she wanted to find out when developer Mark Rubin’s property was transferred, because I see Councilman Mike Gardner’s mayoral signs there, and I thought the city owned those properties.

Self Proclaimed Citizen Auditor Vivian Moreno, said if we cleaned our own street and paid for our own trees, we would have enough money left over that we wouldn’t have to pay for the purple pipe.  To add to this comment, citizens are not recognized or thanked for the expense of cleaning back alleys, which is actually the city’s back alley.  But they do this under the duress of expensive code enforcement fines.  Citizens forced to clean city property under the threat of being fined…now that doesn’t sound like freedom, but it does sound like an oxymoron.

Former Assistant Deputy Attorney Raychele Sterling spoke of contract bids and prevailing wage increases, since interum public works director tom Boyd didn’t know this basic bit of info.  April 3, 2012 at City Council Ms. Sterling spoke about the public works performance evaluation form which had not been reviewed by the City Attorney’s office, and considered “a lottery ticket” for employment lawyers.  Without further adieu here is the infamous ‘Tom Boyd Special.’

CLICK IMAGE TO VIEW

UPDATE: 04.12.2012: IN THE NEWS, COUNCILMAN STEVE ADAMS AGAIN ATTEMPTS TO IMPOSE CONTAINER FEES ON PASSING TRAINS.  TMC ADDRESSED THIS ISSUE SOMETIME BACK WITH THE ARTICLE BELOW,  WHEREBY A JUDGE WOULD NOT ALLOW THIS ATTEMPTED FEE.  THERE WAS EXTRODINARY LEGAL COST TO THE TAXPAYER IN LEGAL FEES AND AGAIN COUNCILMAN ADAMS ATTEMPTS TO PROPOSE TO THE TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE THAT THE TAXPAYER PAY AN OUTSIDE CONSULTANT IN DALLAS, TEXAS $160.000.00 TO PERSUADE OFFICIALS AT VARIOUS PORTS THAT THESE FEES ARE NECESSSARY FOR PROJECTS SUCH AS RAILROAD GRADE SEPARATIONS..  IS THIS DALLAS BASED CONSULTANT REALLY A LOBBYIST?

CITY OF RIVERSIDE VS. PORT OF LONG BEACH: COURT STATES THE ORANGE BLOSSOM SPECIAL CAN PASS WITHOUT GREASING EMERALD CITY!

ALSO IN THE NEWS IS THE MAYORAL CANDIDATE RACE, WITH A NEW PRESS ENTERPRISE ARTICLE ON THE VIEWS OF THE MAYORAL CANDIDATES.

FAIRMONT PARK HOMELESS ENCAMPMENT BULLDOZED WITH POLICE ESCORT ACCORDING TO PRESS ENTERPRISE.

WASTE CONTINUES, TMC ENDORSES MAYORAL CANDIDATE DVONNE PITRUZZELLO

TMC, RATED RIVERSIDE’S MOST “SLANDEROUS” AND MEZZSPELLED, “MISSPELLED” AND “OPINIONATED” BLOG SITE!  TEMPORARILY BLOCKED BY THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE AT PUBLIC ACCESS SITES WITHIN THE CITY, THEN UNBLOCKED.  I GUESS YOU CANNOT DO THAT ACCORDING TO ACLU.  RATED ONE STAR OUT OF FIVE IN TERMS OF COMMUNITY APPROVAL RATINGS..  TMC IS NOW EXCLUSIVELY ON FILE WITH THE COUNTY OF RIVERSIDE’S DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE, AND PROSSIBLY POSSIBLY ON FILE WITH THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE’S POTENTIAL SLAPP SUIT LIST… WE WILL HAVE TO ASK GREGORY ABOUT THAT ONE… AGAIN, THANK-YOU COMMUNITY OF RIVERSIDE AND THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE EMPLOYEE’S FOR YOUR SUPPORT!   COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOMED, ESPECIALLY SPELL CHECKERS!  EMAIL ANONYMOUSLY WITH YOUR DIRT OR FOR CONTACT!   THIRTYMILESCORRUPTION@HOTMAIL.COM 

CLICK THE PIC TO WATCH DAVE WRIGHT AND THE PURPLE PIPE WITH THE HD EFFECT!

To the extent tiered water rates are imposed in a manner that deviates from “cost of service” requirements, those rates are in violation of Proposition 218  -Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association

UPDATE:04/09/2012: BARBER THE BLOGGER

It appears that for the most part the public may be a bit ‘confused’, a slight infusion of assurance in that it is not always ‘necessary’ to respond to the public’s questions.  It looks as if there is still much to ‘ferret out’ within the city manager Scott Barber’s new position as city blogger…

He said he doesn’t always feel it’s necessary or appropriate to respond to the public’s questions and criticisms, but in this case, “I do believe there’s some confusion about what happened and what’s allowable and what’s not.”

A Moreno Valley community activist has filed a complaint with the California attorney general’s office seeking an investigation into the relationship between the City Council and developer Iddo Benzeevi.

In the City of Redlands, City Employee Bob Platt airs complaints against City Council..  Will he be blackballed?  The Press Enterprise is reporting on outside city events more than the expolosion that has been happening in the City of Riverside.. what ties does the PE have with the City of Riverside?

Los Angeles facing a $222,000 million budget shortfall!  City of Los Angeles also received the Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association for their 2009 CAFR.

Hercules, CA on the brink of bankruptcy, second to Stockton, CA?   Hercules became the third city to undergo an audit by State Controller John Chiang ( the other two were Bell and Montebello).  All three city’s have recieved the achievement for excellence in financial reporting, including recently, the City of Riverside.  Part of Hercules economic hangover is a pair of four-story, half-finished, plastic-wrapped apartment buildings in Hercules.  The city sank $38 million into those buildings, a 144,000-square-foot redevelopment project gone awry. Last week, the City Council sold the buildings for $425,000.

ALLEGED VIOLATIONS OF LAW COMMITTED BY THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE 

1.     QUESTION:  Did the City of Riverside make unlawful water and electric utility revenue transfers to the city’s General Fund (GFTs) as unlawful taxes?

ANSWER: YES.  Accordingly, there was never a vote of the people held to approve these special taxes as required by law.  The 1955 city charter allows General Fund Transfers (GFTs) to occur up to 11.5% of the gross water and electric utility revenue each year. This GFT revenue is created by elevating the rates, fees and charges for water and electric utility services above the cost of providing the service(s).  However, in the 1980s Cal. Government Code sec. 50075-77.5 (implementing language of Prop. 13) went into effect.  It applies to all taxes and defines them.  This Constitutional definition includes General and Special taxes.  Any excess revenue above the cost of providing the publicly-owned utility service(s) is de facto a tax (either a General tax or a Special tax).

These definitions were repeated and emphasized in 1996 with the passage of proposition 218 (passed with and eighty-four percent approval). 

The City of Riverside transfers this excess revenue (taxes) to the city General Fund and spends it on general government purposes.  Therefore, both sources of excess Utility Department revenue are taxes subject to approval by the voters.  In 1996 the voters of California approved, by an overwhelming margin (84%), Proposition 218, which added new language to the California Constitution and became effective July 1, 1997.  Cal. Government Code sec. 50075-77.5 and Article 13C, sec. 2(b-d) specifically forbids the imposition, extension or increase of any Special tax without a super-majority vote on the issue of the tax.  In order to lawfully collect taxes, any new or continuing rates, fees, charges and assessments above the cost of providing service had to be placed before the voters before November 8, 1998.

The City of Riverside did not hold a vote on a special tax and continued the unlawful GFTs each year for 14 years, believing it was exempt from the Cal. Govt. Code and the Constitution (Prop. 218).   I can find no exemption that applies and the voters do not have the authority to void constitutional restrictions on government by voting to modify or renew the city Charter.  The City did not place the issue of taxation by GFTs to a vote.  Every City budget since July 1997 has included a GFT from the Water Utility Fund.  This is, by its very nature, proof of the intent to collect unconstitutional water rates, fees and charges that are above the cost of providing service(s) in order to purposefully exact the GFT as an unlawful hidden tax.  Article 13D, sec. 6 (b) specifically forbids the pricing of water above the cost of service and the transfer of surplus utility funds to any general government expense (See the Sacramento County Grand Jury Report dated January 6, 2010, City of Sacramento).  [Please note that the City Attorney for the City of Sacramento was formerly employed in the Riverside City Attorneys’ office serving the Riverside Utility Department until December 2005.]  It appears that within four years of service to the city of Sacramento her legal advice was deemed incorrect on the issues of transferring funds out of the water fund for general government purposes including paying employee salaries in other departments!

Additionally, the city of Riverside cannot transfer general government cost(s) to the water utility budget (see 2011 city budget, wherein 45 general government staff positions were transferred to the Utility Department budget).  An annual budget that predicts or proposes a GFT from the Water Utility Fund without authorization from the voters is proof of intent to charge unconstitutional water rates (conclusion: intent to misappropriate funds).  The California Government Code sec. 50075-77.5 and Prop 218 requires a public vote for both General and Special taxes.  The Water and Electric Utility GFTs are unlawful taxes as performed by the City of Riverside.  The unconstitutional water rates, fees and charges and the GFTs are documented in the city’s annual budgets and audits of the Water Utility for the last thirteen years (an audit is factual evidence of unlawful rates and GFTs).  The unlawful tax established by GFTs from the Electric Utility is to be found in the annual budgets and audits as well.

This documentation establishes a pattern and practice of violating the constitution for at least the last 14 years and this process has exacted $45.million of unlawful water rates.  I have not researched all the data on unlawful electric utility rates, fees and charges or GFTs for the last 13-20 years.   Unlawful electrical rates exact $38 million per year of unlawful taxes (see 2009 city budget/audit). However it likely will total close to $350 million.  This is an unfunded liability created by the city.  Courts have ordered city general fund moneys be restored to the utility fund from which they came.

2.     QUESTION: In October 2006 did the City of Riverside unlawfully approved a five-year plan of increasing water rates 50% as well as institute an unlawful, punitive 4-tier pricing scheme for water service to its customers?

ANSWER: YES.  The stated intent of the scheme was to conserve water and raise water rates in order to increase the gross revenue of the Water Utility Department.  This was done to effectively increase the dollar amount of the unlawful taxation by GFTs from approximately $3 million per year to over $5.5 million per year. The rate increases were stated by the city (at council meetings, budget documents and in other city documents) as being necessary to pay for the city’s “Renaissance Plan” of general government
projects.

Article 13D, sec. 6 of the California Constitution requires a public hearing before the City Council.  This required hearing is held under Article 13D in order to seek a majority of written protests to the proposed new or increased water rates, fees and charges.  This is required for any property-related service where the utility rates, fees and charges do not exceed the cost of providing the service and the revenue is not used for general government purposes (GFTs, Special or General Taxes).  Note:  electric and gas services are exempt from the requirements of Article 13D.

The City of Riverside held such a hearing (on October 6, 2006) knowing that it was acting unlawfully to approve the rate increases without a public vote.  This action by the city is a clear and intentional violation of the State Constitution and the public’s constitutional right to vote on taxes (conclusion: the city exceeded its authority).  Knowing that, the city continued to charge and increase unlawful water rates without seeking a public vote. These rates and the five year plan to raise them 50% was clearly above the cost of providing the service (an unlawful tax) and the city continued to benefit monetarily with ever-increasing amounts of cash revenue (unlawful GFTs) from the Water and electric Utility Fund(s) (conclusion: money is the motive that brings the city the prestige it seeks with other cities and even more so during the last three years of economic recession when we continued to spend the $1.5 billion on the renaissance plan  and now more funds on “Seize your Destiny”).

The California Supreme Court published the Bighorn Desert View Water Agency v. Verjil Cal. Supreme Court July 24, 2006, 39 Cal, 4th decision over 2 months prior to the City Council vote to approve the rate increases that funded most of the Renaissance plan. The Bighorn decision upheld Prop. 218 and reversed the 2000 City of Los Angeles ruling. This was an earth-shaking decision for cities throughout California as it’s’ language restricts governments from raising(including borrowing money) without a vote on taxes(borrowing or incurring debt creates an automatic demand for increased city tax revenue)..

The City of Riverside therefore knew or reasonably should have known that the proposed water rates and resultant GFTs were unlawful and unconstitutional.  I believe constitutional violations were intentionally planned.  It was planned as a scheme to misappropriate funds as hidden unlawful taxation and unconstitutional rates, fees and charges for utility services. The city continued, regardless of the Supreme Court decision, because it needed to approve and  fund its  “Renaissance Plan.”

The City Charter, Article IV, gives the Mayor authority to make policy and direction of the city government actions.  The Mayor instructs the City Manager, City Attorney and the City Council on policy and direction of decision making.  According to the City Charter, the City Manager has “sole authority to carry out policy and direction without interference from the council members.” The City Manager reports to the Mayor.

3.     QUESTION: At the time of the hearing did the city also approve dramatic increases in the electrical rates well above the cost of service?

ANSWER: YES.  Article 13D does not apply to electrical fees; however, the Supreme Court wrote in the Bighorn decision that Article 13C does apply to electrical utility service provided by a (charter) city and included analysis and case law in support.  All increased electrical fees that are above the cost of service are a special tax including funds transferred to the general fund! This is consistent with the meaning of Cal. Govt. Code 50075-77.5 and Article 13C requiring a vote to impose taxes.  Additionally, as stated above, Riverside’s electrical rates, fees and charges are intentionally set above the cost of service.  This is done to continue a reliable monthly flow of cash revenue for transfer to the City General Fund for non-utility general government expenses in-lieu of taxes denying the public its constitutional right to vote on taxes (Cal. Govt. Code sec. 50075-77.5 and Cal. Const. Article 13C). 

4.     QUESTION: Did the City of Riverside devise and implement a “confidence scheme” under the guise of “water conservation” in a period of “statewide drought”?

ANSWER: YES. The city planned and implemented an expanded scheme.  The City of Riverside (October 2006) set water rates well above the cost of service to residential parcels and approved a punitive 4-tiered scheme to charge higher rates for those water customers who use larger than “normal or average” amounts of water (See city water rate schedules and Attachment A).  To justify this unlawful, punitive tiered-rate schedule, the city basically determined that any person using more than the established “normal” amount of service must be wasting water during the “statewide drought.

Articles in the local Press-Enterprise newspaper quote city officials as stating that there is a “statewide drought” and therefore an urgent necessity to conserve water.  The city took advantage of public fears on the subject to make a finding of “Use Constituting Waste” without establishing any facts or evidence of wasteful water use or a shortage of water in the City of Riverside (See City Water Rule 15, “Water Waste”).  (A state statutes say beneficial use of water for landscape irrigation is up to 21/2 acre feet per acre per year before you can begin to question its use as not beneficial and thus conclude wasteful usage of water.)

I have found no data or analysis substantiating this conclusion of “use constituting water waste” by the city.  This conclusion is inconsistent with Water Rule 15 and has been and/is merely an assumption to further justify the unlawfully high rates, fees and charges necessary to carry out the scheme (see Attachment A).  Additionally, the City of Riverside is not and has not been impacted by drought conditions since the mid-1960s.  This occurred after a long period of tremendous local growth (post-1941 development) that created huge increases in water demand for industry, housing and public water service, all of which coincided with a cyclic period of low rainfall in the early 60’s.

You will find ample documentation of these facts in the City of Riverside’s 2005 Urban Water Management Plan, which has sections on history, supply sources, reliability of supply, charts of annual (historical and predicted future) production/use figures for water demand (in the city at full built-out population) and notes of revenue reliability and GFTs.  The 2005 Urban Water Management Plan documents that, in decades going back to the founding of the city, there has not been a lasting natural shortage of water and there is no future predictable shortage until beyond year 2030.  City officials have been quoted and written in city documents that “if the city needs cash we raise the (utility) rates” and “the utilities are a cash-cow even during the statewide drought of the last year”.

The Press Enterprise daily weather page reported a normal annual rainfall of 41.5 inches in the San Bernardino Mountains.  Since the city’s printing of the 2005 UWMP dozens of articles have appeared in the Press Enterprise.  Many times the reporter interviews and includes quotes from city officials.  None of these quotes make reference to our abundant water supplies during the drought or the supporting information in the 2005 UWMP (a document prepared every five years by statute). They did not act to calm the fears of the general public to further the scheme to charge higher than cost for water service provided to each parcel in the city with monthly transfers to the general fund.

100% of our water is from huge rapidly rechargeable (from precipitation in the local mountains) ground water basins in the San Bernardino valley Bunker Hill basin and the North Riverside basin.

Because there is the potential for a too-high water table in the Bunker Hill Water Basin (the basin that provides most of Riverside’s water), in the 1980s the Court appointed a Water Master. The Water Master’s job is to annually determine how much ground water to harvest in the water basin so as to keep ground water from rising into foundations and basements in downtown San Bernardino. His primary responsibility is to maintain a depth-to-groundwater level of approximately 150 feet below the surface in order to prevent earthquake liquefaction from occurring in most of the San Bernardino Valley. Without Riverside’s annual water harvest from the San Bernardino/Bunker Hill well field, downtown San Bernardino would experience surface flooding from artesian water sources and much damage to structures would occur without the occurrence of an earthquake.  There are current efforts to bring the ground water level down to 150feet and maintain it at that level to prevent recent estimates of earthquake liquefaction zones.

Riverside is not in an “emergency drought” and is not “required” to conserve a plentiful local resource we already own.  The city has not declared a “Water Supply Emergency” in order to implement mandatory conservation measures because there is no drought emergency in Riverside.  The state Drought Emergency Program to conserve water established a voluntary goal of 20% by 2020 and provided for communities or regions who can demonstrate their water resources are unaffected by drought limiting the supply available to them. The only exception would be in those cases where emergency shortages actually exist and mandatory conservation measures have been implemented to protect public health & safety by a local declaration of a supply/service emergency. Conclusion: the City of Riverside is using this statewide “drought scare factor” and free publicity to successfully conduct a scheme of unlawful water rates/taxation. 

We the people of the City of Riverside have, over the last 98-plus years, continuously invested public funds into purchasing and improving water rights and infrastructure that currently is valued at more than one billion dollars.  We continue to do this in order to benefit from a low-cost, safe, reliable and necessary water utility service that is independent of expensive imported water and therefore is also independent of drought impacts (See Water Utility “Mission Statement”). We pump local ground water, plus we own court-adjudicated rights in San Bernardino to harvest and export to Riverside more water than we can use annually.

To illustrate this more fully, one should note that the city also sells 15-18% of its annual water production to areas outside its service area.  This includes the daily service of water to Home Gardens and the northern parts of Corona, as well as an additional of 6,000 to 8,000 acre feet of water to the Western Municipal Water District (2005 Urban Water Management Plan).

Conclusion: the City of Riverside is misleading the citizens of Riverside into accepting an erroneous fact of “drought” and unlawfully high water rates designed to “save” water so that, the funds “above the (much lower) cost of providing service to individual property owners/customers is sufficient to for non-water utility city expenses such as but not limited to debt service of the Renaissance and Seize your Destiny plans .

“Normal or average” water consumption in Riverside was determined by reviewing city zoning maps and property water bills to establish that the “average” customer/family lives in a residential 3-bedroom house of 1500 sq. ft. on a smaller-sized 7,000 sq. ft. lot. It should be understood that many residences in the city have a much larger lot and therefore a much larger yard to irrigate.  Any tiered pricing scheme inherently charges more per measured unit of water to above-average customers than it does to average or below-average lot size customers (see Attachment A). This is in violation of Article 13D.

Conclusion: the issue of “water waste” is irrelevant to the data analyzed.  It was merely a convenient conclusion to enhance this unlawful scheme so as to generate more Water Utility Department revenue for transfer to the General

Fund and to pay for planned future sale of Certificates of Participation for the Renaissance plan. The tiered pricing scheme is but a formula for calculating your usage-based rate of taxation and punishment for exceeding the city determined “normal or average customer use”.  It calculates your charge for metered consumption of water service without a public vote of approval or constitutionally mandated “Due process of Law”.  If you do not comply with the city’s rules you can be fined up to $1000 per violation and charged with a misdemeanor subject to jail time and fine. 

The California Supreme Court Big Horn ruling reaffirmed prop 218 in total.  The Court said that, in the absence of a Special Benefit determination on a parcel by parcel basis, all customers must be charged the same rate, fee or charge calculated to meet and not exceed the cost of providing service.  This included but is not limited to: residential, industrial, manufacturing, agricultural, commercial, schools, hospitals, universities, colleges and any governmental entity receiving the service.  In the absence of a special benefit study and voter approved assessment every customer may only be charged the same rates, fees and charges as every other customer in the city.  The consumption/metered rates, fees and charges may only be established from the annual cost of electricity ($0.045 to run the pumps plus the annual cost of maintaining the infrastructure (these are the variable costs of a water utility).  Fixed costs may only be attributed to the meter/availability of service charge varied by the flow capacity of your meter connection to the infrastructure in the public right of way.  In spite of the emergency drought statutes that allow permission to include debt service for capital replacement, new construction or replacement of old infrastructure into the rate structure this remains a permissive act that remains constitutionally challengeable. Much of this is also the conclusion of the Sacramento Grand Jury Report, January 06, 2010.

The city has therefore unlawfully established, by ordinance, unconstitutional tiered pricing rates and 19 different water rate schedules. It also has made “special contract sales” for ongoing service with some customers for lower-cost water. The concept of having more than one price for water consumed by any customer(s) is in violation of Proposition 218 and the Supreme Court’s Big Horn ruling.  The rates, fees and charges for water metered service  cannot exceed the cost of providing the service to any property owner/customer and must be the same for all customers (Bighorn Desert View Water Agency v. Verjil and the Sacramento County Grand Jury Report January 2010).

Therefore it can be seen that low-priced water service for some customers of the City of Riverside has to be subsidized by water rates that are substantially higher for other customers, who are primarily the residential customers (see Attachment A).  But Article 13D requires the pricing of water service by a public agency to be no more than the actual cost of service, unless a Special Benefit assessment is determined and voter approved on a parcel by parcel basis (refer to Article 13C and 13D for discussion of what constitutes a Special Benefit).  Any Special Benefit assessment would be an additional charge as a property assessment on our property tax bills, and like a Special Assessment for capital improvement debt service (San Marcos Water District v. San Marcos School District, 1986). The city has not performed any Special Benefit analysis.

The City of Riverside has established and maintains a pattern and practice of violating the state Constitution.  It also violates the equal application of law guaranty of both the U.S. Constitution and the State Constitution.

Conclusion: the city intentionally refuses to comply with Proposition 218 for the purpose of extracting more unlawful tax revenue from the people of Riverside than the city would otherwise receive by lawful means without seeking voter approval.

The Riverside Public Utilities Board (which consists of council-appointed volunteers) studies, decides and recommends water and electric utility rates for approval by the City Council.  A Board member told me that the City Attorney and the City Manager wanted nothing but increased water and electric rates on punitive tiered-rate schedules recommended to the city council.

Before the end of 2006, the board and the city needed to complete the approval of the specified rate increases and the punitive 4-tiered schedule in order to provide the General Fund with an enhanced steady monthly cash flow to the general fund. This cash flow was needed so as to justify a high (AA++) bond rating in following years (2007-2009).  A high bond rating ensures the marketability for the proposed issuance and sale of Revenue bonds and Certificates of Participation (COPs).  Both of these financial instruments were intended to fund parks, libraries, roads, and railroad separation projects (general government expenses) that were part of Riverside’s “Renaissance Plan.”

It was estimated that approval of the Renaissance Plan would cost $1.5 billion over five years beginning in 2007.  According to my source,  she and other Utility Board members wanted to discuss other, more fair, alternatives (i.e. water budgeting per customer lot size) as other cities were doing to effect water conservation. But they were firmly directed by the City Manager’s office to only discuss and approve punitive tiered-rates and a 5-year series of annual small increases totaling 50%.  This way it would impact customers in about the same manner as an annual increase in the cost of living index.

The motive is prestige and personal grandeur, in that the Mayor and other city officials are seeking to further their reputations, careers and incomes.  Co-conspirators are benefiting through increased compensation via salary increases, bonuses, promotions and new employment. Examples of career enhancement are Eileen Tiechert, Steve Beck and Dave Wright, who have left the city for higher-level jobs elsewhere, or have sought to.

Conclusion:  The city’s desires are to take city spending to a higher level, thereby achieving a (falsely acquired) reputation for being the “Best-Run City in California” throughout a world -wide recession.

5.     QUESTION: Does the City of Riverside levy a Utility Users Tax (UUT) on the sum of the monthly billed rate charges for water and electrical service and other services including sewer, trash, phone, gas, cable TV?

ANSWER: YES.  It is currently set at 6.5% and seems to have been instituted by the City Council around 2001.  To my knowledge the city did not allow voters to approve this tax, which would be in keeping with its unlawful pattern and practice of avoiding any public vote on taxes.  If the rates, fees and charges are unlawfully set to generate and effect unlawful taxes or GFTs (refer back to Section 1 of this paper), then, any UUT applied to the sum of the metered rate charges on each monthly bill effectively establishes “Double Taxation”  another unconstitutional act.

Double taxation, as practiced by the City of Riverside, occurs when the City Utility Department includes costs of capital improvement in the billed utility consumption rate structure.  The California Supreme Court in San Marcos Water District v. San Marcos School District decided that charges for recovery of capital improvement costs of a public utility are Special Assessments (i.e. taxes) and are not the cost of ongoing services.  The Court also directed that these capital costs are not be hidden in the rate structure for ongoing service and established a “Bright Line Rule” and stated that form follows function in determining if a fee for services is a hidden tax.  To my knowledge, the City of Riverside has always hidden the costs of capital improvement in the consumption rate of services.  The city never has sought a vote of the public to approve a Special Assessment (General or Special Tax) prior to issuing municipal bonds or COPs that incur annual debt service costs to the Public Utility Department (Article 13C).   Courts have also published decisions in similar cases and ruled that when government entities enter into contractual forms of debt such as municipal bonds, Certificates of Participation or any form contractual sale/lease back agreement, they create a new demand for tax revenue to pay the annual debt service throughout the contracted period (20-30 years) and thus this demand for new taxes need the voters’ approval for the city to lawfully enter into new instruments of debt.  Any debt contracted by the city in the last 20+ years may be unlawful contracts.

The city consistently avoids a public vote to approve Special Assessments to pay debt service and continues to unlawfully inflate the billable amount subject to the UUT, thus effectively increasing the City General Fund revenue monthly from the UUT. This unlawfully nets the city approximately $28 million per year of UUT revenue.  The UUT is unlawful because at the time of its authorization by the city Council it was levied on top of the illegal taxes hidden in the utility rates thus making the UUT the second of the two taxes that established the fact of double taxation.

Since all utility services are delivered to each person in possession of, or the owner of, every parcel in the city’s service area(s), the UUT becomes a property-related tax.   The courts have determined that this form of double taxation on property is unlawful (see Flynn v. San Francisco, 18 Cal. 2d 210,215 and the cases cited therein.)   Flynn v. San Francisco states: “forbidden double taxation occurs when two taxes of the same character are imposed on the same property for the same purpose, by the same taxing authority within the same jurisdiction during the same taxing period.”  The City of Riverside has been charging utility customers (property owners) UUT on water and electric utility services and the hidden taxes therein, which constitutes double taxation.  This is because these services are supplied directly to property owners via conduits along dedicated city easements on and under said private properties for use in the pursuit of the individuals’ right to enjoy property ownership and this effectively taxes property owners twice, in violation of Proposition 13’s one-percent limit of property taxation.

The city unlawfully implemented and maintains utility rates, fees and charges that are designed to produce unlawful tax revenues.  These taxes are hidden in the utility rate structure and result in monthly surplus cash revenue transfers to the city General Fund.  In effect this double taxation is intended to further increase General Fund revenue.

Conclusion: double taxation as practiced by the city is deceitful as well as unconstitutional.

 

6.     QUESTION: Did the City of Riverside unlawfully issue municipal bonds and Certificates of Participation (COPs) since July 1997 to fund water and electric utility infrastructure improvements as well as non-utility General Fund revenue projects (See City of Riverside Capital Improvement Project(s) Report)?

ANSWER: YES.  The specific individual bonds and COPs can be found at EMMA.MSRB.org.  The City of Riverside has submitted incomplete or misleading information concerning the unlawfully-enhanced sources of the City of Riverside’s Utility and General Fund revenue in these matters regulated by the Securities & Exchange Commission.  In addition, I believe disclosing/representing unlawful city Utility Department and General Fund revenue as lawful revenues is an attempt to fraudulently instill undeserved confidence in rating agents, investment banks and investors of the city’s ability to repay debt service (albeit with unlawful revenue).

Conclusion: misrepresenting or failing to disclose pertinent information in regulated financial instruments may be a Federal SEC violation.  The city gained a monetary benefit from higher-than-deserved bond ratings and lower borrowing costs over the contractual period by placing the financial institutions underwriting the bonds at risk.

7.     QUESTION: Did the City of Riverside hide capital cost(s)( mostly debt service payments) in Public Utility consumption rates, fees and charges to unlawfully increase its’ utility rates without a vote of the public as required by law?

ANSWER: Yes. “Capital Cost” is the cost of acquisition, installation, construction or reconstruction, or replacement of a permanent public improvement.  Electric or Water Revenue Bonds and/or COPs are financial instruments used to borrow capital funds to finance capital improvements to the utility infrastructure.  Capital costs are not operating and maintenance expenses to be included in rate calculations (Cal. Supreme, San Marcos).

Capital costs for new infrastructure are supposed to be funded with Special Assessments, Developer Fees, or new individual connection fees.  COPs are contractual financial instruments of borrowing funds for capital improvement and incur the paying of annual debt service on a schedule for a finite period set forth in each contract.  Again, the Supreme Court in San Marcos and other cases have determined that the debt expense (of a finite period with a stated end time) is not a cost of operating the utility service but rather is a Special Assessment or Special Tax.  These require an approving vote of the public before the city can issue the financial instrument for rating and sale.

Once again, the City of Riverside has acted as if it is exempt from the constitution and law in matters of maintaining and increasing General Fund revenue.  Clearly it is not–and thus the matter requires further investigation.  The City of Riverside has consistently established a pattern and practice of unlawfully assigning utility debt service to the electric and water utility cost-of-service accounting ledger.  These revenue-enhancing mechanisms create ever-increasing utility rates, the purpose of which is to unlawfully inflate the Utility Department’s gross revenue.  These acts result in ever-larger GFTs and UUTs that are in turn used as the primary means of increasing General Fund revenue.  This could be described as acts of extortion from the public and consists of multiple acts of unlawful taxation under color of authority.

It should be noted that there is a difference between fixed costs and variable costs.  Debt service expenses are fixed costs of providing the service and are not to be included in the variable costs that figure into rate calculations.  Fixed costs of a contractual nature (bonds and COPs) are the result of public capital improvement project planning and constitute taxation to pay the debt service.  The fixed cost of debt service is defined in law as a Special Assessment.  Special Assessments must be voted upon and must be listed separately on the billings; by that means, the customers can see each item of debt service and its ending date as it is paid down. In that way, the total debt service is not on the bill and so is never subject to the UUT.

Conclusion: the City of Riverside hides utility debt service in rate calculations for both electric and water service.  This is purposely done so the public consumer will not see it as a tax issue or understand that he/she has a constitutional right to vote on the subject new taxes(Articles 13A, 13B and 13C).  Also, the public will never see the end of the debt obligation in the billings, since the city’s scheme is to never decrease these ever-so-profitable rates, fees and charges even when the debt is paid off or retired. (Refer to: Article 13C, definition of General tax, Special tax, capital cost, cost of service; Cal. Govt. Code sec. 50075-77.5, definitions and voter requirements for General and Special taxes; and San Marcos.)

8. QUESTION: Is the City of Riverside disguising the true nature of COPs to protect its scheme?

ANSWER: YES. COPs are contractual lease-back agreements of borrowing in a regulated financial market.  The documentation in the COPs clearly states they were created to avoid constitutional restrictions or limits on the amount of debt a municipality can enter into.  They are created to avoid the provisions of law that require a vote before issuance.  They are not included or counted in the state-mandated 15% of total property valuation that limits local government borrowing (Article 13B).  The city will borrow as much as the markets will loan on these instruments.  It has not disclosed this to the public, in spite of the public testimony of many citizens who have spoken at council meetings over the years.  This testimony was on the specific subject of the 15% limit on borrowing–as well as the seemingly large amounts of debt the city has undertaken (approximately one billion dollars since 2006).

Conclusion: again, the city’s evasive deceitful nature is shown by its pattern of not responding to its citizen’s questions accurately and honestly.  This constitutes more evidence of the how the City of Riverside unlawfully protects what it perceives as its own interests and placing the citizens of the city at risk of future debt payments we cannot afford or file for bankruptcy without exercising their constitutional  RIGHT TO VOTE.

9. QUESTION: The above unlawful actions of the City of Riverside generate approximately $70 million per year of General Fund revenue made in 12 monthly payments of the budget cycle.  The City has obligated much of this unlawful revenue to contractual obligations to pay for almost $1 Billion dollars of borrowed funds.  Did the City of Riverside intend to maintain this scheme should a legal challenge to it come forward?

ANSWER: YES.  The U.S. Constitution has a “contract impairment clause” that, if invoked, should prevent a legal challenge from terminating the unlawful sources of revenue that have been pledged to pay the city’s contractual debt obligations. Undoubtedly, the city will use this clause in its defense. I believe you will find that the facts are evidence of the intent to create a scheme that will be virtually impossible for the citizens of Riverside to terminate.  The showing of fact that the city intentionally entered into a contract using unlawfully obtained funds is in itself unlawful and nullifies these contracts.  The U.S. constitutions contract limitation clause is not intended to allow illegal acts established to further a contractual instrument of debt to be created or maintained.  We must protest and proclaim that the all of the utility contractual debt service must be paid only with lawful General Fund revenues (as part of restitution to the ratepayers). Doing so will eliminate from utility budget/rate calculations all of the debt service expense that has unlawfully been imposed upon the consumer public.  This is the answer to all who complained about $1000-3000 summer electric bills at city Council meetings in 2008-9

Conclusion: Directing that the city’s General Fund pay the Utility Department’s debt expense with lawful revenues only will help compensate the public for damages and is in fact pledged by the city in the COPs document(s) as the form of backup payment in case the law is enforced upon the city.

 

10. QUESTION: In 2006 the Riverside County Grand Jury issued its report on the ineffective efforts of the City of Riverside and the North West Mosquito Vector Control District (District) to protect the general public health from transmission of the West Nile Virus (WNV).  The Grand Jury reported seven WNV cases in the City of Riverside and directed the city to perform better.  The City Manager responded, saying the city’s efforts were appropriate and too costly to improve. Did the City of Riverside create a scheme with the District by proposing to annex it into the District and propose an unlawful Special Assessment on residential properties within the city ($8 per acre/lot)?

ANSWER: YES. A Special Assessment is unlawful because of the San Marcos ruling that Special Assessments are only to be used for capital improvement costs including debt service expense for capital construction.  The engineering detailing how this would correctly be an annual property assessment erred in listing only $16,000 of a $488,000 budgeted for services.  The District Board approved resolutions Nos. 460 and 462.  These almost identical resolutions make the agreement to annex the city into the District and make a $0.00 transfer to the District of ad valorum property tax revenues generated within the territory to be annexed (tax revenue presently passed to the City of Riverside by the County Assessor).  These tax monies were intended to remain in the general fund for other city spending opportunities ($488,000 per year).   So both parties stood to gain essentially $488,000 and you would see a new annual property tax on your bill! Such a deal!

The San Marcos Supreme Court ruling stated that Special Assessments are only to be used to recover capital costs of a permanent improvement (i.e., actual constructed infrastructure) and not a fee in lieu of taxes. “A fee constitutes a Special Assessment only if its purpose is to defray the costs of capital improvements that directly benefit the property.”  The San Marcos decision says utility services are property-related services; yet, under state law mosquito/vector control is a 100% public health program (that benefits the general public).  All of the Districts’ public literature emphasizes the general public benefit of this public health based program to control or eliminate mosquitos, rats and Africanized bees.

This state-mandated program continues today as the “The Mosquito Abatement and Vector Control District Law” (Health and Safety Code Sec. 2000-2007) and the District is eligible to receive annual state funding from the Vectorborne Disease Account (H&S Code, Section 116112).  The District is also supported with an appropriate share of ad valorum property taxes (from properties in the district).  San Marcos “established a rule that looks to the purpose of the fee being charged, and not simply to the form of the fee, a matter which can easily be manipulated.”  Therefore, in this case the City of Riverside and the District are unlawfully manipulating the situation and the supporting documentation to annex territory to the District and establish a never-ending, unlawful Special Assessment on property ownership.  Also, they never intended to assess any of the city owned property or commercial/industrial properties.  The city placed this extra cost in your proposed property assessment.   Such a deal!

So here is the motive behind what the city and the District are doing: San Marcos also determined that local government (the city) is exempt from Special Assessments on city-owned property.  Thus all the city’s costs are assigned to and paid by the private property owners through the proposed unlawful Special Assessment regardless of where the diseases and vectors are found.  Conveniently, by law the city is exempt for all costs to treat city-owned parks, golf courses or any other habitat for any vector on any city property—when the District uses a Special Assessment to recover the costs of service.

It seems apparent that the District agreed to this scheme to let the city keep the ad valorum property taxes as part of this sweet deal.  The new assessment will generate over $488,000 for the District with annual inflation cost increases of 2-3%.  Did the City of Riverside pay the cost of this annexation?  In San Marcos the “court concluded that to focus exclusively on whether the charge at issue is in the form of a Special Assessment or user fee would elevate form over substance and permit local government to evade the prohibition on charging public entities.”  The situation here is that the city and the District are merely trying to reverse the logic of the above quote, i.e., that the city and the District are using “form over function” to disguise and evade the true meaning and lawful application of “Special Assessment.”  Special assessment is now charged to government owned property receiving public utility services.

The city and District alleged the annual program costs are “improvements to property.”  This was conceived so both entities will benefit from revenue enhancement at the expense of property owners in the city.  The Court in San Marcos ruled that capital costs are for permanent improvement to property (example: utility infrastructure) and are only recoverable through a Special Assessment.  Annual operating expenses for a public health program to control disease vectors is not a capital expense and thus as proposed is an unlawful Special Assessment.  The votes were not counted at the public hearing to determine the tally as required by constitutional law.  Instead several passed before the Press Enterprise published a small article on the voters disapproval of the ballot measure.  The article did not say how many yes or no votes were counted!?  The city of art and innovation.

Ad valorum property tax revenue from the city general fund and/or a new Special tax are lawful forms of paying the District’s cost of providing this service to the citizens of Riverside.  The city has yet to announce a contract with the NWMVCD to pay the cost of service from the general fund.  Such a Deal.  Appropriate taxation must be vote on in this case to pay the cost of ongoing variable expenses for a general public health benefit (for vector control services).  The City of Riverside cannot claim an exemption from a Special tax.

Conclusion: the District should be putting to a vote both the annexation and a Special Tax (H&S Code Sec. 2081).   Otherwise, this is just another form of conspiracy against taxpayers by the city and District.  Excessive greed is evidenced by their actions.

11. QUESTION: Did the City of Riverside establish a lawfully binding contract with the utility rate-paying citizens of Riverside when it established and published in numerous city documents through many years  the following Mission Statement?

“The City of Riverside Public Utilities Department is committed to the highest quality water and electric services at the lowest possible rates to benefit the community.” 

ANSWER: YES.  I believe that under common contract law, the City of Riverside did establish an actual lawful binding contract with the people of Riverside when it adopted and published, openly, the above mission statement. In fact, a written contract is also established when you apply for utility services from the city Public Utility Department.  I believe the second includes the former.  Both being provisions of the binding agreement.

Conclusion: the City of Riverside violated the lawful contract with its citizens and utility customers when it established public utility rates above the cost of service, which is a violation of the Constitution of the State of California.

12. QUESTION: Should the reader find facts and truth in the above?

ANSWER: YES. The reader should easily find that: elected and/or employed individuals in the City of Riverside have, on numerous occasions, violated (with intent) the laws and constitutional protections and rights of the citizens of Riverside.  These violations include, but are not limited to, the right of the citizens to vote on taxes; thus, the City of Riverside and individuals did violate the law and both federal and state constitutions.  They also thereby violated their Oaths of Office and may be punishable under federal and state laws. [Cal. Const. Article 20, sec.3; U.S. Code 42, Chapter 21, Sub Chapter 1, sec. 1981; Public Law 96-303 (1980), section: I-X]

  1.   The reader should read the U.S. Attorneys Handbook on successful prosecution of mail/wire fraud.    Mail fraud is the creation of a scheme to separate a person from something of value and uses the mail/wire to further the scheme.

The City mails you your utility bill and public notices of rate increases.  You may mail your payment or use the internet for electronic payment.

Attachment A

City Development Department staff and the City Manager determined that the average Riverside utility customer occupies a single-family home on a 7,000 sq. ft lot that is zoned R-1.  Many R-1-zoned single family residences are built upon lots larger than 7,000 sq. ft.  Corner lots are always larger than others along a residential street and some developments in Riverside have lot sizes ranging up to several acres. But City Code Chapter 16 requires all property owners to landscape, maintain and irrigate all portions of a lot that face a public street.

All lots are subject to this code requirement, and the water rates were developed for the average 7,000 sq. ft. lot, which have about 1500 sq. ft. front yards. But many lots have much more of their square footage facing the public streets, and so do not fit the “average” criteria.  Owners of large lots and corner lots are required by City Code Enforcement ordinances, and under threat of fines and penalties, to water and maintain much larger square footages of landscaping (in my case, this is an area of more than 30,000 sq. ft.). This automatically forces me into the upper tiers of water pricing, with no consideration made for my individual circumstances. In 1997, my monthly water rate was $0.47/ccf.  Under the current 4-tiered system, my average monthly water rate is $3.00/ccf. Summer water bills that used to be $75 a month rose to over $600 a month.  By installing city-approved water-conserving sprinkler heads and not watering portions of our large front yard (and potentially incurring fines from the city), we have reduced this amount to about $500 per month in the summer months.

The alternative, as encouraged by the city, is to put in drought-tolerant landscaping and drip irrigation, which while commendable, is a very expensive proposal for large-frontage properties. And this is all because the city wants more money in its General Fund and is collecting it in an unlawful manner in a city which admits the fact that its water supply is not affected by drought.

Additionally, most developed residential lots have one or more city trees planted in the public right-of-way along the sidewalk.  City Code requires property owners to adequately water the city-owned trees. Both requirements further the city’s fraudulent revenue enhancement scheme of ever-increasing utility rates and the Utility Users Tax.

The calculations below demonstrate the disproportionate and unlawful affect of the City of Riverside’s punitive 4-tiered pricing schedules for water and electricity.  Tiered pricing schemes are unlawful under Prop 218 because they exceed the proportionality rule/test and effectively charge one customer a different rate than another customer.  The Supreme court upheld Prop 218 and ruled rates charged to all customers must be the same, not exceed the cost of service to the parcel, and can only be different based upon a special benefit determination on a parcel by parcel basis.

AVERAGE WATER USER:

0-15 ccf metered consumption @ $1.04 per ccf                          15 ccf=$15.60

16-35 ccf metered consumption @ $1.71 per ccf                        20 ccf=$34.20

36-60 ccf metered consumption @ $2.59 per ccf                      10 ccf=$25.90

Totals  45 ccf   $75.70

Result: Monthly cost per ccf:  $1.68

BELOW-AVERAGE WATER USER:

0-15 ccf metered consumption @ $1.04 per ccf                          15 ccf=$15.60

Totals  45 ccf   $75.70

Result: Monthly cost per ccf:  $1.04

ABOVE-AVERAGE WATER USER:

0-15 ccf metered consumption @ $1.04 per ccf                         15 ccf=$15.60

16-35 ccf metered consumption @ $1.71 per ccf                       20 ccf=$34.20

36-60 ccf metered consumption @ $2.59 per ccf                       25 ccf=$64.75

61-160 ccf metered consumption @ $3.66 per ccf                 100 ccf=$366.00

Totals  160 ccf   $480.55

Result: Monthly cost per ccf:  $3.00

Conclusion: The more you use, the more you pay per unit of water or other utility services (electricity) that are metered and priced on a punitive tiered scheme violating the provisions of Prop 218. 

A possible investigative job for the DA?  Maybe when he’s not busy..

THE PURPLE PIPE

Many have not heard of the purple pipe or if they did, do not know what it is all about.  The City would like to install  the purple  pipe in your homes and businesses in order to reclaim the water that goes down your drain.  Why ‘purple’?  This is to distinguish and make sure pipes are not crossed between potable (water suitable for drinking) and non-potable (water not suitable for drinking, which will be the purple pipe. Purple pipe is for non-potable gray-water.  Gray- water is wastewater from shower drains, bathtubs, sinks, dishwashers and washing machines. This gray water accounts for between 50-80% of our home, offices, and schools outflow. Gray water can be reused for irrigation, toilet flushing and exterior washing.

        

But we also have to remember that the City of Riverside owns water right unlike other cities.  In their defense of water reclamation they also state a portion will be used to recharge local ground water levels.  It is known that we use approximately 40% of our water, the remaining 60% is sold to other municipalities.  In some areas of our water harvesting basin, the ground water levels cannot rise above the 50 foot mark from the ground, otherwise the risk of damaging building an infrastructure would be high.  For a 5/8″ to 3/4″ pipe the rate will be $2.00 for 2012, but in 2012 it will go up to $4.00.  Also what is being voting on, and the language is vague, is rate range from $3.34 to $333.34, and this without a vote of the people.

     

RATES 2012                    RATES 2013

Therefore, we are attempting to clarify the language of the following in regards to rate cost to residents:

(1) A monthly recycled water charge based on meter size to all water rates of approximately $2.00 for residential and non-residential customers with meter sizes from 5/8” to 3/4”, effective May 1, 2012 (except for WA-2, WA-5, WA-8, and WA-10 rates). A monthly recycled water charge for other meters, ranging from $3.34 to $333.34, will be levied and will be dependent on the size of the meter.

(2) An increase to the monthly recycled water charge based on meter size to all water rates of approximately $2.00 for residential and non-residential customers with meter sizes from 5/8” to 3/4”, effective May 1, 2013 (except for WA-2, WA-5, WA-8 and WA-10 rates). An increase to the recycled water monthly charge for other meters, ranging from $3.34 to $333.34, will be levied and will be dependent on the size of the meter.

The language is vague, but it indicates a flat monthly charge depending on pipe size, then an additional increase in monthly recycled water charge which we need to clarify with the city.  Further there is no difference in price between clean water and recycled water, they both will cost the consumer $1.14 per 100 cubic feet.  You would expect a price break on reclaimed water.  Many our asking if this a scheme or artifice?  In less technical terms, a scam against the citizens of Riverside?   Since the City of Riverside has water rights and doesn’t have to purchase water from a third party as many other cities do.

One thing for sure is that the rates will increase a 100% from 2012 to 2013.  Many questions will continue to abound for a city that has more water than it knows what to do with it.   Get more information on the purple pipe program works can be followed by clicking this link.  Or the City of Riverside link: http://www.riversideca.gov/utilities/admin-publichearing.asp  Will the purple eat away at constituents in taxes, and then be known as ‘The Purple People Eater”?

TMC, RATED RIVERSIDE’S MOST “SLANDEROUS” AND MEZZSPELLED, “MISSPELLED” AND “OPINIONATED” BLOG SITE!  TEMPORARILY BLOCKED BY THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE AT PUBLIC ACCESS SITES WITHIN THE CITY, THEN UNBLOCKED.  I GUESS YOU CANNOT DO THAT ACCORDING TO ACLU.  RATED ONE TWO STAR OUT OF FIVE IN TERMS OF COMMUNITY APPROVAL RATINGS..  TMC IS NOW EXCLUSIVELY ON FILE WITH THE COUNTY OF RIVERSIDE’S DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE, AND PROSSIBLY POSSIBLY ON FILE WITH THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE’S POTENTIAL SLAPP SUIT LIST… WE WILL HAVE TO ASK GREGORY ABOUT THAT ONE… AGAIN, THANK-YOU COMMUNITY OF RIVERSIDE AND THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE EMPLOYEE’S FOR YOUR SUPPORT!   COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOMED, ESPECIALLY SPELL CHECKERS!  EMAIL ANONYMOUSLY WITH YOUR DIRT OR FOR CONTACT!   THIRTYMILESCORRUPTION@HOTMAIL.COM 

NOT AGAIN…WEREN’T THOSE TWO HERE LAST WEEK?

CITY OF RIVERSIDE PUBLIC UTILITIES DEPARTMENT PROPOSED ADOPTION OF THE NEW PURPLE PIPE  WATER RULES AND RATES

NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING- TOMORROW - April 6, 2012 at 8:30 a.m., Public Utilities Board Room – 3901 Orange Street

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that pursuant to Article XIIID of the California Constitution, RPU is proposing to adopt the following increases to the City’s Water Rates, for water service to the parcel for which you are shown as record owner directly liable to pay such rate.

(1) A monthly recycled water charge based on meter size to all water rates of approximately $2.00 for residential and non-residential customers with meter sizes from 5/8” to 3/4”, effective May 1, 2012 (except for WA-2, WA-5, WA-8, and WA-10 rates). A monthly recycled water charge for other meters, ranging from $3.34 to $333.34, will be levied and will be dependent on the size of the meter.

(2) An increase to the monthly recycled water charge based on meter size to all water rates of approximately $2.00 for residential and non-residential customers with meter sizes from 5/8” to 3/4”, effective May 1, 2013 (except for WA-2, WA-5, WA-8 and WA-10 rates). An increase to the recycled water monthly charge for other meters, ranging from $3.34 to $333.34, will be levied and will be dependent on the size of the meter.

UPDATE:04/05/2012: A LITTLE POT? STAY IN YOUR SEAT GREGORY, NOT CANNABIS:  Joel Udayke, The Flowerloft, formerly downtown Riverside, indicated an RPD officer arrived to his new place of business to investigate the ownership of a pot.  The very professional officer was taken to the pot after he described it, shown the pot which had the business name on it.  Asked a few questions and was satisfied it was owned by Mr. Udayke.  Joel asked him who called you to come in?  He stated that the call came in from the City.  Joel and the City have been at odds since given a 3 day notice to leave his Main Street address, which to this day remains empty.

As many residents know, it is difficult reach an officer quickly in some instances, for them to be sent out questionable scavenger hunts.  Isn’t it enough that their professionialism is questioned by city officials in city chambers to bring them to the level of ‘bouncers’ at City Council Meetings?  TMC responds, ‘unforgiveable’.

UPDATE:04/04/2012: AWARDS:   The City of Riverside issued a press release announcing that they are the recepient of the Certificate of Achievment for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) of the US and Canada for it’s comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR).

The question of awards and how they are persceived has been brought to the forefront since the City of Bell and their financial problems, like Riverside, Bell also received the same award in 2005.  Not only did Bell receive this distinquished award in 2005, but in 2008 as well.   Mayer Hoffman McCann pointed out in this article that accounting statements are only as good as the information that accountants and auditors are given. The auditing process might be perfect, but the results could be wildly of whack if they’re using doctored information.  Further, Joe Crivelli, the firm’s spokesman, told the Orange County Register: “When the client wants to hide something, they can. If there’s fraud going on, they’re not going to be suddenly up-front and honest.”  You may ask what relevancy do awards serve? or do they have any value?  The answer is yes, as in the City of Bell’s both awards were submitted as part of a bond prospectus, which is provided to investors deciding whether to purchase slices of municipal debt.  Awards utilized iin this manner give prospective investors the perception that their money is safe, and the risk is low.

                                

Incidently, GOFA appears to be a lobbying group according this article, whereby they are working to introduce a bill to congress to ease restriction on tax exempt municipal bonds.  In addition, the California Society of Municipal Finance Officers also awarded the City of Bell Outstanding Financial Reporting in 2006.

Incidently, again, the California Society of Municipal Finance Officers also awarded the City of Montebello Outstanding Financial Reporting in 2008.

Even Hercules, California, according to this October 22, 2010 memorandum, recieved the Certificate of Achievment for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) for their 2008/2009 CAFR.

City of Riverside’s City Manager responded to the award in his blog by stating the following:

Second, I am also very proud to share with you that the City of Riverside has received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) for our comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR). According to GFOA, the Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management. Also, I think it is important to know that our CAFR was judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of GFOA’s program, including demonstrating a constructive “spirit of full disclosure” to clearly communicate Riverside’s financial story.

I hope that both of these recognitions assure all of our citizens that highly respected, independent organizations have reviewed our financial standing and reporting practices, and they have both given us high marks.

TMC WEB SITE BLOCKED:

TMC blocked at the Riverside Downtown Library.  According to public comment speaker Errol Koschewitz mentioned that at the county library the site is not blocked.  A local resident tried to access the TMC blog site, and observed an “access denied” notice on the screen.  A librarian said the denial came at the city level.  This in lieu of repeated request by Rebecca Ludwig, requesting that porn sites be blocked from library sites.  But because it is public tax payer funded,  it would be violating the law if the city did so.  But it appears poltical blog sites can be blocked, but porn sites not… ACLU getting involved?  Evidently, government entities cannot censor or ban political blogs based on what is written in them.  Who in the city ordered this?  Is the city being set up for more liability at the expense of the taxpayer.  If it wasn’t for unecessary legal liabilities, our city would definitely have the $4 million for Tequesquite Park.  Many in the community are at odds, not understanding why the city is practicing Banana Republic Politics..  Will castles made of sand eventually fall into the sea?

UPDATE:04/04/2012: WE RECEIVED WORD THAT THE BLOCK HAS BEEN RELEASED, AND TMC SITE IS NOW VIEWABLE.  THANK-YOU CITY OF RIVERSIDE!

Former Assistant Deputy Attorney Raychele Sterling fired upon Gregory Priamos’s City Attorney’s Office regarding the language of public work performance evaluations sheets, and how these sheets were not reviewed by the city attorney’s office and can place the city in liability.  This is existing under current interum public works director Thomas Boyd.  This performance evalutaion is a ‘lottery  ticket’ for outside employment attorneys with regard to discrimination suits.

CLICK THIS LINK TO VIEW THE TOM BOYD SPECIAL

 After, her three minutes, City Council Steve Adams was laughing.  Sterling blasted at Adams, “Do you think discrimination is funny”?  He answered back, “Yehh”.  This response should not be overlooked and should be a reality check for the community, and especially those we inherently place in office to represent us.  But the community is to blame, when less than 20% of the Riverside population vote this is what you get.  The other 80% remain ‘apathetic’, but apathy has no friends in this political world.  A true vote of the people, not a perception, has the ability to make real change, and change cannot happen without 100% involvement by the community.

CLICK THIS LINK TO ACCESS VIEWING OF 04/03/2012 CITY COUNCIL FOOTAGE, AT PUBLIC COMMENT

This is lieu of the many cases of litigation with discrimination being involved.  One current case is Police Officer Sgt. Valmont Graham indicating discrimination by his department.  Sterling’s premise is that there are many items not attended to that sets the road to unecessary and costly litigation.

Self Appointed Citizen Auditor Vivian Moreno blast Councilman Rusty Bailey with this statement, ‘I just want you to know, that I know”..  Also brought to their attention the disproportinate amounts community business chambers receive.  The Greater Riverside Chamber received in excess of $5 million over 10 years, while the Hispanic Chamber received about $41,000.00, the Indian/Asian Chamber received about $2,600.00, and the African American Chamber received $355.00

City Councilman Andy Melendrez explains the difference between Indian culture and Spanish Culture to Councilwoman Nancy Hart, regarding the original construction of the Trujillo Adobe.

No sign of former finance director Paul Sundeen and no word from Congressman Ken Calvert with regard to a request to investigate sewer bond fraud.  Ken Calvert remains on public notice.

Late in the week we received are public records for the actual cost of the six fire stations which will be used for collateral for the new Tequesquite Park.  First, the construction cost correlate to the economic arena of the date they were built.  The cost were as follows:

  1. Fire Station #3 (Magnolia Center) was built in 1962……..$132,049.72
  2. Fire Station #4 (University) was built in 1963………………..$67,501.89
  3. Fire Station #2 (Arlington) was built in 1971………………. $253,782.15
  4. Fire Station #8 (La Sierra) was built in 1977…………………$315,717.81
  5. Fire Station #11 (Orangecrest) was built in 1991…………$1,101,063.00
  6. Fire Station #12 (La Sierra South) was built in 1996…..$2,359,854.27

The total cost considering the economic cost for those dates is $4,229,968.70, although the current economic value is not known at this time.  There is also related capital improvement cost for three of the stations above. The records attained were the result of a public records act request.

Regarding item # 14 Mayor Loveridge’s Campaign to promote, attract and retain individuals and families to live in Riverside. I’m glad they are acknowledging this, this is multi concern issue with regarding many residents leaving the city.  First looking at encouraging new families to move into the City of Riverside, the city needs to look at the family they already have here.  They (city) have ripped off low income housing,  They ripped off the schools and left them grossly underfunded with your redevelopment program.  Maybe if we were funding our schools and redoing our downtown library instead of building a hotel we would have a nice place for some people to live.  You have put us in the worst financial crisis of the history of Riverside.  You have raised our utility bills.  You want us to pay the purple pipe (new water reclamation program).  You sick code enforcement on us.  You ticket us to death.  We can’t have friends or family over to visit on Wednesdays in our neighborhood, because there is no place to legally park.  You are going to increase our sewer fees. You want access to our property taxes with an increase to the storm drain water compliance system CSA 152  from $2.83 to $10.00.  No, we are still in America..but where are we going?

The City of Riverside has spent $230,000.00 to hire a private detective to tail former assistant deputy attorney Raychele Sterling and her children and hire a law firm to investigate themselves in the name of descency,  or was it really retaliation and/or for the purpose of intimidation?  Other fired employee’s have received the same treatment of tactical retaliation and intimidation in the name of ‘client control’.  Former fired public works contractor Sean Gill may have been another victim of this expensive taxpayer paid intimidation tactic.

CITY MANAGER’S SCOTT BARBER’S BLOG SITE UP AND RUNNING!  TMC APPLAUDS CITY MANAGER SCOTT BARBER FOR STRIVING TO BRING TRANSPERANCY TO THE PUBLIC REGARDING CITY ISSUES.

TMC, RATED RIVERSIDE’S MOST “SLANDEROUS” AND MEZZSPELLED, “MISSPELLED” AND “OPINIONATED” BLOG SITE!  RATED ONE STAR OUT OF FIVE IN TERMS OF COMMUNITY APPROVAL RATINGS..TEMPORARILY BLOCKED BY THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE AT PUBLIC ACCESS SITES WITHIN THE CITY.  TMC IS NOW EXCLUSIVELY ON FILE WITH THE COUNTY OF RIVERSIDE’S DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE, AND PROSSIBLY POSSIBLY ON FILE WITH THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE’S POTENTIAL SLAPP SUIT LIST… WE WILL HAVE TO ASK GREGORY ABOUT THAT ONE… AGAIN, THANK-YOU COMMUNITY OF RIVERSIDE AND THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE EMPLOYEE’S FOR YOUR SUPPORT!  COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOMED, ESPECIALLY SPELL CHECKERS!  EMAIL ANONYMOUSLY WITH YOUR DIRT OR FOR CONTACT!   THIRTYMILESCORRUPTION@HOTMAIL.COM 

With the end of California Redevelopment December 29, 2011, cities are scrambling to grab assets and minimize their losses.  As one reads in the news, Governor Brown stole our money and we are left with a mess.  I don’t know about other cities, but I can tell you that Riverside created their own mess.  Riverside has a long history of borrowing monies from our own local utility funds, they are the cash cows for cities.  When the Hudson regime was crowned by Mayor Loveridge, Ed Adkinson, Frank Schivaone, Dom Betro, etc. this borrowing became exponential.  The sewer, electric and water fund operate as an enterprise fund, essentially they are set up to make a profit.  This profit is supposed to be used for maintenance, repairs, and operations, in the case of the sewer fund no new construction is allowed.  The profit is saved for a rainy day and used to maintain our infrastructure.  Well here comes FRED (Frank and Ed), Mayor Loveridge and a city manager willing to take our city into the deep dark hallows of debt.  The borrowing frenzy began, funding pet projects, redevelopment activities, and favored developers was on.

The parking fund was born and we immediately borrowed 5 million from the sewer fund.  This was the birth of the parking meters.  One million dollars of the sewer fund went to the parking meters and the other four million went to fund the Taj Mahal, Orange Street parking garage.  Well, this was easy, no one noticed, so let’s see what else we can spend sewer monies on.  We have a developer who would like to build some luxury townhouse/condos (Raincross Promenade).  Sewer fund monies again, the victim of greed and mismanagement.  The city spent approximately 15 million dollars to assemble properties, demolitions, relocation, etc. Sewer fund 0, developer 15 million.  There is a catch here.  The city charter states that we can make inter-fund (between electric, water and sewer) loans, no mention of interagency (redevelopment is a separate legal agency) loans.  Fast forward 2010.  Over 21 million dollars was loaned out of the sewer fund to the City of Riverside Redevelopment Agency.  One loan did not even have a contract in place so that the sewer fund would be able to be paid back.  Who would have known that the first thing Governor Brown would do when taking office would be to end redevelopment.  Oops.

ABX 126 passed,the court upheld this ruling and now we must comply.  What does that mean for the sewer monies and the monies from all of the enterprise funds, sewer included. Bye Bye.  The ruling states that these loans are unenforceable, sewer fund 0, redevelopment agency and the State of California 21 million.  When you hear city leaders complain that the State of California is taking our money, our city leaders should have had the ethical and intellectual understanding to have not made illegal loans in the first place.  Taxpayers 0, Sewerfund 0, Renaissance 21 million.

Please view the article link.

http://www.pe.com/local-news/politics/jim-miller-headlines/20120330-redevelopment-shutdown-process-is-a-new-frontier.ece

UPDATE:04/02/2012: According to the Press Enterprise, CFO/Treasureer/ Asst. City Manager Paul Sundeen resigned in March.  Once the reins of the finances are passed over, what will they find in the after math of Paul Sundeen’s world?

TMC, RATED RIVERSIDE’S MOST “SLANDEROUS” AND MEZZSPELLED, “MISSPELLED” AND “OPINIONATED” BLOG SITE!   TMC IS NOW EXCLUSIVELY ON FILE WITH THE COUNTY OF RIVERSIDE’S DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE, AND PROSSIBLY POSSIBLY ON FILE WITH THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE’S POTENTIAL SLAPP SUIT LIST… WE WILL HAVE TO ASK GREGORY ABOUT THAT ONE… AGAIN, THANK-YOU COMMUNITY OF RIVERSIDE AND THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE EMPLOYEE’S FOR YOUR SUPPORT!  COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOMED, ESPECIALLY SPELL CHECKERS!  EMAIL ANONYMOUSLY WITH YOUR DIRT OR FOR CONTACT!   THIRTYMILESCORRUPTION@HOTMAIL.COM