“OKAY, ONE MORE TIME JOHN, YOU SAID THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE DID WHAT”?
State Controller John Chiang announced May 16, 2013 their completion of review of the assets transferred by the City of Riverside’s redevelopment agency (RDA) prior to its dissolution. The review found that the RDA is not only in current possession of $30.45 million in real property that it no longer is legally entitled to hold, but that it inappropriately transferred another $64.25 million in real property to the City, which equals out to a mere $94.7 million. In other words, the City of Riverside knowingly stole the properties prior to the dissolution date of June 28, 2011 for RDA, even though the State Controller John Chiang’s sent a letter with instructions. Now in the case of the $64.25 million in properties illegally transferred, the City contends that the Title companies refuse to now change title back to the State. Does the Title company sniff something illegal? Well they didn’t seem to have a problem transfering the properties and giving title to the City. But now the City contends that the problem with the transfer had something to do with title insurance.! In case people didn’t know RDA (Redevelopment Agency) was operated and administered by the our City Council. This is John Chiangs letter dated April 20, 2012 which describes RDA dissolution as well as what assets in regards to property need to be transfered back.
The law requires that all RDA assets transferred to a city, county or other public agency after January 1, 2011, must be returned to its successor agency, unless the assets were committed to a private third party by June 28 of that year. It certainly appears that the City of Riverside thought differently on this issue, even though local watchdogs continued to warn them, but fell on deaf ears. Some of the players at the time were former Mayor Ron Loveridge, former City Manager Brad Hudson and Chief Financial Officer/Assistant City Manager/Treasurer Paul Sundeen (Yes, he actually had three job titles).
According to an auditing review by State Controller John Chiang’s office, they determined that the State RDA successor agency is owed $94.7 million in properties. The City of Riverside is ordered to transfer all properties back. Now what you may not know is that the City Council was told that when the properties were transfered from Redevelopment before it resolved, it was an illegal action. The proof we had was as follows.
So that didn’t help so we thought that the next action would be road trip, of course, Sacramento. Do we have another Moreno Valley occurring in Riverside, will people go to jail on this one? Why didn’t Councilperson Nancy Hart’s
Monthly, Bi-Monthly, (Not sure), Finance Committee Meeting catch this? Afterall they had the “experts.” But two misinformed citizen of Riverside, Dvonne Pitruzzello and Vivian Moreno found this. They went to City Hall and told them about this, the Council did nothing. So two took a road trip to Sacramento to meet with the State Controller Office. It appears that all the laws were not adhered to as we were assured by the City.
I asked my electeds questions about these properties along with other nice folks in 2011 and they assured us along with the city management that everything was done appropriately and by the book. They kind of implied we were liars and troublemakers too but what was the truth? Why does the State Comptroller now agree that the properties were inappropriately handled by the city and its RDA? Are they liars and trouble makers too? – Mary Shelton, Commenter on the P.E.
Riverside blew an elaborate shell game. Someone needs to do time for this lie. – Ernie Tyler, Commenter on the P.E.
WHAT DOES A FORMER FINANCE DIRECTOR FOR THE COUNTY OF RIVERSIDE SAY: STOP THIS RIP-OFF BY THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE – VOTE NO ON MEASURE A!
Comment written in support of No on Measure A by former Finance Director (92-94), County of Riverside, Tom Courbat :
I believe Measure A is illegal as it provides for some NON-WATER DEPARTMENT CUSTOMERS to vote on whether a portion of payments made by WATER DEPARTMENT CUSTOMERS shall be transferred from the Water Department to the General Fund of the City of Riverside. Since any city residents who do NOT receive water from the city have no vested interest (no “skin in the game” as it were), there should be no basis for allowing them to vote on whether the city should be allowed to continue the illegal practice of using excess Water Department earnings in the general fund. Proposition 218 is very clear, UTILITY FUNDS COLLECTED FOR A SPECIFIC PURPOSE (e.g. providing water) MAY NOT BE USED FOR A DIFFERENT PURPOSE. The city has been aware of this prohibition since 1996 and has blatantly continued this practice until private citizens had to sue to make them stop violating the law.
The use of scare tactics (we’ll take away your free Internet, swimming, certain police protections) is reminiscent of the roaring 30′s – you pay gangsters for “protection” and you’ll be able to continue to run your business without gangsters tearing up your place of business or scaring off your customers. The use of these Water Department funds for police, fire, parks, etc. has been illegal since 1996 – why should Water Department customers have to pay twice for the same service? They pay the same taxes as everyone else in the city for police, fire, parks, etc. and then they pay ANOTHER 11.5% when funds are transferred from the Water Department to the General Fund. Clearly the Water Department is charging more than its cost of operation (also against the law) so that an 11.5% “slush fund” is created and then slipped over to the general fund. Any legitimate audits of the Water Department should have pointed out the illegality of this practice years ago.
It’s EXACTLY like what I saw on the reality show “Kitchen Nightmares” tonight. The owner of the restaurant was paying his waiters/waitresses an hourly rate. All tips left by customers (who CLEARLY intended the tips to be for the servers) were kept by the OWNER who prohibited his staff from pocketing ANY tips left for them. When the customers were informed that the owner was pocketing the tips, they were absolutely outraged!! So should every voter in this election be outraged. Water charges are to pay for water, not police & parks. Tips are for the workers, not the owners.
STOP THIS RIP-OFF BY THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE – VOTE NO ON MEASURE A!
Tom Courbat Former Finance Director County of Riverside
Well stated Tom, we’ve stating this for years, but of course we are crazy or misinformed, because this is how they continue to treat and think of the community, because it is about the them not the communtiy. The money as we’ve been stating for years has no accounting whereby the City states it is being allocated for particular services such as police and fire. No documents responsive, so what are the taxpayers to think, except that for years this has been an 11.5% slush fund.
The ring leader, as we feel, could be none other than former Mayor Ron Loveridge, whom has operated this city as some underworld organization. The community has an opportunity to begin to take back their City, and not have the follow in the footsteps of San Bernardino and Moreno Valley. Don’t fall into their trap of scare tactics; ask them the hard questions. Property taxes pay for City services, where is this money really going? But why are they working so hard to pass this measure? Even the Press Enterprise is on it. Is it because they’ve recieved special utility rates in the past from the City? Or is it because the City is helping them with a new location for their business? Could it be Developer’s Mark Rubin’s Citrus Towers? Or is it that we do not want to upset the fact that the County of Riverside is intending to purchase their building, of course they did. What ever it is, the stress levels with City personal and staff are high.
What appears to be more outrageous is that the City seems to have plenty of money in the General Fund Reserves to subsidize the new Black Box Theatre. This at a time when the City is claiming foul, and if Measure A doesn’t pass, the City will be on its way to doom and gloom. The City claims that the 11.5% transfer has paid for a multitude of city services, but they are unable to produce documents revealing how it was spent. The hypothetical question is, if the transfer money never actually paid for City services, what did it really pay for? Well we don’t know that either. The approximately $6 million which appears to magic because it seems to fund everything under the sun that property taxes through the general fund does. If in fact the 11.5% transferred all these programs and services, you would think that the City would immediately lease the Fox Theatre. The Fox Theatre is currently running at a yearly deficit of approxixmately $3 million. We just found $3 million just by leasing the Fox to the private sector. There is no doubt in my mind that the City continues to cry wolf, and the sad ending to this is no one is listening.
While Councilman Steve Adams accuses representatives of the No on Measure A campaign of misinformation, he threatens the community by stating that if Measure A does not pass we will have to raise water rates and raise taxes. Now this is a councilman who is rumored to have aspirations of running for Congress. Well, Mr. Congressman raising water rates and raising taxes are not that easy, you’ll have to justify it, and so far you cannot even justify the current accounting on the transfer! If you have to strong arm and scare the community into voting on an illegal measure, then you lack leadership abilities.
Measure A looks good to the Press Enterprise. We at TMC question that move. Was it because you didn’t want to upset the deal with the County of Riverside? Was it because you receive special utility rates with the City of Riverside? Was it because the City of Riverside is rumored to be assisting in locating an alternate location which is amicable? Would it be with developer Mark Rubin’s Citrus Tower’s? Contractually recieving better utility rates from the City of Riverside would this in fact effect your reporting? I hope not, why have a paper that destroys the illusion of the Fourth Branch of Government?
The people of the City of Riverside pay every month for the Fox Theatre, and the City would like the taxpayer to foot the bill for the Black Box Theatre, but most of the people footing the bill can’t afford to go to the Fox. This at a time when the City is claiming for the first time in 16 years that the $6.1 million water transfer pays for essential services. So how may I ask, does the City justify funding the Black Box Theatre at a cost to the taxpayer of close to $500,000.00 over 2 years, until it is able to sustain a profit and pay for itself. If you can afford the Black Box you can afford Police and Fire.
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I recalled this was the same line statement made regarding the Fox Theatre and currently it is running at a yearly $3 million deficit. So we have $3 million plus $0.5 million, what do we have, $3.5 million. That’s $2.5 million away from what the City claims they will be losing. Mayor Bailey went over budget in his mayor’s office by a miniscal $100,000.00. There’s another 100K, and council just voted to hand over $750,000.00 to the Fairmont Park Golf Course. How much are we at now? Pretty close? Then you have Mayor Bailey with the Streetcar Named Debacle idea? Again, and again we the continued excessive spending and no cutbacks. What you have here is that the City will threaten the residents to cut essential services such as Police and Fire, which by the way are already covered by property taxes, if Measure A is not passed. This they will do before cutting non-essential services or expenses that continue to incurr as a deficit to the taxpayer. Well, shame on them.
In the City’s desperation, they continue to stray into the gray areas of an FPPC violation, but that does not stop them. Now there attempt to explain their slush fund over the areas has metamorphisized into some City services, to just about every service under the sun is funded by this $6 million water transfer. Ask them specifically how they have spent this money over the last 16 years, they don’t have an answer. The accounting stops when the monies are deposited into the General Fund, then it’s tracks are lost, not to be found. It’s how the City wants it, it is the way it has always been since Ron Loveridge became Mayor.
Was Ron Loveridge a Proposition 218 proponent? Was he a Propostion 13 proponent? Probably not, he has done everything to change that. In otherwords, counter to everything that is in effect, beneficial to the taxpayer. Why is that former Mayor Luv? And why are the Police and Fire Unions spending so much money to buy your vote? Is it really about them rather than the residents?
Another letter of support regarding the Moreno’s Water Lawsuit. This from a former City Finance Director.
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MR. LIABILITY HEARING THE BEAT OF A DIFFERENT DRUM, OR JUST BEATING THE SAME OLE’ DRUM TO DEATH?
Drumming up controversy, Councilman Steve Adams had alot to say regarding public speakers and disinformation. I guess he forgot that public speakers tried to reach out years ago involving problems the City could have with issues concerning Proposition 218. When brought to the forefront of the Council, those interest resulted in deaf ears. The law suit filed by citizens resulted in a win for the residents of the City of Riverside. But what will eventually happen according to Adams, is that the City will retaliate against the citizens of Riverside, this in my opinion for not voting in favor of Measure A. If this is to occur Adams states we will have to make up this money through higher water rates and increase taxes. Typical Adams? But the reality of higher rates and taxes is to sustain their slush fund, and continued mismanagement of taxpayer monies. Or is it to help pay off the astronimical debt incurred to the taxpayer due to the Renaissance projects? This is a fund which has no accounting of how tax monies were spent… and now aspirations for Congress?
Councilman Adams getting cozy with Congressman Calvert, failed to respond to our inquiries regarding bond fraud in the City of Riverside, but it seems he responds better to a side of the road transaction.
Like electing Bernie Madoff as Mayor or Treasury secretary. Adams has proved he is not even qualified as councilmen. He used the illegal license plates for over a year and knew he was wrong as he was an ex police officer. Then he cost the taxpayers 10 million in a settlement when he influenced the promotions of the police department. Why would the city elect a proven criminal to Congress even if the Ward accepts his behavior. The DOJ has enough work with the current Congressmen who are committed crimes then to add another one. We saw the former Police Chief embarrass the city and how well he worked with Steve Adams. Just think how people were played for fools when a former police officer Steve Adams said he did not know the untraceable license plates only given to under cover federal officers which ever local police officer knows. - Jackie Rawlings, Commenter on the PE.
Isn’t this the Adams when cofronted by a public speaker at City Council regarding his excessive spending on food via the taxpayer, answered back, “Well, I gotta eat!” or who answered back, “Yes!” when he was asked if he thought disability was funny?
HUNT, HUNTING FOR ISSUES WHICH NEED TO BE FERRETED OUT?
Tom Hunt, member of the RUSD Board of Education, calls certain people who have a personal problem with the city council because they were evicted from their city owned businesses. It may be that he doesn’t understand that there are several degrees of “deadbeats” according to the City, the ones that the City likes and the ones they don’t, and there are those who the City supports and haven’t given them a late fee etc., and others that have and wouldn’t follow the program and you never want to do that, and there are those who just don’t follow the vision set forth by the City, and of course, there are those who have been railroaded.. We can ask former City Manager Brad Hudson about that one, but he suddenly skipped town a couple of years ago. But don’t hold me on this, in fact don’t even put a gun to my head on this issue…
Making the case in favor of Measure A can’t be made, since it has been made. Placing the issue on the ballot was not the idea or request in the Moreno’s lawsuit, but a offered by the City’s team of attorney’s. I would imagine it this decision was made by the foremost attorney on Proposition 218 and a co-author of the Proposition 218 implementation guide, the City of Riverside’s hired attorney, Michael G. Colantuono. We also recommend also to bring you questions on the legalities of Measure A to Attorney General, Kamal Harris at 1-800-952-5225. The Moreno’s case fell under the realms of what is known as the Private Attorney General Act.
DISPORTIONALITY IS AN UNDERSTATEMENT WHEN IT COMES TO THE FAIRNESS OF THE GENERAL FUND TRANSFER AND MEASURE A.
Approximately 3,958 Riverside Public Utility customers won’t get to vote on Measure A, that’s because they are not City residents. But they still contribute to the 11.5% transfer which is paid through their utility bill, therefore they will not receive a benefit in terms of police, fire and library.
Approximately 8,769 customers receive their water from Western Municipal, they will get to vote on Measure A, because they are residents, but don’t receive a benefit either. Further, since they pay more for water, the 11.5% transfer is more for them, even though there is no benefit to them.
There are other’s who are Riverside residents who received Measure A ballots but are not Public Utility customers since they are on their own well water.
But as we have been saying along, water utilities cannot be a profit making entity. City Clerk Coleen Nicol statement regarding public utility customers outside the City of Riverside is as follows: “they’re paying for water. The profit that the utility realizes, the citizens of Riverside have decided that a portion of the utility’s profit will be transferred to the general fund.” Proposition 218 voted overwhelmingly by the voters in 1996 by 85% stated otherwise.
“That’s just the way it works” stated Councilman Paul Davis. But don’t we as constituents elect officials as Davis to fix what is wrong, rather than nonchalantly state to simply otherwise deal with it?
If Measure A doesn’t pass, some council people are crying foul. Councilman Steve Adam’s said we need the money, we therefore have to increase water rates and taxes. Why should the taxpayer pay for the bad decisions a Council person makes?
A PEEK AT WHAT CITY ATTORNEY GREG PRIMOS HAS COSTED THE TAXPAYER LEGAL LIABILITY
The City/ Taxpayer paid out to Lt. Darryl Hurt $300,000.00 and to Lt. Tim Bacon $250,000.00. Even Chris Lanzillo recieved compensation of $25,000.00. This is someone according to the document had 8 workers compensation claims pending with the California Workers Compensation Appeals Board related with his employment with the City. He then went to start his own business in Orange County, some question his claims of disability. He later made news by inaccurately accusing a local councilman of drunk driving. Lanzillo was the former president of the Riverside Police Union.
SCOTT SIMPSON’S “A SCHEME IS BORN” TIMELINE. Scott Simpson’s background: Chief of Enforcement for the California EPA Dept. of Toxic Substances Control, and also worked for the Dept. of Food and Agriculture in their Environmental Hazards Assessment Program specializing in ground water contamination. Simpson brought issues of illegalities of the water fund and citizens water rates to the Riverside Grand Jury. The first submission was lost, the second one was incidently thrown out without an interview. Questions regarding close ties between the City, Judges, DA and Grand Jury were brought into speculation. As you see from Simpson’s background, this was his job to bring issues to the courts, so it is therefore quite remarkable how he was treated at our local Grand Jury level. Simpson “A Scheme is Born” analytical timeline of the chain of events over the years regarding water rates, violations of Proposition 218 and who knew.
The City always knew, those who were players in these criminal actions. The City of Riverside had a deadline as all cities had, the date of November 08, 1998. The date came and the City failed the meet the approved deadline, therefore knowlingly violating the State Constitution, since probably, who is really going to challenge them? Well, in 2012, the Moreno’s did, and the judge agreed, and the City of Riverside’s attorney agreed, afterall, he wrote the implementation guide.
A WORD FROM FORMER MANAGING EDITOR OF THE PRESS ENTERPRISE, MEL OPOTOWSKY, ON A NO VOTE ON MEASURE A!
According to a PE opinion by Opotowsky, he stated that the Yes on Measure A campaign is playing on our fears. They took us for fools when they warned in the (illegal) descriptions in city literature that the money was needed for 911 services. Does anyone really believe the City Council members would have the temerity cut the 911 operation if Measure A doesn’t pass?
They take us for fools when they warn that police patrols will be cut. Who thinks that would happen in this very pro-police city?
And the rest of the threatened cuts — programs for fire protection, seniors (not likely because they vote), the disabled, after-school programs (well, they may cut that because “those people” don’t vote).
The outlandish prevarication regarding the clean water and the 911 cutbacks brings us to the second maternal quote: What can we believe from City Hall?
Common sense tells us that in facing the loss of a mere 3 percent of the budget if A does not pass, city officials should find a way to make small reductions in the things that make them feel good — like plaques under a railroad underpass and giving up the expensive Don Quixote fight to save Redevelopment Agency projects.
Gee, they say, it’s only $6 million and we have been taking it for years and nobody said anything. They took it illegally, it turned out, and they knew it was illegal. They just figured the rubes wouldn’t be nit-picky about our government following the law. All that time they took us for fools.
MORENO VALLEY: KEEPING IT IN THE FAMILY: CITY MANAGER HENRY GARCIA OUT, TOM DE SANTIS IN AS NEW ASSISTANT CITY MANAGER.. What will Garcia’s long time girlfriend, City of Riverside’s Human Resources Director Rhonda Strout, A.K.A. Luxury Girl, say about this? Will she attempt to give Henry a job in the janitorial position in order to help clean house in the City of Riverside? What is the rumor with Tom? After keeping track of city business on post it notes, badges and cold plates, did he leave due to indiscretions while at the City of Riverside? Why did he leave the County of San Bernardino? Was it the same?
Recently, Barry Foster, head of the Economic Department also the City’s Community Development Director, left his position according to the PE. Rumor is, was he actually fired? Foster is also the husband of Riverside’s former Public Works Director, Siobhan Foster. Foster abruptly left the City of Riverside, to take a position almost an hour away for the City of Pasadena, as their Public Works Director. Pasadena’s City Manager Michael Beck was also former City of Riverside’s Assistant City Manager, during the time when cold plates and badges were in.
In Moreno Valley Electric Utilities, The New Mission Statement include an interesting new twist. “In the future, MVU will provide more revenue for the City’s general fund, which helps pay for other important city programs.” Was the influence De Santis? This is what happened in the City of Riverside when De Santis was City Manager. Increase the electric rates and take a percentage of the electric fund to transfer to the general fund.
Nothing really changes but always seems to come back in full circle where we left off. The surprising chain of events which has consumed, after the Mike Rios incident, makes for a great new story for “Mad Men.”
BLACK VOICE ARTICLE ON FORMER MORENO VALLEY COUNCILMAN BATEY
CITY OF RIVERSIDE CAMPAIGNING THE YES ON MEASURE A CAMPAIGN WITH YOUR TAX DOLLARS?
The mailers that the Yes on Measure A campaign have been distributing have been reflective of their talking points. This new mailer just received has the City of Riverside star of approval with endorsing names such as our Chief of Police Sergio Diaz, Fire Chief Steve Earley and City Manager Scott Barber. It cannot get any more blatant than this. Legally the City of Riverside has had to take a position of neutrality, while over the past few months stated it was on a Measure A informational tour. This mailer shows that that the City sent this mailer and can be ultimately construed as a campaign mailer endorsing a Yes vote on Measure A. This can be seen just by the language and pictorial used.
Further this mailer was paid for by you and me the “Taxpayer.” Therefore is the City of Riverside on the verge of violating FPPC (Fair Political Practices Commision) rules and regulations? Not to mention misappropriation of taxpayer funds.
Will you do it again? or be fooled again by the Yes on Measure A Campaign?
If Measure A doesn’t pass will lose all of a sudden in excess of 80 jobs? The majority of the campaign financing have been the Fire Unions and Police Unions. Why are they struggling so hard to have a mere 2.8% to 3.1% of the budget not get cut? If the City of Riverside is actually in dire straights, and using Measure A as a scapegoat, it shouldn’t be a problem to dissolve the Riverside Police Department and the Riverside Fire Department, and transfer both forces to the Riverside County Sheriff and Cal Fire.
Even the NAACP is involved with the Yes on Measure A campaign. What does the NAACP have to do with a water issue? That’s a question to ask Woodie Rucker-Hughes.
Why would Ms. Rucker-Hughes and the NAACP inadvertainly appear to have some sort of obligatory agreement with the City of Riverside on this issue? Why would she dis those she is in position to help? Is it all about who we dance with? I seriously don’t think the NAACP would approve. That’s just me talking, the TMC reporter.
The City’s hypocrisy has no end..
Vote No on Measure A, www.noonmeasureariverside.com
For more information on this June 4th, 2013 Measure A, contact us email@example.com
GOVERNMENT SHOULD LIVE WITHIN THEIR MEANS, AFTERALL, WE THE TAXPAYER HAVE TO..
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. NOW TAGGED LOCAL BLOGGERS OR LOCAL MEDIA? RATED ONE TWO 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 ( 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