Who’s driving this thing? Steve, put a little elbow grease in that crane.  Greg what do you mean we dropped the case, we’re making a killing out here in container fees!

According to the City of Riverside, this was all about the increase in train traffic running through the City and causing an increased level of pollution.  But, after three court rulings against the City of Riverside, they decided not to continue to hold the Port of Long Beach hostage for hopes of receiving a container fee ransom.  Why did the City sue?   Were they running out of money?  The container fees were to be used for newly constructed underpasses allowing local traffic not to be disrupted.  But awhile back, the city could have also considered the idea of re-routing the cargo trains closer to
the Santa Ana River as many had suggested, considering the port was expanding and local traffic in and around the city would increase.  But it appeared it was never seriously considered.

Mayor Ron Loveridge did take notice of the repercussions of the law suit,  when he stated, “I think it is time for us to join the region (in) working on enhancing the two ports.   Our lawsuits were slowing that down.”  Slowing things down, why did the city initiate it in the first place?  Did the city  think it was all quite frivolous to began with?   Well in reality, maybe these cases were just frivolous, and in the terminology City Attorney Greg Priamos would use, the lawsuits  “have no merit.”  But Riverside Councilman Steve Adams, a major proponent of the lawsuits, said he doesn’t see dropping them as
a sign of failure. He said the city’s approach showed other agencies the seriousness of the problem and got them to listen. He now is working on a national strategy that would include a container fee charged at all U.S ports.  Suing the ports, Adams said, “was the right thing to do at the right time, and this is the right thing to do now.”  So now it’s not a local issue,  looks as Steve is now  working on a national strategy for adding a container fee, which will probably be added to the final cost of goods to the consumer.

The cost to the taxpayer has also come into question.  City Attorney Greg Priamos estimated the city spent between $350,000 and $450,000 on outside legal counsel.  Could it be Best Best & Krieger?  He also stated that a considerable amount of staff time was dedicated to the case, though he declined to put a dollar figure on the in-house work.   Possibly “attorney client privilege” scenario?   Thanks Greg!  Was it about $350,000.00, or was it $450,000.00?  I just don’t remember because I can’t read a ledger book, or because I and my outside legal counsel, BB&K,  appear not to need no stinkin contracts?  Contracts you say, well my friends contracts just do not exist in Emerald City with BB&K, but it allegedly appears as if verbal bilateral one does.  Well, what the heck, plus or minus a $100,000, what’s the big deal?  It’s not my money.   That’s transparency for you.  But we did manage to find a signed agreement between City Attorney Greg Priamos and Grover Trask, ex Riverside County District Attorney now working for BB&K,  when they needed representation for Chief Russell Leach.  There is no doubt this is simply and purely negligence of these public servants fiduciary duty to the tax payer, not to mention the unknown additional cost to the taxpayer on in-house staff time.

“I think it was three strikes and we’re out,” Riverside Mayor Ron Loveridge said Thursday.  Well your right Mayor,  it’s just a ball game,  0 for the Taxpayer, 1 for BB&K somewhere around $350K  to $450K.  Didn’t the City  know what kind of pitcher they were dealing with when they couldn’t even get to first base?

LETTER WRITTEN BY JOHN HUSING & BOB WOLF TO THE EDITORS OF NEWS AGENCIES:

Editor:

In filing a misguided lawsuit aimed at stopping expansion at the Port of Long Beach, Riverside’s City Council has taken direct aim at the health of one of the Inland Empire’s primary blue collar job generators:  international trade and logistics.  After adding 76,200 jobs from 1990-2007, the sector has lost 7,900 in 2008-2009, largely due to falling imports through our ports, much of which is processed by inland warehousing workers.  Some of this decline will be permanent because national retailers are now diverting shipments elsewhere due to the constant lawsuits that make our ports a
decision-making disaster zone.  In just two years, the ports have lost 4% of their U.S. market.  Riverside is contributing to the chaos.

This is strange behavior from a city where 2008 Census data show one of 12 resident-workers is employed in logistics, and where 10,200 of the city’s fourth quarter 2008 jobs were in it, with a payroll of $449 million and workers averaging $43,800 a year.  These jobs could grow because the port slowdown has left 18.7% of the city’s industrial space empty.  They are badly needed jobs given that 46.3% of the city’s adults and 47.8% of those in Riverside County have not had a single college class.  Where else will this population get decent jobs with construction and manufacturing in deep trouble and service sector jobs like retailing, restaurant and hotel work paying at or near the minimum wage.

Why would the City Council do this?  Clearly, they are frustrated by the railroads bringing international cargo through the city and clogging its 26 at-grade track crossings.  They want money to build overpasses and apparently thought that throwing a punch at the ports would gain attention.  But, even if the lawsuit wins, there is no port funding to pay for off-port projects. At this writing, Riverside’s suit is the only obstacle to the Port of Long Beach starting construction on a long delayed Middle Harbor Project that will employ 10,000 man-years of construction workers and  permanently create 14,000 workers while also significantly improving Southern California’s environment.  Riverside has, in effect, become the principal barrier to a major environmental and green job effort.

Instead, the City Council is turning a city known for fostering regional cooperation, into a Southern California pariah.  To cite just one likely result:  In 2008, Senator Lowenthal of Long Beach tried to get funding for the off-port infrastructure construction that Riverside wants with a bill levying a fee on ocean containers.  Recognizing Riverside’s key needs, Lowenthal’s bill (SB 974) created a commission that would have overseen the funding with a seat specifically designated for the city of Riverside.  The bill passed but was unfortunately vetoed by the Governor.  He plans to reintroduce
it once a new Governor is elected.  But, why would he continue to help Riverside given the current attitude of its City Council towards his hometown?

Recently, Geraldine Knatz, director of the Port of Los Angeles, met with Riverside Council Members to try and gain Riverside’s cooperation by proposing that the city drop the lawsuit and the ports join hands in getting the Obama Administration to use its stimulus funds for city rail crossing projects.  Her bid was rejected out of hand.

For those of us who have worked hard and have successfully gained the cooperation of leaders throughout Southern California to support our efforts to gain funding for off-port projects in the Inland Empire, Riverside’s litigious behavior has become worse than an embarrassment.  It has undercut our ability to engage in fruitful discussions of the kind mentioned here.  This concern extends to the inland area’s regional agencies, the leaders of which are flabbergasted by this behavior.

If Riverside does not drop its ill-advised lawsuit, we fear that the consequence for blue collar workers in the economies of Riverside and San Bernardino counties, where we respectively live, will suffer.  Certainly, Riverside itself will not benefit.

Bob Wolf
Past Chairman, CA Transportation Commission, Former CA Undersecretary For Transportation

John Husing
Commissioner, CA Public Infrastructure Advisory Commission

UNKNOWINGLY PUSHING THE ENVELOPE, KEEP CONNECTED WITH 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…  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!   THIRTYMILESCORRUPTION@HOTMAIL.COM  BY THE WAY, COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOMED!

THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT, KEEP CONNECTED WITH TMC…

Comments
  1. Riverside and San Bernardino Counties are the bastard stepchildren of SoCal.
    Hear we share a common vision though, just ask Jon Husing and Steve PonTell.
    Only one little problem here with all these crystal-ball type prognostications (funded by the Building Industry Association- BIA) being made through the La Jolla Institute, The Community Foundation, The Rose Institute/ ESRI in conjunction with Husing’s Redlands based Economics and POLITICS, THEY FORGOT ABOUT THE JOBS!

  2. honestcitizen says:

    The main reason I think this entry is legit is because it is all spelled right. I don’t have a very high opinion of John Husing et al, and with respect to the Port Fee issue, for once I was in favor of Riverside’s actions when it sued the Port of Long Beach. (You must not live close to the railroad tracks.) Husing is very pro-business-at-the-expense-of-anything-else, and you should be wary of his highly conservative views.

  3. Sell-out Economist Husing is pro-GOVERNMENT (his clients), he has lost all credibility and is completely out of touch with private business interests in the IE, except of course BIG BUSINESS.

  4. […] CITY OF RIVERSIDE VS. PORT OF LONG BEACH: COURT STATES THE ORANGE BLOSSOM SPECIAL CAN PASS WITHOUT G… […]

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