CITY OF RIVERSIDE: CHARTER REVIEW COMMITTEE ROLE PLAY?

Posted: October 3, 2011 in Uncategorized
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The City of Riverside Charter requires that it’s charter be reviewed every eight years in order to evaluate and make to changes to the current charter.   The Charter was originally enacted and filed with the Secretary of State January 5, 2007.   Several Community meeting are held which allows community to apply imput and recommendations.  If they actually will, it is up to the Charter Review Committee to bring it to the Council, whereby they will decide.  Charter Review Committee are made up of 15 members. As the Charter currently exist, the language and constructs remain vague.  Is it effective? Or just mass of motionless moves which has no effectiveness at all.  Afterall, the city council make the final decisions.  City Council choose the specific participants of the committee, even it appears to cross the lines of favoritism.  Would you choose a merchant whom leases a city own building, would that be conflict  of interest, would you choose an independent contractor whom is contracted with the city for services, would you choose a member of the local paper to be part of a committee, would you choose a member of a prestigious local law firm evidently being paid for services by the city with no contract?  Could we call these activities conflict of interest.  I found it quite remarkable that the City would, from a multitude of applicants, choose Michelle Ouellette, a member of the Best Best & Krieger where millions of taxpayer dollars are spent for outside legal advise to the city.  Conflict of Interest, I would have to say yes.  The Charter Committee use to be made up of real people, real residents of the community.  What happened City of Riverside?  Your Citizen’s would like to know…

The following are issues with the charter which have been brought up by the community as changes necessary in order that the language will not be so vague, and to bring clarity and preciseness to the City Charter.

  1. Contracts an Leases: Guidelines on to how the City of Riverside should enforce signed agreements.
  2. Decrease in the City Manager’s discretionary spending from $50K to $25K, where it was before Brad Hudson came on board. In one year 28 million was spent, in another year 29 million was spent, this without the oversight of the city council.  Once the citizen request was made for an accounting of the discretionary fund, it suddeenly went down to 1 million.
  3. Citizens shall have the right to remove an item form the consent calendar at City Council meetings.
  4. Section 405, Mayor Pro Temp, guidelines to to this position as it stands, appears to be abused.
  5. Part time to Full time positions of the council. The Council needs to be full time in order to be effective.  The thought behind this is that there would be more time to attend the chicken house.
    This specifically to reduce the power of the City Manager, because full responsibility for actions are ultimately that of the Council.
  6. Nepotism, Section 709.  Again, self explanatory, and yes, part of the culture of City Hall. Clarification on personal relationships between employee’s, and to revisit the personal relationships of representatives and those who receive contracts.  For example, why is Councilman Steve Adam’s brother employeed in Public Works?
  7. Contradiction of State Statutes.  The city charter directly contradicts the state for general government services by tax.
  8. Citizen Audit Committee- an oversight committee which prepares a separate, independent and non-biased review of City expenditures.
  9. Enforcing violations of the charter.  Over the years Council, Mayor and others have allegedley violated the charter with no repercussions.  The need for defining language to enforce violations.  Has the defining language been purposely overlooked?
  10. The Finance Department to be a separate and independent department from the City Manager Department.  There is no reason that the two should be intermingled.
  11. Check Warrants, the city check book, common practice to bring the books of current expenditures to city council meeting for viewing by the public.  Further, what is the criteria for approving an expenditure?
  12. Hiring outside council, such as BB&K, should not be common practice.  The City Attorney’s office should be able to handle the load, if not, the city attorney and the department should be reviewed.
  13. Code of Ethics Complaints.  The issue of how complain dealt with.  The criticism is that complaints are circumvented by the City Attorney’s office, and in doing so, never reach the council for review. Therefore the denial of due process come into play.
  14. Best, Best & Krieger contracts.  It appears that all contracts are oral contracts and no hard contracts with this particular firm exist.  Though an excess in millions of dollars have been paid out to this firm with no pertinent or rational explaination to the taxpayer.
  15. Environmental Protection clause-that the city continues its efforts toward being a Green City.
  16. Design and Review Committee.  The need to bring them back to the forefront, so that Downtown Main Street Riverside stops looking like Main Street Moreno Valley.
  17. Budget and Review Committee- a committee to review expenditures.
  18. Measure C Committee- a committee of oversight and to prevent abuse.
  19. Company Restrictions- such as unions and contractor limitations in order to prevent the inference of preferential treatment as in contracts etc.
  20. Closed Door City Council Sessions- defining language as to what constitutes a discussion item to be in a closed door session without public imput.

In an atmosphere of government distrust, the question that many in the community of Riverside our asking, will there imput make any difference? Is the whole process a formality by government to give the community an illusionary appearance of community imput an transperancy? Or is it just simply a role play? Do we agree to disagree that no new changes are necessary will be made?  Is the committee a real reflection of the community, or for the selective few?

CITY CHARTER REVIEW MEETINGS: JANET GOESKE COMMUNITY CENTER, 5:30PM, TODAY OCTOBER 3, 2011.

THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT!  KEEP CONNECTED WITH TMC, RATED RIVERSIDE’S MOST “SLANDEROUS” AND MEZZSPELLED, “MISSPELLED” BLOG SITE!   TMC IS NOW EXCLUSIVELY ON FILE WITH THE COUNTY OF RIVERSIDE’S DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE, YEP, WE SHOULD HAVE EXPECTED THAT, AND THAT’S ALL WE’RE GOING TO SAY ABOUT THAT ONE…

UPDATE: OCTOBER 3, 2011 CHARTER REVIEW MEETING, APPROXIMATELY HALF OF THE 15 MEMBER BECOME A NO SHOW? INCLUDING CONGRESSMAN CANDIDATE JOSE MEDINA, DAVID ST. PIERRE, DIANE MEDINA, PETER BENAVIDEZ ETC.  THE CHARTER REVIEW COMMITTEE IS A REVIEW COMMITTEE NOT A REFORM COMMITTEE AS STATED BY THOMAS P. EVANS CHAIR.  THE QUESTION IS, DOES THE COMMITTEE ACTUALLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE FOR CHANGE, OR IS ONLY A PERFORMANCE OF ACTION, WITH NO REAL ACTION?  INCESTUOUS? TELL US WHAT YOU THINK LEAVE US YOUR COMMENTS!

Comments
  1. Dvonne Pitruzzello says:

    The same people, on the same committees, and what do we get, the same thing. How can we expect anything different? The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. That’s all folks.

  2. sekisuispr says:

    I suggest looking into the following way of removal http://www.epa.gov/oig/reports/2012/20111006-Preston%20Indictment.pdf simple omissions by officials on their employment application may present several issues

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