Again is this another display of our culture favoritism and selective treatment within the gates of emerald city? (Item #9). The ambulance debacle, government again interfering with the free market system to the point of allowing a monopoly? City councilman Paul Davis was right to ask the question if it’s the cities policy to allow one ambulance company, American Medical Response, in the city. Does this violate antitrust laws? What’s quite interesting is that the city issues franchise agreement to control who runs non-emergency ambulance services. Any ambulance company is allowed to apply, but the clincher is AMR is the only company to be issued one. The city firefighters union opposes Mission Ambulance’s bid to serve Riverside. Why would a firefighters union get involved in the business of rendering an opinion? Questions are continually raised in regards to union influence in the city, and to the extent of special interest request. But you have your answer as to why no other franchise agreements were ever issued over the last 50 years. But again, the city can save money by placing more services up for bid. (Item #9) Again, is the city and the firefighters union involved in a monopoly? And are the firefighters unions really looking toward the health and safety of the public? In City Council session, The Public Safety Commission will be recommending that the Council deny Mission ambulance from attaining a franchise agreement. Get this, the Public Safety Commision is made up of the City Council, Chris Mac Arthur, Nancy Hart and Andy Melendez. Further, Fire Chief Steve Early will actually be conducting the assessment of Mission ambulance’s application, and rendering an opinion to the Public Safety Commision. Yes, I’m not making this up, it’s incestuous. Can you guess what is going to be their decision? In addition, the City pays AMR for certain training services to the Firefighters etc., in addition, AMR has had their own set of problems. But it appears that according to the references in favor of Mission Ambulance, that the city would turn a blind eye to the health and safety of Riversidian’s in favor of alleged special interest.
UPDATE: COUNCIL VOTES TO DENY MISSION AMBULANCE A FRANCHISE, EXCEPT FOR COUNCILMAN PAUL DAVIS. AMR HAS CONTRIBUTED TO THE CAMPAIGN’S OF CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS, INCLUDING DAVIS. MISSION AMBULANCE CONTRIBUTED TO DAVIS ONLY. BACK IN 2009, CONFLICT OF INTEREST CHARGES WERE FILED AGAINST AMR’S PETER HUBBARD, WHO WAS ALSO CHAIRMAN OF THE RIVERSIDE POLICE REVIEW COMMISSION. MISSION AMBULANCE WAS CORRECT IN SAYING THAT MISINFORMATION HAS BEEN FED. MISINFORMATION SUCH AS CHIEF STEVE EARLY STATEMENT THAT MISSION AMBULANCE MAY NOT RESPOND, IF THEY WERE CALLED, BECAUSE OF A COST FACTOR. COUNCILMAN STEVE ADAMS ALSO STATED MISSION AMBULANCE REFUSES TO RESPOND TO PEOPLE WHO CANNOT PAY. AMERICAN MEDICAL RESPONSE IS CONTRACTED FOR 911 SERVICES WITH THE CITY, AND YOU ARE ONLY CALLED IF CONTRACTED FOR 911 SERVICES. MISSION AMBULANCE WOULD LIKE TO SERVE THE RETAIL END, AND CONTRACTS INDIVIDUALLY WITH PROVIDERS, AND SHOULD AND COULD HAVE THE OPTION TO CONTRACT FOR 911 SERVICES AT THE STANDARD CONTRACTS RATES IF ALLOWED. MISINFORMATION ON THE DAIS? CHIEF EARLEY RECOMMENDED THE APPLICATION BE DENIED, BUT WAS AT A LOSS OF WORDS TO RATIONALLY EXPLAIN IT. WHEN ASKED BY PAUL DAVIS AS TO THE DETAILS OF THE DENIAL, CITY ATTORNEY GREG PRIAMOS WAS THEIR TO RESCUE AND SPIN, AND REMINDING EVERYONE OF THE ISSUE AT HAND. THIS WAS REMARKABLY DONE MORE THAN ONCE AS TO CEASE COUNCILMAN PAUL DAVIS’S QUESTIONING. IN RELATION TO THIS PROTECTIVE BEHAVIOR, A CLOSE OUTSIDE FRIENDSHIP IS ALLEGED BETWEEN CITY ATTORNEY GREG PRIAMOS AND PETER HUBBARD WHO HAVE BEEN SEEN AT FAMILY GATHERINGS, NOW RAISING QUESTIONS AGAIN OF CONFLICT INTEREST. FURTHER, COUNCILMAN STEVE ADAMS WAS ALLEGED SEEN HAVING DRINKS WITH PETER HUBBARD AT RIVERSIDE’S SALTED PIG RESTAURANT ON 10/11/2011. WOULD THIS HAVE ANY EFFECT ON HIS DECISION MAKING ON THIS ITEM AS A COUNCILMAN? HOW ABOUT THE CLOSE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN COUNCILMAN AND MAYOR PRO-TEMP CHRIS MAC ARTHUR, EVEN THE MAYOR HIMSELF, RON LOVERIDGE? AND LET’S NOT FORGET THE INFAMOUS BAD BOY’S THEMSELVES, BRAD HUDSON AND TOM DESANTIS. WHAT ABOUT THE MILLIONAIRE’S CLUB? WOULD MISSION AMBULANCE HAVE A LEGAL CASE AGAINST THE CITY UNDER THESE GROWING CIRCUMSTANCES? DOES THIS NOW MEAN ONE FOR THE FIRE CHIEF, AND ONE FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE INTEREST OF THE UNION BROTHERHOOD? WHAT IS IT ABOUT THE CITY’S INCESTUOUS RELATIONSHIPS EFFECTING THE HEALTH AND SAFETY OF THE THE COMMUNITY OF RIVERSIDE, WITH POSSIBLE GRAND VIOLATIONS OF ANTITRUST LAWS?
Talking about firefighters their still negotiating their salaries and fringe benefits in closed sessions again under (Item #5), with you guessed it , the firefighters union etc. Hopefully they’ll be negotiating low, because the city can’t afford to pay them more. After all, the city will be at a standstill by next year 2012 when bonds come due. Maybe we should do as Norco did, dissolve their City Fire Department and bid out. In their case they went with Cal Fire/ Riverside County Fire Department, or another alternative for saving money is go back to the Volunteer Fire Department. Another idea would be to dissolve RPD, and bring in the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in order to save money. Excessive pensions is placing a large dent in the Cities budget. It’s no secret that 70% to 80% of a cities budget goes to payroll. (Item #5, Closed sessions of course). This is a good reason that the City Charter needs to be modified, and whereby items as this should be in open session to be scrutinized by the public, and these closed door sessions leave an open door to abuse, at taxpayer expense. And that my friends is how the city rolls..
Parking Citations Amnesty. Parking always a problem in Riverside and excessive violation fees at $41.00 a pop is another. Won’t work, people have no money, honest! (Item #16) The idea proposed by Public Works Director Siobhan Foster is that the end result of the amnesty program, the city will bring in $33,925.00 in revenue. The actual total revenue expected from the amnesty program is $125,025.00. But this figure will be offset by the initial expense of the taxpayer have in the amount of $91,000.00 to implement the plan. THE BOTTOM LINE, IT ORDER TO BRING IN 27% BACK IN REVENUE, IT WILL COST THE TAXPAYER BY THE OFFSET COST, 73%. I WOULD ALSO ASSUME THAT THE PERCENTAGE IS HIGHER DUE TO THE COST AND ATTEMPT TO RECOVER PRIOR COST TO THIS PROPOSAL, THEREFORE THE REVENUE BROUGHT IN FROM THE AMNESTY PROGRAM WOULD ACTUALLY BE LESS THAN 27% AS INDICATED. NOW WE KNOW WHY SIOBHAN FOSTER IS MOVING PLACES, AND PASADENA PICKED HER UP LIKE A BAG OF CLEAN SOCKS!
One more week to go on naming city hall! But after the item #9 debacle, we all know how that is going to turn out as well… Bad news for Rin Tin Tin…
UPDATE:10/18/2011: A VERY SENSITIVE AMR CANCELS LEASE AGREEMENT WITH MURRIETA OVER A COUNCILMAN’S STATEMENT. MURRIETA URGES COMPETITIVE BIDDING ON AMBULANCE CONTRACTS. DID THEY ALSO HAVE A PROBLEM TAKING $1.4 MILLION IN “BLOOD MONEY” TO LOWER RESPONSE TIMES AS ALLEGEDLY THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE TOOK?
UPDATE:10/29/2011: WHILE COUNCILMAN STEVE ADAMS BELIEVE OUTSIDE AMBULANCE COMPANIES WOULD NOT PICK THOSE WHO CANNOT PAY WITHIN THE CTY, IT APPEARS THE COUNTY HANDS OUT A STIPEND, AN ENCENTIVE ETC. TO COVER THAT COST.
UPDATE:12/08/2011: ACCORDING TO THE STATE AGENCY THAT OVERSEES COUNTY MEDICAL SERVICE PLANS, RIVERSIDE OFFICIALS DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT TO STOP QUALIFIED AMBULANCE COMPANIES FROM FROM PICKING UP PATIENTS IN THE CITY. THE QUESTION MANY CITY RESIDENTS ARE ASKING, IS THE CITY VIOLATING ANTITRUST LAWS?
UPDATE:02/13/2012: THE STATE EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES AUTHORITY (EMSA) STATES THAT THE CITY AND COUNTY OF RIVERSIDE OVERSTEPPED IT’S AUTHORITY IN LIMITING AMBULANCE SERVICES. COULD THE $1.4 MILLION AMR PROVIDES RIVERSIDE EACH YEAR FOR PARAMEDIC TRAINING AND EQUIPMENT CONTRIBUTE TO HOW THE CITY VOTES ON ISSUES THAT IMPACT AMR? OTHERS HAVE MENTIONED THAT THE $1.4 MILLION ALLOWS AMR TWO MORE MINUTES TO THEIR MAXIMUM ALLOWABLE RESPONSE TIME. JUST LIKE HAVING A BAD BURRITO, IT JUST DOES’T SIT WELL IN THE STOMACH’S OF COMMUNITY RESIDENTS. BRUCE BARTON, DIRECTOR OF THE RIVERSIDE COUNTY EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES AGENCY, ACCORDING TO THE FOLLOWING DOCUMENT PREVIOUSLY WAS IN THE EMPLOYMENT OF AMR AS OF 2004. COULD THIS CONTRIBUTE TO A CONFLICT OF INTEREST OUTCOME?
UPDATE: 05/11/2012: COMMMENTER ON THE PRESS ENTERPRISE REGARDING THE AMBULANCE MONOPOLY IN THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE..
No, what’s going on, you’ve got three mayoral candidates who already know from debates and feedback this is a major campaign issue and they don’t want to have to make any decisions about it before the June election. Gardner must think that most of us just got off the turnip truck yesterday based on his comments. But you know what? People in this city are capable of independent thought without being patronized. This whole ordinance was written back in the late 1980s to protect Goodhew Ambulance which was tied in heavily through the people connected to the city council and mayor at the time. It’s a shame that nothing’s changed since even though the city’s grown both in size through annexations and through its population. The ambulance companies should call the Office of the Inspector General and ask him or her to initiate an investigation of the Federal Anti-Kickback statute. At best, there’s potential for a huge conflict of interest including financially in this case, but looking at the lettering of the statute, it might be more than that. Exceptions or “safe reservoirs” for this law pertain to trying to avoid monopolies in high-need areas not create one. I’m sure if the inspector general has to start an inquiry into what’s going on, the City Council will be in a rush to reschedule its workshop. – Mary Shelton, University of California, Riverside
WHO WILL BE HIDING BEHIND THE COMPUTER NEXT WHEN THE AUDITOR COMES ASKING QUESTIONS? CHECK BACK WEEKLY…THAT IS, EVERY CITY COUNCIL TUESDAY! WE’LL EVEN PROVIDE THE DIRECT LINK SO YOU CAN CHECK THE CURRENT CITY COUNCIL AGENDA. CALL YOUR LOCAL ELECTED COUNCIL PERSON AND THE MAYOR AND REQUEST THAT A FORENSIC AUDIT BE DONE BY STATE CONTROLLER JOHN CHIANG OF THE CITY HALL BOOKS. WITH A NEW INTERIM CITY MANAGER, SCOTT BARBER, THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE NEEDS BASELINE NUMBER AS DONE IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR IN ORDER TO ASSURE BALANCED NUMBERS AND TO CLEAR POSSIBLE DISCREPANCIES OF THE GENERAL LEDGER BOOKS. IF THERE IS NOTHING TO HIDE, THE NUMBERS WILL ALWAYS COME UP RIGHT!
THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT, NOW EXCLUSIVELY ON FILE WITH THE RIVERSIDE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE, AND THAT’S ALL TMC HAS TO SAY ABOUT THAT ONE FOR NOW… THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE’S MOST “OPINIONATED” BLOG SITE.