CITY OF RIVERSIDE, CITY MANAGER RUSSO: SLIMY SLIPPERY SMOOTH OR JUST PLAIN SLICK?

Posted: June 23, 2015 in Uncategorized
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Questions arose as to why an item for discussion was removed from the agenda without Council consent at the June 16th, City Council meeting.  The item entailed the possibility of establishing a CFD (Community Facilities District), also known as Mello-Roos, on the Ag Park property.  At the heart of the controversy was a letter that was received by City Manager, John Russo, from Director Barbara Lee of DTSC (Department of Toxic Substance Control), which recommended the City refrain from approving further work on the property until the DTSC could review the history of the cleanup.

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CLICK ABOVE TO VIEW THE FULL LETTER

Watch the video above to see the drama unfold.  Is newly-christened City Manager, “Rock Star” Russo and Mayor William “Rusty” Bailey quietly removing power away from the Council.  (Old habits die hard with Bailey we note.)  Or was it all a big misunderstanding?  Thirty Miles of Corruption provides the video: you decide!  We must add that we love Mr. Russo’s use of the vernacular, and as with all government types, we will be listening closely to exactly what he says…and doesn’t, in the future.

NOTE: Russo has been a City Attorney for 11 years, and a City Manager for about 4 years.  He has a degree from Yale University and a law degree from New York University: we have no doubt he’s a really smart guy.  Mayor Bailey taught Political Science at Poly High and has been a Councilmember for 2 terms and Mayor for 2 years: what he lacks in intelligence he makes up for in guile.  The policy issue on June 16th was so elementary that we don’t excuse either one of them: they believe they can do usurp the Council’s intentions under the guise of, “protecting the City”.  We’ve certainly heard that one before…

The backstory: The Ag Park controversy that stubbornly refuses to go away had some procedural issues at the June 16th meeting: the foremost being IT WASN’T ON THE AGENDA.  The Ag Park family had however filled the chambers in anticipation of hearing council debate on an item for discussion regarding the site: developer Chuck Cox’s desire that the City to float him a $6 million bond for his CFD for Ag Park (aka, Arroyo Park).  The item has been continued a number of times because the City was waiting on an update from the Department of Toxic Substances.  The DTSC had sent a couple of notifications out: one stated the land around AG Park has been cleaned up and later, one stating they were not so sure it was properly cleaned up.  What to do…what to do…what to do?

The topic was to be discussed June 9th.  Then it was continued to the 16th.  In an even earlier meeting, the City Council had scheduled it to June 23rd.  The Ag Park CFD debate date has been moved around so many times even we can’t remembered all the details any more.  Finally the 16th arrives…and the item disappears all-together.  We are reminded of childhood times…

THE RUSSO AND BAILEY COMEDY HOUR!

Improvising, the Ag Park family used public comment to express their continued concerns.  Then the real fun started!  Mr.  Russo weighed in on the subject.  Or should we say, he  lied to the public, lied to the Council, created an awkward or embarrassing situation for himself by inserting his foot into his mouth, and set the tone for how his new administration will operate?  Bravo!  As our 11 readers know, we love good theater here at TMC.

“Rock Star” Russo first addresses the public by reading the entire letter sent to the City of Riverside from the DTSC.  After reading the letter he very clearly states:  “It was at my direction and with the consent of the mayor that we pull the CFD (Comunity Facilities District/ Mello-Roos) off the Calendar.”

Of course, that perked up our ears, as well as those of a few Councilmembers.  See, the City Manager has to go to the Council or the Mayor Pro Temp to change an agenda item, not the Mayor.  ‘Dems da rulz.  They weren’t followed.  Logically, the next question to ask is: we this done on purpose?

Here are a couple of statements Russo made that we found rather interesting:  “We will not move forward……I heard loud and clear Mr. Mayor…..that many folks want us the city to bring in the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency).”  Notice that Mr. Russo is only addressing the Mayor, not the Council when making this statement.  “We will pursue an orderly and fact-based process that protects everybody involved.”  If the City Manager had read any of the fact-based documents produced by the employees of the city of Riverside concerning the Ag Park he could CLEARLY (a term he likes to use) see for himself what happened.  Anyone with a high school diploma could understand the City, Cox, and DTSC messed this one up, even Councilmember-elect John Burnard – it certainly doesn’t take a degree from Yale University!

“We are going to do things the way they are suppose to be done here forward….and that is for us to refer to the DTSC.”  When he makes this statement “We are going to do things the way they are suppose to be done here forward,” we can’t help but consider this political rhetoric, because in the next set of comments he doesn’t even follow the basic rules of City regarding how Council meetings are to be conducted.

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CLICK THIS LINK TO VIEW VIDEO – Councilmember Andy Melendrez asks John Russo the million dollar question, “What happened to the AG Park agenda item that was suppose to be on the discussion calendar?

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CLICK THIS LINK TO VIEW VIDEO – RUSSO THE “RAMBLIN’ MAN”

Then Mr. City Manager starts what we call a rambling worthy of Allman Brothers credit.  “I take responsibility.  This is a delicate situation. I was only trying to protect the city, the city’s interest.”   Then he says, “I apologize.”  (We almost fell out of our seat when we heard that statement come from the direction of the dais.  We are consulting with nationally recognized astrologists for confirmation if the end of the world is upon us.)  “I didn’t want to deprive you (The Council) of your ultimate decision, I just wanted to protect you.”

City Attorney Gary Geuss chimes in next, but not to correct the legal issue of the agenda item … which he should have done.  He should have corrected Russo for his failure to notify the Council of the removal of the item.  We’ve been down this road in the not-so-distant past, so we can’t say we’re surprised.  No one ever corrected Brad Hudson or Scott Barber – that would have been, “Off With Your Head!  Summon the Threat Assessment Team!” or “You’re fired!”

What Mr Geuss did instead was caution Melendrez about going further with his comments because it is not agendized.  We believe this demonstrates that Mr. Geuss will be more loyal to the City Manager than to his real client, our City Council.

Councilmember Paul Davis weighs in.  He also had a concern about the process in which Russo made the decision to take Ag Park off the agenda. “This decision is not up to the Mayor to make. Was the Mayor Pro Temp advised?”

Then Russo made the statement that put him on the “crystal clear” radar of ThirtyMilesofCorruption.com.  “The Mayor did not make this decision, I advised the Mayor, just to be Crystal Clear I made the decision.”

So, here are the two most important statements made by our “Rockstar” that in one fateful evening:
1. It was at my direction and with the consent of the mayor that we pull the CFD off the Calendar.
2. The Mayor did not make this decision. I advised the Mayor Just to be Crystal Clear. I made the decision.

“I think he’s going to be a high-octane city manager who likes to get things done,” said Riverside City Council Member Jim Perry.  That assumption was affirmed by Russo, who said he plans to bring a level of decisiveness to the table, which is too often lacking in government.  I think what Mr. Russo meant was that he would bring a level of perceived decisiveness to the table.  We had enough flip-flops down here in SoCal already without adding another in you, Mr. Russo.

After watching the online city video of June 16th, we just couldn’t help ourselves.  TMC had to send Mr. City Manager an e-mail to see if we could get a comment on his unfortunate choice of words.

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CLICK ON EMAIL IMAGE TO ENLARGE

To sum this up, we have a City Manager, who possesses the over-confidence of former City Manager Brad Hudson, the theatrics of former City Manager Scott Barber, and the cunning personality of former City Attorney Greg Priamos.  Should Thirtymilesofcorruption.com give Mr. Rock Star a pass on his unfortunate use of words, or is this the start of another out-of-control City Manager?  Did we just exchange one Shyster for another?  Is the Honeymoon Period already over here with Riverside?

John Russo Circa 2008 & 20011:

Interview: Former City Attorney John Russo Calls Oakland Government “Morally Corrupt.” (click this link to view)

Russo on open government.

Russo also stated that it is not the City of Riverside’s role to bring in the EPA.  Well that is not completely true either.  Any elected may contact the EPA directly and request them to come and investigate.  Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

TMC, RATED RIVERSIDE’S MOST, “VISIONS OF GRANDEUR,” “FULL OF B.S.,” “IGNORANT,” “MISGUIDED,” “BULLYISH,” “FILTHY,” “SICK,” “PERVERTED,” “STUPID,” “PATHETIC,” “DESPICABLE,” “DISAPPOINTING,” “BELOW THE BELT,” “A NEW LOW,” “SHOCKING,” “OFFENSIVE,” “INAPPROPRIATE,” “HURTFUL,” “MEAN SPIRITED,” “DISTASTEFUL,” “EMBARRASSING,” HORIFFIC,” “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 ONE STAR OUT OF FIVE IN TERMS OF COMMUNITY APPROVAL RATINGS..  TMC IS NOW EXCLUSIVLY EXCLUSIVELY ON FILE WITH THE COUNTY OF RIVERSIDE’S DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE (WE BELIEVE THIS WILL END SOON, SINCE THE FOCUS IS NOW ON THE IMPROPRIETIES OF MR. “Z”.  WE TRIED TO TELL YOU, BUT NOBODY LISTENED), AND DON’T FORGET WE ARE PROSSIBLY POSSIBLY ON FILE WITH THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE’S POTENTIAL SLAPP SUIT LIST… A STRATEGIC LEGAL MANEUVER THAT CAN BE DONE ONLY IN RIVERSIDE WITHOUT A CONTRACT… AGAIN, THANK YOU COMMUNITY OF RIVERSIDE AND THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE EMPLOYEE’S FOR YOUR SUPPORT!   COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOMED, ESPECIALLY SPELL CHECKERS!  WE JUST CAN’T SPELL!  EMAIL ANONYMOUSLY WITH YOUR DIRT BY CONTACTING US AT:  THIRTYMILESCORRUPTION@HOTMAIL.COM

Comments
  1. WTF Here we go again the god complex did scott barber die and enter Russo did Brad Hudson have a twin who else are we trying to be if he being himself stay tuned for message people we a screwed with no kisses again

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