When I first read the story written by David Silva below, I thought to myself, someone in the Wood Streets is having the same problem.  Then I looked at the date the story was actually written – October 4, 2007, 10 years to this day.  Looks like we’ve come full circle (and gone nowhere).  I found out that David has since passed away, but I can only guess that the drug dealing in his neighborhood continues.  Why you may ask?  Because my neighbors and I have exhausted all government resources to deal with this issue (houses of ill-repute) for over three years, and nothing has been done.  From the City Council, to the Mayor, to the County of Riverside – Social Services, Riverside Police Department, Code Enforcement, Animal Control, etc.  Well, David’s story is our story.  The story ends with good homeowners and renters giving up and moving on.  Giving up really, on the City of Riverside: the City of Arts and Innovation, and Crime and Homelessness.

But it is not only drugs in our neighborhood, it’s prostitution.  Sex, Drugs and Rock N’ Roll: I guess if you buy the drugs and sex, the rock n roll, or rap music, is comped.  Yep folks, it’s happening in one of the most sought after, historic neighborhood places to live in Riverside, the Wood Streets.  Where’s law enforcement?  They are ghosts and their cars are ghost cars, except for their taxpayer paid take-home vehicles.  What we have is a nuisance folks, a quality of life issue, and maybe something more one day.  We couldn’t take it anymore, so we filed a $10,000 small claims nuisance suit against the owner of the property…. and we won.  At least maybe we can profit too now.

We have children in our neighborhood who cannot come out, women who are harassed and intimidated, and neighbors who have been threatened.   My next door neighbor yelled at a vehicle running a stop sign in front of their house; when the vehicle did finally stop, they displayed a revolver.  Neighbor called RPD …..RPD simply said, “file a report.”  Most neighbors are now protecting themselves.   So up go the security cameras, it’s time to adopt a guard dog, and carry a club while walking at night.  It’s the return of the Wild West.


Chief Sergio Diaz said the following when he first began his employment with the City of Riverside:

“Respect for the community, respect for other officers, respect for ourselves is going to be the byword by which I will attempt to lead the city of Riverside over the next few years”  – Chief Sergio Diaz  

Sorry Diaz, you have lost the respect of our community.  They won’t say it, but I will.  They won’t say it because they are afraid to do so.  Why is that?  These homeowners actually feel they will be retaliated against somehow. Is it because we have seen Sergio retaliate against the community and city leadership before?  Maybe that’s the reason you were not promoted to higher ground in the LAPD.

We have a home business: everyone who knows us, knows our story.  As a home business, we are required to have a business license; but if you are running an illegal business in drugs and prostitution, you don’t.  We’re told it’s not worth the time and effort by RPD to investigate those – they’ll just be back at doing business the following week.  Law-abiding homeowners however are a different story: easy pickings for the City, and ensures those fat cat pensions are paid through fines and liens on your property.  So what is the resolution?  What do we do as a community?  We’ve increased the City payload for, “public safety and vital services,” with Measure A and Measure Z, so what gives?  Just what the heck did we create those Ward Action Teams for?

We’ve had two honey oil explosions and two fentanyl bust in our neighborhood, one with no arrest according to the PE within the past year.  Our friends in the extended Wood Streets tell us of other, “houses of ill-repute,” next to them.  Between the criminals and the homeless, it’s beginning to resemble, “Zombieland,” ’round these parts, only without Bill Murray for comedic relief.

Why has RPD failed us, and is that failure due to leadership of our Chief of Police, Sergio Diaz?

And so we thought, law enforcement and the City doesn’t care if you are selling drugs and pimping … as long as you are doing it quietly.  That is the message they are sending the community: ‘if you can’t beat them, join them.’  We are facetiously suggesting to all our neighbors to sell ‘drugs,’ because it’s easy,  profitable, and the City seemingly cannot do anything about it.  The Wood Streets can become the City’s new Red Light District – now there’s Innovation for you!  One neighbor told me they can only depend on three people in Wood Streets these days: themselves, Smith & Wesson.  Hello San Bernardino, and thank you Councilman Mike Gardner, Mayor Rusty Bailey and Chief Sergio Diaz!  Hell, it seems that the Feds are doing a better job of drug enforcement in the City of Riverside than RPD.

And so we offer you the tale of Riverside resident, David Silva, and remind you that the more things change in the ‘Ole River City, the more they stay the same…because we keep re-electing the same dopes and their protege.


Open drug dealing in a quiet Riverside neighborhood is perfectly ignorable if you’re the police–but if you’re a resident?

The neighbors to the right of us are moving, which bothers me like you wouldn’t believe. Good neighbors are hard to come by, and these folks–a couple and their three small children–were good neighbors. My wife talked to the husband, who confirmed what we already knew: The family was moving to get away from the drug dealers.

If it were just he and his wife, they’d try to stick it out, he said. But they had kids to think about, and the dealers were a problem that wouldn’t go away. They’d tried getting the city to do something, but nothing had been done and there was every reason to believe nothing would continue being done. For all practical purposes, our little corner of central Riverside had been ceded to the drug trade. No one at City Hall seemed to care, and the Riverside cops were invisible.

Was the husband bitter about any of this?

“I’m selling to the worst buyer I can find,” he said. “For every car the buyer agrees to park on the grass, I’m dropping the price $10,000.”

From what we could tell, the plight of the neighbors to the right of us affected the neighbors to the left of us not at all. Those neighbors, who we refer to as “the dealers next door” to distinguish them from our other neighbors, don’t care about quality of life or property values, and they sure as hell don’t care about who lives next to them. These neighbors–a constantly shifting assortment of parents, adult siblings, aunts, uncles and assorted nephews and nieces–appear to care about only one thing: making money as fast as they can by selling drugs to anyone who wants them.

With an invisible police department and a city hall that can’t be bothered, business is booming.

Like casinos and 7-Elevens, drug houses are a 24-hour enterprise, and the enterprise next door is no exception. Every hour of every day, the local tweakers beat a path to our neighbors’ door. My wife and I hear them as we climb into bed at night and we hear them when we get up in the morning, and if you’re wondering how we can tell it’s them with the windows closed and the curtains drawn, then you’ve never lived next door to speed dealers. Let me describe it for you: First you hear the shuffling shoes of the sleep deprived and calcium depleted, followed by the nervous whistle from the sidewalk, then the murmured hand-off of cash and poison ( “mumble-mumble-thanks, dude” ), and then a more hurried shuffle away from the scene of the crime. From start to finish, it sounds like this: shuffle-shuffle-whistle-mumble-mumble-“thanks, dude”-shuffle-shuffle. Twenty-four hours a day. Seven days a week.

Sometimes I’ll take my dog out for a late-night piddle on the front lawn, and find I’ve stepped right into the middle of a drug score. A dealer neighbor and his tweaker client look up startled, cash and baggie disappear in a flurry into pockets, and then they mill about looking at their shoes while my dog finishes his business so I can go back inside. Once, I stepped out with the dog and found myself in the middle of what appeared to be a skinhead reunion–six or seven muscular shitheels with Iron Cross tattoos who didn’t startle or mill, but, instead, stared at me with dead eyes until I scooped up my still-peeing dog and stepped back into the house.

It hasn’t always been thus. When my wife first told me she suspected something amiss next door, my reaction was disbelief. The street we live on is–was–fairly tight-knit, with neighbors looking out for one another’s property and most of us fairly aware of one another’s business. We know, for example, that the old man across the street, two doors down, is a contractor whose daughter died in a terrible car accident 10 years back, and that the neighbor on our side of the street, three doors to the right, is a former gang banger who renounced his ways when his child was born and now lives the straight life driving a tow truck–if driving a tow truck can be called a straight existence. Someone would have had to be insane to deal on this block, I reasoned. The neighbor across the street, two doors to the left, was a Riverside cop who frequently parked her squad car in her driveway, for Christ’s sake.

More than that, the dealers next door were a part of this blue-collar community; they’ve lived here longer than we have. The older kids went to the same school as my stepson. We know them by name.

“You’re paranoid,” I told my wife. “They couldn’t possibly be selling drugs next door.”

But, of course, they were.

As much as I wanted to hope for the best, that our neighbors were just incredibly popular people whose friends happened to be jittery insomniacs, it soon became impossible to deny the obvious. The dealers next door were simply too blatant about it. I could ignore the round-the-clock comings and goings and the neighbors’ increasingly odd behavior, such as washing their cars and mowing the lawn at four in the morning. But I couldn’t ignore the cash and the baggies and the skinhead conventions and the 16-year-old girls passed out on the lawn.

Finally, I did what any Riverside police or city official could have done had they cared enough to bother: I walked outside, grabbed the first medium-sized tweaker I saw, and asked him where I could score some speed. He immediately pointed to my neighbor’s front door.

“Don’t tell anyone I told you, OK?”

Of course, I wouldn’t, I told him. And the truth is, at the time, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do next. I hated the notion of reporting my neighbors to the cops. It just went against my blood. I come from a large family whose sons and daughters are geniuses at getting in trouble. My uncle was a pallbearer at John Gotti’s funeral; my father spent two years on the run from the FBI for a botched store robbery. When I was a kid, running to my mom when my brother hit me meant getting punished for being a rat.

“I’m not a rat,” I told my wife, who sighed and pointed out that I was, in fact, a journalist, meaning that I ratted for a living. Still, I advised caution.

“Just let it play itself out,” I said. “We’ve got a cop living across the street, and these idiots are dealing in the open. They’ll get busted without any help from us.”

Three months and about a kilo’s worth of drug deals later, I began to see the flaw in my logic. With a cop living on our block, the Riverside PD apparently feels we’re already covered. No one– no one – –patrols our street. Sure, the dealers next door do their business in the open. But so does the guy who goes up and down the block selling corn out of a stolen shopping cart. No one busts him either.

This new awareness, that a cargo plane full of Afghan heroin could land on our lawn and the cops wouldn’t notice, came right at the same time one of the dealers’ regular tweaker clients was spotted marching up and down our block with a butcher knife in his hand. It was time to get serious. Back in the day, none of my people would have ever dreamt of running to the police. But I had to accept that, back in the day, my people would have simply thrown the dealers in the back of a van and taken them for a long drive in the woods. I’m not the woodsy type, so I dropped a dime instead.

The call was routed to what the police receptionist described as an undisclosed location ( where, presumably, Riverside’s crack narcotics unit discusses drug policy with Vice President Cheney ), and answered by a sergeant, who promised me he’d look into the matter. When a month passed and nothing happened, my wife placed several calls to Riverside Mayor Ron Loveridge, who returned none of them until she left the following message: “Yeah, I’m calling again about the drug dealers next door. You might also be getting a call from my husband, who, by the way, is a journalist whose friends include reporters from the L.A. Times and KFWB and a producer for Fox News.”

That call was returned in five minutes, and resulted in Loveridge sending one of his aides to meet with us. The aide, a diminutive young fellow who wisecracked that he’d seen it all in Riverside but whose baby fat caused us to doubt that sincerely, listened carefully to our complaints and took notes and promised he’d look into the matter.

Days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months, and if the narcotics sergeant and the mayor’s aide were looking into the matter, they weren’t looking next door. We called several times to check on the status of the case, and, depending on who we spoke with, were told that police had raided the house and found nothing, that the matter was still “being looked into,” or to call back on Monday because Riverside’s crack narcotics unit didn’t work weekends.

I work from home, and if the home next door had been raided, it was a masterwork of stealth. To be fair, though, I suppose the raid could have taken place while I was in the bathroom.

Months passed. The seasons came and went. Downtown, City Hall proudly unveiled its ( now ) $1.3 billion Riverside Renaissance Initiative, in which 30 years worth of public improvements would be built in five years. Next door, the dealers put in a drive-through, clearing out their garage so their customers could breezily pull in and out for fast and friendly service. Instead of “shuffle-shuffle-whistle,” we now heard “vroom-vroom-honk-honk.”

Here at home, I began pushing my wife for permission to buy a shotgun.

The city of Riverside is, as you read this, flinging itself headlong into massive debt in a balls-out effort to transform itself into an upscale shopping and high-end residential paradise. Meanwhile, the mayor and the Riverside Police Department are flummoxed on what to do about a single family committing class-E felonies on the sidewalk in broad daylight. This doesn’t inspire confidence in the city’s ability to get a job done.

In fact, my wife and I lost so much confidence that we’ve also decided to move. We’re looking around, and when we find a place that cares enough to enforce the law, we’re taking our dogs, our cats, and our taxable income, and leaving.

Are we bitter about this? All I’ll say is that when we sell, we’re giving the dealers next door first right of refusal.   – DAVID SILVA, AUTHOR

Part II to come…




“I want to live in a society that people can voice unpopular opinions because I know as result of that a society grows and matures,”   – Hugh Hefner



  1. abel lopez says:

    same bs up here in orangecrest . They smoke there crap in front of our house all the smoke blows into our home. Kids playing in the park all this people smoking this crap.

  2. Alicia Espinoza says:

    Great story. Unfortunately, this BS is happening here too in Murder Valley. The Riverside Sheriff protect the pimps, drug dealers and members of the Mexican mafia ( the Republican ones ) the Democratic Mexican mafia, drug dealers and pimps get their ass kicked around by the Joint Task Force ( DEA, Riverside Sheriff, ATF, ABC, FBI and all other Alphabetical Campbell Soup agencies). I say, you bail out El Chapo Guzman and bring him into your barrio to take care of business with your next door crackers.

  3. JF says:

    Same here in Woodcrest. Also have a so called drug rehab with over fifty housed. County don’t want to do anything about it.

  4. JF says:

    ” We couldn’t take it anymore, so we filed a $10,000 small claims nuisance suit against the owner of the property…. and we won. At least maybe we can profit too now.”

    Never heard of this, a small claims nuisance against the property owner. We have the same problem here in Woodcrest. Any info on this would be appreciated.

  5. gina says:

    Well its about dam time someone put Riverside on front street!!!! its about time there slithering ways be put on front street for everyone to see that these slithering slimey snakes all have a part in running riverside our city we live in the slithering by these city officials has be going on for many many several yuears if one dies it gets passed to another member of the slithering snakes and it goes on and on and i know for a fact that 99 percent of these city officials dont even have the credentials or if any at all or education most of which are more than likely high school drop outs playing the part and obviosly arent educated enough to do that so they slither around because they may get found out perhaps one should start demanding to see there education back ground and what credintials they have to prove they can actually handle the job they are applying for or already working in the city of riverside most of them aquired there jobs back in the day when we didnt have the ability to verify there education or credintials so they could lie which we can see they are good at and aquired jobs that they werent educated for 99 percent of them should have been working in mcdonalds burger king but we have these slithering idiots running our city they are career criminals they are good at lieing one after another or they evade situations all together so they dont tell on them selves…

  6. Madonna says:

    What JF said above: Any info on filing a small claims nuisance case against the landlord would be appreciated. Because it looks like the only card I have left to play.

    I live in an apartment building that’s completely out of control. Public use of alcohol and drugs. Likely dealing. Constant disturbances – both noise and violent incidents. And, this city is doing what it does best – dancing around and play pass the buck. It’s the same story no matter who we seem to contact: They have no solutions, but, hey, maybe we should contact X. We do, and it’s the same old story: Try contacting Y. And after we get through 4 or 5 calls, it’s back to them referring to the first entity that played pass the buck. The only “progress” I’ve made is in having my frustration and grey hairs increase.

    So, yeah, it looks like the only option we have that might be worth a damn is suing the landlord for creating a nuisance.

    What a “fine” place this city has become over the years. At this point, I honestly feel our leaders are with the junkies, dealers and criminals, and not with us.

  7. 1 says:

    The coaches used to say to me that sometimes they would send other players out on loan to help them get a move but that was never the case with me.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s