WILL THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE BE SNIFFING THE GREEN WITH THE SUCCESS OF “THE CHEECH”?

UPDATE: 03.27.2018: PRESS ENTERPRISE: RIVERSIDE CITY COUNCIL EYES BAN ON MARIJUANA BUSINESSES: The City’s hypocrisy has no end. You bring in the Cheech Project idea with open arms and completely discount what and who the person is known for all at the same time. ‘Reefer’ side could be the center of the ‘pot’ revolution! First you have the Cheech Project, then all you need now is the ‘grass’ for the city coffers to be ‘loaded’ with ‘green.’ The ‘grass’ is really greener on the other side this time. Another missed opportunity or too big a bag of an opportunity?  Interesting enough, the City of Riverside has enough money to launch a new Office of Homeless Solutions consisting of a team made up of Assistant City Manager Alex Nguyen and 12 other people.  Sorry guys when you come to ‘Reefer’ side you can only carry an ounce if the ordinance passes, not a bag you both can walk in.

Given the financial straits the City finds itself in these days, Riverside residents are appropriately beginning to ask, “How much is ‘the Cheech’ (short for Chicharrón) project going to cost us?”  Back in February 2017, the Discovery Cube project was scrapped, leaving options open again for the aged downtown Library.  Why did the Cube’s backers decide to leave?  According to a later staff report, it was, “economically not feasible at this time,” …we’d add, “without further public subsidies.”

And while the public continued to openly state their displeasure with a $30, $40 $43 million new Jetsons library concept, as opposed to more cost-consciously renovating the old one, our Council continued to push forward to rid the Mission Inn of unsightly homeless people with the aid of City Manager John Russo.  And the answer our resident rockstar came back with, after hashing through several other options supposedly, was the Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art, Culture, and Industry, which would serve as a home for Marin’s private pussycat Chicano art collection and provide space for temporary exhibitions, classes and lectures.

But will we be seeing blurred lines if the Riverside Art Museum, leading the fundraiser efforts for “the Cheech,” project, doesn’t hit their extended deadline to raise a total of $3 million by May 2018 – a condition set by our City Council needed to continue progress towards making the Cheech a stoned-cold reality?  Problem is, even if they do, does the public really know what the final numbers are to rehabilitate the old library (a certifiable roach motel), or how much dough they’re committed to for the ongoing operation and maintenance of the joint?  Will those costs and others continue to chronically rise like has been the pattern with the new library?  Will the Cheech project eventually go ‘Up In Smoke’, and the idea of an avant-garde art center be just another one of Russo’s ‘Nice Dreams’ for the ole’ River City, made without any consideration that ‘Things Are Tough All Over’ for everyone who doesn’t have a government job?

Taking a “the grass is always greener,” perspective, the Cheech could also be an extension of the City of Riverside, and the center of the pot revolution.  Bringing untold millions in local taxes, the residents could finally see those buds trees trimmed, pot holes filled and homeless housed in gold-tiled apartments; and those pesky exorbitant public employee pensions would turn out to be just figments of our smoke-filled minds.  Oh, the irony!

According to “High Times” Cheech has been enlisted by the State of California to help register pot businesses.  Revenue for much needed services is what Riverside needs to keep this town ‘Still Smokin’ in the market place!

But what’s the straight dope?  We at TMC are committed to weeding through the real facts and figures for our readers.  Let’s start with the makeup of that initial $3 million startup money.  Well, $2 million will be raised by private pledges and contributions, while $1 million will come from the State in a form of a grant.  As many have pointed out, that $1 million from the State is still public money, even if it’s not money from the City general fund.  So yes, Riverside taxpayers are already on the hook alongside fellow Californians.

One thing Riverside taxpayers will be solely responsible for is the ongoing operations – cush jobs provided for Riverside Art Museum employees under contract from the City – and maintenance of the Cheech Project.  The total costs are estimated to come in between between $750,000 and $925,000 annually, to be partially recovered by a $1-2 admission fee.  Math never being our expertise we admit, we still figure “the Cheech” needs about 3,000 visitors daily to break even.  To be blunt: ain’t gonna happen.  Further, $100,000 was already approved out of our general fund last year by the Council for architectural services.

‘THE CHEECH’ MOU, MAY 16, 2017

Back to those pesky start-up capital costs.  A recent article in the Press Enterprise stated that the total cost of renovating and re-configuring the old library into the Cheech, which maxed out at  $7 million a year ago, now could reach as high as $10 million…hmmm, where have we seen this pattern before?  And it’s certainly evident that it’s been a long hard struggle to reach that $3 million mark to begin with.  And if that bogey is hit, where will the additional $7 million come from?  More I.O.U.’s?  Yes, the plan is to continue to raise that money (private, public, whomever still has a pot to piss in) and create an endowment for ongoing expenses on top of that.

CITY OF RIVERSIDE NEW FISCAL HAWK, MAYOR WILLIAM “RUSTY” BAILEY

At City Council on February 23, 2018, Mayor Bailey grilled presenters of the Cheech regarding how much money they had in hand towards the $3 million goal. $80K was the answer, with the balance in pledges (I.O.U.’s), totaling $1.7 million plus the impending State grant of $1 million, most likely derived from Assemblyman Jose Medina’s support to pass Governor Jerry Brown’s new gas tax.  We remind folks that when the library was being looked at for renovation, the cost was in the neighborhood of $20 million.  Will Cheech, or any of his vast array of high-net-worth friends, consider investing in Riverside and his project?  Or might the plug be pulled on the Cheech due to the chance that taxpayers may be asked to foot the bill on an unpaid ‘two finger bag’?  And if that possibility remains, should we reconsider building a new library all-together?  Or, will the Council simply start extending deadlines and take the money from its residents and businesses find financially more creative ways of accommodating the Cheech rather than admit they are on ‘doobie’ us grounds?  It would seem that to continue on this road would only make the taxpayers see ‘acapulco red.’

Well according to Russo, even if the project does not transpire, the City of Riverside still has to spend the ganja to repair the 1960’s library’s roof, heating, air conditioning system and elevator, estimated at $1.5 million.  His hope is that others will pay for that instead of local taxpayers (as long as we’re willing to fork over $40 million for a new library and subsidize the ongoing operations and maintenance at the Cheech.)

DONATE: FOR THE RIVERSIDE ART MUSEUM PROPOSED CHEECH MARIN CENTER FOR CHICANO ART, CULTURE AND INDUSTRY. 

FILE UNDER “PUTTING THE CART BEFORE THE HORSE”: One would think that it would be more appropriate to honor someone when a project has been completed, such as the ‘grand opening’ or ‘ribbon cutting,’ not while they haven’t even completed raising the first round of start-up funds!  And yet Riverside City Manager John Russo has been named “Public Partner of the Year” by the Inland Empire Economic Partnership for his leadership on the development of the Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art, Culture and Industry in downtown Riverside.  Is the ‘Mutual Admiration Society of Riverside,’ (MASOR) in ‘high’ gear, or what?  Good job John Russo City of Riverside Minister of Propaganda Spokehole Phil Pitchford!

Riverside City Manager John Russo Honored for Nurturing Cheech Marin Center…wow

Cheech, you are absolutely driving okay, especially when you doling out a possible revenue stream for the City of Riverside.  You can be rest assured that the Riverside Police Department under Chief Sergio Diaz will be ‘highly’ motivated that you will reach your destination safely.  Why?  Because we do have two sets of rules in River City.

AT THE MARCH 13, 2018 FINANCE COMMITTEE MEETING: COUNCILMAN MIKE SOUBIROUS REFERENCED THE OLD DOWNTOWN LIBRARY AND IT’S REPAIR ISSUES, BUT HE ALSO STATES THAT THE DOWNTOWN LIBRARY IS A DANGER ZONE FOR CHILDREN AND EMPLOYEES, BECAUSE OF A PEDOPHILE PROBLEM.  Now that a serious public safety statement has been made, what will this retired Commander for the Highway Patrol request our local police department to do in order to combat this problem?

RIVERSIDE TOURISM BUREAU’S NEXT CREATIVE ADVERTISEMENT

IT SEEMS CHEECH ALSO HAS A FINE COLLECTION OF PUSSYCATS RIVERSIDERS MAY WANT TO INSPECT! 

TMC, RATED RIVERSIDE REGIONAL COUNTY’S MOST, “SCANDALOUS,” “NEGATIVE,” “WARPED,” “RAUNCHY,” “LOW CLASS,” “VISIONS OF GRANDEUR,” “FULL OF B.S.,” “REPREHENSIBLE,” “IGNORANT,” “MISGUIDED,” “BULLYISH,” “INDECENT,” “REPUGNANT,””IMMORAL,” “FILTHY,” “VILE,” “SICK,” “PERVERTED,” “DEFAMATORY,” “STUPID,” “PATHETIC,” “DESPICABLE,” “DISAPPOINTING,” “BELOW THE BELT,” “A NEW LOW,” “SHOCKING,” “OFFENSIVE,” “OBNOXIOUS,” “INAPPROPRIATE,” “HURTFUL,” “MEAN SPIRITED,” “DISTASTEFUL,” “EMBARRASSING,” HORIFFIC,” “SLANDEROUS” “FIT TO BE VIEWED FROM THE REAR” AND MEZZSPELLED, “MISSPELLED” AND “OPINIONATED” BLOG SITE! YES WE ADMIT WE OUR ALL OF THAT AND MORE, WHICH IN CURRENT TERMS IS KNOWN AS “POLITICALLY INCORRECT.” 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 STAR OUT OF FIVE IN TERMS OF COMMUNITY APPROVAL RATINGS.. … AGAIN, THANK YOU COMMUNITY OF RIVERSIDE AND THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE EMPLOYEE’S FOR YOUR SUPPORT! CONTACT US: thirtymilescorruption@hotmail.com

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