CITY OF RIVERSIDE: TMC POLITICAL HIT PIECE: WHAT’S NOT TO LIKE ABOUT MIKE?

Posted: June 4, 2018 in Uncategorized
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Mike Gardner’s voting record and support of relavent issues versus his Campaign Mailer apparently appear to be a contradiction.  Whatever the reason Mike, people in our community wanted TMC to bring this issue forward.  What did you do to your constituents to make them feel this way?  By looking first at Ward 1 Councilman Mike Gardner’s flyer in his campaign for Riverside County Supervisor people who endured his reign in the City of Riverside’s Ward 1 find his positions on issues quite inconsistent, hence, his campaign mailer.  The flyer states he is a ‘fiscal conservative.’

According to Resident and Tax Advocate Jason Hunter “the words, “Mike Gardner,” and, “fiscally conservative,” don’t belong in the same sentence.  Strike that, book.  The City of Riverside has $2 billion in debt and $600 million in unfunded pension liabilities, much of which happened on Mike’s watch.  Instead of dealing with bloated personnel costs directly and cutting pet project like the new library, he instead accepts cuts to services for residents and businesses.” 

Gardner as a ‘Fiscal Conservative’ voted for an insane 55 year lease for Riverside’s Food Court.  He supported the ‘Triple Flip,’ one of Developer Mark Rubin’s projects which costed the taxpayer plenty.  Apparently he mentioned to someone who questioned his vote, “they had to do it for the benefit of the city.”  Now they have a fiscal crisis with utilities in which rates need to be increased.  This was the same situation with the Sewer Rates.  He did nothing.  A big advocate on fiscal transparency, over and over again he advocated to his fellow council, “Not to air our dirty laundry in public.”  What is really the clincher is that when City of Riverside Resident and Tax Advocate Kevin Dawson brought to the attention of the Finance Committee that there were missing contracts when the City of Riverside secured ‘outside legal.’  Councilman Mike Gardner, who was on that board, witnessed Councilwoman Nancy Hart stick her hand in front of Dawson to exclaim the meeting was adjourn.  Gardner did nothing in the name of transparency to support the public.

But on the contrary he voted for the exorbitant former City Manager John Russo contract before learning of his contract shenanigans.  He supported and voted to place Measure Z on the ballot and he just voted to raise our utility rates, of which 18% are new taxes.  The flyer states that he will hold government accountable and improve transparency.  In lieu, his Ward 1 has suffered with an influx of vagrants, crime, prostitution, drugs, mail theft, traffic from RCC, and resident services have decreased, such as tree trimming.  Raising the rates mean that 18% percent of that will go to the General Fund… yep those pesky pensions.

Mike also states on his campaign flyer that he ‘oppose efforts to increase taxes.’  Gardner just voted to increase your utility rates on a utility you publicly own.  If you are the owner of a company and you have to pay more of your money to maintain your company, someone isn’t doing your job.  Gardner retired from the utility company Edison, KNOWS AND UNDERSTANDS UTILITIES, should know better, and should be more ‘transparent and accountable.’  Oh heck, that’s on his flyer as well!

According to Tax Advocate Jason Hunter, the guy who brought the $300 million plus unrestricted reserve issue out into the public light for the Council to deal with, stated to TMC that he was ranting and raving about it while he worked at RPU…right before he was terminated without cause.  Our Councilmen are giving out bad information he stated.  Riverside Public Utilities actually has $477 million in total reserves.  Of that amount $140 million is for the things Gardner mentions; they are legally restricted from being used for anything else.  Doing the math, that leaves $337 million in a slush fund.  That slush fund stood at $296 million back in 2014, which means it’s still growing.  Now electric and water are 2 separate utilities. If you looked at them individually, you’d find reserves are actually expanding at electric ($277 million unrestricted) and contracting at water ($60 million unrestricted).  Both total amounts are mid-bogglingly high and multiples of industry standards.  What all this tells my tiny mind in that the electric rate increase is laughably unnecessary, and that the water increase should be a fraction of what’s proposed.  What’s really needed is rate restructuring, but since that doesn’t increase the tax pile proposed for the general fund nor does it automatically raise our public employees’ salaries, it’s not been considered.  Instead we getting chippy answers like Soubirous, which is really just a veiled threat over what utility service we can expect should we not give into the City’s demands.

Council voted 4-3 to increase our water and electric rates. The electric rate increase was delayed until Jan 1, 2019. Voting for: Gardner, Melendrez, MacArthur, Perry Voting against: Soubirous, Conder, Adams Not using his veto: Bailey Adams actually said from the dais that many of the numbers he’s received from RPU justifying the rate increases turned out to be misinformation once he fact-checked them. Unfortunately, only a few residents bothered to show up to voice their displeasure.  The Riverside Chamber, RPU Board and other local community groups packed the Council Chambers in their support of increasing your utility rates.  For those keeping track, since Russo came to town: first they increased your fees, then taxes, and now utility rates.

Interesting enough, Gardner touts himself as a Republican in the campaign flyer above, but the Republican Party of Riverside County calls him a Democrat in the below campaign flyer, at the bottom of the page.  They also warn Republican voters not to vote for Gardner.  They actually state that Gardner voted for Measure Z, not to mention campaigned for it, ultimately causing a $1 Billion Tax increase to the taxpayers.  I can tell you one thing, I’m feeling the pain of that increase.

 Hence, the City of Riverside now has the highest sales tax in Riverside County!  Was Mike not being truthful of his political positions as well as his political affiliations?

 

WARD 1 RESIDENTS ON NEXTDOOR ASK COUNCILMAN GARDNER THE QUESTION REGARDING UTILITY RATE INCREASES:

Kelly Webb, Wood Streets-23 May

I knew he didn’t represent my interests when speaking to him in person. People living next street over were having a party blaring loud rock music over huge speakers so loud i had to leave my home. Mr. Gardner stood in my front yard listening to the obsencely loud music told me “sounded fine to him.” Were they his friends or just example of good old boy mentality since i am a woman?

Bee Miller, Magnolia Center-23 May

Mike G told me that Riverside sells our excess water. If we have excess water why do we have to cut back? And if the city sells it excess water use that money for our utilities instead of increasing our rates!

Ron Todar, Magnolia Center-Edited 23 May

And I see that Gardner voted for the utilities rate increase even though Councilman Steve Adams pointed out that there was misinformation in the justification data.

Jay Farrand, Grand Neighborhood Alliance-23 May

Was I the only one who emailed Mike and told him I was against The Council raising water rates. Mike emailed me back and said that he was against raising e the rates and he was going to vote ‘no’. According to the PE, yep, he voted to raise to raise them. FYI, he’s running for County Stupidvisor.

Meghan Hahn, Wood Streets·25 May

I emailed and received this stock answer … “Thank you for writing. I am committed to keeping our rates as low as possible. I don’t know how I will vote until I hear the presentation and all the comments. I am afraid we may need some increase as there has been none since 2010 and the cost of everything has gone up in that time. That includes the price of producing and delivering the water and electricity we all use.”

Paula Wilson, Wood Streets·23 May

I asked Gardner the reason for his YES vote and he responded: “I voted for the increase because I have to do what is best for our utilities, which are key to Riverside’s success, 5, 10 and 20 years into the future, not what is politically expedient today. I have an election in less than 2 weeks and I know my vote will hurt me with some voters, but it was the right thing to do for the long run. Yes it will hurt some of us, but we also added lots of new programs to assist low income and fixed income customers.”

Hmmm….So he admits the increases will actually hurt people, so we will start to subsidize more rates for those that cannot afford it.  I’d say it is not only going to hurt the poor, but our middle class!  Tax Advocate Jason Hunter states the following on NextDoor.

Jason Hunter, Wood Streets-23 May

Gardner is essentially saying he knows these rates will make a lot more customers dependent upon the government…and he’s good with that.

Additionally, the City has a conflict of interest yet un-resolved.  It taxes your utility bill and sets the charges on your utility bill.  The maximum General Fund Transfer (GFT) is 11.5% directly from the Water Utility Operating Funds.  If the City General Fund needs additional cash, they, the Council, vote to raise the Utility Water Rates thus providing more tax revenue thru taxation by GFT.  Therefore, by increasing the city’s water income per the questionable tiered system, which increases water rates atronomically, will therefore increase the amount of money in the fund, therefore increase the  11.5% transfer much more.  A little sleight of hand, the constituents are not quite privy to.  Further, as much as 75% or your water bill will be taxes.  Vote NO on the June 4th measure or initiative and demand your Refund!  Los Angeles had recently tried to sneak in a similar measure, but was voted out.  The question arising, is why are elected representatives are not representing and protecting their constitutents?

The Utility User’s Tax (UUT) on your utility bill is 6.5%, which goes to city services.  You were therefore paying 18% in taxes when you combine the 11.5% and 6.5% for the last 16years without a vote, therefore they voted to tax you 18%.

“The state cannot be trusted to handle transportation projects and tax revenues.  But people are asking, can Mike be trusted?  You have a proven record?  You fought to reign in out of control spending, save taxpayer money and balance the city budget without higher taxes?  Come on Mike, we the people our on you, you didn’t do your job!

Mike I think you screwed up along with your pals Andy, Chris and Jim by voting the utility rate increases.  If you want higher taxes, fees, etc., and less for your money, by all means vote for Mike for Supervisor.

The Riverside Rate Payers are actually asking what happened to Mike… and “Will the Real Mike Please Stand Up!”

THE RUSSO CONTRACT VOTE:

The Press Enterprise stated Councilman Mike Gardner’s position on the contract extension as follows.

Though he remains on the fence about the wisdom of the contract extension, Councilman Mike Gardner said he voted for it so there would be a 5-vote majority — enough to override a veto he knew Bailey was planning.

“I knew that there was disagreement on whether he had that authority, and I was hopeful that having five votes would dissuade him,” Gardner said. “I wanted to avoid what we have now: a fair amount of turmoil, and I’m getting lots of social media contact. It’s become a controversy that we did not need to have.”

Gardner interprets the charter the same way as the city attorney — to say the mayor can’t veto decisions relating to the city manager — but said the language is ambiguous and should be clarified one way or the other when a committee reviews the charter next year.

As for the contract, Gardner said it’s a good deal for the city, but bad optics. The contract should come in June, after the city has settled its budget, utility rates and marijuana policy, all of which could affect taxpayers’ paychecks, he said.

The total pay is high, but that’s what it takes to hire a good city manager, Gardner said.  “They are highly paid folks,” he said. “The difficulty is if you don’t pay what the market is, you won’t keep a good one, and you will hire somebody who may have a lot of talent and a lot of promise, but they’re untried and you don’t know how well they’re going to work out.”

Wow, really Mike, is that how it really works?  So are you saying that if we were to get a pallet of $100 dollar bills, we should be able to get a city manager who would solve all of City of Riverside’s financial problems?  It didn’t work that way with Russo, we gave him a lot of money and the taxpayer had to pay a lot more money.  He and your outfit gave us higher taxes then you gave him the farm.

According to the L.A. Times, Councilman Mike Gardner said he disapproves of the contract but voted for it in hopes of avoiding a veto showdown, said the city manager’s style has earned him some detractors who have now latched on to the pay issue.

“He is a very aggressive personality,” he said. “That’s what successful city managers have to have.  We have had city managers in the past who were the nicest, sweetest people in the world and everybody loved them and they didn’t accomplish very much.”

In response to the comment in the L.A. Times whereby Gardner was interpretated as saying he disapproves of City Manager John Russo’s contract extension, but voted for it anyway, in hopes of avoiding a veto showdown.  City of Riverside resident and Tax Advocate Vivian Moreno brought Gardner’s L.A. Times statement right to the man at City Council public comment.

The comment Moreno is referring to is as follows.  According to the L.A. Times, Russo declined to be interviewed. In an email, he said that “the true story is not about my contract but about petty corruption and a city that has changed and is changing, and a mayor who is not comfortable with those changes.”

 

IS CRIME INCREASING IN COUNCILMAN MIKE GARDNERS WARD 1 DISTRICT ACCORDING TO THIS NEW PRESS ENTERPRISE ARTICLE: UNDERCOVER OPERATION FOCUSED ON DOWTOWN RIVERSIDE NETS 23 ARREST?

         

According to this May 29, 2018 Press Enterprise story by Richard K. De Atley.  Spurred by complaints of blatant street drug sales from several areas of the city, including the downtown entertainment district, Riverside police said Tuesday they arrested 23 suspects in an undercover investigation, and at least half of those also face violations of various post-release supervision programs.

“Those arrested were dealing hard drugs — amphetamine, cocaine, heroin — drugs that kill,” said Riverside City Council Member Mike Gardner, whose Ward 1 district includes downtown. “This is not an activity that Riverside will tolerate,” he said.

The closure of the downtown Riverside bus depot, which had been a magnet for transients and the kinds of narcotics violations involved in the most recent arrests, has had unintended consequences, according to Riverside Police Department Detective Chris Williams. “I think they have spread out a little bit more in the city, especially downtown,” he said.

Williams said he was surprised at the number of narcotic deals outside the Riverside Public Library on Mission Inn Avenue. “That kind of surprised me. … I don’t know why that spot was a spot to hang out,” he said. He said other arrests in the downtown area were near White Park and a shopping center at University Avenue and Fairmount Boulevard.

TMC, RATED RIVERSIDE REGIONAL COUNTIES 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 “UNPOLITICALLY CORRECT.” 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

Comments
  1. Lococo says:

    Gardner is just a Tavaglione stooge.

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