Posts Tagged ‘city of alameda’

Part One: Jason Hunter, former City of Riverside Public Utilities employee gives you the real story RPU won’t tell the public..

Part Two: Jason Hunter on the RPU reserves that were hidden from the ratepayers, and redirected so they wouldn’t have to give it back!

Part Three:  More on the antics of RPU from one who knew RPU from the inside.

Part Four: Jason Hunter converses with audience in a question and answer session.

So why does RPU need a rate increase? According to management, if we don’t get our antiquated infrastructure upgraded, trouble lies down the road. With this in mind, we can’t help but ask why management understaffed it’s operational dispatch department so that certain utility dispatchers could  receive overtime in the six-figures range … and there’s still been no management accountability.

Another narrative RPU is using with the public, is that they didn’t increase the rates during the Great Recession so as to compassionately give relief to the ratepayer. The truth of the matter is that they were increasing the amount of their reserves by overcharging their ratepayers to the tune of hundreds of millions.

RPU EXPLAINING TO THE RATEPAYER HOW $325 MILLION SHOWED UP IN RESERVES MIRACULOUSLY AFTER THEIR LAST RATE INCREASE

To explain a bit about the RPU Reserves…back in 2015 RPU was the focus of a Grand Jury Complaint, for just that, the excessive collection of ratepayer monies leading to excessive reserve funds.

We don’t know if we have an infrastructure emergency, but we here at TMC are sure we have an executive management problem.  A problem that began with former Utilities General Manager Dave Wright, and now continues with Girish Balachandran, a.k.a. Drunk Daddy.

RPU….the rest of the story the public ratepayer who owns its utility should know.

“I OWN IT!” – RPU has been customer-owned since 1895; City-operated. You, the ratepayer, ultimately call the shots.

The City of Riverside Public Utilities Department is committed to the highest quality water and electric services at the lowest possible rates to benefit the community. – RPU Mission Statement

Proposed RPU Rate Increase: 60%+ increase for low-use water customers; 25%+ increase for electricity customers over 5 years.

Why? To protect our health & safety by ensuring reliable electric and water service. Satisfy State mandates for clean energy. Aka, “the company line”.

The strategic narrative you will hear from RPU:

1) “Our rates are lower than our neighbors.”
Answer: “So what? I own it; they don’t. When you purchase a property in the City of Riverside, you also become part owner of the utilities. Remember, those in RPU work and our employed by us to maintain, secure and protect our utilities. They can’t make profits, unless we, the profits from that, as we should. Therefore, if utility rates are imposed in a manner that deviates from “cost of service” requirements, those rates are in violation of Proposition 218. Wouldn’t you fire those employees that are caused imposition toward you the owner and damages? Absolutely, those involved would be shown the door, if not be criminally responsible. We, at this time, are now allowing the insane to run the insane asylum.

Further, as public owners, through our properties, we therefore should be receiving dividends! If not dividends, substantially lower rates. Why? Because we are owners of our utilities! When you look at comparable utilities with the same scenario, our rates are higher than average. Don’t get confused with privately owned utility companies such as Edison.

2) “Infrastructure…infrastructure…infrastructure. The sky is falling.” Answer: “Over last 13 years, we’ve spent near $40 million/year on infrastructure. We have $800 million of infrastructure bond outstanding. Where did this money go? What are our true NEEDS?”

3) “We haven’t increased rates in 7 years.”
Answer: “Yes, but since 2003, water bills have already increased 130% and electric 50%. Shouldn’t prices in an evolving market like energy be coming down like computer and tv’s have?”

4) “Our reserves are dwindling.”
Answer: “Why did you pay for infrastructure with reserves instead of using our best-in-class credit rating to bond against? Don’t we still have many multiples more reserves stashed away than similar utilities? Where are my refunds?”

5) “The drought made us do it!”
Answer: “Yes, but we sued the State and got out from under their restrictions. Conservation is great, but it should’ve been voluntary. Your financial wounds are self-inflicted.”

6) “Sacramento made us do it!”
Answer: “Yes, but we got $5 million/year in cap & trade money from the State to ‘go green’…which you proceeded to give away to the general fund for street lighting.”

7) “Don’t worry, we’ll expand low income assistance.”
Answer: “Wouldn’t that violate California law to give away my money to other people without letting me vote on it?”

The above ‘hot buttons’…how were they chosen?
• Incredibly, RPU took $84,000.00 of your money to hire a select PR (Public Relations) firm and pollster…to collude and figure out how to get you to part with your money in higher utility rates.  In the real world such as the private sector, honest managers that you employ tell you their real needs, instead of trying to “manage” their owners.  Something to think about!

What Rate Payers Need To Know:

1) Rates probably do need restructuring to better reflect fixed costs, but the proposed increases are obscene, and would take almost $130 million a year out of the community at the end of year 5, 20% of which would be for new taxes and not provide us with any additional utility service.

2) RPU needs to tighten its belt for the first time in many years, and stop the abuses occurring in overtime, six-figure pensions, gold plated conference rooms etc., instead of just asking for money.

3) Trust is important when dealing with subordinates, and RPU management tells half-truths, omits vital information, and creates false equivalencies in order to separate you from your money. It might be time to clean house.

WHO KNEW THEIR WAS A PARTY GOING ON AT RPU? FOR THE RECORD, TMC KNEW ALL ALONG…

TMC, RATED RIVERSIDE’S REGIONAL COUNTIES MOST, “NEGATIVE,” “RAUNCHY,” “LOW CLASS,” “VISIONS OF GRANDEUR,” “FULL OF B.S.,” “REPREHENSIBLE,” “IGNORANT,” “MISGUIDED,” “BULLYISH,” “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 TWO 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

 russohandsup

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.

letterdtsc

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.

videioone

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?

videotwo

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.

email

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

NLCOakland-620x426

RIVERSIDE CITY MANAGER JOHN RUSSO (CENTER WITH HANDS FOLDED), WHAT WILL THIS MEAN FOR RIVERSIDE? A CITY MANAGER FULL OF EGO, DRAMA QUEEN OR JUST LIKES GREAT SUNGLASSES? OR SHOULD WE JUST “FORGET ABOUT IT?”  Are public workers just out of control at the expense of the taxpayer?

forgetSHOULD WE AS RIVERSIDIAN’S OVERLOOK BROOKLYN BORN RUSSO’S PAST AND “JUST FORGET ABOUT IT?  (CLICK THIS LINK TO VIEW VIDEO)

FGAIT

OR MAYBE AL PACINO’S VERSION..MAYBE IT JUST MEANS “I’M KNOWN, FORGET ABOUT IT, I’M KNOWN ALL OVER THE FUCKING WORLD,  OR ARE WE AS RESIDENTS “JUST PISSING UP THE WRONG TREE.”  IN OTHER WORDS IS RUSSO REALLY GOOD FOR RIVERSIDE?

jones_RUSSO-copy-620x465He has been quoted in the PE as saying, “Riverside has an excellent reputation around the state because of its ability to blend a reverence for its unique local history with an aggressive and groundbreaking public improvement program like the Riverside Renaissance.”   Well is he in for a big surprise…  John Russon (56)will also be the highest paid City Manager in the City’s history at a whopping $295,000.00, will have to check if the benefit package is included in this deal or is in addition to.  Prior to taking the position of City Manager with the City of Alameda, he was a Councilman and then an elected City Attorney for the City of Oakland.  What people also need to know is that Riverside’s Utility’s General Manager Girish Balachandran was also from the City of Alameda.  Is Riverside just getting more recycled employees?

You have to ask your self why Mr Russo left abruptly at the city of Alameda. Story is he was unhappy with the direction of the City Council, I should remind him that the last City Manager in the City of Riverside, Scott Barber was forced to resign over issues with City Council members Mike Soubirous and Paul Davis.  Also it is public knowledge that Mr. Russo was in a feud with Mayor Jane Quan, good luck with Mayor William “Rusty” Bailey.  One more thing, Mr. Russo need to know that the City of Riverside has the best public speakers that will keep him fully informed. One of the The Oakland A”s owner says he is full of “empty rhetoric” and he wanted to be MAYOR!  Be careful Bailey you may have competition. Hopefully he (Russo) won’t get to bored in Riverside.  I’m sure we can keep him entertained.  I give him two years.  Can’t wait to meet.  WELCOME MR. RUSSO.

prone   prtwo

ORIGINAL PRESS RELEASE (CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE).

According to the Mercury News Russo is disrespectful to public speakers…is the City of Riverside just getting a hybrid of former City Attorney Gregory Priamos and former City Manager Brad Hudson with a little asshole on the side?  Also mentioned, was that Russo has developed a reputation as someone who cannot let criticism or even minor points go by without a defensive response, and frequently an aggressive one.

In an interview with KQED News, Russo states that the reason he left the City of Oakland to the City Manager position in Alameda, was the following: “I believe this a morally corrupt government and I just didn’t want to serve anymore in that capacity.

Untitled-2

GETTING TO KNOW YOUR NEW CITY MANAGER: CLICK THIS LINK TO VIEW YOUTUBE VIDEO INTERVIEW OF A VERY APPROACHABLE MR. JOHN RUSSO

russo

SOME SAID HE WAS ANGRY, ABRASIVE, DISRESPECTFUL AND RUDE IN THIS VIDEO (CLICK LINK TO VIEW YOU TUBE)

A’S CO-OWNER BITCH SLAPS JOHN RUSSO: Guy T. Saperstein, a co-owner of the Oakland A’s, went after Oakland City Attorney John Russo today in an op-ed published in the Tribune. Saperstein accuses Russo of “empty rhetoric” for his op-ed published last week and of being a “grandstanding” politician who simply wants “to be the next mayor.”

xvolincali, commenter on the PE  “Worst City Manager in Alameda history. Good luck with this snake. Good riddance.”  –An Alameda resident

That’s okay Alameda resident, some city’s deal with field snakes, here in Riverside we are use to dealing with Cobras…we are snake trainers.
I’m from the City of Alameda CA. It was just announced here today, that our City Manager John Russo has been hired, by the City of Riverside. All that i can advise the Citizens of Riverside is to GET READY. More than likely Mr. Russo will need to hire an Assistant City Manager along with who know’s what else. At our city council meetings he would interrupt speakers and belittle them, should they say something that he didn’t like. Lately he has kept his mouth shut since the election of a new Mayor, who wasn’t going to let Mr. Russo’s mouth run amok. All I can say in closing is (in my opinion) you’ve been had, good luck, your’e going to need it!   Dennis Laine, Alameda, CA, Commenter on the Press Enterprise
“I think he’s going to be a high-octane city manager who likes to get things done,” Councilman Jim Perry said. Well alrighty now Mr. Perry, maybe that’s why he is being recalled.  Sort of like the 2 Billion dollar mess former City Manager Brad Hudson left us with.
RECALL

TMC, RATED RIVERSIDE’S MOST “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