Posts Tagged ‘dave wright’

Tax Advocate Vivian Moreno addressing County Clownsil Gregory Priamos, just before he destroyed the crowd with his creative balloon assemblies.  Even Community Executive Officer George Johnson got a cool balloon hat!

One would like to believe that within the County of Riverside, we still have justice and accountability, otherwise the very fabric of our local Democracy disintegrates.  After three Grand Jury reports (2013, 2015 and 2019) investigating Attorney Greg Priamos ended with no actions whatsoever by any governing body.  The fact that issues of behavior have been brought up, and continue to be brought to the attention of TMC by anonymous City of Riverside employees and County of Riverside employees, forced us to attend Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting.  When employees fear retaliation when issues of concern are brought forward, what are taxpayers to think?  These are your and our valued employees dedicated to working in the best interest of the taxpayer.  Why are they afraid to come forward?  Maybe we can help, read Grand Jury report for 2019.  Concluding, retaliation against employees.  Then what happens next, after a Grand Jury presents it evidence and findings?  Another investigating body is formed made up by County Supervisors Karen Spiegel and Jeff Hewitt, to investigate the investigation…  So why even take the finding of Grand Jury seriously to begin with?  Why take an employee complaint seriously?  What we have is a failure to communicate and a failure to act.

This is a scandal, the County Board of Supervisors hired a shyster corrupt attorney, and they were all aware of what he is capable of doing.  He runs his office with intimidation tactics.  The second Grand Jury went so far as to recommend the discharge of Priamos.  According to the Patch, admitted longtime Priamos friend, former Supervisor John Tavaglione blamed several members of the Grand Jury panel with the outcome, stating they “had a bone to pick” with Priamos from when he worked as Riverside City Attorney!  Further he blamed the media for the characterizations of the conclusions.  “It’s very unfortunate … but they’re the ones that like this kind of stuff,”  Tavaglione said, “Confrontation sells news.”  Should we be surprised by Tavaglione’s statements?  No, everyone knows who Priamos is and what he has done.  So why is Tavaglione’s name on the County Supervisors building?  That needs to be removed, because more of Tavaglione’s antic is just down the pipeline.

                       

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What we find so interesting in all three grand jury reports is the sentiment is all the same, Priamos is a shyster corrupt Attorney.  After three paneled Grand Jury investigations, the County Board of Supervisors feel the need for more investigation.  What do they think this is Washington D.C.?  You have to wonder why the Board of Supervisors protects this guy?

Now I’m just a concern citizen with some information and actual facts on the legal bad boy behavior of Greg.  Again, Greg is a SCA (Shyster Corrupt Attorney).  That’s what he is.  The facts are very clear.  The county board of soups have all the information on Greg first hand, but still need to investigate.  That makes no sense.  They chose to hire and retain a shyster lawyer over life long employees, of which many have dedicated themselves to this governing body.  They are investigating away the morale of the county staff by allowing this organization to be run by intimidation tactics.  As of today the board has become complicit and have chose to ignore all the facts and findings.  Back in 2015 Tax Advocate and former City of Riverside Mayor Candidate Vivian Moreno stated the following:

“There are a lot of issues here, the grand jury is bringing a huge light to this board.  Priamos made a huge mess of the legal department in the City of Riverside now he’s here creating just as much chaos.  The supervisors are protecting him because he’s a buddy not because he’s a qualified fantastic wonderful Attorney, that we would all be proud of.  He’s here to be the protector, to protect personal gain, instead of protecting the taxpayer.” – Vivian Moreno 2015

This was her statement in 2015….. and here we are in 2019…. and I’m sure I will be back again with this same issue soon…. She stated, “I don’t blame Greg for being a SCA (Corrupt Shyster Attorney)” …. “I blame the enablers, the County Board of Supervisors for allowing him to destroy many lives and ultimately destroy this governmental organization …… This is scandalous to say the least!”

Don’t forget to get to order your book on the Priamos Family, called “The Shysters Daughter,” written by Greg Priamos’s cousin Paula Priamos.  Of course even Paula doesn’t want anything to do with her cousin Greg as TMC understands.  The following is a quote from her blog, “My father was a shyster.  He was a crooked lawyer who cheated his clients out of money.”

Well as you can see coming from a family member, that in itself should state a multitude about Greg Priamos’s behavior.  Get this spellbinding book on Amazon for $20.69, you won’t be disappointed.  Number one take away from all this ….  ” the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”  Hey, we told you about former RPU General Manager Dave Wright, and no governmental body listened…. incidentally the FBI finally listened!

Greg Priamos likes to hold himself out as a lawyer of the highest ethical standards.  The reality is THAT IS JUST NOT TRUE.  His actions described in the Grand Jury report on County Counsel indicate that Priamos violated critical ethical standards stated in the California State Bar Rules of Professional Conduct.  These Rules strictly govern all California lawyers regardless of the work they are doing.  These are not optional requirements, they are mandates from the State Bar and the California Supreme Court.

The false and wrongful actions Priamos took against his own employees constituted “misconduct” as prohibited by the Rules because his conduct involved “dishonesty, fraud, or reckless or intentional misrepresentation”.  Priamos is therefore subject to discipline by the State Bar.

HOW CAN THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS LET ITS TOP LEGAL ADVISOR GET AWAY WITH SUCH SHAMEFUL AND UNETHICAL CONDUCT?  CONDUCT THE STATE BAR HAS RULED TO BE UNETHICAL?

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

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A bit of concern came forward the other day with emails from the community who were for the most part, taken back, after viewing the City Council meeting on the internet.  City-supported presenters that came forward to address the Council were filmed in a way one would normally expect, as seen below from Council Chambers on January 29, 2015.

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But when it came to public commentary, a funny thing happened: the camera angle was switched to view the public (many of whom are critics) from the rear of the Council Chamber.  This action sends a personal message to the community: you don’t matter.  Your voice and personification is so far away that what you have to say is not important nor worth being heard.

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Not only was it so far away, but now viewers at home could only seeing the backside of the public.  Questions arose if this was a tactic by City leaders to diss or demean the public.  Just when it appears that the City is connecting better with the public, you get this.  We found that this was interim City Manager Lee McDougal’s call, and will remain so until further notice.  According to the PE, Alicia Robinson reported the following on City Manager McDougal.  “It was my order, yes,” McDougal said. “The meetings are City Council meetings … . I believe (council members) should be on camera because they should be the center of attention at the meeting and not necessarily the speakers.”  So was this all Mr. McDougal, or could he of had a little push from our Mayor?  Regardless, we’ll take from this fiasco a positive: a reminder to follow through with our New Year’s resolutions to renew our gym memberships, so our backsides are more pleasing to the audience at home.

Lets review how the past rules of decorum have been enforced at City Council meetings to see if we can establish a pattern…First, by order of former City Attorney Greg Priamos, the City arrests public speaker Karen Wright for going over the three minute rule by a few seconds, but later Mayor Bailey allows former Mayor Loveridge to go well past the three minute rule to talk about his brother.  Second, Mayor Bailey has former BB&K Attorney Letitia Pepper arrested for clapping.  Now Mayor Bailey is the brunt of her First Amendment law suit, and clapping is allowed in Council Chambers, even for those supporting critics of their government.

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Now there’s an attempt to continue to intimidate, disrespect and insult the taxpayers by filming them from behind, and I must say WAAAAY behind.  But not in the City of Moreno Valley: they film you right up in your face and in HD, and live during Council, not the grainy, blurry filming Riverside uses.  So again, I ask CM McDougal if he would like to change his statement?  Just when you think that the new improved City Hall is really listening, are they really walking the walk?

STATE OF THE CITY: A PUBLIC AFFAIR OR JUST ANOTHER MONEY MAKING BOONDOGGLE FOR THE CHAMBER?  We asked the question, why should the taxpayer have to divvy out monies to subsidize non-profits?  Most non-profits raise the money for events through private sector contributions.  Therefore, we have seen this time and time again, and we wonder why are streets aren’t fixed, why are trees are not cut and why we still don’t have a City Library.

HOW YOUR UTILITY BILL SUPPORTS THE CHAMBER: FOLLOW THE MONEY.  The Greater Riverside Chamber of Commerce (GRCC) is recognized as an Internal Revenue Code Section 501 (c)(6) organization.  Unlike a 501 (c)(3) organization, whose primary purpose is to serve a religious, charitable, scientific or educational purpose, the Chamber serves the best interest of its membership.  It’s membership consist of a select group of businesses.  Most of these businesses are customers of Riverside Public Utilities (RPU).  The current General Manager of RPU, Girish Balachandran, under Section 1202 of the City Charter, has the authorization to negotiate and execute contracts with individual retail customers for water and electric utility service.  He also has the power to offer many intangible benefits to customers.  Mr. Balachandran serves on the Board of Directors of the Chamber.

Balachandran’s predecessor, former General Manager Dave Wright, back in the salad days of giving away ratepayer money, also chose to serve on the Board of Directors of the GRCC.  As a board member, both had a duty of loyalty to the Chamber as defined under California Corporations Code Section 7231 (a): in essence, they must put their interest before that of the any other entity.  It is not infrequent that GRCC lobbies the City Council on issues affecting RPU, and endorses City Council candidates whom have jurisdiction over RPU.  This answers many questions regarding Measure A and the Soubirous Hearings.  The Chamber, we believe, was in part responsible for the Soubirous crucifixion regarding his position on Measure A.  His position would not favor GRCC’s true agenda.

The City’s Conflict of Interest Policy states that an employee may not have a personal interest which would tend to impair independence, judgement or action necessary to pursue the City’s best interest.  This tenet is codified as law under Government Code Section 1126 (b) of the the State of California.  Conflict of interest laws attempt to discourage not only biased-decision making not serving the public interest, but also the perception of such bias.

To wit, Resolution No. 22676 of the Riverside City Council, states, “the City Manager, City Attorney, and the City Clerk shall not serve as a member of the board of directors of a non-profit corporation which is receiving or will be reasonably likely in the future to seek and/or receive funding from the City of Riverside so as to avoid any appearance of conflict of interest,” thereby establishing intent of the policy.  Obviously our utility managers seem to believe the rules that apply to their boss, need not apply to them…

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It has been well-known for some time that the Chamber receives taxpayer funding from the City of Riverside. What has been much less known is the amount of funding the Chamber receives directly from ratepayers, under the signature authority (i.e. no public vetting before the Board of Public Utilities or City Council) of both Mr. Balachandran and his direct subordinate, Michael Bacich, the Assistant General Manager of Customer Relations and Marketing.  These funds have been paid via the request-for-payment process that has until recently been kept hidden from the public disclosure.  Below, you will find a list of the roughly 200 payments RPU has made to the Chamber over the past 4 years in individual amounts up to $24,000.00, as well as proof of his predecessor’s participation on its Board (above figure).

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The Kingpin David Wright

THE PAYMENTS TO THE CHAMBER QUEEN

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So folks, could this be how the City of Riverside launders taxpayers money through a non-profit (Riverside Chamber of Commerce), then the Chamber writes a check to support campaign politicians who will feed their gravy train?   Sort of how the “Clinton Foundation” works…  What you have is that “public servants” are on these non-profit boards, but should be looking out for the best interest of the “taxpayer,” but are not, they are looking out for themselves, because, seemingly, they believe no one (the dumbass taxpayer) is looking at them.

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So, is Girish Balachandran following in the footsteps of David Wright, and proving once again that in the River City there’s simply no bridge too far when it comes to conflict-of-interests as is the case with his board membership with the Greater Riverside Chamber of Commerce?

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TMC RECEIVES LEAKS FROM RIVERSIDE CITY HALL REGARDING BRENDA DIETRICH’S HUMAN RESOURCE DEPARTMENT.  You can read the full leaked concerns of City of Riverside employees from the employee handbook to specific allegations against Human Resource Director Brenda Diederich, by clicking on the links below.

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HUMAN RESOURCES DIRECTOR BRENDA DIEDERICH

These address Riverside City employee concern regarding an antiquated employee handbook, Human Resource Director Brenda Diederich hiring a personal friend and the targeted termination of gay employees without cause.

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EMPLOYEE CONCERNS OF HIRED PERSONAL FRIEND & GAY TERMINATIONS   EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK CONCERNS

 TOTAL COST TO THE TAXPAYERS FOR THE STATE OF THE CITY EVENT BY QUEEN BEE’S CINDY ROTH’S GRCC (GREATER RIVERSIDE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE).

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The bottom line was that the taxpayer paid out $11,218.50 (minimum, given Mr. Mason’s list doesn’t include a $1000 tables for both the Parks and Recreation Department and the Office of Economic (not Community) Development) for Cindy Roth’s Greater Riverside Chamber of Commerce event, but we again, as the general public, had a seat in the back of the bus event.  Next time you pay your utility bill, spot a pothole, or your support is sought for better salaries and benefits by the Police or Fire unions, remember how these departments chose to donate your money to the Chamber….

HOW MUCH IS, “I OWN IT,” COSTING THE TAXPAYER?
Is it also an indirect advertising plug for that specific “I Own It” customer? … Who “incidentally” is the law firm of BB&K.   Since we own it too, can TMC also be part of that campaign? We of course have not been asked..but we patiently wait for our turn… Why?  Because, “I Own It.”  Our take is that it may not be long before RPU begins to recant with, “I Regret It.”

jcTMC, 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

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In reference to the current audit, what the PE failed to report was that the scope of the audit was to not only include a forensic audit of the sewer, but the electric and water.  In addition, community advocates emphasized that the scope of the audit must address inter-agency transactions, not inter-fund transactions (of which we knew the majority of those were fine).  Inter-agency loans are those made between to agencies such as the City of Riverside Sewer Department and the State with reference to Redevelopment.  Inter-fund transaction happen all day long!  From one department to another within that single agency, such as the City.  So our question is, who got to the council?  We don’t know?  Did the best advocate for a resolution of this issue flip-flop?  We say, yes!

Let’s take a look at the above transaction.  Originally, the City Council approved the $5.4 million as a short term 120 day loan from the Sewer Fund to Redevelopment.  What Council voted on was different than what actually occurred behind the scenes under former CFO Paul Sundeen.  Council voted for a short term inter-agency loan (not inter-fund) from the Sewer Fund to Redevelopment which is a State Agency.  What happened was instead of paying from the Sewer Fund, they drew the $5.4 million from the Workers Comp Fund as indicated.  Then what happen next was the Electric Fund paid the Workmans Comp Fund.  Then the Sewer Fund paid the Electric Fund.  Why did all this happen?  We call it money laundering.  When the issue was brought forward, the City called it an “oversight,”  we called it the “Sundeen Shuffle” (in reference to former CFO Paul Sundeen).  The lingering question is how many instances of oversight does it take, to consider the actions fraudulent?

Barber and Sundeen have no concerns about how the City will make payments on debt because : a) they are part of the team that created the enormous mountain of debt, and b) the payments on the debt are the responsibility of City taxpayers/ratepayers. Success has many fathers. Failure is an orphan.  -whosincharg, Commenter on the PE

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How bout this one!  Another oversight, as the City is labeling them.  The original transaction was to be a $5 million dollar loan from the City Sewer Fund to the State Agency of Redevelopment.  What actually happened was the $5 million was drawn from the Electric Fund as an inter-agency loan to RDA, instead of the Sewer Fund.  What happened next was that the Workers Compensation Fund payed the Electric Fund.  Then the Sewer Fund payed backed the Workers Compensation Fund.  Again why was this done?  We call this the “Sundeen Shuffle.”  No it’s not a dance, as we know it, but a dance in perception.  Why did the funds take this turn of event again?  Was it nothing more than an attempt to “launder” taxpayer monies?

We noticed in 2011 that City of Riverside was commingling Redevelopment monies with our General Fund, and actually believed the city did this because to give the appearance of a healthy General Fund.  This would be important for those such as investors, who would be looking at the financial healthy of our general fund. We asked the question if the City of Riverside was doing what the City of Miami was?  In this Press Release by the Securities and Exchange Commission, it states that the City of Miami was transferring monies to their General Fund in order to mask increasing deficits in the General Fund.  The City of Miami was actively marketing bonds to the investment public while their primary operating fund was boosted to give the appearance of strength.  According to the SEC Press Release, Miami did not disclose to bondholders that the transferred funds included legally restricted dollars which, under city code, may not be commingled with any other funds or revenues of the city.

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As you can see in the first thumbnail listed as June 2011, we have a commingling of State Funds with the General Fund.  When we brought this to the attention the following month we saw a visual decrease by approximately 77% in the General Fund, this is thumbnail July 2011.  By November 2011, thumbnail three, we noticed the General Fund contains just about $2,000.00.  How would this look to an investor?  In September 2012, thumbnail four, we find our General Fund was negative $73,412.00, again does not look appealing to investors.  We have to remember, that it takes approximately 13 to 16 million a month to run the City of Riverside.

This is an example, of what former CFO Paul Sundeen did in order to give the impression that the General Fund was healthy.  A no no in accounting practices, since those assets are from a State Agency, Redevelopment.

THE CITY OF PASADENA’S $6.4 MILLION EMBEZZLEMENT WOES POINTS TO ONE CITY EMPLOYEE, WHILE THE COMMUNITY POINTS THE BLAME AT CITY MANAGER MICHAEL BECK FOR HIS LACK OF OVERSIGHT AND ASK FOR HIS FIRING!  Former Assistant Riverside City Manager Michael Beck, now City Manager of the City of Pasadena, is on the hot seat for a lack of oversight which the community resulted in the embezzlement of $6.4 million which lead to the arrest of three people, including a city employee, and the suspension of four other city hall employees.

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Michael Beck

Danny Ray Wooten was a management analyst with the City of Pasadena’s Public Works Department who is now accused of embezzlement, and is being charged in a 60 part felony complaint, according to the DA’s office.

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Pastor Wooten

The clincher here is that Mr. Wooten is also known as Pastor Wooten of the New Covenant Church in Pomona.  Even that church is scrambling to check and audit their finances to see if they have been scammed by pastor Wooten in any way.  But don’t sit down yet folks, it gets better, what the press has yet to mention is that former Public Works Director for the City of Riverside was Siobhan Foster… she is currently now the Public Works Director for the City of Pasadena, under the direction, of course, of Michael Beck.  So what was Ms. Foster’s excuse for her inability to catch this criminal act?  Possibly because she is not qualified?  While Director of Public Works in Riverside, employees mentioned that she would asked the question of what a “pot hole” was..  Foster also had her bout with fuzzy math and the bid process which were the brunt of employee complaints.

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Siobhan Foster

Both Michael Beck and Siobhan Foster when they both worked for the City of Riverside, were under the direction of disgraced City Manager Brad Hudson, who’s decisions that were made will cause our City to confront treacherous financial waters as the years pass.  But what many in the community are asking, is why did she resign in order to go to the City of Pasadena?

Incidentally, former interim City Attorney Christina Talley was the former City Attorney for the City of Pasadena during the years of 1994-1996, cities do recycle their employees!  She came here to Riverside, while we sent former Public Works Director Siobhan Foster and former Assistant City Manager Michael Beck to Pasadena.  Kiss that $6.4 million good bye Pasadena, it will cost another $6.4 million in legal fees to attempt to recover it!  Beck and Foster need to go down for this one.

UPDATE: JANUARY 9, 2015: PAUL ZELLERBACH PLEADS “NO CONTEST” IN RIVERSIDE COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT:  Of which many in the community are just considering a favor by Riverside County Superior Judge Beck Dugan, according to the Press Enterprise, Zellerbach pleaded no contest to following:

· Vandalism Under $400 (594(2)(a) California Penal Code)
· Trespassing to Place Unauthorized Signs (602(f) California Penal Code)
· Trespassing with Intent to Cause Damage (602(k) California Penal Code)
· Embezzlement (504 California Penal Code)
· Theft of Public Funds (424(a)(1) California Penal Code)
In lieu of the seriousness of the charges, Judgy Duggy didn’t throw the book at Zelly Baby but gave him a cushy ruling!  1.) pay various fines totaling $1,070.00, 2.) Take part in 60 hours of community service and 3.) One year of probation, (and this is cushy probation, not the hardball probation everyone else must take).  There you are folks…
And of course, as is good practice with the PE, besides blocking commenters, is to bring the story out, and quickly bury it into the anal of internet ink..  Corruption runs deep from this trash we call Paul Zellerbach, to the Judges, Grand Jury, County Sups, Sheriff’s Unions etc. etc.
SHOULD SKIN COLOR BECOME AN ISSUE IN RIVERSIDE?  LEE MCDOUGAL, FORMER RETIRED CITY MANAGER FOR THE CITY OF MONTCLAIR HIRED TO BE INTERIM RIVERSIDE CITY MANAGER.  It is unfortunate that we must make race an issue regarding these announcement, as if this has any bearing on ones job position.  According to the PE City Spokeshole Phil Pitcford said that McDougal would be the first African American to lead Riverside.  Shouldn’t ethnicity not matter, and shouldn’t we be choosing people by their experience, qualification and the content of their character, and not bring skin color into the mix?  We did this again when our first black Fire Chief for the City was hired, Michael D. Moore, the PE notated his skin color.  Are we attempting to describe as a City, something about our future and something about our past?  Have we arrived as municipality that has no restrictions?  Shouldn’t skin color never be an issue to began with?  I think so.  Now that I placed skin color to the way side, why do we have so many public servant retirees coming back for a second round of benefits?  That is the question which needs to be answered.  Both McDougal and Moore are retirees, who continue to work.  Is the age for public retirement just to low?  Of course it is, who are we fooling?  Why is the public sector now the best gig in town?  Because you as voters and residents allowed this to happen.  You must be part of a Democracy or Republic in order for this exercise to occur.  It is not free, you must be part of it in order for true Democracy to exist.  This dysfunction seems relevant to the public sector.  This seems to be a phenomenon relative to the public sector as opposed to the private sector, and gives individuals a second opportunity to feed at the taxpayer trough?  That is of course, being able to retire at 55 years of age, and get a second attempt to repeat the process within a lifetime is just a misappropriation of taxpayer funds.
It is again unfortunate that we need to look at the outside for individuals to guide our City forward.  We all know for example, that Interim Chief Mike Esparza should have been the Fire Chief.  But did they all leave in order to solidify their pensions before the flow of money becomes less within the City in the coming years?
OUTSIDE LEGAL HELP PROBLEMATIC? DID WE HAVE A ROGUE FORMER CITY ATTORNEY WHO BY PASSED THE CITY COUNCIL TO APPROVE OUTSIDE LEGAL HELP WITHOUT COUNCIL AUTHORITY?  ABSOLUTELY YES!  With the new article in the PE regarding the hiring of outside legal help, which has been a common practice in the City of Riverside to do it without any sort of binding agreement or contract.  Not only was the contract issue a concern for many in the community, because no one knew what was really being spent by former City Attorney Greg Priamos’s office.  In many cases we felt that he used the taxpayers monies for his own legal agenda and agenda’s of the very few which in the long run, did not benefit the taxpayer, only cost them more.  One good example of Gregory’s contempt, was violating the will of the voters by blocking a ballot measure to be voted on, and of course, at taxpayer expense, as in the following PE article.One good example of Gregory’s contempt, was violating the will of the voters by blocking a ballot measure to be voted on, and of course, at taxpayer expense, as in the following PE article.
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Former City Attorney Gregory Priamos
According to the PE in a December 9th article, stated that in a December 3rd decision, San Bernardino County Superior Court Judge Brian S. McCarville ruled against the city, writing that the state’s initiative process “is a right that should be jealously guarded,” and that “the better reasoned approach is to allow this type of challenge to be resolved after the voters have spoken to the issue.”  Therefore, the City of Riverside violated the voters right to place an initiative on the ballot, as is acceptable under the Democratic process.  Again people ask if the City of Riverside is a Dictatorship?  But what becomes more evident is that taxpayer monies were spent to block the Democratic process.  Further, more taxpayer monies will more than likely be spent to appeal the decision.  But that’s Riverside..  and of course, Priamos never protected the sanctity of taxpayer monies..he used the budget as if it was his own money, and of course never benefiting the best interest of the taxpayer.
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How would Christin Talley respond to this?  I would imagine “No Comment.”  Of course, Talley has had her own set of problems with competency with other cities whom hired her through Best, Best & Krieger Law Firms.

In any case, we don’t know how this one fell through the roof, but we did manage to receive one arrangement between BB&K and the City of Riverside to represent Former Chief of Police Russ Leach.  What a surprise, it’s signed by former City Attorney Greg Priamos and Grover Trask, former Riverside County District Attorney now in the employment of BB&K.  Oh lets’ just call it a “contract”, or correctly a “retainer agreement”.  Tomato, tomahto, oh let’s just call the whole thing off…  Wish we could, but it gets better.

CLICK THIS LINK TO VIEW WHOLE DOCUMENT

This was an article we posted back in May of 2012 when we requested all contracts for outside legal help by the City Attorney’s office.  There were no documents responsive!  This was recently brought to the forefront with a new article by Dan Bernstein from the Press Enterprise, “Riverside: The (Hidden) Cost of Business.”   Bernstein refers to all the non contractual outside legal services which are not documented, a hidden cost as he calls it, but not hidden to taxpayer monies.  One of the most striking documents we at TMC found a couple of years ago was one which Best, Best & Krieger had their own charge card, to charge the City of Riverside as they needed to for legal work rendered.  Charges to the tune in excess of six figures?

CorpCard    CCTWO    CCTHREE    CCFOUR    CCFIVE

CLICK THIS LINK TO VIEW FULL DOCUMENTS OF CORPORATE CARD

 The writers of the below public records request were trying to determine by what authority did the City Attorney’s Office claim their right to hire outside legal without City Council approval.  The following first two documents are the letter of request to the City Attorney’s Office asking them to answer the question of no contracts.  The last letter is a response by City Attorney Greg Priamos stating there are no documents responsive.

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CLICK ON ABOVE DOCUMENT IMAGES TO ENLARGE

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CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE REFERENCING SECTION 702

The question then arose was because of Section 702 Eligilbility, powers and duties of the City Attorney, from the City of Riverside City Charter.   This section of the charter stated, “The City Council shall have control over all legal business and proceedings and may employ other attorneys to take charge of any litigation or to assist the City Attorney therein.”  We were also told that state bar requires a lawyer to provide a contract for any work done for a client.  We ascertain that Section 702 makes all outside legal services require approval by the majority of the City Council.

With this in mind, an new issue arose, this was of the City Manager, Scott Barber.  The PE reported that the city has hired, with two contracts of $49K each, a law firm to conduct an investigation of two councilman, Davis and Soubirous.  The $49K is significant because it is just below the $50K cap that the city manager can spend without seeking council approval.  We don’t contest that the City Manager has the right to spend this money without council approval, but we don’t believe that Section 701 of the City Charter gives the City Manager the authority to hire outside legal without City Council approval.

Section 703 of the City Charter says: “The city clerk shall have the power and be required to: (c) maintain separate books, in which a record shall be made of all written contracts and official bonds.”  We believe the intent of this charter requirement is for there to be a publicly accessible record of how public funds are being spent.  The practice of hiring outside legal services circumvents the intent of this section.

 Section 1401 of the city charter states: “the violations of any provision of this charter shall be deemed a misdemeanor and be punishable upon conviction by a fine of not exceeding one thousand dollars or by imprisonment of a period not exceeding six months or by both such fine and imprisonment.”  We can therefore ask the question, “Is it per incident?”  If it is, it certainly can add up for some individuals.  When we are talking about millions of dollars, as indicated in the Press Enterprise, we have to ask the question, “Does it become a felony?”  How then can one account for such mismanagement of taxpayer monies without a legal rationale for the beneficial purposes of those monies?  What is the real truth here that appears to have been circumvented by City Attorney and City Managers by a document called a City Charter?  A document which appears not to be abided by when it should.

We say this because of the circumstances.  We bring the incident which involved our current City Manager Scott Barber. Just in September of 2012, City Manager Scott Barber decided to take his City Manager hat off and play Council by authorizing a change order of $2.5 million without council authority for the Fox Performance Plaza.  He brought the issue to Council and basically appeared they would rubber stamp the idea, after-the-fact.  Had this type of shenanigans been done before by the prior City Manager?  The City Manager’s discretionary spending cap is at $50,000.00, anything over that amount must go to council.  Certainly violated the Charter Amendment.  What made Barber think that he had the authority to act as an elect and ferret it out without them?  A complaint should have been filed against him with Human Resources, and Council should have fired him immediately.

Or the time, which involved City Attorney Greg Priamos denying that he had anything to do with the command for the arrest of public speaker, Karen Wright.  Officer Sahagun was commanded by the City Attorney to arrest public speaker Karen Wright.  Then Priamos calls the police report “inaccurate”, this then implies that officer Sahagun is s liar.  Brian Smith, RPOA President states, “we call that a lie in the profession, and the State of California calls it lying in a police report a crime.”  So if it is in fact a lie, will Priamos prosecute Officer Sahagun for falsifying a police report?  To this day it remains unclear what Priamos meant by referring to the report as “inaccurate.”  In addition, has yet to give an explanation of what was actually said between himself and Officer Sahagun.  Again is City Attorney Greg Priamos a liar?

The question is, “Why should the taxpayer put up with what appears to be “rogue” activity?  What should be done about it?  Why isn’t anything being done about it now?”  It is appearing that by default we are experiencing the “two sets of rules syndrome.”  So why does the house always win, when the taxpayer should be in charge? When will Council take the reigns of power they were given to them by the taxpayer and defend them?

MAY 2012 ORIGINAL TMC ARTICLE: CITY OF RIVERSIDE: OFFICE OF CITY ATTORNEY: “WE DON’T NEED NO STINKING CONTRACTS!”

may2014twoIt has been apparent to the community of the close working relationship between the law firm Best, Best & Krieger and the City of Riverside.  What’s quite evident in fact is that the working relationship between the two entities involves oral contracts.  According to City Attorney Gregory Priamos no hard contracts exist not even a retainer agreement, when a public request act is initiated.   When it comes to a public accounting of the expenditures of the City Attorney, as requested by Mayoral Candidate Dvonne Pitruzzello, a rejection letter below, for the request was sent.  According to the letter Gregory sent, there is no such accounting that has been prepared, and according to law, the law does not impose any duty to create such a record.  Therefore, non is required.  Since when has the taxpayer not be allowed to know what their money is being spent on?  This should be disturbing to many people, because it states that they treading waters they should not be treading.  And according to the law, the City Attorney’s office is not required to disclose the spending of taxpayer monies.  You have to know there is something very wrong with this picture.  Common sense would tell you there is something to hide behind the dark glasses of City Attorney Gregory Priamos.

CLICK THIS LINK TO VIEW DENIAL LETTER

Above is a letter sent to Dvonne Pitruzzello regarding her request for an accounting of the City Attorney’s from Gregory Priamos.  The law does state that if no documents are responsive to ones request, they, the city has to help you identify the request.

On 05/15/2012 at City Council, Mayoral Candidate Dvonne Pitruzzello stated to City Attorney Gregory Priamos, how many denials of public records act does it take to get disbarred”?  What’s a real contradiction is that the City of Riverside has ‘retainer agreements’ for services with every other law firm they do business with.  Though an excess in millions of dollars have been paid out to BB&K, there has been no pertinent or rational explanation to the taxpayer.  We were even denied BB&K’s billing hours under the public records act.  As taxpayers, should we believe that we should expect anything less than a written contract?  I would say not.  When individuals ask for a rational explanation regarding no contracts, the city’s implication to the community is that “we don’t need no stink’n contracts”?  Is this an act of arrogance or defiance by a public servant toward their employer, the taxpayer?  If anyone has dealt with lawyers there is always a contract, but it appears that the City is the only entity that is allowed to perform this “verbally”, or as we understand it, not even with a “memorandum of understanding.”  One of the biggest law firms in the nation, Best, Best & Krieger is hands down an exception with the City of Riverside?   What is it between the two?  As community residents, are we also to accept the fact that Best, Best & Krieger is allowed to dictate carte blanche their legal fees to the taxpayer via their own credit card?  It seems so, according to the following documents, but what else is the public to otherwise believe?

CLICK LINK TO VIEW FULL DOCUMENT

And we’re not talking nickels and dimes, but six figures and more.  So the question is, who’s in charge and watching taxpayer’s coffers?  It appears the city council is not, not even the mayor, it definitely appears that the city attorney’s office isn’t according to the excessive litigation cost.  So who’s minding the store?  Inquiring taxpayers would like to know.  But just maybe, the store has an open door policy, right to the cash register.  Why? Quite possibly as a direct result of their incestuous relationship between this law firm and the city that has grown over the years.

Such a cozy arrangement between certain ex-city of riverside employees as well as BB&K employees who are strategically now on city committees.  Conflict of interest?   The cast of BB&K characters interlaced with City of Riverside, who previously worked with the city, or on their boards and committees are numerous.  Former Grover Trask (former Riverside County District Attorney), Michelle Quellette (City of Riverside’s Charter Review Committee), Jack Clark (Committee to name City Hall after Mayor Ron Loveridge) or Charity Schiller (Vice Chair of Riverside Downtown Partnership), now of course, our interim City Attorney Christina Talley.  BB&K has also been in the media with the City of Bell, whereby the city is now suing BB&K attorney Edward Lee for faulty legal advice.  Even Governor Jerry Brown subpoenaed BB&K records regarding pay packages in Bell, California.

Measure A… The City of Riverside used taxpayer monies to bankroll their campaign against citizen advocate groups!  The scam that continues to continues to give, masterminded by former City Attorney Gregory Priamos!

OUR NEW INTERIM LAWTINA CITY ATTORNEY CHRISTINA TALLEY NOW SUING HER FORMER EMPLOYER THE CITY OF ANAHEIM.  According to OC Weekly Talley states that she is victim of council majority’s war on Latinos.  In this suit she is using the race card by claiming discrimination, retaliation and hostile work environment.  The majority of the lawsuit is aimed at Council member Kris Murray, who incidentally, is a white female, which Talley says was “extremely rude, condescending and sarcastic” in personal dealings.  Talley has a hearing set for January 5th, 2015, but in a prior hearing in November 2014, District Judge David O. Carter ordered both parties to try to resolve the dispute through mediation.

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One blog site defends Talley regarding her advice to Council members, and states that her advice on the issue of the Gardenwalk project was sound.  But one commenter on the Orange Juice Blog made this comment.

Michelle Rodriguez

IS GENERAL MANAGER GIRISH BALACHANDRAN OF THE RIVERSIDE PUBLIC UTILITIES IN CONFLICT BY BEING A BOARD MEMBER OF THE GREATER RIVERSIDE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE?  What has been brought to the attention to TMC is that the newly christened General Manager of our Riverside Public Utilities is also a board member with the Greater Riverside Chamber Commerce.  We find this a conflict of interest in that it directly impacts the public he represents without our input.  Checks written to the Chamber by Public Utilities for what ever supportive reason is not in the best interest of the public and the rate payers, especially if they are approved under the General Manager Mr. Balachandran.

Girish-Balachandran        RCCGirish

WHAT STAYS IN VEGAS DIDN’T STAY VERY LONG?  FORMER RIVERSIDE GENERAL MANAGER DAVE WRIGHT TAKES JOB WITH LOS ANGELES DWP.  Wright retired from the City of Riverside Public Utilities as the political heat got to him their General Manager in July 2013 to take a job in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Who retires to take another job?  If you say you are going to retire don’t you just retire?  Who retires at 53years of age? The common phenomenon with public workers is that you are set to retire early to take a pension, then you can go on to double and even triple dip into public taxpayer monies even more.  Then you are set to buy that mansion in Bel Air.  Now, Mr. Wright will begin work with the LADWP this coming February, 2015 as their Senior Assistant General Manager.  Good Luck Dave! you’ll probably fit in with all the scandal with LADWP, god knows what you did in Riverside.  The scandal of course involved inaccurate customer rates and $40 million in revenues that were mysteriously spent by then General Manager Ron Nicols and the head of DWP’s biggest union.  Brian D’Arcy, union head continued to skew the issue of how public monies were spent in the form of non-profit trust.

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IS IT A TAX OR FEE? THE QUESTION DEFINED BY THE WASHINGTON POLICY CENTER.  The question arises many times the definition of a tax and the term “fee”, and is a fee a tool utilized by Cities to create revenue.  But are they doing this illegally or getting around the law by calling a tax a fee?

NEXT UP: ONE OF RPD’S AND RPOA’S  FINEST…AND WE HAVE TO THANK SERGIO FOR THIS ONE!

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 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

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CLICK THE ABOVE IMAGE FOR HD EFFECT! (THANKS TO DONALD HERMAN COLLINS GALLEGOS FOR THIS FINE PIECE OF ART).

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Riverside Residents demand pay back!  Don’t let the door kick you on the way out, Scott!

FORMER PUBLIC UTILITIES MANAGER, DAVE WRIGHT’S LETTER OCTOBER 17, 2014 LETTER REVISITED, ADDRESSING THE WATER CONSERVATION ISSUE:
The question remains that he left the City of Riverside as a tornado.  Did he see the writing on the wall?  But he came back from his plush job with the Southern Nevada Water Authority, to bring his opinion regarding City of Riverside water issues!  Residents are asking why? Is the City of Riverside not telling us the whole story of the residents rights to water?  Does David Wright have a conscious?  Is it disturbing him?

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Well his letter regarding the City of Riverside water was printed in the Press Enterprise. What! He is now considered a contributing writer to the Riverside Press Enterprise though he retired from the City of Riverside to take a new double dipping job in the vicinity of Las Vegas as Chief Financial Officer?

Opinion
DAVID H. WRIGHT: “RIVERSIDE WATER FOR RESPONSIBLE DEVELOPMENT”:
By DAVID H. WRIGHT / Contributing Writer
Published: Oct. 17, 2014 Updated: 4:44 p.m.
Over a century ago, Riverside’s founders obtained local water resources to provide for their agricultural needs. Water utilization has changed over the last hundred years as Riverside has become more suburban.
However, those water rights and resources continue to provide Riverside with enough water to meet the needs of all water customers of Riverside Public Utilities, plus an additional water supply available for planned growth and economic development. (Water that serves the Orangecrest and Mission Grove areas comes from Western Municipal Water District and those customers cannot be served by Riverside Public Utilities.)
Riverside’s water resources are all from local supplies, so droughts that affect imported water from Northern California or the Colorado River often do not affect Riverside.
Decades of snowfall on local mountains are the major driver for Riverside’s water resources, and Riverside continuously and successfully monitors and defends those water rights. Wells are pulling from depths lower than average right now, but local snowpack melts annually into these significant groundwater basins each year.
Over the last several decades, Riverside has also obtained the rights to treated, or recycled, water that is released in the Santa Ana River.
Riverside does not have the current customer demand to require the use of this water.
However, Riverside is looking at the eventual utilization of this recycled water as customer demand grows.
Recycled water comes primarily from water used inside the home so even reduced landscaping water use due to a local drought does not have a measurable impact on this recycled water supply.
Riverside has the opportunity to utilize this recycled water and RPU is developing specific plans for a system to distribute this water where it can be most economically and effectively used. Utilizing groundwater and recycled water supplies, Riverside has adequate water to meet the needs of planned customer growth.
Community growth and economic development have and always will be issues that require a significant amount of public discussion to arrive at appropriate decisions. The compromise that develops is usually the best for everyone in the community, not just those involved in the targeted development.
Significant planning and community impacts are studied, as they should be, to ensure that all aspects are considered.
Water use should be one of those issues, and it is already included when reviewing the impact of any new development. Adequate water supplies exist for anticipated economic development in Riverside.
So comments stating there is not enough water for future growth are an emotional, not rational, response.
Conservation and efficient water use are still very important for Riverside and all water users.
Conservation must include efforts that reduce wasteful water use and utilize more appropriate landscape plantings, regardless of future growth.
Periodic droughts have occurred over the past centuries and will continue in the future.
Luckily, Riverside is able to rely on massive underground water basins to carry the city through dry years. Water is a precious resource that should not be wasted but used to sustain life and provide for a vibrant community.
With responsible water use, Riverside has adequate water supplies to meet increased customer demand for decades to come.
David H. Wright is the former general manager of the Riverside Public Utilities.

Was this all about the Purple Pipe which didn’t benefit the taxpayer’s of the City of Riverside and was squashed!  Only to reveal it’s ugly head in our Sewer Bill?

WHAT DID DAVE WRIGHT NOT SAY IN HIS ARTICLE, “RIVERSIDE WATER FOR RESPONSIBLE DEVELOPMENT” (OCTOBER 17, 2014)?

Scott Simpson was the former Chief of Enforcement for the California EPA Department of Toxic Substances Control, and also worked for the Department of Food and Agriculture in their Environmental Hazards Assessment Program specializing in ground water contamination.

Mr. Wright did not tell you that the water rights that provide the City of Riverside with water (more water each year than we can use) are of a type known as “use-it or lose-it.” If you conserve water at home, don’t assume the city won’t pump its full water rights each year–for if it doesn’t, it will lose the amount that hasn’t been used. You cannot conserve at home and expect the city to bank the groundwater savings. The groundwater has to be pumped every year at the maximum volume allowed in order to have the same volume of water available to us in the future. It’s the law. So, if the city well can pump water, it will be pumped–whether you use it or not, especially during drought.
Water rights and water conservation don’t work together. Even under our current city-wide declarations of “Emergency Drought” and the Mandatory Conservation Measures, the city pumps water via its water rights in the full legal amount each year. What you conserve daily (the excess) is sold to other water districts outside the city. When you look at your water bill and see the punitive, four-tiered pricing schedule, and then look at your brown front yard and your empty pool, remember: the water you save each month will not be stored in reserve, but will be sold to the City of Colton, the Rubidoux Water District, the Jurupa Water District, City of Corona, the Temescal Water Company, Highgrove, Home Gardens and the Western Municipal Water District–and others.
Mr. Wright did not tell you that the groundwater basin to which we hold water rights contains in excess of five million acre-feet of water. He did not tell you we annually pump–for use and sale–only 84,000 acre feet of water per year. He did not tell you that annual rainfall in the mountains easily replaces ten times the groundwater we pump each year. He did not tell you that 25% of our annual water supply is sold outside the city for cash.
So why did Wright, the former General Manager of the city’s Public Utilities Department, implement punitive, four-tiered pricing for your water? Why did he tell you to conserve water? Why did you decide you had to let your lawn go brown? It’s all about the profit the city will see as you pay more for less water and the city sells your conserved water to others outside the city each day. Why should we suffer so developers can take our water?
You, as a member of the public, own the city’s water rights. The city says you own the water system, too–you’ve paid for it. Why did Dave Wright implement city water policy so as to deny you the water you need? State law says residential water use is the “highest and best beneficial use of water”; exporting our excess water is termed the “lowest beneficial use.”
The city is desperate to raise our water rates. It uses conservation and the economic theory that the higher the price, the more you will conserve! So look forward to higher water prices this year and fines for having a brown lawn in violation of city code. After all, the city needs your money.
-Scott Simpson, former Chief of Enforcement for the California EPA Department of Toxic Substances Control

AG PARK ISSUE REVISITED WITH NO RESPONSE BACK IN 2012:
We brought to the attention the issue of the AG Park spill to City Council Members, City Manager Scott Barber, Secretary to City Attorney Greg Priamos-Susan Allen, Deputy City Attorney Neil Okazaki with no response from any of them.  Even then they were aware of our concerns back in 2012, but as good stewards of the taxpayers, they did nothing.

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FORMER CITY ATTORNEY GREGORY PRIAMOS KNEW OF THE SERIOUSNESS OF THE ISSUE, AS EVERY OTHER ISSUE THAT CONCERNS THE TAXPAYERS.

JONATHAN GENTRY, MINISTER,  EXPRESSES HIS OPINION ON THE FERGUSON ISSUE:

JG

WATCH THE YOUTUBE VIDEO BY CLICKING THIS LINK

TMC, RATED RIVERSIDE’S MOST “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

CLICK THE PIC TO WATCH DAVE WRIGHT AND THE PURPLE PIPE WITH THE HD EFFECT!

To the extent tiered water rates are imposed in a manner that deviates from “cost of service” requirements, those rates are in violation of Proposition 218  -Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association

UPDATE:04/09/2012: BARBER THE BLOGGER

It appears that for the most part the public may be a bit ‘confused’, a slight infusion of assurance in that it is not always ‘necessary’ to respond to the public’s questions.  It looks as if there is still much to ‘ferret out’ within the city manager Scott Barber’s new position as city blogger…

He said he doesn’t always feel it’s necessary or appropriate to respond to the public’s questions and criticisms, but in this case, “I do believe there’s some confusion about what happened and what’s allowable and what’s not.”

A Moreno Valley community activist has filed a complaint with the California attorney general’s office seeking an investigation into the relationship between the City Council and developer Iddo Benzeevi.

In the City of Redlands, City Employee Bob Platt airs complaints against City Council..  Will he be blackballed?  The Press Enterprise is reporting on outside city events more than the expolosion that has been happening in the City of Riverside.. what ties does the PE have with the City of Riverside?

Los Angeles facing a $222,000 million budget shortfall!  City of Los Angeles also received the Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association for their 2009 CAFR.

Hercules, CA on the brink of bankruptcy, second to Stockton, CA?   Hercules became the third city to undergo an audit by State Controller John Chiang ( the other two were Bell and Montebello).  All three city’s have recieved the achievement for excellence in financial reporting, including recently, the City of Riverside.  Part of Hercules economic hangover is a pair of four-story, half-finished, plastic-wrapped apartment buildings in Hercules.  The city sank $38 million into those buildings, a 144,000-square-foot redevelopment project gone awry. Last week, the City Council sold the buildings for $425,000.

ALLEGED VIOLATIONS OF LAW COMMITTED BY THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE 

1.     QUESTION:  Did the City of Riverside make unlawful water and electric utility revenue transfers to the city’s General Fund (GFTs) as unlawful taxes?

ANSWER: YES.  Accordingly, there was never a vote of the people held to approve these special taxes as required by law.  The 1955 city charter allows General Fund Transfers (GFTs) to occur up to 11.5% of the gross water and electric utility revenue each year. This GFT revenue is created by elevating the rates, fees and charges for water and electric utility services above the cost of providing the service(s).  However, in the 1980s Cal. Government Code sec. 50075-77.5 (implementing language of Prop. 13) went into effect.  It applies to all taxes and defines them.  This Constitutional definition includes General and Special taxes.  Any excess revenue above the cost of providing the publicly-owned utility service(s) is de facto a tax (either a General tax or a Special tax).

These definitions were repeated and emphasized in 1996 with the passage of proposition 218 (passed with and eighty-four percent approval). 

The City of Riverside transfers this excess revenue (taxes) to the city General Fund and spends it on general government purposes.  Therefore, both sources of excess Utility Department revenue are taxes subject to approval by the voters.  In 1996 the voters of California approved, by an overwhelming margin (84%), Proposition 218, which added new language to the California Constitution and became effective July 1, 1997.  Cal. Government Code sec. 50075-77.5 and Article 13C, sec. 2(b-d) specifically forbids the imposition, extension or increase of any Special tax without a super-majority vote on the issue of the tax.  In order to lawfully collect taxes, any new or continuing rates, fees, charges and assessments above the cost of providing service had to be placed before the voters before November 8, 1998.

The City of Riverside did not hold a vote on a special tax and continued the unlawful GFTs each year for 14 years, believing it was exempt from the Cal. Govt. Code and the Constitution (Prop. 218).   I can find no exemption that applies and the voters do not have the authority to void constitutional restrictions on government by voting to modify or renew the city Charter.  The City did not place the issue of taxation by GFTs to a vote.  Every City budget since July 1997 has included a GFT from the Water Utility Fund.  This is, by its very nature, proof of the intent to collect unconstitutional water rates, fees and charges that are above the cost of providing service(s) in order to purposefully exact the GFT as an unlawful hidden tax.  Article 13D, sec. 6 (b) specifically forbids the pricing of water above the cost of service and the transfer of surplus utility funds to any general government expense (See the Sacramento County Grand Jury Report dated January 6, 2010, City of Sacramento).  [Please note that the City Attorney for the City of Sacramento was formerly employed in the Riverside City Attorneys’ office serving the Riverside Utility Department until December 2005.]  It appears that within four years of service to the city of Sacramento her legal advice was deemed incorrect on the issues of transferring funds out of the water fund for general government purposes including paying employee salaries in other departments!

Additionally, the city of Riverside cannot transfer general government cost(s) to the water utility budget (see 2011 city budget, wherein 45 general government staff positions were transferred to the Utility Department budget).  An annual budget that predicts or proposes a GFT from the Water Utility Fund without authorization from the voters is proof of intent to charge unconstitutional water rates (conclusion: intent to misappropriate funds).  The California Government Code sec. 50075-77.5 and Prop 218 requires a public vote for both General and Special taxes.  The Water and Electric Utility GFTs are unlawful taxes as performed by the City of Riverside.  The unconstitutional water rates, fees and charges and the GFTs are documented in the city’s annual budgets and audits of the Water Utility for the last thirteen years (an audit is factual evidence of unlawful rates and GFTs).  The unlawful tax established by GFTs from the Electric Utility is to be found in the annual budgets and audits as well.

This documentation establishes a pattern and practice of violating the constitution for at least the last 14 years and this process has exacted $45.million of unlawful water rates.  I have not researched all the data on unlawful electric utility rates, fees and charges or GFTs for the last 13-20 years.   Unlawful electrical rates exact $38 million per year of unlawful taxes (see 2009 city budget/audit). However it likely will total close to $350 million.  This is an unfunded liability created by the city.  Courts have ordered city general fund moneys be restored to the utility fund from which they came.

2.     QUESTION: In October 2006 did the City of Riverside unlawfully approved a five-year plan of increasing water rates 50% as well as institute an unlawful, punitive 4-tier pricing scheme for water service to its customers?

ANSWER: YES.  The stated intent of the scheme was to conserve water and raise water rates in order to increase the gross revenue of the Water Utility Department.  This was done to effectively increase the dollar amount of the unlawful taxation by GFTs from approximately $3 million per year to over $5.5 million per year. The rate increases were stated by the city (at council meetings, budget documents and in other city documents) as being necessary to pay for the city’s “Renaissance Plan” of general government
projects.

Article 13D, sec. 6 of the California Constitution requires a public hearing before the City Council.  This required hearing is held under Article 13D in order to seek a majority of written protests to the proposed new or increased water rates, fees and charges.  This is required for any property-related service where the utility rates, fees and charges do not exceed the cost of providing the service and the revenue is not used for general government purposes (GFTs, Special or General Taxes).  Note:  electric and gas services are exempt from the requirements of Article 13D.

The City of Riverside held such a hearing (on October 6, 2006) knowing that it was acting unlawfully to approve the rate increases without a public vote.  This action by the city is a clear and intentional violation of the State Constitution and the public’s constitutional right to vote on taxes (conclusion: the city exceeded its authority).  Knowing that, the city continued to charge and increase unlawful water rates without seeking a public vote. These rates and the five year plan to raise them 50% was clearly above the cost of providing the service (an unlawful tax) and the city continued to benefit monetarily with ever-increasing amounts of cash revenue (unlawful GFTs) from the Water and electric Utility Fund(s) (conclusion: money is the motive that brings the city the prestige it seeks with other cities and even more so during the last three years of economic recession when we continued to spend the $1.5 billion on the renaissance plan  and now more funds on “Seize your Destiny”).

The California Supreme Court published the Bighorn Desert View Water Agency v. Verjil Cal. Supreme Court July 24, 2006, 39 Cal, 4th decision over 2 months prior to the City Council vote to approve the rate increases that funded most of the Renaissance plan. The Bighorn decision upheld Prop. 218 and reversed the 2000 City of Los Angeles ruling. This was an earth-shaking decision for cities throughout California as it’s’ language restricts governments from raising(including borrowing money) without a vote on taxes(borrowing or incurring debt creates an automatic demand for increased city tax revenue)..

The City of Riverside therefore knew or reasonably should have known that the proposed water rates and resultant GFTs were unlawful and unconstitutional.  I believe constitutional violations were intentionally planned.  It was planned as a scheme to misappropriate funds as hidden unlawful taxation and unconstitutional rates, fees and charges for utility services. The city continued, regardless of the Supreme Court decision, because it needed to approve and  fund its  “Renaissance Plan.”

The City Charter, Article IV, gives the Mayor authority to make policy and direction of the city government actions.  The Mayor instructs the City Manager, City Attorney and the City Council on policy and direction of decision making.  According to the City Charter, the City Manager has “sole authority to carry out policy and direction without interference from the council members.” The City Manager reports to the Mayor.

3.     QUESTION: At the time of the hearing did the city also approve dramatic increases in the electrical rates well above the cost of service?

ANSWER: YES.  Article 13D does not apply to electrical fees; however, the Supreme Court wrote in the Bighorn decision that Article 13C does apply to electrical utility service provided by a (charter) city and included analysis and case law in support.  All increased electrical fees that are above the cost of service are a special tax including funds transferred to the general fund! This is consistent with the meaning of Cal. Govt. Code 50075-77.5 and Article 13C requiring a vote to impose taxes.  Additionally, as stated above, Riverside’s electrical rates, fees and charges are intentionally set above the cost of service.  This is done to continue a reliable monthly flow of cash revenue for transfer to the City General Fund for non-utility general government expenses in-lieu of taxes denying the public its constitutional right to vote on taxes (Cal. Govt. Code sec. 50075-77.5 and Cal. Const. Article 13C). 

4.     QUESTION: Did the City of Riverside devise and implement a “confidence scheme” under the guise of “water conservation” in a period of “statewide drought”?

ANSWER: YES. The city planned and implemented an expanded scheme.  The City of Riverside (October 2006) set water rates well above the cost of service to residential parcels and approved a punitive 4-tiered scheme to charge higher rates for those water customers who use larger than “normal or average” amounts of water (See city water rate schedules and Attachment A).  To justify this unlawful, punitive tiered-rate schedule, the city basically determined that any person using more than the established “normal” amount of service must be wasting water during the “statewide drought.

Articles in the local Press-Enterprise newspaper quote city officials as stating that there is a “statewide drought” and therefore an urgent necessity to conserve water.  The city took advantage of public fears on the subject to make a finding of “Use Constituting Waste” without establishing any facts or evidence of wasteful water use or a shortage of water in the City of Riverside (See City Water Rule 15, “Water Waste”).  (A state statutes say beneficial use of water for landscape irrigation is up to 21/2 acre feet per acre per year before you can begin to question its use as not beneficial and thus conclude wasteful usage of water.)

I have found no data or analysis substantiating this conclusion of “use constituting water waste” by the city.  This conclusion is inconsistent with Water Rule 15 and has been and/is merely an assumption to further justify the unlawfully high rates, fees and charges necessary to carry out the scheme (see Attachment A).  Additionally, the City of Riverside is not and has not been impacted by drought conditions since the mid-1960s.  This occurred after a long period of tremendous local growth (post-1941 development) that created huge increases in water demand for industry, housing and public water service, all of which coincided with a cyclic period of low rainfall in the early 60’s.

You will find ample documentation of these facts in the City of Riverside’s 2005 Urban Water Management Plan, which has sections on history, supply sources, reliability of supply, charts of annual (historical and predicted future) production/use figures for water demand (in the city at full built-out population) and notes of revenue reliability and GFTs.  The 2005 Urban Water Management Plan documents that, in decades going back to the founding of the city, there has not been a lasting natural shortage of water and there is no future predictable shortage until beyond year 2030.  City officials have been quoted and written in city documents that “if the city needs cash we raise the (utility) rates” and “the utilities are a cash-cow even during the statewide drought of the last year”.

The Press Enterprise daily weather page reported a normal annual rainfall of 41.5 inches in the San Bernardino Mountains.  Since the city’s printing of the 2005 UWMP dozens of articles have appeared in the Press Enterprise.  Many times the reporter interviews and includes quotes from city officials.  None of these quotes make reference to our abundant water supplies during the drought or the supporting information in the 2005 UWMP (a document prepared every five years by statute). They did not act to calm the fears of the general public to further the scheme to charge higher than cost for water service provided to each parcel in the city with monthly transfers to the general fund.

100% of our water is from huge rapidly rechargeable (from precipitation in the local mountains) ground water basins in the San Bernardino valley Bunker Hill basin and the North Riverside basin.

Because there is the potential for a too-high water table in the Bunker Hill Water Basin (the basin that provides most of Riverside’s water), in the 1980s the Court appointed a Water Master. The Water Master’s job is to annually determine how much ground water to harvest in the water basin so as to keep ground water from rising into foundations and basements in downtown San Bernardino. His primary responsibility is to maintain a depth-to-groundwater level of approximately 150 feet below the surface in order to prevent earthquake liquefaction from occurring in most of the San Bernardino Valley. Without Riverside’s annual water harvest from the San Bernardino/Bunker Hill well field, downtown San Bernardino would experience surface flooding from artesian water sources and much damage to structures would occur without the occurrence of an earthquake.  There are current efforts to bring the ground water level down to 150feet and maintain it at that level to prevent recent estimates of earthquake liquefaction zones.

Riverside is not in an “emergency drought” and is not “required” to conserve a plentiful local resource we already own.  The city has not declared a “Water Supply Emergency” in order to implement mandatory conservation measures because there is no drought emergency in Riverside.  The state Drought Emergency Program to conserve water established a voluntary goal of 20% by 2020 and provided for communities or regions who can demonstrate their water resources are unaffected by drought limiting the supply available to them. The only exception would be in those cases where emergency shortages actually exist and mandatory conservation measures have been implemented to protect public health & safety by a local declaration of a supply/service emergency. Conclusion: the City of Riverside is using this statewide “drought scare factor” and free publicity to successfully conduct a scheme of unlawful water rates/taxation. 

We the people of the City of Riverside have, over the last 98-plus years, continuously invested public funds into purchasing and improving water rights and infrastructure that currently is valued at more than one billion dollars.  We continue to do this in order to benefit from a low-cost, safe, reliable and necessary water utility service that is independent of expensive imported water and therefore is also independent of drought impacts (See Water Utility “Mission Statement”). We pump local ground water, plus we own court-adjudicated rights in San Bernardino to harvest and export to Riverside more water than we can use annually.

To illustrate this more fully, one should note that the city also sells 15-18% of its annual water production to areas outside its service area.  This includes the daily service of water to Home Gardens and the northern parts of Corona, as well as an additional of 6,000 to 8,000 acre feet of water to the Western Municipal Water District (2005 Urban Water Management Plan).

Conclusion: the City of Riverside is misleading the citizens of Riverside into accepting an erroneous fact of “drought” and unlawfully high water rates designed to “save” water so that, the funds “above the (much lower) cost of providing service to individual property owners/customers is sufficient to for non-water utility city expenses such as but not limited to debt service of the Renaissance and Seize your Destiny plans .

“Normal or average” water consumption in Riverside was determined by reviewing city zoning maps and property water bills to establish that the “average” customer/family lives in a residential 3-bedroom house of 1500 sq. ft. on a smaller-sized 7,000 sq. ft. lot. It should be understood that many residences in the city have a much larger lot and therefore a much larger yard to irrigate.  Any tiered pricing scheme inherently charges more per measured unit of water to above-average customers than it does to average or below-average lot size customers (see Attachment A). This is in violation of Article 13D.

Conclusion: the issue of “water waste” is irrelevant to the data analyzed.  It was merely a convenient conclusion to enhance this unlawful scheme so as to generate more Water Utility Department revenue for transfer to the General

Fund and to pay for planned future sale of Certificates of Participation for the Renaissance plan. The tiered pricing scheme is but a formula for calculating your usage-based rate of taxation and punishment for exceeding the city determined “normal or average customer use”.  It calculates your charge for metered consumption of water service without a public vote of approval or constitutionally mandated “Due process of Law”.  If you do not comply with the city’s rules you can be fined up to $1000 per violation and charged with a misdemeanor subject to jail time and fine. 

The California Supreme Court Big Horn ruling reaffirmed prop 218 in total.  The Court said that, in the absence of a Special Benefit determination on a parcel by parcel basis, all customers must be charged the same rate, fee or charge calculated to meet and not exceed the cost of providing service.  This included but is not limited to: residential, industrial, manufacturing, agricultural, commercial, schools, hospitals, universities, colleges and any governmental entity receiving the service.  In the absence of a special benefit study and voter approved assessment every customer may only be charged the same rates, fees and charges as every other customer in the city.  The consumption/metered rates, fees and charges may only be established from the annual cost of electricity ($0.045 to run the pumps plus the annual cost of maintaining the infrastructure (these are the variable costs of a water utility).  Fixed costs may only be attributed to the meter/availability of service charge varied by the flow capacity of your meter connection to the infrastructure in the public right of way.  In spite of the emergency drought statutes that allow permission to include debt service for capital replacement, new construction or replacement of old infrastructure into the rate structure this remains a permissive act that remains constitutionally challengeable. Much of this is also the conclusion of the Sacramento Grand Jury Report, January 06, 2010.

The city has therefore unlawfully established, by ordinance, unconstitutional tiered pricing rates and 19 different water rate schedules. It also has made “special contract sales” for ongoing service with some customers for lower-cost water. The concept of having more than one price for water consumed by any customer(s) is in violation of Proposition 218 and the Supreme Court’s Big Horn ruling.  The rates, fees and charges for water metered service  cannot exceed the cost of providing the service to any property owner/customer and must be the same for all customers (Bighorn Desert View Water Agency v. Verjil and the Sacramento County Grand Jury Report January 2010).

Therefore it can be seen that low-priced water service for some customers of the City of Riverside has to be subsidized by water rates that are substantially higher for other customers, who are primarily the residential customers (see Attachment A).  But Article 13D requires the pricing of water service by a public agency to be no more than the actual cost of service, unless a Special Benefit assessment is determined and voter approved on a parcel by parcel basis (refer to Article 13C and 13D for discussion of what constitutes a Special Benefit).  Any Special Benefit assessment would be an additional charge as a property assessment on our property tax bills, and like a Special Assessment for capital improvement debt service (San Marcos Water District v. San Marcos School District, 1986). The city has not performed any Special Benefit analysis.

The City of Riverside has established and maintains a pattern and practice of violating the state Constitution.  It also violates the equal application of law guaranty of both the U.S. Constitution and the State Constitution.

Conclusion: the city intentionally refuses to comply with Proposition 218 for the purpose of extracting more unlawful tax revenue from the people of Riverside than the city would otherwise receive by lawful means without seeking voter approval.

The Riverside Public Utilities Board (which consists of council-appointed volunteers) studies, decides and recommends water and electric utility rates for approval by the City Council.  A Board member told me that the City Attorney and the City Manager wanted nothing but increased water and electric rates on punitive tiered-rate schedules recommended to the city council.

Before the end of 2006, the board and the city needed to complete the approval of the specified rate increases and the punitive 4-tiered schedule in order to provide the General Fund with an enhanced steady monthly cash flow to the general fund. This cash flow was needed so as to justify a high (AA++) bond rating in following years (2007-2009).  A high bond rating ensures the marketability for the proposed issuance and sale of Revenue bonds and Certificates of Participation (COPs).  Both of these financial instruments were intended to fund parks, libraries, roads, and railroad separation projects (general government expenses) that were part of Riverside’s “Renaissance Plan.”

It was estimated that approval of the Renaissance Plan would cost $1.5 billion over five years beginning in 2007.  According to my source,  she and other Utility Board members wanted to discuss other, more fair, alternatives (i.e. water budgeting per customer lot size) as other cities were doing to effect water conservation. But they were firmly directed by the City Manager’s office to only discuss and approve punitive tiered-rates and a 5-year series of annual small increases totaling 50%.  This way it would impact customers in about the same manner as an annual increase in the cost of living index.

The motive is prestige and personal grandeur, in that the Mayor and other city officials are seeking to further their reputations, careers and incomes.  Co-conspirators are benefiting through increased compensation via salary increases, bonuses, promotions and new employment. Examples of career enhancement are Eileen Tiechert, Steve Beck and Dave Wright, who have left the city for higher-level jobs elsewhere, or have sought to.

Conclusion:  The city’s desires are to take city spending to a higher level, thereby achieving a (falsely acquired) reputation for being the “Best-Run City in California” throughout a world -wide recession.

5.     QUESTION: Does the City of Riverside levy a Utility Users Tax (UUT) on the sum of the monthly billed rate charges for water and electrical service and other services including sewer, trash, phone, gas, cable TV?

ANSWER: YES.  It is currently set at 6.5% and seems to have been instituted by the City Council around 2001.  To my knowledge the city did not allow voters to approve this tax, which would be in keeping with its unlawful pattern and practice of avoiding any public vote on taxes.  If the rates, fees and charges are unlawfully set to generate and effect unlawful taxes or GFTs (refer back to Section 1 of this paper), then, any UUT applied to the sum of the metered rate charges on each monthly bill effectively establishes “Double Taxation”  another unconstitutional act.

Double taxation, as practiced by the City of Riverside, occurs when the City Utility Department includes costs of capital improvement in the billed utility consumption rate structure.  The California Supreme Court in San Marcos Water District v. San Marcos School District decided that charges for recovery of capital improvement costs of a public utility are Special Assessments (i.e. taxes) and are not the cost of ongoing services.  The Court also directed that these capital costs are not be hidden in the rate structure for ongoing service and established a “Bright Line Rule” and stated that form follows function in determining if a fee for services is a hidden tax.  To my knowledge, the City of Riverside has always hidden the costs of capital improvement in the consumption rate of services.  The city never has sought a vote of the public to approve a Special Assessment (General or Special Tax) prior to issuing municipal bonds or COPs that incur annual debt service costs to the Public Utility Department (Article 13C).   Courts have also published decisions in similar cases and ruled that when government entities enter into contractual forms of debt such as municipal bonds, Certificates of Participation or any form contractual sale/lease back agreement, they create a new demand for tax revenue to pay the annual debt service throughout the contracted period (20-30 years) and thus this demand for new taxes need the voters’ approval for the city to lawfully enter into new instruments of debt.  Any debt contracted by the city in the last 20+ years may be unlawful contracts.

The city consistently avoids a public vote to approve Special Assessments to pay debt service and continues to unlawfully inflate the billable amount subject to the UUT, thus effectively increasing the City General Fund revenue monthly from the UUT. This unlawfully nets the city approximately $28 million per year of UUT revenue.  The UUT is unlawful because at the time of its authorization by the city Council it was levied on top of the illegal taxes hidden in the utility rates thus making the UUT the second of the two taxes that established the fact of double taxation.

Since all utility services are delivered to each person in possession of, or the owner of, every parcel in the city’s service area(s), the UUT becomes a property-related tax.   The courts have determined that this form of double taxation on property is unlawful (see Flynn v. San Francisco, 18 Cal. 2d 210,215 and the cases cited therein.)   Flynn v. San Francisco states: “forbidden double taxation occurs when two taxes of the same character are imposed on the same property for the same purpose, by the same taxing authority within the same jurisdiction during the same taxing period.”  The City of Riverside has been charging utility customers (property owners) UUT on water and electric utility services and the hidden taxes therein, which constitutes double taxation.  This is because these services are supplied directly to property owners via conduits along dedicated city easements on and under said private properties for use in the pursuit of the individuals’ right to enjoy property ownership and this effectively taxes property owners twice, in violation of Proposition 13’s one-percent limit of property taxation.

The city unlawfully implemented and maintains utility rates, fees and charges that are designed to produce unlawful tax revenues.  These taxes are hidden in the utility rate structure and result in monthly surplus cash revenue transfers to the city General Fund.  In effect this double taxation is intended to further increase General Fund revenue.

Conclusion: double taxation as practiced by the city is deceitful as well as unconstitutional.

 

6.     QUESTION: Did the City of Riverside unlawfully issue municipal bonds and Certificates of Participation (COPs) since July 1997 to fund water and electric utility infrastructure improvements as well as non-utility General Fund revenue projects (See City of Riverside Capital Improvement Project(s) Report)?

ANSWER: YES.  The specific individual bonds and COPs can be found at EMMA.MSRB.org.  The City of Riverside has submitted incomplete or misleading information concerning the unlawfully-enhanced sources of the City of Riverside’s Utility and General Fund revenue in these matters regulated by the Securities & Exchange Commission.  In addition, I believe disclosing/representing unlawful city Utility Department and General Fund revenue as lawful revenues is an attempt to fraudulently instill undeserved confidence in rating agents, investment banks and investors of the city’s ability to repay debt service (albeit with unlawful revenue).

Conclusion: misrepresenting or failing to disclose pertinent information in regulated financial instruments may be a Federal SEC violation.  The city gained a monetary benefit from higher-than-deserved bond ratings and lower borrowing costs over the contractual period by placing the financial institutions underwriting the bonds at risk.

7.     QUESTION: Did the City of Riverside hide capital cost(s)( mostly debt service payments) in Public Utility consumption rates, fees and charges to unlawfully increase its’ utility rates without a vote of the public as required by law?

ANSWER: Yes. “Capital Cost” is the cost of acquisition, installation, construction or reconstruction, or replacement of a permanent public improvement.  Electric or Water Revenue Bonds and/or COPs are financial instruments used to borrow capital funds to finance capital improvements to the utility infrastructure.  Capital costs are not operating and maintenance expenses to be included in rate calculations (Cal. Supreme, San Marcos).

Capital costs for new infrastructure are supposed to be funded with Special Assessments, Developer Fees, or new individual connection fees.  COPs are contractual financial instruments of borrowing funds for capital improvement and incur the paying of annual debt service on a schedule for a finite period set forth in each contract.  Again, the Supreme Court in San Marcos and other cases have determined that the debt expense (of a finite period with a stated end time) is not a cost of operating the utility service but rather is a Special Assessment or Special Tax.  These require an approving vote of the public before the city can issue the financial instrument for rating and sale.

Once again, the City of Riverside has acted as if it is exempt from the constitution and law in matters of maintaining and increasing General Fund revenue.  Clearly it is not–and thus the matter requires further investigation.  The City of Riverside has consistently established a pattern and practice of unlawfully assigning utility debt service to the electric and water utility cost-of-service accounting ledger.  These revenue-enhancing mechanisms create ever-increasing utility rates, the purpose of which is to unlawfully inflate the Utility Department’s gross revenue.  These acts result in ever-larger GFTs and UUTs that are in turn used as the primary means of increasing General Fund revenue.  This could be described as acts of extortion from the public and consists of multiple acts of unlawful taxation under color of authority.

It should be noted that there is a difference between fixed costs and variable costs.  Debt service expenses are fixed costs of providing the service and are not to be included in the variable costs that figure into rate calculations.  Fixed costs of a contractual nature (bonds and COPs) are the result of public capital improvement project planning and constitute taxation to pay the debt service.  The fixed cost of debt service is defined in law as a Special Assessment.  Special Assessments must be voted upon and must be listed separately on the billings; by that means, the customers can see each item of debt service and its ending date as it is paid down. In that way, the total debt service is not on the bill and so is never subject to the UUT.

Conclusion: the City of Riverside hides utility debt service in rate calculations for both electric and water service.  This is purposely done so the public consumer will not see it as a tax issue or understand that he/she has a constitutional right to vote on the subject new taxes(Articles 13A, 13B and 13C).  Also, the public will never see the end of the debt obligation in the billings, since the city’s scheme is to never decrease these ever-so-profitable rates, fees and charges even when the debt is paid off or retired. (Refer to: Article 13C, definition of General tax, Special tax, capital cost, cost of service; Cal. Govt. Code sec. 50075-77.5, definitions and voter requirements for General and Special taxes; and San Marcos.)

8. QUESTION: Is the City of Riverside disguising the true nature of COPs to protect its scheme?

ANSWER: YES. COPs are contractual lease-back agreements of borrowing in a regulated financial market.  The documentation in the COPs clearly states they were created to avoid constitutional restrictions or limits on the amount of debt a municipality can enter into.  They are created to avoid the provisions of law that require a vote before issuance.  They are not included or counted in the state-mandated 15% of total property valuation that limits local government borrowing (Article 13B).  The city will borrow as much as the markets will loan on these instruments.  It has not disclosed this to the public, in spite of the public testimony of many citizens who have spoken at council meetings over the years.  This testimony was on the specific subject of the 15% limit on borrowing–as well as the seemingly large amounts of debt the city has undertaken (approximately one billion dollars since 2006).

Conclusion: again, the city’s evasive deceitful nature is shown by its pattern of not responding to its citizen’s questions accurately and honestly.  This constitutes more evidence of the how the City of Riverside unlawfully protects what it perceives as its own interests and placing the citizens of the city at risk of future debt payments we cannot afford or file for bankruptcy without exercising their constitutional  RIGHT TO VOTE.

9. QUESTION: The above unlawful actions of the City of Riverside generate approximately $70 million per year of General Fund revenue made in 12 monthly payments of the budget cycle.  The City has obligated much of this unlawful revenue to contractual obligations to pay for almost $1 Billion dollars of borrowed funds.  Did the City of Riverside intend to maintain this scheme should a legal challenge to it come forward?

ANSWER: YES.  The U.S. Constitution has a “contract impairment clause” that, if invoked, should prevent a legal challenge from terminating the unlawful sources of revenue that have been pledged to pay the city’s contractual debt obligations. Undoubtedly, the city will use this clause in its defense. I believe you will find that the facts are evidence of the intent to create a scheme that will be virtually impossible for the citizens of Riverside to terminate.  The showing of fact that the city intentionally entered into a contract using unlawfully obtained funds is in itself unlawful and nullifies these contracts.  The U.S. constitutions contract limitation clause is not intended to allow illegal acts established to further a contractual instrument of debt to be created or maintained.  We must protest and proclaim that the all of the utility contractual debt service must be paid only with lawful General Fund revenues (as part of restitution to the ratepayers). Doing so will eliminate from utility budget/rate calculations all of the debt service expense that has unlawfully been imposed upon the consumer public.  This is the answer to all who complained about $1000-3000 summer electric bills at city Council meetings in 2008-9

Conclusion: Directing that the city’s General Fund pay the Utility Department’s debt expense with lawful revenues only will help compensate the public for damages and is in fact pledged by the city in the COPs document(s) as the form of backup payment in case the law is enforced upon the city.

 

10. QUESTION: In 2006 the Riverside County Grand Jury issued its report on the ineffective efforts of the City of Riverside and the North West Mosquito Vector Control District (District) to protect the general public health from transmission of the West Nile Virus (WNV).  The Grand Jury reported seven WNV cases in the City of Riverside and directed the city to perform better.  The City Manager responded, saying the city’s efforts were appropriate and too costly to improve. Did the City of Riverside create a scheme with the District by proposing to annex it into the District and propose an unlawful Special Assessment on residential properties within the city ($8 per acre/lot)?

ANSWER: YES. A Special Assessment is unlawful because of the San Marcos ruling that Special Assessments are only to be used for capital improvement costs including debt service expense for capital construction.  The engineering detailing how this would correctly be an annual property assessment erred in listing only $16,000 of a $488,000 budgeted for services.  The District Board approved resolutions Nos. 460 and 462.  These almost identical resolutions make the agreement to annex the city into the District and make a $0.00 transfer to the District of ad valorum property tax revenues generated within the territory to be annexed (tax revenue presently passed to the City of Riverside by the County Assessor).  These tax monies were intended to remain in the general fund for other city spending opportunities ($488,000 per year).   So both parties stood to gain essentially $488,000 and you would see a new annual property tax on your bill! Such a deal!

The San Marcos Supreme Court ruling stated that Special Assessments are only to be used to recover capital costs of a permanent improvement (i.e., actual constructed infrastructure) and not a fee in lieu of taxes. “A fee constitutes a Special Assessment only if its purpose is to defray the costs of capital improvements that directly benefit the property.”  The San Marcos decision says utility services are property-related services; yet, under state law mosquito/vector control is a 100% public health program (that benefits the general public).  All of the Districts’ public literature emphasizes the general public benefit of this public health based program to control or eliminate mosquitos, rats and Africanized bees.

This state-mandated program continues today as the “The Mosquito Abatement and Vector Control District Law” (Health and Safety Code Sec. 2000-2007) and the District is eligible to receive annual state funding from the Vectorborne Disease Account (H&S Code, Section 116112).  The District is also supported with an appropriate share of ad valorum property taxes (from properties in the district).  San Marcos “established a rule that looks to the purpose of the fee being charged, and not simply to the form of the fee, a matter which can easily be manipulated.”  Therefore, in this case the City of Riverside and the District are unlawfully manipulating the situation and the supporting documentation to annex territory to the District and establish a never-ending, unlawful Special Assessment on property ownership.  Also, they never intended to assess any of the city owned property or commercial/industrial properties.  The city placed this extra cost in your proposed property assessment.   Such a deal!

So here is the motive behind what the city and the District are doing: San Marcos also determined that local government (the city) is exempt from Special Assessments on city-owned property.  Thus all the city’s costs are assigned to and paid by the private property owners through the proposed unlawful Special Assessment regardless of where the diseases and vectors are found.  Conveniently, by law the city is exempt for all costs to treat city-owned parks, golf courses or any other habitat for any vector on any city property—when the District uses a Special Assessment to recover the costs of service.

It seems apparent that the District agreed to this scheme to let the city keep the ad valorum property taxes as part of this sweet deal.  The new assessment will generate over $488,000 for the District with annual inflation cost increases of 2-3%.  Did the City of Riverside pay the cost of this annexation?  In San Marcos the “court concluded that to focus exclusively on whether the charge at issue is in the form of a Special Assessment or user fee would elevate form over substance and permit local government to evade the prohibition on charging public entities.”  The situation here is that the city and the District are merely trying to reverse the logic of the above quote, i.e., that the city and the District are using “form over function” to disguise and evade the true meaning and lawful application of “Special Assessment.”  Special assessment is now charged to government owned property receiving public utility services.

The city and District alleged the annual program costs are “improvements to property.”  This was conceived so both entities will benefit from revenue enhancement at the expense of property owners in the city.  The Court in San Marcos ruled that capital costs are for permanent improvement to property (example: utility infrastructure) and are only recoverable through a Special Assessment.  Annual operating expenses for a public health program to control disease vectors is not a capital expense and thus as proposed is an unlawful Special Assessment.  The votes were not counted at the public hearing to determine the tally as required by constitutional law.  Instead several passed before the Press Enterprise published a small article on the voters disapproval of the ballot measure.  The article did not say how many yes or no votes were counted!?  The city of art and innovation.

Ad valorum property tax revenue from the city general fund and/or a new Special tax are lawful forms of paying the District’s cost of providing this service to the citizens of Riverside.  The city has yet to announce a contract with the NWMVCD to pay the cost of service from the general fund.  Such a Deal.  Appropriate taxation must be vote on in this case to pay the cost of ongoing variable expenses for a general public health benefit (for vector control services).  The City of Riverside cannot claim an exemption from a Special tax.

Conclusion: the District should be putting to a vote both the annexation and a Special Tax (H&S Code Sec. 2081).   Otherwise, this is just another form of conspiracy against taxpayers by the city and District.  Excessive greed is evidenced by their actions.

11. QUESTION: Did the City of Riverside establish a lawfully binding contract with the utility rate-paying citizens of Riverside when it established and published in numerous city documents through many years  the following Mission Statement?

“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.” 

ANSWER: YES.  I believe that under common contract law, the City of Riverside did establish an actual lawful binding contract with the people of Riverside when it adopted and published, openly, the above mission statement. In fact, a written contract is also established when you apply for utility services from the city Public Utility Department.  I believe the second includes the former.  Both being provisions of the binding agreement.

Conclusion: the City of Riverside violated the lawful contract with its citizens and utility customers when it established public utility rates above the cost of service, which is a violation of the Constitution of the State of California.

12. QUESTION: Should the reader find facts and truth in the above?

ANSWER: YES. The reader should easily find that: elected and/or employed individuals in the City of Riverside have, on numerous occasions, violated (with intent) the laws and constitutional protections and rights of the citizens of Riverside.  These violations include, but are not limited to, the right of the citizens to vote on taxes; thus, the City of Riverside and individuals did violate the law and both federal and state constitutions.  They also thereby violated their Oaths of Office and may be punishable under federal and state laws. [Cal. Const. Article 20, sec.3; U.S. Code 42, Chapter 21, Sub Chapter 1, sec. 1981; Public Law 96-303 (1980), section: I-X]

  1.   The reader should read the U.S. Attorneys Handbook on successful prosecution of mail/wire fraud.    Mail fraud is the creation of a scheme to separate a person from something of value and uses the mail/wire to further the scheme.

The City mails you your utility bill and public notices of rate increases.  You may mail your payment or use the internet for electronic payment.

Attachment A

City Development Department staff and the City Manager determined that the average Riverside utility customer occupies a single-family home on a 7,000 sq. ft lot that is zoned R-1.  Many R-1-zoned single family residences are built upon lots larger than 7,000 sq. ft.  Corner lots are always larger than others along a residential street and some developments in Riverside have lot sizes ranging up to several acres. But City Code Chapter 16 requires all property owners to landscape, maintain and irrigate all portions of a lot that face a public street.

All lots are subject to this code requirement, and the water rates were developed for the average 7,000 sq. ft. lot, which have about 1500 sq. ft. front yards. But many lots have much more of their square footage facing the public streets, and so do not fit the “average” criteria.  Owners of large lots and corner lots are required by City Code Enforcement ordinances, and under threat of fines and penalties, to water and maintain much larger square footages of landscaping (in my case, this is an area of more than 30,000 sq. ft.). This automatically forces me into the upper tiers of water pricing, with no consideration made for my individual circumstances. In 1997, my monthly water rate was $0.47/ccf.  Under the current 4-tiered system, my average monthly water rate is $3.00/ccf. Summer water bills that used to be $75 a month rose to over $600 a month.  By installing city-approved water-conserving sprinkler heads and not watering portions of our large front yard (and potentially incurring fines from the city), we have reduced this amount to about $500 per month in the summer months.

The alternative, as encouraged by the city, is to put in drought-tolerant landscaping and drip irrigation, which while commendable, is a very expensive proposal for large-frontage properties. And this is all because the city wants more money in its General Fund and is collecting it in an unlawful manner in a city which admits the fact that its water supply is not affected by drought.

Additionally, most developed residential lots have one or more city trees planted in the public right-of-way along the sidewalk.  City Code requires property owners to adequately water the city-owned trees. Both requirements further the city’s fraudulent revenue enhancement scheme of ever-increasing utility rates and the Utility Users Tax.

The calculations below demonstrate the disproportionate and unlawful affect of the City of Riverside’s punitive 4-tiered pricing schedules for water and electricity.  Tiered pricing schemes are unlawful under Prop 218 because they exceed the proportionality rule/test and effectively charge one customer a different rate than another customer.  The Supreme court upheld Prop 218 and ruled rates charged to all customers must be the same, not exceed the cost of service to the parcel, and can only be different based upon a special benefit determination on a parcel by parcel basis.

AVERAGE WATER USER:

0-15 ccf metered consumption @ $1.04 per ccf                          15 ccf=$15.60

16-35 ccf metered consumption @ $1.71 per ccf                        20 ccf=$34.20

36-60 ccf metered consumption @ $2.59 per ccf                      10 ccf=$25.90

Totals  45 ccf   $75.70

Result: Monthly cost per ccf:  $1.68

BELOW-AVERAGE WATER USER:

0-15 ccf metered consumption @ $1.04 per ccf                          15 ccf=$15.60

Totals  45 ccf   $75.70

Result: Monthly cost per ccf:  $1.04

ABOVE-AVERAGE WATER USER:

0-15 ccf metered consumption @ $1.04 per ccf                         15 ccf=$15.60

16-35 ccf metered consumption @ $1.71 per ccf                       20 ccf=$34.20

36-60 ccf metered consumption @ $2.59 per ccf                       25 ccf=$64.75

61-160 ccf metered consumption @ $3.66 per ccf                 100 ccf=$366.00

Totals  160 ccf   $480.55

Result: Monthly cost per ccf:  $3.00

Conclusion: The more you use, the more you pay per unit of water or other utility services (electricity) that are metered and priced on a punitive tiered scheme violating the provisions of Prop 218. 

A possible investigative job for the DA?  Maybe when he’s not busy..

THE PURPLE PIPE

Many have not heard of the purple pipe or if they did, do not know what it is all about.  The City would like to install  the purple  pipe in your homes and businesses in order to reclaim the water that goes down your drain.  Why ‘purple’?  This is to distinguish and make sure pipes are not crossed between potable (water suitable for drinking) and non-potable (water not suitable for drinking, which will be the purple pipe. Purple pipe is for non-potable gray-water.  Gray- water is wastewater from shower drains, bathtubs, sinks, dishwashers and washing machines. This gray water accounts for between 50-80% of our home, offices, and schools outflow. Gray water can be reused for irrigation, toilet flushing and exterior washing.

        

But we also have to remember that the City of Riverside owns water right unlike other cities.  In their defense of water reclamation they also state a portion will be used to recharge local ground water levels.  It is known that we use approximately 40% of our water, the remaining 60% is sold to other municipalities.  In some areas of our water harvesting basin, the ground water levels cannot rise above the 50 foot mark from the ground, otherwise the risk of damaging building an infrastructure would be high.  For a 5/8″ to 3/4″ pipe the rate will be $2.00 for 2012, but in 2012 it will go up to $4.00.  Also what is being voting on, and the language is vague, is rate range from $3.34 to $333.34, and this without a vote of the people.

     

RATES 2012                    RATES 2013

Therefore, we are attempting to clarify the language of the following in regards to rate cost to residents:

(1) A monthly recycled water charge based on meter size to all water rates of approximately $2.00 for residential and non-residential customers with meter sizes from 5/8” to 3/4”, effective May 1, 2012 (except for WA-2, WA-5, WA-8, and WA-10 rates). A monthly recycled water charge for other meters, ranging from $3.34 to $333.34, will be levied and will be dependent on the size of the meter.

(2) An increase to the monthly recycled water charge based on meter size to all water rates of approximately $2.00 for residential and non-residential customers with meter sizes from 5/8” to 3/4”, effective May 1, 2013 (except for WA-2, WA-5, WA-8 and WA-10 rates). An increase to the recycled water monthly charge for other meters, ranging from $3.34 to $333.34, will be levied and will be dependent on the size of the meter.

The language is vague, but it indicates a flat monthly charge depending on pipe size, then an additional increase in monthly recycled water charge which we need to clarify with the city.  Further there is no difference in price between clean water and recycled water, they both will cost the consumer $1.14 per 100 cubic feet.  You would expect a price break on reclaimed water.  Many our asking if this a scheme or artifice?  In less technical terms, a scam against the citizens of Riverside?   Since the City of Riverside has water rights and doesn’t have to purchase water from a third party as many other cities do.

One thing for sure is that the rates will increase a 100% from 2012 to 2013.  Many questions will continue to abound for a city that has more water than it knows what to do with it.   Get more information on the purple pipe program works can be followed by clicking this link.  Or the City of Riverside link: http://www.riversideca.gov/utilities/admin-publichearing.asp  Will the purple eat away at constituents in taxes, and then be known as ‘The Purple People Eater”?

TMC, RATED RIVERSIDE’S MOST “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 ACLU.  RATED ONE TWO STAR OUT OF FIVE IN TERMS OF COMMUNITY APPROVAL RATINGS..  TMC IS NOW EXCLUSIVELY ON FILE WITH THE COUNTY OF RIVERSIDE’S DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE, AND PROSSIBLY POSSIBLY ON FILE WITH THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE’S POTENTIAL SLAPP SUIT LIST… WE WILL HAVE TO ASK GREGORY ABOUT THAT ONE… AGAIN, THANK-YOU COMMUNITY OF RIVERSIDE AND THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE EMPLOYEE’S FOR YOUR SUPPORT!   COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOMED, ESPECIALLY SPELL CHECKERS!  EMAIL ANONYMOUSLY WITH YOUR DIRT OR FOR CONTACT!   THIRTYMILESCORRUPTION@HOTMAIL.COM