WHO WOULDN’T TRUST THIS INNOCENT FACE?
Just a few weeks back, we warned you of the
new old game in town: the Public-Private Partnership(“P“-ing on your leg and telling you it’s raining, essentially). The masters of this taxpayer and ratepayer ripoff is, of course, our old pal, the Greater Riverside Chamber of Commerce. The point of this game is to enhance their visibility in the community under the auspices of doing great deeds of self-less charity, quietly paid for with your money, in order to justify their political influence, which will then be used to create programs that more directly (but just as quietly) benefit their membership … once again, at your expense.
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This week’s scam is called the Waterwise Landscape Makeover, wherein a lucky Riverside homeowner wins $10,000 in goods and services to makeover their yard courtesy of Chamber-administered Keep Riverside Clean and Beautiful (KRCB) program. Western Municipal Water District (Bob Stockton on both boards of directors) and Riverside Public Utilities (RPU exec Girish Balachandran on Chamber’s board of directors) graciously sponsor the makeover with your money. The Chamber also sells raffle tickets with the proceeds going to help pay, “for tools and supplies for monthly beautification projects and youth education projects.” Apparently, the $190,000+/year the taxpayers of Riverside kick in to run KRCB does not buy many shovels, rakes, and garbage bags….must be inflation!
Did we mention that 3-year contract with KRCB was of the no-bid variety? Or did that go without saying?
If nothing else, we at TMC love winners, and so we checked to see who the lucky folks were that have won this contest in the past.
In 2009, Officer Mike Blakely of the Riverside Police Department took home the prize.
In 2010, Chamber of Commerce member Laurie Beatty was chosen.
In 2011, Administrative Assistant to the City Manager, Maureen Mitchell, won the makeover.
In 2012, it was Chamber member Bill Chamberlain.
In 2013, another Chamber member, Matt Stowe.
In 2014, Nick Ferguson, who had recently joined the Riverside’s Board of Public Utilities, was all smiles with his new landscaping.
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We wait with bated breath for word on who the 2015 winner will be!
For most contests such as these, the public is accustomed to hearing/seeing something akin to the following disclaimer: employees of the company, the contest’s participating sponsors and their advertising agencies, and members of the immediate family of any such persons are not eligible to participate and win. So let’s tally this up: in 6 years, 2 city employees, 3 Chamber members, and one RPU Board member were awarded the top prize. An award which was sponsored by the City and RPU, run through the Chamber…
If that sounds a bit questionable, don’t worry: we were assured by Chamber counsel, Dewey Cheatham, and Howe LLP, and auditor, Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLP, that we’re just being paranoid…and of course, jealous. TMC would love to get taxpayer and ratepayer funding so that we could run our own games, sell tickets to our friends, and share your wealth with them…(on second though, that would be a scam…and we’re certain our ever vigilant Council and Board of Public Utilities wouldn’t allow it…unless we were also Board members and city executives as well…) Hmmmmmmm. We may have chosen the wrong careers. 😦
Of course, the more obvious explanation is that if not for the Chamber and the City, no one would, you know, actually buy tickets for this contest. And we can’t have that, or we’d have no excuse to burn our ratepayers’ money. So of course only Chamber members and City staff and appointeds win the darn thing! And we’d be fine with that…if they weren’t using our hard-earned cash to sponsor it.
SOMETIME SOON (MAYBE EVEN THIS MONTH), we’ll talk about one of the big ripoffs: the commercial turf replacement program, funded through an illegal tax on your utility bills to the tune of millions of dollars, for the benefit of Chamber members. And the deadbeat goes on….
EDIT: RIVERSIDE PUBLIC UTILITIES BOARD EVER-SO-SLIGHTLY RAISES THE RENTAL FEE OF THE AB BROWN SOCCER FIELDS TO THE AMERICAN YOUTH SOCCER ORGANIZATION …from $1/year to $11,000! The possibility remains to double or triple rentals fees going forward. Questions arise as to why. Of course, TMC knows that anytime one deals with the City, bad things will eventually happen, and there will be no transparency as to why…but that’s the big picture. Will the youth of this soccer organization have to find another location? Is this another attempt to make it financially difficult for the youth to use the grounds because the city has other plans that does not include them? Some are indicating “extortion” tactics by the city. The claim of “extortion” was also brought publicly by the newly built Hyatt Hotel in Riverside. The Hyatt developer’s claim states that the city “extorted” money from MetroRiverside (developer of the Hyatt) by improperly changing the obligations to build public improvements, and by delaying approval of designs for the improvements. The claims says the developer lost money because of the design approval delay and the convention center closure.
TMC, however, knows the real story of what’s going on at the Ab Brown Soccer Fields: they are being used for General Fund purposes financed by our Electric Fund in violation of our City Charter! In other words, we have another illegal tax Riverside residents pay for via our utility bills, which is hidden from the public through an elaborate shell game concocted by City staff and endorsed by our Council. The City’s General Fund would of course like to buy these properties from the Electric Fund to fix this little problem, but it’s out of money! So the real question is not, “why did the rent go up?” but, “why wasn’t it raised a long time ago?,” a question raised by RPU General Manager Girish Balachandran in an unguarded moment last December. And the answer to that question is: because we misspent hundreds of millions of dollars under the previous/current regime…and now the kids must pay that price. And if that doesn’t make you angry enough to kick Ward 1 Councilman Mike Gardner to the curb this election, we don’t know what would…
TMC, RATED RIVERSIDE’S MOST “DISAPPOINTING,” “BELOW THE BELT,” “A NEW LOW,” “SHOCKING,” “OFFENSIVE,” “INAPPROPRIATE,” “HURTFUL,” “MEAN SPIRITED,” “DISTASTEFUL,” “EMBARRASSING,” HORIFFIC,” “SLANDEROUS” AND
MEZZSPELLED, “MISSPELLED” AND “OPINIONATED” BLOG SITE! TEMPORARILY BLOCKED BY THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE AT PUBLIC ACCESS SITES WITHIN THE CITY, THEN UNBLOCKED. I GUESS YOU CANNOT DO THAT ACCORDING TO THE ACLU. RATED ONE TWO ONE STAR OUT OF FIVE IN TERMS OF COMMUNITY APPROVAL RATINGS.. TMC IS NOW EXCLUSIVLY EXCLUSIVELY ON FILE WITH THE COUNTY OF RIVERSIDE’S DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE (WE BELIEVE THIS WILL END SOON, SINCE THE FOCUS IS NOW ON THE IMPROPRIETIES OF MR. “Z”, WE TRIED TO TELL YOU, BUT NOBODY LISTENED), AND DON’T FORGET WE ARE PROSSIBLY POSSIBLY ON FILE WITH THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE’S POTENTIAL SLAPP SUIT LIST… A STRATEGIC LEGAL MANEUVER THAT CAN BE DONE ONLY IN RIVERSIDE WITHOUT A CONTRACT… AGAIN, THANK-YOU COMMUNITY OF RIVERSIDE AND THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE EMPLOYEE’S FOR YOUR SUPPORT! COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOMED, ESPECIALLY SPELL CHECKERS! WE JUST CAN’T SPELL! EMAIL ANONYMOUSLY WITH YOUR DIRT BY CONTACTING US AT: THIRTYMILESCORRUPTION@HOTMAIL.COM