On April 6th an anonymous email came in to Thirty Miles of Corruption concerning some current and former staff members at City Hall. There were four issues, one of which had to deal with sex in the work place. We were going to take the email to the monthly Human Resources Board meeting and address the boss herself, HR Director Brenda Diederichs, as to the allegations. With email in hand, merrily we arrived to the meeting … but it had been cancelled at the last minute with no notice given to the public. Staff and board members had of, course, been advised of this already, so as to not waste their time showing up. TMC realizes the public is low man of the totem pole in Riverside, so we accepted our fate and moved on.
Now what were we our options? For you see, there is no formal complaint policy in place at the City to address such issues. The public has raised this issue before, only to be ignored by those on the dais. We first contacted Councilman Mike Soubrious by phone and read him the email. He certainly didn’t sound shocked by it. In fact, he stated these allegations were just a small piece of a larger puzzle. Hmmmm … we wonder what he meant by that? We couldn’t take the letter to City Manager Lee McDougal (that’s a whole other story, but will be told, much to the chagrin of Mr. McDougal we suspect). With no other alternatives available, we decided to take our story right to City Council.
So at City Council on April 7th, we stood before all seven council members and the mayor and read the staff email … and all hell broke loose. In the history of attending the council meetings, we have never seen such a response. Apparently, the email was deemed so salacious by the powers that be that the video of the meeting was taken off the City’s website and government television channel. That’s right folks: you will never be able to view the video on the City’s web site because of this censorship. If you want the entire video you can order it from the City Clerk, but it will NEVER be posted again. However, in the spirit of transparency, and as a free service to the public, we at TMC offer it here for the viewing public.
‘It’s discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit.” – Noël Coward, Blithe Spirit .
Many on staff at the City of Riverside have been coming to Thirty Miles, anonymously, for their voice for years. This is certainly not the first time we have brought an email to a board or council meeting. Most employees know that if they come forward with any honest information or concerns that are in any way perceived as potentially embarrassing for management of the City, they will be retaliated against or fired: that is a fact. Just as Raychele Sterling, Jason Hunter, Sean Gill, or countless others. This has been an ongoing problem for years, which remains unaddressed.
TMC has taken up the cause of staff issues a number of times in the past. One of our favorites recurring themes involves sex in the workplace: City Hall’s worst-kept, dirty little secret. Now of course, we enjoy a scandalous tryst as much as anybody, but there’s another reason these romantic rendezvous capture our attention…
Where do you think the money comes from to run City Hall? The taxpayers and ratepayers of Riverside foot the bill for the salaries for all employees and operations already. Should we also have to pay for conferences that are really lovers’ vacations as well? How about 2 hour lunches for folks to look starry-eyed into each others eyes, aka time card fraud?
There are other reasons sex in the workplace is detrimental to the taxpayer. Moral suffers amongst fellow employees who suspect favoritism which then affect their productivity suffers. When unqualified girlfriends/boyfriends get promoted over better candidates it ends up costing the taxpayer millions of dollars because of bad decisions. The City knows this of course. For example, let’s take a look at the Neely Nakamora vs. City of Riverside case. Former Assistant City Manager Tom Desantis, a subject matter expert we’ve been told, testified in court that workplace relationships hurt the taxpayer. The Council may pretend to be shocked by the email, but that’s just the facade they put on for the public.
Let’s talk about accountability for a moment. Our City has been trying to figure out what to do with the former Riverside Golf Course on the north side of town for years now. At one point, there was momentum for developing a soccer complex on the site. The developers who wanted the contract spent thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars putting their plans together to present to the city council. The City/taxpayer spent almost two full years working on this project, an entire department laboring away.
Well what happened? The project went quietly into the night. It unraveled because of cover-ups and scandals from the previous administration, much of it having to do with a certain executive who had been promoted because of her ability to do the horizontal mambo we hear. Now we’re back to square one. And where’s the accountability? Have you ever seen anyone from the city of Riverside ever admit to a mistake, or heaven-forbid try to quantify one. They will happily just charge the taxpayer more – it’s free after all! The taxpayer just has to pay the bill. Now we’re told by our master that the public is not allowed to ask or encourage the council to look into matters that affect us all? Well, what are they there for?
And that’s not all. For you see, relationships beget hurt feelings sometime, which in turn result in sexual harassment lawsuits. And guess what? You will be forced ultimately to pay out all legal fees, investigative and court cost, settlements, verdicts, etc., all in the name of love. If the public were to examine the typical weekly closed session City Council agenda, they would find a handful or two lawsuits against the City, maybe 20 to 25 a month. Some ongoing, some new, and some anticipated. Who do you think is writing check for all this? … Us.
Back in May 2011, Thirty Miles asked City Hall if there was a “Love Contract” on file, with reference to Miller vs. California Department of Corrections, as policy in order to deal with situations as this. City Hall emailed us back there were no documents response to our request. In City lingo, this means, “we ain’t got squat.” Does anyone in this city use protection? Apparently not.
COMMENTER CRUSADER SENDS EMAIL TO THIRTY MILES OF CORRUPTION:
Subject: Keep up the Good Work!
From: Crusader: 4/11.201 To: firstname.lastname@example.org
Nice to see people raising hell in this county, to be sure. The government and politicians always try to find a way to hide stuff. How childish to BAN the airing of council meetings because they don’t like the content; that is a real joke. Also, I’m not a lawyer, but it might violate some type of rights of the public.
People who don’t live near the meetings, are in ill health, disabled, etc., have no way to see what is going on at the controversial meetings. The City requiring a public records request is also troublesome, because its sole purpose is to DISCOURAGE the public from obtaining public information. You probably know all this stuff anyhow, but I think there are some constitutional issues to be addressed. Anyhow, I have to get back to proofreading.
Be well and stay safe!
UPDATE:10.29.2015: SEX AND THE CITY HALL? New Voice of OC article by writer Adam Elmahrek.. What sex by Santa Ana City officials within the walls of San Ana City Hall? This story gives credence to those within Riverside City Hall who attempted to discredit the issue that sexual relationships in the workplace can create liability for a City, thus the taxpayer. This point was made by Vivian Moreno with blow back from council and executive staff.
THE CITY OF SANTA ANA CITY HALL
Since brought to the attention of Balachandran back in November of 2014, he has continued to give the public the bird when it comes to representing our interests. Is he 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, in this case his his board membership with the Greater Riverside Chamber of Commerce? Will things change? We’ll find out soon, as the topic’s scheduled for the next Governmental Affairs Committee … and right before an election too! Bad timing for the status quo.
CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE
Jason Hunter, former City of Riverside Principle Resource Analyst, who was fired for reporting assorted executive tomfoolery within Riverside Public Utilities, speaks during City Council public comment on April 14, 2015. Hunter points to the camera in the rear because of a
new, old, new policy to film the public, and only the public, using the camera waaaaaay back in the rear of the Council Chambers, brought about by, “below the belt,” comments made by public speaker Vivian Moreno the previous week. We’re told it is now official City Council policy, although we don’t know when they met to talk about it in yet another in a long line of apparent Brown Act violations. Wanting to see the backsides of the public is a bit kinky if you ask us, but perhaps that’s a better question to ask Interim City Manager McDougal … who knows a thing or two about that.
Hunter asks the question: what is the purpose of having a $300,000,000 stockpile of cash at Riverside Public Utilities? Who knows!…because our Water Utility has no Reserve Policy! The Electric Fund has a policy, but is 10 years old and completely outdated, and no one in the City is following it anyway. What the City has done is set the utility rates too high, resulting in a cash reserve which the city cannot justify … so give it back to the community we say.
What’s apparent is that the City needs to decrease utility rates, and give back, oh say, $100 million or so back to the 100,000 customers of Riverside Public Utilities. That’s comes out to a nice tidy $1000.00 check apiece. The larger question of course is: why were the rates set so high for so long? Was it so that executives at Public Utilities could pay for every mistake that would every come up? One being…San Onofre? Or was it to maximize the annual transfer from the utilities to the General Fund to keep those glorious salaries and benefits going, and allow the Council to continue its fat cat spending ways?
One thing’s for certain: with Hunter’s lawsuit against the City settled, we can look forward to hearing from him every week in 2015 about another unethical or illegal activity that’s been funded with ratepayer money. Hopefully, the District Attorney is watching.
04.14.2015: CITY MANAGER LEE MCDOUGAL GOES BACK TO FILMING PUBLIC SPEAKERS FROM THE BACKSIDE … AGAIN! IS HE BEING PETTY? OR JUST ATTEMPTING TO PUNISH THE PUBLIC SO THAT WE “GET THE MESSAGE”? BACK IN FEBRUARY 14, 2014 THE PE RAN A STORY OF THIS REAR VIEW FILMING.
During public comment, folks watching MgmTV (McDougal Gluteus Maximus Television), will be treated to a new, “below the belt,” perspective of City Council meetings. Juvenile as it may seem to the community, viewing public speakers from behind will not make the real issues in the City of Riverside go away. They still need to be addressed, even if city hall isn’t quite ready to handle the truth.
04.15.2015: OPINION ON THE PE: DON’T SWAT GADFLIES FOR CIVILITY’S SAKE. McDougal says the city will “look at how do we control speech, if we can, that is harmful, that is slanderous going forward.” If we can is an important caveat. It isn’t for any government official to say what’s “harmful” or not. “Harmful” can be just another word for embarrassing.
And who will get to determine what, “harmful,” speech the general public will not be exposed to? Why government people like Mr. McDougal of course!!
Again, Mr. McDougal, the First Amendment is non-negotiable. But your actions speak louder than words.
PCB’S AT AG PARK FROM MARCH 27, 2015 VIDEO DOCUMENTARY: PENNY NEWMAN AND DTSC DIRECTOR SHOW.
Jaime Hurtado filed paperwork this month with the county Registrar of Voters to run for the Fifth Supervisorial District three years from now. Ashley, who has represented the district since 2002 and was re-elected last year, has said he won’t run again. Hurtado, a Moreno Valley resident, has been on Ashley’s staff since 2003, working his way up to Chief of Staff. How well did Ashley groom Hurtado to continue his legacy … as some residents have said … to continue a legacy of corruption?
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