Five before Midnight

This site is dedicated to the continuous oversight of the Riverside(CA)Police Department, which was formerly overseen by the state attorney general. This blog will hopefully play that role being free of City Hall's micromanagement.
"The horror of that moment," the King went on, "I shall never, never forget." "You will though," the Queen said, "if you don't make a memorandum of it." --Lewis Carroll


My Photo
Location: RiverCity, Inland Empire

Monday, August 11, 2008

Hello and good bye, Riverside style

Michael Beck got the job!

As you have heard or read, Beck who is one of Riverside's assistant city managers won the job as city manager for Pasadena, as the city council there recently voted in support of hiring him after a seven month hiring process. The city sifted through 62 applications and decided on Beck who was pretty much favored to top the short list.

Beck initially was hired by Riverside some years ago to fill a newly created deputy city manager position before acting as interim city manager for a brief period after former City Manager George Carvalho was fired by the then city council in 2004. He was then promoted to assistant city manager and put in charge of development and redevelopment. His work in that position is what created the controversy with preservation groups in Pasadena, a city known for its maintaining its historic buildings.

He will be starting his new job on Oct. 1. A little bit more information including a response from Beck is here.

City Manager Brad Hudson was quoted in Belo Blog as talking about how "devastated" everyone was at the news of Beck's departure. You think that they'd be happy for the guy, if only because it's a sign that at least one of the management employees in that office can actually move onto bigger and better frontiers.

Hudson plans to name an interim replacement from his staff and reassign some of Beck's old job responsibilities elsewhere. It's not clear who's on the short (or long) list to fill Beck's shoes but it has to be someone with management experience and a certain amount of collegiate education. Will it be a department head? Stay tuned.

Before Beck leaves the Inland Empire for Los Angeles County pastures, he'll have plenty of opportunities to participate in government processes and bear witness to others including the discussion at the city council's evening session involving the recommendations presented by a blue-ribbon panel to expand and renovate the downtown library and museum.

The city council report is quite brief and it includes the recommendations. But what remains to be seen is how the discussion will play out, given that Mayor Ron Loveridge and Ward One City Councilman Mike Gardner have recommended that the city council adopt the "concept" of the panel's recommendations and then set two public workshop meetings possibly for October and November. Will the will of the people who with the collective vision of this process which has already collided with that held by Hudson coincide with the city council or collide with it? Will Election 2009 rear its head this early on?

There are no Nielsen rating months with the season of city council meetings but this is one meeting that would certainly be scheduled to take place during a Nielsen month if there was one. But even with the workshops if that's what goes through, it's important for those who've been actively involved in this issue to keep being aware and active for the long haul. Especially during that second workshop involving Hudson's office and the time period between that workshop and when or if it goes back to city council for further discussion and/or action. If there are any alternative agendas and none of them surface tomorrow, then this is the time slot in which they will be most likely to appear.

One of downtown Riverside's best restaurants, the Upper Crust, is feeling the pinch like most small businesses in this harsh economy. Owned by Cory and Wretha Knight, the sandwich and soup shop has been a mainstay in the pedestrian mall during the years it's resided there and has many loyal customers who visit there not just for the delicious food but for the company.

The Knights are also two of the nicest people you'll ever meet. Their daughter who worked in the store with them was seriously injured in a car accident which killed her boyfriend among others in the car. But they still feel they are blessed in many ways.

Knight talks about his foray into the business world.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

"It wasn't that difficult a transition," he said. "It was hard getting used to not punching a clock every day. But my wife had been running the business and she understood inventory, and I learned on the job. It was the best move I ever made."

The Knights run the business today with the help of two full-time and two part-time employees.

"There are days when we want to clobber each other, but running this place has probably been the best thing that's ever happened to us," Wretha Knight said. "Some days aren't that good, but I don't have a lot to complain about."

Although he doesn't expect the economy to improve soon, Cary Knight said Upper Crust will continue to thrive.

"Things really aren't that bad," he said. "The (businesses) on the mall feed off each other, and downtown Riverside is a great place for people to come and hang out."

So if you need some lunch, go check out the Upper Crust. They have a daily special which included a half-sandwich and a choice of soup or salad.

Another Riverside institution, Press Enterprise Columnist Dan Bernstein writes about the foreclosure crisis in Riverside and the ouster of the Greyhound Bus.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

The bus stops here. Until Oct. 31. Greyhound Central will be out of Riverside by Halloween.

"We're still committed to serving residents of Riverside."

Who said that? Not Councilman Mike Gardner, who wants the station out of his downtown ward. Not Councilman Andy Melendrez, even though Amtrak and Metrolink stop in his. He draws the line at the hound.

Those words come from Greyhound spokeswoman Abby Wambaugh, who added, "We are looking for a location nearby." Wouldn't say where.

"Technically, they might still be listed, but I haven't been trying to sell them." So said developer Alan Mruvka in May when I asked about his 10 live-work units. Would anyone pay $620K-$720K for new housing (and office) in downtown River City? A test case for other developers. Two months later, it still looks like he's not trying to sell them. But at least the banners are up.

"Now leasing."

Is anyone who's been watching both the housing market particularly the completely stagnated housing market (as one city council member acknowledged during a recent public meeting) and the high-priced "lofts" downtown really all that surprised? Now, really.

During each year, Greyhound serviced over 85,000 travelers including poor families, seniors and disabled individuals, who will now have to find transportation to San Bernardino to ride Greyhound even though there isn't any public transportation from Riverside to San Bernardino on weekends and holidays.

The closest thing offered as a remedy to this situation by the enlightened city council were some transportation jokes by Ward Seven Councilman Steve Adams and Ward Four Councilman Frank Schiavone who said they would personally transport people from Riverside to that bus terminal but of course didn't mean it. To them, it probably is a joke because they don't have to rely on public transportation and are very fortunate in that regard but for many city residents, albeit the ones who are often not counted, it's not funny. What's sad is that this insincere comment or joke was used by both as a justification for their vote on the last Greyhound issue which will eventually wind up disenfranchising individuals who rely on Greyhound to travel from one city to another.

Still that wasn't any worse than the city council members who offered up "solutions" which had no basis in fact which they would have known if they knew an iota about public transportation in this city and in this region. But they don't and that's appalling. Yet they consider themselves qualified to represent every constituent in their ward even if it doesn't appear that they've spent much time talking to people who take Greyhound.

On Monday, the crossing guards that block traffic on Magnolia near Merrill malfunctioned during a 2o minute period. Initially, the crossing guards would go down for about 30-40 seconds and then lift up before repeating the cycle about every minute. There were no trains in the vicinity just a truck belonging to Union Pacific riding the rails. After the truck crossed the Magnolia intersection with the crossing guards down, the guards went down for about 10 minutes with the automatic horn blasting the entire time. Traffic quickly piled up on Magnolia and vehicles began to drive across the crossing including at least one truck which was on the side road near the strip mall and this individual drove on the wrong side of the street to get around the crossing guards.

At no time during this episode did a train show up.

I called the 311 number and the city council number to report it and about 5-10 minutes later, the guards went up. I forwarded my concerns on this tremendous safety issue to the city council and so far, Gardner, and Councilmembers Rusty Bailey and Chris MacArthur have written back sharing their concern.

The competition to fill some city council seats in Moreno Valley could get hot and heavy in the weeks to come. Two seats are up for grabs. The two incumbents claim they are being targeted by gadflies but that just makes for an interesting and potentially exciting election season in Riverside's neighbor city.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

Incumbent Charles White will face businessman Jesse Molina and longtime council critic Pete Bleckert for the 1st Council District seat representing central Moreno Valley, City Clerk Jane Halstead said Monday.

Three other people -- Meli Van Natta, Ron Crothers and Daryl Terrell -- had pulled nomination papers to run against White, but decided not to file them by the deadline last Friday, she said by phone.

Van Natta, a real estate agent and businesswoman, had announced in January that she was going to challenge White and created her own campaign committee.

But she said on Monday that she had decided against running after talking with her husband because of the demands of her two businesses, Rancho Belago Realty and a cosmetics store in the Moreno Valley Mall.

"We felt it would be best if I not get quite that involved yet," Van Natta said by phone.

Incumbent Frank West will square off against challengers Robin Hastings, Mike Rios, Ray Carbajal Jr. and Robert Burks for the 3rd Council District seat representing eastern Moreno Valley, Halstead said.

Gas prices have been going down lately but is it enough?

What was the value of your home in the latter part of 2003? That is how much it's worth today according to real estate experts. People who want to sell in a tanking housing market feel trapped in the Inland Empire according to the Press Enterprise and anybody who does buy a home to take advantage of lower prices should think for the long haul.


"The data we are looking at shows no turnaround. The rates of year-over-year declines (in prices) have not slowed down," said Stan Humphries, Zillow's vice president of data and analytics.

More than 86 percent of those who bought homes in the region in 2006 owe more on their houses than the houses are worth. The median home value peaked at $409,273 in the second quarter of 2006, but by the end of June, it was $261,000, a drop of 36 percent, the report said.

The last time the median price was at that level was the fourth quarter of 2003.

The glimmer of good news is that lower prices have produced a welcome surge in sales this year. Most of the activity is from first-time homebuyers, who in some areas are competing with multiple offers to buy bank-repossessed houses at prices that are within their reach for the first time in years.

Anyone buying a house in Inland Southern California today is likely to see the value drop further over the next few quarters and should think of it as a long-term investment, Humphries said.

Public Law 280, which defines the role of the state government in terms of law enforcement involvement on federal Indian reservations was the subject of a public forum by the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians. The interpretation of the law and how it applies to Soboba reservation has been the center of controversy.

Riverside County Sheriff Stan Sniff declined to attend the forum but the new liaison from the department to Soboba and other Indian reservations, Alex Tortes, did attend to listen to comments.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

The experts addressed dozens of tribal leaders from across California at the Country Club of Soboba Springs as part of a daylong meeting on Public Law 280. The 55-year-old federal law puts reservations in California and a handful of other states under the authority of state and local law enforcement.

"Why do we still have this damn law on the books? Why don't we repeal it?" said Joe Myers, executive director of the National Indian Justice Center. "It deserves some consideration."

Myers derided the law as a holdover from the "termination era," a time when the federal government worked to terminate tribes, eliminate reservations and assimilate American Indians.

"If termination worked we wouldn't be sitting here today talking about tribal sovereignty," he said, speaking from the podium at the country club owned by the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians. "Public Law 280 is part of a package, and the package was the termination policies of Congress."

The tribe, whose reservation and casino are near San Jacinto, organized the forum in response to a running dispute with the Riverside County Sheriff's Department over the law, which the Bureau of Indian Affairs has said is poorly written and confusing.

The tribe requires deputies visiting its reservation's residential areas for non-emergency purposes to show identification at a guard shack and state their reasons for being there. The Sheriff's Department has said the policy is illegal and impedes investigations.

Both sides maintain that Public Law 280 supports their position.

When officers act badly, is a topic covered by Legal Times. The article details the operations of the Office of Police Complaints, the form of civilian oversight in Washington, D.C.

In Seattle, an off-duty police officer was detained in connection with the shooting of a member of the Hell's Angels.

Labels: , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older