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


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Location: RiverCity, Inland Empire

Monday, February 16, 2009

Chinatown Watch: Doug Jacobs gets spanked by the RPD

Developer Doug Jacobs was in such a hurry to bulldoze the Chinatown site after the Riverside City Council denied the appeal filed by the Save Our Chinatown Committee on Feb. 10 that today his workers were cited by the Riverside Police Department for unacceptable noise levels in relation to the work being done on that site on a Sunday or a federal holiday which is violation of the city's municipal ordinance. The holiday being Presidents Day. Complaints came in during the past two days of high levels of noise that could be heard from the top of Mt. Rubidoux.

(excerpt, Belo Blog)

Cook said complaints came from members of Save Our Chinatown Committee -- which has filed suit over the project at the historic site -- as well as others not connected with the group.

Resident Bruce Bailey, who is not affilitated with Save Our Chinatown, said he called police Sunday and Monday after first hearing noise from the work during a hike on Saturday.

"You could hear it from the top of Mt. Rubidoux," he said.

City Councilman Mike Gardner, whose ward includes the site at Tequesquite and Brockton avenues, said Jacobs' permit prohibits work on Sundays and holidays. He said the crew was working on Sunday, too.

"It was a conscious violation," Gardner said.

So Jacobs' willfully violated his own permit essentially granted by the city council and violated the code to boot. Did he believe that perhaps the elected officials on the dais who received campaign donations and endorsements from him in the past and present would overlook this violation? Maybe there are developers in this city who are so used to getting pretty much carte blanche treatment by the city government whether it be acquiring property using the Redevelopment Agency as a middle man or from being able to overlook restrictions included in their own permits that they justs do what they want. Apparently not today.

Save Our Chinatown Committee has a hearing on its temporary restraining order on further bulldozing of the site on Tuesday. Given that a hearing was scheduled for the first day after the holiday weekend, it's more than likely that the illegal bulldozing took place this weekend to get much of it already done before the Feb. 17 hearing in Riverside County Superior Court in case the decision doesn't come back in Jacobs' favor. Else why the rush to bulldoze in violation of your permit? There really is no hurry.

One mystery has come to my attention this week through observation and several people asking me about it and that's the case of the missing magazines.

It's not politics and it's not police related but it has individuals very concerned by the turn of events. It seems that Riverside or large sections of this city have not been receiving shipments to its businesses of many weekly magazines, including PEOPLE, In Touch, Entertainment Weekly and other similar publications. This stoppage of distribution in Riverside proper has been going on for at least two weeks now with more than a few businesses scratching their heads at what to do next.

A few businesses have commented after being inquired about the perplexing and very troubling crisis.

A local Ralphs commented by saying it wasn't aware that the magazines hadn't been delivered but the manager would ask the magazine vendor (a woman) what happened when she dropped by again which was usually Tuesdays and Thursdays.

A Vons said that they were missing lots of titles and one employee thought they stopped carrying many magazines including PEOPLE. But why would they stop circulating this magazine, one of the top selling weeklies in the country while still carrying OK (which is the blander American version of a U.K. magazine) and US (which is PEOPLE lite). They would ask the distributor ( a woman) when she came by on Tuesday.

Borders said there was a lag in some of their magazines including PEOPLE because they stopped using their regular distributor ( a woman and I'm beginning to think it's the same woman) and they were in the process of switching to another vendor. The representative of the book store also asked me if I'd checked their rival, Barnes & Noble.

To live in a city that's PEOPLE-less is simply strange and hopefully this situation will be remedied soon. Having had been photographed in PEOPLE doing product placement for Mountain Dew (as my family liked to call it), and having read its various editions including one titled, Who, this needs to be done.

The city council in Riverside is meeting again on Tuesday, Feb. 17 for both afternoon and evening sessions. Attendance is still free. Most of the important stuff on the evening session is on the consent calendar, which as you know city residents have been barred from pulling items off for discussion since July 2005.

One of the items not being discussed of course is the $203,000 no bid contract going to the engineering firm owned by former Councilman Ed Adkison who's working on a project with developer, Chuck Cox.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

One site is 12 acres slated for commercial development on the west side of Van Buren on the north and south sides of Jurupa Avenue. The other site is the city's former 59-acre agricultural park.

Public Works Director Siobhan Foster said in a report to the council that "it would be most practical, expeditious and economical to retain Adkan Engineers" to do the environmental documents and construction plans for the Jurupa Avenue extension.

An employee of Cox's, Bob Beers, said Monday that it makes sense for the city to contract with Adkan.

"The city gains the benefit of all the work they've done to date," Beers said.

Adkison agreed. "For another engineer to take it over -- they'd have to go through a learning curve," he said.

Rearing its head up again is the infamous Ag Park, which was part of a curious land swap not too long ago.

The report on this consent calendar item is here.

Nancy Hart's running for reelection in Ward Six against several rivals. She's making an appearance at the Group's meeting this Thursday, Feb. 19 at 7 a.m. at the Coffee Depot on Mission Inn Avenue near the railroad tracks. The filing deadline for the city council races is coming up with the mail-in round of elections being held in June.

Riverside County's got to make sure its problems with administrating the Ben Clark Training Center which led to a poor audit and a $500,000 shortfall aren't repeated. So states the Press Enterprise Editorial Board.


The fees help offset the costs that county taxpayers bear to operate the training site. The audit notes, for example, that the center had a $6.5 million budget in 2007, while pulling in $2.4 million in revenue. So any missing fees come out of taxpayers' pockets.

Strained relations between sheriff's officials and the county fire department accounted for some of the uncollected fees. Informal agreements also exempted some agencies from the full fees, without any official documentation of the reasons for the discounts.

But handshake deals are not an acceptable way to oversee public assets. The training center needs professional administration, not careless management.

San Bernardino city is going to review its proposed furloughs and budget cuts in the face of much criticism and turmoil. The San Bernardino Police Officers' Association said through its attorney that imosing furloughs violates its contract and the city charter and if it goes through, it plans to sue the city.

The meeting is as scheduled:

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

deficit meeting

San Bernardino officials will discuss emergency measures to stem a $9 million budget shortfall, including up to 67 job cuts and furloughs for police officers equal to 10 percent of their pay.

When: 3 p.m. today

Where: City Hall, 300 N. D St., San Bernardino

During a fiscally tight budget year, Rialto is hiring a public information officer.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

The city would dip into its reserves for the $26,950 to fund the position through the end of the current fiscal year on June 30. After that the job would cost Rialto $107,800 a year, including benefits.

"We don't have a relationship with the media," Rialto Councilman Joe Baca Jr. said by phone. "I think sometimes items that we're working on get misconstrued with the public. It is important that we have someone who can clarify it for the record, make sure the public knows what our priorities are, what the vision is for the city. We need someone working on that."

He said other City Council members work on council business part-time, have outside jobs and don't have the time to do public relations work themselves.

Councilwoman Deborah Robertson, who cast the lone dissenting vote when the ordinance was given first-reading approval last week, questioned whether the city can afford to hire another staff member.

"I think that our efforts to promote the city and market it is a good, noble thing," she said by phone. "But I don't think at this time we need to expend that type of money to hire a person when we still have to deal with the whole economic uncertainty of the city financial picture for the next fiscal year."

Did the woman who moved in with former Bolingbrook Police Department Sgt. Drew Peterson save her own life by moving out? Supposedly her role in this whole thing was a publicity stunt.

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