Monday, May 14, 2012

Murder Investigation. Home Invasion, what next?

Grand Terrace, California – David Preston ID’d as Victim in Fatal Shooting

Posted on May 14, 2012 by admin

On Friday, May 11, 2012, at approximately 6:22 p.m., Sheriff’s Dispatch received several call of shots heard in the 22400 block of De Berry St, in the City of Grand Terrace. While deputies were responding to the call, dispatch received additional calls indicating that someone was possibly shot.

Deputies arrived on scene at approximately 6:39 p.m., and located David Preston on the ground with an apparent gunshot wound. Medical aid responded to the scene and transported Preston to Loma Linda University Medical Center where he was pronounced dead at 7:30 p.m.

Sheriff’s Homicide was requested and is conducting the investigation. An autopsy will be conducted at a later date to determine the cause of death.

Anyone with any information regarding this investigation is urged to call Detective Randy German or Sergeant Brad Toms at (909) 387-3598 at the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Detail. Callers wishing to remain anonymous may contact the We-Tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463).

Refer: Sergeant Brad Toms or Detective AJ Gibilterra

Station: Homicide Detail

Phone No. (909) 387-3589

via Public Affairs Division.
PC 187 MURDER  –5/14/2012

22400 DE BERRY STREET   ,  Grand Terrace



Haberbush, Jay L (M/X) of Grand Terrace
Reported On: 05/12/12 in Los Angeles County
For: Narcotics

Olivares, Emanuel (M/H) of Grand Terrace
Reported On: 05/13/12 in San Bernardino County
For: Driving Under the Influence

Stevenson, Stephanie (F/W) of Grand Terrace
Reported On: 05/10/12 in San Bernardino County
For: Dangerous Drugs

Marrs, Kenneth (M/W) of Grand Terrace
Reported On: 05/10/12 in San Bernardino County
For: Dangerous Drugs

Corrella, Anthony (M/H) of Grand Terrace
Reported On: 05/10/12 in San Bernardino County
For: Dangerous Drugs

Tafolla, Ana (F/H) of Grand Terrace
Reported On: 05/09/12 in San Bernardino County
For: Other Drugs

Gurrola, Daniel (M/H) of Grand Terrace
Reported On: 05/09/12 in San Bernardino County
For: Burglary

Veenstra, Brent (M/W) of Grand Terrace
Reported On: 05/06/12 in San Bernardino County
For: Drunk

Brown, Derrick (M/?) of Grand Terrace
Reported On: 05/04/12 in Riverside County
For: Assault, Misdemeanor Offenses


11750 Mount Vernon Ave Apt 123
Reported On: 05/02/12 in San Bernardino County
For: Assault

22631 Carinal St
Reported On: 05/02/12 in San Bernardino County
For: Unknown

22780 Kentfield St
Reported On: 04/29/12 in Santa Barbara County
For: Drunk

12428 Cardinal Ct
Reported On: 04/28/12 in San Bernardino County
For: Petty Theft

21845 Grand Terrace Rd Spc 27
Reported On: 04/27/12 in San Bernardino County
For: Burglary

22491 De Berry St Apt 184
Reported On: 04/28/12 in San Bernardino County
For: Driving Under the Influence

22245 Fulmar Pl
Reported On: 04/27/12 in Riverside County
For: Drunk

12728 Dickens Ct
Reported On: 04/27/12 in San Bernardino County
For: Burglary

21845 Grand Terrace Rd Spc 27
Reported On: 04/27/12 in San Bernardino County
For: Burglary

22111 Newport Ave Spc 139
Reported On: 04/29/12 in San Bernardino County
For: Driving Under the Influence

12012 Aspen Cir Apt E
Reported On: 04/24/12 in San Bernardino County
For: Other Charges

11856 Preston St
Reported On: 04/24/12 in San Bernardino County
For: Other Charges

11856 Preston St
Reported On: 04/25/12 in San Bernardino County
For: Other Drugs

22111 Newport
Reported On: 04/11/12 in San Bernardino County
For: Burglary

11356 Preston St
Reported On: 04/24/12 in San Bernardino County
For: Other Charges

11856 Preston St
Reported On: 04/24/12 in County
For: Narcotics

11750 Mt Vernon Ave Apt AA2005
Reported On: 04/21/12 in San Bernardino County
For: Assault and Battery

22555 La Paix St
Reported On: 04/23/12 in San Bernardino County
For: Assault

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Responding to "GRAND TERRACE: Disincorporation won’t wipe away bills"


 THE BODY of the article discussed has been removed.  If you want it sent to you let me know.

THIS IS NOT THE FINAL OR ONLY ALTERNATIVE There is a think called Filing Bankruptcy. The Citizens won't be forced to raise taxes but the City and the Over Zealous Sales People and Promoters will be required to Cut the Proceeds of their greed to the bone. Yes this will cause GT to run more like Mayberry than Laguna Beach but hey we are the Mayberry of the IE.
The Illegal Acts of use RDA Funds to fund General Fund Expenses by Former City Manager Tom Schwab may eventually result in criminal charges against him as an individual. The use of City Assets, and RDA Assets / Funds to provide a House for the Same City Manager may also eventually be cause for an arrest and Criminal Trial. When it all cant be covered up and paid for by taxpayers, some one may eventually be held in account for the kiting of funds and miss use of funds of the Tom Schwab era.
The current City Council has made little progress in cleaning up the Schawab Damage and have shown little interest in recovering Taxpayer funds.
The Current City Council is still acting blind deaf and dumb. The Colton Joint School District uses City of Colton PD for Site Security at its schools. There should be immediate negotiations with the City of Colton for Police Services equal to those provided by the Sherif and then see about adding GTHS into the mix.
The need for additional Police Officer should have been a given when the City and School Board placed a high school in a one cop town.
GT can remain a city in name only. Close the doors of City Hall and let it's citizens be self governed. The must pay check for police protection can be written by a bank officer or put on auto draft.

Monday, January 16, 2012

From a Portion of the Sun Article: RDA & GT

THIS CITY COUNCIL AND CITY MANAGER MUST GO: Better than was not Good Enough.

I have held my thoughts for the past year knowing that the last election resulted in a potential for change and better fiscal administration of our community. When the Council voted to extend the RDA and increase the Debt Limit, Protest Was Made. When the approved bonds were put up for sale, Protest Was Made. and the Council was advised not to further in-debt the GT/California Taxpayers in the RDA Financing Scheme. When the funds from the selling of Debt bonds were put at risk due to the Law Killing RDA's were spent or dedicated in a rush, Protest AGAIN was brought to the City Council.

When the Council and Mayor and City Management were asked time and time again to write and live by a bare bones budget as if the RDA was not going to be funded, it apparently neither prepared a budget or plan for such a scenario . They at least have not presented such a bare bones budget to the public. Such a plan should have been done prior to assuming the added debt or using up the funds from the bonds sold to finance that added approved debt. The Public should have been informed and yes, asked IF WE WANTED to Pay for this folly IF the RDA's were Killed or put at risk.

Now they have the idea that they will present a plan and a new set of taxes so we can pay for all these things that the Citizens have been told over and over again GT will not have to pay... RDA funds will pay for our city's Redevelopment and Operations. We'll be getting more of the California Tax Payer's Pool of funds than we put into the system.

Mayor Stanckiewitz you played the fiddle while GT was and is burning. You continued to spend spend spend, and create more and more obligations. Now if the General Fund can't pay for all the obligations that were accumulated by the Schwab/Ferre era, you added to it during your short Stanckiewitz/Adam's era. Do we want more of the same. NO. Stanckiewitz, and ALL the current City Council should be removed from office as a result of this past year and a half of BAD MANAGEMENT.

Do we want Rental Home Inspection Fees to increase? NO

Do we want Dog/Cat License Fees to increase? NO

Do we want business taxes and fees to increase? NO

Do we want Sport's Teams to pay more for the use of the Parks? NO

Do we want added taxes to fund High City Employee Salaries and Retirements? NO

Do we want to continue to have the Planned Liabilities of the RDA added to the City's Obligations? NO... Cancel the Plans, and use the funds to pay down the RDA DEBT.

Do we want more taxes? NO

Do we trust City Management and Council to use funds properly. NO

Bare Bones includes, the option to End the City of Grand Terrace as an Incorporated City. The assets and liabilities would revert to the County for administration. All Grand Terrace City Council Codes and Ordinances will be nullified and we would revert to County, State, and Federal regulations only. This alone will make doing business and redevelopment easier than keeping the City as a City.

Pay the Piper while you as Nero Played the Fiddle and GT was burning Mayor Stanckiewitz, Do us all a favor, move to end the City of Grand Terrace. Stop all payments of any kind to all City Council Members, and the related costs of all Council Members. No more Medical Insurance or Co-pay, and any other payments made to them.



This is what Mayor Stanckiewitz Said:

The 3.5-square-mile bedroom community of Grand Terrace expects to end this fiscal year with a roughly $400,000 reserve, but could be looking at a deficit of between $1.2 and $2 million in the next fiscal year, Mayor Walt Stanckiewitz said.

The cash-strapped city has proposed a ballot initiative calling on residents to support a tax hike, and the potential for the city to lose everything but the most basic services is stark reality, Stanckiewitz said.

He said city officials were scrambling to pull together lists of assets and obligations in the "winding down" process of its redevelopment agency.

He said a goal-setting workshop will be scheduled for early February.

"We're not a poster child for redevelopment," said Stanckiewitz. "We took advantage of it, and now it's time to pay the piper."

Read more:

Thursday, January 12, 2012


REDEVELOPMENT: Court decision just the first step

SACRAMENTO — California redevelopment agencies have started the dissolution process after their disastrous legal defeat last month, even as supporters mount a last-ditch effort to maintain the community-improvement program in some form.

Auditors soon will begin compiling an accounting of the billions of dollars in debts and assets for the state’s more than 400 agencies. As of June 2010, that included $101 billion in total indebtedness — almost a fourth of which is held by agencies in Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

California Supreme Court’s decision Dec. 29 upheld the 2011 law dissolving the agencies and voided a measure creating a substitute program. But that was just the start: Shutting down the 60-year-old program is a logistical and financial thicket that could span decades and spark a new round of legal fights.

“No one knew what the wind-down period was going to look like” before the court’s ruling, said La Quinta Councilwoman Terry Henderson. The city’s redevelopment agency is among the most active in the state.


“I’m not sure a whole lot of people know what it looks like now. It’s going to be challenging at best, very difficult at worst,” she said.

Redevelopment works by collecting a share of the growth in property tax revenue in redevelopment areas. That money finances borrowing to pay for projects ranging from new sewer systems and downtown revitalizations to fire stations and multifamily housing.

Supporters view the program as a crucial source of money for business development, affordable housing and jobs during a down economy, without raising taxes. Inland Southern California has among the most active agencies in the state. In 2009-10, 45 redevelopment agencies in Riverside and San Bernardino counties spent almost $1.9 billion, almost 20 percent of all spending reported by the state’s 399 active agencies.

But Gov. Jerry Brown and other critics said the agencies subsidize wealthy developers at the expense of the state budget. The diversion of local property taxes to redevelopment forces the state to make up the difference to schools.

Brown proposed eliminating the agencies in his January 2011 budget. Lawmakers ultimately approved the two-bill package, over the angry objections of the League of California Cities and California Redevelopment Association, who sued.


Local government officials and other redevelopment supporters now are scrambling to salvage the program, yet with little political leverage after their unsuccessful legal fight.

“We don’t believe it was ever the intention of the Legislature to abolish redevelopment, but it definitely wants to change it,” said Jim Kennedy, interim executive director of the California Redevelopment Association. He said a revamped program could provide money to build affordable housing and help cities reduce greenhouse gas emissions through better land use and transportation planning.

Brown, however, seemed unwilling last week to extend a lifeline to redevelopment agencies.

Speaking to county supervisors last Thursday, the governor savored his legal victory. City officials, he predicted, will spend the coming months “pawing over the remains of redevelopment.”


He later told reporters that his administration has had very preliminary talks with redevelopment officials since the court ruling.

“Right now, it’s hand-wringing and then we’ll move on from there,” Brown said. “I have a willing ear to the Legislature, and I’m going to listen to them. But the court has been pretty decisive here.”

The turn of events has some redevelopment supporters blaming each other.

Last week, Tom Freeman of the Riverside County Economic Development Agency blamed cities and the redevelopment association for political and legal missteps that “brought this Armageddon on us.”

Riverside County Supervisor John Tavaglione said he thinks Brown might be open to working to restructure redevelopment, but only for county-sponsored agencies. Brown has worked closely with counties on shifting public-safety duties and seeks counties’ support for his planned ballot measure to increase taxes.

“He’s not real pleased with the league right now,” Tavaglione said, referring to the League of California Cities. “I think he has an interest in working with us to find another mechanism to make redevelopment work.”


State officials say the court’s decision will save the state about $1 billion in 2012-13, and increasing amounts in subsequent years.

As part of their review, auditors and agencies’ oversight boards will decide how much of the agencies’ property-tax revenue should go to paying off debt and how much should be redirected to schools and local governments.

“In no way, shape or form do we want to make these agencies break contracts or not pay their lenders,” Department of Finance spokesman H.D. Palmer said.

Inland Southern California agencies have some of the largest debts in the state. For every $1 in revenue Fontana’s redevelopment agency collected in 2009-10, for example, it had about $25 of total indebtedness. That compared with a statewide average of about $1 for every $18 of total indebtedness.

Some agencies went on a borrowing binge last year to get projects on the books before Brown could carry out his plan to phase out redevelopment. The law dissolving the agencies, AB 1x 26, gives officials the power to challenge those transactions.

Throughout California, the agencies’ total indebtedness includes $31 billion in tax-allocation bond debt, according to 2009-10 data filed with the state controller’s office. It also showed $9 billion owed to sponsoring cities and counties.

But the law dissolving the agencies did not include such debts as enforceable obligations. That reflected suspicions by some state officials that redevelopment agencies and their sponsoring entity would swap money in sham loans to avoid losing it.

Kennedy said the vast majority of those loans were in good faith to help redevelopment projects get off the ground.

“We know that there are a fairly large number of agencies where the host community may have decades ago loaned money for …something that AB 1x 26 simply says cannot be recognized as an enforceable obligation,” he said.

That could be another budget hit for cities and counties, Kennedy said. “They may have been relying on that money in the future to fulfill some other obligation.”

Some Early Reader Comments:

Gee the GTGadflies arent alone... after all.

6:16 PM on 1/9/2012

Private property owners have been abused and taken advantage of by RDA's.
Certain RDA / CC members have unfairly, arbitrarily controlled zoning, making property owners grovel.
Instead of working with residents & property owners, they are on a power trip.

They are unethical, biased, and have used RDA funds as their own personal slush funds.
Instead of using RDA funds for designated blighted areas, they are using funds for their own personal agendas and projects.

Time to reduce the pay for City Manager, make staff pay for part of their benefits -- instead of using taxpayer money.

Shameful, disgusting, and enough of the scam.

12:12 PM on 1/9/2012

Let's hope Brown sticks to his decision, and doesn't just recreate a substitute program with the same lack of oversight and corruption.

The RDA agencies here in the Inland Empire offer us many prime examples of misused funds, outrageous developer profits, and questionable relationships. We can no longer afford to support these programs in any form with our taxpayers' money.

The public and the state have no trust in the RDA agencies, and that's their own falt. Too many shady deals have been exposed and we know we've been royally riped off for decades.

5:37 AM on 1/9/2012

The RDA scam makes Bernie Madoff look like a rank amateur. Let's make it simple. The local politicians and their developer handlers made off with the loot. The taxpayers are stuck with massive debt.

Check and check.

5:33 AM on 1/9/2012

"For every $1 in revenue Fontana's redevelopment agency collected in 2009-10, for example, it had about $25 of total indebtedness." LOL!!! And they want this nonsense to keep going! Stupid!

This Taxpayer Ponzi scheme should have been shut long ago.

11:53 PM on 1/8/2012

Sorry Jim, they gave you wrong numbers, look at the
EOPS schedule on the development page on the city website. Try close to 2 billion.

11:19 PM on 1/8/2012

like transferring 149 properties from Riverside RDA to the City of Riverside!!!

NO to RDA and IF the City Must Go... So Be IT!

Agency: Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Grand Terrace
Total indebtedness: $167,760,706.00
Statewide rank: 128

Steven Greenhut: Blight barons of redevelopment plot comeback

Put out of business by the state government and rebuked by the California Supreme Court, redevelopment officials aren't giving up.

By STEVEN GREENHUT / Special to the Register

SACRAMENTO – I'm still giddy after the California Supreme Court ruled last month that the state had every right to shut down those noxious enemies of property rights and fiscal responsibility – redevelopment agencies. Better yet, the state's high court ruled that another law that allowed those agencies to come back into existence was unconstitutional.

As of February, anyway, redevelopment is dead in California, the victim of an absurdly arrogant legal and political strategy pursued by redevelopment's chief defenders. This is wonderful news, made even better by the teeth-gnashing of public officials who have routinely abused their powers under redevelopment law. Cry me a river.

But before I gloat too much, we need to remember that this victory already resembles one of those cheap horror movies where the Evil Thing has been vanquished, and all appears well, then its hand pokes out from the grave just as the credits begin.

No one gives up riches and power without a fight, so redevelopment lobbyists already are crafting new legislation to replace the dead agencies with new, revised versions. (Meanwhile, successor agencies will pay off old debt, and old projects will go on to completion. Many of those projects and property transfers slapped together after the law killing redevelopment agencies, or RDAs, was passed will be audited by the state controller, stopped or tied up in litigation. Many RDA officials, thankfully, will be out of work.) The fight goes on but I never would have expected such progress.

One of my earliest memories as a newly hired editorialist at the Register in the late 1990s was meeting with local property-rights activists in a parking lot outside a subsidized shopping mall project and looking at their charts explaining why a process called "redevelopment" was such a problem. As we gawked at the fruits of redevelopment's corporate welfare, they explained how these urban-renewal agencies float debt without accountability and routinely misuse eminent domain, government's power to seize private property for supposedly public purposes.

As I plunged deeply into the issue, I never forgot that sense of near-hopelessness I felt in that parking lot. I never forgot the despair I saw on the faces of homeowners in Garden Grove as they begged the city to scotch a quietly hatched plan that would have driven them out of their middle-class neighborhood so that the city could market the land to a theme-park developer that was yet to be determined.

Over the years, I've interviewed victims of eminent domain, many of them immigrant small-business owners who couldn't believe what was happening to them in America. They were bullied, put out of business and forced to spend years battling City Hall rather than building a better life.

The general public learned of the injustices after the U.S. Supreme Court's 2005 decision in Kelo vs. City of New London [Conn.], which upheld the "right" of governments to use eminent domain for redevelopment-type economic projects. The grand revitalization project that destroyed homeowner Susette Kelo's Connecticut neighborhood was abandoned, and the site remains a dumping ground. It serves as a reminder that officials in the U.S. can't plan an economy any better than their equivalents in the old Soviet empire. Free markets work better than bureaucratic central planning.

I've seen how the redevelopment process has distorted economic markets and made it more difficult for people without political connections to build their businesses and their dreams. Redevelopment embodies crony capitalism, but there's so much money in it, with so many consultants and politicians who benefit from it, that I never dreamed of the day when it could actually go away. Who would have thought that redevelopment agencies would be the ones on the outside looking in, scheming for new ways to regain some power and privilege?

Redevelopment officials are so used to getting their way with average citizens that they figured it would be no problem giving state elected officials the back of their hand. The seeds of their demise were sown after former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger attempted to divert some of their funds to fill part the perpetual state budget hole.

Redevelopment – which morphed decades ago from a mechanism to fight urban blight into a scheme to divert county and state taxes to cities – is a creation of the state, so the governor argued that the state had the right to take some money. The League of California Cities and the California Redevelopment Association struck back with Proposition 22, approved by voters in November 2010, which forbade state diversions of redevelopment funds. It was sold to the public as a means to stop Sacramento politicians' raids on local road funds.

The blight barons were gloating after their big victory, but then Gov. Jerry Brown came up with a work-around. He signed a law that shut down RDAs. After all, Prop. 22 can't stop a raid on funds of agencies that no longer exist. And then he also signed a law that allowed the agencies to come back to power after paying funds to the state.

The redevelopment community challenged both laws and was pleased when the high court agreed to review them. But redevelopment advocates were stunned by the unanimous ruling that found that the Legislature was perfectly within its authority to abolish agencies that it had created. The justices also ruled 6-1 that agencies cannot buy their way back into existence because that violates Prop. 22, the very initiative the RDAs had crafted. How sweet is that reasoning?

I celebrated one recent night at philanthropist Moe Mohanna's downtown Sacramento Oddfellows building. Many in this odd group of activists on the left and right, including Mohanna, had been abused by redevelopment agencies. We ate Persian food and savored the rare victory for the good guys. But we realized that redevelopment is, as the Monty Python troupe once said, "not quite dead."

Let's hope coalitions emerge this year to keep this Evil Thing in its grave.

Steven Greenhut is editor

of; write to him at

Friday, January 06, 2012

Did Stater's Earn Its RDA KickBack/SpringBack?

Read the following and the article in the San Bernardino County Sentinel... It is time the Citizens are the Judge. Do you want these people digging in your pocket if they can't audit a simple performance contract?

Although GT sales tax receipts have increased, unless Stater Brothers provides the accounting proof there is no justification to pay them the incentive pay back. They can provide the documents and proof of what they pay the state, AND they can provide all needed accounting support for a claim. The BOE has no need to disclose confidential information, Stater's can waive confidentiality in order to file a claim for the funds set forth in the agreement. To calculate a full time employee works 40 hrs per week 4.3 weeks per month. So just do the math and spread it out. Also important in that calculation is the number of full time vs part time employees as the part time employees earn less and have fewer benefits.

Walt saying "We didn't pay" the " RDA paid" is a bit of slight of political tongue trickery. Who does he thinks funds the RDA... AH or did... the California Tax Payer... you know like citizens from ah California including us in GT and those who live in areas without RDA's.

You did not get answered why employees are parking on unpaved parking area. Or what compensation or assistance has been given to businesses hurt by the RDA assisted Stater's? The assistance in accumulating the land, and later selling it off to Stater's was done with the resources of the RDA and City. This putting other existing businesses in a less competitive advantage is a liability to the RDA, and hurts the overall sustainability of the local economy.

How many of those out of towners are buying taxable items at Stater's? How can Walt calculate the City would get back the cost in 8 to 10 years if he does not know how much the store is contributing to the sales tax revenue? There should be a requirement of proof of compliance and projected tax contributions prior to any approval of any funds to Staters. No one I know, said we have already paid Stater's Joyce Powers tries to diminish/degrade the citizens who are concerned by the pending liability of the RDA/City/County or State. NO the City Council/RDA Obligated the City/RDA to pay based on specific performance specifications. What citizens deserve at a minimum is to have those specifications measured and audited or ZERO is paid to Staters. This will stop the tax payer from paying via General Funds, or RDA/State Funds or any taxed funds to the benefit of Stater Brothers a company earning a profit, and who has already had extraordinary assistance from the city in the methods used to acquire the land their store sits upon.

Perhaps this Stater's / GT RDA agreement should be reviewed by the State Auditor and AG if our City Council and City Management are unable or unwilling to assure that the agreement is measurable. A basic aspect of a valid contract is that performance must be measurable.

Any Money Paid to Stater's is money not spent in some other Governmental Function. Schools, Fire, Police...Roads, and yes Parks.

Officials, Watchdogs At Odds Over RDA Springbacks To Staters In GT
Jan 6, 2012, San Bernardino County Sentinel

GRAND TERRACE—Four months after Stater Bros. moved its supermarket into new and 72 percent larger quarters at 22201 Barton Road in the Grand Terrace Town Square than it occupied at Mt. Vernon and Barton Road during the previous 37 years, there are sharp differences between city officials and skeptical Grand Terrace residents over whether the $1.2 million in incentives the city offered the grocer to make that transition are justified.

In what would prove to be one of the last major uses of its redevelopment agency, the city in October 2010 entered into an economic development agreement with Stater Bros. to facilitate the transition from the 25,000 square foot location at Barton and Mt. Vernon to the 44,000-square-foot digs in Grand Terrace Town Square. Under the terms of that agreement, Stater Bros. said it would create around 140 temporary construction jobs and 77 permanent full-time jobs and the city consented to paying Stater Bros. $2,500 per job, or up to $192,500 per year over five years. Another clause in the agreement called for the city utilizing up to 45 parking spaces at Grand Terrace Town Square for local ride-sharers, for which it would pay Stater Bros. $12,500 per quarter, or $50,000 per year.

Thus, the city through its redevelopment agency agreed to spring back to Stater Bros over the five year period, $1,212,500 if the grocer met all of the performance criteria. Stater Bros. invested $17.5 million to build the 44,000-square-foot market and has acquired property around the site to add up to 80,000 square feet of additional retail space at the Town Square.
The new Stater Bros. had its grand opening on August 24, but a third of a year later, some Grand Terrace residents are questioning the wisdom of providing incentives to the corporation and expressed uncertainty about whether the company is providing the community with the promised improvements and employment.

A continuing point of confusion is whether or not a quarterly compliance audit of Stater Brother's performance was done. This week the Sentinel received from Grandpa Terrace, a Grand Terrace resident who runs a community interest blog, a list of questions submitted by his readers, including “Did they [Stater Bros.] hire 75 employees? How many of those employees live in Grand Terrace? How many of those employees are full and part time? What has been the change in sales tax revenue to the cIty? In relation to an increase to our local financial stability, what has the net increase of wage earnings earned by Grand Terrace citizens been? Has Stater's earned their 1.2 million RDA funds?”

Grandpa Terrace closed with the statement, “The public should be assured Staters has earned that money before the public pays for this in taxes as well as in increased prices.”

Mayor Walt Stanckiewitz this week told the Sentinel that the quarterly report on Stater Bros. performance under the economic development agreement was not immediately available but was “about due. As to how many full time jobs and full time equivalent jobs were created, I believe they exceed what they were supposed to do. They are supposed to employ 70 to 75 full time equivalent workers. I believe there were 65 or 67 part time workers at the old store. How do you convert full time to the part time equivalent? I am confident they are meeting that goal.”

The success of the store is apparent in the level of customer traffic there, the mayor said.
“It is, I think, now one of their most popular stores,” Stanckiewitz said. “It has outpaced my wildest dreams, what Staters has done. I go through the store three or four times a week and I personally see customers from Moreno Valley and Redlands there that never shopped in Grand Terrace before. They are coming here because it is the nicest Stater Bros. around.”

Stanckiewitz said the redevelopment agency’s activity at Grand Terrace Town Center was limited to the incentives to Stater Bros. and was at a level less than what the city council had striven for. The city had wanted to use further incentives to bring in other retailers, he said, but had not done so because of multiple considerations.

“I’m glad that [Stater Bros. chairman] Jack Brown got tired of waiting and said we will buy the land,” Stanckiewitz said. “There will never again be another 75-year anniversary store. The fact is, there is nothing like it. We’ve got a one-of-a-kind.”

Stanckiewitz said that the $1.2 million springback was to take place “over five years, not up front but retroactively and quarterly. Our redevelopment agency is gone now, so the city will handle it directly.”

In legislation passed last year and just upheld by the state Supreme Court under challenge from hundreds of California’s cities, municipal and county redevelopment agencies have been dissolved in the Golden State.

Stanckiewitz said the money the city will pay out will not impact the general fund, since the payments to Stater Bros. are “performance based.” He said the amount of revenue to be brought into the city by the larger store through increased sales tax revenue will at some future point be greater than the money the city shells out. “The last time I did that calculation was before the store opened,” Stanckiewitz said. “If nothing gets built in that center, and Staters is the only thing there, we will get our money back in the eight to ten year range. But their numbers are way beyond what they forecast and I am hoping they will bring in more business and that we will be paid back in increased property and sales tax before the program is over [i.e., in fewer than five years]. This is a performance-based incentive contract.”

Moreover, Stanckiewitz said, it is increasingly likely that the city will not pay Stater Bros. the full $1,212,500 specified in the agreement, but rather $962,500. That is because the grocer will not be building and reserving the 45 parking spaces in the Grand Terrace Town Square for car-poolers as was proposed under the agreement.

“They are thinking they need those parking spaces for their own customers given how successful the store is,” the mayor said. “There were a certain number of spaces they paved beyond what was normally required for them to open the store. That was built into the incentive package because we have other business in town or places in town that are having parking issues. The city was going to take possession of those spaces and use them as a Park-and-Ride. In five or so years, as the center filled out, they would revert back to parking for the commercial customers. But that day has come quicker than we anticipated and they probably will not be used for Park-and-Ride [carpooling parking]. We won’t be paying for that. This was an RDA [redevelopment] project that did not cost us anything.”

One consideration and concern about the springback of sales tax revenue to Stater Bros. is that as a grocery store, only a limited amount of its merchandize is taxable. The quarterly audit of sales tax revenue into the city will also be impacted by the sales tax generated by a new Dollar Tree store in town, which is heavily laden with taxable sales items.

Sylvia Robles was an unsuccessful council candidate in the 2010 Grand Terrace municipal election in which Stanckiewitz was elevated from an incumbent council position to mayor. Both Stanckiewitz and Robles ran on platforms that had as their central themes reform of the city’s redevelopment agency. In a statement to the Sentinel this week, Robles indicated her belief that reliable sales tax income figures could not be had to make any useful comparisons to see if the incentives provided to Stater Bros. were proving cost-effective for the city’s taxpayers.
“I am not aware of any compliance audit,” she said. “If there is one, it would not include sales taxes captured by Stater Bros as a result of its new grocery store. Sales tax revenues are confidential and the Board of Equalization does not release them. There are job subsidies. That is an ancillary feature and not $1.2 million, which is an aggregate number. I recall about $70,000 estimated per month.”

Robles continued, “The only thing I can comment on -- without production of any compliance audit document -- is that redevelopment agencies are not required to provide any quantitative data that they actually produce higher sales taxes or jobs. The rationale for funding entities with RDA subsidies is to increase sales tax revenues to help support a city’s general fund. Since sales tax revenues are secret or suppressed by the Board of Equalization, I do not see how one can audit new revenue generation compliance."

Grand Terrace community development director Joyce Powers, who oversaw the city’s redevelopment agency and the Stater Bros. agreement, this week told the Sentinel, “There are reports that we have given them $1.2 million, but that is inaccurate. They can request it if they meet certain performance standards under the agreement but to date, no such requests have been made and no funds have been paid to Stater Bros.”