Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Regular taxes and special assessments collected as taxes.. It applies to everything new. The City Council/City Redevelopment Agency is not raising taxes (as per their brochure), but adding on a special assessment collected as a tax. That is quite different, and as you found out now, you still have to pay (for their errors in judgement).
In Riverside county, the Special Assessments often exceed the basic taxes for your property.
CERTIFY A FINAL PROGRAM ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT
GENERAL PLAN UPDATE AND AMENDMENT NO. 6 TO THE
REDEVELOPMENT PLAN OF THE REVISED GRAND TERRACE
COMMUNITY REDEVELOPMENT PROJECT
DATE: Thursday, April 1, 2010
PLACE: Council Chambers, 22795 Barton Road, Grand Terrace, California 92313
TIME: 6:30 P.M.
Allow land owners and businesses to enjoy their property rights without the CRA playing developer, and the City Council and City Management playing the Village Lords.
The natural 3% annual increase in property taxes (the increment) accrues to and is paid TO the CRA instead of to local governments, schools, law enforcement etc. this is because the ENTIRE CITY of Grand Terrace is designated as a "blighted area" in need of a whole CRA management staff. Let the CRA die it's natural death at the expiration of ths 20 year term.
This vote should be a referendum on whether the CRA has improved the city in the 20 years of existence, or has not been a good influence for the debt money to be repaid. If CRA could not get the job done in 20 years, what makes anyone think they can do it with a longer term and CRA power extended. The city cannot be a developer, it can only encourage development, or give perks, waive fees, offset costs, to some owner/developers and not to others. But the CRA has money to buy land from favored residents as higher than market prices, while witholding appraised, market sale prices from other owner/sellers.
So far there has been a drastic reduction of residential units, R-1 property converted to commercial use, demolition of existing previously successful retail stores and lots of vacant land sites awaiting higher uses. Bank & construction lending will not re-start until the economy is vastly improved. Retailers are currently closing locations, not building new ones.
The CRA map should be limited to ONLY actual blighted areas of town.
The CRA should honestly provide and report it's Section 8 housing requirement to the State of CA as required to be built from 10% of the CRA debt & bond funds. The Corporation for not better Housing was a flaky business partner from the start for the Senior Center/low income housing project. If the CRA debt is extended there will be an additional requirement for low income housing in town. If the CRA time is extended, more massive debt will be generated, requiring debt service & repayment, all while siphoning existing real estate taxes from other service areas in town.
Monday, March 29, 2010
What is wrong with this picture. They are dipping into debt again. They made no effort to identify where the funds would come from. Walt should have asked and where are the additional funds coming from?
They could have told the staff No we will not contract with San Bernardino City. No we will not have that service at that cost. No is a possible answer that the City Council has seldom had the courage to provide the staff.
We have a couple of Animal related businesses in GT. Were they asked if they could provide all or part of the services being contracted for? Did they look into having one of the existing city employees trained to deal with road kill? Did they seek bids on portions of the service contracts?
How many animals are take not the Shelter each year?
How many road kills are cleaned up?
How many animals are injured treated and then Sheltered and eventually euthanized?
How many animals are injured and the owners pay the bills that the City Initiated the treatment?
How many total animals from GT are euthanized by the shelter?
How many neighbors gather up stray neighborhood dogs and find their owners? Can this system be encouraged more?
How many folk would take in a foster animal until permanent home can be found?
Is there some one willing to contract for say 10,000.00 to pick up GT Road Kill.
Is there a Vet in town that will treat licenced or chipped animals and euthanize others who are injured. for a reasonable fee?
The city won't know if alternatives exist because they were not explored. The community was not asked to address this problem in a community based way.
The City Council's solution was to toss more money at a contract. Even when there is no more money to toss.
The folks who run a city this way should be held to say where the money is coming from for every item or service they purchase.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Just as 40 senior citizens were finishing lunch, a moving van and six workers arrived to take away the tables, chairs and credenzas.
It seems the city hadn't paid the Corporation of Better Housing $72,540 for its contractor, BLH Construction, painting the carports and doing other work at Blue Mountain Villas, the senior housing next to the center.
The city wanted thorough documentation of the costs and had received it only this week, Councilman Walt Stanchiewitz said.
The council was set to approve the payment Tuesday night. But BLH launched the pre-emptive strike.
After hasty talks, the contractor agreed to keep the furniture and drop the demand for the $72,540.
The silver lining is that the seniors now will get to choose the kind of furniture they want (rectangular tables), not what the housing company decided to give them (round ones).
Cassie MacDuff can be reached at 951-368-9470 or cmacduff@PE.com
Planners to take up growth plan
The city Planning Commission will review a proposed update to the city's general plan for future growth at its Thursday meeting.
The commission will also consider an environmental impact report for the plan, which sets policies to govern growth in the city of 12,500 people over the next two decades.
The commission meets at 6:30 p.m. in the City Council chambers at 22795 Barton Road in Grand Terrace.
--Darrell R. Santschi
Friday, March 26, 2010
It is time to compare and contrast the statements made to the City Council, the Court (Judge Wades Court) and the documents filed in both location. Has there been perjury committed?
There is reason to question the facts of the past as current and future payments are being made with RDA funds which we all know now are really Diverted General Fund funds that are then augmented by other California Taxpayers.
Starting with the slack contracting of Tom Schwab to the wheeling dealing of Steve Berry. This city and the projects managed by either of them should be investigated down to the last cent. The lack of accountability. The idea that you Loan funds from the RDA with the intention of not paying it back... these people still having their freedom, retirements and payoffs irks me. What about you?
Is it time to let some of the residents at the Villa's out of their long term lease because of the flawed representations in advertising that the Villas has public transportation available, and is close to accessible shopping and hospitals and medical facilities. These are gross misrepresentations to a population of seniors. CBH under provided parking for residents knowing that there would be residents without cars or transportation. They said in Court this would not be a problem for the residents and justified the Grand Terrace Rd location over the central location on Barton Road where the City Plan had originally place a site for Senior Housing.
This development is a Poster Case for why the CRA/RDA should not be allowed to have a higher debt level or longer life.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
It looks as if the place is being stripped down to the bare walls bit by bit. If that is what was in the approved contract than fine.
CBH will be looking for a market for a significant amount of used furniture. Now that their apartment income is filled in, they clearly don't care about the Senior Center being a "Selling Point" to entice prospective residents to move to the Blue Mt. Senior Villas.
Activities continued in spite of the intrusive conduct of CBH. Grand Terrace Seniors and their new members from the Villa's are a resilient bunch.
Grand Terrace turns to San Bernardino for animal control
Colton's cut in services moves council to switch
Stephen Wall, Staff Writer
Posted: 03/24/2010 04:14:41 PM PDT
With Colton's budget woes forcing it to discontinue service, Grand Terrace will expand its contract with San Bernardino for animal control and sheltering starting April 1.
The Grand Terrace City Council on Tuesday approved a three-year agreement with San Bernardino, which already shelters animals for Grand Terrace.
Colton has offered animal control to Grand Terrace for a number of years but cut back on service hours in December due to staffing reductions.
In January, Colton notified Grand Terrace that it could no longer provide it with animal services after March 31 because of additional staff cutbacks.
"The city of Colton provided very good service in terms of animal control," said Joyce Powers, Grand Terrace community and economic development director. "We were happy with it. I would expect the same from the city of San Bernardino."
Grand Terrace received proposals from three agencies that offered to provide animal services: the cities of San Bernardino and Moreno Valley and Riverside County.
San Bernardino provided the lowest bid at $104,184 a year, which was $36,770 higher than the current total for animal control and sheltering.
San Bernardino's service includes veterinary care. Animal control officers will respond to calls between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and to emergency calls after hours and on weekends and holidays.
Services to be provided include licensing, impounding, regulation and control of dogs, cats and other domestic and wild animals.
Because of staffing reductions, Colton cut back from seven to four days per week and stopped providing after-hours services.
Powers said Grand Terrace is paying more to contract with San Bernardino because it is offering full weekday coverage and emergency response.
"Given the options that the city was presented with, this was really our only alternative," said Councilwoman Lee Ann Garcia.
Garcia said she hopes cities in San Bernardino County can come together and provide a regional solution for animal services.Read more: http://www.sbsun.com/news/ci_14750846#ixzz0jCZdKr1l
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
There has been no indication of who the Party is or what the Issue is.
Now are we to assume it is CBH trying to collect for work that the city feels it has already paid for, or was not under the obligation of the city to pay for? By hiding behind closed doors and trying to save the "Embarrassment" caused by disclosing the sloppy Management of Steve Berry and Tom Schwab in their dealings with CBH will the City Council bend over and pay off CBH for items and work the City is not Contractually Obligated to pay?
Given the recent Senior Center Furniture drama there may be sufficient reason to air out these bills and CBH's Claims. All of the sudden CBH was willing to keep the used furniture and drop the related charges off of their claims against the city. That will be a loss of at least 70,000.00 to CBH as the used furniture market is not very good.
So what else have they billed the City for that is out of the contract specifications. What have they done without proper authorities and process. IF Steve Berry acted as an individual and they violated the terms of the contractual process for making or getting authorizations for changes, try Steve Berry's pockets not those of the City of Grand Terrace.
The hint came from CBH... they "desire to maintain a relationship with the city". Well CBH go a head take the City to Court... run the risk of continued relationship and management of the Villa's. Get a judgement that will refund the lease you are paying on the property... what was that a buck a year for 60 years. Go right back in to Judge Wade's Court and tell him how messed up the Development and Management Plans are after you said how wonderful it was in the same court.
Could it be that you don't care what the Center Furniture Looks Like now that you have the apartments nearly all rented. Will you be closing other aspects of "Services" to the Senior Residents? You know those adds that said near by shopping, and public transportation were lies. Remember you said that the 20 percent of the Seniors who move in will not have cars. Yet you refused to provide transportation, and continued to push for the off the RTA route and away from the GT Retail area. You and Schwab and later Berry, entrapped the residents. Many of which are looking to leave as soon as their lease is up.
CBH you ran face into a block wall and bloodied yourself when you removed the Furniture. Now City of GT you need to be open with the flaws in the contract and don't pay off just to save face. We can't afford to save face of the City or Berry or Schwab... Shame is Shame... stop hiding behind closed doors. The ONLY way to get to the real truth of this is to allow it to be resolved in public. Stop the back room dealing.
The Yuck Factor of the road kill should not be the smell of a skunk. It should be that road kill begets more road kill. Dead Animals attract scavengers that then become dead animals. Dead Animals attract flies, flies will spread disease.
So the solution is. Scoop and bag the dead animal. Get over it people. If you see a dead animal pick it up... Wear gloves, have a baggie, tie off the bag and dispose of it in a Road Kill Disposal Can At the City.
This would be much more cost effective. How much of our "Animal Control" is for Road Kill Removal?
Road Kill of a Larger Animal may need equipment the City or Citizens do not have available. The rest should be no problem.
Lost Dogs? How many do we impound? How many are reclaimed? How many are destroyed? Could one of the Pet Washes or Vets in town provide a 2 day in town impound prior to the animals being shipped off to San Bernardino? Could a group of dog lovers run a "Safe House" for strays where they foster for 2 or 4 days prior to the animals being sent out of town? What other options have been evaluated. Increasing the amounts paid for services every time encourages the next increase.
Perhaps there are alternatives that need to be looked into. Perhaps GT can be creative and self sustaining and not rely on outside services quite so much. We don't have so many strays that we need a full time Dog Hunter. If we scoop our own road kill. If we try to find the owners in 3 days prior to calling in the Animal Control action, we can well do with a part time service from Colton or San Bernardino and lower the cost to the tax payer.
Employees particularly those earning above 80,000.00 per year should be willing to take a pay cut, right along with the City Council taking a reduction in their car allotments, and stipends, and a reduction in other costs associated with the City Council Members. The contract with the City Manager should also be on the reduction table, even though she has her work cut out for her.
A Possible Law Suit. For What? By Who? This information would not change the possible outcome. Who are they really protecting? Are they covering up their own ineffectiveness or that of the City Attorney, and Ex City Managers?
Therefore he has decided to run for a seat on the City Council this November. He will be filing the necessary papers shortly with the Secretary of State. Those wishing to show support or have questions or concerns may contact him at email@example.com
So what as CBH gained. Some unused furniture and a Bad Reputation for how they do business and are willing to inconvenience and upset their senior housing clients who also attend activities in the Senior Center portion of the development.
Continued Daily Management of the Site may well be in jeopardy if a replacement team can be put into place. This is only the most recent and dramatic complaint about the CBH management of the site.
CBH owners are the same as the Builders, and Management Company. Now we can see how this trinity of interest is being used against the City of Grand Terrace and the residents of the Blue Mt. Villas and the Participants at the Senior Center. This is what you get when you have non competitive development funded by an CRA that has deaf ear to Citizens.
10:00 PM PDT on Tuesday, March 23, 2010
By DARRELL R. SANTSCHI
GRAND TERRACE - The city will be shopping for furniture, Grand Terrace City Council members learned Tuesday night, after a contractor removed at least four rooms of furniture from the city's new senior citizens center on Monday.
The council met in closed session to discuss what City Attorney John Harper called "the great furniture saga" before approving a $469,000 payment to the Corporation for Better Housing for work on the senior center and canceling additional work that would have added $72,540 to the cost.
That sum will instead be used to replace the furniture that City Manager Betsy Adams said she thought the city had already paid for.
Adams said during a break in Tuesday's council meeting that she is still not sure how it came about, but that she had received an e-mail from the Corporation for Better Housing saying it was taking back furniture.
The nonprofit organization disputed that the city had paid for the furniture, she said, and asked that the extra orders for painting and other improvements be withdrawn.
Adams said virtually all of the furniture in the center's lobby and card, crafts and dining rooms had been removed, and furniture may have been taken from the library.
Councilwoman Bea Cortes said she has found a donor to provide some of the furniture needed.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Stephen Wall, Staff Writer
Posted: 03/23/2010 06:13:33 PM PDT
Updated: 03/23/2010 07:27:30 PM PDT
GRAND TERRACE - The Grand Terrace Senior Center returned to normalcy Tuesday, a day after its furniture was removed as a result of a dispute with the city.
The Corporation for Better Housing, the Sherman Oaks based developer that built the senior center, arrived with a moving van Monday afternoon and abruptly took out the tables and chairs from the dining and game rooms.
City officials were puzzled by the action.
"We were stunned (Monday) when they did this," City Manager Betsy Adams said.
The City Council was scheduled to discuss the matter and try to reach a resolution at Tuesday night's meeting.
The council was expected to approve more than $500,000 in final payments to the developer for work completed last summer. The work included painting the carports and other upgrades to the senior center.
The city's Redevelopment Agency contributed nearly $9.6 million to build the 120-unit Blue Mountain Senior Villas apartments and adjoining senior center. Both facilities opened last year.
Justin Hardt, project manager for the Corporation for Better Housing, said he was not at liberty to discuss why the furniture was removed. He attributed the problem to a miscommunication between the developer and the city.
"It's a private matter that we're hoping to resolve in a manner that works out for both parties. We hope to continue our long-standing relationship with the city," Hardt said.City staff and council members showed up at the senior center when they found out what was going on shortly after noon on Monday.
Seniors were listening to a presentation by the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department about identify theft when the movers arrived. The presentation was not disrupted, officials said.
The city quickly brought in folding tables and chairs from the Community Room at City Hall to serve as temporary replacement furniture.
Adams was at the senior center Tuesday talking to seniors about the situation. Regular activities went on as scheduled, she said.
She said several seniors told her they preferred the long rectangular tables to the round wooden tables that were hauled off.
"We're still scratching our heads because we don't understand why they did this," Councilman Walt Stanckiewitz said.
"They're your residents. Those are the people who pay your salary. They live there and you did this to them."
CBH may be in violation of their management agreement and other agreements pertaining the building and managment of the Blue Mt. Villas and Senior Center and Susan Petta Park. These violations should be assesed if they are justification for termination of all or part of the agreements intered into by the City of Grand Terrace, The Grand Terrace Redevelopment Agency, and the individuals living at the facility.
CBH has shown they disrespect their client base. This should be a warning to anyone who is thinking of doing business with them in the future.
This is not a Private Matter. PUBLIC FUNDS have been spent to build this facility. CBH was given the contract as Developer, Builder and now Property Management. All the companies are owned by the same individuals and have the exact same address and phone number. The Contract was not offered to competitive bidding. This is a Schwab/Berry team effort. Recall that CBH provided funds for GT Days and other events and made other contributions which have not been fully accounted for.
PUBLIC FUNDS are paying for some of the RENTS being Collected by CBH. IF the City of Grand Terrace is not going to hold CBH to their agreements perhaps HUD and State Housing Authority Might.
IF CBH made modificatins at the Direction of Steve Berry or Tom Schwab or even an Individual Council Member that were not contracted for, the INDIVIDUAL should be billed not the City or the CRA... IF it isn't contracted for or documented with a Authorized Change Order... DONT PAY FOR IT.
If it didn't feel good the first time you got hit on the head with a 2 by 4 a second whack won't feel better it just may kill you.
Hornsby is right. Little GT can step up and be responsible and frugal and show others we have the interest of the City, County and State in mind when we take action.
In addition the Seniors will be able to select size and use appropriate to their needs. So this solution is the best for the seniors and the city.
CBH will have to find a use for the slighly used furniture they removed.
Charles Horsby made the clear point about CRA - RDA funding Grand Terrace should not gloat on the prospects of gaining a piece of pie from a pan that is empty. The Debt backed by funds in the State Coffers is a fiction we can no longer go along with. It is times that local cities get their finances in order. Doing so will support the County and State Governments and the general economy.
Perhaps the City Council will not continue in its Nero like ways. Play the Debt is Good tune while the County and State burns in piles of DEBT Bonds to be repaid with taxes that are drying up.
All approved the motion.
Another closed meeting... annoying music and flip adds.
Public Comments are not responded to by Council Members. If you aren't on the agenda you are speaking to dead air and no action will be taken to resolve your concerns.
At a minimum make the request to be put on the agenda and the Mayor's neglect of that request can be recorded in a more official record.
CBH is exactly why Schwab/Berry Era CRA Practices are wrong. In addition to CRA DEBT Financing bad for the Citizens of the State and Grand Terrace in the long run. Tell the Council you do not want to increase CRA DEBT Financing of Projects.
Perhaps it is time to investigate if CBH and all its incarnations have done jobs in the homes of Schwab/Berry or any of the Council Members. Who did they make contributions to? Were those funds accounted for properly? Who was responsible for not putting in a Commercial Kitchen?
The Citizens of GT and Tax Payers in general will be paying for this folly. We have a right to know if Schwab/Berry or any other city officials benefited from lax contract negotiations and terms and conditions. It may be time to sever all agreements possible with CBH and their many associated companies.
IF you need a reason to not have a larger CRA Debt Level.. here it is... This is what you buy with Debt Financing.
Welcome to Grand Terrace Betsy Adams. You have quite a challange ahead of you. Get a good lawyer to go over the CBH contracts with a fine tooth comb and get solid on what GT's rights are under those contracts.
Apparently the Management of CBH and the various company's they fly under decided that the way to negotiate payment by the City of Grand Terrace was to inconvenience the Seniors at the Senior Center by confiscating their tables and chairs.
The truck to remove the tables and chairs came right as lunch was being finished and a program on Identity Theft was being presented by none other than the Sheriff's Department.
The removal was delayed by the Senior Center Staff, sufficiently to allow the seniors to finish their lunches and hear their planned program. However, there was apparently no showing of a court order to remove the property from the building.
SO Big Bad CBH picked up their furniture and were BAD. Seniors prefer the narrower long tables and folding chairs that were brought in to replace the confiscated furniture. The CBH furniture was so large that it made reaching for the salt and pepper nearly impossible, and hearing your table mates talk even worse. Most said let CBH have their furniture and let them keep it and lower the price paid to them. CBH and the Apartment Management Company are all owned by the same people as was the "Builder Company". This is one family that has mastered the trick of wearing several hats to make the most of the business opportunities in providing housing.
Seniors wonder if the CBH Contracts have been violated by CBH sufficiently to have them removed from the management of the Apartments, Property and Park. Perhaps they intend to be removed from the management contract. Who knows? One thing for sure, their actions and timing indicate a total disregard for the Seniors using the Center.
So the Seniors have it right... CBH can have their tantrum and see where it gets them. Other than bad timing, the seniors cope and adjust quite well. Folks need to remember most of our seniors survived the Great Depression. The seniors have a we'll make do attitude that Grand Terrace as a City can learn from.
Monday, March 22, 2010
Saturday, March 20, 2010
The Press Enterprise has a long history of supporting Developer's interests over those of the Citizens and Taxpayers.
Don't be distracted. Bring All your Issues to the Planning Commission and to the City Council so if need be you can later fight in court. Let the City Council Know how you feel about adding debt and the use of Taxpayer's funds to finance private development.
Regarding the Minutes to be Approved:
Gene Carlstrom's Comments were not transposed correctly. The portion giving other Council Members some assurance that they will not or may not face Criminal Charges from their own possible conflict of interest issues is not included in the minutes. This is important as past actions of past Council Members and Employees may come to legal action if the law is going to be enforced by the letter of the law rather as well as the intent of the law.
The RDA Investment Policy does not include giving a "Loan" to the City General Fund... a Loan that the CRA's Director knows the City Manager had no intention of paying back.... BECAUSE the City Manager is the CRA Director.. There are laws and regulations that allow City Funds to go to the CRA but laws not allowing CRA funds to go to the CITY... THIS SHOULD BE BROUGHT TO THE ATTENTION OF THE NEW CITY MANAGER AND THE INEFFECTIVE CITY ATTORNEY HARPER in the event he is not paying attention. Request a Criminal Investigation regarding the handling of CRA Funds by City Manager/CRA Director Schwab. OH but Harper advises both agency and Sells the Debt Bonds. Request a Grand Jury Investigation or the FBI as the Bonds are regulated by a Federal Agency.
When a home owner's zoning changed they can no longer rebuild or get insurance to rebuild. THIS ISSUE was not resolved. THIS IS THE TYPE OF ABUSE of PROPERTY RIGHTS that the CRA and CITY PLANNING have used to force the artificial development of Grand Terrace and to remove long term land owners.
Sustainability is not a part of the Revised Plan. Not having Active Agriculture in a community is not a Sustainable.
Corporation for Better Housing is asking for money to pay for the finishing of the Senior Center/Senior Housing. At what point will the pocket of the City and the CRA be closed for the CBH? Do they share the rents collected with the city? The costs of operations should be theirs. The cost of remaking their faulty plan should be theirs. The City or the CRA should not have to pay for their bad engineering of design.
IF YOU WANT TO MAKE A PRESENTATION OR GET ON THE AGENDA, DURING PUBLIC SPEAKING, REQUEST YOU BE INCLUDED ON THE NEXT AGENDA FOR THE SPECIFIC TOPIC TO TAKE ABOUT HOW LONG. OF IMPORT ARE THE CRA CHANGES AND THE PLANNING CHANGES. CITIZENS ARE LIMITED TO 3 MINUTES, WHILE AGENCY AND DEPARTMENT SPOKES PERSONS ARE GIVEN AN OPEN ENDED TIME.
(BUT: NO SYMPATHY FROM MAYOR FERRE OR BEA CORTES)
10:00 PM PDT on Friday, March 19, 2010
Of all the people implicated in the recent public corruption scandals, the one who evokes the most sympathy is Jim Miller, the Grand Terrace councilman who stepped down 10 days ago.
Miller stands out because he took responsibility, from the moment he was approached by investigators, for what he did.
Miller faces one felony conflict-of-interest count for voting for payments for city ads placed in his wife's newspaper. The payments were approved on the council's consent calendar, items considered routine and non-controversial.
The city had been advertising in the Grand Terrace City News since before Miller's wife bought it in 2006.
Unlike some other public officials confronted with their actions, Miller didn't make excuses, shade the truth or try to push off the responsibility onto others.
He told investigators he had checked with the city attorney before his wife bought the paper, in a building next door to City Hall, asking whether it posed a conflict of interest for him.
He said the attorney told him it wasn't a problem because the business was his wife's separate property.
But he told investigators he realized he shouldn't have voted on payments to his wife's business.
A lot of people in Grand Terrace think the criminal charge against him is unfair, since he made a good-faith effort to find out if Margie Miller's ownership of the paper would be a problem.
Dozens have attended his court hearings to show their support. Seventeen spoke on his behalf at the council meeting, some castigating several council members for not standing behind him.
Sadly, it would have been easy for Miller to avoid the trouble by abstaining from voting on the payments.
But he thought he had clearance. Now it appears he didn't ask the right question.
City Attorney John Harper said Miller consulted him only about the purchase of the building, and Harper didn't know the business in it was a newspaper. (He was too busy playing with his blackberry at council meetings to pay attention to the facts or do his proper job.)
Once he found out in August 2008, Harper advised Miller to seek legal counsel about the potential conflict of interest, and the city stopped advertising in it. (Isn't HE the Legal COUNCIL? Or was Harper party to setting Miller up for a fall?)
Millar's lawyer, Richard Ewaniszyk, said Miller hasn't profited from his wife's newspaper revenue. The couple had a prenuptial agreement keeping Margie Miller's property separate and the couple has not commingled funds, he said.
Miller is due in court May 4. Reached by phone last week, he declined to comment, saying his attorney had advised him against discussing the case until it is resolved.
On Tuesday, the council will discuss how to fill his vacancy. It could appoint someone to serve the remainder of his term, which ends in November 2012, or set an election for this fall.
Appointing someone would cause more divisiveness. People already have accused a council member of ratting out Miller to the DA. They wouldn't look kindly on an appointment.
With almost three years left on the term, the council should let the voters decide.
Cassie MacDuff can be reached at 951-368-9470 or cmacduff@PE.com
Traditionally the shortened campaign calendar has effectively been supportive of the Incumbents and those supported by the City Manager and the Good Old Boy "Friends" of the Council class in Grand Terrace. Maryetta Ferre has nothing to gain from an extended campaign calender.
In past years she has not attended public debates, or sat for extensive interviews. She has relied on name recognition and hold over loyalties from her years as a school principal. She has been the recipient of support from Real Estate faction of Grand Terrace, including donations and management of her past campaigns. Her performance as Mayor has included cutting off public input on important issues in Grand Terrace. She and the Ex City Manager set the City Council Agenda. When a member of the public approached the Council and Mayor with a well prepared presentation on the AES Proposed Power Plant that citizen was never allowed on the Agenda thus being limited to 3 minutes of Public Speaking. Where as AES was given an open ended time limit for their presentation. When other citizens wanted more time to speak or get on the agenda she would not see to it the agenda included CITIZEN Initiated Items for consideration.
The result is that ALL PUBLIC SPEAKING at a City Council Meeting Ruled over by the Mayor Ferre was your comments were DULY Noted and Not Answered, Not Put on and Agenda, and well quite simply ignored as just noise from the Peons of the GT Riff and Raff. The Public according to Mayor Ferre is the ill informed, ill mannered, and ignorant.
Yet, she and other council members are now claiming they did not know about the Criminal Investigation against Steve Berry, or Steve Berry working as a lobbyist in Loma Linda, or that Tom Schwab halted that investigation, or that Tom Schwab was using RDA money as a "Loan" to the City. Or that the "Loan" was never to be repaid to the RDA... This Mayor Ferre is the nature of your Mayorship, and Council Member participation. Your desire to have a short campaign season is your means of retaining the status and title you so desperately desire to maintain for yourself.
The Citizens also need to ask themselves if you don't think YOU have a Conflict, how you can support the DA's Prosecution of Jim Miller. WHEN YOU TOO VOTED on the same Consent Calendar without warning Jim Miller at the FIRST VOTE you in your Omnipotence could see a conflict of interest in his voting while in your purity, you have none.
Mayor Ferre, spare GT , don't run for re-election. It is time for you to retire and enjoy your double dipping retirement from the School District and the City. Perhaps this will keep the DA's Office away from your door step in the future. You persist in voting on the Consent Calender making payments to the Water Company where your husband is a board member and recieves a stipend and other perks and privilages. If this DA doesn't take action, the next DA might.
If Mayor Ferre does run, Walt Stanchiewitz or anyone else will need to start early to over come the Political Machine that backs Ferre and the status quo of Big Debt, Big Developers, and an elitist attitude to "Friends of the Council". You know the ones who get invited to Parties paid for by the City or (Taxpayers) when the dirty public is not invited.
Walt Stanckiewitz will need legal aid, and a clear statement of reform to the practices and methods used by the City Council and City Government if he were elected as Mayor. Control of the Agenda is one of the most important factors that he would have as Mayor. We have seen Ferre and Schwab abuse this power of the Agenda. It is time for this to change.
Friday, March 19, 2010
Individual Citizens should be pro-active in getting their input on the Planning Revisions or else your Objection will not be heard in a future Court. THIS AFFECTS FUTURE GENERATIONS
Individual Citizens and Groups of Citizens should continue to demand Justice is applied equally and that the Investigation of the Conflict of Interest Charges gets done and concluded either by trial or DA Declaration of there not being a Conflict. It is doubtful that the DA will sanction the actions of either Ferre or Cortes so there is a higher likelihood there will be charges if the public demands an answer one way or another. THIS SETS A STANDARD FOR NOW AND FUTURE GENERATIONS.
This is same City Attorney that gave bad advise to Jim Miller, and on countless contract reviews and court cases. It may be more personal when he gets yet another "Opinion" wrong and his client Mayor Ferre and Council Member Cortes are charged for Conflict of Interest.
Cortes & Ferre didn't sign letter/petition supporting Miller, fearing the wrath of the DA's Office. Knowing they are in similar situations they dare not irritate the DA who is known to press charges against former political allies if and when he has no further use of them.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
DATE: Thursday, April 1, 2010
PLACE: Council Chambers, 22795 Barton Road, Grand Terrace, California 92313
TIME: 6:30 P.M.
THE PLANNING COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF GRAND TERRACE IS SCHEDULED TO HOLD A PUBLIC HEARING AT THE ABOVE TIME AND PLACE REGARDING THE FOLLOWING ITEM PROPOSED BY THE CITY OF GRAND TERRACE, APPLICABLE CITY-WIDE:
Project: Certification of the Final Program Environmental Impact Report
prepared for the General Plan Update and Amendment No. 6 to the Redevelopment Plan for the Revised Grand Terrace Community Redevelopment Project, and adoption of the General Plan Update and Redevelopment Plan Amendment.
General Plan Update: A comprehensive update of the 1988 City of Grand Terrace General Plan has been prepared. The new General Plan will contain the following General Plan Elements: Land Use, Circulation, Open Space and Conservation, Public Health and Safety, Noise, Public Services and Facilities, Housing, and Sustainable Development, including the re-designation of the Land Use designations for 13 locations within the City.
Amendment No. 6 to the Grand Terrace Community Redevelopment Project Redevelopment Plan: The Redevelopment Plan for the Grand Terrace Community Redevelopment Project was originally adopted by the City Council in 1979. The Redevelopment Plan has since undergone five amendments. The proposed sixth amendment to the Redevelopment Plan is primarily aimed at maximizing the Redevelopment Agency’s financial ability to implement the Redevelopment Plan.
Pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) a Draft Program Environmental Impact Report (“Draft EIR”). The Draft EIR (State Clearinghouse Number 2008071017) discusses the proposed Project’s environmental impacts associated with the Project. All significant effects of the proposed project have been reduced to less than significant levels with implementation of mitigation measures with the exception of long-term permanent noise levels associated with roadway traffic at build-out of the General Plan and long-term air emissions associated with build-out of the General Plan. These cumulative impacts remain significant and unavoidable. Written responses to comment letters received during circulation of the Draft EIR have been prepared and together with the DEIR and comment letters, comprise the Final Environmental Impact Report (“Final EIR”). The Final EIR has been prepared in accordance with, and pursuant to the CEQA, Public Resources Code, 21000 et seq. and the Guidelines for the Implementation of the California Environmental Quality Act (State CEQA Guidelines), California Code of Regulations, Title 14, 15000 et seq.
At the public hearing, the Planning Commission will consider all evidence and testimony for the Project and make a recommendation to the City Council.
Anyone wishing to speak in favor of or in opposition to the above listed item will be given the opportunity to do so before the Planning Commission. Pursuant to Government Code Section 65009(b)(2): “If you challenge the nature of the proposed action in court, you may be limited to raising only those issues you or someone else raised at the public hearing described in this notice, or in written correspondence delivered to the public entity conducting the hearing at or prior to the public hearing.”
If you have any questions regarding the Project, the public hearing or this notice, please contact Senior Planner Sandra Molina, in the Community and Economic Development Department offices, via telephone at (909) 430-2247, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Copies of all relevant material, including the Project specifications, the draft EIR, and supporting documents, are available for review at the City of Grand Terrace Community Development Department in City Hall, 22795 Barton Road, during normal business hours. If you plan to attend the public hearing and need a special accommodation because of a sensory or mobility impairment/disability, please contact the City Clerk’s office at (909) 430-2212 to arrange for those accommodations to be made.
Published: One-eighth page legal advertisement on March 18, 2010 in the San Bernardino County Sun.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
PE Politics on March 5, 2010 4:42 PM
Republican gubernatorial hopeful Meg Whitman this afternoon announced grassroots steering committees for Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
Whitman says the committees will help recruit volunteers and get voters to the polls in the June primary where the former eBay CEO faces state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner for the GOP nomination.
Here are the committee members from the two-county area, according to Whitman's campaign.
Riverside County: Ann Botts, Robby Hightower, Darcy Kuenzi, Gina Nestande, John Petty, Albert Sanchez, Jonathan Sheehan, and Marc Troast.
San Bernardino County: Steve Berry, Tom Brickley, Erin Brinker, Tobin Brinker, Steve Copeland, Christine Millan, and Anne Viricel.
What a group of losers. I was ready to support Whitman until I saw this. Anyone who would put Steve Berry on a stearing committee after the unsavory stuff he has done for the last 20 years clearly has not made any real effort to assess the political tone of the Inland Empire. with the exception of John Petty and Darcy Kuenzi, these are all tiny tiny Republicans connected to the worst elements in this area. These choices speak very poorly for this candidate.
Sunday, March 07, 2010, 10:04:25 AM
Last we knew Steve Berry lived in Riverside not in San Bernardino. Of course it is rumored that he "has friends" in San Bernardino Politics that are afraid he'll be spilling the beans if he is not kept busy. Sorry Meg. I can't support anyone who will hire or let Steve Berry be an associate.
— Duane W. Gangdgang@PE.com
This blog holds the Opinion: DA Ramos uses political relationships to determine who to charge or not charge for crimes. EVEN when faced with complaints and evidence provided by Citizens who SIGN the Complaint and provide the proof to aid the "Investagators". GT is waiting to see if DA Ramos is a Just DA or just a da.
I am sending you a copy of the flier for the City sponsored meeting to discuss the Specific Plan the Doug Wilson has been working on. The meeting is going to be held March 30th. I do hope citizens show up.
The flier exhibits a picture of a beautiful Greek Theater. This is the polar opposite of the big box stores the Council is trying to push through. But it does hold true to the deception and smoke screens the Council notoriously uses when addressing the public. Thank God some of the citizens do not take what the Council says at face value. It would be ideal if the Council would do their own research instead of voting for everything the Staff recommends.
It is a very time consuming task to figure out what the Council is really going to do. But, their history has shown that they do not care about our children, families and community when the only thing that matters to them is spending our tax dollars to hire consultants to force through the building of Lowes, Wal-Mart, Target, etc. These companies do not belong on Barton Road for the fact that our streets cannot handle the traffic. It would destroy our family friendly community that the parents of Grand Terrace have worked so hard to build. It would increase the air pollution and crime.
Yes, it would be lovely to include a Greek Theater in the Barton Road Project along with a scaled down shopping area.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
I am not saying all RDA projects are bad, but with the states blurred fiscal/financial relationship and the amount of debt interest we are burdened with in the state, maybe we should take from the "property tax buffet" only what we need. Also, RDA's are reduced and even dissolved, the tax increment generated by the RDA stays with the City and in the general fund, where it can just as easily pay for the little league park.
Transparency needs to return to government. Regular citizens who make up the composition of City Councils should be able to just see revenues in and out from the general fund. RDA's create a non-transparent vehicle for private developer's to un-load their risk and debt. Did you note and if you did- why did you not report- that for every dollar borrowed there was a dollar of debt incurred for 30 years.
The hot potato and the elephant in the room is the amount of public debt. If RDA has to pay back over $2 million and the state is asking for a contribution of over $2 million to balance the state budget, why the rush into more debt? The Governor pledged no new taxes when he ran in 2003. What Republicans are being served is no new taxes, but new interest debt, fees and layoffs of teachers. The $15 Billion debt in 2003 created debt service payments as large as what is now needed to pay for the entire K-12, community college, state colleges and universities. But your paper insisted on more debt, because GOD forbid we do what Republican governors’ Reagan and Wilson did, raise the tax contribution of the top one-percent earners--who by the way are not the middle-class.
Monday, March 15, 2010
10:00 PM PDT on Monday, March 15, 2010
By DARRELL R. SANTSCHI
The Grand Terrace City Council plans a public hearing April 27 on a plan to extend the life of the city's Redevelopment Agency and increase the amount of bond debt it can incur by fivefold.
At stake is $96 million in property tax revenue the city could rake in over the next 14 years rather than see it distributed among other tax recipients. Redevelopment agencies pay for projects by selling bonds repaid by property tax money that otherwise would go to other government agencies.
"I am suggesting you keep the money in the city of Grand Terrace that would go to other agencies," city Community and Economic Development Director Joyce Powers told the council last week.
The plan calls for extending the life of the agency by five years through July 15, 2024. Also, the agency's bond debt ceiling would rise from $15 million to $75 million.
Without that increase, Powers warned, the agency will reach its maximum debt sometime next year, about the same time it will have collected its maximum of $70 million in property tax revenue.
The plan also calls on the city to increase the maximum amount of money the agency can raise from $70 million to $225 million.
Powers said earlier that the total bond debt and total revenue are different because the bond money is used to pay for specific development-related projects and the rest of the money raised in property taxes pays for such expenses as housing assistance for low-income families, interest on debt and portions of city staff members' salaries.
The report boasts that redevelopment money has built a library and city hall, developed Richard Rollins and Pico parks, built a child care center and fire station, purchased land for the town's first dog park and designed a ball field for Little League games.
Future redevelopment money will provide $6.2 million for curbs, gutters and sidewalks along Michigan Avenue, $200,000 for a baseball field, $4 million for park improvements and enlargements of the library and community center.
The council learned last month that it will have to repay $2.6 million to the redevelopment agency from the city's general fund because property tax checks sent by the county to Grand Terrace had been credited to the wrong account.
Some criticized the proposed redevelopment plan.
Patricia Farley told the council last week that her family bought a house on Michigan Avenue 60 years ago and that she is dissatisfied with the city's handling of improvements in the area.
"The blight problem on Michigan (Avenue) is created by your negligence," she told council members. "I am totally opposed to you continuing this."
Sylvia Robles said money is needed for schools and other government programs that would be lost to the city's redevelopment agency.
Charles Hornsby urged the council to dissolve the agency, which he said encourages Grand Terrace to "live way beyond our means.
"California was once the golden state," he said. "Now we can't afford to be the aluminum foil state."
Reach Darrell R. Santschi at 951-368-9484 or dsantschi@PE.com
Colton council to hear briefing on Grand Terrace school
10:00 PM PDT on Monday, March 15, 2010
The Colton City Council will hear a briefing tonight on construction progress for the new high school in neighboring Grand Terrace.
Colton Joint Unified School District officials will be describing the 67.5-acre Grand Terrace High School at the Ray Abril Jr. Educational Complex, which is under construction and scheduled to open Sept. 6, 2011. The school will have 274,000 square feet of building area, 96 classrooms and an enrollment capacity of 3,008 students in grades nine through 12.
The council meets at 6 p.m. at 650 N. La Cadena Drive in Colton.
--Darrell R. Santschi dsantschi@PE.com
2.1 March 18th Planning Commission Meeting has 2 Action Items where New Businesses are seeking a Determination of Use and Administration Conditional Use Permits.
22400 Barton Road Suite 17 (Food Connection is in Suite # 1)
Greeley Ink. A Tattoo Parlor seeks to be permitted in the Barton Road Specific Plan Village Commercial (BRSP-VC) zone pursuant to Section 18.79.020 and 18.84 of the Zoning Code.
1: Conduct a public meeting and make a finding that the proposed use is consistent with the permitted uses within the Barton Road Specific Plan - Village Commercial (BRSP-VC) zone.
2: Approve and adopt the attached resolution for Administrative Conditional Permit 10=02 and find the project exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act.
2.2 Determination of Use (DU) 10-02
21900 Barton Road Suite 109 (That is near Demetris's Burgers)
Determination Use for Unitek Dental Lab to be permitted in a C2 zone pursuant to Section 19.89.020 of the Zoning Code.
STAFF RECOMMENDATION: Adopt a Resolution finding that a dental lab use is consistent with the permitted uses within the General Commercial (C2) zone
Is anyone else bothered that the Staff Recommendation is made without hearing the Public Input? They may say, Staff Review finds the applicant is within the appropriate zone and codes. However to go further than that before the Public has input is an over reach. Why bother with public input if the Recommendation is stated as a done deal?
TapouT apparently is a backer of the Tattoo Parlor being Mid Town in Grand Terrace. Nothing says peaceful community like Tattoo Parlor. Nothing says hey we are safe for families and kids like a Tattoo Parlor linked to full contact blood sports. This in a place near a Bar and a Restaurant that sells alcohol. I think there may be a safety issue in the location of a Tattoo Parlor mid town right near the City Day Care Center. Just some input that the STAFF may not want to hear. QUALITY OF LIFE is an ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUE.
After speaking with several residents of Grand Terrace, their reaction has been very supportive of Walt’s decision as they too want to see the City move in a NEW direction.
Over the coming months, Walt will be seeking support from residents of the community to insure a successful campaign.
I just wanted to share some information with you all. I was informed by a friend who works at west valley detention that as of today they released 50 inmates. Not only west valley but San Bernardino , and Riverside. By the end of the month they will be releasing about 750 inmates. They are counting on it saving the state millions of dollars.
So I was warned to make sure I'm aware of my surroundings at all times.
Make sure you lock your doors to your house and your car.
Don't walk out at night by yourself.
Even to go as far as when you're leaving your house, get in your car lock the doors and start it before you open your garage.
They are expecting a lot of things to happen since these guys are going to need money and won't be able to find a job.
Share this info with your kids so they are aware, since I know some of us have kids that walk to and from school, and share it with your family and friends.
Pass it on to all the people that you can to make them aware too. So, everyone, be safe, be aware.....
Council was told by citizens that it was not a good idea to waste the taxpayer’s money for electronic signs. Lee Ann though it was so wonderful that we could advertise for our Community.
Common Council – WAKE UP – You are not as smart as you think you are.
Note: The signs cost 57,000.00 did the city take 72,000.00 out of the CRA to cover the "Overhead' not covered by the "General Fund"? Was there an accounting trail for this?
Yet in Grand Terrace, the "Republican Council" is considering an increase of the CRA Debt Limits, more transgressions of the Private/Government separations, and all while miss using the allocation of taxes in accordance to the rules and regulations and laws about such a financial arrangement.
You would think that Budget Reform and Austerity would come from a City Lead by "Republicans". You would think that when things were turning bad they would have been the first to say, no more spending outside the budget of the General Fund. You would have thought that they would see the CRA not as a Cash Cow to be milked, but as the Drain it is on the General Fund that the City should be using for its operations.
You would think that they would be pushing to get out of Real Estate Development Business and Interfering with Commerce. You would think that they would not aid one business at the detriment of another business. You would think they'd be protecting your property rights.
OH I forget, this is Grand Terrace where nothing is what it appears to be. A loan is not intended to be paid back. Criminal Investigations can be stopped by City Managers. City Council Members are arrested for voting on a consent calandar, while others negotiate and pay on contracts for their own business associates.
Current and former members of the City Council should be very
concerned about Jim Miller's case in view of the standard practices that have been occurring in this city for years. Consider the following examples for which there is clear documentation. On August 28, 1997, Byron Matteson, Dan Buchanan, Herman Hilkey, Jim Singley, and Lee Ann Garcia were on the Grand Terrace City Council when they all approved Check Register No. CRA 091197 which included a voucher for $7,500 paid to the Grand Terrace Chamber of Commerce. It was for fiscal year 1997/1998, and it was not designated for any particular thing. Bernie Simon was the Finance Director for the City of Grand Terrace, and Frank Ferré was the Treasurer of the Grand Terrace Chamber of Commerce. At that time, a Community and Business Directory for 1997/1998 was printed by Allstate Instant printing for the Grand Terrace Chamber of Commerce.
According to a newspaper article in 1997, Allstate Printing was owned by Byron Matteson. In the same article, it was also stated that Byron Matteson was the founding director of Inland Community Bank which appears to be the same bank that later gave construction loans for a project that is really in question right now. Some people feel that this project should have never been approved where it is located, right across from residential. An important Public Hearing at City Hall is going to be held on March 4, 2010 at 6:30 p.m. on the CUP for this business. Jim Miller had every reason to believe that he was doing nothing wrong. I believe that he acted in good faith and was ill-advised. I think that the citizens of Grand Terrace have a right to expect our City
Attorney and our City Manager to properly advise and support our City Council on matters so that competent and honest people are willing to serve in our City Council.
There There is THIS:
PENAL CODE SECTION 182
182. (a) If two or more persons conspire:
(1) To commit any crime.
(2) Falsely and maliciously to indict another for any crime, or to procure another to be charged or arrested for any crime.
(3) Falsely to move or maintain any suit, action, or proceeding.
(4) To cheat and defraud any person of any property, by any means which are in themselves criminal, or to obtain money or property by false pretenses or by false promises with fraudulent intent not to perform those promises.
(5) To commit any act injurious to the public health, to public morals, or to pervert or obstruct justice, or the due administration of the laws.
(6) To commit any crime against the person of the President or Vice President of the United States, the Governor of any state or territory, any United States justice or judge, or the secretary of any of the executive departments of the United States. They are punishable as follows:
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Posted: 03/14/2010 05:17:22 PM PDT
Miller resigned Wednesday, nearly eight months after he was arrested on a felony conflict-of-interest charge for voting to approve $18,000 worth of city advertising contracts with his wife's newspaper.
Miller has pleaded not guilty to that charge, but in court documents and in his letter of resignation, he has made clear he accepts ultimate responsibility for the situation.
Miller's supporters have rallied around him, which likely provides him some measure of comfort in the face of public disgrace. But should anyone suggest that Miller's alleged transgressions are a pittance in light of a San Bernardino County corruption scandal involving a $102 million legal settlement with developers who allegedly bribed elected and appointed officials, we must remind them that an elected official's stewardship of public funds is chief among their responsibilities to those they serve.
Miller has said that he didn't know it was a conflict of interest to approve payments to his wife's business, a claim we view with wary skepticism. He has also said his wife plans to repay the money.
It appears that Miller is attempting to right a wrong, and his supporters in Grand Terrace likely appreciate that fact. It's just a shame anything went wrong in the first place.
It's time to start cashing them in.
It looks like Ex City Manager worked for the US Government. The US Gov has at least documented how much money was taken from Social Security Funds to pay for other non SSI activities. Unlike Schwab there is a traceable record. You can't take money from one pocket and spend it out of another pocket when the money was held in trust for a specific purpose or was made available via a debt bond.
Now the Feds have a problem, and so does GT. The solution is not for GT to go out and spend more money or get more debt. Unlike the FED... we don't print money. More RDA Debt just burdens us in the short and long term. It is not good for Grand Terrace, the State of California or the Federal Government. STOP this financial Hindenburg from being inflated by hot gasses coming from Tom Schwab and Joyce Powers. Stop it. Just Stop it.
By law the CRA 5 year plan and any extension of the RDA debt capacity must expalin, why private development needs our city help. All the plan says is private investment cannot do it alone and needs are help. The plan notes it is working with private developers to establish new projects.