Friday, July 30, 2010
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Cortes, Ferre, Garcia refuse to put Miller on Agenda per Stanckiewitz request to discuss compensation to Miller for having been put through the ordeal which the City and the Council Contributed. Each of the Council Members Cortes, Ferre, and Garcia were quick to vote no on the Stanckiewits motion.
Ex-Grand Terrace councilman pleads guilty
10:30 PM PDT on Tuesday, July 27, 2010By DARRELL R. SANTSCHI
Former Grand Terrace City Councilman Jim Miller pleaded guilty Tuesday to a misdemeanor charge stemming from his votes as a councilman to approve payments to his wife's weekly newspaper for publishing the city's legal advertisements.
San Bernardino County Superior Court Judge Bryan Foster sentenced Miller to two years probation, but agreed to cut that term in half if the former councilman provides proof that he paid $17,812.42 in restitution to the city.
Miller's attorney, Jim Reiss, said outside court that the money has already been paid and that Miller will apply in a year to have the conviction expunged.
The judge also fined Miller $170, but fees and penalties pushed the total to $305.
A plea agreement came after last-minute negotiations at the courthouse in San Bernardino. Prosecutor John Goritz, of the district attorney's Public Integrity Unit, agreed to drop a felony charge that could have resulted in a prison term as long as three years.
Miller pleaded guilty to having a financial interest by a state or local official in a government contract.
Reiss and Goritz said Miller's resignation from the council in March fulfills a requirement of the plea agreement. Goritz said by phone afterward that the agreement also prohibits Miller from holding public office for four years.
Miller, who has said he does not plan to run for the council again, declined to comment after Tuesday's court appearance. His wife, Margie, fought back tears as she was comforted by several supporters at the courthouse.
The plea came just over a year after Miller's arrest and less than two weeks before his trial would have started.
Miller had been charged with felony conflict-of-interest stemming from his votes to approve payments to the Grand Terrace City News for running legal ads for the city from Oct. 26, 2006, to Aug. 12, 2008.
He publicly acknowledged during a resignation speech at a council meeting in March that he should have abstained from voting. But he also said that no one, including City Attorney John Harper, had suggested that he abstain from voting.
In a report filed in support of the criminal charge, a San Bernardino County district attorney's investigator quoted Miller as saying Harper had told him when his wife bought the newspaper in 2006 that her ownership posed no conflict of interest for Miller.
Harper has since contended that his opinion dealt with whether the councilman's wife could make a purchase within the citywide redevelopment agency boundary, not with Jim Miller voting on payments to the paper.
Reiss, Miller's attorney, said the city attorney's advice, along with the potential knowledge of other city employees, would have made it difficult for prosecutors to obtain a felony conviction.
Goritz said he had offered a misdemeanor plea deal since early in the legal process.
Reach Darrell R. Santschi at 951-368-9484 or dsantschi@PE.com
Gramps adds: Now we know the charges that are reasonable when will Ferre and Cortes be charged with similar transgressions? Why hasn't Schwab or Berry been brought up on charges for their conduct?
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Dear Grandpa Terrace,
I agree with your viewpoint that the City Council approved a plan that was a single build. I also believe the following:
Due to the resignation of Jim Miller, the announcement from Mayor Ferre that she will step down after her term expires this fall and term of Councilwoman Bertha Cortes expiring, decisions five years out should be put on the back burner until after the November elections. Only LeeAnn Garcia and Walt Stanckiewitz seats are not up for election.
The extenuating circumstances of the global/national/state/local economy require another review of the terms, conditions and benefits to city residents. The city council has a fiduciary responsibility to the residents of Grand Terrace.
The current posture of the Mayor to limit the voices of citizens to a mere three minutes and rush though items of this consequence is untenable.
Remember, the City of Bell changed its’ organization from a General Law city to a Charter City to circumvent limits on managerial salaries and council compensation. The Attorney General is investigating whether the council exercised due diligence in it’s accord (fiduciary responsibility) with citizens to protect their interest. Of special concern, is the amount of disclosure and public discussion and voter education on the elements of the charter amendment.
Citizens should ask why the rush? We need more meaningful disclosure and discussion.
Individuals should have at least five minutes to present their testimony to the council. Citizens wishing to yield their time to a spokesperson should be able to. Anything less is a naked disregard for true citizen participation. I understand there are time constraints, so why not schedule this agenda without awards and recognitions and defer city council member’s reports at the end of the agenda.
Grand Terrace Resident
Sunday, July 25, 2010
"Like many of you I find myself deeply frustrated with the lack of transparency, and leadership, "sandoval said in regards to the $4.6 million dollar debt that the city has incurred over the last 10 years, also " the grave injustice suffered by one of our respected City Council members, the Systemic abuse of th RDA, and Council's silence on these issues. This is why I have chosen to run."
He mentioned being perplexed and confused "at the lack of accountability that has been allowed to exist in our beloved community. My goal is not just to win a seat on the Grand Terrace City Council, but more importantly to fundamententally reform our City Government," he also stated his approach by saying that, "I will sign a contract with the voters of Grand Terrace that will establish the principles by which I will govern and be held accountable too, once elected.
Sandoval has been in the field of technology since 1993. Working in the capacity of Director, his responcibilities consisted of extensive contract negotiation, the administration of Multi-million dollar budgets, effective implantation of new technologies, managing local and multinational based terms to increase efficiency and to produce cost effective solutions for complex organizations.
Sandoval worked for one of the nation's largest nonprofit land development companies and for a large regional CPA firm that was responsible for 80% of the state school districts financial audits and for various cities and municipalities. Currently, Sandoval holds a position as a Director of Technical Operations for a regional health care provider in Southern California.
Sandoval is also a small business owner who has completed technical education and is pursuing continued studies with an online distance education program through Harvard University.
Sandoval has, wit the help of his wife Francine, of 14 years, assisted in the raising of two young women. He has counseled, nurtured, and fathered Marissa and Veronica who came as teenagers to their home and found a place of safe haven when they're paths coursed with the Sandoval's. Marissa recently recieved her MBA at Azusa Pacific and Veronica is currently pursuing a degree in Marriage and fFamily Therapy.
Sandoval has spent the last 20 years mentoring young adults throughout the community. Growing up playing in youth soccer and little league in Grand Terrace, Sandoval couldn't resist giving back 20 years later by signing up to coach youth sports in the community himself. He would like to continue that effort of giving back as a community that has given so much to him and his family.
Sandoval welcomes your feedback via facebook at Sandoval at Sandoval for Grand Terrace City Council or on his up and coming website. (Link will be added when it is activated)
Doug Jacobsen will be presenting plans that have been significantly revised to the City Council in attempt to get them approved without sufficient time for public, comment, review and yes, possible legal action if necessary.
The use of the "Workshop" hour precludes the attendance of many of our citizens who must rely on jobs in Los Angeles and Orange County for employment. They will be effectively shut out from the consultation on this PUBLIC/Private venture. Yes this includes RDA FUNDS and DEBT in addition to Street Improvements, Stop Lights, Block Walls, Site Elevation and more.
Doug Jacobsen's recent presentation to the Planning Commission included drawings with missing information, and poor spelling. In addition the major "revision" was to build and put in improvements in a piece meal way. This will cause or could cause the City to have to pick up the financial burden of making some of the infrastructure improvements at City or RDA Cost.
If this was a non RDA funded project the issue of strict conformity with procedure and codes and building plans or general plans would be different. If the Government in this case the City of Grand Terrace and their hand picked Developer can not build in full compliance with the code and building plan and General Plan and Specific Plan, then these plans need to be revised for all property and business owners in Grand Terrace.
The City Council approved a plan that was One Single Build. For Doug Jacobsen to chop it up now should require him to re submit from step one in the building approval process.
IF YOU HAVE AN ISSUE WITH JACOBSEN'S PLAN YOU MUST BRING IT TO THE ATTENTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OR YOU MAY NOT HAVE CAUSE IN A COURT OF LAW.
Existing buildings are required to upgrade their sidwalks during remodels and construction projects. What makes Jacobsen and the RDA think the rules should be bent for them and not others?
Grand Terrace council to take up contract with sheriff
10:00 PM PDT on Monday, July 26, 2010
The Grand Terrace City Council will be asked tonight to renew its contract for law enforcement services with the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.
Renewal for the next year would cost the city $2,003,917, an increase of $126,231 from the fiscal year that ended June 30. The increase is because of labor concessions negotiated by the county with its deputies.
The council meets at 6 p.m. in its chambers at 22795 Barton Road in Grand Terrace.
--Darrell R. Santschi
Perhaps it is time to say no to an increase charged by the County. Our law enforcement officer is often not in GT. That time should be billed to the County or to Loma Linda, or even Colton where they are often seen eating their lunch.
City Officials Highly Paid?
10:00 PM PDT on Monday, July 26, 2010Cassie MacDuff
With the scandal over exorbitant pay for Bell officials, Inland residents may wonder if their city governments, too, have approved extravagant salaries unbeknownst to them.
A 2007 Press-Enterprise survey showed Inland city manager salaries doubled between 1996 and 2006. Some now top $200,000.
But they're nowhere near the $787,637 a year Bell's city manager was making.
On Monday, a spot check of cities in Riverside and San Bernardino counties showed some managers have taken pay cuts along with rank-and-file employees.
Grand Terrace City Manager Betsy M. Adams, for example, took a 10 percent salary cut, reducing her base pay from $175,000 a year to $166,500. Grand Terrace has no assistant city manager position or police chief (a sheriff's lieutenant supervises a few deputies).
Dave Mora, West Coast director of the International City/County Management Association, said most city managers are forgoing salary increases or reducing their salaries as employees' pay is being reduced.
Redlands' city manager, Enrique Martinez, on the other hand, got a health stipend for himself and the city attorney this spring, while laying off workers and cutting others' pay.
Redlands couldn't provide figures but Councilman Mick Gallagher said Martinez's pay tops $240,000.
Corona Deputy City Clerk Toni Taber said her city had been expecting questions about pay in the wake of the Bell scandal. It readily provided the information:
City Manager Brad Robbins makes $230,256 a year; Assistant City Manager Greg Ervine makes $208,392 a year and the police chief makes $181,236 a year.
I never heard back from San Bernardino. But its manager, Charles McNeely, was making $275,000 a year when he was hired in March 2009. A year ago he recommended raising the assistant city manager salary to $197,000.
Riverside City Manager Brad Hudson's salary is $294,525 plus benefits; Assistant City Manager Tom DeSantis makes $220,031 plus benefits and Police Chief Sergio Diaz makes $229,999 plus benefits. (Spokesman Austin Carter said Bell figures excluded benefits.)
Loma Linda City Manager Jarb Thaipejr is paid $175,000 a year. But he also serves as public works director, city engineer and human resources director, doing four jobs for the price of one.
Highland City Manager Joe Hughes makes $169,000 a year and a $700 monthly car allowance. His health plan is worth $850 a month -- the same as other Highland employees, Administrative Director Chuck Dantuono said.
So some Inland cities are frugal, unlike notorious Bell where the police chief made $457,000 a year and the assistant city manager, $376,288.
Attorney General Jerry Brown on Monday subpoenaed records to determine whether Bell's managers conspired with council members to raise pay fraudulently or improperly.
Spokesman Jim Finefrock said Brown plans to review salaries in other California cities and counties to determine whether legislation is needed to cap salary increases that can be made without voter approval.
Cassie MacDuff can be reached at 951-368-9470 or cmacduff@PE.com
Gramp Thinks it is about time for the AG Jerry Brown to look into the same type of violations during the Schwab/Berry/Harper Years including the RDA transactions and botched "Plans" given to non bid developers.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
July 21, 2010
City Council Candidate, Sylvia Robles, has announced today, that she will be at "Taco Village" this Sunday, July 25, 2010 from 10:00 to 12:00 Noon to receive potential voters and collect signatures to qualify for the ballot.
Mrs. Robles is seeking the un-expired terms of Jim Miller.
Due to election codes, Mrs. Robles is unable to host any refreshments or food as she has not raised money nor established a campaign account. The purpose of this "Meet Up" is to provide a convenient location for citizens to drop in, share their viewpoints and consider helping her qualify for the ballot.
Council Corner - Walt Stanckiewitz Says:
I would like to explain what happened at the July 13, 2010 City Council Meeting regarding the Political Sign ordinance. As usual, I am not speaking for the other members of the City Council. During the recently completed California Primary Election a candidate participating in the primary questioned the legality of Grand Terrace's Political Sign Ordinance. The challenge was forwarded to our City Attorney for review and comment. Mr. Harper researched recent court decisions relating to political sign ordinances in other cities within California. In every case he found that political speech is protected by stat and federal statutes and most importantly the Constitution of the United States. It was very clear to me that our only alternative was to correct our Political Sign Ordinance to be in compliance. I was not happy with the prospect of political signs proliferating out City for an excessive period of time before an election, but I believe it is my obligation to protect the City from unnecessary litigation and the associated court costs.
Our former City Manager Tom Schwab, seems to believe that a neat and uncluttered community during election cycles is more important than Free Speech. This opinion seems to be also shared by Doug Wilson, Chairman of the Planning Commission. As a veteran of the United States Army and the son of a WWII combat veteran I have a problem with that type of thinking. There are too many soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who have given their lives to protect our freedom of speech. I am not willing to ignore their sacrifices for the sake of neatness. I am also not willing to jeopardize our City finances to make a point. You, as property owners, should not be willing to give up your free speech rights either. The current ordinance prohibits you from displaying any political sign on your property.
If you agree with me, or disagree with me, please let the members of the City Council know how you feel about this issue. You can email us directly. Our address are on the official Grand Terrace web site (www.cityofgrandterrace.org) .
Meg Whitman's Signs were designed so there was no date just the name Meg Whitman. Her campaign office hoped to leave the signs up to the final election date. She has sufficient funds to take the little city of Grand Terrace to court and she would not lose many votes making a show of protecting Freedom of Speech for "ALL". Steve Berry who works on the Whitman Campaign knows about the GT Code and no doubt will aid in pushing a lawsuit against the city if it serves her goal and his.
In addition in local politics, the name of Schwab, Cortes and Stanckiewits are known and don't need much exposure. (OK that Stanckiewits name may be a problem to market.) So the shorter time that signs are up, Schawb, Cortes, and in the past Ferre, and Garcia had the advantage under the current code. It is rumored that Schwab is going to run for City Council or Mayor... his name being may be enough to get him elected. There are still a great number of Citizens who are ill informed, and who will just vote for a name they think they have heard before.
Monday, July 19, 2010
However, in regards to the CJUSD the City Council should speak up as well as Support CJUSD without being derogatory to the rest of the School District when being prideful about Grand Terrace. CJUSD has much more to satisfy than the needs of only Grand Terrace. That boat needs to float all at the same time, or it will sink in parts. Look that the test scores at the Terrace Hills School and the number of students retained or Flunked. So careful fellas if you want to run for School Board that is a different office.
The SDA Church and the Fire House may have Blue Mountain Beer Company (Microbrewery) and pub or Beer Hall for a new neighbor. Or at least that is what the applicant Gene Hays hopes. The lot at 22587 Barton Road ( Assessor's Parcel Number 1178-011-03) is adjacent to those existing establishments and organizations and abuts the block wall of a residential neighborhood.
In the proposal there is a limit on the size of the band to 3 jazz musicians. However no one reported if the music and party noise including guests, had to be contained entirely inside the building. The applicant said, "everyone supported the idea". Who is this everyone? Were there members of the SDA Church there in support? Were there neighbors to the wall in support? Were the parents of walking students and youth in support? Yes the SDA operate a school on the site don't they?
Will the ABC board issue additional service licenses when GT already is by their standard saturated with ABC Licenses?
Jacobsen himself went before the Planning Commission with some badly prepared mish mash of drawings and presentations to try to push forward the building of the Stater Bro's Market. He wants the Planning Commission to approve the revision that will allow construction without immediate road and signal upgrades prior to construction or occupancy for Stater Brothers. The plan was approved because or in part because the "City wanted a unified development not a piece meal development". So shouldn't he have to start from square one if he is now doing a piece meal development?
Again the old "Everyone is in support line" has been tried. Not everyone is happy with the prospects of Diesel fumes and noise adjacent to their residential neighborhood as the delivery area abuts them very close. No one should be happy about the non resolution for the traffic around the GT Elementary School and the needed changes to the road and signaling prior to an increase in traffic in the area.
Include in the problem that the Code says a block wall can only be 5 feet above a retaining wall. Well for Mr. Jacobsen and the Neighborhood being affected this is insufficient to keep Crooks and children, on one side, and Truck Smoke and Noise On the Other. The nature of the property and the local geograpy and the intended purpose of a wall don't fit well together.
Mr. Jacobsen should have done a better job of being ready for his presentation. Facts, and good drawings would help more than tears and pleas.
Finally, the desire to put large signs so they can be seen from the freeway was also on the agenda. The City Code and past decisions have been against this very thing. The issue is that signs are ugly. Well ugly unless you spend 57,000.00 for one and 35,000.00 for the other and your name is GT City. Or No parking signs all over, and those Up the Hill Shopping Signs, or the Street Sweeping Signs and so forth and so forth all over the streets of GT.
So what does the city get for putting an ugly sign on its property? It is time for a HIGH PRICE like a half a million a year for one sign along the freeway? I'd say yes to Ugly Sign and No to a Beer Garden. Are you with me here folks?
The old members are returning to service on the Planning Commission. Good luck folks. The City Attorney J. Harper was there to coach you to speak only legal issues this time. Interesting, is he expecting yet another law suit? Gee Ya Think?
How about a Beer Hall or Beer Garden down on the Flood Plain and have all the traffic going and coming into it via La Cadena under the rail road trellis that floods on a regular basis? There may be a way to make that work.
Friday, July 16, 2010
If Mr. Schwab would ever visit the Supreme Court building, albeit I would be overjoyed to see him as the guest of honor in any court, there is a relief art work over the entrance depicting Moses holding the Ten Commandments along with the great law givers of the world. The doors to the Court Room have art work that depict the Ten Commandments. Over the Justices bench is the Ten Commandments.
To enlighten him further, the misconception that the Framers were deists is the furthest thing from the truth. Jefferson spoke against religion in the context of the Church of England. Thomas Jefferson started four churches, one that met every Sunday in the same room as did the Congress. The faith of the Framers and members of the First Continental Congress is not that difficult to find, revisionist history aside. The First Amendment gives us freedom of religion, not from religion.
We all need to pray for Mr. Schwab in one form or another.
Recall the time period. Persons who were not of the same religion of a particular settlement were either exiled or worse. In order to unite the factions into a Unit, there could not be a single Church or Religion declared as the "Official" State Church. This accounted for God but allowed each to practice their own Religion and attend their own Church without a conflict with the State.
The 10 Commandments are the foundation to the Jewish, Christian and Muslim Religions. Their principles are repeated in different words in many of the other religions.
So Prayer is OK in a PUBLIC SETTING or a Government Meeting. HOWEVER. if GT were to say we are the City of the Grand Poo Boo Hoo Church, that would be a violation of the Federal Law. Not because the Grand Poo Boo Hoo is wrong but it would inevitably discriminate against person who chose a different church affiliation.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
With the recent Supreme Court Ruling regarding the extent that Businesses have the right to Political Speech the anti Political Sign Code or Limit on Political Signs also affects Businesses.
Perhaps if you all wrote or emailed http://ag.ca/gov/contact/complaint_form.php?complt=PL there may be a way that the City Council could be moved to make the code to be in agreement with legal court precedents and the State and Federal Constitutional Law without it costing the city the expense of a law suit that Ferre, Cortes and Former City Manager seem to welcome.
It may have to go to a federal level of complaint perhaps to the FBI or the AG's Office...
The story you have posted on the sign ordinance is wrong.
There was no vote to change it. Councilman Stanckiewitz reluctantly moved to change it, but neither Cortes or Ferre moved to second the motion. Good to know that the city is being protected from lawsuits...
Thanks for the correction. I will add this short post to all related posts so that readers don't miss the fact that corrections are made. In addition that FREEDOM OF POLITICAL SPEECH is not Protected in Grand Terrace. Any Lawyers out there need a case to file?
The original email that reported the change in the code has reported that the wrong information was reported because she could not fully understand what Ferre and Cortes mumbled after the motion was made by Stankiewitz. The clerk did not announce clearly that the Motion was rejected due to lack of a second. Perhaps when the Council does not pass a Staff Recommendation there should be an announcement that is more clear when a Motion or Recommendation is not passed. A real rare occasion to be sure.
Thanks for the correction... Sorry there needed to be one.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Many don't like the blog... but, none have been able to address a specific post as being nonfactual or supported by documentation. But, the blog is open for input in the event that is found to be the case. Email GrandTerraceNews@yahoo.com and we'll post or entertain your objections directly.
The blog is not going to remove a post because it makes you mad, cry or angry. Public Servants and Elected Officials and those who associate with them have to be held responsible for their Public Conduct, even as Private Individuals.
As the former City Manager Tom Schwab has lead this City into long and costly legal battles. Last night we got an insight into the workings of his mind that led to this situation for our city. He was and is willing to risk a law suit to have his own way, just do it until some one brings a legal action. He is willing to put the city into court. Why and who benefits. Well, the City Attorney for one benefits from more billable hours.
During his reign as City Manager the city was taken to court and lost several times. In addition contracts between the city and contractors have been sloppy, violated, horsetraded, and quite frankly absent of sound business or governmental practices. This is the way he wanted it. His just let it ride until there is a law suit. This is a caviler attitude as an individual. It is or should be a criminal one when you are employed by the government or a member of the government.
The idea that Tom Schwab is thinking of running for political office makes me wonder if the time has come to press charges against him as it apparently is the only way to stop him from ransacking the city. His statement that he diverted millions of dollars from the RDA as a Loan to the City he never intended to pay back should rise to a criminal charge. Why hasn't there been a criminal investigation and charges made against him for this intentional miss use of funds?
You can go to jail for writing a bad check to the gas station. How is it Tom Schwab isn't in jail for intentionally making a Loan from one Governmental Agency to Another with the forgone intent not to repay it. This is theft, fraud, and embezzlement. The people who buy RDA Bonds should be able to bring a law suit against the city for the miss use of their investment funds. Oh but, Mr. Schwab was and is apparently willing to risk legal action in order to get his own way.
No, he does not belong in government in any function other than perhaps poop picker upper at the dog park as a volunteer.
Cortes v Sandoval
Stanckiewits v Schwab (Apparent Candidate)
Robles v empty Miller Seat
If Stanckiewits wins the Mayor's seat a replacement would have to be appointed or elected. Most likely it would be an appointment as the city can hardly afford to run an election of its own.
So if your able to run or serve please don't dilute the field so that Cortes or Schwab obtain seats on the council. The Citizens of GT can not afford a continuance of their type of politics or management or finances.
Walt Stanckiewits then concurred with the Contract with Grand Terrace Document that Bernardo Sandoval prepared to represent the reasons he is running and how he would conduct himself as a City Council Member. Walt said he would sign the same contract. This election was going to be about issues and not popularity or personality.
Bernardo Sandoval was focused on the past financial folly and poor management of the Schwab/Berry years and also stressed the importance of nurturing a better relationship between the Grand Terrace City Council and the Colton Joint Unified School District.
Stanckiewitz made the motion to approve Freedom of Political Speech in GT. Cortes and Ferre did not second the motion and so there was no vote on the Staff and Legal Staff recommendation that the GT Code be changed to conform to the Case Law on the subject of Political Signs.
Cortes and Ferre chose to continue to put GT at risk of a law suit in alliance with Tom Schwab.
Grand Terrace has for many years under the leadership of Former City Manager Tom Schwab cast aside any real concept that the city was obligated to operate within the bounds of the US Constitution, California State Constitution and Law and yes even County Laws and Ordinances.
Shock when this practice resulted in several law suits that the city lost and or had to spend a significant amount of money to lose or negotiate to a resolution. It should not have been a shock to hear now Citizen Tom Schwab try to say the code is more righteous as is written. He encouraged the council to leave it alone, let it stay as it is until some one sues the city. He said there is a separation between church and state and this meeting started with a prayer and that is not constitutional. This after his own hire the City Attorney advised the council that the code needed to be changed to be in line with the US Constitution, California Law and so forth.
The US Constitution and the California State Constitution do not prohibit prayer during public meetings. They prohibit the promotion of a State Religion or State Church. Mr. Schwab should study up on the difference between prayer and a Religion and a Church being sanctioned by the State or Political Entity. Sure it would be nice to hear a prayer from different non Christian Religions within the council chambers perhaps the City Manager could invite some Non Christians to offer the beginning prayer.. Who knows what would happen then?
The issue of how long political signs can be up prior to an election is important. If you have name recognition say for example, you are a former school principal, or a realtor, or are currently on the City Council, you have name recognition. Challenger candidates have to campaign harder just to break even in an election let alone win. So citizens should accept the excuse political signs are ugly as being the primary concern of the council members as suspect.
It is clear that when Council Member Wal Stanckiewitz countered Mr. Schwabs statements with a strong rebuke he himself was not a fan of a prolonged period of political sign display. However, he pointedly said, he could not invite the cost of a law suit on the chance one would not be filed, nor could he with a clear moral conscious perpetuate a code that is basically unconstitutional. He moved the changes be made to the code with reluctance. Mayor Ferre took exception to his statement, she does not ignore nor is she uninformed she has the same information he has. He clarified his point, he said, he had to move for the change because now that he is informed he must do what is right not necessarily what he likes.
Who benefits from the name recognition game. Existing Council Person Bea Cortes who stated she was running again. Former Tom Schwab who it is rumored is running. Mayor Candidate and current City Council Member Walt Stanckiewitz. These people would benefit politically from a shorter political season in GT.
Thanks to Council Member Walt Stanckiewitz comments and motion to accept the changes in the code the city is now in compliance with existing case law, and the US Constitution regarding the freedom of political speech. He stood up to the Schwab suggestion to just let the current code ride until there is a law suit. Mayor Ferre and Bea Cortes seemed reluctant to cast a vote to change the city code, but they did eventually.
Apparently the issue regarding the code came to the attention of the City Manager/City Attorney by a non Council Member who intends to run for office. This first action on the challengers side has resulted in the restoration of your freedom to express political speech in Grand Terrace. We should be thankful to that individual or individuals for their bringing forth the issue regarding the sign code limitations.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Boo Hoo Bea Cortes tried to pretend she was not taken aback by the challenge but you could read her face and decide for yourself how much she welcomes a citizen who challenges her for her seat on the City Council.
The blog iepolitics.com has an interesting new article about Bea Cortes and how the Restraining Order Events are beginning to look even worse for Boo Hoo Bea. There is now a question if she used her "Status" as a Council Member to manipulate the service of court documents and the initial outcome of her application for a restraining order.
Follow this link.. http://iepolitics.com/category/in-the-news/bertha-bea-cortes they have a great insight on the tick tock of the Boo Hoo events.
Just about in time for school supplies and stocking up for Halloween.
Dollar Tree will be a welcome addition to GT. Their stock of product is fairly standard so you'll know what to expect each time you go in. The treasure hunt feature of Just Bargains... will be missed by some. However, there are some good things to say for consistency.
Well, welcome Dollar Tree to the GT Family. They do have a store in Colton on Mt. Vernon in the Los Glorias Shopping Center or where Cardenas Market and Rite Aid is. Just in case, you can't wait till Sept 1, 2010.
Blue Mt. Park
Will there be tears at the meeting? Or will there be court orders to gag the public?
Have fun at the meeting... I am out of town so I'll need reports..
Friday, July 09, 2010
The San Bernardino County Sentinel has done further research into the matter or investigation and found that the figures provided by the citizens were greatly understated.
However, the DA's Office has not taken action and will only say no comment on an open investigation. Who is doing the investigation a stoned snail? Has the assigned person been told to hold off until the election has gone past? There have been links to Cortes and Ramos and the Miller case which is very similar to the allegations made against Ferre and Cortes. Perhaps Ramos wants the Miller Case to go away prior to the election so the truth of how he is involved in GT politics does not come out and hurt his political campaign.
The DA's Office effectively is manipulating GT Politics by not concluding the Miller Case, or the Investigations of Ferre and Cortes and putting forth an investigation of Steve Berry and Tom Schwab for actions they took while employed in GT.
Fear not a very nice replacement tenant has been secured for that space and will be moving in as soon as renovations are completed. I know who it is but, will not spill the beans until I am given the go ahead on it.
Residents should also look for a new business between the US Karate Dojo and Bonnello's Pizza. This leaves only one space available in that development the old Rags for Dolls space. That is a good occupancy rate in these economic times.
The GT Shopping Center continues to provide retail and service opportunities for our community. This provides a bit of sales tax for our city. Jacobsen/Schwab/Berry team plans have so far been a negative impact on city revenue.
Perhaps Schwab would like to return his retirement for the taxes lost because of his folly. City Owned or RDA Owned properties don't collect taxes either.
Perhaps there should be a stipulation that requires a developer who closes a business to make way for new development should have to replace the lost sales tax during the duration of the development being built and occupied.
One more thing. Why is CVS/Jacobsen allowed to have a storage container in their parking lot? This is not within the Specification of the Building Codes in GT. Where is CODE ENFORCEMENT when it comes to big city developers? Did Schwab or Berry give them special permission to have a container there? It was not on the Council Approved Plans. How do I get to have the same right on my property?
If you have read our local Grand Terrace City Newspaper, you know I have decided to run for the un-expired term of former Councilman Jim Miller. I struggled with the decision to run, due to some residual effects from major lumbar back surgery last December. I have come to the conclusion that I am at an age where something is going to ache and I am up to the job.
Health is improved when a person occupies oneself with something they have a passion for. I have a passion for honest government.
I understand that change is incremental. Many of us are thoroughly disgusted by politics. I promise, with your support, to increase transparency at city hall. I will also push hard for more public input. Citizens have had their input limited to a rigid three minutes without regard to the agenda item nor its importance to this city.
The entire city is within a redevelopment agency (RDA) boundary. This designation means the entire city is deemed blighted. RDA’s work in city council closed sessions to negotiate commercial/retail projects assisted by redevelopment funds. This creates substantial debt. This means less property tax revenues for schools and the general fund for municipal governments.
a What is the difference between property taxes collected by the city versus the RDA? Property taxes must be spent on general government, police, fire parks, recreation and libraries.
a Our municipal budget for 2009-2010 only received $301,068 of the property taxes collected, while the RDA collected $2,525,878.
a RDA’s are an independent entity with the council acting as it’s board of directors, under the guise of increasing sales taxes/property tax base they can give your tax money to a developer to build a shopping center-without your vote!
a Without an RDA in place any new taxes or the issuance of bonds must be approved by the voters and placed on a ballot.
a Case law has deemed assisting developers with tax money not a gift of public funds, although there is no re-payment agreement and sometimes the municipality can waive the collection of sales taxes for a number of years.
Teachers are facing layoffs and many public libraries are being permanently closed. Yet, this City Council has voted to increase its’ debt ceiling to $225 Million.
The federal government is being pushed to pay for local police and teachers. This is honorable, but hides the true picture of local government mismanagement of tax funds.
I will work to make sure RDA funds are spent to benefit the entire city with more services, not a government give away to wealthy developers.
Over time the City of Grand Terrace must work with our state leaders to negotiate the retention of more tax dollars within our city without having to use an RDA Agency. I hope to take the lead in this regard.
Some will extort the few RDA projects spent on parks and little league fields. These are valuable expenditures, but come at the high costs of helping private business with capital costs they should pay for, not the taxpayer.
The process to qualify for the ballot is that I collect the signatures of 22 registered city voters. I will begin collecting signatures July 19th. The filing deadline is August 6th. I would like to call on local citizens for your support, input and advice.
All my best regards,
Sylvia A. Robles,
Friday, July 02, 2010
Why then have the employees and owner been explaining that the stock being not replaced because they were closing the store perhaps to move or to consolidate into their other shops.
Why then when tonight we hear that Sunday will be their last day in Grand Terrace they will be moving into the shop near BigLots. Perhaps where Dollar Tree moved out of. Perhaps the owner thinks this is still in Grand Terrace. For sure he will still see many of the same customers, and may have a few more.
I wish all businesses well in this economy. I am sorry to see an additional empty store in Grand Terrace and hope that the property is able to fill in the space as soon as possible. Oh say good bye to the sales tax that store generated for Grand Terrace. Even at a bargain they were collecting taxes for our city.
Lets see who's reporting is correct. Blue Mt. Outlook or GrandTerraceNews Blogspot...
1) Miss use of RDA FUNDS Millions of dollars were improperly taken from RDA Funds to be spent by the City General Fund. His own words, it was a loan to the City that he had no intention of paying back. In some circles this would be called fraud and embezzlement.
2) He hired Steve Berry.
3) He did not inform the City Council that Steve Berry was under investigation for embezzlement or that He Tom Schwab stopped that investigation going forward to the District Attorney's Office.
4) He has entangled Grand Terrace with financially detrimental contracts.
5) He is known as a horsetrading not a good firm management by contract.
6) He prefers to let contracts to his friends or selected developers and not have open competitive bids.
7) He has demonstrated a use of codes and eminent domain to the benefit of his own desires and those of his developer friends against the land and property owners and current business owners and operators.
8) He has demonstrated he is unable to run a government in GT without being dependent on Debt Funding.
9) He has already received a House, a Car and a retirement from the City of Grand Terrace. Does he need continued city paid Medical Insurance and transportation stipend and meeting stipend.
Yes he knows where all the skeletons are buried in City Hall. But, he would he is the one who put most of them there. Even the nare do well Steve Berry, was in many ways just a dumb dupe fall guy for Tom Schwab's set ups. It was not until Tom's illness that the Student of Schwab went rogue. Berry's actions were the same as Schwab, it is just that Schwab knows how to have others be out front to take the fall.
Schwab should not be given a seat on the City Council. He should be given a seat in the court room right next to Steve Berry. Their actions are by far more criminal than those of the Duped Council Members they led around like animals with rings in their noses.
San Bernardino County Sentinel
Friday, July 2, 2010
Faced with the prospect of being criminally charged for scores of votes she made as a member of the city council over the past several years, Grand Terrace Mayor Maryetta Ferré announced last week that she will not seek reelection in November.
In the last year, Ferré, like the rest of the city council and the Grand Terrace community, has been treated to the uncomfortable spectacle of the district attorney’s office filing criminal charges against one of her former colleagues, Jim Miller, for allegedly violating California Government Code Section 1090, which applies to conflicts of interest involving public officials. Government Code Section 1090 prohibits an elected official from voting on any matter in his or her official capacity in which he or she has a financial interest.
Miller was arrested in July 2009 and charged under the 1090 statute for having voted on consent calendar items that acknowledged check registers that included payments to the Grand Terrace City News for legal notices the city ran in that publication. The Grand Terrace City News is a newspaper owned by Margaret Miller, Jim Miller’s wife.
The district attorney’s office alleges that Miller’s vote on those matters constituted a conflict. The consent calendar is a collection of items deemed by the city clerk, city manager and city attorney to be non-controversial in nature which are grouped together as a single item on a city council’s agenda so they can be passed in a single yes or no vote.
Miller voted on the consent calendar after being provided an assurance by the city attorney that there was no conflict for him to do so. He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment and has rejected a plea offer that would have substituted a Government Code section 87100 misdemeanor crime for the 1090 felony Miller is charged with. He is now set to go to trial on July 27.
Though Ferré has not been charged with any criminal violation by the district attorney’s office, she engaged in action that was similar to that of Miller’s. Ferré’s husband, Frank, is a board member of the Riverside-Highland Water Company and is paid a stipend for serving in that capacity. The Riverside-Highland Water Company is the major purveyor of water to the entirety of Grand Terrace, including the municipality of Grand Terrace. As mayor and formerly as a city council member, Ferré consistently voted to approve consent calendars that contained check registers that included checks to the Riverside-Highland Water Company. Between January 2003 and January 2010, the city of Grand Terrace approved in 129 consent calendar votes the payment of $376,507.06 to the Riverside-Highland Water Company. Mayor Ferré participated in at least 105 of those votes.
In this way, Ferré engaged in action that is legally indistinguishable from that engaged in by Miller and for which he is being prosecuted.
Previously, however, Ferré said did not think there was any legal problem with her consent calendar votes conferring payments upon the company her husband oversees. Any accuracy to the suggestion that she had herself run afoul of the same law that had tripped up Miller, Ferré said, "is completely out of the question. I have a written legal opinion from the city attorney that it is not a conflict of interest."
Ferré said she did not have a mastery of the legal issues involved in the case, stating "I have no idea" how Government Code Section 1090, under which Miller was charged, differs from Government Code Section 87100, which also pertains to conflicts of interest and which some have suggested also applies to her. "I don’t see any connection here whatsoever. I’m sorry, I don’t."
In Miller’s case, the city published legal notices in the Grand Terrace City News between November 2006 and August 2008, paying a total of roughly $18,000 for those ads. Miller, with the rest of the council, confirmed those payments on the consent calendar.
Miller and Ferré are not the only Grand Terrace officials to have been challenged over potential conflicts of interest inherent in their voting patterns.
Councilwoman Bea Cortes, who was formerly working as a sales agent with Terra Loma Real Estate, likewise approved consent calendar payments to the company with which she was professionally associated.
Available records show that between February 12, 2006 and August 11, 2009, Terra Loma Real Estate was paid a total of $12,042.93 by the city for property management services, approved in varying amounts on 36 separate consent calendar votes. Cortes participated in at least 33 of those votes.
Miller in March resigned from the city council, a ploy seen as an act of contrition which some suggested might lead to the district attorney’s office dropping the charges against him. So far that has not occurred.
By choosing not to run in November and effectively surrendering the mayor’s gavel at the end of the year, Ferré may be hoping to stave off a criminal prosecution.
One Grand Terrace resident who has followed politics in the city very closely over the last decade is Betty Guzman. She indicated that Ferré’s decision to step down from the council dais may not have been driven by circumstance involving Miller but rather by the ever complicating circumstance of troubled governance at City Hall.
Guzman suggested that Ferré and the rest of the city council may have been too trusting of those to whom they had delegated authority in the past – specifically former acting city manager Steve Berry. With the arrival of current city manager Betsy Adams, Guzman said, past depredations at City Hall are coming to light and Ferré may not now have the stomach to face up to them.
"Now that Steve Berry is gone, the new administration may have perhaps opened Maryetta's eyes as to all the wrongdoing and shady deals going on while she was a council member and mayor. I'm sure she doesn't want that brought up by her challenger," Guzman said.
Indeed, councilman Walt Stanckiewitz had made clear his intention to vie against Ferré in November. Her abrupt departure from the upcoming political fray now leaves the field open for Stanckiewitz, although Tom Schwab, who served as city manager for nineteen years and as finance director for five years prior to that, is hugely popular among Grand Terrace’s residents. Schwab was eclipsed by Berry, who had served as assistant city manager beneath him for six year, when Schwab was felled by health problems in 2008. Schwab had earlier indicated that he was considering a run for city council and, in the aftermath of Ferré’s decision, is now considering ratcheting that up into a campaign for mayor.
In closing out her political career, Ferré, 73, is bringing the curtain down on a San Bernardino County political dynasty, of sorts. Her father, Albert Huntoon, was once mayor of Colton.
Thursday, July 01, 2010
Complaint Number: 1
PETITION FOR INJUNCTION PROHIBITING HARASSMENT
DIM AFTER OTHER ADR BEFORE TRIAL (CIV) 06/30/2010
BERTHA BEA CORTES
DIM AFTER OTHER ADR BEFORE TRIAL (CIV) 06/30/2010
DIM AFTER OTHER ADR BEFORE TRIAL (CIV) 06/30/2010
Case CIVDS1008023 - Actions/Minutes
06/30/2010 8:30 AM DEPT. S31
HEARING ON CIVIL HARASSMENT FILED BY BERTHA BEA CORTES.
DIM AFTER OTHER ADR BEFORE TRIAL (CIV)
JOHN M PACHECO PRESIDING.
CLERK: SUZANNE M SERRANO
COURT REPORTER JOANN LOPEZ JOANN LOPEZ
COURT ATTENDANT KRISTIN CORNETT -
APPEARANCES: PLAINTIFF BERTHA BEA CORTES PRESENT ATTORNEY FRANK TETLEY PRESENT FOR
PLAINTIFF/PETITIONER. DEFENDANT JAN MOORE PRESENT -
PROCEEDINGS: - WITNESS -- BERTHA BEA CORTES IS SWORN AND EXAMINED. PARTIES HAVE MET AND CONFERRED/PLAINTIFF WISHES TO DISMISS THE COMPLAINT ON COURTS MOTION, CASE ORDERED DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE AS TO ENTIRE ACTION.
REASON: PLAINTIFFS REQUEST. STAGE AT DISPOSITION: REQUEST FOR DISMISSAL AFTER OTHER ADR BEFORE TRIAL (CIV) DISPOSITION: REQUEST FOR DISMISSAL AFTER OTHER ADR BEFORE TRIAL (CIV)
=== MINUTE ORDER END ===
FILE SENT TO CP31
Minutes Receipt: 100621-3379 $6.00
RESTRAINING ORDERS ENTERED INTO CLETS.
DECLARATION REGARDING EX-PARTE NOTICE FILED.
NOTICE OF HEARING AND TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER (CIVIL HARASSMENT) FILED BY BERTHA BEA CORTES.
06/09/2010 8:30 AM DEPT. S31X
EX PARTE HEARING RE: HARASSMENT
JOHN M PACHECO PRESIDING.
CLERK: OLIVIA MCDONALD
COURT REPORTER JEAN THOMPSON JEAN THOMPSON
COURT ATTENDANT ROBERT DELGADO -
APPEARANCES: ATTORNEY JOHN MARCUS PRESENT FOR PLAINTIFF/PETITIONER. PLAINTIFF BERTHA BEA CORTES
PRESENT DEFENDANT JAN MOORE PRESENT -
PROCEEDINGS: PREDISPOSITION HEARING HELD EX-PARTE HEARING IS HELD. EX PARTE ORDERS GRANTED TEMPORARY ORDERS ARE MADE ON PETITIONER'S ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE FILED THIS DATE.
EX PARTE ORDERS SIGNED BY THE COURT - HEARINGS: HEARING DATE OF 06/30/10 CONFIRMED. ACTION - COMPLETE === MINUTE ORDER END ===
06/08/2010 CIVIL CASE COVER SHEET FILED.
06/08/2010 PETITION AND PARTY INFORMATION ENTERED (CIVIL)
Now is the time to run for City Council. Two Council Seats are open for election. One is the Jim Miller Seat and the other is the Bea Cortes Seat. If Walt S. is elected to the position of Mayor his seat traditionally would be filled by an appointment for the remainder of that seat's term.
So in truth we are in need of 3 citizens who have no conflict of interest or business interests doing business with City Hall.
Why should you spend 4 hours 2 times a month serving on the City Council. Well the community needs some one to use oversight control over the hired City Manager and City Staff. Of course there could be more than the City Council Meetings to attend.
In the past:
City Council Members are provided trips and memberships to organizations that "Train" them to use Eminent Domain and Redevelopment Agency Funds and Schemes to run a city.
City Council Members were/are provided a travel cost reimbursement of 200.00 per month with out being required to prove the expenditure
City Council Members receive a stipend for every City Council Meeting they attend.
City Council Members receive CALPERS (Retirement Credits) and Medical / Dental Insurance as if they City Employees.
Now with the new budget limits there may be some cut back in the financial benefits of being on the City Council but there is not a cut back on the need for an active thinking and discerning Council to review and question the major decisions and actions taken by the City Manager and City Staff.
GRAND TERRACE NEEDS YOU...
ARE YOU READY TO SERVE?
Go to the CITY CLERK TO GET INFORMATION
If a politician can restrict the mobility of a citizen because, they are offended by a look or a assessment to the quality of their service we need to really look at the type of politicians we have serving us and what kind of government supporting those type of individuals will produce.
BOO HOO Bea Cortes needs to also resign from the City Council as a result of this last public display of her character traits. For 30 days because she was offended in a bar she had a citizen banned from political participation and had their freedom to move about in a small town restricted.
BOO HOO Bea Cortes perhaps should dress in a full Nun's Habbit or Burqa, if she does not want to attract looks, and comments and glances. Such a delicate person should not be in public service as a counsel person let alone frequenting any bar where alcohol is served. Rude is almost guaranteed in a bar environment at some point in the day. Grow up BEA or face the fact you need to get off the Council, and all the Political Boards and retire to a convent if they will take you.
Q: Will BOO HOO BEA CORTES face a wrongful charge complaint by Ms. Moore? Prior accounts of the events reported , BOO HOO BEA Cortes after all started the confrontation at JB's. At a minimum the first BOO HOO contact was a result of BOO HOO Bea walking up to Ms. Moore and asking "what are you saying about me". BOO HOO Bea's tender little feelings were insulted, and crushed, and bruised when Ms. Moore answered truthfully about what she said and her opinion of BOO HOO BEA Cortes. The account of what happened or didn't happen in the ladies room could well be disputed as to what was said and done by whom, and who was in the Potty Room first and who started with the Potty Mouth Talk.
BY BY BOO HOO Bea... BY BY
Q: Why does the writer begin the story "A Grand Terrace council woman", rather than giving the FULL NAME and Title which would be standard Journalistic Practice?
A: Bea Cortes will not show up as a hit on some search engines the way the article is written. This demonstrates either a bad writer or one who is a "Friend" to Council Woman Bea Cortes.
This blog will publish the Court Documents if some one sends them to the blog GrandTerraceNews@yahoo.com. We should all know what Boo Hoo Bea Cortes wrote about a fellow citizen. Lest we offend her delicate self.
The documents have arrived: I will block out the addresses and convert them to be posted. Check back ... Oh I only got the complaint (Bea's Complaint) I do not have the Respondant's Statements.
Grand Terrace councilwoman drops try for restraining order
Melissa Pinion-Whitt, Staff Writer
Posted: 06/30/2010 02:36:57 PM PDT
A Grand Terrace councilwoman who sought a permanent restraining order against a resident she claimed was harassing her withdrew the request Wednesday in San Bernardino Superior Court.
The request by Bea Cortes would have barred Kay Moore from all Grand Terrace council meetings, City Hall, city events and other locations if it had been granted. But Cortes said she decided against pursuing it, opting to steer clear of a restaurant Moore frequents.
"I'm following the advice of my attorney," she said.
Cortes, elected to the council in 2002, sought the order following two spats at JB's Lighthouse Bar, including one where she claims Moore confronted her in the restroom.
Cortes said in the restraining order request that Moore "came up close to my face" in the women's restroom and blocked her way out. Cortes said Moore pointed out to her, "You weren't doing so well the other day," a reference to Cortes' reaction after Moore approached her and said she didn't like her.
Cortes said that conversation humiliated her and made her "cry in front of everyone," she wrote in the request.
Judge John M. Pacheco granted a temporary restraining order against Moore in early June after Cortes claimed she feared for her safety.
"She makes me feel very nervous, fearful and intimidated by her actions, words, stares and behavior," Cortes wrote in her request.
Cortes' attorney, Frank O. Tetley, told Pacheco on Wednesday that the kind of publicity generated by the restraining order could be detrimental to his client.
"I think my client not going to JB's solves the problem," Tetley said.
Moore said she doesn't like Cortes because she voted to install "No Parking" signs on her street. She said she only attended council meetings occasionally, so being barred from them the past month hasn't bothered her.
Read more: http://www.sbsun.com/ci_15412203source=rss#ixzz0sTHNZ2Fs