Category Archives: Public Policy

A Message From New City Manager Al Zelinka

Al Zelinka, Riverside City Manager
Al Zelinka, Riverside City Manager

  Dear City Team Colleagues,

Good afternoon. I am writing to convey gratitude to you, as well as to convey some information.

First, thank you. Thank you for the service you provide every day to the Riverside community and to your colleagues across the City organization. Thank you, too, for your patience and support of your City management team as we have endeavored this past month to transition, adjust and get settled while striving to problem solve, add value, and serve. The City Manager’s Office is close to having its “sea legs” and will hit our stride together with you by August. I am grateful to you for who you are and what you do each day.

Second, I want to share an update on the reorganization of the City Manager’s Office, make you aware of opportunities that are becoming available within our organization, remind you of the 5-by-5 dimensions of my role as your City Manager, and to remind you of the Acting City Manager schedule for July.

Reorganization

As you know, the City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday, June 19th, to reinstate the classification and salary range for the position of Deputy City Manager. As I previously reported to you, I have asked Carlie Myers and Moises Lopez to fill these two posts. (Please congratulate both of them when you see them.) They report directly to Assistant City Managers Lea Deesing and Rafael Guzman, respectively, to ensure we provide a high level of customer service to the Mayor and City Council, the public and one another. Further, Valerie Castro, Sarah Varela, Kristina Clabaugh, and Donna Finch are incredibly talented and gifted colleagues who provide the City Management Team with the wherewithal to perform at our very best. They are passionate about public service, consummate professionals, and wonderful people. I am very proud of this whole team and know they are dedicated to working with you to do the most public good.

On a practical level, with this new organization of the City Manager’s Office, the following changes to department leadership and agenda report review are now effective.

Department

CMO/ACM

Legistar Agenda Report Reviewer

Community & Economic Development

Rafael Guzman

Donna Finch

Finance

Lea Deesing

Donna Finch

Fire

Lea Deesing

Donna Finch

General Services

Rafael Guzman

Donna Finch

Human Resources

Rafael Guzman

Donna Finch

Innovation & Technology

Lea Deesing

Donna Finch

Library

Lea Deesing

Donna Finch

Museum

Lea Deesing

Donna Finch

Parks, Recreation & Community Services

Rafael Guzman

Donna Finch

Police

Lea Deesing

Donna Finch

Public Utilities

Al Zelinka

Carlie Myers

Public Works

Rafael Guzman

Donna Finch

CMO – Office of Homeless Solutions

Rafael Guzman

Moises Lopez

CMO – Office of Organizational Performance & Auditing

Al Zelinka

Carlie Myers

CMO – Office of Communications

Al Zelinka

Carlie Myers

Also, with the elevation of Lea Deesing to the role of Assistant City Manager, Chris Tilden is filling the role of Interim Chief Innovation Officer, and George Khalil is the Interim Deputy CIO. David Welch is our Interim Director of Community & Economic Development, filling the shoes vacated by Rafael Guzman when he became Assistant City Manager. Chris Christopoulos is Interim Deputy Director of Community & Economic Development. Please congratulate Chris, George, David and Chris when you see them. Many thanks to everyone for stepping in and showing leadership in their respective roles. 

Books By Al Zelinka

 

Opportunities

Because of these changes, and because of movement that already has occurred in various jobs, we have opened, or soon will open candidate searches for the following positions: Chief Innovation Officer, Community & Economic Development Director, Library Director, Public Utilities General Manager and Principal Management Analyst. Please encourage those you know – both within and outside of City Hall – to apply.

5 by 5

I have been sharing publicly 5 attributes of Riverside that I appreciate most and that provide me with the confidence needed to serve alongside you on this journey to accomplish important things for the benefit of the public:

·         Leadership: Our elected leaders care about this community and strive to represent the diverse viewpoints of Riverside in their decision-making and interaction with each of us. Likewise, City departments care about this community and deliver services, solve problems and open doors to Riverside’s promise every day.

·         Community: Riverside as a diverse community is complete with hard working residents who are largely proud of living here and who want to do better for themselves and their families. It is a place with innumerable points of pride in the built and natural environments. It is also a place with heritage that people cherish and question, and build upon for the future.

·         Partnership: Riverside is a community with unlimited potential and networks of social strength that can accomplish anything – think about the Cheech and CARB. While people in Riverside may not always agree, they – by and large – stay at the table with one another with an eye to realizing the good for Riverside.

·         Mindset. It is inspiring to be part of a City where so many residents and businesses do things together and for one another. This community admits mistakes, learns from them, and becomes better as a result; likewise, this community celebrates is successes and its assets. The Riverside community, while not perfect, has a collective mindset that is largely outward facing and wanting to do good.

·         Elevating the Conversation. The questions of “what can be?” and “what if?” are at the root of Riverside. Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote that includes “Great minds talk about ideas….” well represents what is most natural to this community. While there will always be aspects of criticism and negativity, Riverside is entrepreneurial and can-do by nature.

In addition to the 5 attributes of Riverside, I have also been sharing publicly 5 areas of focus our whole City Team and the community need to advance to ensure a promising future for Riverside – these areas are not “wants”, they are “needs” and we need to draw from the above attributes to advance them together:

·         Riverside and the Region. We need to: 1) Advocate for the Inland Empire’s Equitable Share of Scarce Public Resources and Do Our Part to Uplift the Capacity of the Region’s Non-Profit Ecosystem to Secure Its Share of Philanthropic Resources; and, 2) Do Our Part to Grow Riverside’s Local Economy and Work in Partnership to Facilitate Opportunities for Improved Quality of Life for All.

·         The Riverside Brand. We need to: 1) Tell the Riverside Story Better than Ever to Heighten Riverside’s Brand throughout the World; and, 2) Communicate and Engage More Effectively than Ever with Riverside Residents and Businesses.

·         Resilient Riverside. We need to: 1) Elevate the Entire Community’s Preparedness for Natural and Human Caused Conditions and Events; and, 2) Ensure the Financial Health of the City and Stretch Measure Z Dollars for Maximum Public Benefit Locally.

·         Self-Reliant Riverside. We need to: 1) Align and Leverage the City’s Utilities to Maximize Local Resource Recovery and Renewable Energy Production; and, 2) Realize a Second Connection to the Electrical Grid and Prepare for Our Electric-Based, Information-Driven Future.

·         Riverside Serves. We need to: 1) Demonstrate Continual Improvement to the Efficiency and Effectiveness of Providing Public Services; and, 2) Improve the Volunteerism Infrastructure in Riverside to Benefit All of Riverside.

Building upon the above 5 attributes and 5 areas of focus, I am confident our City Team will continue to excel in providing a responsive, engaged and innovative local government to the residents and business community of Riverside.

In closing, I am looking forward to our journey together and what our team will do to advance public good in the years ahead. I am proud of the services you and our 2,500 colleagues deliver every day – you make a difference.  And, I am here for you – if you have an idea, a question, a suggestion or a comment, please let me know – we are each other’s greatest resources.

Thank you,

Al

Al Zelinka, FAICP, CMSM

City of Riverside

Office of the City Manager

Direct: (951) 826-5771

RiversideCA.gov

New Changes To Riverside’s Parking Program

Having a parking program acknowledges that cars have a major impact on city life. We design streets to handle various flows of traffic at optimal speeds.

Too bad we never seem to be able to get enough traffic lanes to keep things moving smoothly.  When all those cars  get home, they park somewhere. Sometimes that’s a problem.

Knowing how to solve that problem on your street is contained in Riverside’s New Parking Program Details.  See links below.

Transportation is a part of our daily lives. It’s important that it works well for everyone.  For those who remember the series of conversations with UCR and the City about how catering to cars, particularly at student rental units, caused the first neighborhood wide restricted parking opt-in zone to be created.

This basically leaves it to the neighbors to discuss and agree on what if any parking restrictions they might want to have posted on their streets. That included days, times, etc.

Our Neighborhood Specific Plan addressed these concerns as documented in the Circulation Element. It’s worth a review.

Watkins Dr Circulation Plan
Neighborhood Specific Plan Watkins Dr Valencia Hill North and South Section

Watkins Drive neighbors immediately banned day time parking. The City posted signs and the problem was solved. That’s how it was crafted to work. It was resident friendly and FREE,

After all, we the residents are the impacted parties. Charging residents for permits is pennywise and pound foolish. Neighbors coming together to solve their problem shouldn’t be penalized for doing so.

It’s as if no one saw a campus growing to 23,000 wouldn’t have an impact. Cars in traffic, cars parked on our streets and in our driveways.

UCR has been working to reduce on campus parking by banning freshman from parking on campus unless necessary for work or care giving  duties.

They are also building a Mobility Hub on camps to integrate multi modes of transportation which will help reduce car trips considerably. Bus runs every 15 minutes, some with express stops will keep ridership numbers rising.

See also: The 10 Best Car Sharing Programs In the US

RUSD is proposing a STEM High School on campus. This is going to cause a  major increase in the already dense daily traffic volume at peak times.

Transportation will continue to impact our daily lives. It’s in our best interests to be paying attention to what’s being proposed for our neighborhood.

Check out the New Parking Program details. The devil’s in the details but here are some relevant public record resources: Traffic Review Board MinutesGranfathered Permit LettersPermit Issuance LetterCouncil PresentationCouncil Report

Don’t be shy about asking questions or sharing comments with your Councilman and city staff.

 

Noise Technology Monitor For Local Ordinances

Noise Aware Monitoring System

Just when you’re  becoming resigned and cynical that nothing can be done to monitor and perhaps moderate neighborhood noise disturbances, NoiseAware may have a solution. Born from experience from both sides of noise complaints, this smart home app is ideal for property owners and managers to better monitor their assets.

It’s also a helpful tool for renters wary of violating local noise ordinances. You can now self-monitor to avoid those nasty and unnecessary fines.

Sounds like a useful tool to consider. For more information visit: https://noiseaware.io/buy/noise-monitoring-system

 

November 2017 Meeting Agenda

Map and Directions To Crest Community Church

3431 Mt Vernon Ave, Riverside, CA 92507

6:30 pm – 8:30 pm Every Second Thursday (Except August)

1. Welcome – Introductions                                                                       5 min.

2.  Meet Your Neighbors Update                                                          10 min.

3.  Love Riverside Day Sat Oct 21st                                                   10 min                      Valencia Hill Dr Median Make Over                                                     

4. Lynn Carmen-Diaz RUSD                                                                    30 min.                               STEM Program 

5.  Council Update – Andy Meledrez                                                 10 min

6. UCR Update – Jeff Kraus                                                                         10 min.

Next Steps: __Open Forum  

                   Just One Question

Announcements – Reminders  

RPU Rate Increase Public Outreach Request

Small Sparks Applications

   Updated “Who Do I Call” List

 Next Meeting: December 14, 2017  Holiday Potluck   

Community Engagement Framework

We face new challenges and changing circumstances. Being part of the solution is critical if we’re to say we’re creating the neighborhoods and city of our dreams. Check out what we’ve come up with below. We’ve been advocating for city staff to adopt these engagement frames.

Maybe if we had these in place we wouldn’t be getting warehouses 50 feet from our back yards or toxic superfund sites like the Ag Park.

Community Outreach Framework

Riverside Housing Element Update Project Notice

Riverside MapThe City of Riverside is preparing a Draft Environmental Impact Report for the Housing Element Update Project.

Increased density changes are proposed along Magnolia Ave (14 sites), University Ave (6 sites), areas not in a specific plan (8 sites) and (41 sites) are proposed for R-3-1500 to R-4 multi family. In total, 395 acres and 303 parcels are in play.

Public comments close May 11th. A scoping session is slated for Monday May 8th in the Mayor’s Ceremonial Room 7th Floor.

Here’s a link to the relevant changes and maps:

notice of preparation of a draft environmental impact report

Big Year For Center For Community Action and Environmental Justice

What a year! Just when you start to think you can’t make a difference . . .

CCAEJ Recognized for its 38-Year Legacy of Work
Group Travels to San Francisco for Awards Ceremony

Members of the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice traveled to San Francisco on Friday, November 11th to receive an award from the Planning and Conservation League (PCL).  CCAEJ was recognized for its 38-year legacy of work in environmental justice culminating this year with the passage of a CCAEJ sponsored bill, SB 1000, authored by Senator Connie Leyva.  SB 1000 mandates that all cities and counties include an Environmental Justice Element in their General Plans.

CCAEJ Recognized for its 38-Year Legacy of Work Group Travels to San Francisco for Awards Ceremony
CCAEJ Staff and Board: Front left: Gwen D’Archangelis, Brinda Sarathy, Graciela Larios, Maggie Hawkins. Back left: Liz Lopez, Bronwyn Leebaw, Penny Newman. Teresa Flores-Lopez, Cindy Newman, Hakan Jackson, Jean Kayano, Piya Chatterjee, Ericka Flores, Juliann Anderson, and Jade Sunara Sasser. Missing are Michele Hasson, Esther Portillo, Josephine Young, Wendy Eads, Heidi Millard, Nanette Pratin

“This bill provides an institutional mechanism for cities to identify the disadvantaged neighborhoods within their boundaries and develop a plan to reduce the heavy pollution burdens, and address the economic, social and services inequities that have long existed in these low income and communities of color”, said Penny Newman, founder and Executive Director of CCAEJ.  SB 1000 is seen as a major environmental justice bill that will institutionalize a process for addressing disadvantaged communities in California.

PCL celebrated its first 50 years as a force in achieving some of the most significant environmental successes in California – including the California Environmental Quality Act (1970), Coastal Act (1972), Wild Rivers (1973), Rail Bond Act (1990), and Tejon Ranch (2008).
The event was held at the City Club of San Francisco and be emceed by radio talk show host Bill Press, first full-time Executive Director of PCL.  The 50th Gala Celebration will honor environmental heroes of the last 50 years.
CCAEJ was joined in being honored with other “environmental heroes” such as,  Fran Pavley, Senator – 27th California State Senate District; Byron Sher, California State Senator – Retired; Mary Nichols, Chair of California Air Resources Board; and, our statewide alliance -California Environmental Justice Alliance.

 

SB 1000 wasn’t the only legislative success we saw this year.  In all we passed six bills into law.

  • SB 1000 (Levya) Planning for Healthy Communities Act
  • AB 2722 (Burke and Arambula) Transformative Climate Communities
  • SB 32 (Pavley) 2030 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets
  • AB 197 (E. Garcia) Equity & Transparency in Climate Act
  • AB 1550 (Gomez) Increased Climate Investments
  • AB 1937 (Gomez) EJ in Power Plant Siting

 

Passing bills is one thing – implementing them is another.  With the passage of AB 2722 $140 Million were allocated to go to disadvantaged communities around the state.  $70 Million off the top is allocated to the City of Fresno and $35 Million to the City of Los Angeles with another $35 Million to go to a third region.  CCAEJ has pulled together a coalition of organizations and agencies to advocate that the IE be that third region.  We traveled to Fresno for one of the first hearings and presented a sampling of projects that demonstrate a report outlining a comprehensive approach to transforming disadvantaged communities.

In our local communities we made significant progress as well.

 

We continue to stand with Moreno Valley residents to fight the world’s largest planned industrial warehouse complex – World Logistics Center.  This proposed project covering more than 700 football fields of warehousing, will be the largest single source of greenhouse gases in California and would add 14,000 additional trucks daily to local freeways already at a standstill.  While other agencies have backtracked and settled, CCAEJ continues to fight in court to stop this ill-conceived project.

 

We joined with local residents near the Ag Park contaminated site to force confirmation testing and a new cleanup at the site.  The Ag Park is 63 acres of land contaminated by PCB s upon which the City of Riverside and the developer planned to build homes.  Sitting on the edge of the Santa Ana River (the drinking water source for Orange County) the Department of Toxics Substances Control deemed the site “cleaned” under a voluntary cleanup plan.  The confirmation testing we forced found that the site still had high levels of PCBs throughout the site. Without CCAEJs stepping in, new residents would be living in homes built on contaminated land right now.  We are still fighting to get the site addressed properly and nearby homes testing for contaminates that might have blown into their yards and homes. CCAEJ has been working with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to investigate the health issues surrounding this site.

 

 

In finding that the Water Board was not enforcing storm water run-off violations, CCAEJ stepped forward to file citizen suits under the Clean Water Act.  We worked with the facilities to bring them into compliance through settlements.  To date we have brought more than 30 facilities into compliance and will be monitoring their compliance over the next 3-5 years. In addition we have brought settlement funds back to the local communities to address impacts to the Santa Ana Watershed.

 

CCAEJ has started a Boards and Commissions Training to provide information and develop skills for local residents to join local boards and commissions and bring the lived experience and perspective of our communities into decision making. Application are now being accepted for the January class.

 

CCAEJ joined with the People’s Senate – local communities living near contaminated sites – to address and reform the Department of Toxic Substances Control. On the heels of the Exide tragedy, and dozens of other sites where residents have faced inaction by DTSC placing their lives at risk, we joined with allies to legislatively create an Independent Review Panel to investigate and present recommendations to the legislature on how to restructure and reform the agency. CCAEJ and communities around the state have provided testimony and examples of failure by the department.  So far, the recommendations have been close to what the communities have suggested.

CCAEJ is working to bring State Funds to the Inland Valleys.  We traveled with representatives of the County of San Bernardino to a hearing before the Strategic Growth Council to advocate for funding from the Transformative Climate Communities program, created by our bill AB 2722, for the Inland Valleys. We presented a reportoutlining the needs of the region and three potential projects that could be funded.

We advanced our civic engagement work.  Working with Next Gen Climate, CCAEJ combined our voter registration efforts with allied groups to register more than 1 million new voters!  We also join with our partners in the Inland Empowerment collaborations to reach more than 26,000  voters in our combined Get Out the Vote effort.

We are proud of the work completed in 2016 and look forward to advancing our programs and successes in the new year.  From all of us at CCAEJ we wish you and your family a very Happy, and Healthy Holiday Season and a Sane, Safe and Peaceful New Year.

 

Penny Newman and CCAEJ

 

 

 

Penny Newman

Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice

Centro de Acción Comunitaria y Justicia Ambiental

PO Box 33124

Jurupa Valley, CA 92519

951-360-8451

www.ccaej.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

CCAEJ Staff and Board:

Front left: Gwen D’Archangelis, Brinda Sarathy, Graciela Larios, Maggie Hawkins.
Back left: Liz Lopez, Bronwyn Leebaw, Penny Newman. Teresa Flores-Lopez, Cindy Newman, Hakan Jackson, Jean Kayano, Piya Chatterjee, Ericka Flores, Juliann Anderson, and Jade Sunara Sasser. Missing are Michele Hasson, Esther Portillo, Josephine Young, Wendy Eads, Heidi Millard, Nanette Pratin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CCAEJ Recognized for its 38-Year Legacy of Work
Group Travels to San Francisco for Awards Ceremony

Members of the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice traveled to San Francisco on Friday, November 11th to receive an award from the Planning and Conservation League (PCL).  CCAEJ was recognized for its 38-year legacy of work in environmental justice culminating this year with the passage of a CCAEJ sponsored bill, SB 1000, authored by Senator Connie Leyva.  SB 1000 mandates that all cities and counties include an Environmental Justice Element in their General Plans.

“This bill provides an institutional mechanism for cities to identify the disadvantaged neighborhoods within their boundaries and develop a plan to reduce the heavy pollution burdens, and address the economic, social and services inequities that have long existed in these low income and communities of color”, said Penny Newman, founder and Executive Director of CCAEJ.  SB 1000 is seen as a major environmental justice bill that will institutionalize a process for addressing disadvantaged communities in California.

PCL celebrated its first 50 years as a force in achieving some of the most significant environmental successes in California – including the California Environmental Quality Act (1970), Coastal Act (1972), Wild Rivers (1973), Rail Bond Act (1990), and Tejon Ranch (2008).
The event was held at the City Club of San Francisco and be emceed by radio talk show host Bill Press, first full-time Executive Director of PCL.  The 50th Gala Celebration will honor environmental heroes of the last 50 years.
CCAEJ was joined in being honored with other “environmental heroes” such as,  Fran Pavley, Senator – 27th California State Senate District; Byron Sher, California State Senator – Retired; Mary Nichols, Chair of California Air Resources Board; and, our statewide alliance -California Environmental Justice Alliance.

 

SB 1000 wasn’t the only legislative success we saw this year.  In all we passed six bills into law.

  • SB 1000 (Levya) Planning for Healthy Communities Act
  • AB 2722 (Burke and Arambula) Transformative Climate Communities
  • SB 32 (Pavley) 2030 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets
  • AB 197 (E. Garcia) Equity & Transparency in Climate Act
  • AB 1550 (Gomez) Increased Climate Investments
  • AB 1937 (Gomez) EJ in Power Plant Siting

 

Passing bills is one thing – implementing them is another.  With the passage of AB 2722 $140 Million were allocated to go to disadvantaged communities around the state.  $70 Million off the top is allocated to the City of Fresno and $35 Million to the City of Los Angeles with another $35 Million to go to a third region.  CCAEJ has pulled together a coalition of organizations and agencies to advocate that the IE be that third region.  We traveled to Fresno for one of the first hearings and presented a sampling of projects that demonstrate a report outlining a comprehensive approach to transforming disadvantaged communities.

In our local communities we made significant progress as well.

 

We continue to stand with Moreno Valley residents to fight the world’s largest planned industrial warehouse complex – World Logistics Center.  This proposed project covering more than 700 football fields of warehousing, will be the largest single source of greenhouse gases in California and would add 14,000 additional trucks daily to local freeways already at a standstill.  While other agencies have backtracked and settled, CCAEJ continues to fight in court to stop this ill-conceived project.

 

We joined with local residents near the Ag Park contaminated site to force confirmation testing and a new cleanup at the site.  The Ag Park is 63 acres of land contaminated by PCB s upon which the City of Riverside and the developer planned to build homes.  Sitting on the edge of the Santa Ana River (the drinking water source for Orange County) the Department of Toxics Substances Control deemed the site “cleaned” under a voluntary cleanup plan.  The confirmation testing we forced found that the site still had high levels of PCBs throughout the site. Without CCAEJs stepping in, new residents would be living in homes built on contaminated land right now.  We are still fighting to get the site addressed properly and nearby homes testing for contaminates that might have blown into their yards and homes. CCAEJ has been working with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to investigate the health issues surrounding this site.

 

 

In finding that the Water Board was not enforcing storm water run-off violations, CCAEJ stepped forward to file citizen suits under the Clean Water Act.  We worked with the facilities to bring them into compliance through settlements.  To date we have brought more than 30 facilities into compliance and will be monitoring their compliance over the next 3-5 years. In addition we have brought settlement funds back to the local communities to address impacts to the Santa Ana Watershed.

 

CCAEJ has started a Boards and Commissions Training to provide information and develop skills for local residents to join local boards and commissions and bring the lived experience and perspective of our communities into decision making. Application are now being accepted for the January class.

 

CCAEJ joined with the People’s Senate – local communities living near contaminated sites – to address and reform the Department of Toxic Substances Control. On the heels of the Exide tragedy, and dozens of other sites where residents have faced inaction by DTSC placing their lives at risk, we joined with allies to legislatively create an Independent Review Panel to investigate and present recommendations to the legislature on how to restructure and reform the agency. CCAEJ and communities around the state have provided testimony and examples of failure by the department.  So far, the recommendations have been close to what the communities have suggested.

CCAEJ is working to bring State Funds to the Inland Valleys.  We traveled with representatives of the County of San Bernardino to a hearing before the Strategic Growth Council to advocate for funding from the Transformative Climate Communities program, created by our bill AB 2722, for the Inland Valleys. We presented a reportoutlining the needs of the region and three potential projects that could be funded.

We advanced our civic engagement work.  Working with Next Gen Climate, CCAEJ combined our voter registration efforts with allied groups to register more than 1 million new voters!  We also join with our partners in the Inland Empowerment collaborations to reach more than 26,000  voters in our combined Get Out the Vote effort.

We are proud of the work completed in 2016 and look forward to advancing our programs and successes in the new year.  From all of us at CCAEJ we wish you and your family a very Happy, and Healthy Holiday Season and a Sane, Safe and Peaceful New Year.

 

Penny Newman and CCAEJ