Category Archives: UCR

The Science Of Hangovers

Wendy Eads remembered that some years ago UCR produced a video to introduce new students to the school and to the community they were moving into. There were comments from lots of neighbors including children and teens. They talked  about what they loved about living in the University Neighborhood, and some of the things they didn’t appreciate about living in the neighborhood next to UCR.

It made a positive impact as incidents of  unruly behavior abated or so it seemed. That video tool disappeared for reasons unknown. I’m sure Jeff Kraus could find out or get a copy to review.

The reliance on social meida by the college  population is pervasive. In the spirit of reinventing that video tool for today’s  social media landscape,  why don’t we do a revised edition? It could be re-deployed  into  the orientation process. It’s an easy way to help UCR students connect with the neighborhood and it reaffirms what University Neighbors love about living here.

Connecting students with the communities where they live, or teaching them the ways to love a place should be part of the college experience. It makes for good neighbors, good taxpayers and good citizens. Many students and neighbors share that in common.

We need only witness the countless treks up to the “C” in the Box Springs Mountains or the numbers of students, faculty  staff or neighbors buzzing about our streets taking care of business.  One of the principles for protecting and preserving any natural environment is use it, but don’t abuse it.  This could prove an easy way raise that awareness for those who need the coaching the most.  Educated communities are healthier communities.

Speaking of education and healthy communities, congrats to UCR’s  Medical School. With the first class at the first medical school to open on the West Coast in thirty years, this is a really big deal for several reasons.  The educational focus is on community based health outcomes. This is another major milestone. It an investment in public health that may  actually deliver good health to the community.  We all want healthy communities.

One happy benefit of having a medical resource in the heart of the University Neighborhood would be if public education and public health went hand in hand.

In the spirit of healthy communities everywhere, the  University Neighborhood is pleased to nominate The Science of Hangovers for UCR’s curriculumn consideration.

UCR-AREA LANDLORD: “The whole thing is changing”

Michael Chen settled in Riverside in 1992, the same year Ray Orbach became UCR chancellor.

By the time Orbach left in 2002, UCR had grown from 8,800 students to more than 14,000. Enrollment for Fall 2012 surpassed 21,000.

Chen, now a 50-something civil engineer, saw it unfold before his very eyes. And he decided to do something about it. He started buying houses near UCR. He added rooms to some of those houses and rented them to students. He says he has “under 10” rentals. Some residents say Chen wants to buy more and has offered to pay cash.

Chen’s not the only one buying up UCR-area homes. At least he lives in the city, unlike some OC absentees. He acknowledges the need “to be responsible for the neighborhood.” But it just isn’t working. Chen knows some long-time residents are steamed that he and others are helping change the face of a once-quiet subdivision. But he says change is inevitable, so: “Either you accommodate or you move.”

Chen says he’s just “taking advantage of the changing neighborhood.” Recent city building permits on one street alone help illustrate the degree of this change:

137 Nisbet

137 Nisbet Way (owned by Chen): “remodel interior to create two bedrooms.” Total number of bedrooms appears to be 6.

149 Nisbet

149 Nisbet Way (owned by Chen): “frame two walls to create 3 new bedrooms.” Total number of bedrooms: 6.

200 Nisbet

200 Nisbet Way (owned by Hui Jiang, Anaheim): “interior remodel to living room to create 2 additional bedrooms and create 5th bedroom within the master.”

228 Nisbet

228 Nisbet Way (owned by Yu Wu, Mission Viejo): “add a bedroom #4 in a portion of living room; existing family room convert to bedroom #5 and #6.”

Chen knows first-hand of the wee-hours chaos that spills onto the streets of his rentals. He’s even tried to evict tenants. (None yet.) But why should he and other landlords take all the heat for converting living rooms to bedrooms? “The permit is not done by me. Why don’t you ask the city?”

Council members Mike Gardner, who used to represent the area, and Andy Melendrez, who represents it now, express concern and talk of new laws (though the city doesn’t enforce existing ones). A permit moratorium until “concern” brings “action”? Neither suggested it.

Chen: “Ask the mayor, ‘Are you going shrink UCR or make it bigger?’ UCR is not going to shrink.”

This appears to be the city’s and UCR’s calculus. If UCR-area residents feel strung out and angry, it’s because Chen’s right: “The whole thing is changing.” (I wonder if residents rolled their droopy eyes at our Tuesday Page 1 headline: “UCR Leads Study on Sleep.”)

At least Chen admits he’s capitalizing on this change. The city and UCR just pay lip service to being good neighbors, with such half-hearted “enforcement” that residents don’t believe life will improve unless they move.

It’s more than curious that a city that touts its “great neighborhoods” hugs the sidelines, waiting patiently until this neighborhood transformation is complete. There’s an old term for this: benign neglect.

Reach Dan Bernstein at 951-368-9439 or

Facebook: PE Columnist Dan Bernstein

Twitter: @DbernsteinCol

Beware Worsening Crime Around UC Riverside

UCR Police Chief Mike Lane, left, and Riverside Police Captain Mike Perea

By Lindsay Cabreros

June 02, 2013; 04:00 AM

‘I waited 15 minutes for the trolley but it never came! I could’ve walked home by now,” I said to my mom on my iPhone. It was 6 p.m. as I walked down Canyon Crest Drive to my apartment near the University of California, Riverside campus. The trolley often stopped a block before the actual bus stop since curbside parking was easier, leaving students stranded if they weren’t looking.

I held onto my phone tightly, aware of the armed robbery that occurred a week prior. I scanned the baseball field and parked cars lining the street. A young, lanky man walked in my direction. He wore a navy blue crewneck shirt and black zip-up hoodie. He certainly didn’t look suspicious with his clean-shaven face and stylish fitted jeans. I moved to the far right of the sidewalk so he could pass me, and continued talking to my mom. Instead, he walked toward me.

“Excuse me, umm, can I make a call?” he said. I squinted my eyes, trying to look as mean as possible despite being 5’2 and wearing a tank top with a giant embroidered peace sign.

“Uhh, that’s okay. I’m good,” the man said. He hurried past me.

“Mom, I have to go. I’m walking home and I’m about to cross this busy intersection,” I lied.

“Okay, mija. Get home safely!” she said. I placed my iPhone in my back pocket, tugging my hem down to conceal it. A phone was the only valuable item I carried nowadays. No wallet, just my UCR ID and Wells Fargo debit card that could easily be cancelled.

The next day, I received one of the frequent e-mails from John Freese, the UCPD assistant chief of police. A student walking home had her cell phone stolen by a man with a similar description.

As a graduating senior, I have seen crime rates rise and fall at the university. Crime was sporadic my freshman and sophomore years. In fact, statistics show that UCR had less reported crime than UC Santa Barbara, UC Berkeley and UC Irvine in 2011. The crimes in the statistics are based on all property crimes and violent crimes.

But this year, crime has become increasingly rampant. UCPD has compiled monthly crime statistics for the beginning of 2013 and the results are overwhelming.

In January, February, and March, there were 225 reported crimes at the UCR campus. That’s 225 reported crimes within 90 days. Incredible.

The UCR crimes were primarily larceny, but they also included minor cases like public intoxication and motor vehicle incidents.

A task force, created by interim chancellor Jane Conoley, was created to address the heavy crime. One outcome is the UCPD implementation of saturation assignments in crime-ridden areas such as Rustin Avenue. But has it worked?

The simple answer is no. Crime has not declined. Oddly enough, criminals have also become bolder. For example, two separate sexual assaults occurred at the Bannockburn Apartment complex in early May, located a mere 500 feet from the UCPD station.

Recently though, the task force has created the Point to Point (P2P) transport program which provides students with transportation to nearby housing during the hours of 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. This new program is a great way to protect students and may prove successful in the future.

I commend Conoley for her quick response, but little has changed. Police are supposed to be saturating crime-ridden areas, yet crime has escalated in magnitude and violence.

Until I see some real results, I’ll continue to carry the bare minimum in my bag, hold pepper spray, and walk fast with a menacing face, hoping to deter any criminals who stand in my way.

Lindsay Cabreros is a senior at UC Riverside.
– See more at:

UCR MEDLEY: Med School funding, crime & student louts

UCR MEDLEY: Med School funding, crime & student louts

June 4, 2013 by

Strictly from a PR standpoint, last week started out just ducky for UCR.

At long last, the Legislature has (supposedly) located $15 million per year to make UCR Med an up-and-running concern. Next: Gov. Tightwad’s autograph? We’ll see. But what a relief for UCR and the med school grinders. Then came a Saturday letter to the editor and a Sunday opinion piece. We read that:

– Thoughtless UCR students alienate adult neighbors who have real jobs and need real sleep.

– Some UCR students don’t feel safe.

The letter, written “after midnight” on a weekday by Riverside resident Jill Johnson-Young, complained (putting it mildly) about loutish students who “think we’re a giant frat row.” They’re loud, they litter, they pee on other people’s yards. Pure Highlander class.

UCR has responded with good-neighbor policies, codes of conduct, etc. Do they work? To a point. Until the breaking point. One big problem: absentee landlords rent their homes to packs of unrelated students. “Dormitory row,” says one resident. A proposed city law would limit some rentals to two unrelated jerks in the same house. The city could take violating landlords to court.

The opinion piece, written by graduating senior Lindsay Cabreros, recounts a tense evening encounter with a “young, lanky man” who seemed to have designs on her iPhone. Lindsay stared him away, but uses the incident to discuss what she calls “increasingly rampant” crime at UCR and the surrounding area: “In January, February, and March, there were 225 reported crimes at the UCR campus.”

UCR’s latest figures: Jan.-April: 372 reported incidents: 106 “non-criminal” (i.e. traffic accidents); 266 criminal.

Spokeswoman Kris Lovekin: “… (O)ur police officers are being highly successful in making arrests… More security cameras are being installed… We have a campus safety escort program for people who are walking on and around campus in the evening.”

Lovekin links much crime to the ease with which phones and tablets can be converted to cash. She attached a photo of an “EcoATM” at the MoVal Mall that swallows the gadgets and coughs up money.

But these kiosks photograph the seller, scan his/her ID, require a thumb print and store the phone’s serial number. Step right up, stupid thieves!

Councilman Andy Melendrez, who represents the area, attributes some crime to students in crowded areas (Starbucks, U-Village) who leave their electronics within easy swiping distance.

Maybe they could be more careful, but let’s try not to blame the victims.

Melendrez also laments that crime reporting is not uniform among universities, making UCR seem more crime riddled than it is.

Upside? UCR and the city know what’s going on and are trying to tamp it down.

Downside? It’s not working well enough to satisfy furious neighbors and frightened students. It tarnishes UCR’s image just as its fortunes seem to be rising.

Councilman Melendrez: “When you emphasize safety, they say there must be a lot of crime.”

They sure do.


Reach Dan Bernstein at 951-368-9438 or

Tell UCR What Kind Of Chancellor The Neighborhood Wants

UNA University Neighborhood News Jan 4, 2013

Happy New Year!

News, Events, Opportunities To 
Connect, Contribute and Collaborate
Chancellor’s Search Committee Seeks Neighborhood Feedback 
What Qualities, Initiatives, Programs, Practices or Policies do you want?
Send any thoughts to:
before Jan 10th.
City Boards and Commissions
Ward 2 Openings

There are openings for a Ward 2 representative for the Disabilities Commission, Police Review Commission, Airport Commission and the Museum Board. If you or anyone you know might have an interest or skill in these areas, please pass the word.

If you don’t want to serve on these currently open seats, you can still put you name in the pool for any other board or commission. Get a form at:
Request For Speaker Suggestions
 With elections behind us, we have an opportunity to invite speakers to future neighborhood meetings.
Who would you come to hear and tell your friends and neighbors about?
You’re invited to test out our very own exclusive social network. Only our neighbors can join the University page.

Transportation Now Meeting Thus Jan 10th.

This is the meeting for anyone who has a passion for transportation issues, particularly buses.
Meet at 3:30 p.m, Zaceteca’s  Cafe, 2472 University Avenue.
Grassroots contribution changes everything.
Future Neighborhood Agenda Items
Next Year’s Goals For the Neighborhood  
Community Vision and Crest Community Church

Next Meeting: January 10th  

6:30p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
3431 Mt Vernon Rd
Riverside, CA 92507
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UCR Research Projects To Build Boomtown?

Let’s hope it happens sooner than later. Our neighborhood could use a boost in several areas, rental units not among them however. With the percentage of owner occupancy in the University Neighborhood at 35%,  some are saying we’re in a perfect position to attract more of those researchers who are likely to be found in their labs rather than in the classroom and off to Orange or LA County.

We have the perfect neighborhood to give “Live-Work” some vitality and flavor. After all, that’s how a lot of our neighborhood started – live work at UCR and March Field.  Here’s to the University Neighborhood Becoming Ground Zero for the next Silicon Valley.