Category Archives: City Of Our Dreams

Asset based community development. Connect, contribute and collaborate on creating the neighborhood of our dreams.

Organic Gardening: Key To Our Future?

There is a mounting flow of information about our food supply these days: alarming reports about pesticides in produce, genetically modified crops, chemical additives and much more. Coincident with these cries of alarm, there are an ever increasing number of solutions popping up, such as buying local produce, finding meat grown without hormones or antibiotics, and, of course, purchasing organic whenever possible.

For those who live in dense urban environments, the perception of  limited space to grow their own produce stops them in their tracks. Mike Lieberman—the Urban Organic Gardener has been there and offers some options that can remove those obstacles.  Read more from Organic Connections.

Perris Valley Line Public Hearings Announced

March 29, 2010


The Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC) proposes to extend commuter rail service from the existing Riverside Downtown Station to the City of Perris. The proposed project, the Perris Valley Line (PVL), would be operated by the Southern California Regional Rail Authority (SCRRA) as a Metrolink line on existing Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) and the RCTC owned San Jacinto Branch Line (SJBL) track that would be connected via a new short section of track near Citrus Street in Riverside (“Citrus Connection”).

The proposed project would include track rehabilitation with welded rails, new track for a 9‑mile segment parallel to I‑215 south of Box Springs Road and north of Nuevo Road, a new connection with BNSF north of the city of Riverside called the Citrus Connection, track relocated to a new platform at Perris Station, and four new stations. These stations would be located in the Hunter Park area, March Field/Moreno Valley, Perris, and south Perris. A layover facility would be constructed near the South Perris Station. Enhancements would be made at over 15 existing grade crossings and could include flashing warning devices, gates, raised center medians, striping, signing and pavement markings, crossing safety lighting, and pedestrian safety improvements. As a part of upgrading the track, two existing bridges over the San Jacinto River would be replaced.

Last year, RCTC circulated a proposed Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration (IS/MND) for the PVL. In response to public input received (written comments and verbal testimony), RCTC decided to modify the proposed project and elevate the level of environmental document to an Environmental Impact Report (EIR). The Draft EIR will be available for public review April 5, 2010. The Draft EIR will be made available online and hard copies will be available for review at the RCTC offices, the Riverside Public Library, the Moreno Valley Public Library, the Perris Branch Library, and the Woodcrest Library.

RCTC will conduct public hearings:

Wednesday, April 14, 2010 at 9:30 AM
Riverside County Administrative Center
Board Room
4080 Lemon Street
Main Floor
Riverside, CA 92502‑2208


Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 6:00 PM
City of Perris City Council Chambers
(corner of San Jacinto and Perris Boulevard)
101 North “D” Street
Perris, California 92570

If you wish to make a comment on the Draft EIR, you may submit your written comments postmarked no later than May 24, 2010 to:

Ms. Edda Rosso, Capital Projects Manager
Riverside County Transportation Commission
P.O. Box 12008
Riverside, CA 92502‑2208

Exciting New Rebate Bundling Program From Riverside Public Utilities

Here’s an opportunity to double and even triple your rebate amounts! Combine this with the Federal stimulus-funded “Cash for Appliances” rebates coming out on April 22 ( and there are significant near-term financial savings available for Riverside residents for energy- and water-efficient upgrades. Take a look!
RPU customers win big with new ‘bundle’ rebate plan

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Riverside Public Utilities (RPU) customers can see as much as 350 percent more rebates if they will “bundle” with the new Whole House Rehabilitation Rebate Program.

Under this first-of-its-kind program, customers must install a minimum of two energy- or water-saving home improvement measures that offer RPU rebates — anything from solar panels to water-efficient toilets.  Each improvement is assigned points and the total determines which of four tiers the homeowner falls into. Those with 7 to 9 accumulated points will receive 150 percent of listed rebates; 10 to 14 points result in 250 percent; 15 to 29 points will get 300 percent of listed rebates; and those who accumulate 30 or more points will see 350 percent rebate.

As an example: Someone who accrues 10 points (250 percent bracket) and is normally entitled to $490 of rebates for home improvements will now get back $1,225.

“This is a case of the whole house being greater than the sum of its parts,” said RPU General Manager David Wright.  “The program is geared for people in the process of major home renovation and makes it economical to be energy and water efficient.  It’s the first of its kind in the nation.”

Funds are limited for the program and city officials urge residents to quickly take advantage of the opportunity.

“We hope customers will use this cost-effective opportunity to become as water and energy efficient as possible,” said City Councilmember Rusty Bailey, chair of the city’s Utility Services Land Use Energy Development Committee.  “This also means less government red tape for those of us who hate paperwork.”

The new Whole House Program allows participants to place all their program improvements in one rebate request instead of the usual one request per improvement.  With about 4,500 individual rebate requests processed annually, Bailey said, this process will save time for RPU and customers.

“If any of our customers are thinking of home improvements, now is the time they should do it,” Bailey said.

Most of the funds for the program will come from an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG), offered by the Department of Energy.

Secretary of Energy Steven Chu singled out the City of Riverside for its progressive energy conservation practices with EECBG funds last week at a National League of Cities conference in Washington, D.C.

“EECBG is starting to have an impact,” said Secretary Chu.  “It’s through you that we’re helping put America back to work and helping save energy.”

Rebates cannot exceed the purchase price of the product or 50 percent of the project cost, whichever is greater.  Customers are limited to $7,000 of rebates in one year. Property owners need not live in the house to take advantage of the program.

For more information, call (951) 826-5485.

Pathways To A Sustainable Society Workshop

This one-day workshop (April 15)  challenges participants to consider the interrelated dimensions of sustainability: environmental support systems (air, water, and natural ecosystems), urban systems (land use, transportation, socio-economic), and alternative energy.  Presenters will convey innovative research, public policy developments, technologies and business practices that will require collaboration among all sectors to ensure sustainability for today and for the needs of future generations.

Register here.

Potluck In The Park

This invitation is to our first Heritage Consortium of Inland Southern California Potluck in the Park.  The event will be Sunday, April 18 from 1:00-3:00 pm at Stewarts Boathouse in Riverside’s beautiful Fairmount Park.

We are still looking for volunteers to bring entrees, side dishes, desserts, and drinks (non-alcoholic) for the potluck and small local history items (such as books) for door prizes.  A big thank you to all who have volunteered so far!  If you are interested in donating any of the above, please let me know.

If you are planning to attend, don’t forget to bring pamphlets and brochures about your organization for our information table.

One more thing…

If you are attending, we encourage you to bring a young person who is interested in history and looking for an internship opportunity, or someone working in the history field who you think would benefit from becoming involved with the consortium.

We look forward to seeing you on April 18!

All the best,

Emily McEwen
Curator of History
Mission Inn Museum

Riverside Loses Port Fight

An Orange County judge has ruled against Riverside’s 2009 lawsuit seeking to block expansion of the Port of Los Angeles and force the port to help pay for transportation improvements the project would require.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Ronald L. Bauer wrote in a March 10 ruling, made public this week, that the port expansion would have “an insignificant impact” on Riverside and that Inland-area demand for products will create increased train traffic even without the expansion.

I don’t know about you, but I seem to recall the City paying John Husing lots of money for his insight on how to promote the Inland Empire as the home of “cheap dirt”.

Judge rejects rule intended to limit train-yard pollution

Our economic destiny was supposed to come because of our unique suitability as a logistics hub.  After all we were only an hour from the mountains, an hour from the beach and an hour from the desert.  Just the perfect spot to sort crap and ship it on it’s way.

It just didn’t make economic sense to  sort all those goods at the port or pay for the full costs of shipping them from cheap labor countries to cheap dirt ones.

No, they had to stage them in the Inland Empire because we didn’t have the educational levels to support more advanced businesses like those that might come from green jobs.

I remember the Friends Of Riverside’s Hills suing the City and developers over the apparent disagreement over the value of cheap dirt in the Residential Conservation (RC) zoned areas of Riverside.

Husing questioned the city’s decision to take on the issue in court, particularly at a time when the recession has slowed shipping and train traffic. As if a 25 percent drop from 2006 to 2009 makes everything all right now.

An then there’s Moreno Valley permitting a Sketchers warehouse for additional truck trips.  Maybe one day they’ll regret that decision and start to realize as Riverside apparently has, that seizing our destiny goes well beyond short term solutions. And that disregarding the true costs, impacts and consequences of those them does little to prepare us for overcoming them.

Thanks For Voting For Our Community Garden Grant

Thanks for voting. I particularly want to acknowledge the support from the Riverside Neighborhood Partnership board members in getting the word out.

As a result of forwarding our Request For Your Vote notice for our neighborhood, we’re  establish a network of Riverside neighborhood community gardening info.

I’ve linked our site with Growcology. I love what Growcology is doing. I know they’re connected with the Wood Streets Green Team and they have both participated in each other’s programs.

Pat Silvestri, Green Team board member for community and home gardening goddess, will be representing the Wood Streets Green Team at Growcology’s vegetable gardening workshop Saturday.

If you are interested in joining a Green Team community garden working group, please contact Pat directly,

By the way, the Green Team is being featured at Tuesday’s City Council Meeting as one of the Riverside Neighborhood Partnership’s (RNP) neighborhood success stories. I think one of the biggest successes is how it’s created an opening for these types of connections citywide.

Thanks for voting. I really appreciate the support from the RNP board members in getting the word out. In posting this notice for our neighborhood, I ran across several other grant opportunities offered by corporate partners. Many of these offerings are PR initiatives designed for social networking connections to build or support brand awareness.

We all know there’s too much corporate money out there, nevertheless, we’ll be happy to take some of it off their hands and leverage it into something far more valuable than money. At the very least we’ll invent a far richer standard for profit.