Category Archives: Democarcy

Add Your Name To Riverside Neighbors Demanding Underground RTRP Transmission Lines

RTRP Route Map

At June’s UNA meeting, we will take a vote to submit the following letter on behalf of our neighborhood group, and joining groups from across the city who are demanding a safer, transmission line project.

Thousands of Riverside residents will be affected by higher insurance rates, lower property values, viewshed  destruction, enhanced wildfire risk, other public safety risks, plus the theft of generational equity from some of our most disadvantaged neighborhoods.

Dear City Council Members,  I am writing to you on behalf of the University Neighborhood Association with a request to reconsider the  vote to stop the working group from obtaining the  information needed to proceed with a request to  underground the power lines in our city.

As a concerned citizen,  who has witnessed both past and  present  Councils echoing the Community’s voice,  saying that we do  not have enough information or cost data regarding this project, I remain dismayed at the refusal to get that information.

Yet we persist in a course of action we all know is fraught with peril and foreseeable public health and safety risks. The very risks you swore an oath to put foremost in your elected stewardship duties. This is a risk to current and future residents as well as a dire risk to our regional neighbors who expect more from a city always eager to take leadership for innovation.

It is especially dismaying that we are proceeding in spite of State requirements that all new transmission line projects shall be underground. Did we not get the memo?

This is information we do have. We also know the easement needed to proceed is not forthcoming unless this project is underground. We know the longer we delay the greater the fire danger and the costs.

I am wondering if any of you have considered the possibility of having a shovel-ready project in three years and built in five?

What is needed is the political will to request a new EIR or Supplemental EIR to include current conditions. I know that if there was political will, time frames can be shortened.

We also have a mayor who is an expert in this arena and I am urging you Mayor Dawson, to bring the best of your considerable talents, experience, and demonstrated love for Riverside to show up on this.  Your legacy is at risk. Have you considered the optics of having an environmental expert as mayor and proceeding with this monstrosity of a project? Even Edison is telling us to underground everywhere except for the City of Riverside apparently.

Political will  gives us all the information we need and the project ready to submit in less than a year – if we require it. And if this project is as critical to our future as Staff, Edison, SEIU, the Chamber and a host of paid performers, shilling during Council deliberations, have said it is, then it is equally critical to listen to your community.

One of you needs to step up and request a reconsideration to get this rolling. If we are serious about need and the speed, then the shortest time frame starts with a new EIR process. One or all of you newly elected has an opportunity to step up and demonstrate the kind of leadership we have seen from Councilmen Conder, Hemenway and Councilwoman Cervantes.

We expect you to do your jobs and due diligence on this or risk the likely result of being a one term councilman.

Gurumantra Khalsa
Co Chair, University Neighborhood Assn.
951-640-3868

 

 

 

UNA June 2024 Meeting Agenda

Every 2nd Thursday  6:30 – 8:30

Map and Directions To Crest Community Church
3431 Mt Vernon Ave, Riverside, CA 92507

1. Welcome – Introductions                                         5 min.

2. City Parks Director Pamela Galera   Q&A   40 min.

3. Fire Chief Micheal Moore or                               40 min.

Deputy Fire Chief Steve McKinster      Q&A

4. Announcements Updates:                                      5 min

Take the  RTRP Underground or Above Ground Survey .

Neighborhood  Resources

Follow Our Courts

US Covid Atlas

CA Climate Change Workshop

The Inland Empire Community Foundation is pleased to share the following information on behalf of the California Natural Resources Agency.

State Agencies Host Public Workshops to Inform California Climate Adaptation Strategy

California climate leaders invite public feedback on the Draft 2024 CA Climate Adaptation Strategy outlining the State’s approach to adapting to a changing climate

Join state leaders for a free public workshop during the day and a more informal community meeting in the evening.

RIVERSIDE, CA: June 11, 2024 | Refreshments and Raffles

Location: CARB Headquarters, 4001 Iowa Ave, Riverside, CA

RSVP for the public workshop from 1:00am-3:30pm here.

RSVP for the community meeting 5:30-7:00pm here.

Virtual Workshops: June 12, 2024 

If you are unable to attend these workshops, there will be two virtual workshops.

Afternoon session: 2:00-3:30pm; Please register here.

Evening session: 5:00-6:30pm; Please register here.

Comments can also be e-mailed to climateresilience@resources.ca.gov.

For public engagement updates on the draft please visit here.

Public comment ends July 12th, 2024.

Are Your Rights To Accountability Being Constrained?

We often bemoan after the fact that our right to full participation in public policy has been curtailed. Here’s an  opportunity to voice your thoughts about that.

It’s about accountability

We are writing to alert you to a California bill that would weaken open-meetings protections by excusing officials who serve on a wide range of local government bodies from having to show up in person.

AB 817, a bill by Assemblymember Blanca Pacheco, would allow all public meetings conducted by certain government bodies to take place entirely virtually, even without an emergency or specific personal needs of a given member to do so, reducing face-to-face accountability. The bill would write into the Brown Act an unprecedented level of remoteness to public meetings, such as those held by a new police oversight commission in Vallejo, a controversial civilian elections committee in Shasta County, and a budget committee in San Diego, just to name a few examples.

Consider what an all-virtual government meeting means for community members who make their voices heard on issues using tried-and-true tactics like holding signs, wearing matching shirts or buttons, staging protests outside halls of power, or even holding eye contact with officials. And what it means for journalists who do the important work of keeping Californians informed: When public meetings go entirely online, how can a reporter approach an official to get comment or connect with community members who have views on issues being considered?

State law already allows for ample flexibility for appointed and elected officials to participate in public meetings remotely. The Brown Act has allowed it since the 1990s, so long as certain guardrails were in place, such as informing the public of the official’s location. Yet, state law doesn’t mandate virtual access and participation options for the public, except during limited circumstances. That’s wrong. And we have urged the Legislature to increase virtual options for the people.

But AB 817 doesn’t increase public access. It offers an unfair trade off: Let officials avoid appearing in person in order for the public to have a right to a livestream.

We encourage any concerned Californian to raise your voice and let the Senate Committee on Local Government know you demand that public meetings be held in public places, where those who choose to perform public service are accessible to the communities they are serving.

Read our opposition letter. And tell the Senate Local Government Committee to vote no on AB 817. You can also write directly to the committee chair, Sen. María Elena Durazo, to tell her you oppose AB 817.

Thank you for your interest in our work.

Ginny LaRoe
Advocacy Director
First Amendment Coalition

DONATE

Raise Your Voice Against SCE Lawsuit Threat For Transmission Lines

Hi Power Transmission Tower

Ask for a new EIR with underground option  included

Our city and our region will be severely endangered from building high voltage transmission  lines above ground in a severe fire risk area.

The State has mandated all new lines be built underground. SCE is threatening to sue Riverside for protecting our future generations.

Take Action. Here’s  How  Sign the Petition. Here’s the link to the petition https://chng.it/TtdYgZNdmf   

My ask of YOU…as many of you as can do 😊

  • SHOW UP if possible Tuesday May 14th at the CC meeting; RTRP is on the Agenda. 6 pm, Item 25,  Council Chambers.

 

  • Write and CALL ALL Council Members NOW and state your position on a new EIR for undergrounding the RTRP  If they are unsure or unwilling, ask for the issue to be added as a ballot initiative for November. (Include Mayor,  City Manager and DEFINITELY the City Clerk) asking that your emails become public record.

Clarissa Cervantes  Chuck Conder  Jim Perry  Steve Hemenway  Philip Falcone  Steve Robillard  Sean Mill        Mayor Lock Dawson   City Manager Mike Futrell    Donesia Gause City Clerk

  • e-Comment – Agenda item 25
  • Zoom participation:https://zoom.us/j/92696991265
    Select the “raise hand” function to request to speak.
    An on-screen message will prompt you to “unmute” and speak.
  • Phone participation: Call (951) 826-8686, and follow the prompts to access your language of preference.Press *9 to be placed in the queue to speak.Individuals in the queue will be prompted to unmute by pressing *6 to speak. Public comments are limited to 3 minutes.

UCR Spring Splash

UCR Spring Splash Concert crowd and stage

Hello everyone,

I would like to share that on Saturday, May 18th, the Associated Students Program Board is hosting UCR’s annual Spring Splash concert.  We wanted to notify you of potential amplified sound and access that may affect the inner areas of campus.

The event kicks off at 4:30pm and will last until 9:30pm. However, sound checks for the artists will begin at 9:00am until 3:00 pm. Please be advised that the center of campus will be fenced and access to the inner areas of campus will be impacted as a result.  Students, faculty, and staff will be asked to walk around the fenced areas beginning at 12pm until the event ends.  We will provide signage that ensures everyone is able to get to where they need to go. Included is a map outlining the alternative routes once the venue is closed at 12pm on May 18th.

You will start to see the set-up of staging on Wednesday, May 15th;  and set-up of fencing on Friday, May 17th.  Access to buildings will not be impacted before Saturday, May 18th. We appreciate your patience and support of activities for our students that assist them in making a deeper connection to UCR. If you would like more information about the event, please visit our website

Students must be currently enrolled in an undergraduate program at UCR (we verify) and pre-registration is required for the event for access. UCR undergraduate students must present a physical R’Card and entry wristband to enter the event. We will not offer student verification at the event; students must have a wristband and their R’Card to enter (no exceptions).

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Jazmin Alvarez Barragan

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Associated Students Program Board (ASPB) | University of California, Riverside

111 Highlander Union Building Riverside CA, 92521

Office: (951) 827-3615 | jazmin.alvarezbarragan@ucr.edu

 

UNA May 2024 Meeting Agenda

Map and Directions To Crest Community Church
3431 Mt Vernon Ave, Riverside, CA 92507

1. Welcome – Introductions                                     10 min.

2. City Parks Director Pamela Galera   Q&A  60 min.

3. RTRP Underground or Above Ground Survey

4. Announcements Updates:                                   20 min

Neighborhood  Resources

Follow Our Courts

US Covid Atlas

Riverside Neighborhood Partnership

Neighbors Better Together

STEM HS EIR Public Meeting

Woman's upper body holding a microphone attached to a lecternIf you live in the University neighborhood and you care about neighborhood quality of life, then Tuesday, April 16th’s meeting 5:30-8:00 pm, at the Courtyard Marriott 1510 University Ave. is where you need to show up and speak your mind for the record.

Rich Davis has been actively following the STEM project. He along with other neighbors have reviewed the EIR and have pointed out significant deficiencies, that if left unchallenged, or unvoiced by us, will be at our future peril. Here’s what you need to know:

We need your bodies Tuesday Evening. We’d love your voice for the record if you are so inclined. It is your right to speak. You may also write a letter. If you do, here are some thoughts to consider and where to send your comments. Thank you Rich.

The nearly 2,000 page Environmental Impact Report  (EIR) has been reviewed by several community members. The EIR failed to give an accurate reporting on its findings and is misleading as to the negative impact this project will have on our community. Here are some of the problems in the report:

PARKING

  • 153 parking spaces are allocated:

    • 60 are reserved for staff.

    • 6 for ADA-compliant spaces.

    • 25 for electric vehicle charging.

    • This means only 62 spaces will be available for student parking, for a school that claims to be able to enroll 1,200 students.

  • There is no available parking on Linden, Blaine, Canyon Crest, Rustin, or the surrounding neighborhoods to  accommodate the additional spaces for students to park.

  • The report falsely implies the majority of students will use buses (or ride bicycles, an even more ludicrous claim given that the student body is projected to be drawn evenly from across the entire RUSD), so additional student parking was not addressed in the report.

TRAFFIC

  • A traffic study was done on November 30, 2021 (a Tuesday) from noon-2pm. According to the study, an average of 760 vehicles traveled on Blaine and 332 cars on Canyon Crest in a one hour period in the middle of the day. As alarming as these numbers appear, this reporting was done during COVID lockdowns when students, including UCR students, were mostly doing online schooling and many people were still working from home. There appears to be no updated reporting since 2021 and no reference of potential traffic reduction due to COVID restrictions.

  • The data from the traffic study was collected between noon and 2:00pm, totally disregarding commuters from the surrounding neighborhoods using Blaine St. to reach or return from the freeway during the time school (and the workday) starts and ends.

  • The report mentions the construction of the new 1,600-student UCR dorm currently being built on the corner across from the proposed school site, but has no mention of the impact the dorm and school would have on traffic on Blaine/Canyon Crest.

  • The report lists the nearly 300-unit apartment complex being built next to Stater Bros. on Iowa, with housing for nearly 1,000 people within a half-mile of the school. However, the EIR fails to consider the impact this will have on the traffic at the corner of Iowa and Blaine.

  • It appears the entrance and exit into the school will be off of Canyon Crest for parent drop off/pick up, and parking just before lot 26. The proposal is to put a traffic light at this location. Canyon Crest is a one lane street going both directions with bike lanes and street parking. Anyone who has ever attempted to drop off or pick up a student knows that huge lines of cars queue up waiting to get to or from a school. The proposed school will be a commuter school, guaranteeing that this dropoff and pickup traffic will be even heavier, totally blocking Canyon Crest and impeding traffic on Blaine with an undoubtedly long line of cars and buses. This is not addressed in the report other than stating that students will take buses and other transportation like a bike.

  • The report states that 10 buses will drop off students at 8:00am, 10 buses will pick up part time students at 12:30pm, and 10 buses will pick up the remainder at 3:30pm. No mitigation is described for the  adverse air quality or impact to traffic of 30 bus trips to the school (in addition to the RTA buses running down Canyon Crest).

  • The nearly 250 high school students attending the current STEM Academy rarely use the buses provided, preferring parent pick up and drop off resulting in long lines on Watkins and traffic congestion on Mt. Vernon.

INTRAMURAL FIELDS

  • The report states the joint use agreement with UCR and the Riverside city government ends in 2027 with no discussion on the possibility of renewing this agreement. These fields are the only Park/Rec fields we have in our community that can accommodate a variety of uses, including lighting.

  • The report implies that the fields are rarely used by UCR students and the community, and therefore losing the fields will have no direct impact. It clearly states those wanting to play baseball, softball, or soccer can go to Highland Park, Islander Park, Patterson Park, and the Stratton Center. NONE of these facilities are equipped to accommodate these sports. The report even suggests that these intramural sport teams could simply pay to rent the facilities at North High, Highland Elementary, and/or University Heights Middle.

  • This intramural field is only one of two on the UCR campus for a student population approaching 30,000 and growing. The report doesn’t address the fact that 1,600 dorm students who will be living right across the street have the potential of increasing its usage.

COMMUNITY PUBLIC INPUT CONCERNS

  • The EIR must address comments made at public meetings and names are included in the EIR. Astonishingly, this EIR states that this project will have no substantial adverse impact on the community. Time and again the justification noted is found to be inaccurate, misleading and lacking critical information to render its conclusion.

It has been a couple of years since our community came together to strongly voice our objections to this project. We must continue to voice our objections by attending a special meeting:

Tuesday, April 16   5:30-8:00pm 

Courtyard Marriott  1510 University Ave.  

Those wanting to speak will be limited to 2-3 minutes. If you wish to be heard, it will be best to read a statement.

If unable to attend you can send a letter to Stephanie Tang1223 University Avenue Suite 240 Riverside, CA 92507 or submit online at CEQA@ucr.edu.

UNA April 2024 Meeting Agenda

Map and Directions To Crest Community Church
3431 Mt Vernon Ave, Riverside, CA 92507

1. Welcome – Introductions                                     10 min.

2. City Manager Mike Frutell        Q&A               60 min.

3. Announcements Updates:                                   20 min

UCR,  RUSD, Council, Planning Comm

Neighborhood  Resources

Follow Our Courts

US Covid Atlas

Riverside Neighborhood Partnership

Neighbors Better Together

RUSD STEM Center Draft EIR Notice of Completion/Notice of Availability

STEM Logo

Pursuant to the State of California Public Resources Code (PRC) Section 21091(a) and Sections 15085 and 15087 of the Guidelines for the Implementation of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA Guidelines), the University of California, Riverside (UCR) has released for public review a Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on the Riverside Unified School District (RUSD) Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education Center.

The Draft EIR is available for viewing at the UCR Planning, Design & Construction (PD&C) office located at 1223 University Avenue Suite 240 Riverside, CA 92507; at the RUSD Planning, and Development Office located at 3070 Washington Street Riverside, CA 92504; at the Riverside Main Library located at 3900 Mission Inn Avenue, Riverside, CA 92501; and available for downloading on the UCR PD&C Environmental Planning website: https://pdc.ucr.edu/environmental-planning-ceqa (Scroll down to Completed CEQA and NEPA Documents, RUSD STEM Education Center).

Project Overview:

The proposed project entails development of an approximately 80,000 gross-square-foot, three-story, approximately 50-foot-tall school facility that would contain classrooms, lecture facilities, a multi-use discovery center, a fabrication lab, food service, a fitness center, administrative offices, outdoor learning areas, landscape, hardscape, and associated site improvements.

The proposed project is expected to serve a capacity of approximately 800 students at any given time, approximately 1,200 students daily (400 full-time and 800 part-time), and approximately 60 faculty and staff. Upon completion of the proposed project, students in grades 9 through 12 that are currently enrolled at the existing STEM facility at the former Hyatt Elementary School site would be relocated to the proposed STEM Education Center while the existing Hyatt Elementary School would continue to serve grades 5 through 8.

The proposed project would also involve a variety of associated modifications to existing facilities and infrastructure to accommodate site development, including removal of the existing open recreational fields (two baseball diamonds, bleachers, lighting), decommissioning and relocation of the existing T-Mobile Cell Tower, relocation/replacement of on-site utilities, installation of an electrical feeder line upgrade (approximately 1,900 linear feet) located within the public rights-of-way of Canyon Crest Drive and Blaine Street, and installation of an approximately 175-foot-long extension of an existing sewer line in Canyon Crest Drive to the southeastern corner of the project site.

Environmental Effects:

Implementation of the proposed project would result in environmental impacts, on the following environmental resource areas: aesthetics, biological resources, cultural resources, geology/soils, hazards and hazardous materials, noise, transportation, tribal cultural resources, and wildfire.

The proposed project would also result in less than significant impacts, with no mitigation required, related to the following environmental issue areas: air quality, energy, greenhouse gas emissions, hydrology/water quality, land use/planning, population/housing, public services, recreation, and utilities/service systems.

The proposed project would also result in no impacts related to the following environmental issue areas: agriculture/forestry resources and mineral resources.

Hazardous Materials/Waste Disclosure:

There are no hazardous waste facilities or sites within the project site included on the lists of sites enumerated under Government Code Section 65962.5.

Document Availability & Review Period:

A copy of the Draft EIR is available for viewing at the addresses noted above, or for downloading on the UCR Planning, Design & Construction Environmental Planning website: https://pdc.ucr.edu/environmental-planning-ceqa; at the UCR Planning, Design & Construction Office located at 1223 University Avenue Suite 240 Riverside, CA 92507; at the Riverside Unified School Facilities, Planning, and Development Office located at 3070 Washington Street Riverside, CA 92504; and at the Riverside Main Library located at 3900 Mission Inn Avenue, Riverside, CA 92501.

The 45-day public review period for the Draft EIR begins on March 18, 2024, and ends on May 2, 2024. Comments must be received in writing no later than 5:00 PM on May 2, 2024. Your name should be included with your comments. Please send your written comments to the attention of Stephanie Tang at 1223 University Avenue Suite 240 Riverside, CA 92507 with the subject line titled STEM Education Center. Comments can also be submitted via email to the following address: CEQA@ucr.edu. Comments must also be received no later than 5:00 PM on May 2, 2024.

Public Hearing to Provide Comments:

A public meeting will be held by the University during the public review period. The meeting will be held in person on April 16, 2024 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Courtyard by Marriott located at 1510 University Avenue Riverside, CA 92507.

The public hearing will also be available via live feed link: on the day and time of the public hearing noted above. Please note that public comments would not be available via the live feed and members of the public could provide comments either in person at the public hearing or via email to CEQA@ucr.edu or mailed to 1223 University Avenue Suite 240 Riverside, CA 92507.

A recorded version of the public hearing meeting will be posted on the UCR Planning, Design & Construction Environmental Planning website under “Community Meetings”: https://pdc.ucr.edu/environmental-planning-ceqa and via the following link: after the public hearing date. If you have any questions regarding this Notice of Completion/Notice of Availability (NOC)/(NOA), please contact Stephanie Tang at 1223 University Avenue Suite 240 Riverside, CA 92507 or via email at CEQA@ucr.edu.

For questions about accessibility or to request an accommodation, please contact us at (951) 827-1484 or CEQA@ucr.edu. Requests should be made a week prior to the public hearing so that the university has sufficient time to arrange reasonable accommodations.

A copy of the NOC/NOA is also attached. Let me know if you have any trouble accessing the document or have any questions pertaining to the proposed project or Draft EIR document.

Warm Regards,

Denise Davis (she/her/hers)
Assistant Director of Advocacy and Institutional Relations

Office of Governmental & Community Relations

Denise.davis@ucr.edu