Category Archives: Open Government

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

RTRP Update

Hi Power Transmission TowerMost Current Talking Points

Coalition of Riverside City Council & Norco to underground High Transmission Lines Norco will spend approximately $300,000 to $500,000 in this effort.

Edison is engaging in a full-court, behind the scenes press distributing misinformation. Facts:

  • Project will not cost a “billion dollars”
  • Project is not shovel ready
  • The project regardless of above or below ground will be spread out over every rate payer in the state – either way will cost approximately $1.00 additional per year. (Cal Strategies: Steve Larson & Hope Christman/CPUC)
  • We will be petitioning for the entire length of line: under river, Norco, County, La Sierra (we are correcting the press release)
  • No Riverside residents’ rates will go up more then a dollar per year due to this project
  • Norco has hired the same attorney and consultant who undergrounded Jurupa Valley and Chino Hills
  • Undergrounding in the EIR was deemed the superior way to go but it was not explored.
  • In the short term undergrounding disturbs the area but in the long term is better for the environment
  • When high transmission lines go up, it impedes the ability for helicopters to drop water on fires – that is exactly what saved Norco during the two large fires on our SW and SE quadrant – without those helicopters Norco would have been in trouble.
  • The center of Norco is rated highest for fire danger.
  • The river bottom is an urban forest – the EIR downplays the vegetation
  • The City of Riverside invested in new helicopters that may not be able to function effectively with smoke obscuring the transmission lines.
  • The EIR was completed prior to the devastating Paradise Fire, Norco’s two major fires and Lahaina.
  • The Santa Ana winds reach a higher wind speed then the hurricane winds that caused the Lahaina fire.
  • Hope Christman, our areas CPUC Rep is creating a fact sheet with additional information

We need a strong response from elected who carry more weight with the CPUC: we need specifically targeted letters to both electeds and CPUC. In the next few days we will be releasing talking points.  Below are elected officials to contact and status of their support and our ask: please be respectful.

We Are Just Getting Started Sign

 

 

 

 

 

Senator Alex Padilla (310) 231-4494 https://www.padilla.senate.gov/contact/contact-form/

Is looking for a way to fund the undergrounding – send letters to encourage.

Congressman Ken Calvert Office (951) 277-0042
https://calvert.house.gov/zip_authentication?form=/contact/email-me

He is in full support and is currently working on figuring out the status of the re-alignment of the high transmission lines through the Hidden Valley Nature Preserve. We need a full-support letter.

Congressman Mark Takano (951) 222-0203 https://takano.house.gov/contact/email-me

Is in full support, is working with Calvert to underground. Need letters of encouragement and strong support letter.

Senator Richard Roth Office (951) 680-6750
https://sd31.senate.ca.gov/send-e-mail

Says he is supporting and has sent a rep to all RTRP meetings.  Need a stronger letter that excludes the time restriction and claim of no support should rates go up (this is a false narrative being pushed by Edison)

Senator Kelly Seyarto Office (951) 280-1260
https://lcmspubcontact.lc.ca.gov/PublicLCMS/ContactPopup.php?district=SD32&inframe=N

Fully in support and onboard: Letters of support and ask to continue are appropriate.

Assemblymember Sabrina Cervantes Office (951) 371-6860
https://a58.asmdc.org/contact-me
Fully supports and is on board – but, as in the case of Senator Roth, we need a stronger letter of absolute support.

Assemblymember Bill Essayli Phone (951) 369-6644
https://lcmspubcontact.lc.ca.gov/PublicLCMS/ContactPopup.php?district=AD63&inframe=N
Fully on board and helped bring Riverside and Norco councils together.

First District County Board Supervisor Kevin Jeffries Office (951) 955-1010 district1@rivco.org

Kevin Jeffries told me he was on board and then pulled out stating the process has gone on too long and expressed concerns incorrectly about costs.  He seems to believe Edison and the ask is to fully support the fact that Riverside and Norco have formed and alliance and Norco is spending big bucks to do the right thing – he needs to get on board.

Second District County Board Supervisor Karen Spiegel
district2@rivco.org Office (951) 955-1020

She is supportive and was going to agendize for a vote but it seems Edison is strong arming the Supervisors to stay quiet. Need letters encouraging her to support and agendize issue.  It will not look good if it is agendized and only she votes yes – those voting no will not look so good.

Third District County Board Supervisor Chuck Washington
district3@rivco.org
Office (951) 955-1030

Has stated to me he supports undergrounding – election year, send letters to encourage full support.

Fourth District County Board Supervisor V. Manuel Perez
district4@rivco.orgOffice (951) 955-1040

Do not know him – send letters to support

Fifth District County Board Supervisor Yxstian Gutierrez
district5@rivco.orgOffice (951) 955-1050

Told me he supports Norco’s position. Send letters to encourage unqualified support.

Riverside City Council

There appears to be a deadline of September 30 – we are working really hard to have our petition in and to have the funding or a chunk in place.  Steve and Chuck have done a wonderful job but holding that majority together seems to be tough. Particularly given that staff is little help.  Please write each and thank them for support and encourage to do the right thing.

Erin Edwards

Has opposed vocally the coalition – letters encouraging her to support.

Mayor Lock Dawson

On board – thank you.

Clarissa Cervantes

Strongly n board – thank and encourage                                           

Ronaldo Fierro

Strongly on board – say thank you

Chuck Conder

Organized the coalition – say thank you

Gaby Plascencia

Opposes at times – encourage support

Jim Perry

Opposes at times – encourage support

Steve Hemenway

Strongly on board and helping to organize

How To Make An Ecomment

Large crowd demonstration with one demonstrator holding a sign saying
Here’s a step-by-step guide to make an e Comment. The example is from last week’s City Council discussion to reconsider undergrounding the RTRP (Riverside Transmission Reliability Project).
Unfortunately, E comment closes at 11 a.m. But for next time, this should work to find the right place to make an e comment.
Click https://riversideca.gov/council  Click on Meeting Agendas & Videos from left menu
This will bring up a calendar search page for the meeting and agenda being sought at this link: (Bookmark for the future).
Click the ‘List View’ tab. In the search boxes. Select, ‘This Month’ for the time and, select ‘City Council’ for the meeting sought.
When you see the meeting you’re looking for, you will also see the
At the far right is a link for making an e Comment
When you click this, you will see the entire City Council agenda with digital links. Go to page 3
This procedure will work for any City meeting, Council, Boards & Commissions included.
In the words of Thom Hartman, Democracy is a team sport. Tag, you’re it.

RTRP Vote To Find Funding For Undergrounding

Hi Power Transmission TowerWe Need Your Voice!

We were told unequivocally that undergrounding the high-powered transmission lines near Hidden Valley (Ward 7) was not possible. For fifteen years they said it was a “DONE DEAL” to place the lines overhead.

TRUTH:  It was NOT a “done deal”. Truth is, they never told us the truth about any of it. This in spite of at least one public comment demanding an underground option from the start.

What a difference fifteen years of neighbors being organized , collaborative and effective in pursuing common desires. Add your voice at tomorrow’s City Council meeting.

MOTION to FIND the MONEY to underground this project will be made Tuesday, January 17th by Councilman Chuck Conder. It is important for you to SHOW UP and show support for this motion.

We NEED action! You can speak during “Open Comment” or come to support your neighbors who are speaking and support the council members who want to see this project UNDERGROUND!

COME! Let our City know that you DO NOT want these lines overhead.

Where:          City Council Chambers next to City Hall

When:           Tuesday January 17, 2023

Time:             6:15 pm

Parking:        FREE in the evenings, handicapped available

BACKGROUND

RRR  is the neighborhood group most impacted by this. They have been fighting to have this project undergrounded since 2017 via:

  • EDUCATION
  • INFORMATION
  • FORUMS
  • SOCIAL MEDIA
  • COMMUNITY MEETINGS

We were not giving up! Councilman Steve Hemenway (Ward 7) took the lead when he was elected in 2019. Due to his diligence, perseverance and educating himself on this project, there is now hope to underground these lines.

He brought Councilwoman Cervantes and Councilman Fierro onboard; but these 3 council members were outvoted to change the project.

Councilman Conder now realizes that undergrounding is the “superior project”, and he will bring a motion before our Council on Tuesday to FIND THE MONEY to do so!

Please come and show support for these 4 councilpersons who have listened and responded to residents. They deserve our public support. This is a defining moment in the history of Riverside.

  • Steve Hemenway Ward 7
  • Clarissa Cervantes Ward 2
  • Ronaldo Fierro Ward 3
  • Chuck Conder Ward 4

UNA July 2022 Meeting Agenda

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

Share Your Thoughts With The City

1. Welcome – Introductions                                              5 min.

2. UCR  Update                                                                         5 min.

3. RPD Update                                                                       10  min.

4. Council Update                                                                20  min

5. Parking West Side Watkins Bike Lane                   5 min.

6. ADU Ad Hoc                                                                          5 min.

7. New Business

8. Old Business

Neighborhood Issues & Resources

Stop Building Warehouses Near Our Homes Petition

Follow Our Courts

US Covid Atlas

Riverside Neighborhood Partnership

Neighbors Better Together

 

June UNA Meeting Agenda

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

Share Your Thoughts With The City

1. Welcome – Introductions                                              5 min.

2. UCR  Update                                                                     10 min.

Beth Claassen Thrush

3. RPD Update                                                                       10  min.

4. Council Update                                                                20  min

5. Neighborhood Issues & Resources

https://www.rnpinfo.com/

https://neighborsbettertogether.org/

6. ADU Ad Hoc TBD                                                             5 min.

7. New Business

8. Old Business

Parking West Side Watkins Bike Lane

Riverside improperly held electricity tax election, judge rules

It looks like the old ways of doing business in Riverside are beginning to erode. Read about it here from the PE:

Referee Issuing Red Card Penalty

This decision came about because residents were forced to take legal action against some very unwise legal advice given to the City Council which makes them look complicit in trying to defraud the ratepayers.

If ever we needed an elected Inspector General, this sort of waste of public funds should be reason enough. What else is being hidden from view?

After long years of suffering under the economic development vision of “cheap dirt”, and a series of deplorable leadership decisions, feckless city managers and past councils with questionable ethics and certainly with no love of place, residents are finally demanding answers and showing a willingness to apply constant pressure on the issues that matter to all of us.

Increasing demands for closer scrutiny over decisions on how our public funds are being disbursed is beginning to pay and special interests don’t like this trend. We’re seeing a reassertion of parents and taxpayer rights to effective school bond oversight.

We can complain all we want about the fraud, waste and abuse that occurs in government, but if we don’t step in to express our thoughts, keep demanding answers, or counter the latest special interest vision with our own, residents will always get far less than we deserve from our tax dollars.  Where do you want to make the next difference in Riverside?