Category Archives: Public Policy

Meet Ward 2 City Council Candidates

Ward 2 Riverside City Council Candidate Forum Pics

Now that you have your ballots, you might be wondering who’s who.

Well, here’s your chance to meet the candidates vying for our vote.

So get comfortable, sit back, relax, pour yourself a cup or glass of something strong to see you through an hour and a half.

If you do, you’ll know your vote is informed. You’ll be the judge who counts. Here’s a link to the video courtesy of the League of Women Voters.  Enjoy before it’s too late.

Overhead Power Lines Along Santa Ana Forum June 13

RTRP Overhead Lines Along Santa Ana
The Riverside Transmission Reliability Project will destroy the viewshed of Riverside and the surrounding communities forever. This is being promoted by our public utility department. It’s unwise and unnecessary. Find out why at a special Teach In at the next UNA meeting – June 13, 2019.

We’ll have

 Mayor Brian Berkson/Jurupa Valley
 Councilman Chris Barajas/Jurupa Valley
 Norco Representative Susan Bowen
 Devonne Pitruzzello
to explain why undergrounding is better for all communities and what you can do to make sure that happens. Tell your neighbors.  Mark the date. 3 weeks and counting.

 Save The Date  June 13, 2019


   Join us every 2nd Thursday of the month, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm for
the UNA neighborhood meeting.
Watch for the signs throughout
the neighborhood the weekend before.

Map and Directions To Crest Community Church

3431 Mt Vernon Ave, Riverside, CA 92507

RUSD Measure O Citizen Oversight Committee Meets Wed May 29, 2019

What:   The Measure O Bond Oversight Committee Meeting

When:    Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at  4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

 Where:  Conference Room 3,
RUSD District Offices
2280 14th Street, Riverside,CA 92501

(corner of 14th Street and Lime, across from                    Jack in the Box, close to the 91 freeway).

 Why:   Because some members of the Oversight Committee think the proposed UCR STEM High School cannot be lawfully built using Measure O funds.
The whole Committee needs to hear the views of other concerned members of the public, and why they think the Measure O money needs to be used to improve existing schools city-wide. Thats us.
Come prepared to speak up and tell the Oversight Committee why you think use of Measure O money for a STEM high school on the UCR campus violates Measure O!
  Need some talking points?  Read on!
 Please let all your friends who care about education in Riverside know about this meeting and encourage them to try to attend.
Talking Points About Measure O
    Measure O does not allow the bond money to be used to build new schools.
According to the impartial analysis provided to voters by the County’s attorneys, bond money:
“may be used by the District to repair and upgrade  District schools by upgrading or replacing aging school infrastructure, classrooms and buildings, modernize school facilities with 21st century technology, improve access for students with disabilities, provide classroom and labs for career and technical education classes.”
“The Bonds may be used to improve school safety by modernizing security systems, retrofitting buildings to be earthquake proof, and upgrading emergency communications.”
“The Bonds may also be used to Districtwide technology improvements for updated instruction technology in classrooms and labs and upgraded computer systems.”  (See  Measure O | Voter’s Edge California)
     It is the Oversight Committee’s duty to make sure the Measure O money is properly spent.
Voters were told that an oversight committee would make sure that bond funds would be spent  “only on the construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, or replacement of school facilities, including the furnishing and equipping of school facilities, or the acquisition or lease of real property for school facilities, and for no other purposes.”  (See
   The purpose of Measure O was to make useful improvements to existing and aging infrastructure, to spend it on projects that would benefit all students district-wide, not to invest in new buildings for a few.
This article explains

Bill Latham

Microenvironment renovations offer schools a relatively inexpensive way to align facilities to teaching and lear…

Measure O | Voter’s Edge California

Maplight & LWVCEF, &

Guide to measures in the Riverside Unified School District on the November 8, 2016 ballot.

Candidate Forum Ward 7

RRR’s April meeting will be the Ward 7 Forum!  

6 Candidates are vying for this council seat…remember, each city councilman has 1/7 vote for ALL city issues and ward issues requiring a vote.  If you are in Ward 6 it is important for you to attend; these candidates are looking for votes and VISIBILITY.  If there is a candidate you like, you can support them with yard signs, business cards that you can carry and hand out at stores, church and events.

 Ward 7 residents are our neighbors and they drive down our streets and shop at many of the same stores; your opinion could be influential for the city and your Ward (6 or 7).

 WHEN:                       Wednesday April 24, 2019

Where:                      Loma Vista Middle School

11050 Arlington Ave, Riverside, CA 9250   

It is EASY to find and EASY to park. The parking lot Is next to the entrance, very little walking!


Time:     6:30 pm for socialization and visiting the candidates tables

 7:00 pm Welcome

Moderator:               Former Mayor Ron Loveridge

 Thank you all for the questions you have sent in…what do you think are the top three issues you would like addressed by our candidates?

 Sharon Mateja

Chairperson RRR

 This is who’s running for Riverside City Council in June 2019

In an all-mail election, voters will choose representatives for Wards 1, 3, 5 and 7.

By RYAN HAGEN | | The Press-Enterprise

PUBLISHED: March 15, 2019 at 5:13 pm | UPDATED: March 16, 2019 at 2:20 pm

The list of Riverside City Council candidates for the June election is final.

Four City Council seats are up for election, with the incumbent running for re-election in only one of them.

Ward 3 Councilman Mike Soubirous and Ward 5 Councilman Chris Mac Arthur announced in the past year that they wouldn’t run for re-election, while Ward 7 Councilman Steve Adams said when he was appointed in September 2017 that he had no interest in seeking re-election.

That means more than half of the City Council could have new representatives later this year.

Candidates may file to run as a write-in candidate between April 8 and May 21.

Ballots must be mailed to voters between May 6 and May 25.

The deadline to return a ballot in the all mail-in election is June 4. If no candidate in one of the races receives a majority of the vote, a run-off would pit the top two finishers against each other in November.

Here are the candidates for each ward and their employment, based on information they gave when they ran for office or in campaign materials.

Ward 1

Philip J. Falcone, former assistant in Riverside mayor’s office

Erin Edwards, nonprofit manager

Mike Gardner, Ward 1 councilman

Ward 3

Richard Rubio, government relations officer/planning commissioner

Darryl Martin (Jalani Bakari), educator/grant facilitator

Stevie S. Taken, tenant relations manager

James “Warren” Avery, III, businessman/father

Ronaldo Fierro, Riverside commissioner/restaurateur

Wayne J. Skiles, gemologist

Lori A. Pelgone, payroll manager

Ward 5

Sean H. Mill, businessman/planning commissioner/coach

Gabriela Plascencia, counselor

Jose L. Armas, business owner


Ward 7

William D. Pearce, educator

Steven Hemenway, educator/finance director

Maartin J. Rossouw, small business owner/planning commissioner

John D. Denilofs, work-at-home dad

Rodrigo Torres Jr., small business owner

Thomas L. Jordan, IT professional

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to show that Richard Rubio and Maartin Rossouw are planning commissioners.

Riverside County Needs Assessment 2018-2019

Your input is needed. You are invited to participate in Riverside County’s 2018-2019 Needs Assessment.

The study is being conducted by Riverside County Community Action Partnership, and the UCR School of Public Policy’s  Blum Initiative on global and regional poverty.

The survey is anonymous and the more feedback they get from the resident level, the better they can target resources.

Please forward to your networks, share with your colleagues and groups. Might as well tell them what we can from our perspective. It’s a pretty long survey, 10-11 pages, but the more feedback the better.

That’s the theory. Here are the links:



Thanks for playing the “Is It Healthy?” game on a community level.

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.


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.



Legistar Agenda Report Reviewer

Community & Economic Development

Rafael Guzman

Donna Finch


Lea Deesing

Donna Finch


Lea Deesing

Donna Finch

General Services

Rafael Guzman

Donna Finch

Human Resources

Rafael Guzman

Donna Finch

Innovation & Technology

Lea Deesing

Donna Finch


Lea Deesing

Donna Finch


Lea Deesing

Donna Finch

Parks, Recreation & Community Services

Rafael Guzman

Donna Finch


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



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 Zelinka, FAICP, CMSM

City of Riverside

Office of the City Manager

Direct: (951) 826-5771

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: