GNA Meeting Notes for November 4, 2011 (taken by Wendy DeBoer, GNA Leadership Team)
Mike Gardner, City Councilman
MG spoke about the recent fire in the river bottom, the cause of which is still under investigation. Progress is being made with Mr. Wong’s son, who is now the owner of the shopping center at Jurupa and Grand Aves. (For more detailed information about the progress that has been made, please see the post on this site titled “Update from Councilman Gardner on Shopping Center…”) There was discussion of having the 99 cent store. Mr. Wong wants to clean up the shopping center and be a good neighbor. He is supposed to be putting up no loitering signs but they haven’t gone up yet. Having those signs will allow police to cite loiterers. Mike is also concerned about the bulletin board near the donut shop which is currently being used for information that is not appropriate for our neighborhood (e.g., selling pit bull puppies).
He noted that the November election brought about two changes. One is that the hotel tax measure, Measure V, passed and should bring more money for the City. Another measure passed which prohibits the State from holding onto funds which would otherwise be used for local improvements, e.g., roads.
Question from resident: What is the City’s justification for spending a great deal of money on the Fox Performance Plaza when it is already strapped for funds?
MG: The money slotted for redevelopment can only be spent on redevelopment and does not take away funds from other necessary areas.
Comment from resident re Mr. Wong and 99 cent store: She contacted the 99 cent store on behalf of Mr. Wong and they expressed some interest. Mr. Wong told her that he is in the process of getting a property manager to address inquiries and explore options. MG commented that one problem that presents itself in finding the right tenant for the large space is the lack of parking.
Question from resident about what’s going on with the solar panels in the river bottom. MG said that the panels are low profile and assured that residents won’t see them. It isn’t entirely clear when they will be placed in this location. It was approved last month by the city council, but will happen in stages.
Question from resident regarding the electrical line upgrade. MG: the route for the larger power lines has not yet been determined.
WD recommend that 3-4 residents volunteer to meet with Mr. Wong to discuss what businesses would be most needed in our area, so that there is more local buy-in to improving the shopping center and helping businesses to be successful. Mike agreed that would be a good idea, that he can meet with the owner, city attorney, redevelopment and volunteers. WD will be asking for volunteers.
Comments from resident regarding frustration over the City’s failure to clean and maintain its property between the bike trail and homes on the bluff between Mt. Rubidoux and roughly the Old Rubidoux road entrance to the trail. Several residents concurred that the City has done a poor job of weed abatement, which puts residents’ homes at greater risk for fire damage/ destruction. WD indicated that this issue needs to be addressed in a more sustained manner during a next meeting with MG and the Riverside Fir e Dept. MG agreed.
Officer Mike Dillon, Riverside Police Department
MD spoke at length about the numerous arrests RPD has made as a result of the tips provided by residents in this area. He praised residents for their many e-mails and communications regarding problems with drug houses. They have made many “significant arrests” since the last GNA meeting, particularly in the area around Old Mill Road. They analyzed foot traffic in the area, which led to the discovery of a marijuana grove in the riverbed. They are hopeful that these arrests will stifle the drug trafficking in the area. Analysis of data from the Crime Analysis Bureau’s suggests that these arrests and the greater police presence on bicycles has led to decreased calls for service.
MD encouraged residents to go to the City’s webpage and register for reverse 911 in order to receive updates about crises/emergencies in Riverside as they happen. Some residents indicated that they had registered and received a message informing them about the recent fire in the river bottom.
Assistant Chief of Police, Chris Vicino and Chief of Police Sergio Diaz
They introduced themselves and talked about their personal and professional backgrounds as well as goals for the Riverside Police Department. Overall, they were very positive about RPDs officers. They encouraged residents to attend the Community Strategic Plan Meeting at Nichols Park on Monday the 8th at 7:00 p.m.