Thursday, April 30, 2009


The City Council elections are just around the corner, and so it's time for RiR to make a few picks. I'll be trying to confine this analysis to transportation issues and immediately related subjects, such as land-use and development.

Ward 2: Andy Melendrez
This one is kind of a no-brainer. Councilman Melendrez is the only friend public transport has on the current City Council. I am a little upset with him over the Greyhound issue, when he stated that he didn't want Greyhound in his ward, but it seems like he has changed his opinion over time. He was a vocal proponent of the multi-modal transit center, and the only council member not to vote against Greyhound in Downtown. I only wish he could have been more effective in this fight, rather than being hampered by conflict-of-interest regulations.

Candidate Rasso is running on a law-and-order platform. We have seen over the last few months what that means for public transit... a concentrated campaign against it, centered around "vagrancy."

Candidate Smith seems to be a viable candidate. He mentions the City's Green Action Plan among his platform. His wife is a public school teacher, which should require some sensitivity to local education issues. He seems to genuinely support education and reinvestment in our area, and so seems to be a good second pick. However, he completely leaves out transportation in his platform, so I had to go with the candidate who's record I know.

I am, by the way, a Ward 2 resident, so this is the most important race for me.

Ward 4: Paul Davis
Candidate Davis does not mention transportation in his platform, but he does mention freeways and land use. He supports bringing jobs and housing to Riverside, which will, as he puts it, get people "off our freeways". He also mentions that he supports public space and parks, which are essential for any urban area to function properly. (If done right... I can recommend good readings on the subject.)

Councilman Schiavone voted against Greyhound, and has a record that makes him particularly transit-unfriendly. 8 years is enough.

Ward 6: Write-in?
I can't, in good conscience, make a pick in the Ward 6 race. None of the candidates support the goals and values of responsible, sustainable development and transportation. Write me in if you like, though I don't think I'm eligible (as I said, I live in Ward 2). Better yet, find a good progressive out there who'd fight for our city and our planet, and write him/her in.

Councilwoman Hart is out for obvious reasons.

Candidate Alfaro seems to mean well, but half of her statements on the IE Craigslist page (which was one of the only paces I could find anything out about her) were about stopping "multi-story projects". So... more sprawl, eh?

Candidate Scherer says nearly nothing about transportation and land use, but his "conservative political philosophy" (grounded "in his religion") says to me that he'd like to pare back government. That's not the way we need to go in this recession. Government includes transportation services.

UPDATE: Frequent commenter twodogkd mentions that it's her belief that "Bill Scherer may be a good candidate and would support keeping Greyhound in Riverside." Apparently he is against the eminent domain abuse that is forcing the bus operator out of their terminal, consistent with his belief in private enterprise. Her comments are below this post. My response is below her comments.

So there you are. Riding in Riverside's picks for the 2009 City Council elections. Ballots go out May 4th!


twodogkd said...

Bill Scherer provided written answers to questions that had not been answered the Council Candidate Forum Sponsored by the the Residents for Responsible Representation (RRR), that was organized and moderated by Sharon Me

Sharon sent me Bill Scherer's written answers, and the questions and answers below addressed the issue of Greyhound:

Can Greyhound be relocated by the downtown Metro Station?

Bill Scherer's response to the Greyhound question: Does Greyhound want to relocate to the Metro Station with $625,000 in its coffers after negotiating a deal with the city? If they do, I would prefer to see them stay in the city.

No alternative locations for Greyhound have been identified, will you delay forcing Greyhound out its existing location until a new location is found?

Bill Scherer's response to the Greyhound question: I would gladly delay Greyhound’s exit. Though I do admit, the $625k deal they “negotiated” with the city complicates the matter. They are not being forced out if they agreed to leave in exchange for that sum. If a deal could be struck that allowed them to stay, a portion of that amount would likely have to be returned to the city.

The overriding principle here is that Greyhound should never have been asked to leave in the first place. It is not the city’s place to make business decisions for the private sector.

Should say that Bill Scherer lacks background information on the Greyhound situation and that the City of Riverside has been spreading misinformation. The City has been implying and officials have been saying that Greyhound accepted money so they must have wanted to leave. That is NOT the truth, but a distortion.

The City Council wearing their redevelopment agency hat, voted to used eminent domain to end Greyhound's long-term lease. So Greyhound really had little choice in the matter but to settle. Greyhound had in fact spent over $100,000 attempting to stay in Riverside, and has stated repeatedly they want to stay, and have been very nice and professional despite the EXTREMELY RUDE and UNPROFESSIONAL MANNER of some of our Council and paid City Employees/City Manager etc. But this information is not widely known as the City continues to spread propaganda designed to prejudice everyone against Greyhound in an attempt to get support for kicking Greyhound out of Riverside.

Anyway, I believe that Bill Scherer may be a good candidate and would support keeping Greyhound in Riverside.

I also agree that Nancy Hart has to go. She has repeatedly voted AGAINST the BEST INTERESTS of the Citizens of Riverside, including about the Greyhound matter. Nancy Hart has stated she does not CARE if Greyhound leaves Riverside. She thinks it is ok for "those people" to have to travel to San Bernardino to catch the Greyhound Bus.

I asked her to give up her car, and try public transit for a month to see what hardships her votes to push Greyhound out of Riverside would bring to tens of thousands of Riverside citizens and she did not care and did not want to give up her car for which Riverside citizens pay her $500 per month toward car. She also said she DOES NOT WANT GREYHOUND DOWNTOWN anywhere near the FOX THEATRE and that if it stays it should go out on the outskirts of Riverside somewhere.

I spoke with Paul Davis after the Candidate Forum last night, and he told me he supported keeping Greyhound Downtown or at the Metrolink on Vine.

My recommendations

VOTE Andy Melendrez Ward 2
VOTE Paul Davis Ward 4 (NO NO NO on Schiavone)
VOTE Bill Scherer Ward 6 (NO NO NO on Hart)

JN said...

Ah, but I'm not a single-issue blogger here. I'm glad to hear Mr. Scherer is pro-Greyhound, and against eminent domain abuse. However, that still came out of his belief in private enterprise, and Greyhound is probably the only part of our transportation infrastructure that is private enterprise. I can't, in good conscience, endorse a candidate that will keep Greyhound downtown and yet (probably) allow the remainder of our transport system to flounder. I will edit the post with this information, but I won't be changing my endorsement.