Thursday, August 22, 2013

What the heck is going on in Moreno Valley?

Whenever elected officials pander to the special interests or the wants of themselves instead of the needs of the people, problems for both themselves and the jurisdiction they're supposed to represent are sure to occur. As many are aware, former council member and Mayor Pro Tem Marcelo Co of the City of Moreno Valley is in big trouble. He is charged with multiple counts of felony fraud, accused of illegally collecting nearly $15,000 taxpayer-funded government assistance money that was supposed to go toward the care of his mother. He was also the target of renting out properties that were not up to code. The City Clerk reported on the same day of his bust that residents initiated a move to recall Co. The accused councilman eventually resigned from his post the next day. His days in power are over.

Things aren't much better for the remaining City Council members. Both the Riverside County district attorney's office and the federal government have been investigating a potential political corruption probe in the city separate from Co's case. We really cannot pass much judgement of the probe until the facts are made public; however, one of the city's pet projects--The World Logistics Center--deserves further straight talk.

Moreno Valley Protests & Proposed World Logistics Center

Fed up with the political circus and officials pandering to logistics developers, Moreno Valley residents are fighting back. On Tuesday, hundreds of protesters showed up outside of City Hall to support a recall of the remaining council members, voice opposition to the sprawling World Logistics Center, and demand Co's replacement be elected from the jurisdiction.

Last May, this blog brought up a point regarding the proposed World Logistics Center: Don't throw out the baby with the bathwater. The baby being the private sector jobs in the logistics sector, the bathwater being unnecessary urban sprawl, added diesel truck pollution and excessive truck traffic. It's no question that the locals oppose the bathwater as the World Logistics Center demonstrates.

However, the region could use a well planned marketplace job hub to increase wages, and logistics would fit well with the area's blue-collar demographics. Local unemployment is still above 11%. Robust facilities along existing rail corridors and industrial areas near the March ARB which link to the proposed GRID project in Long Beach would be prime spots to develop these job sites. Incentives for the private sector to develop clean ways to move freight would be welcome. If Moreno Valley wants to build up logistics jobs, do it right. Having sprawling industrial parks like the World Logistics Center at the base of the Badlands hills adjacent to the San Jacinto Fault with no rail line for miles is undesired runaway urban sprawl.

A disgrace to free speech

Lastly, local residents including our high school youth ordinarily would have every right to go to City Hall and question government proposals and development projects which includes the World Logistics Center and voice their opinion and concerns to their elected representatives; however this Press Enterprise blog post suggests otherwise.

Since becoming mayor in December, Owings has regularly taken on the city’s critics. He has called them “smear merchants,” accused opponents of the World Logistics Center of being racists and anti-Semitic, and even cursed on occasion. “We’re a great city and we don’t need to hear this crap every damn council night,” he said during an April 23 council meeting.

To be fair, Mayor Tom Owings did openly apologize during a June 4 meeting about this type of behavior, but it's all too common to turn toward personal attacks when one cannot win the debate and not concede. Does that mean that if we go to City Hall and question the World Logistics Center and bring fact-based evidence into the discussion, we're going to be publicly humiliated without any evidence to back it up?

Officials know they cannot defend such vile personal attacks, and many politicians reserve such behavior to their election campaigns, not the public chambers. The political madness caused by residents simply questioning the logic of the World Logistics Center clearly demonstrates that City Hall does not care of the negative impacts caused by developing the hub at the base of the Badlands. What the city appears to be doing is catering to the will of developers while ignoring the legit and fact-based concerns of their residents.

What the heck is going on in the city "where dreams soar?" Fed up residents are looking to fix that.

9 comments:

  1. The impact on the local wildlife at Mystic Lake should be enough to stop this project from being implemented.

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    1. Thank you. We'll check out the Mystic Lake areas and will do a follow up post soon.

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    3. Mystic Lake is a dry bed. There is no more wildlife. Also, the WLC was approved by the city council

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  2. The investigation should include the clandestine plans to divide Moreno Vally into two cities. The Future separation of Rancho Belago from Moreno Valley will come at the expense of the citizens of Moreno Valley , and will decimate the city he is sworn to develop. Go check the signage. It is obvious what Zedo Benzivi intends to do to make money from his real estate investments. The "pie-in-the-sky" claims of jobs for MoVal are highly inflated "guesstimates" that are unsupported by real world facts of after-development employment. Coupled with the environmental, traffic-flow, local quality of life impacts, this is a very bad idea, and can only be supported by the need to make money the wrong way. It is the only logical conclusion.

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    1. John, we'll check out the Rancho Belago secession and mention it in a follow up post. Yes, it's no question that the City Council's irresponsible pandering to logistics developer Iddo Benzeevi in the name of money goes against the values of the people of Moreno Valley. The people don't want the sprawl, traffic congestion and the pollution. It's a disgrace to democracy and the local republic. The good folks are doing whatever they can to take back their city and expose this madness in the public court of opinion. Sure, logistics can play a role given the presence of the March ARB and an existing rail right-of-way that connects to the Long Beach ports, but the industry must be constrained to this western side of town so that other sectors which are compatible to the will of the people can grow in the other areas which includes the east side.

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  3. While warehouses and logistics is your solution to the high unemployment in Moreno Valley, the residents feel that the March LifeCare project would have a better effect on the employment problem as well as address the lack of well paying jobs.

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    1. Steve, logistics would be one of several sectors to address unemployment, but as you've pointed it is certainly not the cure-all solution to get the unemployment rate down. Otherwise, we're going to run into job-to-housing ratio problems. That's another reason why logistics needs to be constrained to the western side of town so that other sectors like medical can grow in the other areas. We've been exploring alternative ideas for the eastern side. We'll check out the medical campus proposal and include it in a follow up post. On the surface, it certainly fares better in that areas than a warehouse district.

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  4. Thank You for giving such a good and valuable information , Speed rail is also need in transportation and logistics services and packers and movers services in mumbai and packers and movers services in Pune Delhi Metro Cities in India Thank you again

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