The Rundown

By Allen David

Posted August 26, 2010 in News


The Beaumont City Council rejects an ordinance that would have allowed a medical-marijuana collective to operate in the city. Hold on a minute. There. Just crossed Beaumont off my places-to-visit list.


Nothing happened.


So, I just heard of a new UC Irvine study that says Latinos (read: Mexicans) are far more likely to be exposed to crap, pollution and toxic nastiness because of the proximity of manufacturing plants to ethnic neighborhoods. So, brown people getting screwed over again. Never heard that before.


Irony, you’re a crazy gal. Edward Varela, who started a designated driver-style service called JonBoy’s Inc. after a drunk driver hit and killed their 14-year-old son, says he had second thoughts about receiving donations from tonight’s fundraiser. Cuz this wasn’t bingo. Or a silent auction. Or a car wash. No way. It’s beer pong. You heard me: Folks having a few too many to benefit a charity that helps those who’ve had a few too many. Man, gotta wrap my head around that one. But the cool thing is that Varela is a practical man. The pragmatic sort. He solves the conundrum by saying, “Drinking’s OK, but don’t drive. But MADD is, well, mad, and it’s not having any of this nonsense. “No, I would not want to be involved with something like a beer pong tournament,” says Lory Gleeson, the director of the Riverside County chapter of Mothers Against Drunken Driving. “It just doesn’t make any sense to me.” But one of the organizers is quick to point out that there’s a difference between drinking to have fun . . . and drinking to have fun and support a good cause. “We’re not promoting the event as a ‘Hey, come out and get smashed’ event,” says Adam Ruiz, president of the Temecula Valley New Generations Rotary Club. But why go for a beer pong event? “We were trying to think of something different that spoke to this generation,” Ruiz says. Drinking and doing good deeds—the taste of a new generation.


We ain’t no Bell. That’s Colton’s message this week after City Manager Rod Foster tells Press-Enterprise reporter Darrel R. Santschi that he will post the salaries of all city employees online within a week. Yeah, in the wake of the Bell salaries-on-steroids fiasco, every municipality from here to Timbuktu wants to come off as squeaky clean and giving taxpayers their best we-ain’t-got-nothing-to-hide shtick. Wildomar, Murrieta and Beaumont are jumping on the bandwagon. And Riverside, Redlands, Calimesa and Banning post the earnings of their top officials and some managers, too. But considering that Bell was paying its city manager nearly $800,000 a year, I’m not so sure IE politicians and bureaucrats should be eager to post their paltry pay. But that’s just me. Meanwhile, Colton readies to—literally—show you the money. “We haven’t decided exactly where it’s going to be on the website yet, but I’m sure it’s going to be prominently displayed,” Foster says. “We’re not going to bury it. We want people to be able to easily find it.” Hmmm, local government that doesn’t want to hide information from the public. What a concept. Way to go, Colton—the runner-up after San Bernardino County for corruption scandals. See you when the next scandal hits.


Gotta love that San Bernardino County library! Short $1.7 million? No problem. Cut operating hours? Don’t even think about it. Yes, despite the fact that the library system’s got a hole in its wallet the size of the BP oil slick, officials say they’re not hitting the panic button just yet, so 30 branch libraries that might have had their hours cut are safe—for now. Sure, library officials want to continue to serve their book-hungry communities—and they’re able to do so with a little creative bookkeeping. Staff positions that are unfilled are kept vacant. And volunteers? They’re using a whole slew of ’em—and without having to dent an already-in-the-red payroll. Plus they’re leaning on self check-out machines, leaving staff with more time to deal with shooing the homeless away and wringing their hands over a photocopy machine that’s been broken since 1997. So, to recap, for now, despite being short of cash, County Librarian Ed Kieczkowsi seems pretty firm about his we’re-not-cutting-anything position. “We’re not going to do anything in the immediate future,” he says. Later, he seems a bit more pessimistic. “Obviously, our preference would be not to have any service reductions, but I don’t know if we can get there,” he says. Come on, Ed. Where’s that positive thinking you hit us with a moment ago? Now, there’s an about-face. Ed, ever have an interest in running for office?


I’m moving to Bell.


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