The Rundown

By Allen David

Posted July 7, 2011 in News


The air along the upper western corner of Riverside County feels charged with a nervous flutter of excitement and dread. Like most ingredients in the stew of toxic gases that people here suck into their lungs all summer, this anticipation intensifies as the day moves on. But this is different—the final day before Jurupa Valley, one the longest-settled parts of the county, becomes its newest city. What’s to be nervous about? For starters, the about-to-be-born city’s name—dude, after all this time, nobody even knows what “Jurupa” means! The word is grafted from elements of two Native American languages, but not so that it would bear the fruit of an actual meaning. Instead, it has produced theories: (1) “jurupa” is a peace greeting; (2) “jurupa” refers to the presence of water; (3) “jurupa” is the name of a fragrant brush plant. Whatever its real definition originally was, beginning tomorrow “jurupa” is going to mean a whole bunch of people don’t live in Riverside, anymore.


Jurupa Valley is a city! Longtime residents of Riverside County say they never believed something like this could happen. Many attempts to incorporate this historically rural area have failed, in big part because people wanted to avoid the complexities of “city life.” So, what happens? On the day Jurupa Valley is born, the Democrats in the California legislature—now that even Republicans realize their irrelevance, they don’t even bother legislating, anymore—pass a new budget . . . and it takes vehicle-license fees away from cities to help pay for local law-enforcement grants. California’s other new cities—all in Riverside County: Eastvale, Menifee and Wildomar—get done that way, too. In the old days . . . like, yesterday . . . new cities got an even larger chunk of vehicle-license money to help get established. Now? Well . . . it’s . . . it’s ha-ROO-pahed, is what it is. Brand-new Jurupa Valley will begin its life as a city facing layoffs of city employees, possible insolvency and even disincorporation—just as if it’s all-growed up!


Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone, who people tend to confuse with the shaggy, “always”-smooth star of the Keystone Light commercials, does his dopy doppelganger proud by proposing that 13 counties secede from California and form the 51st state . . . then popping the top on another brewski.


Like too-clueless-for-school students who spend the semester loudly jägging their meisters in class, the Republicans who represent Jurupa Valley, Eastvale, Mennifee and Wildomar in Sacramento are stunned and indignant to discover they have failed this crucial legislative session. Instead of working on a budget, the Republicans simply waited for the Democrats to present something—then rejected it—forcing Brown and the Democrats to come up with a budget that stops sharing vehicle-licensing money. This has totally screwed their constituents, but the Republicans scramble madly for a rationale that they immediately proclaim is the moral high ground. That is, they say the whole thing boils down to Brown’s vindictiveness. Brown responds the way teachers always do: “Some of these Republicans think they can have their cake and eat it too. Well they can’t. When you don’t have money, there are real-world consequences.”


Even church doesn’t help.


She’s waiting for me when I get home from work, but things just ain’t the same. She turns out the light and cries in the dark—won’t answer when I call her name. She gives me her cheek when I want her lips, and I don’t have the strength to go. On the lost side of town, in a dark apartment—we gave up trying so long ago. On the stairs I smoke a cigarette alone. Mexican kids are shooting fireworks below. “Hey! Baby! It’s the Fourth of July! Hey, Baby! It’s the Fourth of July! Whatever happened, I apologize. So dry your tears, Baby, and walk outside—it’s the Fourth of July! We forgot all about the Fourth of July!


A joint letter from Inland Empire mayors from cities in Riverside and San Bernardino requests the California legislature to take immediate steps to repeal the bills that have eliminated Redevelopment Agencies. And you know what? Despite the months of controversy, soul searching and debate that led the legislators to their historic vote last week, a joint letter from a bunch of puffed-up, tumbleweed-town mayors changed everything—the legislature is going to bring back redevelopment agencies! (And if you believe that, you’ve been smoking too many joint letters.)


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