By Hardy L. Brown
This past Tuesday was an interesting day in watching the Riverside and Fontana City Council meetings. In Riverside, there were two items that caught my attention. One was on a proposal to promote the “Live in Riverside” program. This is where the city and all of its entities would talk up the various reasons for someone to live, buy homes, educate their children and shop in Riverside. Mayor Ron Loveridge told the council that the city is in competition with every city in the Inland Empire to attract middle and upper income families and businesses to do business with Riverside.
He also cited one city (I will not name) in the area that was having problems keeping their middle class at home.
Speaking in favor of this proposal was the Board of Realtors who cited schools as one of the main reasons people will purchase a home. Two things on my list are safety and the city’s image. Not everyone in attendance was in favor of the proposal but the council allowed their voices to be heard and after much discussion passed the proposal in a unanimous vote to give direction to staff for study and implementation.
Moving to the Fontana council meeting, I found them discussing billboards and advertising banners for small businesses in strip malls and individual stand-alone businesses. It was interesting to watch them interface with the staff making the presentation. All council members were respectful to each other and used common courtesy with staff. They even allowed the city manager to get information from the police enforcement division without getting frustrated with anyone.
When council members were not sure of how to express what they wanted, the staff was eager to share their thoughts to help flush out their ideas. The image of watching them in session was that they were a team, while having different thoughts on how to get it done. It was the team that gets the credit or in this case it will be the businesses and citizens of Fontana that will reap the benefits of this ordinance. The council also spoke highly of the need to work with and in partnership with the school district in providing funds to youth activities where possible. Mayor Acquanetta Warren spoke with pride about every council member attending the local championship game in Fontana.
Now mind you they do not always agree but it was how they disagreed with respect towards one another that impressed me. This is one of the reasons I am going to endorse Matthew Slowick and Lidia Wibert for re- election to the city council. They have served the city well with their knowledge and representation of the city in public, more on them at a later time.
Back to Riverside and the discussion on a responsible banking proposal suggested to them by a clergy group. They cited the need for banks to be good citizens when it comes to loans and working with citizens to keep their homes. All of us know how the banks have made out big time from home foreclosures and Wall Street bailout by our government. We have local citizens who are in trouble and the banks will not work with them, this does not equate to them as being good neighbors and I agree.
After many voices of support for this idea from the community, the council voted to have the staff research and draft an ordinance for the council to consider.
Again like Fontana it was the manner in which the discussion and interaction took place that gave the image of leaders working together for the good of the city.