By Pastor Lacy
On Wednesday November 4th
a historic vote was
cast in favor of the much-touted March Healthcare Development Project (MHD).
The March Joint Powers Planning Commission (MJPPC) voted 6 to 2 in favor of the
proposed development, with the City of Riverside casting the two dissenting
votes. This project has the potential to bring high pay jobs to a highly
So why did the City of Riverside vote no? What’s wrong
For those of you who are not familiar with the March Joint
Powers Authority (MJPA), they are the governing body that has been tasked to “bring
jobs” to the surrounding area, by reusing surplus land that was once owned and
managed by the United States Air Force. They have 4400 acres under their
umbrella with the bulk of that (3713 acres) located in the City of Riverside.
a project approved is a two-step process. First the “Planning Commission”
recommends approval of the project and then the “Commission” actually approves
the project at a later meeting. The Planning Commission and the Commission
consist of the same eight city and county officials.
Not if the City of Riverside has its way. The Riverside
City Council is opposed to this project because it will benefit the City of
Moreno Valley more than it will benefit the City of Riverside.
Riverside is the “Orange County” of the Inland Empire and
they plan to keep it that way. If you don’t have a “Crest” attached to your
neighborhood (Hillcrest, Woodcrest, Canyoncrest, or Orangecrest) you are not
worthy to be included in the growth and prosperity that is coming to this area.
As I mentioned above, the City of Riverside cast 2 votes
against the Healthcare project with Riverside City Council member Andy
Melendrez voting against jobs, growth and prosperity. Andy is looking out for what is best for the
City of Riverside and not for what is best for the County of Riverside.
Councilman Melendrez would have us believe that he is
concerned about the increased traffic the project would bring to the City of
Moreno Valley. Really? The MHD would be
developed on 170 acres and yes, that would increase the traffic flow on Cactus
and Alessandro Blvd heading into Moreno Valley.
My question is, where was the concern about traffic when
the commissioners representing Riverside approved the Meridian Business Center
Project? (MBC). The Meridian project consists of 1,290 acres west of the 215
freeway between Alessandro and Van Buren Blvd; in the Orangecrest area of
What about the increased truck traffic on Van Buren and
Alessandro Blvd in Riverside?
Why didn’t the commissioners representing Riverside vote
against that project? Could it be because the project will benefit their city
more so than Moreno Valley and Perris?
The Meridian Business Park will eventually bring much need
tax dollars to Riverside, and as a resident of Riverside, I am not opposed to
that. What I am struggling with is, why
is it okay for Riverside to benefit from jobs and growth but not the Moreno Valley/Perris
We have 17% unemployment in this area when the national
average is 10%. As a pastor and
community leader, I hear the cries of my congregation and guests who are
seeking employment so they can live the so-called American dream. My ear is no
different than the many pastors in Riverside, Moreno Valley, and Perris, who
are serving their communities faithfully, with the hope that their elected
officials will do the same.
Our hope is that the MJPC will vote yes on the project on
November 18 and not be bullied by the City of Riverside. Our hope is that Andy Melendrez will show up
to vote on the 18th and not call in sick, or be otherwise
unavailable for this historic vote that will once again put the Inland Empire
on the map.
Councilman Melendrez is not to be vilified for his
position. He has aspirations to be the Mayor of Riverside one day, and we wish
him well. He is just following the wishes of his colleagues on the Riverside
The MJPA is tasked to bring jobs to this area. How could anybody
vote against a project that will do just that?
What’s wrong with Riverside?