WE’RE HIRING!

Friends of Redlands is now hiring paid signature gatherers. Must be a registered voter and resident of Redlands.

Call today:  (909) 801-0979 or (909) 496-1539 

Please pass this on to anyone you think might be interested in earning some Christmas money!

Thanks!

 

THANK YOU, FRIENDS, FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

Friends of Redlands is grateful for your support in preserving Redlands’ unique heritage.  It is because of us working together that we can continue to focus on our goal of collecting enough petition signatures to qualify the Growth Management initiative on a 2021 ballot.  We hope to reach our goal by Christmas.  This is our last opportunity to hold the City accountable for building height and density limits in our historic downtown and Transit Village areas as voted in by Redlands’ residents.  We are the “Jewel of the Inland Empire,” and while we support development downtown, it must recognize our unique status, and make every effort to ensure that we remain the charming city that we are.  Defying voters by building four and five-story high-density apartments downtown will remake us into any other city in the Inland Empire.  We have been gifted with a city that has a unique heritage and charm, and we would like to see it remain that way.  Development, but smart development.  Growth, but smart growth.  The City must acknowledge the resounding defeat of Measure G and adhere to the will of voters.  Join us in preserving historic Redlands.  Sign a petition.

Email us at [email protected] for a petition.  We are happy to take you one to sign.  Or you can visit any of the following local businesses to sign:

Briggs & Coops * 21 East Redlands Blvd.

E-Water Solutions  * 429 Texas Street

Red Rooster Vintage * 409 Orange Street

Thank you!

 

POOR DECISIONS LED TO CITY’S PUSH FOR MORE TAX MONEY

Measure T is not the result of smart planning and management of city funds, argues Redlanders:

The city keeps issuing the-sky-is-falling long-term budget predictions when it doesn’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. One council member has claimed they’d been working on plans for a sales tax increase for years. That’s the stuff of conspiracy theories.

So is the city’s long-term neglect of its infrastructure until it got to the point it just had to be done immediately regardless of cost with residents paying for it through the nose and will be forever.

The city has been living beyond its means for years. The sales tax revenue from the doughnut hole has kept it financially afloat. The city has had the money to pay for needed essentials, according to former city employees. Instead, it misspent it on cultural amenities and “other priorities” that didn’t generate revenue to pay the city’s bills. It lets too much money slip through its fingers.  The city has also made expensive gamble and lost.

This all finally caught up with it last fall as the city painted itself into a financial corner long before COVID showed up.

The supposed oversight and audit of this tax increase will be just for the money it generates. The city will still have its regular general fund money to play with and squander. As long as the money keeps flowing, the city will keep squandering it on things it doesn’t need.

Dennis Bell, Redlands

Redlands Community News Oct. 15, 2020

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NUTS AND BOLTS OF THE INITIATIVE AND WHY WE NEED TO GET IT ON THE BALLOT

Remember Measure G? It would have allowed unlimited building heights and density on 782 acres in the heart of downtown Redlands. Had Measure G passed, more than 6000 apartment dwellers would have been shoehorned into a relatively small area bounded by Alabama to Judson and north to Colton, and south to Citrus including the mall. The state of California defines this as a Transit Villages Area meaning the areas within a half-mile radius of a commuter rail station. There are five stations planned with three completed (Downtown, University of Redlands, and New York/ESRI) for the opening of the Arrow train (see attached diagrams). Voters defeated Measure G by 65% to 35% – or a 2 – 1 ratio!

However, the City of Redlands and the council have ignored the will of the voters and are essentially moving ahead with the provisions of Measure G as reflected in the 2035 General Plan and the Transit Villages Specific Plan Draft (TVSP) dated April 20, 2020.

History:

– Over the last 40 plus years voters in Redlands have passed growth management measures. The most influential was Measure U. It limited building heights in the city to 35’ and limited the number of housing units to 400 annually. Measure U also limited population density.

– The problem is Measure U does not apply to the Downtown Transit Villages Areas.

– The city has a 2035 General Plan and dovetailing with this is the Downtown Transit Villages Specific Plan (TSVP) which is in draft form. This TVSP would allow for 78’ tall buildings (for comparison the City Bank building is 85’ tall), 2400 dwelling units, with an estimated 6000 people living in the Transit Villages Area.

– The TVSP cannot be approved without an Environmental Impact Report. This report is in process and was scheduled to be done this December (most likely delayed due to Covid). Once complete, the General Plan and Transit Villages Specific Plan can be approved by the council. Once approved the plan would be difficult to change.

To preserve downtown Redlands the Friends of Redlands Committee has decided to put an initiative on a future ballot that would amend the 2035 General Plan that would cover the Downtown Transit Villages Area and override the city’s plans as outlined in the Transit Villages Specific Plan (TVSP).

The Initiative would:

– Limit building heights to 40’ in the Downtown Transit Village and the University of Redlands Transit Villages Areas. It would allow building heights of 52’ in the New York Street/ESRI Transit Villages Area.

– Prevent buildings taller than two stories next to single-family homes without the consent of the owner of the single-family home.

– Increase parking requirements over what is specified in the TVSP.

– Replace a 4/5 council vote enabling density exceptions with a 5/5 council vote (necessary so four city council members could not override the objections of a fifth council member opposing its location). This makes every voting ward equally powerful.

Typical questions about the initiative:

1. Where did the city get the authority to develop all these growth plans?

The state of California Transit Village Development Planning Act of 1994 (Government Code Section 65460-65460.11) allows for cities to prepare transit village plans for designated transit villages districts. Such districts would cover areas of up to a half-mile radius surrounding a given transit station.

2. Is the mall included in the Transit Villages Area?

The General Plan and the new Transit Villages Plan all include mall redevelopment. The mall is clearly under the influence of the Transit Villages Planning Area within a half-mile radius of Downtown Arrow Station. This is documented on maps and in text.

3. Why a 40’ building height and not a 35’ building height?

The downtown transit villages area and a good part of downtown are in a designated flood zone. Under current building codes, any structure built in this area must be raised above a possible flood. This dimension is generally a minimum of 3.5’. In addition, building codes for earthquake and fire safety along with wiring and plumbing standards generally call for 2’ between floors. With 10’ ceiling heights, the result is a building that is 39.5’.

4. Why allow a 52’ building height in the New York Transit Villages Area?

The state of California is becoming involved in local planning. If we do not allow 4 story building somewhere in the Transit villages Area the state will surely force the issue. Also, several of ESRI buildings are already approaching the 52’ or more. Basically, the ESRI campus is already non-compliant with the initiative. Lastly, the New York Transit Village Area is close to being built out. There is not much space for more development and most is commercial in nature.

There are two avenues to getting an initiative on a ballot for an election:

1. Gather 4272 valid signatures of registered Redlands voters on the initiative petition for a general election.

2. Gather 6840 valid signatures of registered Redlands voters on the initiative petition for a special election. This method is preferred as the city would be forced to pay for the election and would most likely accept the demands of the petition without an election.

Note: as is typical with this process some signatures will end up being not valid due to mistakes in signing. This means that extra signatures are needed to assure that we have enough valid signatures.

FOR is currently collecting signatures. We must obtain over 360 valid signatures per week to meet the deadline of February 4, 2021.  If you are interested in volunteering to help collect signatures, and we hope you are, please email us at [email protected].

Also, if you would like to make a contribution to fund our effort, please send a check made out to our PAC, Redlanders For Responsible Growth Management, and send it to 421 San Timoteo Road, Redlands, CA 92373.

Thank you for helping us to help save Redlands!

 

 

 

ONLY A PENNY?

From Andy Hoder (Redlands Community News):

Much the same as Measure G a few months ago (which met with a resounding smack-down 2-to-1 defeat), the new Measure T carries a lot of the same tone and uses similar manipulative language. But make no mistake, T is for Tax. And therein begins the argument. Is it an increase of One Penny or One Percent? On the City’s propaganda page it’s described in several places as a penny (i.e. one cent). You might say that mathematically it comes out the same either way. But in the language of advertising (and political campaigns), “one penny” sounds much cheaper than One Percent, and therefore more palatable. So I already smell something I don’t like.

Let’s be honest. The proposed tax increase is One Percent more than the existing Sales Tax. It goes from 7.75 PERCENT to 8.75 PERCENT. That means every taxable item you buy from now until forever will cost 1% more, which for an average family can translate to a couple hundred bucks per year per family member.

Although the City tries to justify the proposed tax increase because of the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus, Measure T will stay in place long after COVID-19 is brought under control and the economy has recovered. There is no “sunset clause” in the Measure.

Probably you’ve also noticed the full court press by the City to persuade you in favor of Measure T. It shows up all over social media, comes in the mail as slick flyers, and appears on big banners at various street corners. Somebody is putting a lot of money into this campaign at a time when the City is crying “we have no money.”

Who would do such a thing and what would they have to gain? How about the City’s powerful labor unions? More money in the cookie jar means more coins available when it comes time to negotiate union contracts.

But according to the pro-T campaign literature, it sounds like without Measure T, disaster looms. Criminals will take over the City, your house will burn down because we don’t have enough fire fighters, and our vintage library will go out of business. Wouldn’t you give a penny to save all those things? Of course you would. It’s just a penny. Not.

However, if you oppose Measure T, it’s supposed to mean you don’t care about our City, it’s wonderful police force, it’s brave firefighters, and our beautiful library. Yet, it’s precisely because we DO care about our city that we think T is for Terrible.

I don’t like the attempt to guilt me into voting for Measure T by using melodramatic rhetoric, or scare tactics that forecast the collapse of our community if we don’t go along with the program.

There is nothing in Measure T that specifies exactly where the revenue will be spent, just a menu of “possibilities.” So why are we setting up the police and firemen as props to make you think that’s where the money is going?

Don’t be “shamed” into voting for Measure T, and don’t be fooled into thinking that it would solve the homeless issue or “make Redlands clean again.” When you fill out your ballot, go “eyes wide open.” Vote NO on Measure T.

 

 

Cutting Budgets Take Sacrifice!

From the Redlands Community News (9/25/20):

Wendy Leung, reporting for the Ventura County Star in April of this year, described how the city manager of Oxnard, Alex Nyguen, voluntarily took a pay cut of $25,000. Nyguen later reportedly stated that while such pay cuts will not “begin to take care of our financial problems,” they are an important step in the right direction.

Mr. Duggan, city manager of Redlands, went white-water rafting the week our library attempted its first reopening. The same library that had its “nonessential services” “trimmed,” (such as its employees).

And while I can appreciate Mr. Duggan’s sympathy for kennel attendants and library staff, I don’t believe for a minute that “every effort to mitigate impacts on residents” has been made. How can this be the case if city executive salaries are still considered sacrosanct six months into this crisis?

Our city manager states that “we all face an exceptionally challenging economic environment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”  And this is true.  Except, I suppose, some will find it more challenging than others.

I call on Mr. Duggan to lead the way in helping Redlands live within its means.

Edward Ferrari, Redlands

Upper management in our City offices should not be exempt from cuts, furloughs, reduction in hours, or even position consolidation if possible.   Has the executive level even been touched in these latest rounds of budget cuts???  This is where the highest salaried positions are, as well as those positions with the most expensive benefit packages.  There is no executive privilege when it comes to balancing the budget.  Or at least there shouldn’t be.

It’s A Terrible Time For A Tax Hike

From the Redlands Community News (9/25/20):

The city of redlands is asking voters to approve Measure T in November.

The city’s webpage describes it as “a 1-cent sales tax measure,” and per the city attorney’s impartial analysis, “the 1-cent sales tax would be in addition to the existing state sales tax, and would be collected in the same manner.”

Given that we are in the midst of a pandemic that has unfortunately resulted in many residents losing their jobs, being unable to work or shuttering their businesses, it is shameful that the powers that be are turning to residents to make up a financial crisis that occurred under their watch.

Why should that burden be placed on an already fiscally stressed public during this unprecendent time?

This especially as has alreayd been pointed out:  “The city has $18.2 million in reserves.  A fraction of those funds added to conservatively estimated revenues can carry us through this time of crisis.”

Additionally, according to the same city attorney’s partial analysis, “the sales tax would remain in effect until rescinded by the voters.”  Not mentioned, however, is that in order for voters to rescind the sales tax, they would need to get an initiative on the ballot that voters would then vote upon.

In order for any such campaign to be succesful, it would require a massive effort at a significant financial cost to the voters.

The city of Redlands has emergency reserves that can be tapped to get us through a fiscal drought.  Frankly, if this pandemic does not qualify as an emergency, then the city of Redlands needs to tell voters, then exactly what does???

Transit Village Plan Would Reduce Desperately Needed Parking In Redlands

Redlands downtown was developed and built before the dawn of the automobile. To accommodate traffic Orange Street was widened between Redlands Boulevard and the Umbrella Alley by 19 feet. Structures on the east side of the street had their exterior front wall lopped off to complete the widening.

In the 1920s, Redlands Boulevard became the Ocean to Ocean Highway, and the street was widened on each side.  One woman owning the building on the southeast corner fought eminent domain and was able to save 1/6 of her two-story building. The remnant became a battery building and then a shoe-shine shop. To accentuate the atheistic of the new highway the Contemporary Club insisted on a highway divider planted with shrubs and flowers. Redlands bowed to the use of automobiles.

Today, planners envision a Transit Village Specific Plan that is definitely in favor of pedestrian foot traffic and bicycles. The plan envisions 2,400 dwelling units, 265,000 square feet of retail/commercial and 238,000 square feet of office use. The planning consultant for the city realizes technical studies are required to complete the plan.

The Transit Village Specific Plan suggests the reconfiguration of Orange Street. The consultant wants bike lanes on each side with only one lane for traffic each direction.   A center median with plantings down the center of the street is planned to calm traffic. Orange Street will have 25 round trips on the Arrow Route each day.  Imagine how far traffic will back up each direction on Orange Street while the train crosses Orange Street.

State Street will return to two-way traffic again with a new configuration.   The traffic signal on Orange and State will be modified for the two-way traffic.

A goal of the downtown specific plan is said, “area should avoid becoming freeway-oriented and instead act as a cohesive town center with viable amenities and pedestrian-oriented streets.”

 This goal realizes “parking is costly and parking consumes significant amounts of physical space. The supply of parking should therefore be carefully balanced with the actual operational need for it. An oversupply of parking takes up valuable land that could be used for better purposes and encourages additional auto use.

“The Specific Plan takes a holistic approach to parking by recommending increased management of the parking supply.”

Just how that approach is accomplished is a matter of mostly holistic conjecture. No one knows what that means. Redlands has always suffered from lack of parking space.

Right now my wife and I enjoy eating at the Italian restaurant above Romano’s. Most of the time, we must park in the Centennial Plaza to find a parking space.

Parking now is a problem all along Orange Street. Add 2,400 units and perhaps 3,000 additional cars and the problem is squeezed on streets modified for bikes.  The SANBAG study called for 260 to 300 parking spaces for rail passengers.

The parking structure on Stuart Avenue plans only 200 spaces for the rail station.

Density is seen as a positive in the Transit Village Specific Plan. Measure G that was defeated by a two-thirds margin strongly disagreed with that thought.  Despite the fact Measure G was soundly defeated, the City Council following the Transit Village Specific Plan seems hell-bent on proceeding with a downtown street grid that promises gridlock.

The Friends of Redlands initiative proposed by Bill Cunningham places a check and balance on the City Council, Planning Commission and the city General Plan.

The crystal ball used by the planning consultant has a crack consisting of traffic and parking. Mitigation for 4,000 to 6,000 new residents with 3,000 automobiles living in high-rise apartments cannot be justified or mitigated.

The number of historic structures considered as worthy of protection needs further review. The transit plan would replace any building with a 15-foot sidewalk for pedestrian use.

Tom Atchley, a historian and former newspaper adviser at Redlands High School, was one of five people who signed the rebuttal to the argument in favor of Measure T.

In a city where it is estimated that 15% of its residents are senior citizens, the current lack of adequate parking downtown already keeps a lot of our aging population from shopping or dining with ease.  This voting bloc has significant discretionary money to spend downtown, and yet even now,  you can talk to any number of senior citizens and they will tell you that because of the limited parking downtown  they prefer to go where the parking is plentiful and convenient.  The Transit Village plan as described above, will impact elderly residents further.  Not only will these members of our community be even more unwilling to attempt the challenge of finding available parking downtown to shop or dine, our local businesses will  suffer as a result.  Shouldn’t it be the specific business of the City of Redlands to make sure downtown and the Transit Village areas are fully accessible with adequate parking for all members of our community?

 

Important: Sample Petition and Signature Guideline Reminder

Red Rooster Vintage (409 Orange Street) , Briggs and Coops (21 E. Redlands Blvd.), Seed 10 E. State Street, and E-Water Solutions 429 Texas have petitions available for you to sign to get the Redlands Growth Management Initiative on the ballot.  Please visit them during store hours.  You may also have a canvasser knock on your door asking for a signature. Remember, you can also email [email protected] if you want to sign a petition.  Please make sure to include your address and phone number (all information is confidential) so that we can get a petition to you as soon as possible.  Below is a sample petition for your perusal, followed by signature guidelines that must be followed for your signature to be counted.  We need everyone to sign!   Please tell your neighbors, friends, co-workers, and any other registered voters that live in Redlands.  Let’s get this initiative on the ballot!!

Sample petition:

Signature Guideline Reminders:

Please ensure that each signature box:

· Contains signatures only from registered Redlands voters (Ink only! No pencil.)

· Shows the actual voting address of the voter (No PO Boxes!)

· Does not abbreviate Redlands. (Standard abbreviations such as CA, St., Rd., Ave., are permitted).

· That all written information is kept within the signature box.

If any voters wish to volunteer to help gather petitions or to sign a petition, please email: [email protected]

MAKE SURE TO FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES ABOVE SO THAT YOUR SIGNATURE IS  COUNTED!