In the News

April 04, 2016

By Ralph Vartabedian

California's plan to pay for construction of the $64-billion bullet train has many unanswered questions and shaky assumptions, senators from across the state told rail officials Monday.

"We want you to beef up your financing package," Sen. Jim Beall (D-San Jose), a longtime supporter of the high-speed project, said at a hearing of the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee, which he chairs.

Republican lawmakers were even tougher. "I think the financing is shaky here," said Sen. Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber). "It seems like it is careening down the tracks."

The committee was responding to a draft business plan the California High-Speed Rail Authority released in February. The authority said it could build an initial $20.7-billion operating segment from San Jose to the Central Valley with funding it expects over the next nine years.

But the agency could not identify the source of money to complete the entire Los Angeles-to-San Francisco system. That leaves a $43.5-billion gap in the business plan, scheduled for approval later this month.

April 04, 2016

By Katie Orr 

A California Senate committee got its chance today to take a closer look at the status of the state’s high-speed rail project. The High-Speed Rail Authority recently released a draft business plan.

At the hearing, High-Speed Rail Authority Chair Dan Richard said construction on the first segment was shifted from a southern route between the Central Valley and Los Angeles to a northern route between the Central Valley and San Jose because it was less expensive and could generate significant private investment. But he says the train needs to be running to attract investors.

“They’re looking for that first operating line,” he says.

The Rail Authority estimates it will cost about $20 billion to build the northern route, which Richard says could generate $8 billion to $10 billion in private investment. He said the segment could be operational by 2025.

April 04, 2016

Mike Sweet, 65, of Rail Road Flat, was one of thousands in Calaveras County who evacuated his home in September when the Butte Fire tore through the county.

When Sweet returned to his undamaged home on Independence Road, a mile away from the burn area as the crow flies, he found in his mail a letter from Liberty Mutual informing him that it would not renew his homeowner’s insurance in November.

The reason given by the insurer: Sweet’s home is in a high-risk wildfire area.

April 01, 2016

By S. E. Williams

UCR wins bid for multi-million dollar emissions and research testing facility

A united effort by Riverside officials that could help shape the course of history on the all important issue of global warming and at the same time raise the profile of Riverside moved the California Air Resources Board to relocate its motor vehicle and engine emissions testing and research facility from El Monte to an 18-acre site at the University of California, Riverside.

On Thursday, March 24, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) reached a majority decision (8-3) to bring the $366 million investment into the community of Riverside along with approximately 400 high-paying jobs.

This monumental coup did not come easy. It came as a result of years of concerted and joint effort by the University of California—Riverside (UCR), the City of Riverside, Riverside County, and the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce who worked together and successfully demonstrated the advantages of locating the facility in Riverside.

However, these four institutions did not work in isolation. They were joined and supported in their efforts by State Senator Richard Roth of Riverside and his staff who worked equally as hard to ensure that Air Resources Board members understood how eagerly UCR, local government, business and elected officials had embraced the idea and were fully committed to its goals and objectives. Another California State Senator, Kevin De Leon, sent a strong and possibly game changing letter of support to the Board.

April 01, 2016

By Sandra Stokley

Eastvale, Jurupa Valley, Menifee and Wildomar lost millions in state revenue in 2011.

A California senate bill that would restore lost funding to Riverside County’s four newest cities passed the Senate Committee on Governance and Finance on a bipartisan , unanimous vote of 7-0 on Wednesday, March 30.

Eastvale, Jurupa Valley, Menifee and Wildomar have lost millions of dollars since 2011 when Senate Bill 89 eliminated vehicle-license fee revenue allocated to newly incorporated cities and annexed areas. SB 89 was one of the steps the legislature took to close California’s massive budget gap.

March 25, 2016

PRESS-ENTERPRISE EDITORIAL

Talk about March Madness: Riverside was, by our estimation, a 17-to-1 longshot to be chosen over Pomona as home for the California Air Resource Board’s new offices and vehicle-testing lab. Yet board members on Thursday selected an 18-acre site owned by UC Riverside on Iowa Avenue north of Martin Luther King Boulevard.

We think that quite an upset given that a CARB staff report recommended a site on the Cal Poly Pomona campus – not the least because of a survey in which 85 percent of CARB employees expressed their preference for the Pomona site because it is 50 miles closer to CARB’s current digs in El Monte than is the Riverside site.

That Riverside overcame the odds to be selected the location of the regulatory agency’s new $366 million project – and the 400 or so jobs that come with it – was because of the coordinated efforts of Riverside’s presentation team.

It included state Sen. Richard Roth, D-Riverside, who has made the case for years that Riverside would be an ideal location for CARB’s new facility.

March 24, 2016

Vote follows joint effort by City, County, UC Riverside and Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) – The California Air Resources Board voted 8-3 today to relocate its motor vehicle and engine emissions testing and research facility from El Monte to an 18-acre site at the University of California, Riverside, which represents a $366 million investment into the community and 400 knowledge-based jobs in the Inland Empire.

The board chose Riverside after deciding that land owned by the University of California on Iowa Avenue near Martin Luther King Boulevard would provide the best opportunity for growth in the coming decades and for collaboration with world-class air quality research already underway at UC Riverside.

“Today’s decision is great news for UC Riverside, the city and county, and it is great news for the people of California,” said UCR Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox, who attended the board meeting in Sacramento. “This facility will bring together two world-class institutions working in air quality and emissions science and promises to create a whole range of synergies that simply wouldn’t be possible otherwise. Building this new facility in Riverside now positions our region to become the global capital for air quality research. With construction slated to begin next year, planning has already begun to ensure a smooth transition and, most importantly, accommodate the needs of Air Resources Board employees.”

March 24, 2016

An Iowa Avenue site beat out one at Cal Poly Pomona for a $366 million lab, office project for 400 workers.

By ALICIA ROBINSON / STAFF WRITER

Riverside won out over Pomona as the location for a new vehicle emissions testing lab and offices for the state Air Resources Board that are expected to bring about 400 jobs.

Air board members on Thursday, March 24, picked an 18-acre site on Iowa Avenue, between University Avenue and Martin Luther King Boulevard, that’s owned by UC Riverside. The facility represents a $366 million project and would open by 2020.

The other choice – and the recommendation of air board officials – was on the Cal Poly Pomona campus. Both universities pledged to step up their collaboration with the air board on research.

Inland officials lobbied hard for the new offices, giving tours in Riverside and showing up at air board meetings in El Monte and Sacramento.

March 18, 2016

The National Resident Matching Program announced today that the 2016 Match Day for graduating medical students was the largest on record, with 42,370 registered applicants and 30,750 positions filled. The number of United States medical school seniors grew by 221 to 18,668, and the number of available first-year positions rose to 27,860, which is 567 more than last year. "Match Day," an annual rite of passage for future physicians, is the system through which medical school students and graduates obtain residency positions in U.S. accredited training programs.

Despite the high numbers of candidates matching with residency programs this year, hundreds of qualified California students must leave the state to study elsewhere due to a lack of funding for graduate medical training, highlighting the need to pass Senate Bill 22.

March 17, 2016

Indio is the third valley city to act on the shortage

In light of a judge shortage dubbed a "judicial crisis" in Riverside County, Indio City Council unanimously voted Wednesday to join three desert cities in strongly urging Gov. Jerry Brown and state legislators to take action.

Riverside County has one of the highest caseloads per judge in the state, second only to San Bernardino County, a substandard ratio that has led to significant delays in court proceedings in superior courts such as those in Indio's Larson Justice Center, according to the state Judicial Council.

In 2014, 423,340 filings were made in Riverside County Superior Court including 18,195 felonies and 41,731 misdemeanors — an increase of 18 percent since 1993, according to court data.

That adds up to a caseload of more than 5,570 filings that have to be handled by each of the county's 76 judges, including almost eight jury trials that must be presided over.