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Government

This week at City Hall: Sept. 21

Charter Review Committee reviews street vendor ordinance and a complaint against Councilmember Chuck Conder is causing a stir in the Board of Ethics.

Charter Review Committee

Item 9: City Could Seek a Master Developer for Ward 1 Properties

The committee will decide whether to open three different properties to be reconsidered for other uses for the city, in accordance with California Assembly Bill 1486. The properties include the former Riverside Golf Club, Ab Brown Sports Complex and Pellissier Ranch.

If passed, the request would seek a master developer to facilitate the development vision of the northside specific plan. One of the potential plans would be a stand-alone solar project and a solar option specific to the Pellissier Ranch property.

Item 27: Sidewalk Vending Ordinance – Workshop

The earliest hearing of this ordinance was last conducted by the committee two months ago. Several community members during the last hearing expressed concern that street vendors would create more competition for local businesses. To be in accordance with the state law, besides a few exceptions, restrictions on vending must only be based on objective health, safety, and welfare concerns. 

If passed, the ordinance would require a California Drivers License or identification number instead of a social security number, which would comply with the state law. Currently, the city does require a social security number to obtain a permit. 

Item 40: City Canceling 4th of July Fireworks Contact

The council will consider the termination of its fireworks contract with Exposhows Inc. of Santa Monica. If approved, the city will owe $198,000 for the period of April 1, 2021, to July 5, 2024, due to a breach of contract. 

The contract cancelation comes as the city had planned to have two firework shows July 4, 2021, one at Ryan Bonamino Park and the other at La Sierra Park. Due to limited staffing at Exposhows Inc., the company failed to comply with the commitment to host two shows, prompting the city to cancel the firework show for La Sierra Park. Since the incident, Exposhow Inc. has been unresponsive to attempts by the city to contact them. 

The Parks, Recreation, and Community Services Department will look for a new company to provide services for two July 4 firework shows in 2022. 

Board of Ethics 

Pre-hearing on the ethics complaint against Councilmember Chuck Conder 

On Thursday, the board will conduct a pre-hearing on a code of ethics and conduct complaint filed against Councilmember Chuck Conder by the City Council of Riverside. The complaint alleges that Conder disclosed closed session information, as well as violated the Brown Act. 

Conder signed a Jan. 25 declaration in support of a lawsuit against the city. The case was brought by Dunn Enterprises, which operates the LA Kings Icetown skating rink in Riverside, and sought to overturn COVID-19 business restrictions. In September 2020, the city obtained a court order to shut down the rink after multiple requests to stay closed had been ignored. 

According to Councilmember Jim Perry, the declaration was signed 13 days after the board heard a court update behind closed doors and four days before the city received a copy of the lawsuit. Concerns now lie between whether the confidential information from the closed-door session could have been provided in Condor’s declaration.