Fostering relationships around a shared vision is fundamental to achieving results and making progress. As your representative, it is incumbent that I, and other local elected officials, do not allow politics to get in the way of delivering results for Riversiders. We may not always agree with those in Sacramento, but we must ensure that Riverside has a say in state funding decisions. We ensure more funding comes to Riverside—a historically underfunded region—by working with state leaders on shared needs and goals. Riverside is the 12th largest city in the state and this ranking demands an active partnership with our state delegation and others to accomplish these local goals.
In my conversations with Riversiders, I hear the concerns and understand the frustration that many express regarding issues ranging from quality of life to finances and economic development. Addressing these matters is no easy task and Riverside cannot solve these challenges on an island, disconnected from our state partners. Good governance requires effective advocacy and diligent oversight of processes and procedures.
The area of state advocacy has been a focus of mine for decades. Over those years, I was able to secure millions of dollars in funding for major sustainability and land use projects. Now, as mayor, that same drive for ensuring our community receives its fair share of state resources continues.
Recent advocacy has brought home major investments into projects and initiatives. These efforts have secured three million dollars in allocated funding for the Civil Rights Institute of Inland Southern California, which is under construction now and will provide 72 affordable housing units, along with the headquarters of the Fair Housing Council and the institute itself which will be a robust community learning center.
This summer, state advocacy efforts secured seven million dollars for the Harada House restoration and construction of an adjacent interpretive center. The Harada House tells the story of the landmark legal battle over the California Alien Land Law of 1913, which prevented non-citizens from owning property. The Museum of Riverside hopes to have this large-scale project completed in several years.
A 10 million dollar allocation was made for The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture, which is under construction now. This center will open in May 2022 and will be the first museum of its kind in the United States.
Fifteen million dollars for UC Riverside’s OASIS initiative, or Opportunities to Advance Sustainability, Innovation, and Social Inclusion, was secured following extensive partnership between UCR, the City of Riverside and our state delegation. This initiative will focus on sustainability and advanced technology developments—furthering our green tech economy goals.
The region’s shortage of doctors spurred the 25 million dollar state investment in the UCR School of Medicine which will help build the second education building to support the growing school.
With state advocacy through my participation in the Big City Mayors coalition, the city has received millions of state dollars to combat homelessness, aid in COVID-19 recovery, and more.
The next round of advocacy efforts is taking shape now and I look forward to sharing those with you soon. I thank our state legislators for their work in ensuring these funds are realized in our community. It is my hope that after seeing the real investments being made in our city that you, too, agree in the power of Riverside’s advocacy in Sacramento and all that we can achieve when we come together to achieve our goals. There is always more work to do, so let’s get to it!