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Government

This Week in City Hall, January 17

Power lines running along the Santa Ana River, the proper care and handling of flags, and cancelling overdue library fees are all on the agenda.

City Hall against the snow capped mountains
Brenda Flowers

The City Council agenda appears to have recovered from the holidays and is beginning to include some high impact discussion items. Bookworms in delinquency have their fingers crossed for the cancellation of all library fines for overdue materials.

Flag Handling

An update to the City’s Flag Policy is on the table with new guidelines “for display of commemorative flags which identify with a specific date, historical event, cause, or group of people.” According to the new policy, every January Council would decide on the display of commemorative flags for the upcoming year. Additionally, anytime throughout the year, individual council members may suggest the display of a comparative flag for a majority vote of Council.

The Inclusiveness, Community Engagement and Governmental Processes Committee have been reviewing the proposed updates since August 2021 and voted November 2, 2022 to send this policy to City Council for consideration.

Included in the agenda is a document listing cities across the country that display commemorative flags for Pride (89 cities), Juneteenth (23 cities), and Earth Day (5 cities). The City of Redlands displays flags for both Pride and Juneteenth. San Diego is the closest of only five cities to display a commemorative flag on Earth Day.

Power Battles

The Riverside Transmission Reliability Project (RTRP) is back on the agenda. This has been a controversial topic due to the City’s reliance on a single connection to the power grid and a plan that will install approximately 10 miles of high-voltage transmission line along the Santa Ana River.

On May 10, 2022 Council voted to pause the project and work with an outside consultant to study alternatives. On November 15, 2022, Council voted to move forward with the project as it had originally been approved in 2020 by the California Public Utilities Commission.

Tonight, Councilmembers Conder and Hemenway recommend formation of a working group, consisting of federal, state, and local leaders to identify and secure funding sources for further undergrounding of Riverside Transmission Reliability Project. According to the proposal, if approved, the working group will immediately begin meeting regularly with an estimated 6–8 month timeline for reporting back on its work which would coincide with state and federal budgeting and appropriations processes.