|City's renaissance born from a breakfast 'pipe dream'|
|By Jason Pesick, Staff Writer|
Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
|Article Launched:07/30/2007 11:43:33 PM PDT|
|RIALTO - One of the most important meetings in city history actually took place outside the city - at the Coco's in Diamond Bar in fall 2004. |
About a half dozen people met for a power breakfast that morning. The topic of conversation: getting Rep. Gary Miller's help to close Rialto's airport so it could be replaced with the indiscreetly named Renaissance Rialto, a master-planned community.
Set up by the project's developer, the Lewis Group of Companies, breakfast-goers included Miller, David Lewis, some advisers and Robb Steel, Rialto's economic development director.
"It was such a pipe dream," Steel said of closing the airport, which, with Miller's help, Congress approved in 2005. The breakfast was a success.
After chowing down on the weekday special of scrambled eggs, bacon, hash browns and coffee, Steel, now 50, picked up the check, calling it a "small price" to pay.
It's been a week since the opening of the 210 Freeway ex- tension between Rialto and San Bernardino. The completion of the freeway makes the coming months and years critical for Rialto, and Steel is the man in the center of it all.
"I feel really, really blessed to have him," said City Administrator Henry Garcia.
Garcia said he "begged" Steel to come to Rialto after the two worked in the same capacities in Colton.
An old baseball player with a dry wit and dark hair sprinkled with gray, Steel looks like a guy a developer can do business with. And he talks like someone you want managing projects. He has a tendency to answer questions by referencing complex economic models, footnotes in financial studies and in a bureaucrat-speak it takes a master's degree in public administration to have a chance at decoding.
Steel couldn't be at the city at a better time, said former Councilman Joe Sampson.
"From an economic development and redevelopment point of view, Robb has been one of the best things that has happened for the city," he said.
Earlier this year, Steel saved the city millions of dollars by negotiating an increase in the minimum amount of money the city would make off selling the airport to develop it.
When it became clear the city might get only $6 million because of a disagreement with other parties in the deal, Steel helped negotiate increasing the minimum the city would make to $26 million.
"I respect Robb Steel more than any redevelopment director we've ever had," said resident Greta Hodges, who doesn't shy away from criticizing city officials and decisions she doesn't like. She said she's a fan of Steel because he's honest - he answers even tough questions truthfully, she said - and because he's realistic about what should be built in Rialto.
Steel, who lives in San Clemente, said he's willing to make the drive because working as a redevelopment director in the Inland Empire is exciting. He likes the intellectual challenge of dealing with a region that is growing faster than its infrastructure can be built.
A project like Renaissance Rialto, with a price tag between $1 billion and $2 billion, is almost unheard of in a city the size of Rialto, he said.
"I'd like this to be the last city that I work for."
Steel's office is packed with binders about the projects moving forward in Rialto. He also has a Maxwell Smart bobblehead - "I'm bumbling like he was," he said - and an autographed photo of Barbara Feldon, who played Agent 99 in "Get Smart."
Steel thought the autograph was real, but learned it was a joke perpetrated by some of the staff in the office.
There's an air of levity in the Redevelopment Agency office downtown, which is down from City Hall a few blocks.
Steel's No. 2, Economic Development Manager Greg Lantz, said Steel makes the staff work long hours.
"He's a taskmaster," Lantz said of the boss, "but at least he's good to work for."
Contact writer Jason Pesick at (909) 386-3861 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
City's Renaissance Born From a Breakfast ' Pipe Dream' (Daily Bulletin July 30, 2007) The Dirty Dealings in the Back of the Kitchen at the "Co Coa's i
BS Ranch Perspective
It is interesting to see the "Scoop" that the reporter is on here, because you now see where the "Back Door Dealings" were done, with the Congressmen Gary Miller was done, for his Rights to the 'development of the lands within and surrounding what will become Renaissance Rialto.
Congressmen Gary Miller was asked to add a small bit of PORK to the Transportation Bill of 2004. If Signed by the president, It would give the City of Rialto a quick way to pay their debt to the Federal Government to the loans that were taken to the explanation of the airport back in the late 1990's.
This Bill was signed and the City of Rialto's City Council Wasted no Time and voted to close the Airport, even against the recommendations and the requests of the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration). The City of Rialto's City Council went against the Advice of the 'FAA' and voted to close the airport.
THIS WILL BE THE FIRST TIME IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES THAT AN AIRPORT HAS BEEN CLOSED BY ANYONE OTHER THEN THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION!!
The Rialto Airport was Micro-Managed by the City of Rialto Since the Expansion of the main Runway and Taxiway! They expected to much to soon and didn't allow the airport to give them what it was supposed to give them, which was just what it was, an Airport and not a Business!!
Because of the Micromanagement of the Airport, they were running it in a negative balance, so much so that the person that was managing it quit do to the pressure that was pushed upon him all the time to make money with a piece of real estate that was doing what it was built to be, It was made and built to be a Leisure Sport and Hobby, of men and woman of means, and well it was doing just that. the people that were training to fly were doing so, it was working, but not as big and not as fast as the City of Rialto wanted it to. the Previous Management of the Airport saw the expansion of the Airport as a way to make more money , but the thing was that he didn't see the airport for what it is, a Rich mans Leisure.
When the airport was failing so and the person that was Managing it Retired, the City of Rialto turned the Control of the Airport over to the Federal Aviation Administration, But now, they are going to close the airport again, Against the Advice of that of the FAA, They want the New Business Complex, and Homes to be in here for the Freeway to give the people that will live there the power of mobility.
The problem is this, Now that they have opened the new 210 Freeway, I have noticed that the Traffic on Easton Ave in Rialto, and Casmallia Ave. Not to mention all the streets that feed the freeway all have dropped their traffic levels down almost 75-90%. Why just the traffic alone right on Riverside Ave a mile away from the intersection of Riverside and the 210 the Traffic is down at least 80% at the highest Traffic times during the day!
I guess the people that are coming to Rialto, are going to move here, but they are going to have to change the names of the Streets that have had the most violent Crimes that have occurred on them so that the people that are looking to move to Rialto will not feel so intimidated about moving to Washington Street, Even though before it was named Jackson, or Shamrock, Ave they will find out the history of the street that they purchased their home on, or that they are renting on. It is a shameful thing that the City is Selling Security in a Name of a Street!! False Security!
Now Back to the original Story, the Airport, they bent rules to sell off the airport and try to get a Mall in the City Limits of Rialto, It is all a great Idea, However the new housing built in a housing slump that we are starting to enter into, is not the time to build a new neighborhood, of brand new homes for sale at a price that the people that are all involved in the making of that home to make a profit. Rialto is not going to be doing well in the next few years it will take time to clear the few years and sell the hundreds if not close to a thousand homes total, counting the properties in the north and the south, Not to mention the Sale and the Building of the homes in the El Rancho Verde Country Club Area..
Not to mention that Congressmen Miller and who ever paid him off or was ever involved in paying him off is just as much of a CROOKED POLITICION AS HE IS!! IF THAT IS GARCIA, OWEN, or SCOTT, & or SAMPSON, THEN THEY ARE JUST AS CROOKED....in how they do their dealings in their political life.