Riverside Council Candidates Seek Equity, Revitalization
By Dianne Anderson
Ballots are dropping by the thousands this week in Riverside, picking up speed ahead of the June 8 Election.
Both Black City Council candidates are pressing forward for their constituents, concerned about cleaning up city pollution, getting folks into housing, addressing traffic and safety, and strengthening revenue streams for future projects.
Anthony Tyson Ward 2:
Realtor Anthony Tyson buys and sells houses for a living, and has a keen eye for the growing population of homeless in the city and his ward, and the bumper to bumper 215 Freeway big rig traffic.
Traffic in particular is a sad reminder of his long-time friend, who was killed within minutes from home.
“My little play brother died on August 5 on the 215 freeway, he lived with me. These trucks around here, he was less than two miles from the house,” he said.
He feels warehouses are growing out of control, which brings additional pollution and congestion to the area. Next door, Moreno Valley is preparing for the World Logistics Center with warehouses equal to 700 football fields.
“Adding over 40 million square feet of warehouses is absolutely ridiculous,” he said. “Traffic, housing, pollution and the homeless are definitely up top [concerns].”
AB 1547 (Assemblymember Reyes) offers some hope to address pollution impact, but he said that nothing is planned to deal with the congestion and increased large vehicles on streets and freeways.
More big rigs and independent drivers are carrying big loads on Victoria Ave, and he sees similar activity in the Canyon Crest area around Towne Center. Some trucks have refrigeration units running for extended hours.
“It’s messing up our ozone,” he said, adding that the county transportation has millions of dollars for planned projects, but nothing for the 215 Corridor covering Ward 2.
He often sees RV’s broken down in various neighborhoods, but not getting towed. There could be families living in them. Homelessness is an issue.
“That’s part of our safety, well-being and health of our society. I’m a realtor so I want everything to look like open house,” he said.
But beyond aesthetics, Tyson worries how some of his own family members were displaced from their rental as the property was sold out from under them. They accessed relocation assistance, but he said it’s a tough rental market.
They received notice to find temporary housing in locations as far as 45 minutes away.
“They [the owners] had no regard. My cousin was born and raised here. The only reason why I knew is because they were living it. How often do these things go on?” he asks.
A tremendous squeeze on housing availability is making it hard for everyone.
“Housing, housing, affordable housing, rental housing, there’s a housing crisis,” he said. “They need to add 3,800 additional units in just Ward 2 alone over the next six years. It’s identifying the land, and have respect not only for the property owners, but also the tenants,” he said.
Dr. Monrow Mabon Ward 4:
To friends and family, Dr. Mabon is “Mo” or Monrow, but some in the community still recognize him as “Judge” from the mid-1980s when he served in Los Angeles Municipal Court as Judge Pro Tem.
Mabon, who is also a civil rights attorney, has a strong familiarity with how local government works. He has served as a Riverside city commissioner, he is an associate pastor, a retired law enforcement officer, a combat veteran, and past president of the Human Relations Commission.
Among his past wins for the community, Mabon pushed for a mitigation area to deal with a traffic problem and pollution for the John F. Kennedy Elementary School area.
He showed that no wildlife would be in danger, and it would eliminate the “attractive nuisance,” a basis for lawsuits involving minors. They put in a sidewalk, nighttime lighting and a crosswalk, which increased property value in the area.
“It was a win-win for everyone. It was the same situation around Martin Luther King High School,” he noted, where parents dropped off the kids, who were running across the road in high traffic.
He pushed and they were able to put up a fence and wall, opened a handicap ramp, installed a crosswalk which eliminated the nuisance and traffic hazard.
The other top concern for Mabon is bringing in more revenue and revitalization.
“Riverside has received $78 million from the old stimulus, I know $11 million has been allocated. Rather than impose more taxes, that money that is there through grant funding and other means is being distributed to the community. I support a restaurant revitalization plan,” he said.
He wants to see a local area like Victoria Gardens in Rancho Cucamonga. He said there is an economic base to support it.
By contrast, he said his opponent, incumbent Chuck Conder supports warehouses, which are sitting idle.
“I was concerned about the warehouses that my opponent supported. I asked where’s the tenant? The developer said they don’t have a tenant yet. They’re using the attitude from the movie, ‘if you build it they will come,’” said Mabon, who is also a member of the San Bernardino Westside Action Group.
Closer to home, no one seemed to be moving on the recent break-ins of community mailboxes. He said because mail is federal, he went to the congressman’s office to talk to staff, and then to the postmaster.
He and old friends and colleagues are pulling together to address the issue.
“My new neighbor is a relative of a long-time friend and colleague with LAPD, who installs security for a major bank. His grandson is like MacGyver with engineering. I’m bringing these forces together because it impacts everyone,” he said.
Bringing back good businesses to the community is another priority. Across the street from Mission Grove Plaza, he criticized Condor for forcing bad choices on the community.
He said the Arco and Shell stations at the corner already both have convenience stores, there is a 76 Station nearby and a Stater Bros market. The Arco Station has a car wash. Right next to the 76 Station is another full-fledged car wash.
“So the community is faced with two bad choices. But, you could have put in a mixed unit building, a business below, restaurant sit down and housing on top. It’s a quality of life issue, what are we bringing into our community?” he said.
For more information, see Riverside Registrar of Voters at https://www.voteinfo.net