February 15, 2001
And He Is Us
by William Cunningham
Assembly Room, A. K. Smiley Public Library
brief synopsis of events and governmental decisions over the last forty years which have
affected the City of Redlands.Traced are changes
resulting from those same events and decisions that have strong implications for the
city's future.In as much as no
one to this date has attempted to encapsulate the city's history over this span of years,
it is hoped that the reader will be stimulated to further explore the story of these most
eventful years in our city's history.
Biography of William Cunningham
author served on the local school board from 1973 until 1987 and on the city council from
1987 until 1999.
The following is a
brief retrospective on a few of the interacting events that have shaped our town's recent
history and their potential impacts on its future.
Redlands, prior to
the sixties and the coming of the freeway was a quiet, minor commercial and cultural
center, noted for its fine small university and a vigorous but declining navel orange
The communities of
Yucaipa, Loma Linda and East Highlands were part of the school system and Redlands served
most of their commercial, cultural and educational needs.
Each is now a city
in its own right, and Yucaipa has its own schools, but their transformation has been
inextricably a part of Redlands' story.
saw its greatest change in the sixties and early seventies when two seminal events
occurred which transformed the city: the physical splitting of the town by the freeway,
exacerbating, thereby, an historic separation along economic lines, a rift not healed to
this day, and the formation of the city's redevelopment agency, a creature of state law
intended to facilitate the eradication of inner city blight. The agency's first major
project was the razing of the La Posada Hotel, the turn of the century Elks and
Contemporary Club buildings and the displacement from the town center of businesses like
Redlands Paint to make way for the construction of the Redlands Mall.
Not only did the
mall's construction change the character of downtown but both the agency and the city
assumed significant debt obligations in the process which caused significant strain on the
city's finances, as the city assumed both the debt for the mall parking lot and its annual
maintenance. Those costs, when the mall's sales and business license revenues were
factored out, left the city with an annual, unfunded obligation of around a half million
dollars a year.
In less than a
decade the city had been split in two, the downtown forever changed and for the first time
debt became an ongoing issue in city finance.
Prior to the
creation of local agency formation commissions by the Cortese-Knox legislation of the
early 1970s, cities grew and new ones were formed with little rhyme or reason. Redlands,
for instance, annexed a narrow strip several miles in length to its water treatment plant
on Mill Creek just as Los Angeles had stretched a twenty mile corridor south to San Pedro
to pick up the harbor.
empowered LAFCOs in each county to determine the formation of new cities and designate "Spheres of Influence," areas contiguous to cities that were anticipated to be
annexed at some future date. These "Spheres" were intended to regularize the
expansion and development of cities.
The San Bernardino
County LAFCO, made up of two representatives each from the county, the cities and the
special districts, plus a "public member," designated all the lands south of the
river, west to Mountain View, east to the crest of the Crafton Hills and south to the
Riverside County line as Redlands' sphere.
For the first
time, Redlands' ultimate size was defined. Planning for integration of the sphere areas
into the city and development of infrastructure to serve them became a part of city
important events occurred in the 70's which strongly affected the town, both occurred in
the same year, 1978: the passage of the state-wide property tax cutting Proposition 13 and
the adoption of Redlands' first growth management initiative, Proposition R.
Prop. 13 severely
restricted property taxes and prohibited the issuance of general obligation bonds, the net
effect of which was to shift city planning policy toward competition for sales tax
generating commercial development and to create a new borrowing mechanism which subverted
Prop. 13, the Certificate of Participation, or COP, which required just the vote of a city
council majority to borrow large sums of money.
Dependence on the
sales tax soon led to the "fiscalization" of land planning for all cities and
the invention of COPS led to irresponsible borrowing practices, the fallout of which haunt
Prop. R, sponsored
by a grass-roots group calling itself the Friends of Redlands, garnered 68 percent of the
vote. The measure, intended to limit the pace of residential growth to 450 new housing
units per year, was the first growth management effort by the citizens of any city in the
The schools, bound
by the same Prop. 13 restriction on bonding, but without the city's ability to move money
around, in 1980 sought and received, after some controversy, city support for school
construction fees, again, a first for the county.
1980 also saw two
major housing developments proposed in the county: the 3,800 unit East Highlands Ranch
project on 1,710 acres by Mobil Oil and 2,800 units on the 1,000 acre Sunrise Ranch in
Greenspot by Landmark, a New Orleans land developer.
repeated meetings with the schools, refused to provide the district with any help in
housing the new students its project would produce.
The district sued
on environmental grounds, but the court found that a developer's interests in building
houses had a higher priority than children.
Highlands Ranch is nearly built-out, fortunately, Sunrise Ranch is yet to be developed.
incorporated, began to build upon its own separate identity and through mutual agreement
took a large section of Redlands' western sphere, annexing all of those lands in Redlands'
sphere west of California Street.
Through this same
time large amounts of overseas money, especially from a booming Japan and revolution-torn
Iran saturated the American real estate market, especially in the west, and Redlands was
no exception. Many orange growers were tempted to sell and soon most of the groves in the
Redlands area were owned by outside interests who bought the land based on its development
potential. Many groves were soon neglected and allowed to die.
their land had little potential without government help, those who had bought the lands
north of Barton Road, west of Texas Street and in a corridor north of Redlands Boulevard
and east of Anderson Street in Loma Linda got together, levied an assessment per acre, and
formed a planning committee for the land that they identified as the East Valley Corridor.
The area was
organized into a new county service area, CSA 110, and the cities of Redlands and Loma
Linda joined the county in supporting the landowners' efforts in creating a master
development and financing plan.
The ambitious plan
for commercial, industrial and residential development projected 109,000 jobs and a
population of about 30,000 housed in 10,000 apartments, to be filled with "low and
moderate income" residents from Orange and LA counties recruited to provide a part of
While roughly 1100
of the 4600 acres affected were in an unincorporated island of county land, now known
colloquially as the "donut hole," it was understood and agreed that Redlands
would annex it as it developed and that the city would be responsible for providing the
infrastructure. water and sewer and other services.
With the city
growing rapidly and expecting early demand for services in the East Valley Corridor area,
the city council borrowed tens of millions of dollars with COPS to build the Hinckley
Water Treatment Plant, to expand the wastewater treatment plant's capacity from 6 mgd
(million gallons per day) to 9 mgd, to build a new and large city equipment yard and a
third fire station.
Since 1951 the
city had been acquiring Bear Valley Mutual Water Company and its affiliated companies'
water rights through the requirement that developers provide shares of water stock to the
city as they removed land from agricultural production. The development of the
Hinckley 12 mgd plant enabled the city to utilize that source of water for the first time.
The mid-80's rapid
growth caused two long-simmering controversies to break into the open.
In spite of
continuing growth impacting the capacity of the schools to provide housing for children
and the continuing restriction by Prop 13 on the schools' ability to raise school-building
funds through bonds, the city council had terminated the collection of school construction
fees after just the 1980 year but to appease the schools had adopted an ordinance that
promised to reinstate the fees when the schools reached ninety percent of capacity.
refusals by the council to implement the ordinance, in spite of overwhelming evidence of
school crowding, in 1985 the schools successfully resorted to the courts to resolve the
school fees were far from the highest in the state, they triggered state legislation,
authored by local assemblyman Bill Leonard, to place a state cap on the fees at an amount
well below the need and to restrict fee use to the acquisition of "temporary,
portable" classrooms, all of which are still in use twenty-five years later. That
legislation started the schools on a downward path from which they may never recover.
That year also saw
the first major borrowing by the city, a $15,090,000 COP to build a northside fire
station, needed to serve the growth in that area, a city yard with capacity to serve the
city well into the next century and a mainframe computer. A part of the COP proceeds were
taken to sell the old city yard to the city, itself, an amount equally $2.5 million, which
was then utilized for employee salary increases. No funding
mechanism was put in place to either service the debt or to fund the continuing obligation
of the salary increases.
At this same time
the city council sought a reinterpretation of Prop. R which exempted apartments from the
measure's 450 annual unit cap.
The thousands of
apartments approved and built as a result of that council decision led to the formation of
a successor organization to the Friends of Redlands, The Redlands Association, in
September of 1986, a successful initiative signature collection drive by that organization
and the placement of a growth-management measure. Measure N, on the November 1987 ballot.
June of that year
saw the city borrow, again utilizing a COP, $7.265 million as a "Centennial Gift to
the people of Redlands."
included refurbishment of Smiley Library, a northside "Centennial Park" and a
start to the rehabilitation of the Fox Theater.
Again. no new
source of funds was identified to pay off the debt.
In an attempt to
divert attention from Measure N and dilute its support by the voters, the prodevelopment
city council placed an open space bond measure in the amount of $7.6 million on the
ballot, Measure O. (Proposition 13B had been adopted by the voters, which provided for
general obligation bonds to be once again sold on a twothirds vote) And to the surprise of
many, the open space bond passed by a comfortable margin.
N, adopted by an
overwhelming 71 percent affimative vote, closed the apartment loophole in Prop. R,
restricted the density of development on agricultural lands as an instrument to save
citrus and limited residential development to 400 units per year within the city and 150
in the sphere, with preference given to individual, custom-built homes.
While the city's
1988 centennial celebration was a resounding success, including a banquet on State Street,
which attracted hundreds, other than a shovel-turning groundbreaking for "Centennial
Park," both the park and the Fox soon disappeared from council thought.
years, Redlands schools, as did many other school districts, turned to year-round
schedules, covering playgrounds with "portables" and packing 1,000 children on
to campuses designed for half that many.
1989 brought the
incorporation of the City of Yucaipa, the adoption of a modified East Valley Specific Plan
by Loma Linda, Redlands and the County and the creation of the CSA 110, County Service
Area 110, as well as the initiation of the formation of the Inland Valley Development
of Yucaipa as a county city resulted in the loss of the Crafton Hills College area from
Redlands' "sphere" and an attendant move by LAFCO to assign a sphere of
Influence for the new city, further impacting Redlands. as the logical extension of that
sphere would be into the southeast Sunset Drive and Live Oak canyon areas which were still
in the county, outside Redlands' city limits.
The East Valley
Corridor plan was adopted by a three-two split Redlands city council only after the 10,000
apartment component was removed from the plan, mainly as a result of vigorous Redlands
community reaction, strongly influenced by The Redlands Association.
The Inland Valley
Development Agency, IVDA, was created by special state legislation sponsored by
Assemblyman Bill Leonard of San Bernardino as a proposed economic engine to replace the
loss of Norton Air Force Base to the local economy.
proposed boundaries were to encompass all lands within a three mile perimeter of the 2,200
acre base. Included were nearly one-third of the City of Redlands (south past Barton Road
and east past Orange Street) and much of the new City of Highland. Included, also, were
unincorporated lands in Redlands "sphere" on the west. including the "donut
hole" (of which more later) and the city's sphere area on the north to Highland's
southern boundary in the river.
portions of Loma Linda and Colton were included within the proposed boundaries and many of
the City of San Bernardino areas affected were already in city redevelopment projects, the
potential negative effects on the cities of Highland and Redlands were enormous.
At this same time
Loma Linda sought through LAFCO to expand eastward to Nevada Street, taking in most of San
Timoteo Canyon and all of Redlands' southwestern sphere.
The city found
itself embattled and threatened on all fronts. Loma Linda was seeking to capture the
western portions of the city from Terracina Boulevard west. Yucaipa was proposing to
expand its sphere in the southeastern area and down Live Oak canyon. And the IVDA was
about to capture all of the property tax base from all new development on those city and
sphere lands with the greatest potential for the city's economic future, as state law, at
that time, gave all new property taxes from new development within an agency to it,
including those taxes that would have ordinarily gone to schools.
The city. quite
literally, faced a devastating future.
July of that year 400 residents of the southeast Sunset Drive area, who just three years
before had rejected annexation, submitted a petition requesting annexation to the city,
citing their preference to be in Redlands rather than Yucaipa and a change of heart
influenced by the new development protections afforded by Measure N.
the west side of Terracina and three of the major property owners in San Timoteo Canyon,
the Un family, Mo Behzad and Frank Bianchini, as well as several others, agreed to support
Redlands counter-effort to annex the area in an attempt to halt Loma Linda's march
to LAFCO to annex all the lands to the county's southern border west from the freeway to
north of Barton Road on the west, an area of more than nine square miles.
also made to annex the "donut hole" and the sphere area in the river south of
The city opted out
of joining the IVDA and brought suit against the finalization of the formation of the
Norton redevelopment agency to gain time to complete its annexation efforts as well as to
extract reasonable concessions from the agency that the city could live with.
While the IVDA
lawsuit dragged through the courts, a bitterly contested annexation fight with Loma Linda
ended in a compromise with the city ceding two square miles west of Nevada Street to Loma
Linda and agreeing to give to Yucaipa the business properties on the frontage road along
Seven square miles
were added to the city.
The annexation of
the river lands proceeded without controversy, but a significant number of property
owners, led by realtor Nick Karhalios and the Kuniharas, opposed and defeated the attempt
to annex the "donut hole."
lawsuit succeeded in excluding all of the city, and Highland which had become a
coplaintiff, from the agency and the terms of the settlement stipulated that the one
sphere area of the city left within the agency's boundaries, the "hole," would
be expected to be annexed at some time in the future, as development of the area occurred,
with the property taxes generated to be shared equally between the city and the IVDA. With
the further covenant that the IVDA's share would be spent on infrastructure improvements
within the "hole," itself.
Back in 1986, in
an effort to emulate the planning efforts of LA 2000, the city council had appointed a
committee of 100 to set planning goals for the city.
2000, the committee's final report, well-received by the community, listed 41 goals, the
achievement of which, it was proposed, would maintain the city's livability and quality of
The city's General
Plan was years out of date, adopted in 1972 it had but one major revision in 1978 and was
well out of compliance with state law, especially the "housing element."
In 1989 a
consultant was hired and twenty-three citizens from every geographic area of the city as
well as special interest groups, including the schools, were appointed as a general plan
After nearly three
years of hearings, debates and votes, as well as the expenditure of around $500,000 for
consultants and engineering studies, a plan was submitted to the planning commission and
the city council which contained most all the goals of the Redlands 2000 Report and
conformed with the requirements of both state law and Measure N.
The new majority
on the city council of Swen Larson, James Foster and Pat Gilbreath rejected the effort
out-of-hand, delegated Foster and Gilbreath as council liaison to a new consultant team
hired at a cost exceeding $400,000 and totally revised the plan. For the first time, high
density housing zoning came to Redlands, the canyons were planned to be urbanized, the
restrictions of Measure N on the density of development of lands in citrus, as well as the
400 unit annual cap, were violated.
character was to be urbanized and put on a fast development track.
In response The
Redlands Association sued the city council to force it to comply with the requirements of
The city's defense
depended on recent court decisions after the passage of Measure N which affected how
language could be used in initiatives. The court redefined both Prop R and Measure N as
zoning ordinances, while keeping their terms in effect, and ruled in the association's
favor on the council's attempt to change the definition of "Urban Reserve" in
the city's General Plan.
The court awarded
the association its legal costs of $6,600.
failed attempts, the schools, in a special March election, succeeded in passing a $39
million bond measure for the construction of Redlands East Valley High School.
The new school's
location, outside the city, within walking distance of Redlands High and in an
agricultural zone, produced considerable controversy
earlier, Jim Barton, a westend developer, especially in the new city of Rancho Cucamonga,
sought to develop a commercial center and Kaiser hospital on the then Southern Pacific
property west of California Street, between Lugonia and San Bernardino avenues.
agreement was signed and Barton and Kaiser shared in a $400,000 "gift" to the
city which made possible the construction of the Senior Center.
In 1994 Majestic
Realty introduced itself to the city. Seeking fast track approval for a strip center and
mall, the developer requested that the city give priority to processing the project,
setting aside all other projects to get the job done.
development the council offered Majestic and others a subsidy of half-fees on
infrastructure, an amount estimated at $3.1 million in Majestic's case, a subsidy to be
absorbed by Redlands citizens in higher utility rates and diminished general services. The
Braswell's took advantage of the offer, saving about $800,000 in city fees on their
the subsidy, and demanded more.
The major portion
of the 125 acre Majestic site had originally been purchased by John Curci, an Orange
County real estate developer, whose family controlled San Bernardino's Carousel Mall, at
the suggestion of J.J. Ramirez, a local orange grower and investor.
Curd entered into
a limited partnership with Ed Roski, Majestic's owner, and they completed acquisition of
the site with the purchase of Ramirez's contiguous 55 acres.
More than a year
previous to Majestic's approach to the city Jane Un had proposed an entertainment center,
Cities Pavillion, on 50 acres just across the SR-30 freeway to the east.
simultaneously with Majestic's approach, a group headed by Harry Newman. an Orange County
commercial investor. came to the city with a proposal for a large mall, dubbed Redlands'
Fashion Center, on California Street, north of I-10.
The latter project
included both the land controlled by Barton, as well as properties owned by the Chapman
family lying north of I-10 and encompassing all the land between the freeway and the
river. The Chapman property, alone, aggregated to more than 300 acres.
offered a subsidy of $500,000 to soften the impact of their project on downtown.
project had stalled, most likely due to the downturn of the early nineties and Kaiser had
abandoned their major hospital project, in part because of a restriction imposed by the
city council that they could not build within ten years, a protection for Redlands
Community Hospital. In spite of Kaiser's plea that they had more than 11,000 subscribers
in Redlands, alone, and would not compete with RCH for patients, the council stopped the
overnight Redlands had three multi-million dollar commercial projects competing with one
another. Soon to be followed by a fourth at the intersection of I-10 and SR-30, the
Redlands Crossing project, a 500,000 square foot strip center.
At a time when
other county cities were stagnating, Redlands was inundated with proposed commercial
In the spring of
1995, The Redlands Association returned to the people to restore Measure N and to tighten
residential development standards.
At about that
time, Majestic, after demanding ever more concessions, dropped its proposed annexation and
initiated development approvals with the county.
In spite of the
fact that the growth management initiative had no effect on commercial development, and
the spokespersons for the opposition, the Wormsers and Shirley Harry, refused to divulge
their source of funding, campaign documents eventually revealed that
Majestic spent more than $280,000 to defeat the initiative, Measure H, by the narrowest of
margins that November.
The mall war
between Majestic and the Fashion Center project collapsed when the owners of Inland
Center, an already ailing mall, lured Robinson's-May, the prize anchor tenant sought by
both Majestic and Fashion Center, to the south San Bernardino mall with incentives reputed
to be as high as $16 million.
denouement of the Fashion Center proposal, just the two strip malls, Majestic and Redlands
Crossing were left, plus the Cities Pavillion entertainment center. All, were competing
for a theater, assumed an imperative to commercial success.
In the interim,
after years of little activity the downtown saw its first major investment in many years,
George Krikorian's theater.
While Tom Brand.
who had operated the two screen Rainbow Theater in the Fox Building had first proposed a
theater, he could not get funding as the chains considered downtown Redlands a market not
encouragement George Krikorian was finally enticed to take the gamble. The project dragged
on for months. Many doubted its completion. But when opened, it was an immediate success.
the approval process about the same time as Krikorian, the Cities Pavillion project agreed
to wait eighteen months before construction, giving Krikorian a chance to establish a
studies authorized by both Majestic and the Crossing indicated that the Redlands market
could only marginally sustain two theaters in the foreseeable future, neither Majestic nor
Redlands Crossing would agree to a 24 month delay in their theater component, which would
have added a third, bringing the total of 60 screens to a market that could only
marginally, at best, support 40.
relations with Majestic deteriorated so badly that Mayor Larson refused any further
meetings or negotiations.
Redlands Association went back to the people with an initiative campaign for another
grow-management measure, and the election of 1997 saw a growth management majority seated
on the city council for the first time in the city's history and the adoption of Measure
U, which restored many of the provisions of Measure N, rezoned the canyons to Resource
Preservation and set standards for the provision of utility services outside the city, for
signage, and for traffic.
further school legislation affecting Redlands ability to build schools. The courts had
determined that schools could collect more than the Leonard bill's capped fees. In
response, the building industry successfully lobbied for and orchestrated the passage of
Proposition 1 A, which again imposed a cap but also provided for an $8 billion school
1998 also saw an
intensified effort by the new city council to come to terms with Majestic, ail to no
developers' competition continued unabated, with Majestic increasing its efforts and
employing every means to prevent or slow the two competing projects.
While the Cities
Pavilion group refused to concede, the Crossing people terminated their planned project
and turned to the courts, alleging favorable treatment of Majestic by the city and seeing
damages of $12 million. The claim was rejected by the Courts.
Soon, the Pavilion
project was tied up in bankruptcy and criminal proceedings in which Majestic had a hand,
spending a known $185,000 in the bankruptcy case and having some involvement in the
all its competition, Majestic then focused its attention on the city.
Still refusing to
meet the city's development standards or pay customary fees, Majestic moved to have the
county amend its general plan, removing all cities' control over their spheres and, at the
same time, shifted the focus of controversy to Sacramento, spending inordinate sums of
money to gain special legislation.
The amendment to
the county's general plan, led by Dennis Hansberger, raised the ire of all twenty four
county cities. Two, Fontana and Rancho Cucamonga, joined Redlands in a court challenge of
the county's action. Fontana soon dropped out, but the two cities were successful in their
challenge. The county has since appealed.
Majestic's efforts, Lowe's, the nation's second largest home improvement chain came to
town. While meeting fierce resistance from Majestic, Lowe's was too big to be deterred.
Led by four
lobbying teams, a public relations firm, Assemblyman Brett Granlund and Senator Joe Baca,
Majestic's first special law passed the legislature but was vetoed by the new governor,
Gray Davis, due, in part, to the opposition of the League of California Cities and
message in October 1999 came with the caveat the city come to agreement with Majestic, or
he would sign a successor bill.
nothing to lose in being intransigent.
As the result of
the most expensive campaign in the city's history, November 1999 brought two new faces to
the council with Majestic's support.
But, in the last
analysis, neither could they come to agreement with the developer.
They did, however,
fire the city manager at Majestic's demand at a cost approaching $300,000.
reintroduced a duplicate successor special bill in 2000. Davis signed.
While no one
really knows how much Majestic money greased the Sacramento effort, we do know that Baca
received $8,000 immediately after his vote and Davis got $80,000.
In spite of the
fact that the "hole" is totally surrounded by the city, Majestic had got
Sacramento to eliminate all city control over the area, deny any reimbursement for the
city millions invested in infrastructure to serve the area and gained carte blanche access
to the area by other service providers over city streets and property without
reimbursement or city control over where they might go.
The city sued to
declare the measure unconstitutional.
the $8 billion school bond fund melting away rapidly and faced with new, legal demands
from schools, development forces placed Proposition 39 on the November 2000 ballot,
successfully reducing the required two-thirds majority for the passage of school bonds to
fifty five percent.
Home Depot, the
country's largest home improvement merchant followed Lowe's to town. Majestic challenged,
again, but failed.
to build its west coast distribution facility in Redlands and began processing its
Majestic and the new city council came to a head in January 2001, purportedly over two
issues, lawsuits by Majestic and the county against the Hershey project and the costs
sustained by the city in successfully defending itself.
After many secret
meetings, primarily between the two new council members, Karl Haws and Susan Peppier and
Majestic representatives John Mirau and Timmish Chaikofsky, a deal was struck that had the
support of the mayor, Patricia Gilbreath, a long-time Majestic supporter.
The city would
give up all influence in or opportunity to annex the "hole" for a period of 25
All lawsuits won
by the city would become null and void.
infrastructure lost in the "hole" would not be reimbursed.
The city would not
challenge the environmental impact of any project in the "hole" no matter what
the project might be or how it might affect the city or its residents.
and the county would drop their legal challenges against the Hershey project, they
retained the right to sue the city on all other matters.
The city gave up
all right to challenge any matter affecting the "hole" in spite of the fact that
all other property owners in the "hole," were not bound by the agreement's terms
and retained all rights to challenge any city action no matter where taken.
not to challenge an increase in the city's wastewater treatment plant's capacity but
retained the right to challenge on any other issues, including the city's effort to meet
state regulations and to deliver reclaimed water to the Mountain View power plant and
state legislation, AB 1544, was accepted as constitutional and binding on the city.
challenged the agreement, including citizens in their private right, the city would
guarantee the agreement's terms and reimburse Majestic and the "hole" owners for
any losses or costs incurred.
was drafted by Majestic's attorneys. Majestic's representatives would agree to no
substantive modifications and Gilbreath, Haws and Peppler voted to accept it at a special,
secret meeting at a time when the city attorney was out of town.
The city council
majority accepted these terms just seven days before the court in Riverside would have
determined the constitutionality of AB 1544, wasting an opportunity both to continue to
control the "hole" and keep it in the city's sphere and at a waste of tens of
thousands of dollars expended in legal preparation for the trial, which they had every
expectation of winning.
caused a bitter break between the council majority and members John Freedman and Gary
IS THERE A
recitation of events, while hopefully informative, has little meaning until put in the
context of what those happenings over the course of some forty years have meant in terms
of how the city and its residents have been affected by them and their implications for
come to mind.
been uniquely endowed with a heritage of high quality, abundant water.
We owe a debt of
gratitude to those who created the Zanja, built Big Bear Dam and perfected the rights to
those stream flows, water sources of the highest quality, of considerable volume and at
For many years,
Mill Creek satisfied all of Redlands' winter water demand, but with a doubling of
population that is a thing of the past.
Redlands is now
dependent on well water for more than half its supply. water that is of significantly
lower quality, costly to pump and at lower elevation.
The issue of
quality becomes ever more pressing as the regulatory agencies evluate and set standards
increasingly more stringent for contaminants such as radon, for example.
Radon, a known
carcinogen and decay product of uranium 238, is a short-lived alpha emitter which is at
the top of a chain of other short-lived heavy element isotopes which finally decay to
lead. A severe threat to health if ingested or inhaled in small quantity over time. All of
our wells produce some radon.
If the EPA, as
it has suggested in the past, tightens its radon rule, Redlands, and all other cities in
the valley would face a water crisis.
cleaner sources, in quantity but of questionable availability. would need to be imported
at significant cost, if it could be found.
In the meantime,
our historic stream water rights are in jeopardy.
The building of
the Seven Oaks Dam stopped all of the river flow, much of which was underground, that
nourished our wells downstream.
Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District (MUNI) and Orange County have laid claim to
that water trapped behind the dam.
This issue, far
from resolution, could take more than a decade to sort out, with Redlands having nothing
to gain but preserving its rights.
could take millions, with but one source for those funds, Redlands ratepayers.
A second issue
surrounds the relicensing of the Edison hydro facilities on both streams.
Dependent on a
decision yet to be made by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), any
restriction in Edison's ability to use the stream waters to generate power will adversely
affect our water supply.
Pitted against the
city and Edison on the one side are the Forest Service, Audubon and Cal Trout. They would
like to see the streams run freely, restoring habitat and possibly a trout fishery.
An adverse decision in their
favor would result in the city suffering a significant diminution in its supply due to
transvaporation and percolation.
Plus, Redlands not only takes
the natural stream flows as they exit the powerhouses, but it also operates wells upstream
on both the river and the creek to supplement those flows. Edison pays for the wells'
operation as the additional water to the powerhouses enables them to produce more power
than the wells consume.
Compounding all these issues is
the plan by the Yucaipa valley water district to divert their wastewater effluent
discharge from San Timoteo Creek, a loss to that aquifer of approximately 7,700 acre feet
Redlands has just completed two
major wells drawing on that aquifer, necessitated by the contamination of other city wells
due to the presence of the Lockheed plume of trichloroethylene and perchlorate. The loss
of capacity in these new wells would pose further constraints on our water supply.
Water in the Santa Ana watershed
is used a minimum of three times before it reaches the sea.
Each use increases the water's
salt load, known as TDS, or Total Dissolved Solids. nitrogen, a byproduct of biological
activity, and, of course, viral and bacterial content, as well as traces of heavy metals.
Redlands, as the first user, has
an obligation to make its effluent discharge as clean as possible. Not an easy task.
While organics lend themselves
to bacterial and halide processes, removal of salts and nitrogen pose very expensive
As long as our principal supply
was the nearly pristine mountain stream water, those issues of water quality were of
little concern, but with the increased demand due to growth, use of much lower quality
well water is forcing us to the utilization of very expensive and power-hungry processes to reduce both TDS and nitrogen to meet our downstream
Redlands, unique among cities in
the region, operates its own landfill, resulting in costs half what others face.
But we are consuming its
capacity at an ever-increasing rate, forcing significant expansion of the facility.
The cost of this expansion is
high. While adding some years to our landfill, it only postpones a day of reckoning.
While going to a
cnulti-track, year-round schedule has allowed the district to absorb thousands more
children, that option is nearly exhausted.
A third high
school as well as additional middle and elementary schools are needed, now.
provides more than half of the district's bonding capacity, while only a modest fraction
of the residential growth, funding of new school facilities will result, as it has in the
past, in a significant transfer of wealth from Redlands to the other areas in the
residents become ever more aware of this, the likelihood will be for calls to breakup the
district and an increase in the opposition to bonds needed to build these schools and
others in the future.
CITRUS and OPEN
There remain some
3,000 acres of citrus in the Redlands area, enough to sustain the industry.
While Measure U
has proved to be successful in achieving the preservation and replacement of trees where
tree removal made way for residential development, a major fraction of the groves are
located in areas slated for other types of development. Those areas face no comparable
Citrus, like any
other industry, must maintain a critical mass to survive.
packing, pest control, picking all require both capital and labor. If and when Redlands'
acreage is reduced below that critical mass, the industry is no longer viable.
Surprising as it
may seem, for several types of development, especially residential, the ratio of costs of
services versus revenue flowing to the city and its residents is measurably better if the
property remains in citrus.
development is required to pay fees for capital improvements necessitated by their impacts
on the city's infrastructure, the fees are woefully inadequate to meet the cumulative
need, resulting in reduced services and postponed obligations that must be met sometime in
Traffic has grown
at more than twice the rate of population increase.
are now signalized at considerable annual maintenance cost. Residential streets have
become thoroughfares. Neighborhoods have been disrupted with demands for street widening
as is happening today to the residents on Church Street.
especially from traffic, increasingly affects our quality of life. Sound walls will soon
rise to marginally protect residents from the noise impacts of a widened freeway built to
facilitate the transshipment of goods from the coast.
will be the pleasure of subsidizing delivery of a TV made in Japan to a home in Iowa, as
these more than traffic demands can only be marginally addressed with dollars, billions of
them, of which we will provide our share.
debt to meet the demands caused by growth has increased from $2 million to more than $140
million. Services have been cut. Maintenance of our urban forest, for example, is severely
reduced. Tree replacement is now non-existent.
assets have been converted into cash to meet the costs of daily operations. Fees are now
charged for many services previously free.
eight percent surcharge has been added to our utility bills. Utilities now pay a franchise
fee, in lieu property taxes, and a street repair fee, in effect a hidden property tax
buried in our utility bills, amounting to millions of dollars per year.
WE HAVE A ROLE TO PLAY?
population increased from approximately 10,000 to 68,000 this last century. The country
from 97 million to 281 million, the world from 2 billion to 6 billion, with no sign of
slowing in each case.
the imperative of limits will at some time dictate a slowing, perhaps a reversal, possibly
catastrophic, at some point if we continue on the present path.
know the issues, be they warming on a global scale, or air quality, water quality and
availability, traffic, waste disposal, the provision of essential services, in sum
habitability, on a local and regional scale, all driven by how many we are.
this, do we have some responsibility to ensure that those who follow us will inherit a
sustainable environment in which to live, one providing a meaningful quality of life?
we do not address the issue of our growth in numbers and the attendant impact our numbers
have upon both the earth and one another soon, all, including our little microcosm of
Redlands, will no longer provide a way of life and environment even marginally comparable
to that which we enjoy today.
if we do not recognize the rallying cries of "We must grow or die," and
"Growth is inevitable." for the absurdity and danger of their very premise.
truly, as Pogo, that quintessentially astute woodlands philosopher so aptly said,
"We have met the
enemy, AND HE IS US."