Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Crime Disclosure

Community Member Question:

I have heard that crime has decreased over the years but I often see articles of crime in our community with much more exposure than others. It would seem that some communities conceal some of these negative situations but Fontana is very open about it and actually has crime mapping link on the PD web link . Though I am certain Fontana's crime rates are very much alike the cities to the west, the openness at times versus concealing seems to have a negative image of our community. My question is wouldn't it be better to release only the articles that have a criminal at large?

City Manager Answer:

Thank you for your question. The issue of transparency is very important to the Mayor and City Council and as such, they encourage all departments to make available as much information to the public as possible. The following is a comment provided by our Chief of Police on the issue of releasing criminal information.

Chief of Police Rod Jones:

We have heard before, that the police department releases too much information to the media. The police department prides itself on its very open–transparent relationship with the media and the community they serve. Not only does the police department frequently release information to the local news outlets; it allows residents to sign up for ‘Nixle’ updates, it has a Facebook page, provides for updates and notifications for sex registrants, and holds numerous community meetings throughout the year in a variety of Fontana communities.

While this open and vibrant relationship with the media may bring too much attention on criminal events, it is far worse to have an uninformed community. The men and women of the Fontana Police Department are dedicated to the community they serve. They risk their lives every day protecting Fontana residents. Many crimes are crimes of opportunity. Some criminals prey on a specific behavior or practice. By keeping the City of Fontana informed, the police department can better educate its residents so they can avoid being victimized by opportunistic criminals.

Monday, May 2, 2011

City Council & the Goal Setting Process

Every year, the elected officials sit down at a special workshop to discuss the City’s goals and priorities for the next fiscal year. At the workshop, the members of the City Council, the City Treasurer, and the City Clerk receive information about the accomplishment of the goals for the current year, review the status of the current budget, and provide staff with input on what priorities the City should focus on to best meet the needs of residents. Many issues are brought forward by the elected officials and eventually, a process is undertaken to identify which of the priorities discussed are supported by a majority of the elected officials.

Preparation for the goal-setting process starts in November when each department evaluates how successful they were in achieving the previous year’s goals. The departments prepare their evaluation and make presentations to the elected officials highlighting completed projects and future projects. When goals were not met, the departments present the reasons why and provide an update on future actions which may be initiated.

The elected officials develop goals based upon community need as well as recommendations by the City Manager and Commissions. The discussion is not about telling a department how to accomplish its basic operating functions but rather about the issues the Mayor and City Council would like additional focus on. The elected officials discuss and decide which goals are most important to the community. Once those goals have been set, the City Departments develop their budgets and work plans towards achieving the goals. This involves a city-wide effort on the part of all departments to allocate financial resources needed to accomplishment of these priorities. The process culminates in June with a recommended budget being transmitted from the City Manager to the Mayor and City Council. In addition, to the Recommended Operating Budget, the City Manager submits a book with specific work plans to the Mayor and City Council which identifies what is being committed to in regards to the priorities set by the elected officials.

This goal setting process has been working well in Fontana for the past decade. This year, the Council’s goal-setting workshop took place on January 22. There were many topics considered during the workshop and after some discussion the elected officials determined what they believe to be the most important objectives for the year. Some of the notable goals set for this year included the phase III Downtown fa├žade, Redevelopment advocacy, Chaffey College phase IV expansion, construction of a new Freeway 210 Sports Park, veteran’s support, and creation of a joint powers authority for animal control shelter services.

The elected officials have also set a goal to start construction of the Duncan Canyon Interchange off Interstate 15 which would open up the northern portions of Fontana for development; the reconstruction of the Citrus Avenue and Cherry Avenue I-10 Interchanges ; as well as widening and street improvements to Citrus and Cypress Avenues . These transportation projects will make it easier for traffic to get in, out and around Fontana.

City staff have much work ahead to meet these goals set forth by the Council. But thanks to the goal-setting process, there is clear vision and focus to help move Fontana forward in 2011.