Hey, y’all wanted James? Too bad, you’re stuck with me, Brandon Carr. Taking over today and I had to come up with something to talk about. I guess there’s a lot of people out there who don’t understand my town…heck some of you think it’s in No.Cal instead of So.Cal. So, James figured it needed a bit of clearning up.
And who better to explain this issue about Riverside, California, than, you know, me Brandon. It’s my town. I’m a vice cop there. I know the good, the bad and the shit you never want to see about my town. It’s the hell of the 909 – yeah they changed the area code a couple years back. Lot of good that did, we’re still mullet ville and cars on blocks as lawn ornaments as far as most people in SoCal see it.
And it ain’t true.
First off…we all call it a town. It is 12th fucking largest city in CA, and 14th in the goddamn nation. Okay, we’re supposed to hit a population of 320,000 by 2010. That’s in the city limits, not county wide. The state fucking capitol, Sacra-mental, isn’t as big as my town. We call it a town, though, because of the groove. An hour north is the insanity of Los Angeles. People there are hyper, intense and frankly fucked-up. We’re all about the small town vibe. Like the song says, “nobody walks in LA.” They do in Riverside. Downtown is pedestrian malls and parks. Lawyers walk from the courthouse to see their clients in the jail (which backs Orange Street HQ) grab a cup of joe at Legal Grounds before heading to the law library or their offices.
Yeah, there’s craptastic places, but there are in any city. And, we have space. Lots and lots and lots of space. A cop can still buy a house on his salary here – fuck half the cops in LaLa Land either end up buying here or Palmdale. Either way you got the same commute. And we got MetroRail the got the fucking commuter buses. We got three universities and two colleges…in the city. From 1970 to now…we’ve tripled in size.
To your left as you face the screen is the Mission Inn. Goddamn place is huge. Pretty close to the center of town, maybe a block or so up from the government office buildings — which I think are kinda sterile and wierd looking but they’re on the national register of historic places for ”modern” architecture — 50′s, 60′s retro buildings. UC Riverside has a whole site on them.
But, I need to take Nicky to the Mission Inn for a really speical night out. The rooms are tiny, but they were built wayyyyy back. Food is 5 star and you know, come on, you’re eating and hanging out in that building. What could be cooler?
In the same historical area, to your right is the County Courthouse. This is where, when I testify, I testify. Fucking incredible place you know. The courtrooms are solid oak, stained glass windows and red velvet curtins. The presiding judges courtroom has a domed stained glass window twenty feet across in the ceiling. If court’s not in session you can step in and take a look. You really feel like you’re part of justice there. The judges still act like it’s small town too…we all do… it’s the vibe. They come out with thier shirt sleeves rolled up and talk with lawyers and cops and staff and then 8:30 am ticks off and the clerk brings them thier robe and they head up onto the bench.
Head along that narrow stretch you can see in the picture, cross the street and you’re at Legal Grounds…the best coffee in Riverside. Keep headding that way and soon you’ll be on Orange street. Hang left, pass the jail and you’re at the HQ for Riverside PD. Pretty, ain’t it? Come on, who wouldn’t want to be a cop knowing your brass lived in that “holy hill?” Got to hang out there for a bit while they renovated a couple of the outlying stations. Someday, when I make sergeant… I’d like to go back.
I did my undergrad at UC Riverside. Got my Bachelors of Science in Criminal Justice there. Have to go up the road 25 min to San Bernardino State for my masters, but I wish I could do it closer to home. SB just offerst the test program for working professonals that the UC system don’t.
So, yeah, we got a University of California outpost right in our backyard. Damn nice campus too. Sprawls all over the place…which, you know, is okay, ’cause we got space. At the right there is looking from the library towards the clock tower. You can’t see it great, but the clock tower design reminds me of stacked matchbooks. Only problem is kinda the area it’s in. The University and close to it is nice. Get a little farther out and things get dicey.
They’ve done up downtown real nice. Jeff and I like to eat at some of the little storefont places along the pedestrian corridore the city’s created through downtown…could talk to them about the godawful Jazz they pipe in, but the fountains and trees are nice.
One of the biggest problems is smog…and that ain’t our fault. We’re inland and South West from LA in a mountain basin. The winds off the ocean push the shit to us and it backs up hard. Bought the only physical thing I hate about living where I do. But, come on, a little smog for city streets that look like this? >>>>
You tell me if that’s worth it?
Yeah Okay, my department needs to move out of the 70s…’cause some of the Attorney General’s compliance order were under is complete bullshit, some aint’ bad (like Goddamn…of course we need roll call) and some is desperate: Why doesn’t the force mirror the population it monitors? Yeah, don’t like the Afirm Act response myself…but shit, dudes, 46% or our city speaks Spanish and wayyyy less of our officers do.
I’ll give you one last thing to chew on and then I’ll shut up…
Here’s your Google Map, play with it; scroll pics or whatever floats your boat, but most of all realize how FREAKING big my city is: