In the months leading up to the first episode of Hey Riverside I concentrated my social media attention on Riverside-oriented groups and lists. I'm not sure which one of these introduced me to Mia Alvarado but it had something to do with her recent appointment as a representative to the Riverside Neighborhood Partnership. She was a friend to the Hey Riverside Facebook page (active prior to the podcast) and was so enthusiastic about my idea that she volunteered (even then!) to moderate a group page for me. I wasn't quite ready for that yet (still thinking about it) but it sure was encouraging that a community activist was offering help for this project to get going! We had to talk...
Well, 23 episodes in we finally get that chance. The time is right. Mia is a candidate for the Alvord School District Board. Her neighborhood is threatened by a ballot initiative paid for by an out-of-town developer who wants to derail longtime protections to add nearly 2,000 homes to it.
We met last Friday morning. Mia was expecting business calls and visitors so she offered her front porch table for an interview spot (together with freshly baked pumpkin bread and coffee for this lucky host). Despite the theft of her self-funded campaign signs the night before (apparently most all of them in the south end of her district) she was cheerful, sharp and gracious in our conversation.
Here's the thing: if you're enjoying a beautiful day on Mia's front porch you should expect visitors! Midway through our talk we were joined by No on Measure L supporter Kimber Porter. Kimber sat down with us to present a detailed rundown of Measure L and the reasons why the grass roots opposition is working so fervently to get the word out about the obvious misrepresentations by the proponents. Also joining us on the front porch dais was Mia's delightful neighbor Sophie Diaz.
So yes, this one was a little different in a very good way. It was a real treat to spend a morning in Mia's neighborhood...the (already protected) La Sierra Hills in view and the threatened open space (protected only for now, and maybe no longer after November 4th election) only blocks away. You'll enjoy her story of how she came to live in (and love) Riverside. Our town is better because of her residency and participation. We wish her well in November's election and in all of her future endeavors!
- Ralph from Riverside