KEYWORDS: “air quality” “diesel” “particulate” “pollution”
SYNOPSIS: Riverside County Supervisor Bob Buster seems to have very little to say about the issues facing the Latino community in California today. In the numerous articles discussing air quality, particulate, diesel, and pollution there are only nine statements attributed to him. Four of the statements attributed to Buster were about pollution. He does appear to sympathize somewhat with the citizens of Riverside in terms of their concern with the ever-growing pollution. He states in one article that a proposed DHL project near a joint military base would cause pollution to the area and harm the residents around the base. He also is in favor toll-road proposals that are aimed at raising money to reduce pollution on the roads and cut down on traffic. Although he does share some similar concerns with citizens about pollution, he does not see eye to eye with all proposals that center around pollution reduction. In a 2006 article he notes that he is skeptical about a proposal that would ban large semi-trucks from the highway during the day. He states that he would need to see evidence that this proposal would truly improve economic and environmental well-being. The only other attributed statement he has is about air quality. Buster questions a federal proposal to send power lines into the forest around Riverside County. Buster appears to have a genuine gripe about the environmental study in that it fails to mention the harmful consequences on air quality that a large power line might have in the forest area.
An example of his extreme misrepresentation of the issues with “pollution”, “particulates”, “air quality” and “diesel” is how many times he is mentioned in all articles in contrast to how many of the issues mainly affecting Latino communities are represented. In one of the databases titled the Buster Proquest Articles, running a word search of his name produces over ninety-three tags, with a majority of the mentions an attributed statement from him. In contrast, in running a search of all four of the words, only two results are produced, many statements or articles citing his failure to comment. This lack of representation by Bob Buster in these issues important to the Latino community is a clear effort by him to avoid these topics. Even in the statements attributed to Bob Buster they are usually in a joint statement with other officials, or in a vague agreement that “something should be done” or that the findings will be noted in the next decision. It seems that over the years, the pattern in Bob Buster’s press is that at first he had some suspicious support from companies planning on developing in his district, and avoiding the accusations. Then over the years he seemed to start responding a bit more to the questions of pollution, particularly in relation to quality of life problems in the neighborhoods, but it seems that it may be out of the increased pressure for him to respond as he only did so when he seemed the most pushed. Bob Buster’s silence regarding these four search word strings would not be so noticeable if there was not so much news about the particulates and diesel pollutions regarding Riverside districts in the last years. However, he does seem to support creating more jobs for the unemployed as well as rent control for cheap housing, so that they cannot be taken advantage of. While this does help many of the members of his districts, he failed to pay attention to the health concerns related to pollution in these areas. His silence is only broken when there seems to be enough pressure in the media, as an example, Buster seemed to respond the most to the pressure from activist Lopez representing the Latino community. He, however, does have a voice when it comes to the issues of housing developments, funding for hockey fields and especially in defending the questions regarding his contributions received from the Western Waste Company and his failure to report them in a legal manner. In relation to this company, and other similar companies, Buster seemed to push for plans that are in the interest of these contributing companies, many of which are bad for the environment and for the citizens of the district he represents. The pattern that should be further looked into is when Bob Buster started responding and supporting the measures regarding pollution and environment and in correlation with which businesses he is supporting or that are supporting him.
Total number of articles in which official is represented at least once as an attributed source: 242
Time span between first and last attributed statement by the official (1996-2011).
RESEARCHERS: Griffin Maloon & Katheryn Roberts
SPREADSHEET: Buster Set #1
KEYWORDS: “redevelopment” “developer” “real estate development” “growth”
SYNOPSIS: As the 1st District Supervisor of Riverside County, Bob Buster undoubtedly faces a wide range of community issues that must be tackled. It was imperative for our team to analyze Buster’s rhetoric regarding a list of key terms, which can be found in our data spreadsheet. As we reviewed his remarks, it quickly became apparent to us that Buster freely covers some issues in the press, while others are passed over. By analyzing the commentary Buster offers, or otherwise does not, we can further understand his role as District Supervisor and the impact he may have on further development in Riverside County.
Since 1994, newspaper articles have covered Bob Buster’s commentary on issues regarding development. He’s maintained a very strict and persistent view that the county’s infrastructure should not be ignored, urging the community to push for greater inspection of the pipes that lay beneath many homes throughout the county. Buster makes a plethora of comments regarding overdevelopment in some areas, where ultimately it can be a fire hazard. He is quoted as saying, “those homes should have never been built,” in response to a line of houses built along the Santa Rosa Plateau. Although many other county officials are tentative to comment on development and real-estate development within Riverside County, it is apparent through our team’s data-mining that Bob Buster is adamant and opinionated. He is ready to speak about the mistakes that have been made in regards to development in the area and urges for change.
When covering the issue of growth, Bob Buster is a little more hesitant to make commentary to the press. Through the quotes our team did collect, it is clear that Buster makes many references to a down economy and the recession as problems throughout the county. He acknowledges the growth of an immigrant population within the county and seems to be sincerely interested in sparking the economy and creating more jobs. He is interested in commercializing many areas throughout Riverside County in hopes of stimulating job growth. It is our feeling that Bob Buster’s lack of public commentary on this issue stems from the difficulty of overcoming a recession while still maintaining the community. Although commercialization of Riverside might bring about more long-term problems for the area, it is clear that Bob Buster believes it will create jobs. The growth may be harmful for the future of Riverside County, but Bob Buster knows he must do what he can to stimulate the economy while he still maintains his position as 1st District Supervisor.
RESEARCHERS: Heather Parks & Camellia Sarmadi