Tag Archives: San Bernardino

East End Loses Satellite Office for Senator McLeod

From the State Senator:

District Office Consolidation

Dear Neighbor,

In a cost cutting measure to save precious State budget dollars, effective March 1, 2010 the San Bernardino District Office for Senator Gloria Negrete McLeod will be closed and its operations merged with the District Office in Montclair.

Although we will be consolidated in Montclair, please be assured that my staff and I will continue to serve all residents of the 32nd Senate District.

Sign Theft in San Bernardino

 

SAN BERNARDINO

Sign Theft Accusations Made Against Second Ward Candidate

by Sam H. Clauder II

–Eleventh hour political accusations surfaced earlier this week associating Jason Desjardins, a candidate in Tuesday’s election to represent the Second Ward on the San Bernardino City Council, with the alleged Oct. 21 theft of four political yard signs supporting Second Ward Councilman Dennis Baxter and incumbent Mayor Patrick J. Morris.

   A video clip allegedly showing the theft posted on the internet site You Tube, however, was less than fully incriminatory.

   Desjardins and an accomplice allegedly stole the signs from the yard of a home at 308 West 18th Street at the corner of Arrowhead Drive.

   Two eyewitnesses, and a security camera posted at a nearby home, were being used by police to ascertain the identity of the culprits. Accusations were made that it was Desjardins and an associate of his who committed the theft of four yard signs – two promoting Morris and two promoting Baxter, Desjardins’ opposition for the Second Ward seat.

   A determination of the value of the theft has yet to be made.  If the signs are valued at more tan $400, those determined responsible for the thefts could be charged with felonies; if less than $400 they could be charged with misdemeanors.

   Two minutes of the security camera video have been posted on You Tube at http://www.youtube.com/towingpoliticalsigns and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDdEo-mfBMk.

   The theft was witnessed by Charles and Sandy Nolen as they sat on their front porch while reading a political mailer they had just received from Desjardins.

   “We sit out on the porch every night and just watch traffic go by,” said Mrs. Nolen, “and we were reading our mail, which just happened to be a political postcard from Desjardins, so it was easy for us to recognize him.”

   Nolen said she and her husband watched Desjardins and a friend pick the fours signs from the house next door and place all of them the trunk of Desjardins vehicle.

   “We watched them walk to the corner where the signs were.  Then each one of them took two signs, one from Morris and one from Baxter, and put them in the back of Desjardins’ truck.

   They sat around for a minute, then when he saw us on our porch he came to the edge of the lawn and looked at us.

   “We thought he was were campaigning, and was coming over to talk to us, but he stared at us for a minute, and then got kind of nervous, jumped in his truck and took off,” said Nolen.

   “They used to be over there all the time, but they haven’t been back since.”

   Nearby resident Kim Ditton, the Nolen’s daughter-in-law, thinks Desjardins may be using a nearby vacated house at 324 West 18th Street as a campaign headquarters, possibly without permission of the owner.

   Ditton said the house completed foreclosure on Oct. 13, and is set for auction by the Bank of America on November 9.  It was previously owned by Jerry L. and Sonia M. Martin who have been registered to vote at the house for four years.

   “There hasn’t been a payment on the house since July of 2008,” Ditton said. “Neither Desjardins, or the Martins should be there but the bank has just not come and physically locked them out. But they’re there all the time, storing and getting campaign materials.”

   San Bernardino police detectives Rogers and Passo have both interviewed the couple and reviewed the security camera footage and made a tentative identification of Desjardins.

   Baxter filed a complaint and generated a police report which has been forwarded to the district attorney’s office.  Baxter said Morris has indicated he will join in the complaint.

   Police told the Nolen’s they do not know what the district attorney might do with the complaint.

   Attempts by the Sentinel to reach Desjardins on October 26, 27 and 28, by both phone and email were unsuccessful.

San Bernardino Mayors Race, Sentinel Profiles

Since iepolitics.com is down, as a public service I am posting Sam Clauder’s article for the information of readers in the city of San Bernardino.

 

San Bernardino city candidates appeal to voters

compiled and edited by Sam H. Clauder II.

The Sentinel appealed to each of the nine candidates for mayor and city council in the San Bernardino city elections to be held Tuesday, Nov. 3, to provide candidate statements for publication.

City attorney James F. Penman, who is running for mayor; First Ward councilwoman Esther Estrada, Second Ward challenger Jason Desjardins, and Fourth Ward challenger Joe Arnett all declined to respond to the Sentinel’s request.

Following are the candidate statements, and responses to questions posed by the Sentinel, from Mayor Patrick J. Morris, Mayoral challenger Rick Avila, First Ward challenger Virginia Marquez, Second Ward Councilman Dennis Baxter, and Fourth Ward Councilman Fred Shorett.

Patrick J. Morris, Mayor

When I took office 3½ years ago San Bernardino had one of the highest crime rates of any city in the United States. We immediately instituted Operation Phoenix, hiring 40 new police officers, and began cleaning up blighted apartments, houses and neighborhoods that criminals use as a base of operation.

This year’s FBI crime reports show the results: Major crimes in our city are much lower. In fact, our city is the safest it has been in over 20 years. So why am I not happy with a 45 percent drop in the murder rate in these three years?

During my years as a judge I saw the impact of crime on individual victims. Of course I am pleased that the number of people murdered in our city has dropped from 58 in 2005 to 32 in 2008. But that still means that 32 families had their lives torn apart last year by the loss of a loved one. Our crime rate is still far too high.

That’s why we’re adding another 16 new police officers this year. And that’s why we are tearing down crime-ridden apartment complexes and degraded buildings and replacing them with new single-family homes and senior citizen housing. And that’s why we’re continuing to expand the Operation Phoenix program that has produced such a drop in crime already.

This year, after years of falling behind the taggers who paint their initials and gang logos all over public and private property, our new professional graffiti task force (SB TAAG) has dramatically reduced this blight. When residents call our hot line (384-5250) to report graffiti in their neighborhoods, the average time for a city crew to clean it up has dropped from 25 days last January to just one day now.

I ‘m proud that we’ve taken San Bernardino out of the ranks of the highest-crime cities in the country. I was honored when the White House asked me to come to Washington in August to share the secrets of our success with other officials from around the nation.

But we still have an above-average crime rate. There is plenty of room for improvement.

I earnestly ask for your vote to continue the work we’ve started. I won’t be satisfied until we have made a lot more progress. You shouldn’t be either.

Q: How do you respond to the accusations you tried to cover up the misbehavior of a director of Operation Phoenix after he was accused of molesting some of the children ion the program?

A: I am more than a little taken aback by the question. I have never been accused of “covering up” the behavior of Mike Miller. The only person who may have made such a patently false accusation is my campaign opponent Jim Penman or his alter-ego Wendy McCammack.

Actually, a response to this inflammatory accusation is not needed because not only is it ridiculously untrue, the falsity and absurdity of the accusation are made clear by the publicly available facts that have been known since the investigation of Mike Miller’s conduct was completed by the police department and district attorney.

Mike Miller’s alleged molestation was first reported by the child victim to a child protective services (CPS) worker on Tuesday, July 1, 2008. CPS immediately reported the matter to the San Bernardino Police Department.

I first learned of Mike Miller’s alleged molestation by a phone call from the chief of police on Wednesday, July 2, 2008, after the police had begun their investigation and after they were already seeking to take Mike Miller into custody. Mike Miller was apprehended and jailed by Friday morning where he has been ever since.

During the subsequent investigation of the criminal charges against Mike Miller by the police and the district attorney, it was revealed by Mike Miller’s supervisors in the parks & recreation department that Mr. Miller had been under scrutiny and was potentially going to be disciplined by the department director for inappropriate workplace behavior.

Mr. Miller’s workplace behavior, while poor in judgment, had nothing to do with, nor any connection to, Mr. Miller’s alleged child molestation. There has never been any evidence that anyone in the city had knowledge of Mr. Miller’s alleged child molestation until it was first reported to the police by CPS.

These facts are all clearly laid out in the police department reports, the district attorney’s investigation, and a separate outside personnel investigation conducted by the city’s human resources department.

Sadly, political opponents have attempted to insinuate that maybe Mike Miller’s workplace misbehavior, known by his supervisors in the parks & recreation Department, was connected to his alleged criminal conduct.

After thorough investigation by the police, district attorney, and a separate outside investigator, there is no evidence that any of Mr. Miller’s known workplace behavior was connected to his criminal behavior, or even hinted at it. All of this information was provided to the city council in closed session in excruciating detail.

As an aside, no one in the mayor’s office was aware of Mr. Miller’s workplace misconduct, nor should we have been. There are workplace behavior issues that go on day-in-and-day out in city government organizations that get addressed by the city manager and department heads.

That is their job, that’s what they are hired to do. The mayor’s office and council members are not involved in such matters until either there is some action needed by the mayor and council or the matter has been handled and the city manager is reporting the results.

Finally, just to clarify what appears to be misinformation, Mike Miller was not “a director of Operation Phoenix.” He was a 10-year employee of the parks & recreation department, who was assigned to manage the department’s community center at 16th and Sierra Way.

Operation Phoenix has never had a “director.” The only person who was referred to as a “director” of Operation Phoenix was former code enforcement director Glenn Baude. It was a self-applied designation. There has never been such a position or title, nor any such function created.

Operation Phoenix is a multi-agency public safety initiative that helps to integrate and coordinate the separate actions of several dozen public and private agencies and organizations to make their separate actions stronger, more effective, and more efficient. The result is improved outcomes for each participant and thus improved public safety for San Bernardino.

From its inception, Operation Phoenix’s coordination and collaboration has been shepherded by Kent Paxton from the mayor’s office. Glenn Baude, as code enforcement director, participated in Operation Phoenix by virtue of the code enforcement department’s involvement in Operation Phoenix. Similarly, Mike Miller participated in Operation Phoenix by virtue of the parks & recreation Department’s involvement in Operation Phoenix.

There are dozens of other people and agencies who also participate in the coordination and collaboration created by Operation Phoenix, including many city and county employees that are representing their agencies. By partnering in the Operation Phoenix collaborative, these participants are not “employees” or “agents” of Operation Phoenix. They participate because their department, agency or organization has determined such participation is in the self-interest of that department, agency or organization because it can achieve better outcomes by being an Operation Phoenix partner.

Q: What more can you do to maintain civility and order during council meetings?

A: Council meetings become uncivil due to the individual actions of elected officials. I control the meetings of the mayor and council not by force and gavel, but by discussion and persuasion.

Gaveling people down, ordering elected officials out of the room, or other extreme measures should only be reserved for dire emergencies such as public safety, because they are an anathema to our democratic form of government.

As to how one can control the individual uncivil decorum of a council person or city attorney, only the council, acting as a whole, has the power to censure these elected officials or to adopt rules that would help to control their unruly behavior. I have continually urged council members to bring such actions forward.

But even the best set of rules cannot prevent individual uncivil behavior. Ultimately, each elected official must be held personally accountable for his or her own uncivil behavior. And as the courts and laws of our nation provide for, in a democracy, only the electorate can hold elected officials accountable for their uncivil or unruly behavior.

I have again and again attempted to educate our city’s electorate on the damaging effects of uncivil behavior by some council members and the city attorney, and I will continue to speak out regularly on this issue.

Rick Avila, Mayoral Challenger

My name is Rick Avila and I am a candidate running for mayor of San Bernardino. I am a San Bernardino hometown boy of 46 years. My family has generations who reside in the city of San Bernardino.

Being born and raised in the City of San Bernardino, I have experienced many changes within the city. I have seen many restaurants, small family stores, The Central City Mall and little businesses go under because of the carelessness of San Bernardino City Hall. I would like to see the longtime business owners continue to provide our city with their best service. The community of San Bernardino needs to take back our city.

When I become Mayor of San Bernardino, I will oversee the issues that have been long time waiting for attention and/or improvement. These include, San Bernardino International Airport, San Bernardino Natural Water Resource, city refuse department, freeway frontage property, city streets, youth sports complex, city parks and other issues that arise during the time of my four year term.

I will take back the city and add more patrol on the streets, by placing uniformed officers on constant surveillance around graffiti hot spots and graffiti ridden areas 24 hours a day. I also want to install surveillance cameras in strategic areas that could provide live video to patrol cars, cameras that can dispatch live text messages to patrol officers after detecting possible graffiti.

We can eliminate and/or keep graffiti to a minimum if we get to the root of the problem. The children within the city who have the most time on their hands need to be placed in programs like sports of all types, including, baseball, football, soccer, basketball and softball. We also need to create extracurricular activity programs, like arts, music, drama classes etc. The children won’t have the time to get themselves in trouble and when they grow up and mature, they will have a more clear and positive attitude toward the city they live in.

There is an existing law to hold parents responsible for their children’s actions and unacceptable behavior under 18 years of age. As mayor, I would like to see this law enforced and maintained. I would make parents responsible for maintaining their child’s enrollment into these activities.

Enable the building of a better city. I respectfully request your vote on November 3, 2009.

Q: How will you provide the leadership the city needs without having the experience in government which both of your opponents have?

A: We already know the political experience doesn’t work. This is what makes me the better candidate.

I have a business mind. I have been running a business for over 25 years. With a business there is no second guessing.

Q: What more can you do to maintain civility and order during council meetings?

I would minimize the time for city attorney rebuttals to three minutes. I don’t think it’s fair for the city attorney to have unlimited time for rebuttal, or to answer any other political questions.

The public only gets three minutes. If you minimize speaking to three minutes for the city attorney for rebuttal or follow-up questions, the council meeting will end at a respectable time.

In other words the meeting would continue without being stalled or becoming stagnant.

Virginia Marquez, First Ward Challenger

My name is Virginia Marquez and I am a candidate for the First Ward city council position in San Bernardino.

As a lifelong resident of San Bernardino, I am proud to have been raised in the First Ward, along the Mount Vernon Corridor. My father worked for Santa Fe Railroad and retired after nearly 40 years.

The daughter of a working-class family, I was taught by my parents the value of hard work and giving back to our community.

I have successfully completed my career, with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, which spanned 30 years. And for the last 10 years, I have worked with the Division of Addiction and Recovery Services, primarily with women who were in treatment and recovery, in the capacity of a Parole Agent II-Specialist. This assignment has inspired me to be more humble and definitely give back to my community.

There are so many things wrong with our city. And it starts with our elected officials.

The current city council will have to undergo an "extreme makeover" if we would like to see San Bernardino succeed and move toward a new direction. It is crucial to restore civility and respect in order to encourage and stimulate economic growth in our city.

At this time, we have a toxic, dysfunctional, and divisive city council, where members are frequently involved in fighting and disrespecting each other during council meetings. This behavior is unacceptable, and it needs to stop, immediately!

Our elected officials should be the epitome of “Public Service,” representing all of the constituents of San Bernardino, creating policies based on facts and research, stimulating a healthy dialogue among themselves, and voting for the best interest of our city. The council has recently been reactive, rather than proactive.

Our elected officials also need to be creative, independent, possess positive energy, and have the ability to respond to their constituents’ issues and concerns in a timely manner. We need to reach out and build partnership within our city. At the end of the day, you, the residents are important to me.

I am retired and have the quality time to serve the city of San Bernardino with honesty, integrity, and transparency. Being your council member for the First Ward will be my only job.

We need change, we need leadership, and we need it now! We deserve better!

Q: How will you provide the leadership the city needs without having the experience in government which your opponent has?

A: I retired after 30 years in the Department for Corrections, 15 years of which included supervisorial, managerial and administrative experience as high as being an acting associate warden for months at a time. So I know how to delegate responsibility and build bridges and I know how to work with various people from diversified backgrounds including inmates, their families, and the general public.

Q: What more can you do to maintain civility and order during council meetings?

A: I will continually remind my colleagues and fellow elected officials we need to come back and refocus because we are there to represent the constituents of our city and not ourselves.

Dennis Baxter, Second Ward Councilman

Four years ago you elected me as your new representative on the city council, and many of you told me your top priority was to reduce the crime that had driven San Bernardino to #16 on the FBI’s national list of high-crime cities.

Thanks to our outstanding police officers (including the 40 new cops we hired with money you approved under Measure Z) and a sound plan, we have seen a dramatic drop in crime over the last three years. FBI crime statistics show auto thefts, for example, are down by 32%. Murders have dropped an astounding 45% in the same period.

But remember, we started from one of the worst positions of any city in the country. Even this reduction has not brought us down to the low-crime status we want. So we’re adding 16 more police officers with money we won through a federal grant. (I chair the City Council Grants Committee). And we are expanding programs that involve young people in healthy and productive activities instead of gangs.

Now the crowd that ran the city into the ground a few years ago is trying to get back in power. They point to the new senior citizens housing recently approved by the city council and say it will bring in criminal elements.

The fact is, senior citizens have extremely low crime rates. Eliminating blighted apartments and building new senior housing and single-family homes is a key part of our successful strategy against the criminals.

There are other problems we share with almost all communities during this terrible economic downturn. And, even as we work to further reduce crime, we have to focus as well on bringing in the jobs that generate the money to improve our neighborhoods.

I would appreciate your vote to continue working for you. We’re finally headed in the right direction, but we still have quite a way to go.

Q: What actions do you plan to take to attract more industry and more jobs to San Bernardino, and to improve the local economy in general?

A: We need to emphasize our federal enterprise zones in which larger businesses employing 50, 100, or more employees can take advantage of ‘tax credits" for each job they create.

Also I have pushed for a one-stop-shop through our economic development agency whereby new and existing businesses can apply for business licenses, permits and grants or low-interest loans at one location, thus making our city more "business friendly" and cutting red tape.

Q: What more can you do to maintain civility and order during council meetings?

A: Our city council must focus on true parliamentary procedure and give our council parliamentarian authority to stop non-productive diatribes that frankly embarrass the city as a whole.

A review of the Council’s rules of engagement with one another must be examined as we cannot condone poor behavior and total disrespect for others. A motion on the floor to "take a recess" may have to be utilized.

Displaying common courtesy, by example, clearly does not work with some people, sad to say.

Fred Shorett, Fourth Ward Councilman

In this election season there is a clear path forward. We can improve San Bernardino and solve a myriad of real social issues if we focus on the right thing… the economic health of our city.

San Bernardino is in the difficult financial situation it is today because it has failed to follow responsible budget procedures. Past mayors and councils never developed a responsible reserve fund. They spent money as fast as it came into the city.

I have seen council people try to pay for firefighter positions (an on-going expense) using reserves (a one time revenue). I have seen council people demand we build a community center without first identifying where the money for staffing would come from. These kinds of practices are what have devastated our city’s ability to withstand an economic downturn.

I will be submitting to our city’s legislative review committee a measure to require that all new spending measures identify a revenue source before they can be approved. Furthermore I will demand that we end the practice of using one-time funds for on-going expenses.

San Bernardino has suffered from years of bad behavior at City Hall. Business owners have left our city and new business will not come here until we change the behavior at City Hall.

When the council stops squabbling and presents a united, professional message of support for business, then business will begin to invest in San Bernardino again. The dysfunctional city council here has created a chaotic environment for business investors and red tape downtown has created an unfriendly business environment.

We need to take the long view when making city budgets. A 12 month focus has the council focused reactively to solving short term issues by balancing revenues and expenses. We need a longer budget cycle (two years) that focuses on our city goals and measures the performance of departments and city programs. A longer term focus will help us develop a respectable reserve fund and create metrics to measure the success of programs.

I am an independent voice on the council. I have stood up to the special interests to try and be fiscally responsible. I have a positive vision for the future of our city. I will not allow the old-time negative political tactics’ that have destroyed our city distract me from what is clearly our most important issue – the economic health of our city.

Q: What actions do you plan to take to attract more industry and more jobs to San Bernardino, and to improve the local economy in general?

A: We need to reduce red tape throughout City Hall. Customer service must be our first priority. We must always remember that we are here to serve our citizens and those wishing to do business in our community.

Q: What more can you do to maintain civility and order during council meetings?

As far as civility at city hall is concerned… I believe we should "Do unto others as we would have them do un to us." That is to say… treat your associates, your co-workers and those you serve with respect, dignity and professionalism.

I find it best to not engage with someone that is not acting in a respectful, dignified or professional way. I believe "one should never wrestle with a pig… because you both get dirty and the pig likes it!!"

Civility at city hall and a unified voice will promote certainty. Certainty will create commerce and capital which in turn will create economic stability for our community.