Monthly Archives: May 2012

    I made a Public Records Act request yesterday at the San Bernardino City Clerk’s Office to obtain the canvass of the 1995 City Attorney’s race.  I don’t have access to an digital archives of newspapers, and it bothered me that the newspapers in the 2011 election said that Jim Penman beat Stan Tomlinson by 3 to 1 in 1995 without giving the actual results. In 1995, I was in Santa Clara, so I don’t recall the election at all. Though in trying to find the result before making the CPRA request, I did see that Stan Tomlinson and Ralph Prince both ran for District Attorney (and presumably both lost) of San Bernardino County in 1974, a fact which I had been heretofore unaware.  Anyway, I have the complete results, but I’ll just distill them to the basics (Note: 3 to 1 overstates it):


    19951107 Primary Municipal Election Jim Penman 9305 72.82
    Stan Tomlinson 3472 27.17 13,893 ballots cast, 77,185 registered voters
    No Vote Recorded 1116 Not included

    I was asked (twice)  if I was going to write about the City Clerk’s election contest, but I lacked the time to do it justice either from a legal or political perspective.  Not that it was not interesting, as it was the first election contest (aside from ballot challenges) that I can remember in a long time.  On the other hand, it’s like winning an argument on the Internet.  Even if you win, what do the sides have to show for it?

    I think the problem with the hyper-politicization of San Bernardino politics is that partisans on both sides were acting as if the City Clerk was the key to the whole balance of political power in the City of San Bernardino.  I can understand why each side would not want a City Clerk that was hostile to their perceived interests.  However, the City Clerk is far from the most important elected official in the City.  The job is largely ministerial; the law requires the City Clerk to do certain things without discretion.

    This post has a both a legal and a political bent, so let me start with the legal side.  I have written in the past about blind operators (specifically, in this post dated July 11, 2011):

    I was a file clerk/runner for Milligan and Beswick in San Bernardino over twenty years ago.  Part of my job was to file pleadings with the court.  I became fairly intimate with the building at 351 North Arrowhead Avenue.  In the early 1990s, there were no metal detectors at the court.  You could easily run into the court and then back out.

    I would sometimes get lunch for people in the office from the courthouse cafeteria.   It was run by a blind operator.   I would also sometimes buy snacks from the other blind operator (his sight was only somewhat impaired).  I remember buying popcorn, peanut M&Ms and six ounce Pepsi Colas in bottles (which by the early 1990s were not easy to come by) from the operator located next to the main stairway in the old courthouse.  I recall that he also sold hot dogs of the sort you could find in a movie theater.

    Flash forward to 2012.  I first heard the story you will find bellow a few months ago, but here it is featured in the first Pete Aguilar for Congress mailer (that I have seen, anyway).

    On the front is a picture of Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar standing with his hands in his pockets in front of the San Bernardino County Courthouse at 351 North Arrowhead Avenue in San Bernardino.  The caption says “Pete Aguilar Learned Valuable Lessons in This Building” the bottom says “Learn more about Pete at

    On the second page of the four page flier it says: “PETE AGUILAR. Mayor. Democrat.  Business Owner.”


    The second and third page has a picture of Pete Aguilar talking to three people in what appears to be a cafeteria.  The third page has the following pull quotes from Mayor Pete Aguilar:

    “My FIRST JOB, as a teenager, was bussing tables and washing dishes at the San Bernardino County Courthouse Cafeteria.

    “My grandfather, who was legally blind, managed the facility and manned the cash register.  He taught me the values of hard work, playing by the rules and helping others.

    “Washington has lost those values.  Today, our politicians would rather pick fights than solve problems.

    “I’m running for Congress to help small businesses, create jobs and protect Medicare for our seniors.  That’s the change that middle-class families need in Washington.”

    – Pete Aguilar

    I first met Pete Aguilar after he was appointed to the Redlands City Council after the departure of  Susan Peppler, when he went to meet staff.  I was at the Council Meeting at which he was appointed, and I believe I sat either behind him and his wife Alisha and his very young (at the time) son Palmer, or in front of them.  That particular meeting was one of the most interesting I had ever attended, but that’s a post for a different time.  However, it appears we may have had a brush with each other decades earlier in the basement of the San Bernardino County Courthouse.

    The final page is a picture of Pete Aguilar and his family, Palmer, Evan and Alisha.  The text says “Pete Aguilar, Leadership on Your Side” and “Pete Aguilar is a small business owner, Mayor of Redlands and a fourth generation resident of the Inland Empire.  He and his wife Alisha live in Redlands with their sons Evan and Palmer.”



    From the press release on Pete Aguilar for Congress’ website:

    U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein Endorses Pete Aguilar for Congress

    Calls Aguilar ‘Dynamic Leader Who Will Protect Medicare’
    03 May 2012

    U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the first woman elected Senator of California, has endorsed Pete Aguilar for Congress in California’s 31st Congressional District, the Aguilar campaign announced today.

    “Pete Aguilar is the dynamic leader that San Bernardino County needs in Washington, someone who will defend working families, our seniors and the small businesses that are so crucial to California’s future,” Sen. Feinstein said.

    “Pete will protect Medicare and resist efforts to reverse important new health provisions, ensuring that millions of Californians who were dropped from health coverage when they got sick can now stay protected. Pete has shown that he can get things done and will be a valuable addition to the U.S. Congress,” she added.

    Commenting on Feinstein’s endorsement, Pete Aguilar said, “I am very grateful to have the support and encouragement of Senator Feinstein, whose work to reenergize our economy, advocate for infrastructure investments in the Inland Empire, and protect Medicare and Social Security has benefitted citizens in San Bernardino County and throughout our state.”

    Earlier this month, Aguilar pledged to protect Medicare as a member of Congress, noting that the Congressional budget plan drafted by Cong. Paul Ryan could significantly lower Medicare enrollment and raise costs for thousands of future retirees in San Bernardino County.

    Aguilar (D) is a small business owner and Mayor of Redlands. He is a fourth generation resident of the Inland Empire. As Redlands Mayor, Aguilar has led efforts to reduce the city’s budget deficit, establish a reserve fund, equip police with more tools to fight crime and make critical investments in local roads and infrastructure.