Monthly Archives: September 2013

    The same problem I had with Chas Kelley and Wendy McCammack is that it takes awhile for Google to catch up to new events. Google rewards longstanding content, so older information about these two candidates, who have long been in the public eye, is delivered before the newer content.  Candidates should either keep a continuous web presence (like Rikke Van Johnson), or at least start earlier in the cycle.


    Phone: 909-648-3506

    Mailing address from website: 5066 N. Varsity Avenue,

    San Bernardino, CA 92407

    I said last week that I couldn’t find Wendy McCammack for Mayor’s social media sites, but I have corrected that post.  Here is Wendy McCammack’s Mayoral Facebook Page. 



    Address: 396 W Highland Ave., San Bernardino, CA.

    Phone number: 909-886-8677





    According to the Sun today, the Valente Duran Letter is again a campaign topic. I was asked on Facebook if I had a copy of the letter.

    When I was a Deputy City Attorney for the City of San Bernardino, I had to review every mobilehome notice of violation before they were issued. Long-time readers of this blog will remember that I was hired about a month after the City’s closure of the Cypress Inn Mobilehome Park and the Valente Duran letter.

    What does the Valente Duran letter actually say?  For some reason it is not available on anywhere on the web that is searchable by Google, at least the “original letter.”  There were two letters, one in English and one in Spanish.

    However, the English version is available on Laserfiche, the City of San Bernardino’s online records system. It was part of a handout to the Mayor and Common Council entered into the City’s record on April 15, 2002 by Gil Navarro, at public comments, and received by then-City Clerk Rachel Clark.

    The letter is undated, but refers to attachments dated March 18, 2002. The letter is addressed to Paul Smith, Chief of the Intake Division of the United States Department of HUD, California State Office.  The letter says (the all caps are in the original):


    The first thing attached to MAPA’s letter to HUD is the Valente Duran Letter.  This is the English Duran letter:

    If you don’t like to click through to other documents, here is a transcription of what the Valente Duran letter says:

    [Seal of the City of San Bernardino]


    James F. Penman

    City Attorney

    Mr. Valente Duran

    c/o EZ-8 Motel, Room 237-238
    1750 S. Waterman
    San Bernardino, California  92408

    Re: Cypress Inn Trailer Park

    Dear Mr. Duran:

    I read in the paper yesterday a statement attributed to you, “In Mexico, they treat us better
    than here.”
    The City of San Bernardino, out of concern for the safety of you and your family, evacuated
    you and your family on Thursday, December 14, 2000 from Cypress inn Trailer Park to the EZ-8 Motel.
    Our Fire Department Inspectors believe you and your family were living in a situation that                                  could result in serious injury or even death, due to the condition of the park and your mobile home.

           The people of the City of San Bernardino are presently paying for two rooms at the motel for
    you and your family and are reimbursing the Salvation Army for providing you and your family with  daily meals.

            We intend to continue providing you this assistance for the remainder of the two week period that you were informed of when the evacuation first occurred.

            In addition, as you have also previously been advised, the people of the City of San Bernardino through the City’s Economic Development Agency, is prepared to assist you and your family in obtaining more permanent housing by paying your first month’s rent and a security deposit at a residence that meets fire and building code standards.

             I do not know if the comment attributed to you in the newspaper is correct or not. If it is correct, I understand and respect your feelings for what I assume is your native country.

    300 NORTH “D” STREET •SAN BERNARDINO. CA 92418-0001 • (909) 384-5355 • Fax (909) 384-5238
    [End Page 1]
    [Beginning Page 2]
    Mr. Valente Duran
    Re: Cypress Inn Trailer Park                                                                                                        Page 2

    However, I want you to know that the comment attributed to you in Tuesday’s paper was
    perceived as a criticism by you of the effort and funds that the people of the City of San Bernardino                        are providing for you and and your family.  We do not believe the criticism of our efforts is justified.

            The people of this City have no desire to deprive you or your family of what you may believe                   would be better treatment by the government of Mexico.  Therefore, in substitution for the housing,                      food, and other assistance the City of San Bernardino is voluntarily providing, we want to give you                         the option of continuing to receive this assistance or accepting our offer to arrange and pay for transportation for you and your family, one way, to Mexico.

               This alternative offer is conditioned upon your signing a release for the City of San

                If you choose not to accept this alternative offer the people of the City of San Bernardino will                      continue to assist you in the manner and for the time previously indicated.



                                                                                     JAMES F. PENMAN                                                                                     City Attorney


    cc:         Mayor Judith Valles

    City Councilmembers


    JFP/js [DURAN.LTR]


    [End Valente Duran Letter]

    As I stated, I was not at the City of San Bernardino at the time the letter was created and delivered.  I was still the Staff Attorney at Legal Aid Society of San Bernardino, Inc..

    A little context for the letter.  In 2000, there was a battle between the City Attorney, his Council allies and the forces of then-Mayor Judith Valles regarding Measure M, which was to pass a new charter for the City of San Bernardino.  Among the things that Measure M was going to do is make the City Attorney elected versus appointed.  Measure M was defeated by the voters. Measure M was drafted by a charter commission appointed by the Mayor and Common Council, and it was chaired by Jim Morris, the son of then-Judge Patrick Morris, and future chief of staff to now-Mayor Patrick J. Morris.

    The aftermath of the Valente Duran apparently lives on today. The reactions were immediate as well.

    According to an article by Stephen Wall in the Sun that is included in the backup for the January 8, 2001 Mayor and Common Council Meeting, the quote from Valente Duran appeared in the Sun on December 19, 2000.  That would mean the quote was probably on December 18, 2000.

    San Bernardino Mayor and Common Council Resolution Number 2001-007 was passed by the Mayor and Common Council by a vote of 5-2 on January 8, 2001.  The title of Resolution Number 2001-007 is “A Resolution of the Mayor and Common Council of the City of San Bernardino to Censure the City Attorney for Unauthorized and Insensitive Conduct.” The votes for the Resolution were Esther Estrada, Susan Lien, Gordon McGinnis, Frank Schnetz, and Joe Suarez. Voting against the Resolution were Betty Dean Anderson and Wendy McCammack.  It was also signed by Mayor Judith Valles.  The “approved as to form and content” is unsigned.

    A slightly different version of the Duran Letter is attached to Resolution 2001-007 as Exhibit “A.”  This version of the Valente Duran Letter is time and date stamped by “Common Council Office City of San Bernardino” on “00 Dec 20 P.M. 5:21”

    At the same time, the Council repealed a 1984 ordinance regarding the need for City Attorney approval prior to hiring outside attorneys.  That issue was later resolved, I believe, with a Charter amendment, but had been a long-simmering issue between the Mayor and Common Council and the City Attorney’s Office, which dated back to Holcomb and Ralph Prince fights.

    Here are the minutes of that discussion:

    SPECIAL COUNSEL SERVICES. (Discussed later in the
    meeting – page 25)  . . .

    Council Member Estrada stated that she would like to discuss an item that arose subsequent to the posting
    of the agenda, which was related to a comment made in the newspaper by representatives of
    the Mexican American Political Association (MAPA) that they were going
    to request that the United States Department of Justice investigate what they believe to
    be a violation of civil rights of residents of the Cypress Inn Mobile Home Park. City Attorney
    Penman advised that the law requires that two- thirds of the Council vote that
    the matter arose after the agenda was posted; and in fact, the matter arose on December
    20, when the letter (a letter from City Attorney Penman to Mr. Duran, a resident
    of the Cypress Inn Mobile Home Park) was delivered to the Mayor’s Office and
    the Council Office. He noted that there was a newspaper article on Thursday morning,
    and members of the Council and the Mayor were contacted on Wednesday, long
    before the agenda was posted; therefore, in order to cast a vote that the need to take action rose after the agenda was posted, the event would need to have taken place since Friday morning.

    Council Member Estrada pointed out that it was only on the 5th of January
    Friday) that the threat of litigation was made public by MAPA.
    Council Member Estrada made a motion, seconded by Council Member Lien,
    that the matter arose subsequent to the posting of the agenda.
    The motion carried by the following vote: Ayes: Council Members Estrada,
    Lien, McGinnis, Schnetz, Suarez. Nays: Council Members Anderson, McCarnmack.
    Absent: None.

    Council Member Estrada stated that earlier, before going into closed session,
    she had asked the Mayor and Council if they could address the issue in the newspaper
    regarding the controversy over a letter that was directed to a gentleman by the name of
    Mr. Duran. She stated that the reason she wanted to go into closed session was to be
    able to discuss privately the potential liability surrounding this issue. However, she had
    a concern as to whether the Council could receive an unbiased opinion or advice, since
    the person the Council would ask for advice is the very same person that is involved in
    this public controversy. She also stated that she did not think it would be fair to put a
    burden on the employees of the City Attorney’s Office by placing them in a
    situation where they could be asked to produce information that the Council might need on
    this matter. Ms. Estrada advised that this is very clearly the type of situation, in
    her opinion, where the City Attorney comes into conflict–the Conunon Council
    needs legal advice on a matter in which the City Attorney
    is involved. Council Member Estrada continued by explaining her concerns
    relative to Chapter 2.20 of the San Bernardino Municipal Code, which states that
    the City Attorney must approve any outside counsel that the Mayor and Council would
    desire to hire. She pointed out that the original City Charter clearly gave the Mayor
    and Council authority to hire outside counsel, when needed. However, 15 to 16 years
    ago the Municipal Code was changed, and Chapter 2.20 was approved. She stated that
    it was her opinion that this chapter of the code needs to
    be addressed. At this time, Ms. Estrada presented a draft ordinance she
    had prepared rescinding Municipal Code Chapter 2.20 and asked City Clerk Clark for her
    help in finalizing it for Council approval. She stated that it was her understanding that
    in order for the Council to take this action on an ordinance, that there has to be
    something equal or higher replacing it, and it was also her understanding that what was contained
    in the charter already gives that authority to the Mayor and Council. She also
    understood that there must be 5 to 7 days before the second reading; therefore, if
    the ordinance received first reading today, this meeting could be continued to the
    following Monday,and the Council could act on the second reading at
    that time.

    Discussion ensued regarding the wording of the ordinance, the use of the word
    rescinded” versus “repealed,” and the fact that it must be approved as to form and
    legal content by the City Attorney’s Office.

    City Attorney Penman advised that should the City be sued over the letter
    he sent to Mr. Duran, the City Attorney’s Office would automatically recuse
    itself. He stated that it was the opinion of prior City Attorney Prince that the only
    thing Chapter 2.20 does is to codify what state law and case law is. He also advised that last
    year an independent evaluation of Section 2.20 was done by Attorney Allen Gresham,
    who also stated that Section 2.20 is merely a codification of the
    current law. Mr. Penman stated that insofar as that section of the City
    Charter which authorizes the Mayor and Council to retain legal counsel as needed–
    as Mr. Gresham’s opinion says, the words “as needed” have been interpreted by
    the courts to mean exactly what is written in Section2.20 of the Municipal
    Code. Mr. Penman contended that repealing Section2.20 would not give the Council authority
    to hire outside counsel.Mr. Penman stated that even though Council
    Member Estrada opposed Measure M, she came out at the same time wanting language put in
    the proposed charter that would do just what she was now proposing. He stated that Ms.
    Estrada has had a problem for years with the decision of the taxpayers to elect the
    City Attorney and to prevent the Mayor and Council from hiring attorneys of
    their own without the permission of the City Attorney. He stated that, in his opinion,
    Measure M was a strong reaffirmation of this policy, and by adopting the
    proposed ordinance the Council was setting the stage, first, for litigation; and secondly, for
    some more onerous civil action.

    Council Member McCammack expressed concern that repealing this section of the Municipal Code would provide an opportunity for
    future Councils to take advantage, possibly leaving the City open to litigation and costing
    the City hundreds of thousands of dollars. She questioned why, if the state bar and
    state law already require that if there is a lawsuit naming Mr. Pemnan, that he
    would automatically have to remove himself, the Council would need to repeal an ordinance that in
    the long run is going to endupcostingthe taxpayers hundreds of thousands of
    dollars. She stated that the issue is that of leaving the
    City open for litigation. Council Member Anderson questioned whether the
    action taken by City Attorney Penman was within his scope of duties as an elected
    official and whether he had violated any protocol, stating that she would hate to see
    the Council changing the Municipal Code every time something comes up
    they don’t agree with.
    Council Member Estrada reiterated that this action had nothing to do with what
    Mr. Penman had or had not done; it had to do with what she sees as a conflict, in that
    the person that would be giving the Council advice in this matter is the same person
    involved in the controversy. She stated that given these facts, it brings everything back
    to this ordinance which, according to Mr. Penman, is meaningless because the state
    statute prevails; and if that is the case, then no one should be opposed to going back to
    the original Charter.
    Mayor Valles pointed out that this has been a topic of discussion and a concern
    for much longer than this recent incident–that it was not something that just came
    up. She added that the timing is such that this may be the time to do it, and she
    believed this was the point Council Member Estrada was trying to
    make. City Attorney Penman expressed his opinion that this action was aimed at
    him personally, stating that it was incredible that a groupof elected officials would take
    an action so strongly against the will of the majority of the people in the city. He
    stated that in his opinion the Council was claiming falsely that the matter arose subsequent
    to the posting of the agenda, thereby denying the public the opportunity to attend one
    of the hearings relative to this ordinance.

    He also reminded the Council that the Charter provides that the City
    Attorney’s office shall prepare all ordinances and resolutions. He noted that if the
    Council did otherwise, the ordinance would be subject to being stricken by the court in a
    writ of mandate proceeding, and he strongly believed a citizen’s group would
    move to bring such an action.

    Council Member Estrada made a motion, seconded by Council Member Lien,that the Mayor and Conunon Council direct the City Attorney’ s Office to prepare an ordinance repealing Chapter 2.20 of the San Bernardino Municipal Code and that said ordinance be brought back to the afternoon session of the
    Council meeting for Council consideration.

    The motion carried by the following vote:
    Ayes: Council Members Estrada, Lien, McGinnis, Schnetz, Suarez. Nays:
    Council Members

    During the announcements in the meeting, the minutes say “Mayor Valles also noted that she would be writing a letter to the Duran family.”

    During the same announcements, the minutes summarize City Attorney Penman’s comments as thanking “the large number of people (127) who called his office offering support and expressing agreement with his letter to Mr. Duran. He stated
    that 125 callers voiced support, while 2 of the callers were opposed to the letter.”

    After the repeal of section 2.20 was put on the agenda, this was the discussion at the January 8, 2001 meeting according to the minutes:

    Council Member Estrada reiterated that she had asked the Mayor and Council
    to allow her to bring an item forward that, in her opinion, arose after the posting of
    the agenda for today’ s meeting. She stated that it was also her opinion that the
    matter arose as the result of an article in the newspaper on Friday, January 5,which stated
    that the Mexican American Political Association ( MAPA) was going to be requesting
    that the United States Department of Justice investigate San Bernardino, and the City
    might find itself in litigation. It was her opinion that since City Attorney Penman is the
    person the Council should go to for legal advice, yet he is also the person involved
    in this controversy, that a conflict existed. She noted that for the past 15 or 16
    years the Municipal Code has contained Chapter 2.20, which basically gives authority to
    the City Attorney relative to approving any request by the Mayor and Council to
    seek outside legal advice, which now places the Council in a situation where there is
    a conflict.

    City Attorney Penman stated that it was his opinion that last summer the Mayor
    and Council wanted to have authority to hire their own attorney, and they brought
    forward to the voters Measure M which, among other things, contained language that
    was suggested by Council Member Estrada, who has long objected to the fact that the
    Council cannot hire their own attorney. He stated that the idea was to make the City
    Attorney appointed by the Mayor and Council so they could hire their own attorneys
    and, in his opinion, get confidential or secret advice. Subsequently, Measure M went
    to the voters and was defeated.

    Mr. Penman advised that when the firm of Gresham, Savage, Nolan & Tilden was
    retained to provide an analysis of Measure M, they also provided an analysis of Charter
    Section 241 which states, “The Mayor and Common Council shall have power and
    authority to employ and engage such legal counsel and services and other assistants,
    as may be necessary and proper for the interest and benefit of the City and the
    inhabitants thereof.” Attorney Allen Gresham stated in his analysis, ” As a public officer, the
    City Attorney is, by law, expected to properly and timely provide the services required
    of the office. Indeed it would be tantamount to a waste of taxpayers funds if ”
    outside” counsel were hired to perform duties which the City Attorney was expected to
    discharge. ” Mr. Penman proceeded to read into the record a column from the editorial page of the San
    Bernardino Sun on November 9, 1987, dealing specifically with this issue. According to Mr.
    Penman, the Council, having failed to do away with the elected City Attorney
    by a Charter amendment, are now trying to sneak it in the back door by bringing
    an item forth that was not placed on the agenda, claiming that the need arose after
    the posting of the agenda. He stated that the letter to Mr. Duran is a ruse being used
    by the Council to get back at the voters, but he sees through the subterfuge.

    Mayor Valles stated that as she has researched what the City has spent in legal fees, she noted
    that the City has hired many, many, many outside attorneys, and some of them have
    cost a bundle, based on some decisions that were, perhaps, not made in the best interest
    of the City. She stated she resented the comment that the only reason this is being
    done is because Measure M failed–that one has nothing to do with the other.

    Council Member Estrada pointed out that she has always supported an elected City Attorney,
    and in fact has always seen Mr. Penman as an ally. She stated that if this ordinance
    is so meaningless, why is it that Mr. Penman is being so defensive and why is
    he willing, as he indicated to her, to expend all his money and efforts to beating this. She
    also stated that this has nothing to do with Measure M–it is about going back to
    what the City Forefathers and those who created the Charter planned–something that
    is in the Charter now.

    Ms. Estrada stated that she wanted those people who support Mr. Penman, as
    she has supported Mr. Penman over the years, to know that this is not personally
    against Mr. Penman–it has to do with the conflict of interest that it presents to
    the office of the City Attorney regardless of who sits in that office. She pointed out that
    it is Mr. Penman who continues to keep Measure M alive, and also noted that we are
    a charter city, not a general law city, and some of the rules that apply to general
    law cities do not apply to us.

    Council Member McCammack spoke in opposition to the proposed
    ordinance, stating that she could not support this item because she must be a more
    responsible elected official with the taxpayers money than what repealing this ordinance
    would allow; and for this reason–fiscal responsibility– she would not
    support this ordinance. She also expressed her opinion that there were underlying reasons
    for this action.

    Discussion on this matter continued at length. It was pointed
    out that no individual Council member could go out and hire an attorney and then bill
    the City for these services–that anytime outside counsel would be retained, it
    would have to be approved by the Council.

    Mayor Valles, putting the matter in historical perspective, noted that Attorney’sopinions appeared on the scene in approximately 1987, yet the charter was approved in 1905. Therefore, up until the 1980s the Mayor and Council had the right to hire outside legal counsel, and she did not believe there was ever
    any record of it being abused. Therefore, she requested that the discussion move “off
    of Measure M and off of making this a personal issue.” She stated that what
    Council Member Estrada wanted to do is rescind or repeal Municipal Code Section 2.20 and go
    back to the original Charter.

    The Mayor reiterated that from 1905 to 1987 this edict of the charter was never abused; however, the City has hired a great deal of outside counsel since the mid ’80s and it has cost the City a bundle. In addition, for any
    additional legal expenditures to be made it has to come before this Mayor and Council and must be voted
    on by all of the Council members, who are here to represent their constituents, while the responsibility of the Mayor is to be the real fiscal watchdog of the City. She noted that Council Member Estrada had given this a great deal of thought, it did not happen overnight, she was talking about this long before Measure M,
    and for people to associate one with the other is a false association.

    Council Member McGinnis stated that when he first became a Council member he asked if the Council could get a second opinion and was told “no.” He stated that he believed there were some issues where he could see no harm in obtaining a second opinion; however, he did not think these opinions should be
    separate from Mr.Penman–he should be included in the process.
    Council Member Schnetz reiterated that it would take a majority vote of the
    Council to hire outside counsel, and if it is less than five votes it can be vetoed by the
    Mayor. He advised that he does not see anything in the charter, which the people
    recently reaffirmed they were overwhelmingly in favor of, that anybody in particular
    has a specific watchdog role-that the closest thing he could see that talks about
    the concept of a watchdog” and whose duty that is, is reference to the Mayor of the
    City, as having the oversight or management of the City, making sure the books are
    kept, making sure all contracts of the City are fulfilled and to bring legal action if
    those contracts are not fulfilled.

    Mr. Schnetz stated that he takes it a little personal that in the City
    Attorney’s comments he portrayed the Council as being something less than honorable and
    that this less than honorable body would defeat or restrict the people’s lawyer.
    He stated that the last time he checked, this body was the people’s body–
    the Mayor was elected by the people, and when he was elected he received nearly 66% of
    the vote of his ward, Council Member Estrada 72 % of her ward, and Council Member Lien over
    70 % o f her ward– that this body is the people’s body. Mr. Schnetz
    noted that there have been numerous Council Members and three or four Mayors, and for
    some reason they all get sideways with the City Attorney. He stated that he did
    not understand it–whether it is the process that the City Attorney uses, or if it is
    the personal attributes of the City Attorney–but he does feel that this particular
    ordinance is something that is not needed, and the rescinding of Chapter 2.20 would be in the
    best interest of the people, and this body was elected by the people.

    Council Member Estrada explained that over the course of all these years, many times Council Members have gone as members of the Council (not for personal counsel) to Mr. Penman and brought up different issues,
    and he has said,I “do not represent you, I represent the people” –and
    this has never been clearly clarified. She noted that the Council members represent the people,
    too. They take an oath and state that they will do the best for the City of San
    Bernardino; not just their own ward. She pointed out that this has been a major problem,
    for if Mr. Penman doesn’t represent the Council, who does?

    Ms. Estrada stated that as the legislative body of this City, the Council is charged with the responsibility of
    creating policy. She pointed out that what Chapter 2.20does, is if the Council seeks another
    opinion because they want to create a policy or whatever, and the City Attorney does
    not agree and does not consent to allowing them the opinion of an outside attorney,
    the Council is strung out and cannot move forward, because they have not received the consent
    to do it.Bottom line,they are the legislative body that is supposed to create the policy
    and the laws for the city, but final decision on whether they can do it or not does
    not rest with them, but with the City Attorney’s office, and she finds that
    a conflict. In her opinion, if the Council members are the policy makers, and they are elected by
    the people they should be able to have the freedom, as the City Fathers saw fit, to follow the
    policy contained in the Charter that gives them this authority.

    City Attorney Penman stated he has never been asked for a second opinion when
    the Mayor and Council’s opinion agreed with the City Attorney’ s opinion.
    The only time they ask for a second opinion is when they disagree, and then what
    they are looking for is not a second opinion, they are looking for a different
    opinion. He reiterated that if a lawsuit is filed against the City because of the letter he wrote
    to Mr.Duran, the City Attorney’s Office would conflict off on that lawsuit as
    they have done in the past, and another attorney would be hired by the Mayor and
    Council. He stated it is a rehash of the issues involved in Measure M, and it looks like the
    issue will be brought back to the people again, because the Council knows their
    ordinance will be subject to a referendum and they will get the opportunity to place it on
    the ballot. He admonished the Council, stating that they were going to cost the City
    more money, for another election, and the public is not going to
    change their minds.

    Lee McConahy, 261 S. Arrowhead , San Bernardino, CA, stated that Charter Section 55 states that the City Attorney shall be the chief legal officer  of the city who shall represent or advise the Mayor and Common Council and City Officers in all manner of law pertaining to the offices. He noted that the key word is “advise.” He stated that he believed the Mayor and Council need to take the advice of the City Attorney, but they also need to be able to seek other opinions. City Clerk Clark provided a full reading of the ordinance into
    the record. Council Member Estrada made a motion, seconded by Council
    Member Lien,that said ordinance be laid over for final adoption.The motion carried by the following vote: Ayes: Council Members Estrada,Lien, McGinnis, Schnetz, Suarez. Nays: Council Members
    Anderson and McCammack.

    Then, the meeting turned to the vote to censure the City Attorney for the Valente Duran letter.  The minutes say:

    Council Member Lien stated she would like the Council to consider an
    item that came up after the posting of the agenda–a resolution to censure the
    City Attorney. She stated that she did not take pleasure in this action; however, the
    letter Mr. Penman wrote to Mr. Duran left her no choice.
    Council Member Lien provided background information, stating that Mr. Duran
    and his family and neighbors were turned out of their homes when the City was forced
    to act, and at that time the City and the conununity reached out to do everything they
    could for these families. Nonetheless, under these very stressful circumstances, Mr.
    Duran lashed out, saying that, “In Mexico they treat us better than here.” Ms. Lien pointed
    out that this kind of statement could have been said by anyone in similar circumstances;
    in fact, the Council hears charges against them at meetings all the time.

    Council Member Lien pointed out how fearful Mr. Duran must have been when he
    received this letter that represented the mighty power of the City. She noted that Mr.
    Duran and his family were here legally–four of his children were born here–
    and many of the Latino community were incensed by the letter, which offered a man
    and his family a one-way ticket to leave the country.

    Ms. Lien stated that this was a throw- back to an all too prevalent attitude that unfortunately still lingers, and there is a lot of history that fuels this type of anger in minorities when these things surface. She questioned what could be more offensive than a public official offering a man and his family a one-way
    ticket to leave the country. She noted that the good people of San Bernardino are fighting
    hard to put this city back on its feet, and the Cypress Inn (where Mr. Duran and his
    family lived) is just one example of the physical blights plaguing our city; however,
    far worse than the blight is the image that the City Attorney now
    casts on our city.

    Council Member Lien stated that the City would not easily
    rid itself of this public disgrace, and if the executive and legislative powers of the
    City didn’t take swift and responsible action, they would become complacent
    accomplices to an act of intolerance. She stated she was outraged, livid,
    furious, and heartbroken for Mr. Duran and his family, but most of all she was heartbroken
    and ashamed for the city. She stated that the Council must act today and should
    not leave the Council Chambers before attempting to do so.

    Council Member Lien made a motion, seconded by Council Member Suarez, that the matter arose subsequent to the posting of the agenda.

    The motion carried by the following vote: Ayes: Council Members Estrada, Lien, McGinnis, Schnetz, Suarez.
    Nays: Council Members Anderson, McCammack. Absent: None.

    Council Member Lien provided a full reading of the resolution for the record.

    Council Member Estrada stated that given on the prior issue she attempted to separate the two matters of the letter to Mr. Duran and Section 2.20 of the Municipal Code, she had not had an opportunity to make public
    statements relative to Mr. Duran’s letter, but she felt she needed to let the people of San Bernardino know why. She explained that over the last three weeks she has been on vacation–a couple of days
    one week and three days the next–and she had no idea this situation was developing until she read the papers and got caught with what had happened over the course of the last three to four weeks, going back to
    December 20.

    Ms.Estrada advised that right before Christmas and right before New Years she had come in and gone through her mail; however, there was not a copy of Mr.Penman’ s letter in her correspondence. Council Member Estrada
    stated that she considered Mr. Penman a very smart individual, but what she did
    not understand is why the letter was ever written. She stated that Mr. Penman, due
    to his legal experience, understands better than any one of the Council members, that everyone residing in this country is guaranteed freedom of speech. She acknowledged that as elected officials they may not like what some people have to say, but this country does guarantee everyone the right
    to free speech.

    Council Member Estrada continued her comments, pointing out
    that as elected officials, they do not have the privilege that the general public
    has–when they speak their words they must be very careful, because they have to make sure
    that at the same time they are protecting the taxpayers of the city and that they
    are not committing the City to face liability that they are not entitled to
    commit the City for.

    Council Member Estrada stated that she, too, was elected
    to represent all the people–not just those she agrees with or that agree with
    her. What this issue has brought to light is that we need to develop guidelines on what
    we can and can’t say publicly. She stated that no resident, legal or otherwise,
    should be treated the way this family had been treated, and she pledged to work to
    make sure that this does not happen again. She asked the community to give the
    City a chance to correct this problem, because we must work together to correct it.

    She also addressed Mr. Penman, stating that she knew in his heart he did not want to do anything that would harm the city, and to please be very careful of what he says and does from this point forward, as
    everyone must be. She addressed her colleagues, stating that they were elected to exercise
    leadership, and they must do what is right for the people of San Bernardino– and that
    includes all ofthe people of San Bernardino.

    Council Member Estrada asked for clarification on the censure, stating that she would like to make sure that
    everybody, including herself, understood in what context it is being used.

    Mayor Valles stated that she thought the language in the censure was very clear; it states a series of principles of the City, and certainly of our country, and the fact that the comments, or the infamous letter, are being
    perceived by many in the community as  divisive, and that she and the Council members, as elected officials, as leaders of this community, must make every effort possible to combat continuing prejudices, bias, and
    discrimination to overcome hostility toward immigrants and heal the wounds of racism,
    bigotry, and other forms of discrimination. She stated she was sure that Mr. Penman
    did not intend his comments to be racist; however, that is how they were being viewed,
    and it is incumbent upon City officials, as the leaders in this community, to make sure
    that it does not take a foothold in this community and that it does not divide us any
    further. She stated that she believed that this was the intent of the censure.

    Mayor Valles stated that she also understood that a resolution must be drafted by
    the City Attorney according to the Charter; however, as she read the Charter it says
    that, “he or she ( City Attorney) shall attend meetings of the City Council, draft
    proposed ordinances and resolutions”; however, it does not indicate exclusivity to the
    writing of a resolution to the City Attorney. She noted that this resolution, obviously,
    could not have been written by the City Attorney.
    City Attorney Penman stated that it has been a mark of pride for him in his 13 1/2
    years as City Attorney to be condemned by a previous City Council, a previous Mayor,
    and a City Administrator. He maintained that the right thing was done in writing the
    letter–that if the same situation should arise next week, he would write another
    letter. He stated that the proposed resolution was filled with inaccurate and untrue

    Mr. Penman stated that he thought it was very unfortunate that the Council
    had just claimed a few minutes ago that the ordinance to repeal Section 2.20 of
    the Municipal Code was not personal, yet it was brought up orally by Council
    Member Estrada, and then afterwards the so-called censure. He stated that the Council
    had no authority to initiate a censure; however, that did not bother the Council, as
    it was already written, printed, and copied.

    Mr. Penman restated his opinion that this was a personal attack–
    that Measure M was a personal attack and this was a continuation of Measure M.
    He ascertained that the letter was not racist– that it was anything but that. and that
    anyone who knows him,knows better than that–and this Council is not qualified to
    make a determination as to whether Jim Penman has done something racially
    inappropriate or not. He challenged them to cast their votes, stating that he would proudly use
    that vote everywhere he goes to say, as he introduces himself, “This is Jim Penman, the man
    who was called a racist by MAPA and the man whom one mayor and
    five council members, obviously in MAPA’s pocket, agreed with MAPA and passed a
    resolution that they had no authority to pass, on an issue that if they were serving the
    public, they would have taken the same stand as the
    Office of the City Attorney. ”

    Council Member Anderson stated that she was not a person who promotes dissention or divisiveness– that she has tried not to do that–and that she was really very hurt that this was the
    point to which the Council had come.

    Council Member Lien made a motion, seconded by Council Member Suarez,
    that said resolution be adopted. ( Note: The vote was taken following additional
    discussion and comments.)
    Council Member McCammack stated that there were inaccuracies in the
    resolution that could come back to haunt the Council in court at another time.
    Mayor Valles asked Mrs. McCammack to point out the inaccuracies.
    Council Member Anderson stated that the Council did not need to be on such a
    fast track to do things that are going to divide this community–that it was going to
    be hard to knit back together. She noted that San Bernardino is on the cusp of
    being developed by a very good development agency, we are on the cusp of doing some
    great things and getting out of this “hole” that we have been in for the last 10-20
    years, and now we’re sitting up here as elected officials going at each other throats.
    She stated she did not like being a part of anything like this; that everyone should back off
    and have a reality check with each other and stop being so divisive and petty. She
    stated that they were all professionals and it was time for them to start acting that way
    and stop doing this to each other. According to Mrs. Anderson. this
    resolution–with one elected official censuring another elected official–was wrong, and
    a reality check was needed.

    Council Member McCammack stated that she believed that the Mayor should at least talk to someone in the City Attorney’s Office to make sure that there was nothing in the resolution that would cause future litigation with suits going on in this City. She again stated that there were inaccuracies, one of
    them being that Code Enforcement did not cause this.

    The Mayor stated that this could be corrected right now. She thought it started with the Fire Marshall, but eventually everyone got into it, including Code Enforcement. Council Member McCamrnack stated that
    the Council should also find out whether Mr. Penman’ s Office was or was not
    authorized to make that offer, since he had been authorized
    to make similar offers to other individuals.

    Mayor Valles stated that she did not believe thatMr. Penman had been authorized to give people passage out of
    this country or even out of California.

    City Attorney Penman advised that the offer made in the letter was within his purview, under those circumstances, based on past Council actions and based on expenditures that he can make out of his own budget. He indicated that this part of the resolution was also inaccurate.
    The following individuals spoke in support of the resolution to censure City
    Attorney Pemnan:
    Attorney Timothy Prince, 290 North “D” Street, San Bernardino, CA.
    Shirley Goodwin, 3715 Camellia Drive, San Bernardino, CA.
    Gail Fry, 7066 Andes Trail, Apple Valley, CA, whose comments centered
    around what she termed “code enforcement raids” and the right of everyone to feel safe
    and secure in their homes.
    Attorney Eloise Gomez Reyes, 290 North “D” Street, Ste. 805, San
    Bernardino, CA, who pointed out that the First Amendment does allow both Mr.
    Duran, in his criticism, and Mr. Penman, as a citizen, the right of free speech;
    however, Mr. Penman’s comments were made not as a private citizen but as
    a representative of the City of San Bernardino.

    Jay Lindberg, 6340 Orange Knoll, San Bernardino,
    CA. Note: City Attorney Penman took exception to several comments made by
    the above speakers.)

    The following individuals spoke in opposition to the resolution to
    censure City Attorney Penman:

    Pam Zander, 597 East 29th Street, SanBernardino,

    James Roe, 325 West Sixth Street, San Bernardino,

    Gary Kirby, 1505 Yardley Street, San Bernardino, CA, who stated that
    he clearly sees this as an attack on Mr. Penman because of his opposition to Measure
    M and a desire to promote victimhood by certain organizations who make their living
    by creating victims and attacking people because of a victimhood

    Dan Walker, Conejo Street, San Bernardino, CA.

    Mayor Valles suggested that before proceeding further, due to the
    conunents made by Council Member McCarnmack and City Attorney Penman, a change should
    be made in the seventh paragraph of the resolution to change the words, “by
    code enforcement actions,” to state, ” because of  health and safety issues.”
    City Attorney Penman noted that the resolution indicated that a copy of the letter
    to Mr. Duran from City Attorney Penman) was attached as Exhibit “A,” yet no copy
    of the letter was attached to his copy of the resolution, and he would want to make sure
    that everyone who reads the resolution is also able to read the letter that he wrote.
    Council Member Lien amended her motion, seconded by Council Member
    Suarez, that said resolution be adopted, as amended in paragraph 7, lines 3 and 4, by
    replacing the words “by code enforcement actions” with the words “because of health
    and safety issues.”
    The motion carried by the following vote: Ayes: Council Members Estrada,
    Lien, McGinnis, Schnetz, Suarez. Nays: Council Members Anderson, McCanunack.
    Absent: None.

    On July 5, 2001, Sixth Ward Councilmember Betty Dean Anderson submitted a Request for Council Action to repeal Resolution 2001-007.  In her memorandum of the same date, Councilmember Anderson stated:

    In January of this year, the city government was still living in the aftermath of what had been a bitter November 2000 special city election.  Resolution No. 2001-007 was adopted hurriedly in this atmosphere.

    The Duran letter is also available online in the backup to the July 9, 2001 agenda item, which was tabled by the same vote.  City Attorney James F. Penman and Gil Navarro both spoke on the item.

    While the issue of the Cypress Inn Mobile Home relocations continued throughout 2001, and the EDA helped rehabilitate the park, the issue lay mostly dormant until the HUD investigation.  An abstract of an article dated December 27, 2001 in the Sun by Joe Nelson states that: HUD “launched an investigation into allegations that San Bernardino violated the Fair Housing Act and civil-rights laws when officials evicted dozens of Latino residents from a squalid mobile home park last year.” The same article says that the HUD complaint was filed on December 21, 2001.  If I recall correctly, the HUD complaint came in to the City Attorney’s Office December 26, 2001.

    On June 17, 2001, a professional services agreement was filed between the City and Lewis D’Amoto (and Joseph Arias in particular) to represent the City.

    HUD continued their investigation until October 2002.  The final report, according to the Sun, said that the City did not discriminate against Latinos in closing Cypress Inn Mobilehome Park.

    I never saw that report, and it is not available in the City’s online records.


    The San Bernardino elections political mail drought continued through the weekend.  Apparently, no one has any money this cycle.  However, upon a visit to Baguette Express at 1689 Kendall Drive, Suite D, San Bernardino, CA 92407, while waiting for my banh mi and spring rolls to be made, I found the first piece of literature I have seen for the San Bernardino City Unified School District election on November 5, 2013.  Here it is, Kaisar Ahmed for San Bernardino School Board handbill.  Here it is:


    Please vote for:
    Education/Experience                                    Goals/Mission
    Retired School Teacher                                   Educate Every Child
    Parent of an Autistic Child                             Effective Teacher Training
    Community Volunteer                                    Communicate with Public
    Team Player                                                      Budget Hawk

    For information, contact at:

    The handbill is simple, and pretty much the other end of the spectrum, for better or worse, from the glossy Eloise Gomez Reyes brochure in the Congressional Primary next year:

    I also found this Facebook page in support of Kaisar Ahmed’s candidacy:

    The qualified candidates for San Bernardino Unified School District Board of Trustees (quoting my earlier post):

    The qualified candidates (elect three) of the San Bernardino Unified School District are Kaisar Ahmed, Sonia Fernandez, Barbara Flores, Abigail M. Medina, Joe Navarro, Judi Penman and Danny Tillman. No candidate statements from Danny Tillman, Joe Navarro, or Sonia Fernandez.  The incumbents are Dr. Flores, Judi Penman and Danny Tillman.

    As of this writing, I am not finding anything online for Sonia Fernandez. She is listed on the ballot as “College Student”

    There is a blog from the last election of incumbent Dr. Barbara Flores:

    Abigail Medina, listed on the ballot as Parent/Businesswoman, has the following information online:


    Address: P.O. Box 145

    Highland CA 92346

    Campaign phone number: (909) 522-9926

    Joe Navarro: No information could be found online at this time. His ballot designation is “No Ballot Designation.”

    Judi Penman: No campaign information could be found online.  Judi Penman is an incumbent, and that is her ballot designation.

    Danny Tillman: No campaign information could be found online.  Danny Tillman is an incumbent, and that is his ballot designation.  Danny Tillman is also running in the June 2014 31st Congressional District primary.  That campaign website can be found here.

    So said future Associate Supreme Court Justice and lawyer Louis Brandeis.  It is the lack of sunlight in the San Bernardino Primary Municipal Election that is disturbing.  While you can go to the City Clerk’s Office to look at particular records, many of the records posted were taken off-line by the San Bernardino City Clerk’s Office.  However, some of them are back up.  They are available in the Requested Folder, the Campaign Statements Public folder or the not-quite-ready-for-prime-time Public Access Portal.

    San Bernardino lacks some institutional memory; most people cannot remember much politically before Ralph Prince was City Attorney or Al Ballard was Mayor. Things have gotten worse as The Sun does not have the same beat reporter from the last election.

    The residents of San Bernardino need to step up and discover the information for themselves.  For example City Clerk Gigi Hanna had this to say in 2011 before the 2011 Primary Municipal Election:

    As the elections officer and record keeper for the City and the public’s main link to its local government, the City Clerk must be committed to ethics, value open government and be an effective administrator

    Further, in a letter to voters dated October 12, 2011, Gigi Hanna said:

    City Clerk is a natural fit for me; I have the experience, education, passion, skills and personality to lead the department, maintain records, and uphold state and federal statutes, determining open meetings and public records. My commitment to open and transparent government did not begin when I decided to run for office, nor will it end November 8.  I have spent 25 years working to makes sure people know what their government is doing, and holding elected officials accountable to those they serve. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism with a minor in political science and my graduate work in Communications focused on public records and open meeting law, key components of the City Clerk’s job.

    Is City Clerk Gigi Hanna making good on the promises of candidate Gigi Hanna?The Public Access Portal listed above appears to be the future home of online filed documents. For documents filed in 2013, it gives these candidates:

    Avila, Rick
    Barrios, Benito
    Brinker, Tobin
    Castro, Richard
    Crawford, Draymond
    Dailey, Casey
    Davis, Carey
    Hanna, Georgeann
    Jenkins, Robert
    Johnson, Rikke
    Jones, Anthony
    Kelley, Chas
    Korner, Matthew
    Lee, Larry
    Longville, John
    Marquez, Virginia
    McCammack, Wendy
    McKenna, David
    Mlynarski, David
    Morris, Pat

    Also, it has these committees:

    Anthony Jones for San Bernardino City Council 2013
    Barrios for City Council 2013
    Business for Better Government
    Casey Dailey for San Bernardino City Council 2013
    Chas Kelley for City Council 2011
    Chas Kelley for Mayor 2013
    Citizens for Accountable City Government
    Committee for Integrity in San Bernardino City Government
    Committee to Elect Draymond Crawford II for Mayor 2013
    Committee to Elect Gigi Hanna City Clerk 2011
    Committee to Elect John Valdivia City Council 2011
    Committee to Elect Virginia Marquez for City Council 2009
    Committee to Re-elect Mayor Pat Morris for Mayor 2009
    Committee to Re-elect Wendy McCammack San Bernardino City Council 2011
    David McKenna for City Attorney 2011
    Davis for Mayor 2013, Carey
    Fred Shorett for City Council 2009
    Friends of Amelia Sanchez-Lopez for San Bernardino City Clerk 2011
    Friends of Brinker for Council 2011
    Friends of Castro for Mayor 2013
    Friends of John Longville City Council 2011
    Friends of Mulvihill for Council 2011
    Friends of Rikke Van Johnson for City Council 2011
    Friends of Tim Prince
    Friends of Wendy McCammack for San Bernardino Mayor 2013
    Henry Nickel for San Bernardino Mayor 2013
    Karmel Roe Your Mayor 4 Prayer 2013
    Larry Lee for City Council 2011
    Matt Korner for Mayor 2013
    Mlynarski for City Council 2011
    Penman for San Bernardino City Attorney 2011
    Rick Avila for Mayor 2013
    Rikke Van Johnson for Mayor 2013
    Robert Jenkins for City Council 2011

    Some of these documents must exist, when they were in the records section of the Clerk’s website, I linked to and quoted them. As your dutiful servant, I clicked on each of these links, and the only thing listed were:

    146090788 Friends of Wendy McCammack for San Bernardino Mayor 2013 09/19/2013 FPPC 497 ( 09/18/2013 ) E-Filing
    146090701 Friends of Wendy McCammack for San Bernardino Mayor 2013 09/19/2013 FPPC 497 ( 09/18/2013 ) E-Filing
    145863638 Committee to Re-elect Wendy McCammack San Bernardino City Council 2011 09/10/2013 FPPC 497 ( 09/09/2013 ) E-Filing
    144829378 Committee to Re-elect Wendy McCammack San Bernardino City Council 2011 07/31/2013 FPPC 460 ( 01/01/2013 to 06/30/2013 ) E-Filing
    146077271 Friends of Wendy McCammack for San Bernardino Mayor 2013 07/31/2013 FPPC 460 ( 01/01/2013 to 06/30/2013 ) Office
    139325234 Committee to Re-elect Wendy McCammack San Bernardino City Council 2011 01/28/2013 FPPC 460 ( 07/01/2012 to 12/31/2012 ) E-Filing


    ling ID Filed By Filing Date Form Covers Period View Filing
    146056522 Penman for San Bernardino City Attorney 2011 09/18/2013 FPPC 497 ( 09/18/2013 ) E-Filing
    146054771 Penman for San Bernardino City Attorney 2011 09/18/2013 FPPC 497 ( 09/17/2013 ) E-Filing
    145863273 Penman for San Bernardino City Attorney 2011 09/10/2013 FPPC 497 ( 09/09/2013 ) E-Filing
    145690525 Penman for San Bernardino City Attorney 2011 09/04/2013 FPPC 497 ( 08/07/2013 ) E-Filing
    144828537 Penman for San Bernardino City Attorney 2011 07/31/2013 FPPC 460 ( 01/01/2013 to 06/30/2013 ) E-Filing
    139325046 Penman for San Bernardino City Attorney 2011 01/28/2013 FPPC 460 ( 07/01/2012 to 12/31/2012 ) E-Filing

    Why are only City Attorney James F. Penman and Council member and Mayoral Candidate Wendy McCammack’s campaign disclosures available online? My educated guess is that they were e-filed, so they were automatically populated, whereas the other filers did it by hand.

    However, that in no way excuses the lack of information within the system by the City Clerk’s Office. For example, elsewhere on the City’s website is the Form 460 filed by Gigi Hanna for 2013 for the period ending June 30, 2013. But it’s not available in the Public Access Portal.

    What did City Clerk Gigi Hanna take in in the first six months? $859 in contributions, three of them made by City Clerk Gigi Hanna (to her committee), and $99 in unitemized donations, presumably from one other person.

    She still has $13,540 owed to herself for a loan of $15,300 made in her campaign.

    She still owes $1,200 on another loan.

    She made a payment of $500 to Reed and Davidson, the Los Angeles law firm that provided the “legal defense of [Gigi Hanna’s] election win.”  She still owes them $29,807.

    She made a payment of $200 to Marty Graham for “voter polling following election.”She still owes him $250 at the end of the period

    She made a payment of $280 for a table purchase at a Rosa Parks Foundation fundraiser at Cal State San Bernardino.

    She also made $224 in unitemized payments during the period.

    Looking back to her July 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012 Form 460,

    Of interest, she received a contribution from Lynda Savage for School Board of $300.  Gigi Hanna paid herself $1160 on her outstanding loan balance of $14,140; and she paid Crown Printers $768 for mailers.

    There are also some campaign statements for office holders found in the same place.  However, they should all exist in one place, online, and they should be posted online for everyone.  Residents should not have to go to City Hall in this day and age to look at campaign public records.

    This is not acceptable within a month of an election, days away from early voting, and in this day and age.  The public should express their displeasure with the state of affairs in the Office of the City Clerk.

    And now, something completely different.  This brochure from 31st Congressional District Candidate Eloise Gomez Reyes arrived yesterday.  The 31st Congressional District of California includes what appears to be all, if not all, of the City of San Bernardino, the City of Redlands, Mentone, Grand Terrace, Loma Linda, Colton, about half of Rialto, some of Fontana, and a lot of Rancho Cucamonga. This is the first brochure received in the mail from any of the declared candidates in this race.

    My first impression of the brochure is that is very professionally done.  Though I have not seen many brochures, fliers or cards yet in the November 5, 2013 San Bernardino Primary Municipal Election, I know that they range from amateur to minimally professional, but you can see that with this brochure that the Eloise Gomez Reyes campaign used paid professionals to assemble the brochure.  That means using professional photographers, professional graphic designers, and they weren’t mailed out of someone’s office. This kind of mailing is very expensive, but might make the difference in a close race.

    This is the type of brochure that can be considered a “Meet the Candidate” mailing.  The brochure is a sturdy, color, gate fold, six page document.  The front features a portrait of Eloise Gomez Reyes and appears to be standing in the field of a park, though I cannot identify the location.  I would presume a park in Colton, south San Bernardino or Rialto.  The title in large red letters is “ELOISE GOMEZ REYES DEMOCRAT FOR CONGRESS.”  The title below or on the portrait is “PUTTING INLAND EMPIRE FAMILIES FIRST” and continues “OPEN HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT ELOISE.”

    I won’t quote the entire document which you can visit by clicking on the link above.  However, in the vein of being a “Meet the Candidate” mailing, under the heading Eloise Gomez Reyes – Daughter of the Inland Empire, it starts “Meet Eloise Gomez Reyes.”

    There are pictures on the second page, including a black and white family photo, a color picture from the 1970s of the candidate graduating, one of her getting married, one of her with Hillary Clinton, another one with her husband, Frank, and their son, and a current photo with her husband.

    The second page features dense text that introduces you to the candidate and why she is running. The next two pages are under the title “Putting Inland Empire Families First.”  The third page (the first of the two previously mentioned) has “Eloise’s Plan to Get Results”  They are:

    “Create jobs right here in the Inland Empire”

    “Prepare our kids to compete for 21st Century jobs”

    “Pass real comprehensive immigration reform”

    “Protect services families depend on”

    “Keep our promises to seniors and veterans”

    The next page details her community service and honors and awards.  Though I have never met her, I have heard her name for years. The last conversation that I had with Roberta Shouse, the Executive Director of Legal Aid Society of San Bernardino, Inc. was regarding Roberta Shouse’s support of Eloise Gomez Reyes’ campaign for Congress. When I was Legal Aid Society of San Bernardino’s staff attorney, I would hear about Eloise Gomez Reyes’ involvement with another Private Attorney Involvement clinic, Inland Empire Latino Lawyers, also known as IELLA. The brochure states that she was the Attorney of the Year for IELLA for 2013, and that she won a California State Bar Pro Bono Award in 2012.

    The brochure urges the reader to “Join Team Eloise Today!” and invites the reader to please compete the attached card, tear off, and mail back or go to  This card asks the reader to give their name, email, address, home number, work number, and cell number.  Four boxes can be checked off, to be a public supporter of Eloise, to host a house party for Eloise, to volunteer for Eloise’s campaign, or to put an Eloise sign in my window or yard.  It also gives space to sign up a friend or family member.

    The back of the brochure (upon which the mailing address if affixed) has a blurb about the 31st Congressional District, including a map:

    California’s 31st Congressional District is located entirely in San Bernardino County and includes all or parts of the communities of Colton, Fontana, Grand Terrace, Loma Linda, Mentone, Rancho Cucamonga, Redlands, Rialto, San Bernardino and Upland.  President Obama won the 31st District with over 57% of the vote in 2012, yet a far-right Republican, Gary Miller, represents the district because no Democrat was able to make the 2012 General Election ballot. Under California’s new open primary system, two Republicans defeated the Democrats in the primary and faced each other in November. The district is one of the most Democratic seats in the nation currently held by a Republican and Geary Miller has been ranked as the most vulnerable member of Congress.

    All true.

    I wrote about what went wrong in the 31st District election for the Democrats in this piece published in 2012.  And, it may happen again given the number of Democrats running in this election should another non-Democrat run in the primary.  Those announced for the June 3, 2014 primary include Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar, former Congressman Joe Baca, Republican Congressman and incumbent Gary Miller and San Bernardino School Board Member Danny Tillman.

    The brochure gives the following contact information for Eloise Gomez Reyes:


    Twitter @EloiseforCongress (which I was unable to locate, even when clicking from her campaign website.


    Phone (909) 332-2020

    Mailing: P.O. Box 11487, San Bernardino, CA 92423

    The San Bernardino Mayoral Primary Election is November 5, 2013.

    Websites, Contact Information and Social Media for San Bernardino Mayoral Candidates in no particular order:


    Henry W. Nickel


    Telephone: (909) 733-6208



    Wendy McCammack




    Physical Address: 396 W Highland Ave., San Bernardino, CA.

    Phone number: 909-886-8677


    Matthew C. Korner




    Phone: (909) 648-2844

    Chas A. Kelley


    Phone: 909-648-3506

    Mailing address from website: 5066 N. Varsity Avenue,

    San Bernardino, CA 92407

    Rikke Van Johnson



    Phone number (from campaign website): (909) 725-1053 ph

    Email (from campaign website):

    Karmel Roe


    Contact Information from Campaign Website

    Address: 1177 North E Street, San Bernardino, CA

    Phone Number: (909) 887-5787


    Concepcion M. Powell




    Carey Davis






    Draymond (Dray) Crawford


    Email (from campaign website):

    Phone (from campaign website): (909) 374-4843


    Richard T. Castro




    Rick P. Avila

    No campaign website found.

    So far nothing has been written on City Attorney James F. “Jim” Penman’s Recall Election campaign, beyond this post.  I strive to remain neutral in these elections; however, I have some observations.

    I have not seen any signs in San Bernardino.  I have not received official campaign literature.  I have not received a fundraising letter from the campaign itself.  I have been informed that there is an October 2nd 2013 fundraiser against the recall.  The flier for the fundraiser has a campaign style sign in the upper right hand corner that says “San Bernardino is Not For Sale NO Recall.

    According to the flier, the fundraiser is cosponsored by former Mayors Judith Valles, Evlyn Wilcox, and Dr. Barbara Flores. Also according to the flier, the honorary co-sponsors are Retired Superior Court Judges Paul Bryant, Stanley W. Hodge, Craig Kamansky, John Martin, and John Wade. The flier says that more honorary co-sponsors are attorneys Joe Arias, Rene Jacober, George Theios, Bradley White, and the law firm of Gresham, Savage, Nolan and Tilden.  More co-sponsors, according to the flier are Sharon Gaitan-Blechinger of the Mexico Cafe, Robert Gastel of Arrowhead Mechanical, Jack Katzman, ABO, Inc., George Kritikos, George’s Burgers, and Jeremy LeClair of The Mug Restaurant. The flier says that it is a partial list.

    In the 2011 election, I said:

    When I was a Deputy City Attorney for the City of San Bernardino, I learned a thing or two about San Bernardino politics.   One was that you shouldn’t bother spending money before Labor Day for a November election.  The second thing I learned is that with more voters using vote by mail (what used to be called absentee voting), candidates have to send direct mail earlier, and last minute hit pieces don’t work as well as they used to do.  Typically, a candidate will send a positive mailer first, particularly if they are not well-known.

    What surprises me now, if there is such a thing left as surprise in modern San Bernardino politics, is that I have not received any mail from City Attorney James F. Penman in this cycle.  The first ballots should arrive in in the second week in October.  I do not recall that there was a working James F. Penman website in the 2011 race.  There is not one now, but I would argue that electronic campaign presence is more important now than in the past.  If you look at the 2011-2012 San Bernardino City Clerk’s race, which was so close, a modern campaign must use all electronic means to contact supporters and voters.

    History shows that City Attorney James F. Penman’s  election margins and votes have gone down since 1995.  That can be attributed to a number factors, including changing of demographics, with some of City Attorney James F. Penman’s core supporters either leaving the City, leaving the area, and sometimes ceasing to exist, either by changing from a supporter to an opponent, or shall we euphemistically say, “pining for the fjords.

    What is the support for the assertion that City Attorney Jim Penman is losing support?

    Here are the results by election:

    19870307 Primary Municipal Election James Frank “Jim” Penman  No data
    Ralph H. Prince  No Data
    19910305 Primary Municipal Election James Frank “Jim” Penman  No Data
    19951107 Primary Municipal Election Jim Penman 9305 72.82 SB Clerk
    Stan Tomlinson 3472 27.17 13,893 ballots cast, 77,185 registered voters
    No Vote Recorded 1116 Not included
    19991102 Primary Municipal Election James Frank “Jim” Penman 7560 100 SBROV
    20031104 Primary Municipal Election Jim Penman 7,999 96.11 SBROV
    Write-In 324 3.89
    20071106 Primary Municipal Election James Frank “Jim” Penman 7,001 51.46 SBROV
    Marianne Milligan 6,557 48.2
    Write-In 47 0.35
    20111108 Primary Municipal Election James Frank “Jim” Penman 6,447 51.72 ROV/Clerk
    David L. McKenna 6,019 48.28
    No Vote Recorded 489 Not included 12,955 ballots cast

    What does this data mean? Though the population has increased from 1990 (164,164) to now (2012 estimate: 213,295), an increase of thirty percent, Jim Penman’s votes have fallen about 30 percent.

    These numbers should be alarming to City Attorney James F. Penman’s campaign.  The 2011 numbers should also be alarming to Jim Penman’s campaign.  The 489 undervotes, spoiled ballots, or unrecognized write-ins had a potential of changing the election.  Again, the 2011-2012 City Clerk elections shows every vote counts.

    Even more alarming are the reported number of valid recall signatures.  Though a signature is not a vote, as there are multiple barriers to voting versus signing a petition, and even though there were allegations of signature fraud, the reported number of valid signatures is 11,855, just over the required 15 percent of registered voters at the time of the circulation of the petition:

    There were 11,855 valid signatures to recall Penman, out of 77,254 registered voters, according to Hanna. That’s 15.3 percent, just over the 15 percent threshold to put a city-wide office on the ballot for a recall.  The Sun, Ryan Hagen, “Penman, two council members to be on San Bernardino recall ballot,” posted at .

    The Certificate of Sufficiency of Recall Petition of City Attorney is attached to Resolution 2013-259 passed 5-0-2 at the September 3, 2013 Mayor and Common Council Meeting . The Certificate states that 11,588 valid signatures to qualify, which is shown as 15 percent of 77,254 registered voters. 18,070 signatures were submitted, 18,070 were verified, of which 11,855 were found valid, and 6,215 were found invalid.

    It can and has been said that 59,184 voters did not validly sign a recall petition, and that the recall only had 267 more valid signatures over the minimum.  However, in the November 8, 2011 election, only 12,955 ballots were cast in total.  11,588 valid signatures were found by the City Clerk.  Even if Mr. Penman equals the number of votes (6,447) he received in that election, there are still 5,141 more signatures to recall Mr. Penman in 2013 than votes for Mr. Penman in 2011.

    Recalls are sufficiently rare in San Bernardino that voters may need to be educated on how to vote.  The Penman campaign must educate voters that they must vote “No” to retain James F. Penman.  That can be confusing to some voters.  However, that information is to my knowledge not available to voters.

    It has been argued that the replacement candidates are not sufficiently attractive to motive voters to the polls.  However, this is not a single-issue election, and the number of races exceeds the 2011 Primary Municipal Election. Further, there were huge negatives to the last two challengers.  The two replacement candidates are both longtime San Bernardino residents, if nothing else. It would be a mistake to underestimate the replacement candidates.

    Should City Attorney James F. Penman wish to finish the term to which he was elected in November 8, 2011, he should be concerned about the decline in votes, the number of valid petitions.  The first ballots will be in the hands of voters in a few weeks, the election will be over in about a month and half. No doubt he is sufficiently concerned, however, we have not seen that concern translate into outreach, including traditional walking precincts, campaign mail, or new media.


    I have written a bit about the San Bernardino City Attorney Recall Election. Longtime readers of this blog know that I was a Deputy City Attorney for the City of San Bernardino from 2001 to 2006, that I have known Tim Prince through my first legal employer, Legal Aid Society of San Bernardino, Incorporated since 1999, and that everything I know about Gary Saenz is here. There was even speculation that I was going to run for the position in the recall race.

    I strive for independence on this site, I vow to remain neutral, and I know that I will be accused of bias in the race no matter what I say or do.  Let it be.

    With that in mind, here is a fundraising email from Tim Prince running for City Attorney. I am not sure I still have any of the email from Tim Prince’s run for Congress in 2008, but I assume I am still in the database from that run, though I did not sign up for it, nor did I give any money to Tim Prince, and I think I was in Joe Baca’s district at the time, so I am pretty sure I did not vote for Tim Prince in 2008. The email address used in this email was my personal account that I have used since 1992 or 1993.

    The email reads:

    San Bernardino is ready for change!
    With 19,000 signatures collected by the recall
    proponents, the recall of the current City Attorney
    easily met the required 11,855 signatures. While
    I am not part of the recall committee, I have
    placed my name on the ballot as a City Attorney
    candidate should Mr. Penman be recalled.
    Because of the recall situation, it will be a very
    short campaign. I need your support. Even
    though the campaign just started, today at
    midnight is the first deadline for reporting
    campaign contributions. Your support would
    mean a great deal to me. Any amount – $10, $25,
    $50, $100 or more – would help give my
    campaign the kick-start it needs. Please click
    here to donate.
    My opponent, who was recruited and funded by
    the recall group, has a bar card, but no local law
    firm with a business license. I am running on my
    own accord and have deep rooted experience in
    municipal law. I run a local successful law firm
    and have been actively representing individuals,
    businesses and local cities in court for over 22
    The November election includes the seats for
    Mayor and City Council, as well as the recall of
    the City Attorney. The citizens of San
    Bernardino have an unprecedented
    opportunity to reshape the future of San
    Bernardino City.
    My election as City Attorney would return the
    office to one of principles, integrity, and sound
    legal advice without political grandstanding.
    I hope I can count on your support!
    Tim Prince
    P.S. Please act now. Log on to and make
    your donation today! Let’s change city government.
    Copyright © 2013 Tim Prince for City Attorney 2013, All rights reserved.
    You are receiving this email because you are a friend to the Tim Prince
    for City Attorney Campaign
    Our mailing address is:
    Tim Prince for City Attorney 2013
    PO Box 66
    San Bernardino, CA 92404
    Add us to your address book
    unsubscribe from this list update subscription preferences
    Paid for by Tim Prince for City Attorney 2013 #1360683

    A few notes about the email.  I am very surprised by this line: “While I am not part of the recall committee, I have
    placed my name on the ballot as a City Attorney candidate should Mr. Penman be recalled.”  That’s about the nicest thing I ever heard Tim Prince say about Jim Penman. Now, he has said nice things about Mr. Penman to me in the past, and I have heard Mr. Penman say nice things about Tim Prince, but the usual relationship has been contentious.  When I first met Tim Prince in 1999, the first thing we spoke about was Jim Penman. When I went to work for the City of San Bernardino in 2001, we talked about Jim Penman.  Seventy-five percent of what we have ever spoken of  is Jim Penman.  Jim Penman is Tim Prince’s white whale. It can be argued that the election of 1987 is writ large in Tim Prince’s life.  On the other hand, Tim Prince has never taken the opportunity to run directly against Jim Penman, with opportunities in 1991, 1995 (though his partner did run in that race), 1999, 2003, 2007 or 2011.  Technically, he is not running against Jim Penman, he is running to replace Jim Penman if Jim Penman is recalled by the voters.

    Jim Penman, however, is not obsessed with Tim Prince.  Tim Prince was mentioned in context, but so were other political characters of the past: Shauna Clark, Jim Morris, and Bob Holcomb being the largest.

    I am not sure that Gary Saenz  has”no local law firm with a business license.”  Perhaps Tim Prince has different, information, but the San Bernardino City Clerk’s online business registration database (which was very hard to search) had two for Gary Saenz:


    Business Name Business Address Owner Name Business Phone Expiration Date STATUS
    GARY D SAENZ 1010 N D ST GARY D SAENZ (909)388-8727 10/31/2013 Active


    I was lamenting that I had not received any campaign material to republish or link, and lo and behold, I received a color door hanger from Mayoral Candidate Carey Davis.

    This site is neutral, there will be no endorsements. As I’ve stated in the past, I’ll post almost anything that I receive, as shown by this Gil Navarro postcard (front and back) published in 2011. The one exception is that this site is non-commercial and non-partisan, which means if I get inundated with day job work, or there is a ton of material coming near election day, I cannot always post everything I receive.  This is not a commentary on the information received.  If you are a candidate, feel free to send me information that you want me to post, if you think it would be helpful.  I am especially interested in information from the 7th and 3rd Ward Recalls (as I do not receive those in the mail), the 1st, 2nd, and 4th Ward Common Council races, which I also don’t receive in the mail.

    Sometimes I will add value to the campaign literature, sometimes I do not. Also, I find campaign email worthy of posting.

    Technically this is not a door hanger. However, it was found near a door, and presumably, the candidate or his cohorts, companions, minions, volunteers, family and/or friends were walking the neighborhood when it was left on September 20, 2013.

    The door hanger says on Side One:




    San Bernardino!
    Carey Davis
    Qualified, Dedicated,
    and has the

    On Side Two:

    Who Is Carey Davis?
    • Trusted and experienced leader with integrity; committed
    to return San Bernardino to financial health.
    • 35 years successful accounting and financial management
    • Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
    • Master’s Business Administration, Cal State San
    Bernardino (CSUSB).
    • Born and raised in San Bernardino; Pacific High School
    class of ’70.
    • Married 40 years, Carey and Johnetta raised their four
    children to serve their families and communities.
    • Local church leader.
    What Is Carey’s Vision?
    • Fix the city’s budget and finances.
    • Work together with public and private resources to develop
    a community-wide plan to revive and upgrade city services
    to keep our community safe, clean and responsive to daily
    and emergency needs.
    • Build a politically stable unified city council focused and
    committed to motivate our community to continually work
    together to successfully implement the city’s plan.
    • Keep citizens informed and involved in building our
    city’s future.
    • Collaborate with our city’s education and business leaders
    to formulate a plan to educate and train a skilled
    • Rebuild our city into a prosperous and industrious
    P.O. Box 23060
    San Bernardino, CA 92406

    (Symbols for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, WordPress, Blogger, and what looks like Twitter again)
    Paid for by CAREY DAVIS FOR MAYOR 2013 Committee • FPPC #1357926


    The second page has a QR code that points to