City Clerk

    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

    And

    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.

    The City of San Bernardino Charter and Municipal Code sets elections in the City of San Bernardino.  The City holds primaries, and if no one receives a majority in the primary, holds a general election.  The next primary election for the Mayor of San Bernardino, First Ward Council Member, Second Ward Council Member, and Fourth Ward Council Member will be held on November 5, 2013.

    According to the City Clerk’s website, nominations open on Monday July 15, 2013 and close on August 9, 2013. However, if an incumbent does not file within the nomination period, the filing period is extended five days to August 14, 2013.  While City Hall will be closed on August 9, 2013, the City Clerk’s Office will be open.  Last minute filers should call the Clerk’s office for an appointment, presumably before August 9th.

    Mayor Patrick Morris has announced he is not running for reelection, so we may not know until August 14, 2013 the full mayoral field, unless he changes his mind.  Because the nominations have not officially opened, no one is officially running for Mayor, though I believe that some may have filed FPPC Form 501s.  Mayoral candidates need 20-30 signatures of registered voters city-wide, each person running for Council will need the same number, except registered in their respective ward.

    The filing fee for Mayor is $1,788, $12 for Council, which is two percent of the first year’s salary for each office.  In lieu of that filing fee, the candidate can submit a petition containing four registered voters for each dollar of the filing fee.  That is 7,152 signatures for Mayor (city-wide), and 48 for Council members (in their ward).  The first day to circulate the petition is May 31, 2013, 45 days before the nomination period ends.  Once again, City Hall is closed, the Clerk’s Office will be open, make an appointment.

    The last day to file a petition in lieu of the filing fee is July 25, 2013, 15 days before the close of the nomination period.

    The qualifications for Mayor of the City of San Bernardino are to be a qualified elector and resident of the City for at least 30 consecutive days prior to filing nomination papers.  You must be 30 years old.  (The requirements are found in Charter section 50).  Council members have to be a qualified elector and resident of their ward for at least  30 consecutive days before filing nomination papers.  (The requirements for the 1st, 2nd and 4th Wards are in Charter section 13.)

    Action minutes are basically a version of the agenda with information regarding actions taken, with little information about what happened.  The City of San Bernardino keeps action minutes.  This practice appears to have started under Rachel Clark, the former City Clerk, and continued under the current regime of City Clerk Georgeann “Gigi” Hanna.  The minutes of January 23, 2012 (under Rachel Clark are action minutes), but the minutes of January 18, 2012 are not action minutes.  Yet, the March 5, 2012 minutes, under Gigi Hanna’s term, are not action minutes.  However, by March 20, 2012, the minutes are action minutes.

    Here is an example from the draft minutes of the December 3, 2012 Mayor and Common Council Meeting:

    7H. Public Works
    Direct Staff to Prepare Amendments to Existing Agreements with Burrtec and Republic for Waste, Recyclables and Greenwaste Processing
    Council Member Kelley made a motion, seconded by Council Member Marquez, to direct staff to prepare amendments to existing agreements with Burrtec and Republic for a five-year term, with a single five-year extension option for waste, recyclables and greenwaste processing for the Mayor and Common Council’s approval. No vote was taken.
    Council Member McCammack made a substitute motion, seconded by Council Member Valdivia, to direct staff to prepare amendments to existing agreements with Burrtec and Republic for a ten-year term, with five one-year extension options for waste, recyclables and greenwaste processing for the Mayor and Common Council’s approval. The vote was taken following further discussion.
    Joint Regular Meeting Minutes December 3, 2012
    Mayor and Common Council of the City of San Bernardino Page 9 Printed 12/26/2012
    Motion: Direct staff to prepare amendments to existing agreements with Burrtec and Republic for a ten-year term, with five one-year extension options for waste, recyclables and greenwaste processing for the Mayor and Common Council’s approval; and give the City Manager and the City Attorney authorization to begin the commencement date of the two agreements earlier if the needs of the bankruptcy court and the litigation with the County so require. RESULT: VOTE FOR APPROVAL VETOED BY MAYOR MOVER: Wendy J. McCammack, Council Member, Ward 7 SECONDER: John Valdivia, Council Member, Ward 3 AYES: Robert D. Jenkins, John Valdivia, Chas A. Kelley, Wendy J. McCammack NAYS: Virginia Marquez, Fred Shorett, Rikke Van Johnson
    Motion: Direct staff to prepare amendments to existing agreements with Burrtec and Republic for a five-year term, with a single-five-year extension option for waste, recyclables and greenwaste processing for the Mayor and Common Council’s approval; and give the City Manager and the City Attorney authorization to begin the commencement date of the two agreements earlier if the needs of the bankruptcy court and the litigation with the County so require. RESULT: ADOPTED [4 TO 3] MOVER: Fred Shorett, Council Member, Ward 4 SECONDER: Virginia Marquez, Council Member, Ward 1 AYES: Virginia Marquez, Fred Shorett, Chas A. Kelley, Rikke Van Johnson NAYS: Robert D. Jenkins, John Valdivia, Wendy J. McCammack

    Yes, these minutes say what happened and the vote, but they lack any information about the substance of what the council members were discussing.  Just that the “vote was taken following further discussion.  In today’s San Bernardino Sun, attorneys for CalPERS are complaining that they can’t get information about what happened at meetings.  This particular item was contentious, but we cannot get a flavor for what happened by looking at the minutes.  We would have to go to either a secondary source, such as the twitter feeds, if available from journalists, or a newspaper account.  In the alternative, if it is available, we would have to look at the video of the meeting.

    However, as time goes by, the minutes are often the only account of what happened.  Not just the final score, which can be found in an adopted resolution or ordinance or action minutes.  The minutes give important information about the legislative intent of a particular action.  I’m eventually writing a post on the history of the City of San Bernardino’s property maintenance ordinance.  Action minutes would not have given this information:

    Colleen Holthouse, 1123 East 35th Street, asked questions regarding the provisions in the proposed ordinance for recreational vehicles and motor homes.

    Mayor Holcomb explained the existing law with respect to recreational vehicles and stated that the proposed ordinance will not change what is presently in effect. Recreational vehicles
    will be allowed to park on improved surfaces.  Minutes of the Mayor and Common Council Meeting, September 9, 1989.

    This information is interesting, at least mildly, historically because it tells of what the public was interested in regarding the proposed ordinance.  This information is also legally interesting, at least mildly, because it provides some legislative history regarding the adoption of the ordinance, which provides the majority of the current property maintenance ordinance (though there are now prohibitions on parking recreational vehicles that were passed later).

    Thus, action minutes are terrible because they do not accurately reflect what happened at a council meeting, they are more a box score than an account of a game, to use a baseball analogy.  They should be abandoned, and detailed minutes should be taken.

     

    Is it too early to handicap the November 2013 City of San Bernardino Municipal Elections?  Considering the bankruptcy and the whispers of disincorporation, perhaps.  But let’s not let that stop a first look, with no handicapping.

    When we last left the City of San Bernardino Municipal Elections in 2012 (because of the General Election for City Clerk), we had Georgeann “Gigi” Hanna winning a four year term as City Clerk, James F. “Jim” Penman winning a seventh term, Wendy McCammack winning a fourth term in the Seventh Ward, Chas Kelley re-elected to the Fifth Ward, Rikke Van Johnson re-elected to the Sixth Ward, and John Valdivia elected to his first term in the Third Ward, as well as David Kennedy re-elected as City Treasurer.
    What positions are open in November 2013 in the City of San Bernardino Primary Municipal Election?

    Mayor

    First Ward Council

    Second Ward Council

    Fourth Ward Council

     

    As always, there may be a charter amendment initiative consolidated onto the primary election ballot.

    People want to find easy answers as to who is to blame for San Bernardino’s impending bankruptcy filing by looking at partisan affiliation.  First, like a local government in California, the Mayor and Common Council are non-partisan.  Second, the vote was 4-2-1 to file for Chapter 9 Bankruptcy.  By Ward: 1st: Virginia Marquez, For, 2nd: Robert Jenkins, For, 3rd: John Valdivia, Abstain, 4th: Fred Shorett: Against, 5th: Chas A. Kelley, Against, 6th Rikke Van Johnson, For, 7th: Wendy McCammack.  Mayor Patrick J. Morris could have vetoed, but has not.  As far as I know, since people keep wanting to know the political affiliations, to the best of my knowledge, based on an earlier post at the law blog:

    Virginia Marquez: Democrat (For filing Bankruptcy)

    Robert Jenkins: Republican (For)

    John Valdvia: Decline To State (Non-Partisan) (Abstained)

    Fred Shorett: Unknown (Against) [Correction January 14, 2013.  In a post on the San Bernardino Sun website dated January 13, 2013 3:33:11 PM PST, Ryan Hagen’s article “Mayor Morris: San Bernardino may consider ‘revenue enhancements’ but not in immediate future” states:

    Even frequent Morris ally Fred Shorett, who unlike the mayor is a registered Republican, said he opposed any new taxes.

    Chas A. Kelley: Republican (Against)

    Rikke Van Johnson: Democrat (For)

    Wendy McCammack: Republican (For)

    Mayor Patrick J. Morris: Democrat (Did not veto)

    And though he didn’t get a vote, and never gets a vote, but people are always curious about the issue, elected City Attorney James F. Penman was, as of the last election, registered Decline To State.

    What do national politics have to do with this particular decision?  Very little, but that doesn’t stop some of the commentators who want to find a larger narrative to fit this news.

    As for the elected City Clerk and City Treasurer, Georgeann “Gigi” Hanna never disclosed a political party affiliation, and I have no idea what David Kennedy’s political party affiliation is.

     

    Here are today’s searches to this blog, precipitating this post:

     

    mayor tom minor “san bernardino”
    mayor tom minor “san bernardino” democrat
    virginia marquez registered political party
    california 31st district race 2012
    san bernardino city council political affiliations
    san bernadino council political affiliation
    san bernardino city republicans or democrats
    san bernardino mayor patrick morris republican
    mayor of san bernardino, democrat or republican
    san bernardino mayor party
    san berbardino mayor party
    virginia marquez election
    san bernardino city council party affiliation
    james f. penman political party
    wendy mccammack
    are republicans in charge of san benadino, ca?

    I also have no idea what former Mayors Evelyn Wilcox (Update January 14, 2013: in 1985, she was a Republican) or Tom Minor’s political party affiliations are.  At his death, I could not tell you Bob Holcolmb’s political party affiliation (update: however, in 1985, he was a Democrat) .

    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.

    On tomorrow’s Mayor and Common Council agenda is an item certifying the City Clerk’s election pursuant to Charter section 11 and San Bernardino Municipal Code Section 2.56.130(B).

     

    A detailed legal analysis of the recount process in California are on the legal blog.

    Last Updated: February 7, 2012 9:20 PM
    Registration & Turnout
    71,881 Voters
    Vote Count Percent
    Precinct Turnout 12,192 16.96%
    Total 12,192 16.96%
    City Clerk, City of San Bernardino
    170/170 100.00%
    Vote Count Percent
    GEORGEANN ”GIGI” HANNA 6,066 50.01%
    AMELIA SANCHEZ-LOPEZ 6,064 49.99%
    Total 12,130 100.00%

    Gigi Hanna won by a slimmer margin than 50.01 percent, the number was just rounded up from 50.000824402308326 percent of the vote.  By contrast, Amelia Sanchez Lopez received .499917559761674 percent of the vote. In comparison, there were 12,108 votes in the final certified results of the Primary Municipal Election, which means that there were 22 more voters in this election than in the General Municipal Election.

    There was a tie vote in the March 1979 vote for 7th Ward Council in San Bernardino between Robert McBay and the eventual winner, Jack  Strickler.  The vote was tied 1284 to 1284 before the Council broke the tie with a coin flip.

    here was an election contest to the results of the General Election in May 1, 1979 between Ralph Hernandez, Luther Fair and one other candidate for the 3rd Ward seat.  The initial election results were that Fair won, then the official canvass said t that Hernandez won by four votes, then the recount was 793 votes for Hernandez and 790 votes for Fair.  Fair filed an election contest.  Judge Patrick Morris decided that Hernandez received 796 votes, and Fair received 794 votes.  The decision was reversed and remanded by the Fourth District Court of Appeal on March 12, 1981.  After remand, Judge Morris found 791 votes for Hernandez and 783 votes for Fair.  It went to the Fourth District Court of Appeal and the judgement confirming Hernandez’s election was upheld on December 23, 1982.  As far as I can tell, though, Hernandez was sworn in before the first Common Council meeting in June in 1979.

    Today, February 7, 2012  is the last day to turn in ballots for the San Bernardino General (run-off) Municipal Election for City Clerk.

    According to the mail ballot instructions provided with the ballots, voters who have not turned in their ballots can do by personally bringing them to:

    San Bernardino Registrar of Voters

    777 E. Rialto Avenue

    San Bernardino CA 92415

     

    OR

    Our Lady of the Rosary Cathedral

    2525 N. Arrowhead Avenue

    San Bernardino CA 9205  (from  7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on February 7, 2012).

     

    They must be actually received by 8 p.m. by the elections officials at either location to count.
    If you have spoiled your ballot, call the Registrar at (909) 387-3800, and they’ll give you instructions on getting a new ballot.

    The results will be posted by the San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters starting at approximately 8:15 p.m.

     

    The page looks like this right now:

    Last Updated: January 24, 2012 4:19 PM
    Registration & Turnout
    71,881 Voters
    Vote Count Percent
    Precinct Turnout 0 0.00%
    Total 0 0.00%

     

    City Clerk, City of San Bernardino
    0/170 0.00%
    Vote Count Percent
    GEORGEANN ”GIGI” HANNA 0 0.00%
    AMELIA SANCHEZ-LOPEZ 0 0.00%
    Total 0 0.00%

    I received the last Gigi Hanna for San Bernardino City Clerk mailer recently (on Thursday, I think).

    The front says: “Reminder Your chance to keep our City Clerk’s office independent is about to expire. Professional. Unbiased. Leadership.

    The back says:

    In November 2011 more than 70 percent of voters said they wanted to keep the San Bernardino City Clerk’s office professional, neutral and committed to transperancy.

    Now is the time to affirm the committment to competent, ethical governance; San Bernardino deserves both.

    Gigi Hanna is the CLEAR choice for City Clerk because:

    • She declined endorsement form local elected officials, seeking support solely on her own merits in order to maintain independence in the office.
    • She has 25 years of experience in communications and is an expert in public records.
    • Her graduate studies centered on open government issues and she has formal City Clerk training.

    Mail your ballots before Friday, February 3 or call us at (909) 709-2019 for a ride to the Registrar of Voters.

    I never received the last piece from Amelia Sanchez Lopez, so I am not sure what it said.

    Both candidates ran a “clean” campaign in the General Municipal Election, though there was certainly a war of words in the comments section of the local newspaper and on Facebook among their supporters.

    At  this point, I think the vast majority of people have voted in the mail-in election.  The San Bernardino Registrar of Voters says that the first preliminary numbers will be released at approximately 8:15 p.m. on Tuesday, February 7, 2012.  According to the PE, more than 10,500 votes have been returned as of a few days ago.  There were approximately 12,500 votes cast in the Primary municipal election, so there may be a few more votes coming in, but I wouldn’t expect turn-out to me much more than in November.