San Bernardino City Attorney’s Office

    Today (April 10, 2015)  Leticia Garcia announced she is running for the 7th Ward Council seat. Jim Mulvihill is the current 7th Ward Council Member. He was first elected in the recall election on November 5, 2013.

    Previously, on Friday, March 27, 2015, City Attorney Gary Saenz announced he is running for re-election for City Attorney. He was first elected in the recall election on November 5, 2013.

    The other elections on November 3, 2015 are:

    • Ward 3 Council
    • Ward 5 Council
    • Ward 6 Council
    • Ward 7 Council
    • City Treasurer
    • City Clerk

    John Valdivia is the 3rd Ward Council Member.  He was first elected on November 8, 2011. His website does not currently have any information about whether he is running for re-election.

    Henry Nickel is the 5th Ward Council Member. He was first elected on February 4, 2014 in the Special Election to fill the vacant seat left on the resignation of Chas Kelley, consolidated with the General Municipal Election. I haven’t seen an announcement, but his website, has an image that says “Re-Elect Henry Nickel for City Council Ward Five,” so it would be safe to say he is running again.

    Rikke Van Johnson is the 6th Ward Council Member. He was first elected at the Primary Municipal Election, November 4, 2003.  His website remains from his campaign for Mayor in 2013. There is no information about whether he is running for re-election.

    David C. Kennedy is the City Treasurer. He was first elected in the March 5, 1991 at the Primary Municipal Election. His campaign activities are minimal, if any. His first election, he ran against Southern Pacific conductor Wolfram Schlicht and former Family Services Agency supervisor William A. McKinnon. He ran unopposed in 1995 and 1999.  He handily beat David R. Oberhelman on November 4, 2003. He again ran unopposed in 2007 and 2011.

    Georgeann “Gigi” Hanna is the City Clerk. She was first elected on February 7, 2012 in the General Municipal Election. She has not announced a re-election campaign as of this date.

    From the  Registrar of Voters.

    San Bernardino City USD
    230/230 100.00%
    Vote Count Percent
    KAISAR AHMED 3,322 12.12%
    DANNY TILLMAN 5,543 20.22%
    SONIA FERNANDEZ 2,783 10.15%
    BARBARA FLORES 5,483 20.00%
    JOE NAVARRO 1,187 4.33%
    ABIGAIL M. MEDINA 4,506 16.43%
    JUDI PENMAN 4,596 16.76%
    Total 27,420 100.00%


    SB City- Mayor
    166/166 100.00%
    Vote Count Percent
    RICHARD T. CASTRO 745 6.68%
    MATT KORNER 245 2.20%
    CHAS A. KELLEY 531 4.76%
    RICK AVILA 1,307 11.71%
    CAREY DAVIS 2,614 23.42%
    H. W. NICKEL 900 8.06%
    WENDY J. MCCAMMACK 2,750 24.64%
    KARMEL ROE 231 2.07%
    RIKKE VAN JOHNSON 1,205 10.80%
    Total 11,161 100.00%


    SB City Ward 1- City Council
    36/36 100.00%
    Vote Count Percent
    JOHN J. ABAD 205 21.53%
    CASEY DAILEY 212 22.27%
    VIRGINIA MARQUEZ 535 56.20%
    Total 952 100.00%


    SB City Ward 2- City Council
    14/14 100.00%
    Vote Count Percent
    BENITO J. BARRIOS 549 55.23%
    ROBERT JENKINS 445 44.77%
    Total 994 100.00%


    SB City Ward 4- City Council
    36/36 100.00%
    Vote Count Percent
    FRED SHORETT 1,332 48.02%
    KATHY PINEGAR 587 21.16%
    ANTHONY JONES 855 30.82%
    Total 2,774 100.00%


    SB City- Recall James F. Penman Question
    166/166 100.00%
    Vote Count Percent
    YES 6,601 59.75%
    NO 4,447 40.25%
    Total 11,048 100.00%


    SB City- To Succeed James F. Penman
    166/166 100.00%
    Vote Count Percent
    GARY D. SAENZ 5,046 56.53%
    TIM PRINCE 3,880 43.47%
    Total 8,926 100.00%


    SB City Ward 3- Recall John Valdivia Question
    26/26 100.00%
    Vote Count Percent
    YES 364 37.41%
    NO 609 62.59%
    Total 973 100.00%


    SB City Ward 3- To Succeed John Valdivia
    26/26 100.00%
    Vote Count Percent
    ROXANNE WILLIAMS 496 100.00%
    Total 496 100.00%


    SB City Ward 7- Recall Wendy J. McCammack Question
    17/17 100.00%
    Vote Count Percent
    YES 1,256 57.09%
    NO 944 42.91%
    Total 2,200 100.00%


    SB City Ward 7- To Succeed Wendy J. McCammack
    17/17 100.00%
    Vote Count Percent
    NICK GONZALEZ 254 13.62%
    JOSHUA D. WILLIAMSON 141 7.56%
    MICHAEL ”MIKE” THOMAS 407 21.82%
    PAUL W. SANBORN 300 16.09%
    JIM MULVIHILL 763 40.91%
    Total 1,865 100.00%


    San Bernardino City USD
    12/230 5.22%
    Vote Count Percent
    KAISAR AHMED 1,801 11.94%
    DANNY TILLMAN 3,103 20.56%
    SONIA FERNANDEZ 1,625 10.77%
    BARBARA FLORES 3,030 20.08%
    JOE NAVARRO 607 4.02%
    ABIGAIL M. MEDINA 2,348 15.56%
    JUDI PENMAN 2,575 17.07%
    Total 15,089 100.00%


    SB City- Mayor
    0/166 0.00%
    Vote Count Percent
    RICHARD T. CASTRO 411 7.08%
    MATT KORNER 115 1.98%
    CHAS A. KELLEY 343 5.91%
    RICK AVILA 647 11.15%
    CAREY DAVIS 1,227 21.14%
    H. W. NICKEL 475 8.18%
    WENDY J. MCCAMMACK 1,459 25.14%
    KARMEL ROE 117 2.02%
    RIKKE VAN JOHNSON 653 11.25%
    Total 5,804 100.00%


    SB City Ward 1- City Council
    0/36 0.00%
    Vote Count Percent
    JOHN J. ABAD 112 22.05%
    CASEY DAILEY 106 20.87%
    VIRGINIA MARQUEZ 290 57.09%
    Total 508 100.00%


    SB City Ward 2- City Council
    0/14 0.00%
    Vote Count Percent
    BENITO J. BARRIOS 292 52.14%
    ROBERT JENKINS 268 47.86%
    Total 560 100.00%


    SB City Ward 4- City Council
    0/36 0.00%
    Vote Count Percent
    FRED SHORETT 694 44.86%
    KATHY PINEGAR 364 23.53%
    ANTHONY JONES 489 31.61%
    Total 1,547 100.00%


    SB City- Recall James F. Penman Question
    0/166 0.00%
    Vote Count Percent
    YES 3,418 59.60%
    NO 2,317 40.40%
    Total 5,735 100.00%


    SB City- To Succeed James F. Penman
    0/166 0.00%
    Vote Count Percent
    GARY D. SAENZ 2,579 55.27%
    TIM PRINCE 2,087 44.73%
    Total 4,666 100.00%


    SB City Ward 3- Recall John Valdivia Question
    0/26 0.00%
    Vote Count Percent
    YES 200 36.04%
    NO 355 63.96%
    Total 555 100.00%


    SB City Ward 3- To Succeed John Valdivia
    0/26 0.00%
    Vote Count Percent
    ROXANNE WILLIAMS 280 100.00%
    Total 280 100.00%


    SB City Ward 7- Recall Wendy J. McCammack Question
    0/17 0.00%
    Vote Count Percent
    YES 574 55.95%
    NO 452 44.05%
    Total 1,026 100.00%


    SB City Ward 7- To Succeed Wendy J. McCammack
    0/17 0.00%
    Vote Count Percent
    NICK GONZALEZ 118 13.83%
    MICHAEL ”MIKE” THOMAS 174 20.40%
    PAUL W. SANBORN 140 16.41%
    JIM MULVIHILL 344 40.33%
    Total 853 100.00%

    Finally!  Today is the San Bernardino Primary Municipal Election and the Special Municipal Election regarding the Recall.


    The Primary Municipal Election is for Mayor, 1st Ward, 2nd Ward and Fourth Ward Council Members.

    The Recall Election is for Third Ward and Seventh Ward Council Members, and City Attorney.

    Also, there is a school board (aka Board of Trustees) election for the San Bernardino City Unified School District election, wherein three positions will be elected.

    In the Mayoral, 1st Ward, and Fourth Ward elections, if no one receives a majority of votes, there will be a General Municipal Election in February (known colloquially as a run-off) between the top two candidates.  There will also be a Special Municipal Election in February for the vacant Fifth Ward Common Council seat.

    If the Third Ward Council Member, Seventh Ward or City Attorney are recalled, they will be removed from office upon certification of the election.

    If there is a winner in any Primary election, and no need for a General Municipal Election, the winner will not be sworn in until March when the existing terms expire.


    Spoiler Alert!

    I finally tracked down the results of the March 7, 1987 City Attorney Primary Municipal Election between then-incumbent City Attorney Ralph H. Prince and then-challenger James F. “Jim” Penman:


    19870307 Primary Municipal Election Jim Penman 9,933 Source Staff Report
    Ralph H. Prince 4,246

    Once again, this site is neutral in this race.  This information is provided as a public service to voters so that they may make an informed choice in voting.  The hyperpartisans will see bias, always against their side, which shows that I am doing the right thing.

    The Form 460s due in late September for the period of July 1, 2013 to September 21, 2013 have been posted on the City of San Bernardino website.

    The Form 460 for City Attorney James F. Penman is from the Penman for City Attorney 2015 committee. It was received on September 23, 2013 at 3:52 p.m.  In that time period, City Attorney James F. Penman received $7,679 in monetary contributions, with $12,179 in year-t0-date contributions.  No loans were received during this period, but $32,000 in loans were received year to date. Additionally, the Committee also received $3,218.72 in non-monetary contributions, with $4,118.72 total year-t0-date.

    At the same time City Attorney James F. Penman made $2,970.97 in payments during the filing period, with $7,652.43 year to date.  The committee also made $11,400 in loans.  There were $3,218.72 in non-monetary adjustments during the filing period, and $4,118.72 in non-monetary adjustments year-to-date.

    Current cash for City Attorney James F. Penman’s committee was $3,921.29, which along with the $7,679 in cash receipts during the period and miscellaneous increases to cash of $669.30, and subtracting cash payments of $2,970.97, left a cash balance of $9,298.62.  The committee also had cash equivalents of $11,400, and outstanding debts of $32,000.


    Form 460 requires candidates to report contributions of $100 or over, either in single transactions or cumulative year to date, or per election to date if required.

    Here are the contributors during the period to City Attorney James F. Penman

    On August 7, 2013, law firm Gresham Savage Nolan & Tilden, long-time law firm with roots going back to San Bernardino City Attorney William Guthriecontributed $2,500, with a cumulative amount of $6,000 for this calendar year, and $2,500 towards the 2013 election.

    On August 30, 2013, Johnie Carnell, who is listed with a Highland address and as a hairstylist at Trendsetters salon in San Bernardino donated $100.

    Robert Matich, who is listed with a Newport Beach address, and as an officer of Matich Corporation, the long-time engineering contractors, and longtime political supporters, donated $2,000 on September 10, 2013.

    ABO Enterprises, Inc., with a San Bernardino address, donated $1,000 on September 18, 2013. In this earlier piece, Jack Katzman of ABO Enterprises, Inc. was listed as a sponsor of an October 2, 2013 fundraiser. According to a press release found online dated February 22, 2012, A:

    ABO Enterprises, Inc. manages 600 office buildings in the Inland Empire.  Leasing opportunities range from 200 to 150,000 square feet.  They include the Town and Country Center formerly the Gateway Center complex on South E Street in San Bernardino to executive office buildings.  ABO Enterprises has office buildings in Riverside, San Bernardino, Highland, Yucaipa, Grand Terrace, Redlands, Rialto, Fontana, Colton, Moreno Valley and many other cities in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.

    Next listed is Bates Auto Body of San Bernardino.  On September 18, 2013, Bates Auto Body gave the campaign $1,000.  Their Facebook page says they are family owned, and located on Mill Street in San Bernardino.

    On September 18, 2013, Mabel Biddinger, who is listed as retired, donated $100. She is listed online as a member of the San Bernardino City Libary Foundation.  Mike Hartley of San Bernardino, listed as a consultant at Hartley Consulting donated $250 on the same date.

    Additionally, unitemized ($99 or less) contributions of $729 are listed.  If they each gave $99, that’s slightly more than seven.  So, it’s a number between 8 and 729.

    Schedule B Part 1 lists an outstanding balance of $32,000 in loans from James F. Penman to James F. Penman campaigns incurred between 2002 and 2006 from earlier campaigns.

    Schedule C shows nonmonetary contributions in this period of $3,218.72 contributed by the Committee for Integrity, FPPC ID 971747, with a year-to-date contribution of 4,118.72, with only $3,218.72 attributable to this election.

    The description for this period is “Petition gathering is [sic] support of James F. Penman against recall.”

    Schedule E shows payments made. James F. Penman was paid $73 for candidate travel, lodging and/or meals.  Council member and Mayoral candidate Wendy McCammack was reimbursed for domain names in the amount of $194.95, and the Central Labor Council of San Bernardino and Riverside Counties was paid $225 for a meeting or appearance.  Chris Jones Consulting of Newcastle, California was paid $1,500 as a campaign consultant.  Express Printing & Signs, of San Bernardino and owned by council member and Mayoral candidate Wendy McCammack was paid $215.54 for fundraising event(s).  A second payment of $669.10 was paid to Express Printing & Signs, of San Bernardino was paid for fundraising event(s).

    Schedule H lists an outstanding balance of $11,400 on a loan from the Committee for Integrity originally incurred on 2/14/2001.  Schedule I lists miscellaneous increases to cash of $669.30 of voided payments not cashed from 2011 from the Friends of Jim Penman 2011, a predecessor campaign committee.

    That concludes City Attorney Jim Penman’s Form 460.  To recap, City Attorney James F. Penman is facing a recall election in which voters will be asked a yes or no question about whether City Attorney James F. Penman should be recalled.  If a majority of voters answers no, he will retain his position until 2016 based on his 2011 election.  If the majority of voters vote no, then one of two replacement candidates will be elected for the remainder of City Attorney James F. Penman.  Those two men are Timothy Prince and Gary D. Saenz.  Whomever has more votes will be elected as the City Attorney until 2016.

    Next up is replacement candidate Timothy P. Prince’s Form 460 filed September 30, 2013 at 5:42 p.m.  His campaign committee is named Tim Prince for City Attorney 2013.  The period covered is August 23, 2013 to September 21, 2013.

    Tim Prince received $3,475 in monetary contributions both for the period and the year. He also received loans of $22,636, and nonmonetary contributions of 285  for a total of $26396.

    Tim Prince for City Attorney 2013 made payments of $9629 during the period.  The committee began with a zero balance and ended with a cash balance of  $16,482.

    Schedule A lists monetary contributions received.

    On August 25, 2013, Jesus Sandoval and Mary Sandoval of Fontana, California donated $100. Mr. Sandoval is listed as a supervisor for the City of San Bernardino, and he is listed as a councilman for the City of Fontana.  His City website says that he was elected in 2012, and that he is currently employed by the City of San Bernardino.  In a story about his election, the article says that he is a parks maintenance supervisor.

    On August 30, 2013, Retired Judge John Ingro and his wife Olaya Ingro, both of San Bernardino, donated $150. Judge Ingro was one of the inaugural winners of the San Bernardino County Bar Association’s  Kaufman-Campbell Award.

    On August 30, 2013, Professor Gary Negin, of Redlands and Cal State San Bernardino, donated $100 to Tim Prince’s campaign.  According to his LinkedIn profile, he is a professor in the education department, and has been at CSUSB since 1985.

    Also on August 30, 2013, Kathleen Pettersen, listed as a family member of Tim Prince, donated $100.

    The next day, John Lemay, of Grand Terrace who is listed as a Professor at CSUSB donated $100.  I didn’t find a Professor John Lemay at Cal State online.

    Long-time Tim Prince ally and Attorney Allen Bartleman donated $250 on September 15, 2013.

    Dr. Ana Marie Lorenz of Alta Loma, California, of Lorenz Consulting Services, and a professional psychologist donated $100 two days earlier.

    Former 2nd Ward Council member Dennis Baxter, and the Executive Director of the San Bernardino Area Habitat for Humanity, donated $300 on September 20, 2013.

    The San Bernardino Democratic Luncheon Club donated $200 on the same day.

    Tim Prince matches Jim Penman’s hairdresser donation by receiving a donation from Jami Haydis of Highland, (listed as the owner of the “JR Randall Hair Salon.”  I was unable to find a JR Randall Hair Salon, but there is a J Randall Salon in Redlands.

    Renee Prince of San Bernardino, who is listed as a student, but I believe is also Tim’s sister, donated .  I believe that she is doctoral student in psychology. She donated a $1000.

    Lillie Houston of Rialto donated $200 on September 12, 2013.

    Shireen Dunwoody of Ventura, in the field of medical communications with Dunwoody Consulting, donated $250 on September 19, 2013.

    Laura Vasquez, a Registered Nurse with Kaiser Permanente with an Irvine address, donated $100 to Tim Prince on September 19, 2013.

    Tim Prince also received $375 in contributions of $99 or less.

    Now for the big money. Tim Prince loaned his campaign $22,636 during this period.  He had $22,921 in cumulative contributions this period.

    On Schedule C, Tim Prince gave himself the following non-monetary contributions:

    On September 10, 2013, he donated materials labeled “Web” in the amount of $87, with a cumulative value of $123 for the year.

    On September 16, 2013, Tim Prince donated campaign materials in the amount of $50, with a cumulative value of $173 for the year.

    The next day, Tim Prince donated postage of $20, with a cumulative value of $193 for the year.

    Three days later, Tim Prince donated “Campaign office item” of $92, with a cumulative value in the same category of $285 for the year.

    There were also unitemized nonmonetary contributions of $37.

    Where did Tim Prince for City Attorney 2013 spend money during this period?

    The committee used of Rancho Dominguez, California to print campaign literature in the amount of 157.  Office rent of $1,500  was paid to Triland Capital LLC  of Los Angeles.

    Campaign photos by David Earhart Photography of San Bernardino were purchased for $190.  Super Cheap Signs of Austin, Texas, was paid $950, presumably for signs.

    Aitra Generic Reseller Card, Cardholder Services LLC  of Fort Lauderdale FL was paid $736, which is listed as “office expenses.”

    Jennifer Elzarraz of Moreno Valley was paid $400 for campaign consulting.

    The City of San Bernardino was paid $2,314 for filing fees, and $3,327 for a ballot statement.

    There were also unitemized payments of $55.

    That concludes Tim Prince’s 460 for this time period.

    Gary Saenz is running as a replacement candidate for City Attorney should City Attorney James F. Penman be recalled by voters.  Gary D. Saenz for City Attorney 2013 filed a Form 460 for the period of January 1, 2013 through September 21, 2013.   The Form 460 was  filed at 1:58 p.m. on September 26, 2013.

    Gary Saenz’s committee received $15,000 in monetary contributions this year.   His committee received a loan of $100.  Payments of $2,375 were made during the filing period. There are $10,402 in unpaid bills.  Gary Saenz’s committee’s ending cash balance is $12,725.00 with $10,502 in outstanding debts.

    Gary D Saenz for City Attorney 2013 received two contributions.

    On September 17, 2013, William Easley of San Bernardino, listed as the owner of Goforth & Marti, with offices in Riverside, Redlands and San Diego, donated $10,000.

    On the same date, the law firm of Mirau, Edwards, Cannon, Lewin & Tooke of Redlands donated $5,000.  I can assure you that the first two named partners of that firm are firmly in the Not Fans of Jim Penman Club.

    Gary Saenz made a loan to the campaign of $100 on September 16, 2013.

    A payment was made to Gary Saenz of $2,325 for filing fees.  I don’t know why his were more expensive then Tim Prince’s filing fees.

    There was also an unitemized payment of $50.

    Schedule F lists Gary D. Saenz For City Attorney 2013’s Unpaid Bills:

    Chris Perez Consulting of Corona California is owed $6,700 for campaign consulting.

    Lysa Ray Campaign Services of Santa Ana, California is owed $375 for professional services.

    Gary D. Saenz is owed $3,327 for filing fees, presumably for the ballot statement.

    That ends Gary D. Saenz for City Attorney 2013’s inaugural Form 460.



    If you are interested in seeing the candidates in action, the San Bernardino Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting three forums (to call them debates is a bit of a stretch).  Here is the information from the Chamber’s website:


    Chamber Hosting Candidates Forums

    • October 8 — Chamber Hosts Mayoral Candidates Forum at 7 p.m.
    • October 9 — Chamber Hosts City Attorney Candidates Forum at 7 p.m.
    • October 10 — Chamber Hosts City Council Candidates Forum at 7 p.m.

    Each forum is being held in the City Council Chambers at City Hall, 300 North “D” Street, San Bernardino, 92401. The forums will be televised live on the Inland Empire Media Group’s Channel 3. The event is being sponsored by the Governmental Affairs Division of the San Bernardino Area Chamber of Commerce. For more information contact the Chamber at (909) 885-7515.

    Having attended the City Clerk and City Attorney forums held in 2011, I recommend them highly, particularly if you go to Council Chambers to catch the sideshow of the hyperpartisans.  They should also be available to stream online.

    I hope to attend the City Attorney forum, schedule permitting.  I hope to see you there.  I have other committments for the Mayoral and City Council forums, so I may watch them later online.


    As I told one of the candidates in the City Attorney recall election last night who thanked me for my neutrality in this race, and as I told a paid Orange County public relations consultant on Twitter, I do not pick sides on this blog because I am neutral.  After the election, I will have to work with James F. Penman, Tim Prince or Gary D. Saenz.


    With that I present the first Gary D. Saenz for City Attorney mailer has arrived in mailboxes.  Or at least the first one I obtained.

    The front of the mailer says “San Bernardino” at the top, along with an unbalanced scales of justice, with a stock photograph of the Federal Supplement in a law library, with a photograph of candidate Gary D. Saenz  superimposed in what is likely his office. That is based on the fact that behind Gary D. Saenz is his University of California diploma showing his first name.  Gary Sanez is dressed in a pinstripe gray suit, with a black tie.

    This is what I call a “meet the candidate” brochure.  In fact, under the picture of Gary D. Saenz is the verbiage “Meet Gary D. Saenz For City Attorney” with the tagline in italics, Taking Politics Out of the City Attorney [sic] Office.

    The second page of the flier says:

    From the Desk of Gary Saenz

    Your Next City Attorney

    I am not a politician. I have never held an elected position, nor
    do I intend to ever hold another. But I do believe strongly in the
    Office of the City Attorney and the important role it plays in
    advising your City Council on all matters of the law.
    But the Office of the City Attorney has become a political animal
    that hasn’t been good for San Bernardino. It has become a
    lightning rod of political gamesmanship, and it has divided and
    separated City Hall.
    My starting point will always be the law – it is not the role of the
    City Attorney to influence public policy. I have no tolerance for
    political infighting or political alliances. I intend to work with the
    Council and Mayor to provide the best legal advice to all of them,
    and work against none of them. My only agenda is whatever is in
    the best legal interest of the City.
    I love this city and I want my grandchildren to inherit a better
    community than we have today I can do my part by restoring
    integrity to this office and I would be honored to serve as
    your City Attorney.
    Very Truly Yours,

    [/s/ Gary D. Saenz]

    Join us on Facebook [No link given]

    On the third page is a Gary D. Saenz For City Attorney San Bernardino Logo.  Underneath is this text:

    Meet Gary D. Saenz …
    City Attorney Candidate Gary D. Saenz is truly a son of
    San Bernardino.
    The Saenz family goes back a full century in San Bernardino, when
    Gary’s grandparents took up residence on 6th Street near Mount
    Vernon Avenue in 1913. Gary’s mother and
    father were childhood sweethearts from San
    Bernardino High School, and Gary himself was
    born at Saint Bernadine’s Hospital in 1951. He
    grew up playing Little League at the corner of 14th and Mt. Vernon, and graduated from
    Eisenhower High School in 1969.
    Gary earned his Law Degree at UCLA before
    returning to his hometown to practice law. He
    has practiced law for over 35 years, serving
    his community and maintaining an unblemished
    active status with the California State Bar.
    Currently Gary focuses on real estate law from
    his office in downtown, but he finds time to
    serve on the boards of many local and
    regional nonprofit organizations. He and his
    wife Linda have been married for 24 years
    and have two college-age children.

    See my Facebook Page for more information. [No link given]

    Be sure to attend a fundraiser for Gary’s campaign, Tuesday,
    October 8, 2013 from 6:30 – 8:00pm at Mitla Café in San Bernardino.

    This page has another photograph taken in Gary D. Saenz’s office from a different angle, a black and white picture of what the reader can assume is his wife Linda and his two children as toddlers, and a dog, and what appears to be a more recent photo of Gary Saenz and his wife.  They are in black and white, but considering that 24 years ago was 1989, I would guess the originals were both in color and did not have a white border.  It is not an important point, it should be chalked up to artistic license and the idea that Gary D. Saenz has roots in the community.

    Two interesting points.  Gary D. Saenz mentions that he has “an unblemished active status with the California State Bar.”  If you recall, one of the points that City Attorney James F. Penman jumped on his challenger, David L. McKenna, in the 2011 San Bernardino Primary Municipal Election was the fact that David L. McKenna had a period of inactivity.  The “get to know” you brochures usually avoid mentioning opponents, and City Attorney James F. Penman is mentioned only on the fourth page.  However, the reader is supposed to know when Gary D. Saenz says “I am not a politician” he is referring to City Attorney James F. Penman.  When he says “the Office of the City Attorney has become a political animal that hasn’t been good for San Bernardino” he means the Office of the City Attorney under James F. Penman has become a political animal that hasn’t been good for San Bernardino.”  It was also smart to avoid mentioning the other replacement candidate, Tim Prince, because that makes it even more confusing for voters, at least in the first mail piece.

    Further, when Gary D. Saenz uses the passive voice to say “It has become a lightning rod of political gamesmanship, and his has divided and separated City Hall” the reader is supposed to understand it as Jim Penman is a lightning rod, Jim Penman is a political gamesman, and Jim Penman has divided and separated City Hall.  I do not think Gary D. Saenz is suggesting that the rank-and-file deputy city attorneys are a problem.

    On the fourth page, the address page, the Gary D. Saenz logo is repeated with a “Vote YES to Recall James Penman” logo above.

    The return address says “Paid for By: Gary D. Saenz for City Attorney, FPPC ID 1360835, 1002 N. D Street, San Bernardino CA 92410”  That is the address of Gary D. Saenz’s law office. The Presorted standard postage block says Paid ZAP COLOR, mailed from Zip Code 92878. That is the zip code for Corona, Riverside County, California.

    Overall, I think the mailing accomplishes the goals for Gary D. Saenz: educate voters in who is, his legal roots, his political philosophy, and remind them to vote yes on the recall question.  It also smartly avoids a battle with Tim Prince, who has much more political experience.  For now, Gary Saenz’s proxies are attacking Tim Prince, and he should leave that to the proxies.  If someone asked me, and no one did, I would point out that Mayor Valles appointed Gary Saenz to the Library Board. While not legally related, it shows some experience with the City, and from what I can tell, particularly compared to the current regime, Mayor Judith Valles is still politically popular, and relatively, her reign is seen as the last era of good feelings in San Bernardino.  I expect Judith Valles’ name to be used extensively by City Attorney James F. Penman’s campaign.

    I would expect to get mail very soon from City Attorney James F. Penman.  The first mail from him during the 2011 Primary Municipal Election came about October 2, 2011. 

    Other than the email from Tim Prince’s campaign, I have not

    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.


    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.


    Officially, San Bernardino Residents for Responsible Government claims to be neutral on the candidate to replace City Attorney James F. Penman, should voters vote to recall Jim Penman on the recall question on the November 5, 2013 ballot.  San Bernardino Residents for Responsible Government is the PAC behind the San Bernardino Recall on the November 5, 2013 ballot.

    San Bernardino Residents for Responsible Government public relations consultant Michael McKinney is quoted as saying:

    “We’re pleased that there have been candidates that have come forward out of the community that are running in this historic chance to have seven of the nine office-holders on the ballot,” said Michael McKinney, manager of the recall campaign, referring to the candidates facing recall plus those already up for election that day. “The recall committee itself will be in the field supporting the recall, urging voters to vote yes, but it’s not allowed under its organization to help any of the candidates.”  The Sun, Ryan Hagen, “Eight candidates qualify for San Bernardino Recall Election, posted 9/6/2013 6:40 PM PDT.

    The San Bernardino Residents for Responsible Government’s website, as of the writing of this post, does not have any information supporting any specific replacement candidates.

    However, on Twitter, Michael McKinney, slams both City Attorney James F. Penman, and replacement candidate Tim Prince in response to a tweet from Ryan Hagen regarding Gary Saenz:

    1. @SBcityNOW very hypocritical of Penman to throw stones while living in a glass house given the active FPPC investigation.

    2. @MICAPRGA I wasn’t familiar with this investigation until now. Was complaint made by SBRFRG?

    3. @SBcityNOW personal complaint filed 28 May 2013 FPPC file no 13/341. Investigation confirmed 16 August 2013.

    4. @MICAPRGA I’ll get the details tomorrow. Thanks for the heads-up.

    @SBcityNOW along the lines of glass houses. 2008 Congressional candidate’s online bio.

    2:47 PM – 13 Sep 13

    Image will appear as a link
    1. .@MICAPRGA Interesting. @IEPrince, didn’t you say you understood this to be forbidden?

    2. @SBcityNOW The title is proper in a resume as long as it is not used in a book issued for sale (published). The 2007 excerpt complied.

    3. @SBcityNOW Numerous local attorneys including Penman’s longtime outside contract attorney Joseph Arias  use the term.

    4. @IEPrince I see that Arias does list it; perhaps it is common. Context perhaps different on something intended for legal audience?

    5. @IEPrince “public” still seems to be what “intended for publication” means. Why prohibit using it in resume sold as a book?

    6. @SBcityNOW Use of the title in resumes is acceptable as long as it is not intended to sell books (implying the author is a judge).

    7. @IEPrince hmm, I see. I’ll get your perspective in more detail Monday, but thanks for responding.

     Now, perhaps Michael McKinney is acting on his own, but it is curious that someone who is presumably paid by San Bernardino Residents for Responsible Government is slamming Tim Prince.  According to Michael McKinney, as cited above,  “but it’s  not allowed under its [San Bernardino Residents for Responsible Government] organization to help any of the candidates.”
    Considering there are only two replacement candidates running should the recall of San Bernardino City Attorney James F. “Jim” Penman be successful,  the public relations consultant for San Beranrdino Residents for Responsible Government is defending one candidate (Gary Saenz) while slamming the other replacement candidate (Tim Prince).
    Michael McKinney’s statement that San Bernardino Residents for Responsible Government is not allowed to help any of its candidates does not correspond with what their website says:

    What happens next?

    The City needs new and vibrant leadership. San Bernardino Residents for Responsible Government encourages qualified replacement candidates to run for office. This committee will support the Recall initiative and may become involved in recruiting and supporting candidates after the petition phase of the campaign.  San Bernardino Residents for Responsible Government, FAQs, accessed September 20, 2013 11:18 a.m. PDT.

    Therefore, it can be deduced that San Bernardino Residents for Responsible Government is not only supporting the recall of City Attorney James F. Penman, but also supports recall replacement candidate Gary Saenz over Tim Prince.