City of San Bernardino

    “ATTENTION SAN BERNARDINO RESIDENTS IMPORTANT CITY BANKRUPTCY INFORMATION” reads the first page of a mailer from the San Bernardino Police Officers Association and the San Bernardino City Professional Firefighters.

    Read  more here.

    A reader reached this site with this query: “how will the city of san bernardino school distric emploees be affected by the recent bankruptcy”.  The answer is: they will not. The San Bernardino City Unified School District is a legally separate entity from the City of San Bernardino, though historically, they were not.   If anything, one of the alleged causes of the purported bankruptcy filing (which will be voted on, again, on Monday) is the loss of redevelopment money, which will actually benefit SBCUSD.  The State of California will use some of that money to meet its obligations to K-12 education and send it to the school district.


    In an unscientific look at what is currently drawing people to this blog:


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    Not all of them are about the bankruptcy, but you can see some the majority of them are.

    For those of you searching the national partisan nature of the Mayor and Common Council in San Bernardino, I wrote about it yesterday.


    As a preface, the positions in local government in California are non-partisan, and with the open primary system for most other offices in California, and the rise of the decline to state voter, partisan identification is less important.

    However, people are reaching this site by asking whether the people in charge of San Bernardino are Republicans or Democrats.  The reason why, I would surmise, is that so partisans of both stripes can point fingers and say things like, “that’s what happens when liberals are in charge” or “that’s what happens when Republicans are in charge,”  I will share the real or perceived partisan affiliations of the players in San Bernardino based upon conventional wisdom, circumstantial evidence, or past knowledge.

    Mayor Patrick J. Morris.  Under San Bernardino’s Charter, the Mayor is allowed to cast votes in case of ties, and to veto legislation by the Common Council.  Therefore, the  independently elected Mayor, who is not a council member, has duties beyond presiding over meetings.  Mayor Patrick J. Morris is a former Superior Court judge, and is long time Democrat.  He endorsed Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar for the 31st Congressional District, but is now supporting Republican Bob Dutton.

    Council member for the First Ward: Virigina Marquez: Democrat.  Evidence: The link to the right says she is a member of the Greater Rialto Democratic Club, and she has, in the past (2010) endorsed Representative Joe Baca.

    Council member for the Second Ward: Robert Jenkins: Republican. Evidence, this Black Voice News article endorsing Democrat John Longville.  He has also endorsed Brea Congressman Gary Miller for 31st District Congressman.

    Council member for the Third Ward: John Valdivia: Decline To State, according to statements at the time of his election.   However, he has endorsed Brea Republican Congressman Gary Miller for 31st District Congressman.

    Council member of the Fourth Ward: Fred Shorett: Unknown.  I could find no reliable information.

    Council member of the Fifth Ward: Chas Kelley: Republican.  Supports both Republican Bob Dutton and Republican Gary Miller, who are running against each other for Congressional District 31.

    Council member of the Sixth Ward: Rikke Van Johnson: Democrat.  He has links to President Obama and Governor Brown on his personal website.

    Council Member of the Seventh Ward: Wendy McCammack: Republican. According to her City biography, linked at right, she is a member of the “Republican Women Federated of San Bernardino.”  She also endorsed Brea Congressman Gary Miller.

    So, for the national partisans who wish to make hay of the bankruptcy vote to blame Democrats or Republicans?  Voting for bankruptcy: Marquez (Democrat), Jenkins (Republican), Johnson (Democrat), McCammack (Republican). Voting against bankruptcy: Kelley (Republican) and Shorett (Unknown), and abstaining: John Valdivia (Decline to State).  Not vetoing the bankruptcy vote: Morris (Democrat).

    As to City Attorney James F. Penman, since people are obsessed to know his political affiliation, when I started at the City Attorney’s Office, he was registered as a Democrat, but he switched to what was then non-partisan (now called Decline to State).  I have no idea regarding the status of his registration.

    The news that the Council voted 4-2-1 (Shorett and Kelley against, Valdivia abstaining) to authorize City Attorney James F. Penman to file for Chapter 9 Bankruptcy came as sad news, as a City with a history of bad news, received more bad news.


    1. The image of the City of San Bernardino.  It seems that outsiders only notice the City when really bad things happen (Norton closing, fires, murder rates). This one has it all: corruption, incompetence and crime.

    2.  Mayor Patrick J. Morris in particular, but all incumbent politicians in the City of San Bernardino.  Whether it is fair to blame all the incumbents, this happened on their watch.  If it has not already been said, the political side that was not in power until recently (if they are indeed in power with shifting factions) will say that they were given falsified information, or that City staff, either on their own or at the direction of the other side, withheld information. Will the voters agree?  At this moment, accurate information about the situation is not being effectively conveyed by the government nor the press.

    3. The people of the City of San Bernardino.  In the long term, this will impact the ability to borrow money, which will mean more money will be paid for interest instead of needed City services.

    4. The employees of the City of San Bernardino.  People who have not worked in government are likely to have the attitude that of Jack Kirkpatrick in Airplane: they ” bought their tickets, they knew what they were getting into. I say, let ’em crash.”  However, having been in their position (as an employee of the City of San Bernardino), I sympathize because no matter how well they do their job, they just lost a little security because of the actions of others.  That could be paycheck security, or benefits security or some kind of security.

    5. The creditors of the City of San Bernardino.  Historically, working for the government,government contract, or investing in municipal bonds was safe. In the post Vallejo, Stockton, Mammoth Lakes, and San Bernardino environment, that is no longer the case.  See Jack Kirkpatrick quote, above.


    1. The Nattering Nabobs of Negativism.  People love to kick San Bernardino.  Here are the people who like to throw rocks:

    a. Current residents of San Bernardino who believe that San Bernardino used to be better.

    b. People who used to live or work in San Bernardino, but would never deign to live in San Bernardino today.

    c. People in neighboring communities that like to look down their nose at San Bernardino.

    d. People in large metropolitan areas of Southern California that refer to the Inland Empire as “out there.”

    e. People in Northern California that like to term all of Southern California as “Los Angeles” and will see this as a failing of “Los Angeles.”

    f. People outside of California (and the minority party of California) will see this as a failing of California.

    To all of those people, congratulations, you win!




    From the City of San Bernardino Website:

    NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Mayor and Common Council of the City of San Bernardino will conduct public hearings on Monday, May 7, 2012 and Monday, June 4, 2012 at 4:00 p.m., in the Council Chambers of City Hall, 300 North “D” Street, San Bernardino, California. The purpose of the hearings is to review and discuss the potential reapportionment of the City’s wards based on the 2010 U.S. Census.


    The Report and the proposed changes are at the City of San Bernardino’s website here.