James F “Jim” Penman

    Here is the first website that shows Tim Prince’s candidacy for City Attorney should the recall of City Attorney qualify.  I see that some of the readers of this blog are already connected to the site.

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

    Virginia Marquez: Democrat (For filing Bankruptcy)

    Robert Jenkins: Republican (For)

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

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

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

    Chas A. Kelley: Republican (Against)

    Rikke Van Johnson: Democrat (For)

    Wendy McCammack: Republican (For)

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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


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

    As I discussed yesterday, the City Council considered make an additional appropriation to pay for already incurred outside counsel bills.  I watched the proceedings on the City’s meeting portal today.  Below is a summary:

    City Attorney James Penman stated that there was a 60 percent increase in lawsuits over the last two years. As indicated in the staff report, City Attorney Penman said 40 of 124 cases outside counsel, 84 cases were handled in-house by Deputy City Attorneys. Five of those cases [from the agenda: Maria Mejia, Salvador Melgoza, and Guadalupe Melgoza v. City of San Bernardino, et al. – United States District Court, Case No. EDCV 11-00452 VAP; Andrea Orona v. City of San Bernardino – San Bernardino Superior Court, Case No. CIVDS 1008022; San Bernardino County Transportation Commission v. West Colony Community Association – San Bernardino Superior Court, Case No. CIVDS 1004025; Joe Taylor v. City of San Bernardino – San Bernardino Superior Court, Case No. CIVDS 1100841; and Wells Fargo Bank, National Association v. Samer Kodeih, et al – San Bernardino Superior Court, Case No. CIVDS 1109915.] were discussed in closed session involving “young” Deputy City Attorneys.  Those cases would  have cost much more if farmed out. If the bills for outside counsel are not paid, the law firms could withdraw and sue for damages.  City Attorney Penman said, most notably, that it “clear the money is there” and “the election is over it’s time to move on and do the City’s business.”

    The floor was opened to discussion.  Council member McCammack produced a spreadsheet which was not visible on my screen.  She said that she was “shocked by the numbers.”  She said that the City Manager’s budget increased by 63 percent, and nine city departments had increases in their budgets.  She reiterated an earlier discussion point that “doesn’t make sense to reduce budgets of the departments that can create revenues.”  Council member McCammack said that the City should use the City’s liability reserves, because  “if City Attorney budget not restored . . . that $3 million [in the reserves] won’t be enough.”

    City Manager McNeely said that the nature of the increase in the City Manager’s Office is moving CDBG into the office, and that the creation of the call center moved existing employees to the City Manager, and there was other reorganization.

    Mayor Morris interjected that this item (paying outside counsel) was “not an overview or recalibration of the entire City Budget.”

    Council member Tobin Brinker asked  if City Manager McNeely had a recommendation.  City Manager McNeely’s response was not entirely into the microphone but he said  that he had a concern on his part that these would be brought forward at every council meeting, and recommend, if there is a need to make a correction, do it once.  His concern is the ability to handle with the reserve fund only having closer to $2 million dollars.  City Manager McNeely said that what prompted this was a memo from the finance department that the City Attorney was going over his budget.  When pressed by Tobin Brinker, the Manager said that he was not recommending approval, but that the Council had the power to make policy.

    Council member Virginia Marquez said that if the money will come from $2 million dollar reserve, that  doesn’t leave much in reserve.  City Manager McNeely chipped in to say that  Mr. Penman also alluded to another fund with $500,000 that may be allocated, but that because of other contingencies a 1.3 million dollar reserve fund balance on June 30, 2012 was projected.  City Manager McNeely said that there was already a $760,000 deficit this fiscal year.

    Council member Jenkins said that outside counsel contracts were approved by Council,  and still within the budget caps within the contracts.  Council member Jenkins declared  “something is wrong with the system” because the previous item on the agenda was just the opposite.

    Council member Rikke Van Johnson, said this was asking for more money, and that he was not supporting the item.

    Wendy McCammack revised her figures and  removed CDBG expenditures and revenues from the City Manager’s budget, and said the Manager’s budget was still up by 17 percent,  She said that the decreases have all been in departments that can create revenues.  “3 million won’t be able to cover the judgments.”

    Council member Tobin Brinker said that Council was having the debate for over year, the real debate is whose budget it is coming out of, outside counsel will be paid.  The real debate is  which fund does it come out of, and that’s the sticking point.  He said he needs to see changes in the City Attorney’s Office, its budget grows, and that he is opposed to this agenda item.  He kicked the can down the road by saying that the City Attorney can work with his replacement (John Valdivia), and that he (Tobin Brinker) was going to oppose this effort.

    Council member Jenkins asked the City Attorney if he had any problem with using the General Government Fund.  City Attorney Penman said that the source of the money was up to the Council, but that the City has six jury trials set for June 30, 2011.

    City Attorney Penman told Council member that the book (budget figures) released by the City Manager showed that the City Attorney’s Office did cut 18 percent, including a position cut and made other cuts.  The book also showed that there were increases in other departments. The City Attorney said that his department was not alone, his was not the only department out there, he was not bluffing, and that bad things will happen.  “Attorneys will start withdrawing, and they will start suing and we will lose.”

    Council member Jenkins made a motion after some confusion about whether Council member Johnson had made a motion.  The motion was to take $140,088.93  from the General Government Professional Contractual Non-Departmental Fund with the remainder Litigation-Outside Counsel budget.

    There was a speaker.  Then the Council voted: Marquez, Brinker, Shorett Johnson No; Jenkins, Kelley, McCammack yes. Council member  McCammack set a substitute motion to deduct the amount from 2012-2013 FY City Attorney  budget.  That too was defeated by the exact same vote.  City Attorney Penman, before the vote, reiterated that the lawyers will withdraw, the City will default or lose lawsuits, and  the legacy will be bankruptcy.  The voters had heard the arguments, the voters said no, “go ahead and defy them.”


    Now that most of the election is over, it is time to refocus this blog on law.  So, let me start with this election campaign maxim from California Civil Code section 3357:

    Superfluity does not vitiate

    On that note, the absolute last campaign mail for the November 8, 2011 election arrived on Election Day, the ninth mailer from San Bernardino City Attorney James F. Penman.  It is an oversized postcard mailer printed in black and white.  On the front it says:

    “We all know City Attorney Jim Penman personally, we have all worked with him professionally for many years and we all endorse him for re-election as City Attorney.

    If Jim was ‘divisive, disruptive, intimidating, a bully and a liar’ (as his opponents falsely claim) NONE of us would be endorsing him.

    But, we are all proud to endorse him.

    He IS the City Attorney San Bernardino needs for the next four years!”


    Judith Valles                              Tom Minor                                            Evlyn Wilcox

    Mayor (1998-2006)             Mayor (1993-1998)                              Mayor (1985-1989)

    Honorable Paul Bryant                    Honorable Stanley W. Hodge                    Honorable John Wade

    Superior Court Judge (ret.)            Superior Court Judge (ret.)                       Superior Court Judge (ret.)

    Chief B. Warren Cocke (ret).                                                                                  Chief Dan Robbins (ret.)

    San Bernardino Police Dept.                                                                                 San Bernardino Police Dept.

    Chief Ben Gonzales  (ret.)                                                                                                    Chief Lee Dean (ret.)

    San Bernardino Police Dept.                                                                                             San Bernardino Police Dept.

    P.S. Jim does NOT make over $200,000 a year as his opponents claim.  He is one of the lowest paid full-time City Attorneys in the state and he voluntarily turned down his last 6 raises.

    The back of the mailer has a San Bernardino Police Officers Association return address, but also says paid for by Jim Penman for City Attorney 2011

    Responding to a David McKenna charge, the back of the mailer says: “Jim Penman was never charged, convicted or pled guilty to ANY Crime.  McKenna’s campaign is trying to deceive you.” The Honorable Craig S. Kamansky ~ Superior Court Judge (ret.)

    Under a portrait of City Attorney Jim Penman, the mailer says “City Attorney Jim Penman ‘A Tough Prosecutor.”   Next to the photograph is a quote from retired Superior Court Judge Hodge: “Penman is a tough prosecutor, not a bully.  Those who say differently may have something to hide.  Honest government officials have nothing to fear from Jim Penman but dishonest ones should.”

    To the left of the quotes from the judges is this blurb from the San Bernardino Sun:

    Penman cleared in illegal contributions probe

    The District Attorney’s Office has informed City Attorney James F. Penman that “there is no credible evidence” that he received an illegal gift of $5000.  Investigators were looking into whether Penman took the payment for Attorney’s fees related to his court challenge of language in pro-Measure C ballot arguments, and as a bribe not to sign off on supporting the proposed downtown Regal movie theater.  In a letter to Penman, Deputy District Attorney Michael Abney said “we are closing our files” on this matter. [SB Sun ~ 9-23-11]  . . . but the last minute lies keep coming.

    I never saw the mailer or the talking point, or even the newspaper article until receiving this mailer, so I don’t have any details on the allegation.



    First, a disclaimer:  this site is neutral as explained in the post “Why We Try To Keep Partisan Politics Out of These Postings”  These postings are provided as a community service, and not to push a particular candidate, or slate of candidates.

    This is a slate mailer, which comes from a company that campaigns can pay to include their candidates.  I have not seen any studies on these, but I would guess that they are most effective when you have a national race, and you also have a local election, and you can send it to people registered in a party, or decline-t0-state, and include your measure or candidate to ride the coattails of a nationwide or statewide candidate.  They often include paid and non-paid “endorsements.”  This mailer only includes paid endorsements, as shown by an asterisk.

    The back of this slate mailer has photographs of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.  It includes a quote, from no one in particular,

    “Voting for Barack Obama and Joe Biden was just the beginning of the change our country needs.  To move forward we also have to vote  for good local elected officials who will work with the people to make our communities a better place to live.  On November 8th, you will have a chance to move our country forward by voting for our communities Democratic Team.  Please take this card to the polls and consider our recommendations.  Thank you!”

    The back also has a little graphic that says “Vote Democratic” with a donkey kicking on an American Flag shield.  Below the address, it says “ELECTION DAY IS TUESDAY NOV. 8TH VOTER GUIDE ON BACK OF THIS CARD”   The fine print says “NOTICE TO VOTERS THIS DOCUMENT WAS PREPARED BY DEMOCRATIC VOTERS CHOICE, NOT AN OFFICIAL PARTY ORGANIZATION.  Appearance in this mailer does not necessarily imply endorsement of others appearing in this mailer,.[sic] nor does it imply endorsement of, or opposition to, any issues set forth in this mailer.  Appearance is paid for and authorized by each candidate and ballot measure designated by an*.”  The slate mailer shows an Arcadia mailing permit.


    On the left, it has a left of offices, with the name of one of the candidates in bold with an asterisk after each: City Attorney JIM PENMAN* CITY CLERK AMELIA SANCHEZ-LOPEZ* CITY COUNCIL WARD 3 JOHN VALDIVIA* CITY COUNCIL WARD 5 CHAS KELLEY* CITY COUNCIL WARD 7 WENDY McCAMMACK* and the legend, “Take this card with you to the polls.”

    Then to the right of the list is a picture of each of the candidates mentioned in the list and a little blurb about each.  It says “JIM PENMAN for City Attorney.  Our City Attorney Jim Penman. Former Director of Home of Neighborly Service.  Endorsed by AFL-CIO, San Bernardino PublicEmployees [sic] Associa tion [sic] and former Mayor Judith Valles.”

    Next: “AMELIA SANCHEZ-LOPEZ for San Bernardino City Clerk.  Our Voice for Integrity.  Our Democratic Choice for City Clerk!  Endorsed by San Bernardino Democratic Party, Central Labor Council AFL-CIO and Congressman Joe Baca.

    Then: “JOHN VALDIVIA for 3rd Ward City Council.  Vote Valdivia. Replace the failed Republican incumbent!  John Valdivia is endorsed by our Teachers, Firefighters, Police Officers and Central Labor Council AFL-CIO.

    CHAS KELLEY for 5th Ward Council.  Re-Elect 5th Ward Councilman Chas Kelley.  Effective leader for our neighborhoods.  Endorsed by the Central Labor Council AFL-CIO and Democratic leaders like former Mayor Judith Valles.”

    WENDY MCCAMACK for 7th Ward.  She fights for seniors and working families![ ]Endorsed by the AFL-CIO, SB Firefighters, P olice[sic] Officers and former Mayor Judith Valles.

    Of course, as anyone paying attention already knows, only one of these people actually claims the endorsement of the actual San Bernardino County Democratic party, and only one of them is a registered Democrat, and of course, two of them are well-known Republicans.    The San Bernardino County Democratic Party, on their website, cries foul.  However, I don’t think anyone takes paid slate mailers seriously, and careful reading of the document shows it comes from a non-party organization.  Further, it is a non-partisan race.

    How much does it cost to be on a slate mailer like this?  On his September 28, 2011 FPPC Form 460, City Attorney James F. Penman had a payment to “Democratic Voters Choice” in the amount of $1,200.  He also had a payment of $960 to “Citizens for Good Government” of $960, which shares the same address in Covina as Democratic Voters Choice.

    Even though it is a non-partisan election, if you really care about the local Democratic party’s choices, from their website:

    These are the endorsements of the San Bernardino County Democratic Central Committee:

    San Bernardino City Attorney – No Endorsement

    San Bernardino City Clerk – Amelia Sanchez-Lopez

    San Bernardino City Council- 3rd Ward – No Democratic Candidate

    San Bernardino City Council – 7th Ward – No Democratic Candidate

    San Bernardino Unified School District (In order of most votes rec’d)
    Juan Lopez
    Dr. Margaret Hill
    Sharon “Bobbie” Perong
    Elsa Valdez

    As far as I can tell, the San Bernardino County Republican Central Committee didn’t make any endorsements in these elections.




    First, a disclaimer:  this site is neutral as explained in the post “Why We Try To Keep Partisan Politics Out of These Postings”  These postings are provided as a community service, and not to push a particular candidate, or slate of candidates.

    This is the sixth mailer that I have seen from incumbent City Attorney Jim Penman.  The front of the mailer is glossy and in color  On the front, the headline says in blue letters on a red background “FBI Raids San Bernardino Airport!”  In the top middle of the front is a picture of FBI agents loading seized files at the San Bernardino Airport.  Flanking the photograph are these words: “The County Grand Jury Report (June 20, 2011) found specific irregularities (GJR pg. 2-29) and “a clear conflict of interest” (GJR pg. 2-31) with contracts awarded to a federally “convicted felon” at the San Bernardino Airport. [Press Enterprise – Sept. 22, 2011][.]”

    It continues in the next paragraph:

    “Mayor Morris, as President of the Airport Authority, is the “man in charge” there, as he is at City Hall.”
    On the other side of the photograph of the FBI agents loading seized files at the San Bernardino Airport is this paragraph “San Bernardino Mayor Patrick Morris is the only elected official named in the federal search warrants served at the airport on Sept. 21, 2011.  The warrants seek “evidence of bribery, theft, fraud, money laundering and more”. [Source: Press Enterprise, 9-22-11.]”

    Below the picture and the two sets of text flaking it are blue letters that say “City Attorney Investigators are also investigating charges of irregularities in contracts at City Hall.  The same City officials who are in charge at the airport are also in charge at City Hall.”

    Below that paragraph is a paragraph in white text on a black background:
    “‘For the City to move forward we must investigate and, if verified, expose any mismanagement or corruption at City Hall similar to that now being investigated by the FBI at the San Bernardino airport.  The people of San Bernardino deserve honest city government.’ ~City Attorney Jim Penman”

    Below that is a San Bernardino Police Officers Association badge with the text: “San Bernardino Police Officers Association Members Say: ‘On Election Day, Let Jim Penman finish the City Hall Investigations.”

    The back of the mailer has the Police Officers Logo and their address, and is in black and white.

    The headline of the back of the mailer says “Question: Why is Mr. McKenna running for City Attorney?  Answer: To Stop City Attorney Investigations into charges of contract irregularities at City Hall.”

    Below the headline is a quote from Mayor Patrick Morris from May 10, 2011 in the State of the City Speech “Corruption and scandals are not our concerns”.  To the right is a quote form challenger David McKenna and a picture of David McKenna.  It says “Corruption is not a priority for me.” with this legend below “[David McKenna, Oct. 11, 2011, Rotary Club debate.]”

    Below the Mayor Patrick Morris quote of “Corruption and scandals are not our concerns” are these quotes:

    “County Public Defender David McKenna, under pressure from the Board of Supervisors . . . after disclosing that he had intentionally violated County spending policies for nearly a decade . . .” resigned today.

    “. . .  he was violating county policies for years . . . it’s imperative the Board . . . appoint a public defender that we have confidence in.  Someone who complies with all the regulations of the County,” said Supervisor Fred Aguiar. [Source – Press Enterprise, July 2, 1999]

    In the middle of the back side is a question to the reader: “Is McKenna a responsible public servant and citizen? (You decide – see left and below.)  Left, refers to the Press-Enterprise article about David McKenna’s resignation as San Bernardino County Public Defender.  Below the rhetorical question is this quote: “Until moving to San Bernardino this year, McKenna lived in Riverside County for the past five years without registering to vote.”   This is a quote from the Riverside Press Enterprise, October 23, 2011.

    Finally, below the picture of David McKenna, which for political  attack ads is not a bad photo at all, says “. . . (if elected) I will eliminate the City Attorney (corruption) Investigators”.   The mailer attributes the quote to David McKenna at the October 11, 2011 Rotary Club debate.  The picture of David McKenna also has the wording “Paid for by Jim Penman for City Attorney 2011” on it.

    What City Attorney Jim Penman campaign themes have been addressed in this, the sixth mailer?  City Attorney Penman as elected watchdog.  David McKenna as carpetbagger.  David McKenna as Mayor Morris surrogate.  Corruption.  Corruption at the San Bernardino International Airport.  David McKenna’s past as an appointed official.

    Earlier, there were posts on the Rotary Club of San Bernardino City Attorney Forum and the San Bernardino Chamber of Commerce City Attorney Forum.




    First, a disclaimer:  this site is neutral as explained in the post “Why We Try To Keep Partisan Politics Out of These Postings”  These postings are provided as a community service, and not to push a particular candidate, or slate of candidates.

    This is the fifth mailer that I have seen from incumbent City Attorney Jim Penman.  It has Chas Kelley’s signature Kelly green.  On the front, non-glossy side is a letter from incumbent City Council Member Chas A. Kelley.  It reads:

    From the Desk of
    City Councilman Chas Kelley

    Dear Fifth Ward Neighbor,
    The office of City Attorney serves as an important check and balance for
    the public at City Hall. That’s why I am supporting the re-election of City
    Attorney Jim Penman.
    I haven’t always agreed with Mr. Penman, but I admire his sincere dedication
    to our community, his active leadership in fighting crime and his strong
    stands against government corruption.
    As City Attorney, Jim wrote San Bernardino’s tough moratorium law
    against parolee housing. He directed the city’s most successful crackdown against
    irresponsible out-of-town landlords. He also led the successful fight to shut
    down the drug-infested Hudson Theater Rave Club.
    Jim Penman is NOT afraid to stand up for the citizens of
    Sail Bernardino even if it means taking on other politicians. He understands
    that the role of the City Attorney is to be an independent advocate for integrity
    and justice.
    Please join me in casting your vote for City Attorney Jim Penman.
    Thank you and God Bless.
    5th Ward Councilman, City of San Bernardino

    Under the letter is “Vote Jim Penman For City Attorney,” which repeats on the back.

    The back of the mailer has a “Special Message from Councilman Chas Kelley.”  It says “Jim Penman’s crime fighting leadership and strong stand against corruption are great assets for the people of “San Bernardino.”  Chas”  To the right of the quote, there is a photograph of Council Member Chas Kelley with City Attorney Penman at what appears to be a Robert Jenkins fundraiser or victory party.

    I have no idea if these have been sent in other wards featuring other council members.  If they are, I would expect them to be sent in the 2nd and 7th Wards as well with their council members, and possibly one with Third Ward challenger John Valdivia.   The 7th Ward Council Member, Wendy McCammack, is running for reelection this cycle, as is Chas Kelley.  John Valdivia is running for the 3rd Ward Council seat this cycle.  Robert Jenkins won election in the 2nd Ward for the remainder of Jason Desjardins term earlier this year.