John Valdivia

    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.

    On November 5, 2013, there will be a recall election in San Bernardino Council Third Ward held in conjunction with the Primary Municipal Election for the City of San Bernardino.

    The question that Third Ward voters are asked is whether Council Member John Valdivia should be recalled.  Then, the voters are asked to vote for a replacement candidate should John Valdivia be recalled.

    Council Member John Valdivia’s contact information:






    If John Valdivia is recalled and there are no qualified write-ins, Roxanne Williams will fill out John Valdivia’s remaining term.

    Roxanne Williams





    Phone: 909-907-9366

    As of August 6, 2013, three people have filed campaign finance paperwork that is available on the City of San Bernardino’s online record system.

    That doesn’t mean they are necessarily running or will meet the filing deadlines.

    The first running is incumbent Council Member Fred Shorett.  He has a campaign website.  The campaign website includes an email address and a phone number of 909 224-2141.

    [Disclaimer:  I don’t post email addresses and phone numbers unless they are on campaign material (not including filings).

    The next person who has filed at least one campaign document is Joe Arnett. You might recall that Joe Arnett ran in 2010

    against Council Member Shorett:


    39/39 100.00%



    Vote Count












    You also might remember that Joe Arnett ran in the March 17, 2009 special election to fill Neil Derry’s remaining term, as did future Third Ward Council Member John Valdivia:

    Member of City Council SAN BERNARDINO WARD 4

    33 of 33 Precincts Reporting




    SAMAN SAMAN 54 1.69%
    FRED SHORETT 2,330 72.77%
    JOE ARNETT 636 19.86%
    JOHN VALDIVIA 182 5.68%
    Total 3,202 100.00%


    Joe Arnett also has a campaign website.  He also has on his website an email address and a phone number: (909) 882–3399.


    Also filing a candidate intention statement for the November 5, 2013 Primary Municipal Election is Kathy J. Pinegar.  No information regarding Kathy J. Pinegar’s campaign is available online.


    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) .

    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.

    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.”


    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.