Has San Bernardino hit rock bottom with its addiction?

san bernardinoEl Chicano Weekly

BYLINE: Kahn, Harvey M

7/31/2012

 

Now San Bernardino residents no longer live in the fast-food capital, nor in America’s homicide capital. It is now known internationally as the hub of government irresponsibility. Where those who truly care are labeled as gadflies, whistle blowers, or snitches. San Bernardino officials knew their city was bankrupt years ago, but couldn’t keep it covered any longer. The town has been morally bankrupt for decades. Where double-dipping, triple-digit pensions are more important than addressing the 70 percent poverty level.

“Obviously, San Bernardino doesn’t need another black eye. This is tragic,” said Phillip Naman of the Redlands Tea Party, in reference to San Bernardino’s bankruptcy. “It is a commentary on progressive city administrators and their lack of fiscal responsibility. There has been too much involvement with programs outside the scope of general city management. I know there are criminal investigations. I just don’t know how much people in charge of the budget have been lied to.”

Like most addicts, you can’t receive help unless you first admit that you have a problem. Those in decision making positions in San Bernardino have problems similar to drug users. It is an addiction that has continued for 70 years. It is called abuse of power. When government officials are addicted to power it causes more damage than that of the pedestrian drug user.

In recent years, the leaders of San Bernardino have ruined its great history. Former civic leader Robert Waterman was a colleague of Abraham Lincoln. The bronze statue of Ernie Pinckert at the USC campus. McDonald’s, Route 66, Arrowhead Springs Hotel, the Swing Auditorium. All just a blur unless you’re looking for ghetto street cred.

Now San Bernardino residents no longer live in the fast-food capital, nor in America’s homicide capital. It is now known internationally as the hub of government irresponsibility. Where those who truly care are labeled as gadflies, whistle blowers, or snitches. San Bernardino officials knew their city was bankrupt years ago, but couldn’t keep it covered any longer. The town has been morally bankrupt for decades. Where double-dipping, triple-digit pensions are more important than addressing the 70 percent poverty level.

Examples of negligence consist of: redevelopment and community block grant funding abuse; lack of proper audit and control; not returning phone calls to the public; the airport; theatres; lakes and streams; and signing off on issues regarding the professional baseball stadium that could eventually cost the San Bernardino taxpayers more than $224 million. The list goes on.

“Obviously, San Bernardino doesn’t need another black eye. This is tragic,” said Phillip Naman of the Redlands Tea Party, in reference to San Bernardino’s bankruptcy. “It is a commentary on progressive city administrators and their lack of fiscal responsibility. There has been too much involvement with programs outside the scope of general city management. I know there are criminal investigations. I just don’t know how much people in charge of the budget have been lied to.”

The excuses to local problems are many. Perhaps there has not been enough news reporting because government is a big newspaper advertising buyer and can decide to hold back. It’s easier to cover a Chamber of Commerce mixer than to investigate government corruption.

In San Bernardino, the evidence of such city corruption and arrogance can be witnessed by walking along Fourth Street and F. Street, where those residents are more afraid of city law enforcement than of muggers. The difference between the fraud in the City of Bell and San Bernardino is that Bell is closer to the scrutiny of the Los Angeles Times and the TV news.

The solution to this pattern of abuse could be sweeping terminations and criminal indictments against city officials. Open investigations should be conducted immediately by the state or federal government, not by inadequate local city or county agencies who operate in closed session. It is a problem with such ramifications that the most professional of investigative bodies should oversee. If there is a war on crime, the war can start at the top. Former mayors and city officials know a lot and should be subpoenaed.

San Bernardino’s bad habits were reported worldwide on July 1 6 by Reuters. Like the drug addicts that some at San Bernardino City Hall claim to rehabilitate, sometimes that rehab can’t occur until you hit rock bottom. It appears that San Bernardino has hit rock bottom.

 

PUBLICATION-TYPE: Newspaper

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