Statement by Steve Turner, President of the San Bernardino Police Officers Association

The San Bernardino Police Officers Association congratulates Mayor-Elect Carey Davis, Councilmember-Elect Henry Nickel and Councilmember Fred Shorett on their victories in Tuesday’s elections.

There are many crucial issues facing our city – bankruptcy, unemployment, and rising crime.  For San Bernardino to become economically stable and for jobs to come here, we all agree that we must make our city a safer place for everyone who lives or works here.

If we are going to turn this city around then we must have an intense focus on preventing and reducing violent crime, burglaries, prostitution, and pan-handling that is eroding San Bernardino’s quality of life.

We stand ready to work with the city’s leaders to accomplish these goals vital to the safety of San Bernardino’s residents and our city’s economic turnaround.

Murder Rate Remains Tragically High in 2013

The darkest mark on the record of outgoing San Bernardino Mayor Pat Morris isn’t the city’s bankruptcy.

The number of murders in San Bernardino is the darkest mark on Pat Morris's record.

The number of murders in San Bernardino is the darkest mark on Pat Morris’s record.

It’s the horrific level of violent crime in the city Morris was twice elected to lead.

“San Bernardino ended 2013 with 46 homicides, one less than the year before,” The Sun reported at the start of this new year.

As Mayor, Pat Morris had the ability to make public safety and crime prevention his top priority.  He failed to do so and the residents of San Bernardino have suffered because it – especially after the economy collapsed.

Now as Pat Morris is leaving office, he is also leaving a huge mess for San Bernardino’s next mayor to clean up.

Not only is San Bernardino bankrupt, but crime is rampant throughout our community as  Pat Morris has turned his back on the Police Department

Should San Bernardino rebound economically, its going to need to attract job-creating business investment.

But businesses are not going to want to locate here if the city remains so unsafe.

Clearly the next mayor – whether it’s Wendy McCammack or Carey Davis – will need to have a completely different approach to dealing with crime than what we’ve had for the last eight years with Pat Morris.

If that doesn’t happen, then it will be extremely difficult to see how San Bernardino can turn itself around at all.

Concepcion Powell Now a Write-In Candidate for Mayor

Last week Concepcion Powell was kicked off the ballot as a candidate for Mayor of San Bernardino.

Concepcion Powell is a candidate for Mayor of San Bernardino in 2013.

Concepcion Powell is now running as a write-in candidate for Mayor of San Bernardino in 2013.

City Clerk Gigi Hanna disqualified Powell for failing to pay the filing fees to run for office as required by law.

It appears the check Ms. Powell gave the City Clerk to pay her filing fees bounced.

So did the check for the publication of her candidate statement in the Sample Ballot.

Powell screamed outrage that she was being treated unfairly by the City. However, the information released by the City Clerk’s Office indicates Powell was given sufficient opportunity to pay her fees after her checks bounced.

If anything Hanna gave overly favorable treatment to Powell by allowing her ample time to pay the fees and by not reporting the candidate to the District Attorney for writing bad checks.

Powell considered legal action against Hanna and the City, but probably realized she had no case. Therefore she opted to be a write-in candidate for Mayor of San Bernardino.

Running as a Write-In Candidate is probably no more than a face-saving move for Concepcion Powell as the chances of a write-in winning the election are about zero.

Even if the odds weren’t stacked against her as a write-in candidate, who honestly could vote for Concepcion Powell after this fiasco?

Is a candidate who can’t cover the checks they write to run for office really going to be one of the top two choices of voters to lead San Bernardino out of bankruptcy?

It’s extremely doubtful.

Concepcion Powell Tossed From Mayors Race

File this one under stories that can only happen in San Bernardino.

Mayoral Candidate Concepcion Powell has been removed from the November ballot for failing to pay her candidate filing fees.

Concepcion Powell is a candidate for Mayor of San Bernardino in 2013.

Concepcion Powell has been removed from the ballot for Mayor of San Bernardino.

The removal of Concepcion Powell from the ballot was initiated by San Bernardino City Clerk Gigi Hanna.

Hanna also claims Powell did not pay the fees to have her Candidate’s Statement printed in the Sample Ballot.

According to The Sun:

Powell, who according to her ballot statement is an economic development consultant, gave the required checks on Aug. 14, the deadline to file for mayor, but closed the account after she was robbed of about $7,000 and a laptop containing a password to the bank account, she and Hanna said.

The money and other items were stolen from her car at a San Bernardino gas station in mid August, Powell said.

Powell told employees in the Finance Department she would pay by Sept. 1, but on Wednesday they said no checks had been received, according to Hanna.

Hanna then sent an email giving Powell until noon Thursday to make payment, and when that deadline passed, called to check up. Powell said she thought she had until 5 p.m.

At 4:45, according to Hanna, Powell’s representative came in but said she had lost the check.

Hanna sent an email at 5:12 p.m. asking the registrar to remove Powell from the ballot.

Concepcion Powell who participated in our Online Interview Series and the San Bernardino Police Officers Association’s Mayoral Candidates Forum, said she was going to take the weekend to decide how to proceed in this matter.

As always, we’ll keep you posted.

Photos from the Mayoral Candidates Forum

Here’s some photographs that were taken Saturday night at the Mayoral Candidates Forum hosted by the San Bernardino Police Officers Association.

Many thanks to Joe Valdivia for taking these pictures for us.

Click on the images to enlarge and to read their captions.

Mayoral Candidates Forum A Huge Success

The San Bernardino Police Officers Association would like to thank the ten candidates for Mayor, the readers of San Bernardino City Bankruptcy who submitted questions, Cal State San Bernardino, moderator Brad Pomerance, and the large group of voters who turned out Saturday night to make the 2013 Mayoral Candidates Forum a huge success.

San Bernardino Police Officers Association President Steve Turner, with moderator Brad Pomerance to the left, addresses the 10 mayoral candidates.

San Bernardino Police Officers Association President Steve Turner, with moderator Brad Pomerance to the left, addresses the 10 mayoral candidates.

San Bernardino City Bankruptcy live tweeted most of the forum on Twitter from its account @SBBankruptcy. Unfortunately we hit our limit of Tweets and wound up in “Twitter Jail” unable to tweet during the last third of the candidates forum.

Ryan Hagan (@SBCityNow) of The Sun and San Bernardino Police Officers Association President Steve Turner (@50sturner) continued the tweeting.

The hashtag #sbforum was used to group the tweets for the evening.

Many in attendance also tweeted their enjoyment with the candidates forum, the questions asked, and the format.

Jones Babcock Tweets

Kathy Mallon Tweet

Rocio Pomerance TweetsRyan Hagan of The Sun reported on the candidates forum:

Ten of the 11 candidates for mayor participated Saturday evening in a three-hour forum hosted by the San Bernardino Police Officers Association.

Public safety was the focus of many of the questions — and a stated priority of every participant — but given the city’s bankruptcy and other challenges, much more was at stake, said union president Steve Turner.

“The San Bernardino Police Officers Association is really concerned about the future of this city. We are also really concerned about the future safety of this city,” Turner told an audience of about 100. “We hope this helps you with your decision, which is probably one of the most important San Bernardino will have for a very long time.”

The Forum did not have any opening statements from the candidates and jumped straight into the questions.

Candidates were allowed 90 seconds to answer each question.

Two questions were geared directly at the three sitting City Councilmembers running for Mayor – Chas Kelley, Wendy McCammack, and Rikkee Van Johnson.

The Forum also included a Lightening Round of direct questions.

Ryan Hagan wrote in his article:

In a “lightning round,” where candidates were allowed to answer only yes or no, a controversial section of the charter that requires police and firefighters to be paid the average of what 10 like-sized cities pay got support from all but Councilman Rikke Van Johnson, corporate controller Carey Davis and retired teacher Richard Castro.

Similarly, most said they wanted an audit of how Measure Z money, approved by voters in 2007, had been spent.

“It was sold as 40 additional officers and you got 40 additional officers, but you don’t still have 40 additional officers,” said Councilwoman Wendy McCammack. “I believe it was completely within the law, but it wasn’t what you were sold.”

Others went further than that — contractor Rick Avila called for an FBI investigation, and financial analyst Henry Nickel said there were “signs of misappropriation.”

Also nearly unanimous was the response to a question on whether candidates would accept an endorsement if it were offered by Pat Morris, who has served two terms as mayor. Only Davis said yes.

Again thank you to everyone who participated in one way or another in the Mayoral Candidates Forum.

Your involvement in this election will have a giant impact on the future of the City of San Bernardino.

(As of September 26, 2013 there are 10 candidates for mayor on the ballot rather than 11. Concepcion Powell was disqualified as a candidate from the ballot.)

Related articles:

Voters Guide to the Candidates for Mayor of San Bernardino

(Updated September 26, 2013.  Concepcion Powell was removed from the ballot for failing to pay her filing fees. There are now 10 rather than 11 candidates on the ballot for Mayor).

In this year’s election for Mayor of San Bernardino, the San Bernardino Police Officers Association has been committed to a fair and equitable vetting process.

This is essential in the search for a Mayor who is capable of leading our community out of bankruptcy, through the many issues that we share, and into the future.

In prior elections, the endorsement process of the San Bernardino Police Officers Association included only a voluntary interview between the candidate and our Political Action Committee.

This year, due to the current condition of the City, we strongly believed this Election demanded more.

For this election cycle, we added two additional components.

In addition to the interview with the Political Action Committee, we added an online interview to be published on this website, and the public Mayoral Candidates Forum at Cal State San Bernardino on September 14th.

All ten candidates were invited to participate this process.

Rules and Format Announced for Mayoral Candidate Forum

This week the San Bernardino Police Officers Association released the following format and rules for the Association’s highly anticipated Mayoral Candidate Forum:

1. Each candidate will be provided 2 seats inside the venue for their choice of support (spouse, campaign manager, etc.). We ask that guests arrive with the candidate and we will show them to their seats. It is ok to invite additional campaign supporters. General seating is not reserved.

2. We ask that the candidates arrive at the venue by 5 PM. At this time, you will be provided a note pad and a pen. The Candidate will receive a copy of all questions that may be asked during the event. You may take notes. You will be permitted to review your notes, but you may not read any prepared or written statements or answers from your notes. The event will begin promptly at 6 PM.

3. The question review sheet contains 20 of the questions that were considered for this forum. Not all questions will be asked, and they will not be asked in the order listed on the review sheet.

4. Each candidate will be introduced to the audience one at a time, beginning with the far end of the stage (left side of the moderator). Candidate seating will be determined prior to the event, by draw. Please do not rearrange the seating cards.

5. There will be no opening or closing statement by the Candidates.  The field of 11 candidates would have taken up too much of our time. Feel free to bring campaign materials, but we ask that these not be handed out until after the event.

6. Questioning will begin with the candidate on the near end of the stage (right of the moderator). Each subsequent question will begin with the next candidate on the right.

7. As we have received a number of questions directed to the “incumbent council members,” we have dedicated 2 questions for these panelists only. These dedicated questions are not meant to be unfair to anyone on the panel, but are simply being responsive to the questions that were submitted on SanBernardinoCityBankruptcy.

8. Time Limits- There will be a timekeeper.

a. Each candidate will be permitted 90 seconds to respond to a question. There      will be no rebuttal.

b. A lighted electronic timer will be used to keep track of time. Should there be a         malfunction of this timer a back-up system will be used.

c. Back-up system – A yellow card will be held up when the candidate has 15 seconds left, please begin to wrap up your answer.

d. A red card will be held up when the candidate’s time has lapsed. Please end your response at this time.

9. The moderator may ask a follow up question for clarification purposes only. This question should prompt a yes or no response.

10. Lightening Round:

We will have a “lightening round” in which the candidate may answer “yes,” “no” or     “pass.”

These questions are straightforward and cover topics regularly discussed in San      Bernardino. These questions will not be on the review sheet so as to provide the             audience an opportunity to see how the candidates respond on their toes.

11. The candidates are reminded that this event is being recorded.

12. We will ask that the audience and candidates silence their cell phones, and that applause be held until the event is over.

13. Campaign materials may not be distributed prior to, or inside the venue. We ask that campaign materials be distributed outside and at the completion of the event, only. 

 

Brad Pomerance to Moderate the Mayoral Candidate Forum

The San Bernardino Police Officers Association is pleased to announce that television news host Brad Pomerance will be serving as the moderator for its upcoming Mayoral Candidates Forum.

Brad Pomerance

Host of California Edition, Brad Pomerance.

Brad  has become a fixture on California’s television landscape, serving as the Host of California Edition, broadcasting daily, statewide on the California Channel.

In this capacity, Brad regularly interviews City Councilmembers, County Supervisors, California Assembly Members, Senators and Constitutional Officers, United States Congressional Members and more.

Brad also serves as the Host of the weekly news magazine, The J Report with Brad Pomerance, on JLTV.

Previously, Brad worked as an Anchor and Reporter for HLN’s Local Edition, LA City View Channel 35’s LA This Week and KDOC’s Daybreak OC. Brad has been nominated for three Los Angeles-area Emmys – for his work at Channel 35 and on Local Edition.

A licensed attorney, Brad received his Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations, Cum Laude, from The University of Southern California, and his Juris Doctor, With High Honors, from George Washington University’s National Law Center.

You can watch episodes of the thirty-minute program California Edition at www.youtube.com/charterlocaledition.

An Interview with City Councilman Rikke Van Johnson

San Bernardino City Bankruptcy is pleased to bring you the 8th in our series of online interviews with candidates running for Mayor of San Bernardino this November.

San Bernardino City Councilman and Mayoral Candidate Rikke Van Johnson.

San Bernardino City Councilman and Mayoral Candidate Rikke Van Johnson.

Today’s interview is with San Bernardino City Councilman Rikke Van Johnson who represents San Bernardino’s 6th Ward.

This is also the final interview of the series as three of the candidates for mayor (Richard Castro, Carey Davis and Matthew Korner) did not respond to our online interview request by returning answers to our questions.

If you’ve missed any of the previous mayoral candidate interviews, they have been all archived on the Mayor’s Race page.

And now our interview with Mayoral Candidate and City Councilman Rikke Van Johnson.

Councilman, thank you for your time today.

Councilman Johnson thank you for your time today.

You were first elected to the San Bernardino City Council in 2003, then re-elected in 2007 and 2011. During that time what were some of your major concerns about how the City was managing its finances?

My major concern was the utilization of reserve funds to support the general fund. When I first entered into office in 2004 San Bernardino had a reserve fund balance of over $12 million dollars.  The reserve fund balance was reduced to zero dollars by 2010.

What steps did you attempt to take to correct these problems that would eventually lead to the City of San Bernardino declaring bankruptcy?

Utilization of the reserve funds to support demands by director of departments I could not support, but I was just one vote. However, during the economic downturn in our economy the reserve funds became the only place to go for funds to aid the City’s general fund predicament.

Few cities were hurt by the housing crisis to the same extent as San Bernardino, where the median home value declined by 57.6% between 2007 and 2011 from $327,000 to just $147,000. This decline is more than any other large city in the United States.  By the end of 2012, almost 4.4% of homes in San Bernardino were in foreclosure, among the highest rates for all large cities.

Along with the massive loss in home values, unemployment rates have skyrocketed to the third-highest in the country among the largest cities.  The unemployment rate reached 17.6%, nearly double the U.S. rate and almost 10 percentage points higher than the city’s annual rate in 2007.

In 2006 San Bernardino generated $36,753,095 in sales tax revenue.  In 2013 sales tax plummeted to $20,111,523. In August of 2012, declining home values, declining sales tax and rising employee retirement costs forced the city to file for bankruptcy.

At the Budget Meeting on August 23, 2010 we were told by the City Treasurer that we could no longer use gimmicks to balance the budget. The City Manager stated that we were headed towards bankruptcy if we continued down this path without taking measures to prevent that disaster and brought forth recommendations to change our course.

Some policy makers said he was using ‘scare tactics’ by stating that we were heading into bankruptcy. I attempted to work on changing the course we were heading on. The votes were not there to alter the direction that we were on.

Last summer when the City suddenly declared bankruptcy, how did you vote on this action and why?