Rikke Van Johnson Unqualified to be Mayor

Rikke Van Johnson is one of ten candidates running to be the next Mayor of San Bernardino.

Rikke Van Johnson's record on the city council shows he's unfit to be mayor.

Rikke Van Johnson’s record on the city council shows he’s unfit to be mayor.

He is also the one candidate most transparently unqualified for the job of mayor.

For the past ten years Johnson has represented San Bernardino’s 6th Ward on the City Council.

One need only look back at Rikke Van Johnson’s council record since 2003 to see that he is unqualified and unfit to serve in the capacity of mayor.

Rikke Van Johnson is without a doubt one of the people directly responsible for San Bernardino’s two biggest problems:  crime and bankruptcy.

Johnson has constantly been a blind supporter of Mayor Pat Morris, his anti-public safety crusade, and the Mayor’s irresponsible spending.

The Sun on October 15, 2007 described Johnson as “a staunch ally of Morris and his anti-crime philosophy.”  That philosophy as we know has made San Bernardino a very dangerous place for both residents and police officers.

Rikke Van Johnson has consistently opposed putting more Police Officers on the street to combat crime that victimizes the community.

Johnson defended his positions against hiring more Police by saying in The Sun on November 14, 2006 that “There are other ways to reduce crime.”

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?

Pensions Did Not Cause San Bernardino Bankruptcy

There is a a political narrative in San Bernardino spread by Mayor Pat Morris and his anti-public safety allies on the City Council that the pensions offered to Police Officers and Fire Fighters is the main reason the City had to declare bankruptcy.

That is an untrue fiction perpetrated by the Morris political faction to deflect blame away from the Pat Morris’s failures in office and to fuel support for the dangerous cuts Pat Morris and his cronies would like to impose on public safety in San Bernardino.

In November 2012, a study compiled by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley concluded “a high per-capita ratio of police cuts down on violent crime, and saves money.”

The study pointed out “that each dollar spent on police is associated with approximately $1.60 in reduced victimization cost.”

It then went on to rank the 30 most under-policed cities in the United States. San Bernardino came in at #19.

Not in California, but in the United States!

Please note San Bernaridno filed bankruptcy only the months before, and the “exodus” of sworn officers and civilian staff had not even begun to heat up. So the numbers released in the study are “pre-bankruptcy.”

Since that time, Mayor Morris and his City Council Majority attempted to sell the San Bernardino Police Department, and promised the same with the Fire Department.

Does Rikke Van Johnson View Free Speech as Terrorism?

San Bernardino City Councilman Rikke Van Johnson to seems to have some interesting views on the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Councilman Rikke Van Johnson calls criticism of his voting record "villainous."

Councilman Rikke Van Johnson calls criticism of his voting record “villainous.”

At the June 3, 2013 meeting of the San Bernardino City Council, Rikke Van Johnson publicly called the constitutionally protected Free Speech activities  of the San Bernardino Police Officers Association as acts of “terrorization.”

Councilman Van Johnson further went on to call the Police Officers public criticism of his record on the City Council as “villainous.”

What’s going on here?  Why is Rikke Van Johnson speaking out against Free Speech?

Where Has the Measure Z Money Gone?

Since 2007, the City of San Bernardino has collected over $28 million through the voter-approved Measure Z.

The voters directed the Mayor and the City Council to spend the tax dollars generated by Measure Z to make San Bernardino’s neighborhoods and families safer.

But where has the money gone?

That’s the topic of a recent mailer sent by the San Bernardino Police Officers Association.

Although the City has been collecting millions of dollars in additional tax revenues, Mayor Pat Morris along with his rubber stamp City Council majority have made deep cuts to public safety that have resulted in San Bernardino losing roughly 30% of it’s Police Officers.