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.

State Pension Fund Has Best Year Since 1997

Hold on to those petitions to gut police and fire pensions, Mayor Morris. The California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) just had its best year since Bill Clinton was President.

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California’s pension fund has best year since Bill Clinton was president(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Los Angeles Times reports the CalPERS pension fund earned an amazing 16.2% return on its investments in 2013:

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System, which provides benefits to about 1.7 million state and local government workers, retirees and their dependents, said its total investments were worth $282.6 billion as of Friday, the highest ever.

Better known as CalPERS, the country’s biggest public pension fund was especially helped by the stock market’s best year since 1997. Among its holdings, publicly traded shares did best; bonds and commodities did the worst.

The results for 2013 capped a wild ride for the agency over the last 11 years. The fund was especially hard hit during the Great Recession of 2007-09. In 2008, amid the depths of the worst global economic slowdown in half a century, the fund lost 27.8% of its value.

Since then, it has climbed back. In 2011, the fund’s increase in value was a mere 1.1%. For 2012, the rate of investment growth was up to 13.3%. By early 2013, the total value of the fund officially surpassed its pre-recession high.

CalPERS’ overall rate of return for 2013 was more than twice the 7.5% minimum that the fund’s board has said it needs to meet current and future obligations to retirees.

This is great news for cities like San Bernardino because higher investment earnings generated by CalPERS equates to lower pension contributions for cities.

Pension hypocrites like outgoing Mayor Pat Morris will most likely try to minimize this news as it undermines his effort to decimate the CalPERS pension system.

But as the LA Times article also states:

“This definitely takes some of the wind out of the sails of critics,” said Steve Maviglio, a spokesman for Californians for Retirement Security, a coalition of 1.6 million government workers and retirees. CalPERS’ new report makes it “hard to make the case that the sky is falling with returns like that.”

San Bernardino Named Worst Run City in America 2 Years in a Row

It’s not a title any city would want to ever have even once.

It’s certainly not a title any city would want to have twice.

But the City of San Bernardino has managed to pull it off.

English: Downtown San Bernardino

San Bernardino, CA has now been named the Worst-Run City in America for two consecutive years. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

24/7 Wall Street has for the second consecutive year named San Bernardino, California as the Worst Run City in America.

Detroit, Michigan with all of its massive problems couldn’t even unseat San Bernardino from the #1 spot.

This dubious and unwanted honor perfectly highlights the mismanagement and failed leadership of Mayor Pat Morris for the last eight years.

Thankfully Pat Morris will be out of office in less than two months.  But he’s left an enormous mess for his successor that must be cleaned up if San Bernardino is truly going to rise from the ashes like the mythical phoenix.

The Last Desperate Days of Fred Shorett?

How desperate is Fred Shorett becoming as the City Election closes in on him?

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Very desperate if you look at Item 6C on today’s San Bernardino City Council Agenda.

Fred Shorett, aka Mr. Mini-Morris, is once again trying to outsource and disband the San Bernardino City Fire Department.

Twice last month Shorett attempted to disband the City Fire Department and failed.

So why is Fred Shorett trying to push this through once again the night before Election Day?

Election Day itself may be the answer.  Shorett is facing a tough challenge from lifelong San Bernardino resident and business owner Anthony Jones.

So instead of letting the voters have their say on his plan to outsource the Fire Department, Shorett wants to get it done before the ballots are cast.

This shoving his plans down the people’s throats is indicative of Shorett’s “my way or the highway” style of doing business that has drastically failed the City of San Bernardino.

This desperate attempt however indicates that Fred Shorett sees his days on the City Council as numbered.  So tonight he’s throwing a Hail Mary hoping to achieve his goal of disbanding the San Bernardino Fire Department.

Hopefully Fred Shorett will not prevail at the City Council meeting tonight, nor will he prevail tomorrow night when the ballots are counted.  It’s time for new leadership in the 4th Ward.

San Bernardino Loses Police Chief Amidst Political Instability

Police Chief Rob Handy today announced he is leaving San Bernardino to become the Chief of Police in Huntington Beach.

Chief Handy stated in an email “the primary reason for my application was simply the opportunity of working and living in Huntington Beach.”

Handy also noted other factors weighed in on his decision.

Handy wrote, “Considering the constantly changing environment at City Hall, I decided to seek the position to stabilize my career. The election is unpredictable, I am now working with my third City Manager, third Finance Director, and all new Department Heads.  In that context, it is also important to consider I am at will employee and can be released at any time for no cause.”

Chief Handy also stressed his warnings to city leaders about the currently inadequate staffing of the San Bernardino Police Department and the impact further cuts would make

“I have had repeated conversations with City Manager and the Mayor about our staffing levels. I do not think we can cut anymore without causing serious problems for our community.  I do not believe we provide adequate service in many cases now.  Further cuts would had significant consequences.

Fred Shorett Behind Move to Disband San Bernardino Fire and Police Departments

San Bernardino City Councilman Fred Shorett has not surprisingly turned out to be the driving force behind the effort to disband both the San Bernardino Fire and Police Departments.

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Politician Fred Shorett is seeking to disband the San Bernardino Fire and Police Departments.

While many have been told that the inclusion of the Police Department in City Council Agenda Item 7A was a mistake – the goal was only to outsource and disband the San Bernardino Fire Department – this memo obtained from City Hall clearly shows that outsourcing police services was also included.

The memo states that Fred Shorett is seeking City Council support to, “Direct the City Manager to begin the process of soliciting proposals for contracting fire and police services to outside agencies.”

This is politics at its worst.

Fred Shorett has been one of the worst public safety votes on the City Council since he was elected.

This is one of the reasons that San Bernardino’s Fire Fighters and Police Officers adamentaly oppose his re-election and have endorsed Anthony Jones as his replacement.

Shorett’s motives are nothing less than the act of a petty politician bent on retaliation instead of doing his job and protecting the people of San Bernardino.

A Closer Look at Violent Crime in San Bernardino

San Bernardino residents didn’t need an FBI report to tell them that the city they call home is a dangerous place.

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FBI ‘s Uniform Crime Report shows violent crime rising in the City of San Bernardino. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

They know that because they live in the City of San Bernardino.

Their city has been ravaged by crime and poverty in recent years thanks to the failed policies of Mayor Pat Morris and his rubber stamp city council members who blindly follow him.

What the FBI’s recently released uniform crime report did tell residents is how much crime – specifically violent crime – has been rising in their community.

Comparing the total number of violent crimes in San Bernardino from the year 2010 to the number of violent crimes in 2012 (the most recent year data is available) a frightening upward trend exists.

Since 2010 the total number of violent crimes committed in San Bernardino increased from 1,624 to 2,022 – a 24% increase.

A deeper look at those crimes tells a more chilling tale.

The number of murders increased from 31 to 47 – a 51% increase.

The number of robberies increased from 632 to 803 – a 27% increase.

The number of assaults increased from 895 to 1,116 – a 24% increase.

Make no mistake the first and highest duty of the City’s government is the protect of the people it serves.

San Bernardino under the failed leadership of Pat Morris has failed to do its duty.

The next Mayor of San Bernardino must effectively deal with violent crime or there will be absolutely no hope to turn the city around.

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.

Crime and Poverty on the Rise in Bankrupt San Bernardino

For the elected officials and staff at San Bernardino City Hall, bankruptcy is the issue that preoccupies their minds.

Pat Morris's failures as Mayor are costing San Bernardino residents by deteriorating their safety and their quality of life.

Pat Morris’s failures as Mayor are costing San Bernardino residents by deteriorating their safety and their quality of life.

But if the bulk of the questions submitted by the public for last Saturday’s Mayoral Candidates Forum are any indication of what’s on the minds of San Bernardino’s residents, they’re preoccupied with rising crime and unemployment.

Federal statistics released this week validate the public’s concerns.

The Sun reported on the crime numbers compiled by the FBI:

The “Crime in the United States, 2012” report showed that violent crime across the nation increased 0.7 percent compared with 2011 statistics, and property crime had decreased 0.9 percent.

But the Inland Empire bucked the national trend in property crime.

San Bernardino showed a 24 percent increase in property crime, with Pomona at 13 percent and Redlands at 14 percent.

“We had significant increases across the board,” said San Bernardino Assistant Police Chief Jarrod Burguan. “Last year we had the 24 percent increase in property crimes, but through July of this year we’ve shown a 5.7 percent decrease.”

Burguan said there are several reasons behind the property crime increase in 2012.

“Personnel cuts, and significant restructuring are just a couple of reasons crime increased,” he said.

Homicides also jumped significantly in San Bernardino last year.