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Hardy L. Brown

Welcome Robert Jenkins to the City Council

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We want to join with the family and friends of Robert Jenkins and welcome him to the city council representing the people of the second ward. We join him in his desire to bring jobs with business opportunities to the city and keeping public safety as a priority. We also wish him well in an attempt to bring civility and remove a personality-political driven atmosphere from the council meeting.

Again welcome Council Member Jenkins.

 

It’s “Just My Imagination Running Away With Me” on Penman and McCammack

Just My Imagination running away with me was a song made popular by The Temptations of Motown. It came into my mind while viewing the latest San Bernardino City Council Meeting, as Council Member Wendy McCammack, said I have to abstain from voting on this agenda item because this is a client of mine. My imagination went into overdrive because McCammack had been abstaining from voting a lot of agenda items because they are seeking contracts with the city.

 

I recall a matter that came before the council by he San Bernardino Unified School District and she had to abstain because they were a client of her company. Then the Imagination made a leap that McCammack is a very close friend of City Attorney Jim Penman whose wife, Judi Penman is a school board member and is also the Executive Director of the Camber of Commerce. Then my imagination went into rocket blast off by wondering how many of those clients that she cannot vote on, became her clients after she became a council member. How were they recruited by her or how were they directed to her and by whom? How did these clients get contracts with the city? What was the process and who else made bids on these city contracts? Like the Temptation said in their song it is just my imagination running away with me.

Have you let your imagination run away with you? Then I thought of the last two meetings where McCammack brought up the county grand jury report with the same points that you guessed it, Jim Penman expounded on for 15 minutes accusing the mayor and some council member of corruption, even thought the report was explaining another county agency governing body. The other meeting involved an agenda item of relocating the In and Out Burger Enterprise from 2nd to 5th Street because of the expansion of the 215 Freeway. Other council members wanted to know when was the ribbon cutting ceremony, how many employees would they have and the cost of this redevelopment project. The mayor explained this is what redevelopment is suppose to do, remove blight of two hotels that was in the business of renting rooms by the hour. Let your imagination take you to what happens at a one hour motel.

Then along came McCammack and said I don’t want to rain on your parade but I don’t think we, taxpayers, got a good deal. Our kids and grandkids will be paying for this all of their life, even though I am going to vote for it. Immediately up pop’s Penman hand as though there was a legal issue on what was being proposed: your honor, I think what you guys just did was a waste of taxpayers money by giving money to a hamburger joint, to paraphrase Penman statement. I thought to myself this is what he calls a joint, an establishment that will employee 75 to 100 local employees, pay taxes that will pay his salary, and he referrers t it as a hamburger joint. This was in my opinion, the city attorney’s concept of “legal advice” to the council. My imagination said to me this is a political statement with disparaging remarks against a legitimate thriving business in the city and is a poor representation from our city’s legal office. The mayor and council had another meeting (workshop) last Thursday evening to work on policies and procedures on how they will conduct their meetings and treat one another. One would think that it would involve only council members and the mayor, wrong; here you had Jim Penman sitting next to his favorite council member McCammack so they could exchange thoughts and allow Penman to operate as the eight councilmember. Now I don’t blame Penman for pushing his way into the meeting but I do blame the mayor and council members for allowing him to interject his personal thoughts into how they ought to run their council meeting. Once again, maybe it is my imagination running away with me on how I think the council members and mayor should conduct business.

Then I thought what if there is something to what my imagination is thinking. What if, McCammack and Penman do meet before the meetings and to plan what they are to say? What if, McCammack is being steered clients because of her position as a council member? What if she is helping those clients get contracts with the city and acting like she is innocent by not voting on the agenda item? What would an investigation reveal to us if that information was released to the public about her clients? How did she get them? When did she get them? How did they get city contracts? I don’t know; it is just my imagination running away with me.

My Position on the Debt Ceiling If I were President

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Everyone has an opinion on this issue of raising the debt ceiling because it sounds as though every citizen alive and unborn for a couple of generations might be affected by it.

My opinion is President Obama should issue an Executive Order and raise the ceiling on Sunday night and let congress try and over turn it if they can. I would say “as the president of this great nation I cannot afford to allow our debts to go unpaid and ruin our reputation around the world. I cannot take the chance of our military and their families fighting to protect us go unpaid. I cannot take the chance to have our seniors on whose shoulders we stand not have their checks paid. I cannot take the chance of having our working employee population lose another dime from their 401k because Congressman Eric Cantor and the Tea Party members are acting like ‘suicide bombers’.”


SEE ALSO: Blacks, Latinos Must Seek Solutions to Section 186, Employment in San Bernardino


“I issue this Executive Order even if it means I will only serve one term. I issue this Executive Order today to protect our credit rating and to prevent every citizen from having to pay higher interest rates when borrowing money. I issue this Executive Order to protect the most vulnerable of our society, the ones who have made the greatest sacrifice for our freedom. I issue this Executive Order in the spirit of the story told in Luke 21 of the woman who gave two coins as compared to the gifts of the wealthy.”

We have some wealthy people who are eager and willing to give more but the Tea Party people are against them as well.

However, if I were president I would issue the Executive Order and let congress take me to court. In the meantime the country would move on solving other problems like creating jobs for the millions out of work.

Blacks, Latinos Must Seek Solutions to Section 186, Employment in San Bernardino

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There is a growing concern from taxpayers around the nation, states, counties and cities that pay for government employees is out of line with the private sector salaries and something must be done to correct this imbalance. While I am an advocate for public labor unions to get as much as the market or employer can bear, I am not an advocate of automatic salary increases that are out of the control of elected officials to openly negotiate such as San Bernardino City Charter Section 186, which states:

“There is hereby established for the city of San Bernardino a basic standard for fixing salaries, classification and working conditions of the employees of the police and fire department of the city of San Bernardino, and the mayor and common council in exercising the responsibility over these departments vested in them by this charter shall hereafter be guided by and limited by these provisions:” of Classification, Basic Salary Schedule and Special Provisions.”

These are items normally found in “collective bargaining agreements” and open for negotiations by the mayor and council at the end of a contract. What has happened in San Bernardino is the voters have given away the right of their elected officials to control and effectively manage these departments when it comes to cost.

When the voters passed this charter change most of the public safety employees lived in the city and their neighbors wanted them to be adequately compensated for the position they held.

When the Police Officers Association was first organized they had benevolence and social issues for the citizens they swore to protect and serve with integrity as their focus. Contrast now with their main mission or focus is to protect Section 186 of the City Charter, according to their mission statement. It is not about the people but about their pay and retirement into upscale communities.

Just like they have made money, so should the community. We have enough good reasons, for another example; the Pew Research Center just released a report Tuesday that said “Wealth gaps rise to record highs between Whites, Blacks and Hispanics.” The median net worth of households for Whites in 2005 was $134,992 compared to Hispanics at $18,359 and Blacks at $12,124. Since then there has been a drop for everyone with Whites falling to $113,149, a 16% drop, Hispanics $6,325 a 66% drop and Blacks $5,667 a 53% drop per household. The rich are getting richer and the poor, poorer.

The only thing left for the voters to do is change the charter section 186, stop paying sales tax or shopping in neighboring communities for the things they need or want. I am reminded of the California Eagle Newspaper in Los Angeles, published by Charlotta Spears Bass, when she ran a weekly ad telling Blacks “Do not shop where you can’t work”. So my question to the Black and Latino community, why pay sales tax to a city that does not want you to work in the police or fire department and the majority of staff live in other communities. I am aware of what the city is trying to do in diversifying its public safety departments, but it has not been done and some in the department do not want it to happen. I am also aware that some people have a way of sabotaging the well intentions of good people and then say we tried. The city has known for years that Blacks and Latinos have not been welcome in these departments, yet the have been slow to respond. I am sure some will say now that part of the reason to not move fast will be the economy.

So the Latino and Black communities needs to keep and apply the pressure until the numbers change and people have security in their jobs. Let us take a look at the city manager position. He is African American and every chance Jim Penman, Wendy McCammack or Chas Kelly get they take a stab to demean, embarrass, and challenge his competence or authority. They are trying to get him to leave, I know because I’ve seen these tactics before.

There are a lot of things going on in the city and Blacks and Hispanics cannot lose sight of the things that will improve their pursuit of happiness and employment is one of them.

Blacks are on the Move to Riverside and San Bernardino Counties

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“On the road again, I just can’t wait to get on the road again. The life I love is making music with my friends. And I can’t wait to get on the road again. Goin’ places I’ve never been, seein’ things I may never see again. And I can’t wait to get on the road again, on the road again.”
Willie Nelson

In California, African Americans are on the move again according to the U.S. Census Department. Over 54, 000 left the state to greener pastures because the gold in them there hills has been hard to find and those that found it moved so they could keep it. For the 2,249,404 left behind or decideding to stay, they like making music with their friends so they migrated from the large cities into places like Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.

San Bernardino County is now home to 176,123 Blacks, a gain of over 20,000 and Riverside county now has 124,960 an increase of 28,528 calling Riverside their home.

This is the way things are shaking out in the two counties and cities when it comes to where we live:

San Bernardino County
176,125 (8.9%) of the population

San Bernardino City - 32,374 - (16.3%)
Fontana - 17,902 - (9.7%)
Victorville - 16,792 - (16.4%)
Rialto City - 16,104 - (16.4%)
Rancho Cucamonga - 13,696 - (8.1%)
Ontario - 13,676 - (8.0%)
Apple Valley - 7,405 - (10.8%)
Colton - 5,978 - (11.8%)
Chino - 5,046 - (6.3%)
Upland - 4,962 - (6.5%)
Highland - 4,893 - (9.6%)
Upland - 4,962 - (6.5%)
Adelanto - 4,820 - (17.9%)
Hesperia - 4,333 - (5.2%)
Barstow - 3,813 - (15.6%)
Redlands - 3,746 - (5.4%)
Chino Hills - 3,454 - (4.7%)
Montclair - 1,397 - (3.9%)

Riverside County
124,960 (6.1%) of the population

Moreno Valley - 32,493 - (17.7%)
Riverside City - 20,266 - (7.0%)
Corona - 9,154 - (6.2%)
Perris - 6,238 - (12.0%)
Murrieta - 4,958 - (5.3%)
Temecula - 3,542 - (3.5%) Hemet - 2,782 - (4.0%)
Palm Springs - 2,321 - (4.9%)
Lake Elsinore - 2,176 - (4.7%)
Desert Hot Springs - 1,864 - (8.2%)
Norco - 1,821 - (6.8%)
Banning - 1,726 (6.0%)
Indio - 1,445 - (1.8%)

Since the 2000 census 49,305 more Blacks call the Inland Empire home and most came from Los Angeles County which lost 68,436 during this ‘on the move again’ movement. This gives us an opportunity to make music together and share the richness of the culture of others. For example: over the past fifty years Native Americans, Latinos, Whites and Blacks have learned to form political coalitions to elect each other into office for the betterment of the community. And now that a new census has caused new political lines and districts to be drawn, it will give us a new opportunity with new people to continue that tradition.

Also this movement has produced internal movement within each city. To give a few examples: In Riverside, Blacks were living with a majority on the eastside, in San Bernardino a majority on the Westside, in Fontana a majority on the North side of Baseline and in Rialto on the bench area. That has changed with people living throughout the cities thus changing who and how one might get elected to political office.

After we get to know one another and make music together it will be time to get on the road again. Let us work together to improve our schools for the betterment of our children. Let us improve our neighborhoods with beautiful landscaping, increasing our property value. Let us become better informed about our local government before we need them. Let us create activities for our young people. Let us support our local businesses creating jobs in the community. Let us work together and make our communities a better place to live, so the need to move will be reduced.

Mr. Penman, Confrontational Government Is Not The Same As Self-Serving Behavior

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Last week’s meeting of the San Bernardino City Council officially kicked-off the political campaign of City Attorney Jim Penman as he is seeking re-election. The mayor and city council meeting is designed to conduct the business of the public, not personal political agendas of elected officials. However, in my opinion people like Mr. Penman and others take advantage of the kindness of the mayor and council members when called upon to speak.

Early in the agenda, council members have time so they can make announcements that might be of interest to their ward constituents. Over the years they have extended this privilege to others like the chamber of commerce, city attorney, city manager and city clerk. All of them have shown respect towards the mayor and council with the exception of one, Mr. Penman.

This past meeting he decided to accuse the mayor, who was absent, mayor pro-tem and several members of the council of being corrupt and referenced a county grand jury report that had absolutely nothing to do with the council meeting agenda. When Mayor Pro-Tem Fred Shorett asked Mr. Penman to stick to the agenda and narrow his comments, Penman became argumentative and attempted to give a history lesson of the constitution and the greatness of the founding fathers for confrontational government. Penman was reminded by the local president of the NAACP that her recollection of the founding fathers were that they were also slave holders, which did not bode well with Mr. Penman. In my opinion, one of the reasons Mr. Penman likes to reflect on the founding fathers is because his birthplace is Mississippi one of the largest slave holding states in the union. Remember the saying…you can take the boy out of the country but cannot take the country out of the boy.


Also Read: Tea Party and Conservative Republicans Want To Put African Americans in Slavery


Some might wonder why Mr. Penman takes on this confrontational and argumentative behavior at a meeting designed for the mayor and council members. Penman has outside supporters and sponsors like: former mayors Evelyn Wilcox and Tom Minor (who is also a retired police chief); retired police chiefs B. Warren Cocke and Ben Gonzales; former council member Betty Anderson; the San Bernardino Police Officers Association; and the Central Labor Council of San Bernardino County so Penman is not pulling these bizarre antics alone, that serve no good for the city’s image.

I am well acquainted with Penman’s supporters because I have at one time worked with and supported them. However they appear to be stuck in a time of the past and do not want to move forward and let the city become what it could become as the county seat. I know why the police association wants Mr. Penman to behave that way as it takes the attention away from the fact that only 34 out of 304 police officers live in the city while we pay them each on average $128,684 a year of our money.

What Mr. Penman is offering is definitely not legal advice to anyone and I am recommending to the mayor and city council some steps they should take:

1. Remind everyone this is a public meeting for the mayor and council;
2. Do not allow anyone to give public announcements during the council meeting other than at the public comment 3 minute section on the agenda;
3. Whenever a council member raises the question “is the action before
us legal”, a consensus (majority) of the council members should request a written request be sent to the city attorney for a written legal opinion on whether the action taken is an appropriate legal action, within their authority and law before being implemented by staff;
4. If the city attorney interjects himself into the discussion and does so in a confrontational demeanor he should be ruled out of order and if he continues he should be placed under arrest by the chief of police, your sergeant of arms, and escorted to jail for disorderly conduct at a public meeting. (Former mayor and now supporter of Penman, Tom Minor can tell you how to do that since he came off the dais during a council meeting to wrestle a public speaker for disorderly conduct.)
5. Make it known that the three-minute public speaking period will not be used to make political campaign statements for or against any candidates. Any one who violates this directive of the council, the microphone will be ordered off as the speaker continues to speak. This is a public meeting of our elected mayor and council members and they are within their authority to implement these rules and procedures to conduct the business of the public in an orderly manner.

If the city attorney wants the public to know something he can do it in another way but not at the city council meeting, where he is currently taking up precious time to toss disparaging allegations and accusations at innocent council members even when they are not present.

It is a meeting of the mayor and council and they should take charge of it and conduct the people’s business of the city.

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