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One Step Forward and Two Steps Back

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A lot of political activities have taken place in San Bernardino in the past few weeks and I’m not talking about Tuesday’s primary election. I’m referring to the recent appointments of Clifford Young as Supervisor and Robert Percy as San Bernardino Community College Trustee replacing Beverly Powell who resigned because of personal reasons.

The other political activity involves the comments of Jim Penman, San Bernardino City Attorney.He would like to see a new city charter determining how city council members are elected. First Dr. Clifford Young is Black and replaced outgoing Jerry Eaves, to become the first Black supervisor in S.B. County history.

It appears to be a step in the right direction for the county unless you witnessed how he was selected. Many people who witnessed the proceedings are still puzzled that it was done without any discussion of the other candidates.

It left the impression that a discussion had already taken place before the motion to accept Dr. Young as the new supervisor. Another step back was Dr. Young’s first order of business: removing the first Black to ever sit on the planning commission and the first Black to ever be employed in the county’s planning department. Now the latest rumor is that Young does not reside in the district he presides over.

Another step back is the appointment of Robert Percy to the S.B. Community College Board. Percy is White and replaces Beverly Powell who is Black. Nothing is wrong with the appointment other than the way it was done and the community college administrations plan to attempt to correct the error on March 11 a week from this Thursday. It appears as though they violated two famous

“Brown Acts” which require elected officials to conduct any business in open session under the watchful eye of the public. In the case of the community college trustees their discussion was done behind closed doors and not properly announced to the public in open session. Mr. Percy has strong ties to the political party that has a very rough time attracting Blacks and Hispanics.

Beverly Powell was only the second African American to ever serve on the community board that provides service to over eighty percent of the Black and Hispanic population in the Inland Empire. Now there are neither Blacks nor Hispanics that sit on this public board, taking us two steps back.

This week S.B. City Attorney Jim Penman called for a new system of governance in the city that would allow for a weakened ward system, weakened mayor, and strong city manager. In essence, since the White population is no longer the largest population, they want to ensure that they select which minorities will serve.

It’s part of San Bernardino’s Country Club mentality. They have historically voted at a higher rate in the city and presumably know what’s best for the entire city. His thinking is definitely taking two steps back. Maybe we should look for a Black or Latino City Attorney in order to take a step forward.

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