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The Election is Over in San Bernardino but the Campaign is Ongoing

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Hardy L. BrownLast week the voters spoke and re-elected Ron Loveridge, Mayor of Riverside with a decisive 69.1% of the vote over Art Gage. This demonstrates that Ron is doing a good job in serving the public and we congratulate Ron on his election.

In San Bernardino, Pat Morris was handed a victory as well with a 55.6% of the vote with three people in the race. Jim Penman garnered just 36.3% and instead of him congratulating Morris, Penman said that Morris won because people out of prison voted. To me that statement by Penman means the election is over but the campaign will carry on into the council chambers. I hope not but knowing Penman it will.

Because of that attitude by Penman, several groups are in operation to remove Penman from public office. I am not an advocate of recalls but in this case I wish the effort much success if Penman continues to be an obstruction to a civil and professional City Hall.

In addition to that, there are others who want to change the charter to have the position as city attorney be appointed. We, African Americans in San Bernardino, have opposed a charter change in the past but now I see the wisdom of having the city attorney position giving legal advice verses political opinions at the council meeting. I can now support an effort to make a change in the charter to have the city attorney be appointed. I would go so far as to say some other changes need to be looked at as well.

If the city’s elected officials are going to be held accountable for the revenue and expenditures of taxpayer’s dollars, then they need to have control over the pay city staff receives. Our public safety employees salaries are wrapped up in a formula bound by the charter. This must be corrected in order to have a level playing field for al l employees and for our elected officials to govern in a responsible way. When things are going great no one pays attention to how money is spent and who gets i t but in hard times everyone must chip in to see the city through and i t was like pulling teeth from chickens when it came to police and firefighters getting a reduction in wages. You know chickens have no teeth.

You have also read me when I said police and firefighters of San Bernardino make their living here but they live somewhere else.

Out of 148 firefighters on the city payroll only 8 live in the city earning $160,183 a year when you add the benefits. For the police that number is 305 with 34 living in the city earning $128,684 a year when you add benefits. When you add it al l up combined they take $57, 298,984 out of the city with no return on our investment. They buy shop and spend those dollars in surrounding communities at our expense. That lets me know where their loyalty is. Exactly what is it they contribute to the city? For example, if you are a business doing business in a city you pay taxes, so what do these public safety officers do for the city other than work and carry their tax dollars somewhere else. To me that translates into millions being taken from the city each and every year with no return on its investments. On the national level we are outraged over companies selling their goods here while having them made in other countries or where one country does not al low us to trade our goods in their country; we cal l that an imbalance of trade.

While one might not be able to regulate where one lives they do have the right to regulate wages but that is currently out of the hands of the city policy makers authority.

So while the election is over some campaign issues are still alive and well with the voters and it appears as though the voters are taking things into their own hands.

The March Healthcare Development A Political Issue In Riverside

Many people were surprised, dismayed and some got angry over the position and actions of Riverside city councilmember Andy Melendrez when he voted no to the approval of the March Healthcare Development campus (MHD) project at the March Joint Powers Commission meeting last week.

As many of you know I spent almost four decades in the healthcare industry and before I got involved in the industry I thought healthcare was just about healing and caring for fellow human beings. I soon learned that it was about so much more including economics and politics. And when it comes to politics healthcare projects are about infrastructure development, tax benefits, and the overall economic impact i t will have on the surrounding community.

In the case of MHD, Riverside sees the project as diminishing their opportunity to expand their services and make money. People in the City of Moreno Valley see it as an opportunity to give their medical professionals a place to service their patients as well as be good neighbors in that area of the county. In my opinion, the entire region will benefit greatly from the proposed campus because it will also include so many other established institutions.

To the citizens who were surprised by Councilmember Melendrez’s vote, take a look at the battle going on in Washington DC, they all say it is about service but we know the sticky issue is about who will be making the money. Riverside is no different.

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