Marion Ashley has been passed the gavel to lead the Riverside County Board of Supervisors as its chairman one more time. If I had to make an analogy of Ashley getting the nod from hi s peers, it would be like the players of the Chicago Bulls when Michael Jordan was playing giving the bal l to Michael. We are in the worst financial crisis the world, nation, state and local municipalities has ever seen.
In addition, Riverside is experiencing growth with the need to update its infrastructure of transportation, health care, water, education, environment, and the need for greater cooperation between governments.
When I look at his background and experience, Marion has been preparing himself for such a time as this. When I first met Marion several years ago, through the late Rev. Marvin Brown of Perris, I could tell that he was a genuine guy. For starters, he loves Riverside, his family and serving others. I will not list al l the organizations that he has been affiliated with but everything he has done was and is done with those three things in mind. So after talking with him and listening to Rev. Brown talk about him i t was easy to support him. After viewing his service as a supervisor, it is easier to congratulate him on being named chairman of the board again.
Penman’s Office Denied
The San Bernardino City Council voted 4 to 3 to deny legal payment to Andrew Roth for providing counsel to some female employees in the city attorney’s office of Jim Penman. This $3,200 invoice for the city to pay came about several months ago when a document came up missing and turned up in the city attorney’s office. When it was reported as a theft the police conducted an investigation with many saying a female in the city attorney’s office might be the one. No one knew which one so heavy accusations were slung around city hall. In the meantime, the female employees thought they had better get legal counsel while other employees were interviewed without council. Andrew Roth, the attorney the employees hired as their personal counsel, is married to Dianna Roth who works in the city attorney’s office. Now that the investigation is over with not enough evidence to proceed, the females are stuck with a legal fee of $3, 200, which they said the city should pay. The mayor and four city councilmember’s disagreed, so the request was denied.
I am in agreement with the decision to deny payment for their personal legal counsel. All the employees had to do was cooperate in the investigation instead of not answering any questions as directed by the attorney as stated by Mayor Pat Morris.
Council member Rikke Van Johnson said he voted to deny payment because in hi s opinion it was a conflict of interest for them to use Andrew Roth, since his wife worked for the city attorney.
Jim Penman said he saw this denial as a carryover of the mayoral election, which he lost to Pat Morris. Whatever the reason, the denial sends the message that the council is in charge of the city and not the city attorney.
Remembering A Friend
This past week I lost a longtime friend in Stephen Walker. He was the kind of guy that never sought the spotlight or wanted recognition for anything he did. For many years he lived in a small trailer in Mr. Crew’s backyard in San Bernardino California Gardens. He was born in Buffalo, New York and did not like being around family but to us he was family.
Steve was the kind of guy that would drive to San Francisco just to have a good seafood dinner and then turn around and drive back home. Or, he would buy a ten-pound bag of potatoes for Cheryl to make him a large bowl of potato salad so he could eat until he got really full.
Steve was also the kind of friend that if someone wronged you then they had wronged him as well. The last time I saw Steve was last year when he stopped by to see how I was doing and he made me a large pot of Gumbo, Steve Walker style. He told me, “Hardy I keep up with you through your newspaper.” Even though I would only see Steve every once in a blue moon, I will miss him.
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