It appears lately that many local governments are trying to put limits on campaign contributions to county supervisors, mayors and city council candidates in order to curb corruption and elected officials not being responsive to taxpayers. The same might happen to school boards as well based on the contributions by builders of public schools of over thirty thousands dollars to Theresa Parra for the San Bernardino School Board. The federal and state governments have had little success to rein in big spenders only to have them spend it in other ways for the candidate or issue of their choosing which has led to “Occupy Wall Street Protesting” all over the world.
The ultimate way to rid corruption and greed from our political system begins with good candidates seeking office, educated voters, and unfortunately it takes money to educate the voters. A few weeks ago, I wrote about the city of Moreno Valley and developer Iddo Benzeevi pouring money around like water, to help elect people on the council and staff to do his bidding; and in San Bernardino City you have the Firefighters and Police Officer’s Associations doing the same. The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors thanks to Janice Rutherford, are moving to limit campaign contributions to elected officials. The county has been plagued by several scandals over the past decades of elected officials violating the law and doing favors for people who contributed heavily to get them elected.
Voters expect elected officials to give some consideration, once elected, to the people that support them but they also expect them to represent everyone once they take the oath to defend the constitution and the jurisdiction under their authority.
In Moreno Valley for example, one developer wants the council to ignore all streets in the city so his street can be developed for something in the future not yet approved.
In San Bernardino County, it has been a series of giving funds to help develop special projects and in those situations came laundering of campaign funds and most have been removed from office and indicted for their crimes against the taxpayers.
In San Bernardino City we have seen the police and firefighters pay elevated while the citizens of the city hit new poverty levels. The citizens have also witnessed that the votes on the council and legal advice from the city attorney is in line with the contributions received from these two associations. The citizens also have said they could live with the pay if the firefighters and police officers lived in the city. In my opinion, they are always talking about “Community Policing Programs.” I would like to say to them that a real community-policing program is having “Police Live in the Community Program” that pays your salary.
To take a stab at the problem in San Bernardino, Councilman Rikke Van Johnson is proposing that the council look at term limits and limit the amount of campaign contributions a candidate can receive from people, from groups, or associations. While they are studying these issues they also want to look at the ward system representation of elected officials in the city. These are steps in the right direction and they must do something because taxpayers are frustrated with the direction of the city governments’ actions. When people become frustrated it has a tendency to eventually erupt into and outcry for drastic change and saying “enough is enough”.
I do not want to see that happen because in people’s haste to correct that kind or problem, some of the solutions are not workable for the long haul of governing.
It is my suggestion that all Inland Empire governments take a close look at their elected officials to ensure that the average John Doe citizen’s rights are protected and looked out for regardless of status or income of the supporter.
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