The City of San Bernardino is trying to understand and get a handle on the rash of homicides that have happened in the city, making it the murder capitol of the nation during the month of May. According to reports, it is difficult to lay blame on any one thing such as gang warfare, unemployment, or out of school youth.
Some of the victims are from other cities and adult aged and the incidents are happening in every area of the city. The city council had the police department give a special report to them and keep them up to date as they investigate these homicides.
In addition to these problems, the city is still faced with budget problems like every city in the nation, which will hamper or limit preventative solutions. However, they must unite as a council and move forward in trying to govern a city with many issues.
They city has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state as well as the highest poverty rate in the nation. They have public safety employees associations that they must find consensus with if they are going to solve the long-term budget deficit problems. Other city departments are beginning to feel the pinch of no money for their services. One must ask the questions: What is a city with no parks? What is a city where streets are unclean? What is a city with no libraries? What is a city where street light are out at night? What is a city where all other services are not there when you need them? It is not a city.
From observing the interaction of all council members, some are still bent on keeping certain departments out of budget conversations but I don’t see how. The state and nation has budget woes that trickle down and further impact local government. And we have a voting public that is reluctant to approve any increase in taxes until they see better cooperation between political parties and a fairer system on who gets the money.
So it will behoove all elected officials to begin looking for more win-win solutions before the baby is thrown out with the bath water and everyone will wonder, what happened to the baby when the house becomes quiet. The city will not become quiet it will get very noisy. I remember going to East St. Louis when they ran out of money and the council was not working together. The streets were lined with trash left at the curbs from no pick up by the city. Streets were dark from no replacement of lights that needed replacing. The city parks were overgrown with weeds, and police calls went unanswered.
I know each council member thinks they have the answer but they must work together before the city can move forward. I told my pastor several weeks ago that the city appears to have lost its moral compass. When I was in the Boy Scouts I learned of the importance of a good compass pointing to the true north when you wanted to head in a given direction. To me the true direction is to put the city’s citizens first and the personal agendas of others second. This is what taking the oath of office is all about once you are elected to office.
At each council meeting, someone from the clergy opens it with prayer and they pray for unity over the deliberation but once the deliberations begin, personal agendas come out and divisions set in on the votes. Let me say to them find common ground on the critical issues of the city and put the moral compass as your guide so the city can thrive once again.
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