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San Bernardino City Council Must Move Off of Stupid

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The San Bernardino City Council finally moved the needle a little off of stupid when it came to some cuts in the fire department but some remain stuck on stupid when it comes to the refuse department.

In our modern culture the urban dictionary defines the phrase “stuck on stupid” as: (1) in a prolonged state of being completely clueless or too high to think straight; (2) when someone just doesn’t get it, repeatedly; (3) a person who cannot learn, a fool who repeats their mistakes time and again, a person who constantly screws up.

Now the city council of San Bernardino does not think of themselves as being stuck on stupid or doing stupid things. Everyone in the world knows that the city filed for bankruptcy protection because they do not have enough money coming into the city to meet payroll and pay creditors. Instead of the council listening to their managers offering cuts to get the financial books ready for the courts, Council members Robert Jenkins and John Valdivia decided to play political games by leaving the meeting so they would not have to vote on a reduction in the fire department. Jenkins hid out in the bathroom for 42 minutes and emailed the city attorney, who is not a part of the council, that he was indisposed.

Valdivia left the meeting altogether and would not give the council or press a reason for his departure. Their actions were a pure screw up and they thought no one would notice or call them on it. To these two I say, if you do not have the guts to make gutsy decisions, then resign.

Chas Kelley, who in the past would not accept the acting fire chief’s recommended cuts, said, “I will only agree to these proposed cuts if you promise to cut more managers in the fire department with no cuts in my ward.” As if citizens and taxpayers living in other wards are not important to the city. This is unfortunately a ‘I am better than you’ way of thinking for someone who is mayor pro-tem representing the city. It has taken fifty years to remove one-way freeway access which has separated the city like the Berlin wall, only to have council members like Kelley building other kinds of divisions.

For the past two months the council has kicked important issues down the road including the fire department, refuse department and general employee reductions. They want to contract out refuse services in one breath while admitting in another that it is one of the few departments that is a financial asset and makes money for the city. Not only does it make enough money to pay for its services, but it also helps cover services of the city in other departments. This is also one of the few departments where over 90% of the employees live in the city and pay taxes, vote, buy homes, groceries, clothes, furniture, cars, insurance, attend church and send their children to San Bernardino City Schools. However, these employees do not contribute to these city council members political campaigns.

Now what the council needs to do is evaluate contracting out other services with established governments where we already pay taxes. I, for one, cannot support contracting out refuse services since it is a city asset and the employees are citizens of the city while keeping non-citizen city employees on the payroll. The council says they cannot require residency for employment of any employees yet the city charter requires the city manager to live here or no employment.

The reason I say Kelley and three other council members are stuck on stupid is because they are the members admonishing the staff at every meeting who are looking for revenue generating ideas that will keep money in the city, yet they ignore those departments and employees taking the money out of the city by the carload every payday.

I would love to recommend and support that the council increase utility rates, sales tax and other fees to increase revenue, but not as long as they remain stuck on stupid with their policymaking.

So to the members of the council please re-evaluate why and who you are serving as council members before the next meeting and decide to move your needle off of stupid before you take your seat.

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