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All three of the members of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors up for reelection next year will face challengers, that is, assuming all three will run.
Fifth District Supervisor Josie Gonzales, first elected to the board in 2004, must stand for reelection in 2016 to remain in office. So too must Robert Lovingood and James Ramos, First District and Third District supervisors respectively, both of whom were first elected in 2012.
Gonzales appears likely to seek reelection in that she currently has over $600,000 in her campaign war chest, a formidable advantage over any challengers. Despite the upper hand she has financially, Clifford Odell Young, Sr., whom she succeeded as supervisor, has indicated he will throw down the gauntlet against her in the Fifth District, which encompasses the eastern half of Fontana, all of Rialto, Colton and Bloomington, as well as the western half of San Bernardino.
Young, born in Texas in 1946 and a 1969 graduate of California Baptist College in Riverside, was an organizer of the Riverside Young Democrats. He was hired as a district manager trainee by the Shell Oil Company and was ordained a minister in 1974 after achieving a masters in divinity from the California Seminary of the West in Covina.
Young switched to the Republican Party and obtained the GOP nomination for Congress in the 32nd Congressional District in 1976. He served as the executive director of the Greater Watts Economic Development Corporation. In 1980, he was appointed by the Reagan Administration to the position of deputy director of minority business in the United States Department of Commerce.
He was later the pastor of Hope Presbyterian Church and then attended USC to earn his masters and doctorate degrees in public administration. He then taught public administration at California State University San Bernardino, advancing to the department chair for the College of Public Administration and Business.
On February 4, 2004, he was appointed the first African American member of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, replacing replace Jerry Eaves after Eaves was forced to resign as the result of a public corruption scandal that had resulted in his indictment. Young had agreed not to seek election as Fifth District Supervisor in taking the position.
He honored that commitment and Gonzales assumed the position from him after the November 2004 election. After eleven years, Young has resolved to run again, vowing to take on Gonzales.
In the county’s First District, which counts Hesperia, Victorville, Apple Valley, and Adelanto as its major population centers but also includes Lucerne Valley, Silverlake, Daggett, Newberry Springs, Trona, Ludlow and Needles as part of its jurisdiction, former Apple Valley mayor/councilman Rick Roelle, who narrowly lost the November 2012 election to Lovingood, and current Hesperia Councilman Bill Holland are looking to unseat Lovingood next year.
Holland is an Army veteran who was a military policeman, former deputy who retired from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department in 2008 after 22 years with that agency and later a school district police officer with the Hesperia Unified School District. Holland describes himself as business friendly.
Roelle, worked for the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department for 32 years, nearly a decade of which he functioned as a narcotics unit detective and nine years at the end of his career as a mid-level manager at the rank of sergeant and lieutenant. He was a member of the Apple Valley Town Council for 12 years and was known for his adherence to maintaining the town’s half-acre minimum lot standard for single family residences. He outpolled seven other candidates in the crowded race for First District Supervisor in June 2012, ending up in a runoff against Lovingood that November, which he lost. In 2014, he was among ten candidates for Assembly in the 33rd District, a contest eventually one by Jay Obernolte.
Donna Muñoz is the first opponent to emerge against James Ramos, who defeated incumbent Third District supervisor Neil Derry in 2012.
San Bernardino County’s Third District covers a large span of territory, extending all the way from Barstow at the district’s northwest extreme, through the eastern portion of the San Bernardino Mountains, the Morongo Basin and the most populated portion of the district, which involves Highland, Yucaipa, Redlands, Mentone, Loma Linda, Grand Terrace and the eastern portion of the city of San Bernardino.
Muñoz began her participation in governmental affairs nearly three decades ago when she was a field representative for Marsha Turoci, the First District county supervisor from 1988 to 1996, when the Morongo Valley was contained within the First District. She was later a field representative for Third District Supervisor Barbara Cram Riordan, after the Morongo Valley was moved into the Third District as a consequence of redistricting. She worked in the county assessor’s office, rising to the position of assistant assessor under former assessor Don Williamson. She is also a longtime member of the Morongo Unified School District Board of Trustees. After his election to the board in 2012, James Ramos hired Muñoz as a field representative. In February 2014, she resigned from that post when she was hired as the Morongo Valley Community Services District’s general manager.
Infamous, the masked crusader whose campaign against what he has identified as corruption in the post-John Pomierski era at Upland City Hall and within the Upland Police Department has heretofore gone largely unacknowledged by city officials, unveiled himself at the Upland City Council meeting this week, divulging yet more about what has led to his unorthodox and quixotic battle against the powers that be in the City of Gracious Living.
Relying upon his booming baritone voice and shrouded persona, Infamous has before come to Upland City Council meetings, railing against city officials and the misconduct he has elliptically suggested they are immersed in. City officials, acutely conscious of how Upland’s reputation has been tarred by the indictments and convictions of former mayor John Pomierski, who extorted those with projects and permit applications pending at City Hall for bribes, and Pomierski’s hand-picked city manager Robb Quincey who was charged with misappropriation of public money and illicitly benefiting from a city contract, have largely ignored Infamous’s claims, seeking to marginalizing him by suggesting he is referring to bygone events and counterpunching by seeking to stigmatize him with criminal charges.
But Infamous has in fact been referencing events that have occurred under the watch of the five current members of the city council – mayor Ray Musser, councilwomen Debbie Stone and Carol Timm and councilmen Gino Filippi and Glenn Bozar – who have failed to address the issues he has squarely laid before them, all of which occurred after Pomierski was sent to federal prison.
On September 28, Infamous addressed the city council in his most dramatic presentation yet, dropping into his harangue further detail with regard to his animus with the city, though he again did not offer a fully expository narrative of the events animating him or the context of his mistreatment.
“I’m Infamous,” he said. “Look upon the face of your corruption, Upland.”
When councilman Glenn Bozar and Councilwoman Debra Stone reacted with apparent bemusement to his presence at the podium, Infamous, wearing a dark black mask augmented with a small upside-down American flag over his right eye and dark sunglasses, thundered, “What the hell are you smiling about? How about you show me just a little bit of respect and you don’t smile? Leave the smiling to me. No? Idiots!”
He continued, “So, you’ve made me famous. Whew! Haven’t you? First protest in Upland: you arrest me. Joining with the district attorney, you try to throw these frivolous charges – carrying weaponized tear gas, instigating fights in public and then you get me with being too loud. I should hope so. You have given me the greatest honor that a protestor can have bestowed upon them: arrested for my convictions and found innocent.”
He thundered, “Not a terrorist! Now, what’s different about me? Real quick, three minutes to sum up a year.”
He filled in some more detail with regard to the abuse he says the city perpetrated against him.
“I come out here,” he said. “J. Kirk pulls a gun on me. I ask you for your help and I try to pull you out of this corruption, this cesspool that you are in and you pull me into it! Are you surprised that I come out like this? Infamous! Better believe it! So twisted by my hate for you! I’m not even angry anymore. I hate you! It’s like a fire burning in my soul and I feed upon it. I hate you for what you’ve done to me. You owe me a debt. You owe me. You might think I owe you. You owe me. You owe me. Your job: to deal with corruption. And you failed me. And look at me! I am so distressed I have it branded on my face like a cow. You owe me. There’s nothing you can do. There is nothing you can say. There’s no amount of money you can pay for this, for what you have done to be, the way you twisted the hate in me. So what am I left to do? Protest for the rest of my life? Just be angry? Allow it to twist me into a greater monster than what I am? I say no. But you still owe me a debt and that debt must be paid. Everybody pays me what they owe me. So how do I get my payment from you? It’s illogical for me to ask you for payment on something you cannot pay for. So tonight, I will do my most infamous act ever – infamous, vile, disgusting, decrepit. That’s what it means. In this society, this society demands that you pay me. I sue you. I protest you. I follow you to the depths of the earth. I have no problem doing that. But instead, I am going to do something even more infamous, the most infamous thing that I’ve ever done.”
He paused and then asked the council, “Are you ready?” He turned to glance at the audience, asking them “Are you ready?” As he uttered the next words, “The most infamous act I’ll ever do,” police chief Brian Johnson, who serves in the capacity of sergeant-at-arms during the council meetings and had not previously personally encountered Infamous, at that point appeared to be in a high degree of confusion about what to do, and was poised on the brink of taking action.
Infamous then unmasked himself, revealing he is Justin Martinez.
“The upside down flag represents distress,” Martinez intoned. “And I hate you. Look at my face. This is hate. I hate you!” he growled. He paused momentarily. The intensity of his voice diminished. “But I forgive you. For J. Kirk, you owe me nothing,” he said and then walked away from the podium.
The Sentinel has learned that Martinez was working as a security guard at a medical marijuana facility in the city in September 2014 when he claims he was threatened by an Upland Police officer he subsequently identified as Jake Kirk. He said that Kirk pulled a gun on him and threatened him. Martinez filed multiple complaints with the city, the police department, the city attorney and the district attorney over the matter. Twice, Martinez maintains, during phone conversations with then-police chief Jeff Mendenhall on September 10, 2014, and with lieutenant Alan Ansara on September 11, 2014, he obtained admissions from Mendenhall and Ansara that Kirk had acted inappropriately. Subsequently, Martinez sought to obtain the recordings of those conversations or transcripts of them. With regard to the phone conversation with Mendenhall, an attorney working for the city, Gregory Palmer, wrote, “The Upland Police Department will not be able to provide you with this document because it does not exist. At the time of this conversation it was believed that it was on a recorded line. However, it has subsequently been determined that the conversation was not recorded. Thus, the record you seek does not exist.”
With regard to the phone conversation with Ansara, Palmer repeated word for word the response he had given with regard to the phone conversation with Mendenhall, writing, “The Upland Police Department will not be able to provide you with this document because it does not exist. At the time of this conversation it was believed that it was on a recorded line. However, it has subsequently been determined that the conversation was not recorded. Thus, the record you seek does not exist.”
The city subsequently sought to have Martinez charged with possession of more than 2.5 ounces of pepper spray, unlawful possession, sale and transportation of a tear gas weapon, attempting to fight in public and use of offensive words in a public place, all misdemeanors, as a result of his continuing protests over the city’s action and one particular incident on June 7 of this year. Before Judge James Hosking, on August 26, all of those charges were dismissed. Martinez entered a no contest plea to an amended charge of making loud noise in public.
After serving on the city council since 1998 and as Upland mayor since 2011, Ray Musser this week was served with notice that some city residents are going to attempt to remove him from elected office.
Hal Tanner, a retired prison warden who was appointed to the city council advisory committee in 2013 and later resigned from that position because of his dissatisfaction with the direction the city council was mapping out for the city, served Musser with the recall papers through deputy city manager Jeannette Vagnozzi and then announced the recall attempt during the public comment session at the September 28 city council meeting.
“I volunteered to come here this evening to serve Mayor Musser with notice of recall,” Tanner said. “It is the first step.”
Tanner then trained his comments directly toward Musser. “I volunteered to serve you with this recall petition because I believe it will give every citizen in Upland an opportunity to decide if you should continue as our mayor,” Tanner said. “You have a great opportunity to showcase your leadership abilities and accomplishments. Mayor, blow your own horn, but blow it with the facts. Please accept my gratitude for your past service. I recognize that being a public servant can be a necessary but thankless task and I don’t know how you guys stomach it. I haven’t got the patience to sit up there nor the will to take the kind of abuse, some earned some unearned, that you take.”
Tanner indicated that he thought Musser should be relieved of command of the city because he is not responsive to those who elected him.
“Pope Francis recently said that the chief aim of all politics is the pursuit of the common good,” Tanner said. “I agree. You and I have been polar opposites for many years on many issues. For example, I believe every citizen has a right to petition. I believe that every citizen is to be governed by the rule of law. I believe that government should be open and transparent. Your position on these issues is needed. You need to show the people what you have done for the common good because you ignored my petitions. Mayor: how can we petition you? I’ve given you a hundred. I’ve given you [them] in writing. I’ve came here and presented them in person. You respond with silence. The council responds with silence. Please tell your constituents what ordinances, resolutions and policies you initiated and adopted that authorize citizens to petition.”
Tanner then referenced “the oath you took. I ask you to honor that oath. You’ve remained silent for too long. It’s time to present the evidence of your performance. You ignore petitions. You ignore the rule of law. You ignore the need for open government. You cannot and will not produce politics that support the common good.”
Tanner continued, “You wanted to lead Upland. Now show us how you’ve done the job. I appreciate your patience. I appreciate your consideration in listening to what I have to say. I don’t make the decision and it’s a long process before you get removed, if you get removed. And I wish you the best. Please, get out there and tell the people why you disagree with me, why we can’t have these rights.”
During the portion of the meeting devoted to council communication, Musser responded.
“Let’s talk about what came up tonight,” he said. “It didn’t surprise me whatsoever.”
The mayor said he believes he is being targeted because of his stand, with two of the other members of the council, in resisting a citizen-led effort to have the city permit medical marijuana dispensaries to operate in the city.
“Several months ago, whenever we voted on whether to put the initiative on, whether you remember that night, someone walked into my office while I was on the phone and very rudely said ‘I want to talk to you immediately.’ And I said ‘I’m on the phone. I’m busy.’ I never had met the person in my office. I knew of the person. After I got off the phone I went out into the hall and I asked someone to accompany me to the front of the building because I didn’t know what was coming. And I was threatened that day that if I didn’t vote for this marijuana initiative that I would be recalled but if I wanted to change my mind to say what is it that could do that, I don’t know anything better, or more accurate [in describing it than] to [being subjected to an effort at] being bribed,” Musser said.
Musser said he resisted the pressure, telling those attending the meeting Monday night, “I said, ‘Absolutely, no. I am firm on that. I don’t want my children, my grandchildren, to be anywhere near that.’ The person got very angry. I thought I was going to be accosted right on the spot. He was in this building tonight. I didn’t say a word to anybody; I might have mentioned to someone that they tried to force me to change my mind. And this follow-up tonight with Mr. Tanner is the follow-through from that. Now it is several months later.”
According to Musser, “I have not been officially served. I did give the deputy city manager authorization to receive. So, technically she was. So that’s been cared for. We will react to that. The Lord will take care of it. We will proceed.”
Local politics is becoming very mean-spirited, the mayor said. “There’s a sort of cancer going on in the society,” Musser opined. “A lot of hate. You heard it tonight. Paul Eaton is being recalled, in the city of Montclair. I don’t know a better mayor in the area. I’ve worked with him for many, many years and closely for the last five years. He’s being recalled out of the blue.”
Those who signed the notice of intention to circulate the recall petition against Musser were Tanner, his wife Rosemary, Philip Velto, Rosemary Miller, Jeanette Sheets, James Sheets, Deanie Clutts, Neal Grabowski, Mary Ann McKamey, Sue Bunfiglio, Pam Hickok, Eileen Centonze, Jeralyn Robinson, Mary Grace Montes, Forest F. Jones, Frances T. Faciv, Juanita H. Karisaki, Patricia J. Lichti, Robin DeNegri, Christie McKinzie, Marc Grossman, Robert W. Logan, Eric R. Gavin, Cindy Gavin, Chuck Westgate, Kenneth C. Fath, Susan Fath, Nick Velto, Robert C. Velto, Carol Treichel, Gloria Velto, Andrea Vidaure, Diane Hester, Alicia Gilmer, Alexis Bail and Dr. J. Torres Cancino.
The grounds for seeking Musser’s recall mentioned in the notice refer to Musser as a “beneficiary of Mayor [John] Pomierski’s political machine” with a “far less discerning eye regarding the city’s finances.” It accuses him of being the “deciding vote to remove funding for Upland’s school crossing guard program in 2009” and “redirecting those funds to our former city manager [Robb] Quincey as a salary enhancement.” Moreover, according to the recall petition circulation notice, “He was the deciding vote to buy out city manager Stephen Dunn’s employment contract and to replace him with sitting city manager Rod Butler and an assistant city manager, costing the city an unnecessary $500,000 in a single vote.” The notice further accuses him of refusing to forego “generous benefits” conferred upon members of the city council.
At least some of that information is at a demonstrable variation to the facts. The first two years of Musser’s tenure on the council predated that of Pomierski, who was elected mayor in 2000. Relatively early on, Pomierski and Musser came to loggerheads and, at Pomierski’s direction, the balance of the city council joined with him in stripping Musser of his committee assignments and outside agency membership appointments. Musser emerged as Pomierski’s lone political rival on the council, opposing him in his race for reelection as mayor in both 2004 and 2008. Quincey, who was Pomierski’s handpicked city manager chosen to replace G. Michael Milhiser in 2005, was provided with eight contract enhancements during his time with the city, all of which were engineered by Pomierski and facilitated by then-city clerk Stephanie Mendenhall. At least four of those enhancements took place without a vote of the council and were illegally actuated by Pomierski’s unilateral action, again facilitated by Mendenhall in her role as city clerk, based upon Pomierski’s signature on documents ratifying the raises/benefit increases given Quincey. On two of the occasions when the council did vote to enhance Quincey’s contract, the vote was scheduled while Musser was absent, attending conventions out-of-state for the Health Underwriters Association.
Upon Pomierski’s indictment and resignation as mayor in 2011, Musser was elevated by his council colleagues to replace him as mayor, at least in part because he represented the starkest as well as the sole viable political alternative to the disgraced and discredited Pomierski then on the Upland scene.
Tanner has been critical of the way the city has been run for some time. In 2013, he was nominated by councilwoman Debbie Stone to fill the vacancy on the council advisory commission vacated when Glenn Bozar was elected to the council in November 2012. At that time, Musser supported Tanner’s appointment, though it was opposed by then-city councilman Brendan Brandt, who objected to the strident criticisms Tanner made of the city and some council actions, and his calls for the district attorney and the county grand jury to look into those matters.
On Thursday, Musser told the Sentinel that he saw irony in Tanner’s assertion that he, Musser, had obstructed residents in their efforts to obtain information, facilitate transparency and petition for government action.
“There was a time when I was close to him,” Musser said. “He asked for information and I gave him documents he requested. That upset some of the others on the council, who said I shouldn’t have been doing that. They accused me of being ‘buddies with Tanner.’ They believed I was giving him city documents in some cases where I did give them to him and they believed I was the source sometimes when I didn’t give them to him. Maybe if I had stayed buddies with him this wouldn’t have happened.”
Musser said that in dealing with Tanner he was damned if he did and damned if he didn’t. “You can’t meet him halfway,” Musser said. “He gets on a subject and he gnaws and gnaws at you until you reply or, if it is one of those situations where you can’t say anything, he gets tired and just goes away. But then you’ve made an enemy. Sometimes what he doesn’t get is these things are closed session matters and we can’t say anything. If he wants something the lawyer has told us not to discuss, you just can’t win.”
The Chino City Council is scheduled to consider an urgency ordinance next Tuesday that will impose a 45-day moratorium on permits or licenses for massage parlors.
The city’s action follows a series of recent events which brought to the forefront of public awareness the now nearly-half century long tradition of massage establishments in San Bernardino County serving as fronts for prostitution operations.
At least since the 1970s, a large number of massage parlors have proliferated in and around Ontario/Montclair/Chino, particularly in the unincorporated county land surrounding, between and adjoining those cities. The illicit prostitution trade was able to flourish in some measure with the indulgence and under the protection of the sheriff’s department, as several successive sheriffs and operators of houses of ill repute throughout the far flung county had worked out a modus vivendi, which included bribes, payoffs, graft, political support and other arrangements of accommodation. Vestiges of that more open era yet survive, as the bordellos that are thinly veiled as massage parlors along the span of Mission Boulevard in the unincorporated county area bordering Ontario and Montclair north of Chino attest.
In recent years, two factors have drawn back the curtain on the seamy sex trade in that particular location. The first is the rise of the internet and websites and blogs which pointedly reference the availability of sex for sale, providing in some cases exacting specificity as to services rendered and locale. The second is the relatively recent significant rise in the number of Asians operating such establishments and the culturally-based misconstruction of the protocol that attends the transaction of the prostitution trade in this neck of the woods by many of these new practitioners, as well as their insensitivity to political and jurisdictional nuance.
A first manifestation of this new reality loomed into view roughly a decade ago when massage parlor operators set up their operations, not in the unincorporated county districts distant from the county seat where the lax enforcement activity of the sheriff’s department and the county code enforcement division would allow them to operate in the shadows, but rather in the business districts of incorporated municipalities, which are subject to the more concentrated and focused scrutiny of local officials and the enforcement activity of police departments rather than the sheriff’s department. In such locales, the activity could not remain unremarked for long.
In September 2013, Chino police received word that a prostitution ring was operating out of a massage parlor, Nana’s Massage, at 5240 Philadelphia Street. Officers then cross-referenced Nana’s Massage with information available on an adult erotic massage parlor webpage, finding several listings.
Detectives obtained and served a search warrant at the massage parlor, arresting Mie Ja Sim, 61, on suspicion of aiding and abetting prostitution, Xochitl Garduno, 25, of Moreno Valley, on suspicion of engaging in prostitution, and Tina King, 30, of Diamond Bar, on suspicion of pimping and pandering, and obtaining what they said was evidence associated with pimping, prostitution and maintaining a place of prostitution. King was also identified as Ting Kang.
The district attorney filed no charges against King/Kang, but did prosecute Garduno and Sim. On April 3, 2014, Garduno entered a guilty plea to a PC M647, disorderly conduct. On July 3, 2014 Mie Ja Sim entered a no contest plea to PC 653.23, supervising or assisting someone who engages in prostitution.
More than four months later, on November 19, 2014, Rui Liu was issued a business license for Yu Lan Ge Massage, located at 11756 Central Avenue #C. On May 28, 2015, officers with the Chino Police Department began investigating Yu Lan Ge Massage for offering illegal sexual services, and observed reviews of Yu Lan Ge Massage and advertisements for Yu Lan Ge Massage on websites related to sexual services.
Officers Chris Carrino and Toby Reveles staked out Yu Lan Ge, observing a male customer leave the business, also known as Serenity Massage. They used a minor traffic violation as a pretext to pull him over and asked about his visit to Yu Lan Ge. The driver claimed that he had been offered, but turned down, a sexual encounter with an Asian woman named Lulu, described as around 40 years old and wearing a pink dress.
A search warrant was obtained. Reveles then arranged to maintain constant audio contact with Carrino by means of a hidden cell phone and, wearing civilian clothes, entered the massage parlor. There he encountered the woman described as Lulu, whose real name is Xiang Lan Hu, identifiable from her pink dress.
He paid $40 for an hour massage, during which he disrobed and was draped in a towel. The massage included ministrations to his lower abdomen, Reveles told the city council on September 1. At the September 1 council meeting, Reveles told the council that toward the end of the hour-long massage session, Hu offered him sexual services. Reveles acceded to the offer, negotiating a fee of $120. Upon making payment, Reveles utilized a pre-arranged codeword and Carrino and other officers then entered the premises, arrested Hu and served the search warrant.
More than a month-and-a-half later, on July 22, the city revoked Liu’s license to operate Yu Lan Ge. On July 27, she appealed the city’s action, triggering the September 1 hearing before the city council.
At that September 1 meeting, Carrino, who had listened to all of the exchanges between Reveles and Hu during the massage session on May 29, told the council, “The female… Lulu solicited him for sexual acts” and that “Lulu wore a pink dress.” Furthermore, according to Carrino, “Miss Hu gave half her proceeds to Miss Liu.”
While Hu at the time of her arrest said through an interpreter that she had been working for Liu for just four weeks at the time of her encounter with Reveles and that Liu had advertised her on a prostitution website, at the September 1 council meeting Liu disputed that, claiming that as owner of Yu Lan Ge/Serenity Massage she merely leased space to Hu. Liu said she did not perform massages at the
business and stated she sold the business to Xiang Lan Hu in March.
Based upon the account provided by officers Reveles and Carrino, however, the council rejected Liu’s appeal.
“The illegal activity at Yu Massage served as a sufficient basis for revocation of Ms. Liu’s business license for Yu Massage under Chino Municipal Code section 5.24.060(B)” the council said in a resolution.
A month after the undercover operation at Yu Lan Ge in Chino that led to its closure, an operation carried out by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department in Rancho Cucamonga led to the shuttering of three massage parlors in that city and the arrest of 11 people believed to be involved in the prostitution trade.
The department executed precisely timed raids that entailed serving three search warrants simultaneously in conjunction with six compliance checks at the Haven Therapy, 10062 Foothill Blvd.; 5 Star Massage, 6652 Carnelian St.; Sun’s Acupuncture and Massage, 8865 Foothill Blvd.; Rancho Health Center, 9619 Foothill Blvd.; Happy Massage, 9223 Archibald Ave., #D; and the Royal Spa, 9090 Milliken Ave., #130 on June 4.
In the course of those operations, a Chong Lee, 72 of Los Angeles, was arrested on suspicion of pimping and Shun Pomerantz, 58 of Los Angeles; Yan Chen, 40 of West Covina; Ying Liu, 49 of Baldwin Park; Jennifer Velasco, 27 of Huntington Park; Sandra Martinez, 41 of Downey; Lluvia Quesada, 31 of Los Angeles; Fang He, 31 of Rosemead; Yamin Yang, of El Monte; Yuk Fong Kwan, 50 of San Gabriel; and Wenjun Shan, 52 of West Covina, were arrested on suspicion of prostitution.
Meanwhile, Chino’s pending emergency ordinance banning the licensing of any massage parlors for the next-month-and-a-half signals that the lax attitude and regulations that have allowed prostitution activity to persist in such establishments are at the very least under question and greater scrutiny and that the licensing of legitimate massage businesses and prohibitions on illegitimate ones that will make the flesh trade a more problematic one for its practitioners are forthcoming.
SAN BERNARDINO—In a move that potentially signals a sea change with regard to political alignments on the San Bernardino City Council, Mayor Carey Davis last week made rare use of his veto power to sever the city’s relationship with the son of his predecessor, who was also a key supporter in his successful election as mayor last year.
Carey Davis came into office last year after defeating Wendy McCammack in a special runoff election held after no single candidate among the ten running for mayor in November 2013 captured a majority of the vote. Davis succeeded Patrick Morris as mayor, who had served eight years in that position after an illustrious legal career as a Superior Court judge and prominent member of the district attorney’s office, during which he had supervised the prosecution in the celebrated Lucille Miller murder trial of 1964 and 1965, twice served as presiding judge of the Superior Court and blazed a trail through uncharted legal territory by creating San Bernardino County’s drug court, which was devoted as much to rehabilitation as it was to punishment.
Morris, a Democrat, as mayor had joined with other Democrat mayors in California such as Chuck Reed of San Jose in cutting across the traditional political grain by opposing public employee labor unions in pushing for pension reform and reducing generous salary and benefits to public safety employees – policeman and firefighters. Morris stumped for such fiscal austerity in reaction to San Bernardino’s financial plight. A sputtering local economy had resulted in dwindling revenues in the county seat, ultimately culminating in a 2012 bankruptcy filing by San Bernardino during Morris’s seventh year in office. Morris’s chief rival on the city council had been McCammack, who pushed her council colleagues to maintain high salaries and generous benefits for the city’s police officers.
Davis, a certified public accountant who had a built-in understanding of what an organization needs to do to maintain solvency and ensure that expenditures do not exceed revenue, was philosophically in tune with Morris on the score of pulling San Bernardino out of its financial abyss. Morris endorsed Davis, and after soundly defeating McCammack, Davis came into office seeking to continue with the reforms Morris had initiated.
Mayor Morris had employed his son, Jim, as his chief of staff. In the Davis administration, Jim Morris had transitioned into the consulting post of assistant to the city manager, assigned to working on settling the redistribution of the assets left over from the dissolution of the city’s redevelopment agency. Legislation passed in 2011 and confirmed by the California Supreme Court in 2012 after challenges by a slew of municipalities, put redevelopment agencies out to pasture.
Because of its size and the intensity of its redevelopment activity, the shuttering of San Bernardino’s redevelopment agency was a particularly complex matter. In effect, Jim Morris had become San Bernardino’s redevelopment agency dissolution czar, the single city official most knowledgeable of what properties and assets were available to the successor agency to the San Bernardino Economic Development Agency, which had been the city’s redevelopment agency prior to 2012.
Jim Morris’s consulting contract with city, which paid him roughly $199,000 per year, was set to expire as of September 30. Last month, the city council voted 4-3, with council members John Valdivia, Benito Barrios and Henry Nickel dissenting, to renew the contract with Jim Morris. In In the wee hours of September 22, however, at the tail end of a city council meeting that had started at 5 p.m on September 21, Davis vetoed the $110 per hour contract extension with the son of his political mentor.
In doing so, Davis said that work Jim Morris was doing on putting the redevelopment successor agency issues in order had suffered from too many costly delays after having been previously slated for completion last April and that Morris was being detailed to other tasks outside the realm of the redevelopment property management assignments by the office of city manager Allen Parker.
Indeed, the jettisoning of Jim Morris stands as yet another milepost in the deteriorating relationship between Davis and Parker. Parker was hired during the final stage of the Patrick Morris regime and Parker was seemingly at one with Davis with regard to the need to streamline and make more efficient municipal staff to help right the city’s listing financial ship. But in late 2014, a majority of the city council bridled at Davis’s continuing employment of Michael McKinney as his chief of staff. McKinney had managed Davis’s successful mayoral campaign. When Parker sided with the council majority in ending McKinney’s role as mayoral chief of staff, the relationship between Davis and Parker went south. At that point, Davis appeared to have sought to reach out to three of the council’s members most disinclined toward Parker – Valdivia, Barrios and Nickel – in an ultimately unsuccessful effort to sack Parker.
In the last ten months, Parker and Davis have stayed on the same page with regard to dealing with an exit from bankruptcy – but only barely.
For their part, Parker and city attorney Gary Saenz on September 22 sought to convince Davis that keeping Morris in place as the city continues with its bankruptcy recovery plan and spins off, sells, redistributes or otherwise disposes of its redevelopment properties is worth the nearly $200,000 per year the city had contracted to pay him. At one point, Assemblywoman Cheryl Brown was brought in to try to sell Davis on staying the course with Jim Morris.
Try as they might, Parker, Saenz and Brown, along with some other consultants working on the redevelopment retirement issue, were unable to dissuade Davis from axing Morris.
Unknown is what Davis’s veto of the Jim Morris contract has done to his relationship with Pat Morris. One report is that Davis and the elder Morris are no longer on speaking terms.
Nor is it clear what political connections Davis is now sustaining or cultivating. The basic tenets of his political and municipal managerial philosophy – cutting city operational costs and showing no special deference for firefighters or police officers in that process – still leaves him at odds with Valdivia and Nickel and to a lesser extent with Barrios.
He appears to have burned his bridge with councilman Fed Shorett, who was among the most passionate of advocates for keeping Jim Morris in place.
A further unknown at this point is whether a new ruling coalition on the council will emerge after the upcoming election. Councilman Rikke Van Johnson, a key member of the 4-3 ruling coalition of the council that consists of Johnson, councilwoman Virginia Marquez, Shorett and councilman Jim Mulvihill, is not running for reelection. He will be replaced by either Bessie Little-Richard, Roxanne Williams, Rafael Rawls or Anthony Jones. In addition, Mulvihill is being challenged by Scott Beard, Kim Robel, Leticia Garcia and Damon Alexander. Nickel is being challenged by Brian Davison and Naomi Waters. Valdivia is not being challenged.
It thus appears possible that the composition of the council might change significantly, creating a new controlling coalition.
In San Bernardino, the mayor does not have a vote on the council unless the vote ends in a tie. At that point, the mayor is empowered to vote. He does possess veto power, but that political reach has historically been utilized very infrequently. The mayor in San Bernardino does have considerable administrative authority, rivaling that of the city manager, which is an appointed position. That authority, in some measure, has contributed to the tension between Davis and Parker.
Efforts by the Sentinel to obtain input from Davis were unsuccessful.
A paradoxical coincidence was remarked upon by many in attendance at the Upland City Council meeting on September 14, which dragged into the early morning hours of September 15. In the wee hours of that Tuesday morning, the council approved on a 3-1 vote, with mayor Ray Musser absent, the city’s revamped general plan.
While the general plan update contained well over a dozen features aimed at reducing vehicular traffic in the city, discouraging car use and promoting alternative forms of transportation or getting about such as walking, bicycling, bus riding or use of trains, another item considered and approved by the city council earlier in the meeting, on that Monday night, ran counter to that.
Anticipating the full closing out of Ford of Upland at its longtime location on Foothill Boulevard, the city council agreed to underwrite up to $2.1 million dollars of Ford of Upland’s costs to move from its current location to a larger site adjacent to the 210 Freeway.
The city’s subsidization of the relocation, which passed on a 4-0 vote, will come in the form of $1.5 million in sales tax springbacks to the dealership and $600,000 of public improvement assistance for construction of 20th Street, east of Campus Avenue, the cost for which would have otherwise been defrayed by Ford of Upland. Under the deal, annual sales tax revenue produced by Ford of Upland up to $312,000 shall be 100 percent retained by the city, while annual sales tax in excess of $312,000 is to be split with 75 percent going to Ford of Upland and 25 percent going to the city. The deal will remain in place for 12 years.
The dealership is vacating its sales lot within the 500 block of West Foothill Boulevard for a 5.5-acre spot on the north side of the 210 Freeway, where it will establish a 40,000 square foot showroom, office and service department building.
Scott Gunderson is the current owner of the dealership. There has been some criticism of the city’s giveaway of the sales tax revenue. But city officials say the rebates to Ford of Upland are worth making because they ensure the dealership will remain in the city and guarantee sales tax revenue from the big ticket items – cars and trucks – that Gunderson sells will continue to pour into city coffers.
The deal incentivizing the sale, and therefore the use, of cars and trucks, nevertheless, contrasts with the new general plan, approved by the same council in the early morning of September 15 more than four hours after the deal with Ford of Upland was voted upon. Among other things, the general plan calls for:
* Discouraging vehicular traffic in the downtown area to encourage pedestrians to frequent the area (Page 9 of the general plan);
* Discouraging strip center development to eliminate the use of cars and encourage centers that are more pedestrian-friendly (page 22);
* Reducing parking to discourage the use of cars (page 23);
* Slowing traffic, and thereby discouraging car travel, to enhance pedestrian safety (page 23);
* Encouraging multi-family residential housing along Foothill Boulevard, to make it a “Bus Rapid Transit” corridor, aimed at reducing car use (page 28);
* Removing access roads for a more pedestrian-oriented realm (page 28);
* Promoting the design of neighborhoods in which the physical layout promotes walking, biking and public transit use, featuring very restricted parking (page 29);
* Designating certain streets as “Transit Priority Roadways” which emphasize “high efficiency” uses such as Bus Rapid Transit, calling upon Upland to “cooperate” with Omitrans and SANBAG [San Bernardino Associated Governments] in giving ascendancy to buses and trains over cars (page 58);
* Encouraging travel through non-automotive modes (page 59);
* Propounding the concept of shared parking, which translates to reducing parking (page 61);
* Reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 (page 76);
* Coordinating air quality planning with local, regional, and state agencies, surrendering to outside entities the ability to impose emission reduction and thus car use limitation standards (page 76);
* Mandating the reduction of non-renewable energy use (page 77); and
* Striving to maintain a traffic level of service at category D, which is defined as “approaching unstable flow,” in which “freedom to maneuver within the traffic stream is much more limited and driver comfort levels decrease.” (Circulation Element 1.1).
When questioned about the seeming paradox in committing tax revenue the city would otherwise receive to increase the use of motor vehicles inside and outside Upland while attempting to discourage people from utilizing vehicles by restrictions built into the general plan, Upland Development Services Director Jeff Zwack said the supposition that the city’s action represented a contradiction was “not very well founded.”
Zwack disputed “the assumption… the general plan is anti-car. It isn’t. When you take the general plan and then you look at subsidizing Ford of Upland and the city council providing a financial incentive to an auto dealer to sell cars, it might seem contradictory but we’re talking about policies in our general plan that get to allowing options for the community to choose alternative modes of transportation, meaning walking, bicycling, taking a bus as a choice in addition to cars. The reason for that is we want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, finding ways to incentivize people, to encourage people to use alternative modes of transportation. The reason for that, as I said, is reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We want clean air. Cars produce, the ones that don’t have electric motors, carbon dioxide that is the most widely emitted greenhouse gas. So, because we have a general plan and because the general plan is concerned with greenhouse gas, we’re trying to find ways to encourage people to consider getting from point A to point B using different modes of transportation. If they choose not to, then they can stay in their car. That’s fine. I would never give up my car. None of us will. I would imagine the majority of people drove their car here tonight. But we’re not anti-car. We’re anti-dirty air. We want clean air to breathe. So giving up the anti-car analogy doesn’t really work so well with comparing it to what we were requesting: the council to approve the agreement for Ford of Upland. When you talk about it being anti-car it makes more sense. But it is not anti-car. It is for providing clean air. It is for providing safe streets for bicyclists, for pedestrians, all of which can legally use our streets. We want to make sure that if you have a car that drives by a bicycle, that they understand the person is there and it is a safe way, a safe environment for all to use, including cars.”
I apologize to all my readers for my tardiness in getting to this week’s subject. With all the attention that was given to Pope Francis during his sojourn to our country, I feel I must weigh in, even if I am doing so belatedly…
I think it is too bad that controversy attended the beatification of Junipero Serra. Father Serra did some very remarkable things in California. Yes, he was involved in the European invasion or colonization of the New World, but, what of it? The Spaniards came, they saw, they conquered. It was a different time then. They had ships that could cross the Atlantic, reach the Pacific and land on the West Coast. They brought with them know-how and technology the American natives lacked. How is that a bad thing? I will hold off on whether Father Serra performed actual miracles, but whether he did or did not, he still was a pretty impressive fellow in my book…
Everyone seems to be taken with Pope Francis. He seems to be accomplished and he has some liberal ideas that are pretty much in vogue nowadays. I have the advantage of having lived during the reigns of nine popes – Benedict XV, Pius XI, Pius XII, John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II, Benedict XVI and now Francis. Consequently, I have a different perspective on our Holy Fathers in Rome than many of you younger whippersnappers…
I am the product of a mixed marriage. That is to say I had one parent who was Catholic and another who was Protestant. I was raised in both faiths. Many have already declared Pope Francis the greatest pope ever. I think it is a little premature to make that call. If you were to ask me who the most impressive pope in my lifetime has been, I would not choose Francis. He would not be even my second choice…
My first choice – and this will shock and anger some people, I know – would be Pius XII. Those who are shocked or angry are so only out of ignorance or an inferior sense of practical limitation. Pius XII, who was born Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli, has been much maligned, and unfairly so. He has been accused of remaining passive in the face of Nazi atrocities in Europe both before and during World War II. And so it appeared on the surface, but I can attest, personally, that, given the hand he was dealt, he was doing what he could to thwart the Nazi’s genocidal agenda. What the Church was doing was discreet, stealthy and subtle, as it needed to be in order to succeed. The Germans had the upper hand. Resisting openly would have done no good. Tens of thousands who would have been exterminated survived the war through the actions of the Church, hidden in the basements and attics of churches and cathedrals, secreted there until they could be moved to the next way station, across Poland, across Hungary, sometimes even through Germany and Austria and Czechoslovakia, across France and into Spain. Believe it…
My second choice would be Pope John Paul II. I admire the way he stood up to the Soviets and the communists in his own country, Poland. Don’t think the Soviets didn’t consider knocking him off. He was the backbone behind Lech Wałęsa…
The worst pope in my lifetime? In my view, Pope Paul VI. Why? Because he did away with the Latin Mass. Call me old fashioned, but I loved the Latin Mass. I loved the idea that no matter where I was – Italy, France, England, Mexico, Argentina, Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Portugal, Canada, Greece, or the United States – I could attend Mass and it was the same. I could be at Mass in Portugal for instance – and I can’t speak Portuguese – but I could understand the Mass and so did everyone else who was there. I took comfort that all the way around on the other side of the world, no matter where I was, somewhere a Mass was being said and it was being celebrated in a way I could understand if I was there. It made being a Catholic universal. Pope Paul VI took that away…
Joseph Kamansky was born in Ontario on September 17, 1914, the son of David Kamansky, an immigrant from Russia, and Frieda Silvers Kamansky of Ohio. He attended Euclid Elementary School, Chaffey High School, and Chaffey Junior College. At Chaffey College he majored in agriculture, graduating in 1935. In partnership with his brother Louis, he began ranching in south Ontario. Five years later, in partnership with Fred Beal, he began a 21-year career as the owner of a service station and garage on Holt Boulevard in Ontario.
He married Maralyn Rosalie Schisler, the daughter of George and Mamie Schisler in Riverside on August 1, 1936. The couple made their residence in Upland. They were the parents of two sons, Gerald L. and David L., and the grandparents of four grandsons.
During World War II, Joe was the assistant purchasing agent for the Loud Machine Works, manufacturers of aircraft parts, in Pomona, while still managing the family ranch.
He joined the Upland Kiwanis Club in 1957, participating in several committees.
He was a member of the Chaffey College Booster Club for many years and a director on the Board of the Chaffey High School Alumni Association and officiated at the Chaffey High School Invitational track meet for 33 years. He was a member of that school’s booster club and was on the advisory committee for the building of homes by the students.
In 1962 he and his wife, who went by the name Rosalie, began their successful shared real estate career. Those who associated with them professionally said that Rosalie was the brains behind the real estate operation.
In 1962. Joseph obtained a real estate license and went to work for the M.R. Kamansky Realty Company as an associate and office manager. In 1963 he returned to Chaffey College part time to take courses in economics and finance. Joe quickly became active on many committees for the Inland Empire West Board of Realtors. He served on the Ontario-Upland-Chino Board of Realtors and on the membership, legislation, political affairs, professional standards, convention and ethics committees for the board. He also served on the California Association of Realtors State Membership Steering Committee for six years and was the district chairman for the 26th District, which encompassed the San Gabriel Valley, Covina Valley, Azusa-Glendora, Pomona Valley and Ontario-Upland Chino boards of Realtors.
Affable and well meaning, he was active in community civic affairs as a member of the board of directors of the West End YMCA for close to fifty years, and was honored with the YMCA’s Man of the Year award in 1975. For 10 years, he sponsored the Eagle Scout Annual Dinner. As early as the 1940s, he had been the president of the 20-30 Club while he was a Little League baseball coach. He was a recipient of the Kiwanis “Service to Youth” award in 1975. He was a member and director of the West End United Way Budget Committee for 20 years and was vice-chairman for eight years and chairman in 1976. He served on the Upland Mayor’s Advisory Committee in 1976-77 to plan the use of federal funds being allocated to the city of Upland. He was presented with the 1976 Bicentennial Award for Humanities by the city of Upland.
Though he was known as a good guy with a heart of gold, there were those who sought to exploit him because he was not all that smart. In 1976, many in the community were astounded to learn that he was appointed to the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors from the Second District to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Daniel D. Mikesell, who resigned in September 1976 due to failing health. Then-county administrative officer Earl Goodwin, along with those on the board – Dennis Hansberger, James Mayfield, Robert Townsend and Nancy Smith – knew Kamansky could be counted on to do exactly what he was told. He was a lackluster, caretaker supervisor, with no notable accomplishments, serving until December 4, 1978, when he was succeeded by Cal McElwain.
As Second District supervisor, Kamansky did have one lasting political impact, when he successfully lobbied the presiding judge of the county to appoint Jon Mikels, who was elected to the Rancho Cucamonga City Council in 1977 and possessed degrees from Cal State LA, Cal State Dominguez Hills and USC, court coordinator at the West Valley Courthouse, which was then located at Sixth Street and Mountain Avenue in Ontario. Mikels would go on to become Rancho Cucamonga mayor and later Second District supervisor.
Kamansky was a member of the Elks Club.
On October 11, 1995, then-congressman Jay Kim entered into the record of the House of Representatives remarks honoring Kamansky. “Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Mr. Joseph Kamansky,” said Kim.
On September 17, 1997, after a full life of generosity and on his 83rd birthday, Kamansky passed away at San Antonio Hospital.
On Saturday September 26, the community of Upland came together to support the Megan’s Wings Foundation.
The sixth annual Megan Savage Memorial Run for a Cure 5K Run/Walk started from John McCarthy Park in Upland in the morning, and winded over a 5,000 meter/5,280 yard course.
Megan’s Wings is a non-profit organization based in Upland, which serves families in Southern California who have children battling cancer. .Kim & Dave Savage founded the organization in January 2005. Megan Savage lost her battle to leukemia at the tender age of nine on April 2nd, 2003 after a two-and-a-half year battle.
Megan’s Wings’ primary mission is to provide a support network for families with a child going through cancer treatment. It also supports vital childhood cancer research aimed at finding cancer cures.
On hand at the festivities was a girl’s choir, who provided a background of song, both for the runners who were competing and the crowd cheering them on.
While most ran, some walked and a few young parents pushed strollers over the five kilometer course, which translates into three miles.
Many runners competed as individuals, while others participated as a team.
BCJ Fitness, a gym located at 1937 W 11th St, Unit G in Upland, fielded the winning team.
The fastest runner in the field was the fellow depicted in the photo above and photo below. He covered the three mile course in just under 17 minutes, averaging a clip of roughly 10.7 miles per hour or five minutes and forty seconds per mile over the entire distance. He was moving so fast, the Sentinel couldn’t get his name!