By clicking on the portal below, you can download a PDF of the November 28 edition of the San Bernardino County Sentinel.
(November 24) Fifty-eight of San Bernardino County’s schools have received the dubious distinction of being placed on the California Department of Education’s 2015-16 Open Enrollment list.
In essence, schools placed on the state’s open enrollment list are deemed to be among the 1,000 lowest achieving schools in the state. Parents of students in those schools can apply to have their children transfer to another higher performing district school.
The list is derived using a formula that reserves 687 spots for elementary schools, 165 middle schools and 148 high schools. Charter schools and schools with fewer than 100 valid state standardized test scores escape being rated for open enrollment.
Those schools in San Bernardino County singled out for their poor performance were the San Bernardino County Office of Education’s San Bernardino County Special Education School; the Columbia International Science School of Math & Technology and Adelanto Elementary School, both in the Adelanto Elementary School District; the Barstow Unified School District’s Crestline Elementary and Montara Elementary schools; the Bear Valley Unified School District’s Big Bear Elementary School; Valley View Continuation High School in the Chaffey Joint Union High School District; Walnut Avenue Elementary, Ramona Junior High, Dickson Elementary and Anna A. Borba Fundamental Elementary in the Chino Valley Unified School District; Paul Rogers Elementary, Woodrow Wilson Elementary and Alice Birney Elementary in the Colton Joint Unified School District; Cucamonga Elementary School in the Cucamonga Elementary School District; Birch Continuation High School, Citrus Continuation High School, North Tamarind Elementary and Cypress and Tokay Elementary in the Fontana Unified School District; Helendale Elementary School in the Helendale Elementary School District; the Morongo Unified School District’s Joshua Tree Elementary School and Palm Vista Elementary School; the Needles Unified School District’s Vista Colorado Elementary; the Central Language Academy, De Anza Junior High, Ray Wiltsey Middle School, and Kingsley Elementary in the Ontario-Montclair School District; Lugonia Elementary and Victoria Elementary in the Redlands Unified School District; the Rialto Unified School District’s Bemis Elementary, Dunn Elementary and Frisbie Middle School; Rim of the World Unified School District’s Valley of Enchantment Elementary School; San Bernardino City Unified School District’s Indian Springs High, Arrowhead Elementary, Manuel A. Salinas Creative Arts Elementary, Del Rosa Elementary, Lincoln Elementary, Mt. Vernon Elementary, Del Vallejo Middle School and Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School; Liberty Elementary and Green Tree East Elementary in the Victor Elementary School District; Victor Valley Union High School District’s Adelanto High School; the Yucaipa-Calimesa Joint Unified School District’s Dunlap Elementary and Valley Elementary; Silver Valley Unified School District’s Yermo Elementary School; the Snowline Joint Unified School District’s Vista Verde Elementary School and Phelan Elementary School; the Hesperia Unified School District’s Eucalyptus Elementary, Hollyvale Elementary and Hesperia Junior High; the Lucerne Valley Unified School District’s Lucerne Valley Elementary; the Upland Unified School District’s Citrus Elementary and Upland Elementary; and the Apple Valley Unified School District’s Phoenix Academy and High Desert Premier Academy.
Parents who seek to have their children placed into a better performing school will generally be accommodated. In most cases, however, bus service for students traveling to a more distant campus is not provided.
Schools in San Bernardino County were among the poorest performers statistically in the state per its ratio of open enrollment schools. San Bernardino County, with a population of 2,088,371, is the fifth largest county in terms of population in California. Riverside County, the fourth largest county in the state at 2,292,507 population, had 52 open enrollment schools. San Diego County, the second largest county in the state at a population of 3,211,252, had 65 open enrollment schools. Orange County, the third largest county in the state with a population of 3,114,363, had 58 open enrollment schools. Los Angeles County, the largest county in the state with a population of 10,017,068, had 193 open enrollment schools. Contra Costa County the state’s ninth largest county with 1,094,205 population, is the county closest to being half of San Bernardino County’s size. It had 22 open enrollment schools.
(November 26) Steve Knight’s election to Congress earlier this month has prompted three hopefuls to declare their candidacies to replace him as State Senator in the 21st District. Three others are contemplating joining the political fray as well.
Among the declared candidates is his opponent in the 2012 election, who waged a spirited campaign on a host of ideological and practical issues.
The 21st District straddles San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties and covers portions of the Victor, Antelope and Santa Clarita valleys. More than two-thirds of registered voters in the 21st Senate District reside in Los Angeles County.
Knight, who defeated fellow Republican Tony Strickland in the November 4 election, is scheduled to be sworn in as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives on January 6. Knight will resign as a state senator some time prior to that. Two years remain on his current term. Upon Knight’s resignation, Governor Jerry Brown has two weeks to make a proclamation calling for a special election to fill the vacancy. That election is likely to be held in April or May. A special election must occur between 126 to 140 days after the governor’s proclamation, according to state elections code.
Star Moffatt, who ran for 21st District State Senator in 2012, taking second place in the June open primary and qualifying for the two-way run-off against Knight in November of that year, was the first declared candidate in the race to succeed Knight.
Moffatt, a Democrat, cited numerous issues and differences with Knight, a Republican, in making her appeal to voters two years ago, including protection of the public education system, maintaining local employment opportunities, ensuring voter rights, providing access to medical care, providing support to disenfranchised small and medium sized businesses, actively engaging the disabled and racial and ethnic minority senior citizens to inform them of support programs, stepping up the state’s veteran support programs and subsidies, hiring more public defenders, and preventing hikes in property tax.
In announcing her candidacy, Moffatt said, “It is time to put a priority on issues affecting our district and the need for real solutions which will help us retain and create jobs, improve our public education system and reduce taxes.”
Characterizing herself as a conservative Democrat, Moffatt said she intended to build on the basis of her 2012 run, in which she garnered just under 43 percent of the vote. “My campaign,” Moffatt said, “was built up of a large community of grass-roots volunteers, endorsers and supporters, who were primarily sending a message to the state and the Senate District 21 community that it is time for a leadership change.”
A six-year Army veteran who earned her associates degrees in interdisciplinary studies and legal assistance from LA Mission College and completed her first year of law school at the William Howard Taft University School of Law, Moffatt was the executive director of a community-based organization providing assistance to the handicapped and handicapped homeless. In 2009 she was selected by the FBI as a member of the InfraGard, which is aimed at safeguarding Americans, particularly in the private sector and business arenas, from a whole range of hostile acts by foreign enemies, in particular cyber attacks, the theft of proprietary data and terrorist activity.
“As your next senator, I will present real solutions because we need less government, reduced regulations and taxes rolled back in order to keep California-born companies in California. I will also encourage out-of-state companies to migrate to our beautiful State,” Moffatt said.
Shortly after Moffett’s announcement, five others indicated interest in succeeding Knight. Two of those – Apple Valley-based entrepreneur Sal Chavez and Hesperia Councilman Eric Schmidt have officially declared their candidacies.
Chavez is the chief financial officer and project control coordinator of SC Engineering, which is located in Apple Valley. A Republican, Chavez lives in Victorville. He said his campaign will emphasize his commitment to easing the tax and regulatory burden on businesses in particular and taxpayers in general by reducing wasteful government spending.
Schmidt, a councilman in Hesperia since 2012, is now that city’s mayor pro tem. He is president and co-founder of an Adelanto-based propulsion system engineering and research and development firm, the Exquadrum Corporation. A Republican, he has previously been an advocate for returning much of the power assumed by the state government to local control.
Two others, Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford and Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris, have indicated they might run for Knight’s soon-to-be-vacant position. Parris and Ledford are both Republicans. Rivals who attended Palmdale High School together, they do not get along particularly well. Indeed, they are said to despise one another. There was a suggestion that either or both were entertaining a run for State Senate as an effort to undercut the other and that each is awaiting the official announcement of candidacy of the other before declaring his own candidacy. Neither had officially declared at press time.
There was further speculation that former 33rd District Assemblyman Tim Donnelly might run for the post. Donnelly, however, does not currently live in the 21st District, but rather in the 23rd State Senate District. A provision in the California Constitution requires candidates to have lived in their legislative district for one year. The California Secretary of State’s legal counsel, however, has entered an opinion that provision is in violation of the U.S. Constitution and is not enforceable. Donnelly must, nevertheless, move into the 21st District to run. Were he to do so, he might face a challenge from some other entity or person on the duration of residency issue. Were he to prevail on legal grounds, he might yet face accusations of being a carpetbagger from one or more of his opponents. Donnelly forewent running for reelection to the Assembly this year to make an ultimately unsuccessful bid to capture the Republican nomination for governor.
(November 24) The next stage in Marc Steinorth’s maturation as a political entity will ensue next month when he is sworn in as the new assemblyman in the 40th District.
Steinorth’s political climb has been one of the most dynamic and rapid upsurges by a local elected figure in memory. In 2010, he made his first foray into the political fray, when he sought to replace Rancho Cucamonga Mayor Donald Kurth, who had chosen not to run for reelection. An established businessman whose primary political attribute was that he represented the private sector in what was at heart a philosophical battle with the public sector for the control of the reins of government, Steinorth was the most articulate political outsider in the race, which featured incumbent councilman Dennis Michael, the representative of the other side of the philosophical/political divide.
Michael was a creature of the public sector. He had worked his entire career as a public employee, a firefighter with the Foothill Fire District, the forerunner of the Rancho Cucamonga Fire Department, rising to the fire chief’s position by the time the district was subsumed by the city. Michael retired as Rancho Cucamonga fire chief in 2004, having qualified for a comfortable pension, and had then run successfully for city council. In the 2010 election, Steinorth made a strong showing, giving voice to the discontent and anger brewing within the public over the perception that public employees had it too good, with high salaries that bettered those of many similarly ore even more skilled employees in the private sector, as well as benefits – meaning health coverage and pensions – that dwarfed those provided to most workers in private industry.
Steinorth relished his place as the opposition candidate, one who questioned and held up to scrutiny and even ridicule the incestuous relationship between elected officials, whose major campaign contributors were public employees unions, the members of which would in turn then benefit from the votes of incumbents elected with the assistance of union money. Michael, himself a pensioner paid by the taxpayers, made an attractive target. When the 2010 polling was finished, Michael failed, barely, to capture fifty percent of the vote, pulling down 19,978 votes or 49.52 percent. But two other non-establishment candidates were in the race – Robert Ledbetter and Bill Hanlon. Ledbetter polled 3,048 votes or 7.55 percent and Hanlon garnered 2,779 votes or 6.89 percent. Steinorth registered 14,541 votes or 36.04 percent, a more than respectable showing for a first time candidate in a four- way race that involved an incumbent office holder with considerable name recognition, but not enough to win.
Despite that loss, Steinorth had made an indelible impression on the community. With the economy continuing to stagnate four and then five years after the 2007 recession, more and more of the public was becoming receptive to the message being put out by the spokesmen of the private sector, mainly that government overregulation of businesses and the burden being borne by those enterprises that survived the economic downturn in propping up the government bureaucracies and the growing numbers of welfare recipients were crippling the most economically dynamic component of the community.
In 2012, Steinorth’s stock was on the rise, as he was widely seen as one of the more effective, charismatic and eloquent of the private sector’s representatives. That year, he tested the political waters once more and this time prevailed convincingly, outpolling by a significant margin both of the incumbents in the six candidate race for Rancho Cucamonga City Council.
Steinorth claimed 21,935 votes or 26.44 percent, well ahead of the second place finisher, incumbent councilman Sam Spagnolo, who garnered 17,840 votes or 21.5 percent. With his strong showing, Steinorth displaced long time councilman Chuck Buquet, who finished third with 14,626 votes or 17.63 percent.
Steinorth’s victory did not herald a radical departure from the public employee dominated ethos at Rancho Cucamonga City Hall, but rather a subtle change. Three of his council colleagues – Michael, Spagnolo and Bill Alexander – were retired firefighters pulling comfortable taxpayer-paid public pensions. Moreover, as Steinorth himself pointed out, 34 percent of all of the households in Rancho Cucamonga had at least one government employee living within them.
If many of those who had supported Steinorth’s candidacy were hoping that he would embark on a reformist agenda that would result in the reduction of city employee salaries and benefits, and many did, they would be disappointed. The simple truth of the matter was that Steinorth lacked the political muscle – on his own – to effectuate anything close to the change he or his supporters envisioned. Indeed, at the meeting where Steinorth was sworn in and seated upon the council for the first time in December 2012, the atmosphere was something like that depicted in the sixth chapter of the Book of Daniel. Steinorth, cast in the role of Daniel, tread somewhat gingerly into a chamber of Lions. For their part, the council was every bit as wary of him.
There lingered an air of animosity between him and the mayor, a residual effect of what had transpired in the election two years previously. For the first several months of what turned out to be his 24-month tenure as a Rancho Cucamonga city councilman, Steinorth endured what appeared to be a role of isolated relegation. But then, at first slowly and in time at near blinding speed, Steinorth made a totally unforeseen transformation into a team player at the municipal level. With casual aplomb, the man who had invented himself as a political dissident clamoring for makeover in the way government – in particular local government – carried out its mission so as to purge its ranks of self-serving public employees more interested in riding the gravy train than looking after the best interests of the taxpayers, refocused his reformist vision away from local government and instead toward Sacramento.
Government’s betrayal and exploitation of its citizenry remained as a central tenet of his appeal to his constituency. The traitors to the cause of good governance, Steinorth now propounded, were not those manning the municipal stations of duty, but rather the bureaucrats, legislators and staff functioning at the state level who had commandeered the ways and means – the precious tax revenue provided by the governed – for its own large scale, big government purposes and goals, leaving the cities and counties without the ability to provide the services closest to the people and most responsive to their actual needs and necessary for the betterment of their quality of life.
Steinorth’s reorientation was seamless. Moreover, it was in keeping with his partisan political orientation, which had always been and remained a total identification as a Republican. Whether by coincidence or accident or well-thought-through design, Steinorth’s basis of operations, Rancho Cucamonga, is a Republican stronghold. Indeed, San Bernardino County as a whole remains one of the few remaining GOP bastions in the state, where Republican office holders seriously outnumber their Democratic counterparts. Rancho Cucamonga joins Redlands, Chino Hills, Upland, Yucca Valley, Yucaipa, Big Bear, Twentynine and Apple Valley as the county’s cities or incorporated towns where Republican voters overwhelmingly outnumber registered Democrats. And while party registration in cities such as Fontana, Colton, Rialto, San Bernardino, Needles, Montclair, Barstow, and Adelanto strongly favors Democrats over Republicans, such that countywide registered Democrats outnumber Republicans 324,898 or 38.2 percent to 294,028 or 34.5 percent, Republican vote in far greater numbers both by turning out at the polls as well as by mailing in absentee ballots.
Thus, In San Bernardino County, Republicans on the county’s 24 city councils outnumber Democrats 59 to 37, three to two on the county board of supervisors, and four to three in the State Senate. In the Assembly San Bernardino County has sent four Republicans and four Democrats to Sacramento.
By setting his sights on Sacramento and the monetary black hole it has come to embody, Steinorth quite naturally targeted the Democratic Party, which until the prosecution of two Democratic State Senators and a single Democratic member of the Assembly earlier this year resulted in their resignation, suspension or removal from office, held a supermajority in the state capital in both houses of the legislature, not to mention possession of the governor’s office.
Steinorth, who never surrendered his branding as a conservative and staunchly pro-business Republican, vied in the geographically dispersed 40th Assembly District, which runs from Rancho Cucamonga in the west and then spans the narrow and virtually unpopulated swath across the I-15 Freeway into the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains, then down into a portion of the city of San Bernardino, and then through all or most of Redlands, Highland, Loma Linda and Grand Terrace. The district was and remains almost evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats. At the time he declared his candidacy, the Democrats boasted some 700 more registered voters in the district than did the GOP. But a Republican registration drive redressed that slight disparity, and just a few weeks prior to the election Republicans had swelled their ranks to outnumber Democrats by 101 voters. Of the 219,214 registered voters in the district, 77,771, or 37.0 percent, are registered Democrats. Republicans claimed 77,872, which is statistically likewise pegged at 37.0 percent.
For the Republicans and Steinorth, the outcome was never truly in doubt. Given the greater Republican voter turnout at most elections – consistently running at six to eight percent – and the reliable pattern of voters who decline to state a major party affiliation voting in equal numbers for Democrats and Republicans, the actual contest in the 40th this year was between the three Democrats – Art Bustamante, Kathleen Marie Henry, Melissa O’Donnell – in the race for second place in the June primary to see which of those would capture second place and the honor of losing to Steinorth in November.
Steinorth, nonetheless, did not assume victory or rest on his laurels but aggressively campaigned all the way in the November 4 final against Henry, running as if he were five percentage points behind.
Along the way, Steinorth picked up the endorsements of a veritable who’s who of political figures and associations. Notable among them were those of Mayor Dennis Michael, his first political opponent, as well as the Rancho Cucamonga City Employees Association and the Rancho Cucamonga Firefighters Association.
All of Steinorth’s hard work and diligence and that of his team paid off. The tallying of the votes after the polls closed on November 4 showed that Steinorth outpolled Henry by better than ten percent among the 70,602 of the district’s 219,214 registered voters who participated in this year’s balloting. Henry captured 31,306 votes or 44.34 to Steinorth’s 39,296 votes or 55.66 percent.
Steinorth’s accomplishment was an extraordinary one by any measure. Few San Bernardino County politicians since the inception of the county in the 1850s had risen from such political obscurity into the halls of the statehouse so rapidly. A mere four years after his maiden political venture in which he had failed to gain election as mayor of Rancho Cucamonga and just two years after Steinorth claimed his first electoral victory by acceding to the Rancho Cucamonga City Council, he is an Assemblyman-elect. In his run to victory he was endorsed by the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, the San Bernardino Sun, the Press-Enterprise, the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association, the California Association of Highway Patrolmen, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, the San Bernardino County Safety Employees’ Benefit Association, the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the California Small Business Association, the National Federation of Independent Business, the Associated Builders and Contractors of Southern California, the Inland Empire Taxpayers Association, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, the Association of California School Administrators, the San Bernardino County Farm Bureau, the Association of California State Supervisors, the California Republican Party, the California Republican Assembly, the San Bernardino County Republican Central Committee, the California Young Republican Federation, the Inland Valley Young Republicans, the San Bernardino County Young Republicans and the Inland Empire Black Conservatives His energy and intelligence, his experience as a businessman, his charisma and eloquence, not to mention the variety of his political associations and contacts mark him as the political newcomer of the year in Sacramento.
Yet for all of the potential seemingly spread out before him, Marc Steinorth will walk into the lower chamber of the California Legislature next month in much the same way he took his place at the dais in the Rancho Cucamonga City Council two years ago, something like the way Daniel walked into the lion’s den.
A pro-business Republican, he is headed for a city – Sacramento – currently dominated by Democrats. The owner of the team is a Democrat. The team manager is a Democrat. The team captain is a Democrat. The squad leaders are Democrats. Will he be able to play ball in this unfamiliar stadium?
Most likely, given the assets he possesses and the Republican-friendly turf from which he hails, Steinorth can successfully vie for reelection again in 2016 and 2018. Given the new term limit restrictions that allow one politician to serve up to 12 years in a single house, he can perhaps seek and obtain voter recertification in 2020, and 2022 and 2024. But will he be effective in terms of achieving the ends that his supporters elected him to achieve? Or will he, to reach his own definition of political success and pass legislation, need to shift what he is advocating, come to an accommodation with his more numerous Democratic colleagues, compromise on the goals he currently has in mind? As a die-hard advocate of the business community in a chamber full of politicians who have been given their charters because they are advocates of those who desire an overarching welfare state, will his eloquence prevail in an argument that overregulation must cease, that the fetters have to be removed from businesses so that the economic engine of California can get in tune, with all eight cylinders firing in sequence, so the state’s financial vehicle can hum down the highway pulling everyone along? Or will he need to make concessions, as he did in Rancho Cucamonga, on issues of principle and orientation, a move that endeared him to the political establishment and advanced his own standing as a political entity but which forsook the issues that brought him into the political arena to begin with?
At this stage, with one foot planted in Rancho Cucamonga and the other reaching toward the banks of the Sacramento River, Steinorth does not see the world in same stark terms he did four years ago. He has softened, by some standards, though he maintains he has actually been toughened, hardened by political reality.
Steinorth told the Sentinel this week that when he took up his position on the city council in 2012, “What I experienced was as much of an education as what I tried to teach. I learned that public employees, the people who comprised staff at City Hall were all regular, normal people trying to perform their jobs as best as possible with the resources available to them under tremendous pressure.”
He grew understanding of those he had been critical of in the past, Steinorth said.
“In the private sector we look at in a way where we see the public system perhaps as giving its workers opportunities with job experience unavailable to traditional private enterprise, private sector employees.”
But Steinorth intimated that what many people consider to be generous or overly generous pay checks and benefits provided to public employees are in some way justifiable.
“Private sector employees know what is expected of them,” Steinorth said. “If I’m a car salesman, my job is to sell cars and I can see how many cars I need to sell per month to be successful. In the public sector the benchmark is forever changing. Running a city efficiently with great senior programs, youth programs, paving roads, landscaping neighborhoods and parks, providing public safety with the police and fire departments is not one job. There are multiple parts and multiple approaches to their jobs. They also have to work with the public and public opinion can be fickle. What I saw when I came to the city were a lot of really hard working people who were not always sure they were appreciated for the hard work they were doing. When you have a city that is well run you are tempted into saying it can run itself but what I learned is it was quite the opposite. It took a tremendous amount of effort to make it look easy. As we say in the private sector, you need to make commitments with your people for them to achieve the talent level you need for success. I think the city of Rancho Cucamonga has been very successful in growing the next generation of talented employees. That stewardship from the city managers- Jack Lam and now John Gillison – has been tremendous. I may not agree with every decision John Gillison makes, but I have to recognize his desire to make the best decision for the benefit of the city. When I joined the Rancho Cucamonga City Council, the other city council members and the mayor were not sure how we could best work together, but within a very short period of time we were able to form a relationship to determine our common goals and work as a team.“
Looking back at what he originally conceived of as a clash of two world views, Steinorth said turned out to be a fruitful exchange of differing but ultimately reconcilable perspectives.
“I was able to tell the about the way I used to think before about the way government operates,” he said. “I still think government does not understand how much of the private sector works. On the private sector side, we don’t have much interaction with the government and we do not have an understanding of what government is really doing. Since I have been in office, I am able to share with others what I have learned, since I have worked within government, and I see what it is about.”
Steinorth said he will go to the state capitol as a facilitator rather than a dissident.
“I intend to represent our region in Sacramento with that same optimism I had on the city council, to achieve results,” he said. “Some of my ambition may not be shared by my future colleagues, but most people recognize there is some commonality among all of us. We need to find those areas where we agree with one another and create cooperation among all of us.
“If you analyze it,” Steinorth continued, “The Republicans and Democrats disagree on sixty percent of the issues. That means we can work with each other on forty percent. With the new term limits being implemented, one person can stay for up to 12 years in one house. This allows a much greater opportunity to build relationships with each other and work together regardless of whether there is an R or a D next to your name.”
Steinorth gave further indication that he would be prepared to dispense with strict partisan affiliation in favor of creating alliances with Democrats to achieve ends that would benefit their constituencies in common.
“Speaking about this region, in the freshman class we have myself, the current mayor of Big Bear, Jay Obernolte, and Chad Mayes, who was supervisor Rutherford’s chief of staff and Ling Ling Chang. Coupled with sophomores Cheryl Brown and Christopher Holden, we represent the Inland Empire. Larger than the Inland Empire is the inland regions and as a unit we have more in common than we have differences in opposition. I am really optimistic and truly encouraged at what we are going to be able to achieve in the next two years.”
Steinorth, who yet owns an advertising agency which is based in Rancho Cucamonga, said he, for one, was not in danger of becoming a creature of Sacramento, who would grow out of touch with his district.
“During the orientation they had for us, I heard that some of the new members are looking at purchasing homes there,” Steinorth said. “I’m looking at buying better luggage. I’m the guy who will be traveling a lot on Southwest.”
(November 24) District Attorney Mike Ramos has been named statewide “Prosecutor of the Year” by the California Narcotics Officers’ Association (CNOA).
Ramos was honored Saturday afternoon at the Anaheim Hilton at the Opening Session of the CNOA 50th Annual Training Institute.
According to CNOA, the award was established to identify, recognize, and honor prosecutors throughout California who are committed to the strong enforcement of narcotic laws. This person should be selected on basis of a long-standing record of contributions, or for his or her extraordinary efforts as a prosecutor.
The award was presented by Executive Director Joe Stewart who alluded to the fact that during the early nineties, San Bernardino County was acknowledged as the “meth lab capitol” of California, and Mr. Ramos spent many of his formative years as a prosecutor learning how to try and convict narcotics traffickers and methamphetamine manufacturers.
“These experiences stuck with him during his three terms as the elected District Attorney and have influenced his current efforts to support narcotics investigators and do his part to help fight the war on drugs in San Bernardino County,” Stewart said.
Stewart also acknowledged Ramos’ efforts to combat local and transnational criminal street gangs involved in the illegal drug trade, his ongoing commitment to prevention and intervention programs and his recently-formed Crimes Against Peace Officers Prosecution Unit.
For Ramos, it was an honor to receive CNOA’s Prosecutor of the Year Award during the 50th Anniversary conference
“Everything we do in and out of the courtroom is based on teamwork and a shared vision of seeking justice on behalf of victims and making sure our communities our safe,” Ramos said. “This award is not only a testament to the hard work of my staff, but a reflection of the very investigations that make a successful prosecution possible in the first place. Thank you to CNOA and its members for this distinguished honor and for the work that they do fighting drug use and enforcing narcotic laws.”
The California Narcotic Officers’ Association is a non-profit, corporation dedicated to providing high quality training for law enforcement professionals. Since 1964, CNOA has grown to become the largest non-profit Training Association in California, with over 7,000 members.
(November 26) The criminal prosecution of Fernand Bogman, which has already generated considerable negative publicity for the city of Upland, has been scheduled to go to trial by Judge Jon Ferguson on January 12, 2015.
The city of Upland, which has used a provision of its administrative citation ordinance to charge Bogman criminally for his refusal to water his lawn, failed to send its prosecutor to court on Monday, November 24. Bogman’s trial had previously been scheduled to start in earnest on November 17, but a courtroom was not available at that time. Ferguson had directed that Bogman return on November 24. He did so, but Upland prosecutor Dan Peelman was a no-show.
Peelman’s absence seemingly angered Ferguson, whose patience with the city of Upland appears to be wearing thin. With budgetary restrictions on the court system having resulted in a court realignment that has consolidated the court’s function into a few centralized courthouses in a way that puts courtrooms and court facilities at a premium, many are questioning why Upland is pursuing a criminal action against Bogman when such matters have traditionally been handled in a civil venue.
Moreover, the city’s entire action against Bogman has been subject to criticism in that the city has shown a lack of clarity, indeed some contradiction, with regard to its own standards, protocols, processes and comportment.
Topping that, the administrative citation ordinance, the very cudgel the city is using against Bogman, in the opinion of at least some legal professionals, is unconstitutional in that it violates the due process rights of those against whom it is employed.
At the basis of the city’s action against Bogman is a citation issued to him relating to his residence, located in the 1000 block of West 14th Street, in August 2013. In it, Bogman was cited for having allowed his lawn to turn brown. Bogman, who does not have official title to the property in question, informed the city he was not the owner of record. The city proceeded with its action against him anyway. Under the authority the city assumed as a consequence of the administrative citation ordinance the city had put in place following a controversial 3-2 vote of the city council the month prior to the issuance of the Bogman’s citation, a summary finding against him was made and collection of the fine was handed over to a collection agency.
Bogman protested the city’s action, only to be told the five-day deadline for making an appeal had elapsed. Citing principle, Bogman stood his ground and now the city is attempting to get a misdemeanor conviction against him for refusing to water his lawn.
Bogman acknowledges that he did in fact cease watering his lawn, having done so because of the continuing drought. Responsible public officials were calling for water conservation throughout the state, he claims, and he said he was personally convinced that “pouring buckets and buckets of water on grass, while water is growing ever more scarce, is immoral.”
Bogman contacted councilman Gino Filippi, who voted for the administrative citation ordinance, and councilman Glenn Bozar, who had voted against giving the city the power of administrative citation. He signaled his willingness to come to some accommodation with the city that would allow him to limit the use of water. Bogman was put in contact with then-acting city manager Martin Lomeli. Lomeli handed the matter off to lower ranking employees in the community development division.
Bogman currently has five trees on his property as well as shrubbery, which he continues to irrigate. He has installed a drip irrigation system, which delivers a precise amount of water to the base of the plants he has, providing an adequate amount of water to maintain the plants without wasting water. It was the water-intensive expanse of grass that cannot be maintained through drip irrigation that he was seeking to eliminate. He sought guidance from the city as to what would be considered acceptable drought-resistant landscaping alternatives. The city responded by telling him that he would need to come up with a plan and they would decide if it met with city officials’ approval. Unable to resolve the issue at the staff level, he again took it up with Lomeli. On August 28, 2014, Lomeli, making no reference to the nuance in his interchange with staff, told Bogman he had to try to preserve the remaining vegetation and comply with code enforcement and that otherwise the city prosecutor would continue legal action to resolve the issue.
On September 8, Bogman addressed the entire city council about his situation at that evening’s meeting. The following day he appeared for arraignment before Judge Ferguson, pleaded not guilty and was assigned a public defender. Later that day, Bogman went to Upland City Hall, where he met with community development director Jeff Zwack and discussed his situation. Zwack said he would consult his colleagues and check how to resolve the situation.
On September 29 he had a follow up meeting with Zwack in which there was an unproductive discussion about the definition of a drought tolerant scheme.
On October 7, Bogman’s pre-trial hearing was held before Judge Ferguson in which jury selection was set for November 14, with trial to being on November 17. On October 13 Bogman attended the Upland City Council meeting, at which he made a presentation showing several examples of where the city is in violation of its own code with regard to maintaining landscaping. On October 14. Bogman had a meeting with Upland’s new city manager, Rod Butler, in which Butler admitted the city had no definition of a drought tolerant scheme.
Because of a lack of courtroom availability, the case did not get under way as expected on November 17. The following week Peelman failed to show up in court.
The case against Bogman barely survived that faux pas. Judge Ferguson is looking at the city coming to court, ready to go, on January 12.
Bogman this week told the Sentinel, “There are allowances for drought tolerant landscaping. I considered my landscaping drought tolerant and in accordance with what the governor is doing and what the city is doing with its own property.”
Bogman’s first reference was to California Governor Jerry Brown, who has declared the state to be in crisis mode because of the drought and has accordingly ceased watering the lawn at the Governor’s Mansion in Sacremento. His second reference was to city properties that have likewise gone without irrigation for some time.
“Look at the lawn at the California Governor’s Mansion,” Bogman said. “He let his lawn die. I believe what I am doing is in accordance with what the city is doing with its property at City Hall and the library and other city properties. There are places where the city has property with no landscaping at all. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. What is good for the governor is good for the citizens of California. What is good for the city is good for its residents. If not there is a double standard.”
Bogman again came before the city council this week. In response, Councilman Glenn Bozar asked the city manager to look into what adjustments or clarifications the city should make with regard to its landscape maintenance regulations.
Bogman said city officials had blurred the distinction between California native plants and drought tolerant vegetation.
“They have leaflets about California native plants they hand out, but California native plants require a lot of water to develop their roots,” Bogman said. “We live here in the Inland Empire, which is a desert area. Native plants do not grow in the desert areas unless given sufficient water. That of course defeats the purpose of conserving water. If you look at a natural wildlife map, you will see the Inland Empire is classified as a desert. What grows in the desert is Joshua Trees and Yucca Trees and some cactus. Grass does not grow in the desert. I have proven that. What the city is asking citizens to do is convert to California native plants that are not viable under the current circumstances. They would like me to put in drought tolerant landscaping but are promoting the use of California native plants that I do not believe will survive if I put them in the ground. They will use a lot of water, which defeats the purpose of conserving water. I think the city should look at the ordinance they have and determine what are the options for this area. We need plants that are drought tolerant. “
A further example of the city proceeding into an area about which it has insufficient information, Bogman said, is that “The house is not in my name. I do not have title to the house. They are forcing me to meet their standards on a house I do not own. After the house is in my name I am willing to improve it with drought tolerant landscaping. So far I am doing exactly what the governor is doing and what the city is doing. I do not consider myself in violation of any code. “
In the meantime, local, regional and state newspapers as well as television and radio stations have picked up on the story. Upland is being portrayed over and over again as a jurisdiction that is engaging in heavy handed tactics to achieve a questionable end and enforce a policy of selfishness and vanity in which appearances take precedent over the state’s efforts to maintain an adequate water supply in the face of a four-year running drought.
Mayor Ray Musser admitted Upland has sustained a black eye so far in the action targeting Bogman.
“I don’t think we quite did our homework,” Musser said. It did not help, Musser said, that after dragging Bogman into court, the city prosecutor on the case did not show up. “That embarrassed us,” Musser said. “I don’t know if it was sloppiness on Mr. Peelman’s part or whether he legitimately had a family emergency that was a higher priority. Whatever it was, it was not good. It shouldn’t have happened. No one gave me a reason for that, so I can’t say for sure why it happened.”
It is also true, Musser said, that the city is “working on refining its definitions” of what is acceptable in terms of alternatives to traditional grass lawns in landscaping in residential zones.
He said that the code enforcement effort against Bogman and others started out as a legitimate outgrowth of government.
“I looked at his yard,” Musser said. “I think that dead grass looks terrible. It is just a piece of dirt. If I lived next door I would be upset. It is one thing to put in a drought tolerant cover, stones or pebbles or whatever, but it is another thing to put something out there that is completely dead and the wind is blowing across and kicking up dust. This is a minus-to-the-neighbors issue. At the same time, we need to give people guidance. The water situation is going to get worse before it gets better. We need to give more guidance about what you should do and can do. We should get people help if that is possible. If he doesn’t want to use water, he should put in artificial turf. Maybe he doesn’t want to spend the money, whatever it is per square foot, to do that. I believe he can get help from the Chino Water Basin to defray the cost, up to thirty percent or forty percent. I think artificial turf looks good. If he doesn’t have the money, then he won’t be able to go down that road at this time. “
With regard to the use of the administrative citation ordinance to essentially bully Bogman and others like him into compliance through an abbreviated adjudication process and by the application of exorbitant fines, Musser said he recognized that the city had not carried out a review of the ordinance one year after it went into effect, as the council had originally directed. “At the time, we had more important priorities,” the mayor said. “We had a changeover in city managers. I didn’t vote for that ordinance. I can’t justify the past We’re in a better position to review it at this point. There needs to be a standard that brings to a resolution those homeowners who are not in compliance and whose properties bring down the value of their neighbors’ properties. We need to deal with this. It is a big problem and it is a matter of timing.”
If convicted, Bogman faces penalties of up to six months in jail and a fine of $4,000.
(November 27) RIALTO–The Rialto City Council this week outlawed solicitation between the hours of 7 p.m. and 9 a.m.
An uptick in the amount of door-to-door sales activity in the city during evening hours prompted the council to adjust that portion of its city code relating to soliciting, canvassing or peddling in its residential, commercial and industrial zones.
Such activity has gone on virtually unchecked, at whatever hour of the day. Technically, itinerant salesmen working in Rialto are supposed to have either a solicitor’s license or business license. They are further required to carry identification which is to be visible upon their approach or produced upon request.
According to a city report that accompanied the material relating to the code change presented to the city council, it is believed that residential burglars have adopted the tactic of simulating salesmen as they case neighborhoods, seeking to find residences where no one is present.
The police department has reported an upswing in the number of calls relating to suspicious or illegal activity by sales people or solicitors working the city’s residential neighborhoods, with at least 82 calls having come in to the city’s dispatch center to report such activity.
The new ordinance further requires solicitors and peddlers to carry photo identification.
Door-to-door prosthelytizers, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormon missionaries are not restricted by the ordinance.
By Count Friedrich von Olsen
After 12 years, Upland City Councilman Brendan Brandt is leaving office, having chosen not to run for reelection. That decision was made as a tangle of conflicts were on the brink of overwhelming him. He was unable to act with regard to Upland’s pending pension crisis because he is a member of the county pension board and that creates a conflict for him. Earlier this year, he was unable to vote on a controversial trash franchise contract extension because his law firm does work for companies involved in the region’s variously franchised trash hauling industry. His most overwhelming conflict was his close political association with Upland’s indicted and convicted former mayor John Pomierski. In 2002, Brendan was first elected to the council with the assistance of Pomierski and his political machine. This occurred despite the misgivings Brendan’s father, Barry, another highly respected attorney, had about the political financial support network that had adhered itself to Pomierski. Upon being elected, Brendan immediately became a member of “Team Upland,” Pomierski’s cabal. In carrying out his perfidious exploitation of Upland’s citizenry, accepting bribes in return for making sure projects were approved or permitting was granted, Pomierski asserted he enjoyed the full backing of “Team Upland” and its authority. The one roadblock Pomierski encountered was councilman Ray Musser, who opposed him in 2004’s mayor’s race and again in 2008. With the assistance of his “Team Upland,” which included Brandt and councilmen Tom Thomas and Ken Willis, Pomierski isolated and then politically neutered Musser. In 2010, the FBI closed in on Pomierski, serving search warrants at his home, business and at Upland City Hall. Pomierski’s political jig was up, but Brendan Brandt brazenly sought reelection later that year, carefully avoiding any talk about Pomierski or “Team Upland.” Public perception had yet to fully catch up with him, though fellow team member Thomas was voted out of office in 2010. Pomierski was indicted the following year and convicted the next. This year more than one Upland City Council hopeful was loading up to let Brendan Brandt have it by celebrating his long and deep connection to John Pomierski. Brendan decided not to run. This week, at the last full council meeting Brendan attended as a council member before the first meeting in December when his replacement, Carol Timm, will be sworn in, his council colleagues talked of his “wisdom.” And indeed he was wise, getting out when the getting was good…
Speaking of getting out of Upland, it was revealed this week that two other city officials are leaving the City of Gracious Living. Police chief Jeff Mendenhall and city attorney Kimberly Barlow…
Jeff Mendenhall announced he will be departing the city in the next two to eight months as he works with his wife, Stephanie Mendenhall, the city’s personnel director (and city clerk and city administrative services director) and city manager Rod Butler on finding his replacement as police chief. Chief Mendenall has been on the Upland force 32 years. He was a lieutenant and captain during the years when John Pomierski was at his pernicious peak. Ultimately, it was not the police department but the FBI that put the kibosh on Upland’s felonious mayor, which suggests that Mr. Pomierski was acting under an umbrella of police department protection. It seems passing strange that two of the city officials in such high positions who stood by while John Pomierski raped the city will now be intimately involved in the hiring of the next police chief…
I am not at liberty to say precisely why Ms. Barlow is on her way out, to be replaced by another member of her firm, Richard L. Adams II. Let it suffice to say that when a lawyer is tasked to write a letter on behalf of a client, she should be careful about the tenor, tone and language used, especially if the recipient of the letter is a well-heeled entity with a bevy of high-priced attorneys of its own…
By Mark Gutglueck
Mark Bailey Shaw, the son of Isaac and Salome (Freeman) Shaw, was born on November 17, 1862, in Waterville, Nova Scotia. When he was six, his family moved to Berwick in Kings County Nova Scotia. In Berwick he attended primary school in the public school system. Shaw would claim that his most valuable early education came from his mother, who was highly educated, having attended and graduated from Mt Holyoke Seminary.
At the age of seventeen, Shaw entered Horton Collegiate Academy at Wolfville, Nova Scotia and then matriculated to Acadia University, and was graduated in the class of 1886, with the degree of A.B. In the summer of 1889 he received the degree of A. M. On June 7, 1886, he married Antoinette Dewis, daughter of Captain Robert Dewis, of Nova Scotia.
Shaw’s natural inclination was to become a man of the cloth. He began preaching at the age of eighteen. On July 17, 1886 he was ordained at Cow Bay, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. He began his ministry there, having four small churches in the district under his charge. He worked strenuously, having to do hard driving to preach a sermon every other Sunday in the four churches under his over-parsonage. He was remunerated with the sum of five hundred pounds annually and provided with a residence.
In May, 1888, he was summoned to Yarmouth to “The Milton Church” of that city and he was in residence there until September 1889, when his health began to fail precipitously. An uncle from Los Angeles who was in Nova Scotia at the time, D.A. Shaw, convinced him to come to California to regain his health. He arrived in San Bernardino on October 8, 1889, but went straightaway on to San Diego. There he had a meeting with the deacons of the church at Fallbrook, and they offered him the charge of the place of worship there. He accepted and remained as that church’s pastor for six months.
The Baptist Mission Board of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island had a missionary station in India, at Vizianagran, Madras Presidency, about half way between Madras and Calcutta and about 212 miles from the latter city. The board was seeking a minister with the requisite qualities to take charge of this mission field and, impressed with Shaw’s record, despite his youth offered him the residency in Vizianagran. He accepted that offer and resigned the pastorate at Fallbrook, departing for Nova Scotia to prepare for his trip.
In September 1890 he sailed for India from Halifax, Nova Scotia, and arrived at his destination on December 1. His headquarters was a bungalow of eighteen suites of rooms only ten feet above sea level. He rapidly mastered the language and worked hard until January 1, 1895, when he resigned and returned to Fallbrook via Vancouver, British Columbia. He remained in Fallbrook one month and then assumed the pulpit in Ontario for nine months. On April 1, 1896, he returned to Fallbrook and there he remained until October 18, 1899, when he came to San Bernardino.
He succeeded Dr. A.J. Frost as the pastor of the First Baptist Church in San Bernardino. Frost was greatly respected by the members of the congregation and many considered it to be presumptuous of Shaw, still a relatively young man, to fill the pulpit of such an illustrious preacher. Within a very short time, however, Shaw proved to them he was making the church more successful than it had ever been. He soon persuaded the trustees to sell the old church and erect a grand new structure at Fourth and G streets.
On November 1, 1909, he retired from the ministry to enter the undertaking business with John Barton, with whom he remained associated for some time. On February 1, 1911, he established his own business at Fifth and E streets in partnership with John Dean. The following year Harold Shaw joined with his farther and the firm became known as the “Mark B. Shaw Company.” Later, another son, Douglas, joined the firm.
On April 1, 1909, Governor James Gillett appointed Shaw to the post of Chaplain of the Seventh Regiment, California National Guard, and in 1916, he accompanied his regiment to the Mexican border. While he was there he was notified that he had been elected San Bernardino County’s Fifth District supervisor. He returned in December and was sworn in on January 1, 1917, remaining in office until December 3, 1918, at which point a brief break in his service to his adopted county came about because of his call to military duty. When the U.S. entered World War I, then known as the Great War, the Seventh Regiment was activated and Shaw, by then referred to as Dr. Shaw, accompanied his regiment to the training encampment in Arcadia. He was disqualified because of his age, and he returned to San Bernardino where he was immediately reappointed to the board of supervisor by Governor William B. Stephens. He also served as a member of the school board and on the board of the old detention home at Tenth and B streets.
Following a period of illness, Mark B. Shaw died at his home on July 25, 1922. He was survived by his widow, Mrs. Antoinette Shaw; four sons, Harold D., Herbert, and Douglas M. of San Bernardino, and Wayland Bartlett of Buena Park; two daughters, Mrs. Muriel Shaw Brown and Vernal Emily Shaw of San Bernardino, and ten grandchildren.
Mr. Shaw was a member of Keystone Chapter No. 56, Valley Council No. 27, St. Bernard Commandery, and Phoenix Lodge No. 173, F. and A.M.; he was a Patron of the Gate City Chapter, Eastern Star; a life member of the San Bernardino Lodge of Elks; a member of the Modern Woodmen, Woodmen of the World, Knights and Ladies of Security, Valley Lodge No. 37 of the Knights of Pythias; the Pioneer Society; Lions Club; American Legion and other civic organizations. He was one of the organizers and first chaplain of the San Bernardino Post, American Legion. He was active in instigating the building of the Pioneer Log Cabin and held an honorary life membership in that society, acting as assistant secretary for several years.
(November 27) The Bureau of Land Management has denied Iberdrola Renewables’ reqest to construct a 200-megawatt solar plant in the Silurian Valley.
Iberdrola’s project would have been built along Highway 127 about ten miles north of the community of Baker in San Bernardino County, along a stretch of road that has been described as one of the most scenic in the state. The solar project would also have been immediately adjacent to Iberdrola’s proposed Silurian Valley wind project, a 160-megawatt facility occupying more than 6,700 acres in the north end of the valley.
The Iberdrola project would have been built along Highway 127 about ten miles north of Baker on more than 1,600 acres of highly scenic land.
It was in some measure because of the pristine nature of the dramatic landscape that the Bureau of Land Management sided with the environmentalists who had opposed the project. Iberdola had also proposed erecting a 160-megawatt wind power project on 6,700 acres adjacent to the solar plant on the north end of the valley.
According to an official statement from the Bureau of Land Management, the project would cause too much damage to the area’s environment and historic resources.
After assessing the project, the Bureau of Land Management concluded that the solar project’s “impacts to the Silurian Valley, a largely undisturbed valley that supports wildlife, an important piece of the Old Spanish National Historic Trail, and recreational and scenic values, had too great of an impact on the resources,” a press release issued by he Bureau stated. The wind component of the project was not addressed in the announcement.
The BLM’s rejection of the Silurian facility marks the first time a renewable energy project proposal on so-called “variance lands” that lie outside Solar Energy Zones designated by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 2012 has been turned back.. Upon the Bureau’s agreement to consider the project, the environmental impact assessment process under the National Environmental Policy Act would have begun. The BLM has approved 18 solar, wind and geothermal projects on public lands in California since 2010.
Despite Environmentalists’ general support of the concept of ending dependence on the use of fossil fuels for the production of energy, many have raised strenuous objections to the location of solar fields in the Mojave Desert.
The Bureau’s decision was hailed by a number of environmental groups, including the Wilderness Society and the National Parks Conservation Association. The Silurian Valley lies along the main scenic route between two desert national parks.
First District San Bernardino County Supervisor Robert A. Lovingood told the Sentinel, “We need to be very careful in locating renewable energy projects,” Lovingood said. “We have listened to our constituents that these projects should first be located on already-disturbed land rather than on beautiful, untouched desert near the gateway to Death Valley.”
Jim Kenna, the BLM’s California director, made the decision, concluding the project would degrade the quality of “a largely undisturbed valley that supports wildlife” and would have industrialized 24 square miles of desert land.
Iberdrola Renewables had sought a variance in obtaining permission to build the project.
In reaction to Kenna’s action, Iberdrola stated it was weighing whether to appeal the decision to the U. S. Department of the Interior.
“It is unfortunate that the variance process is enabling unsubstantiated discretion in advance of a proper National Environmental Policy Act review that should be based on clear and understandable predictable requirements,” the statement said.