In a noteworthy effort to disenfranchise Upland’s city treasurer, city officials this week reversed decades of precedent by rechristening the report relating to the most recently available accounting of the city’s financial books from the “treasurer’s report” to the “treasury report.”
That move came as a consequence of City Treasurer Larry Kinley’s insistence that information pertaining to the drain on city finances represented by its ongoing and future pension costs be included in the monthly report on the city’s investment funds. When city officials who compile that report and present it to Kinley as the city treasurer for his review categorically refused to include the pension debt figures, referred to as an unfunded liability, Kinley in turn said he would not sign the report. When earlier this month for the first time Kinley forced the issue and did not endorse the report with his signature, City Manager Rosemary Hoerning instructed acting Administrative Services Director Londa Bock-Helms, who serves as the city’s finance officer. to present the report to the city council on Monday evening not as the treasurer’s report but as the treasury report.
In Upland, what was formerly referred to as the treasurer’s report and which this week for the first time was labeled on the agenda the treasury report is substantially similar to comparable documents prepared in other municipalities. Essentially, it lays out what the city has over its history up until the present salted away in terms of its surpluses garnered from revenue in excess of its expenditures in current and past budgetary cycles, and delineates how and where that money is invested.
Thus. Upland shows investments in the State of California Local Agency Investment Fund, interest-bearing bank account and change funds, ABS Corporate Paydown Securities, money market funds, government agency securities, corporate bonds and U.S. Treasury notes.
Upland’s report further shows “investment” in the Public Agency Retirement System, which is a separate entity from the California Public Employees Retirement System, a fund into which Upland and the lion’s share of California cities, many counties and the state itself provide payments which are then invested. Returns on those investments are then used to pay the pensions of the retired government workers who were employed by those agencies, such as Upland, participating in the system.
The report also catalogs so-called restricted funds with or held by certain fiscal agents, such as bonds issued under the city’s authority by the Lewis Operation Company for its Harvest Development Project, several community facilities district funds, and money available in the fund kept for the successor agency to the city’s now defunct redevelopment agency. It also shows money in the city’s checking account, money on hand in its petty cash coffer, and in its payroll balance account.
Further, the report shows the maturity dates of investments, where that date is relevant to the money becoming available in specified amounts.
Generally speaking, the treasurer’s report, or as it is now called the treasury report, reports on financial numbers that were current two months previous. Thus, the report made this week was for the month of September. The report presented to the council on October 14 was for August. The report presented to the council at its September 9 meeting was for July.
In filing the report, the city’s finance manager/finance officer and, formerly, the city treasurer would certify that the city’s investments are in compliance with the investment policy adopted by the city council, that the city has the ability to meet its financial obligations and pay for its budgeted expenditures for a period of six months going forward, that the value of the city’s funds held in banking institutions are not calculated with regard to any anticipated escalations and de-escalations and are the same as their book value, that the book value for money contained in the state investment pool is the withdrawal value provided by the state treasurer, that the market value of the funds held by the state treasurer equates to the city’s pro rata share of the market value of the entire pool, and that the sources for the market values provided in the report are account statements and the Wall Street Journal Government National Mortgage Association rates on the last trading day of the month.
Kinley had worked for Bank of America for 42 years, the last 15 of which he was a manager in the problem loan administration dealing with borrowers with financial difficulties. After his retirement, Kinley in 2013 by chance heard that Standard and Poor’s Financial Services intended to downgrade the city’s credit rating. Indulging the interest and expertise he had cultivated professionally, he began looking into the situation involving his city, coming across as well an auditor’s opinion from the certified public accounting firm Mayer Hoffman and McCann from 2012 stating that there were serious questions with regard to the city’s solvency to the point that in a short while “it will be unable to continue as a going concern.”
He set about attempting to determine how it was that a public agency ostensibly run by responsible and serious professionals could have expenditures that so grossly outran its income. At the root of the city’s challenge, he was told, was its unfunded pension liability, which reportedly stood somewhere in the range of $30 million to $40 million. Essentially, an unfunded liability is defined as a debt obligation for which sufficient funds to cover the money owed has not been set aside. In the case of the City of Upland’s unfunded pension liability, what was occurring at that time, had previously occurred and would continue into the future was that the city was bringing in enough revenue to cover, for the most part, the cost of its current ongoing operations, but did not have the money to simultaneously pay for the commitments it had made in the past to city employees with regard to their pensions. The roots of the problem extended back into the 1990s when contract negotiations between the city and its employee union had produced an agreement by which the employees agreed to take less in raises than their bargaining units had initially demanded in exchange for the city picking up the cost of the employee contributions to their retirement fund. This had been exacerbated by the city going along with a far more generous benefit package for employees as of Fiscal Year 2001-02, which had built into it a presumption that the California Public Employees Retirement System’s investment portfolio would provide consistent 7.5 percent annual returns. While that deal had been cut in the midst of a bullish market, the subsequent downturn in the economy had unleashed the bears onto Wall Street, and the Dow Jones, Nasdaq and Standard & Poor’s indexes over the next six years following the 2007 recession reached nowhere near the 7.5 percent annual return that the California Public Employees Retirement System needed to sustain itself. Under the terms of the retirement system’s agreement with its members, its participants – cities, counties and the state itself – were required to put up the hard cash needed to make up for the insufficient performance of the stocks in its investment portfolio. Cities such as Upland were at once faced with mushrooming payments to the California Public Employees Retirement System. By 2014, 17 percent of Upland’s general fund was devoted to payments to he California Public Employees Retirement System, entailing either a reduction in services or deficit spending in which the city had to dig into its reserves in order to pay those who were no longer working for the city.
To Kinley, all of this had a much too familiar ring to it. The city had been living beyond its means, just like many of those bank customers he had dealt with when he was in the problem loan department, living beyond their means, borrowing more money to support their inflated lifestyle and lack of fiscal discipline, finding, when they did not have enough money to make their current loan payments or catch up on the ones they had already missed that their only option was declaration of bankruptcy.
It was worse than that, however. He met with then-City Manager Stephen Dunn. Dunn, who had been the city’s finance director before he was elevated to city manager, openly told him that the unfunded pension liability the city was looking at was a bit higher than the $30 million to $40 million figure Kinley had mentioned. Actually, Dunn said, it was at least twice that, in the neighborhood of $80 million. Kinley asked if that was reflected in the city’s accounting system. Dunn paged through the most recent of the city’s audited financial statements but was unable to find it there, either in the body of the 150-page text or in any of its footnotes.
After the meeting, Kinley consulted the website for the California Public Employees Retirement System, with which the city of Upland is contracted to deliver pensions to its employees. Poring through what for many would be arcane financial data, Kinley was able to extrapolate an $88.99 million number, what he calculated was the city’s pension debt at that time. What Kinley found is that as of June 30, 2012, which at that point was the last date for which figures were available, the City of Upland’s unfunded pension liability for its safety [i.e., police and fire department] employees, current and future, calculated on an actuarial value of assets basis was $33,370,136 and calculated on a market value of assets basis was $54,213,809. Kinley further learned that as of June 30, 2012 the city of Upland’s unfunded pension liability for its miscellaneous [i.e., those other than policemen and firefighters] employees, current and future, calculated on an actuarial value of assets was $21,234,203 and calculated on a market value of assets basis was $34,780,257.
In this way, Kinley derived the $88,994,066 figure, using market value actuarial terms.
In his next meeting with Dunn, Kinley asked if the city manager would be in favor of exiting the current retirement plan and substituting a defined contribution plan. Kinley said Dunn said he would entertain that notion, but frankly offered that making such a drastic change would be met with resistance on the part of city employees and would require solid backing by the city’s residents to get the city council. which is largely dependent on endorsements and backing not to mention political contributions from the city’s employee unions in their election campaigns, to go along with the switch.
Kinley thereafter embarked on an information campaign he thought would be the basis for the pension reform the city needed. He delved through the city’s books and financial data, selecting information that he could encapsulate and present in the three minutes provided to the public at city council meetings. These short speeches were intended to alert the city council and the public to the looming pension crisis that was threatening to overwhelm the city, such that in the next year or so, Upland would see 20 percent of its general fund budget devoted to payments to he California Public Employees Retirement System, then a few years later a quarter of its general fund, then one-third, then two-fifths and eventually half of the city’s annual operating budget being consumed with paying pensions to former employees who are no longer working.
In 2014, Dunn was forced by the city council to leave as city manager. Along the way, Kinley was making some headway in getting some attention to be focused on the pension crisis, and he was picking up name recognition doing so.
In 2016, then-City Treasurer Dan Morgan elected to seek a position on the city council. Kinley ran for treasurer. Ironically, vying against him for the spot was Dunn. When the dust cleared after the November 2016 balloting, Kinley had come out on top, with 16,625 votes, or 62.46 percent to Dunn’s 9,992 votes or 37.54 percent.
To Kinley’s dismay, his victory in the race for treasurer did not kickstart the pension reform movement in Upland he had hoped for. When he came into office,
Marty Thouvenell was serving in the fifth month of what would turn out to be an 18-month stint as Upland’s acting city manager. Thouvenell, who was the city’s police chief for fifteen years and a 30-year employee with the police department, is among the city’s highest paid pensioners, and he had a vested interest in the city making no adjustments that will upset its relationship with the California Public Employees Retirement System. Thouvenell held considerable sway over the city council as it was then composed, and it was his opinion that no one was interested in hearing Kinley prattle on about how the sky was falling and City Hall would be buried under an avalanche of pension debt. He told Kinley as much.
As city treasurer, Kinley did register one victory with regard to his crusade on the unfunded pension liability issue, a meaningful one. In accordance with his constant lobbying and advocacy, and the application of his authority in his elected position, he arranged to have not only a reference to the unfunded pension liability made in the city’s comprehensive annual financial report, but a projection of where that liability stood as of June 30, the end of the fiscal year, based upon actuarials composed of the pensions being provided to the city’s retirees, their ages and current average life expectancy.
While getting the city to recognize at some level that its unfunded pension liability is a serious issue represented a long stride forward, it simply was not enough, Kinley knew. The city’s comprehensive annual financial report, while important in terms of the internal financial function of the city, remains a relatively obscure document to the public, one which is not likely to be known to the average city resident, let alone consulted even briefly or read in depth. If the city is ever to make a serious inroad on reducing its unfunded pension liability, Kinley recognized, the citizenry must first be made aware of the growing debt and its consequences. From that foundation of knowledge, his hope was that the will to do something about it among the city’s voters and the city council might materialize in sufficient strength for the city to either end its arrangement with the California Public Employees Retirement System, redraft the generous pension formula the city was committed to or require that the city’s employees, rather than the city, fund their participation in the pension system.
One way of vectoring the public’s information to the problem that McKinley came up with was to include in the monthly treasurer’s report he signed a current projection of the city’s unfunded pension liability. The report itself is included in the agenda packet of the council meeting at which it is presented, which is usually the first rather than the second regularly scheduled council meeting of the month.
When Kinley floated that idea while Thouvenell was city manager, it went nowhere. Similarly, when Thouvenell was succeeded as city manager by Bill Manis, a career municipal government employee who is vested in the he California Public Employees Retirement System, Kinley’s effort to put the information in the treasurer’s report failed. After Manis’s departure and his succession by Jeannette Vagnozzi, likewise a participant in the California Public Employees Retirement System, Kinley was again rebuffed.
Vagnozzi’s appointment as city manager had come under rather extraordinary circumstances. In the 2018 election cycle, three of the members of the council – Sid Robinson, Gino Filippi and Carol Timm – had been replaced. Robinson had chosen not to run. Filippi and Timm were defeated at the polls by Ricky Felix and Rudy Zuniga, respectively. Zuniga and Felix were set to be sworn in on December 11, but there remained a nearly five week gap between the November 6 Election and their taking office. At that point, on November 26, at the last full council meeting in which Robinson, Filippi and Timm were eligible to participate, they voted, along with Mayor Debbie Stone, to hire Vagnozzi, who had served as assistant city manager, city clerk, risk manager and the head of administrative services under both Thouvenell and Manis and was then serving as interim city manager, on a three-year contract as city manager. Timm’s endorsement of Vagnozzi occurred telephonically, as she was in North Carolina at the time to celebrate Thanksgiving with her parents. Vagnozzi’s hiring was widely seen as an act of revenge by the outgoing members of the council against the incoming council. Vagnozzi lasted only six months in the city manager’s post, and was terminated in May, with only Mayor Stone advocating against the firing. Vagnozzi was replaced, on an interim basis, by longtime Public Works Director Rosemary Hoerning, who has now lasted in the interim city manager position as long as Vagnozzi was in the city manager capacity. There is a fair prospect, although it is not at this point certain, that the city will detract the interim qualifier from Hoerning’s current title and make her the full-fledged city manager.
In what was perhaps his last hurrah, Kinley this fall pressed forward once more with his pitch to provide the public with a recurrent red flag reminder of the unfunded pension liability, seeking again to include the actuarial-based projection of what that monetary obligation is within the monthly treasurer’s report.
“What I wanted to do in the treasury report was add a comment as the treasurer about the city’s pension liability, to see if I could get it in there,” Kinley said. “I wanted to provide both sides of the balance sheet, the net, if you will, which would include not just our assets but our liabilities. The city has not allowed me to do that. On one hand, they want to claim we have $78 million in assets or reserves. But looked at another way we have a future projected deficit of $24 million.”
Kinley elaborated. “We have a projected $112,039,675 unfunded pension liability per the city’s comprehensive annual financial report,” he said. “My thinking on the last report was the city had something like $78 million in assets in individual accounts but we owe $112 million in terms of liability. I want people to understand, or at least be aware, that the city had this $112 million liability. You very seldom or almost never see that mentioned. I wanted to call everyone’s attention to that. They did not like that. They would not let me publish that. They weren’t willing to let me put that in there. I had fought for the right to include that in the comprehensive annual financial report, and they were willing to do it there, but not in the monthly report, the treasurer’s report. So I said, ‘If you are not going to let me provide that information, which I consider to be very relevant to the city’s overall financial picture, I’m not going to sign the report anymore because it is not my report.’”
Kinley said he is isolated on the issue in the city, but that further up the governmental evolutionary chain people are sensitive to what he is concerned about.
“I called the state treasurer’s office to ask if there is something I can do to ensure I am able to fulfill my duties as I see them,” Kinley said. “I was handed over to one of their lawyers. The first question I was asked was ‘Who do your report to?’ I said, “Per the city’s organizational chart, I report to the citizens of Upland. That is the only line going to anyone above me. The lines from me or to me go down to the rest of the city staff.’ The lawyer’s comment was, ‘Therefore, since there is no one in the city with higher authority on financial issues than you, you are independent and you can add the information you deem relevant to the treasurer’s report.’”
Kinley said he took that advice to heart and “I started adding it. Nothing happened. They wouldn’t allow me to add to or edit my own report. I said then, ‘I am not going to sign this. My thinking is I want to keep the citizens of Upland up to date on what the city is doing with their money.’”
Asked if he is an outcast at City Hall, Kinley said, “I don’t know what to say. I’m darn near three years into this term as city treasurer and I have never had a conversation with the mayor. I have never been invited in for a conversation and I’ve never talked to her. What does that tell you? I think I know where she is getting her guidance from.”
Kinley said he thought the attitude of the city council might change in the aftermath of the 2018 election, in which Janice Elliott, who was at severe odds with the previous city council that was faithfully following Thouvenell’s guidance, was retained on the city council to represent the city’s Second District in the first by-district election in the city’s history, and councilmembers Robinson, Filippi and Timm were either defeated or left office with the conclusion of the election cycle. He was also heartened, Kinley said, by the election of Rudy Zuniga in the city’s Fourth District, as he perceived Zuniga to be a reformist candidate, and one who would be more concerned with preserving services for the city’s residents than assuring comfortable retirement benefits for the city’s employees. Yet both Elliott and Zuniga, as members of the city council’s finance subcommittee, backed Hoerning and Londa Bock-Helms, the city’s finance officer, when they resisted allowing Kinley to put the unfunded pension liability into the treasurer’s report.
He had hoped and believed that Elliott and Zuniga would stand with him and the city’s residents against Hoerning and the rest of city staff on the pension debt issue. His hope was misplaced, he said. Outgunned and disappointed, Kinley said he merely made a show of nonviolent protest. “I told them that if they were going to erase my input, I just wouldn’t sign the report. And I didn’t.”
At Monday night’s city council meeting, Hoerning offered a defense for keeping any reference to the unfunded pension liability out of what she steadfastly referred to as the “treasury report,” disregarding the tradition that predated her arrival in Upland as a city employee of referring to it as the “treasurer’s report.”
“The treasury report is required under the city’s investment policy to be provided to the finance and investment committee group on a quarterly basis and submitted to the city council for their review and consideration,” Hoerning said. “The treasury report basically is a report that identifies the city’s assets that are on hand, available cash that’s on hand and how it’s invested. It’s a very detailed report just on investments the city has with its funds as available and that’s included investments anywhere from zero cash on hands to investments that are in instruments for five years.”
Hoerning said the city’s finance committee “discussed different revenue investment strategies and changed percentages of those funds into different term investments. The treasurer wanted to take the treasury report and handwrite a note on that treasury report that pertained to the city’s unfunded liability. That information is contained in the context of an annual financial report and really does not belong on the treasury report because the treasury report is specifically for investment purposes. So, I requested that the treasurer, if he wanted to sign the treasury report, which is prepared by our finance department, he’s welcome to do so, but he’s not entitled to alter the report. On this particular item the investment committee made a determination as to whether that language should be included in the report, and it was determined that it should not be on the report. That information was conveyed to Mr. Kinley, and he’s elected not to sign the report. There is no governmental mandate that requires him to sign that report, so only Londa Helms, our finance manager, is on that report. If he chooses not to sign the reports in the future, I’ve offered to sign those reports as a co-signer with Londa. That’s where we are with that.”
The requirement and authorization for municipalities to carry out quarterly financial reports is contained within California Government Code § 53646. There is nothing in California Government Code § 53646 which expressly forbids a city treasurer from making mention of the city’s unfunded financial liabilities in a statement of investment policy, which California Government Code § 53646 states, “the board [i.e., the city council] shall review and approve at a public meeting.”
Indeed, in subparagraph 3, California Government Code § 53646 reads, “The quarterly report shall include a statement denoting the ability of the local agency to meet its pool’s expenditure requirements for the next six months, or provide an explanation as to why sufficient money shall, or may, not be available.”
It is Kinley’s contention that the city’s unfunded pension liability has the potential for preventing the city from meeting future expenditure requirements.
The degree to which Hoerning is invested in the California Public Employees Retirement System is demonstrated by the calculation of the pension she would receive at present were she to take retirement immediately. The California Public Employees Retirement System formula for someone in the position she holds calls for her highest annual salary times her number of years time the multiplicand of 2.5 percent. As the director of public works in Upland she earned $167,666.41 annually. Thus, Hoerning today is entitled to receive on retirement a pension of $134,133.12 annually for the remainder of her life based upon $167.666.41 X 32 (years) X .025. If Hoerning is extended an offer to move into the city manager’s position and provided with the same compensation package as was provided to Vagnozzi of $205,368 in salary and roughly $25,000 per year in add-ons along with $86,690.97 in benefits, and thereafter manages to remain in place for the requisite one year, she will see her annual pension escalate to $190.053.60, based upon $230,368 X 33 (years) X.025. If she remains longer than that and is given raises in her capacity as city manager, her pension will escalate.
This perhaps explains why Hoerning is so adamantly opposed to allowing Kinley to make any further inroads in his pension reform effort, including posting, on a monthly basis on the city’s website, calculations of the city’s accumulating pension debt.
Kinley said, “One of the things that is really disturbing to me is that the governor of California last year made $195,000. Our city manager and practically every other city manager in the state makes over $200,000. There are over a dozen city managers in California who make over $400,000 in salary and benefits and four who make over $500,000. How do any of those people have more responsibility and more weighing on them than the governor of the entire state? That’s the whole problem with city government. How can these city managers and other senior staff members have a salary higher than what the governor makes with his responsibilities? It is no wonder all of these cities, and certainly our own, have these pension problems.”
Kinley said city employees are driven by greed and their own financial interest rather than dedication to the residents they serve and the taxpayers who are providing them with a more than adequate living wage and benefits that are not available to the vast majority of people working in the private sector. “You know how much money the treasurer of the City of Upland makes?” he asked, speaking of himself in the third person. “$225 a month. I’m trying to earn my pay. I have spent a lot of time trying to report to the residents of this city, who elected me treasurer, what is going on with their money. It is hard to get that information to the taxpayers because the people at City Hall don’t want them to have it. I’m just about to give up trying. Nobody wants to talk about this, and they don’t want me talking about it, either.”
Councilwoman Janice Elliott said she did not believe the monthly treasury reports, as they are now known, are the proper forum for Kinley to be carrying out an information campaign relating to the unfunded pension liability. Moreover, she said, the issue is too complicated for most people to understand, and giving Kinley a platform to deliver his message will likely confuse and misinform city residents, resulting in city staff being pestered inordinately and unproductively with citizen inquiries.
“It is disappointing that the city finance committee was unable to come to an agreement with our treasurer, Larry Kinley, about the disclosure of the unfunded pension liability on the treasurer’s report,” Elliott said. “I do not feel that this estimate of our future pension liability should be included in a report containing only Upland’s financial assets. Because this estimated liability is disclosed on our city’s website in our annual comprehensive financial report, along with a four-page-long footnote of its complex calculations, I felt that an abbreviated one-sentence disclosure would cause material misunderstandings by readers that require staff time to address.”
Elliott said city officials are not ignoring the problem of the city’s pension debt, even if they have yet to come to terms with it or make any progress in reducing it.
“In the last year, Upland has had two workshops addressing the unfunded pension liability, and staff is currently working on a plan to reduce this liability that will be proposed at a meeting in the near future, so we are not ignoring or trying to conceal this important concern,” she insisted.
Kinley’s status as city treasure gives him no bully pulpit from which to propound his position, she said, but the city does provide him with the same opportunity other city residents have to speak their piece.
“Larry Kinley has the opportunity to speak for three minutes at the beginning of every city council meeting when the treasury report is on the agenda to present his thoughts and concerns on the topic of the unfunded pension liability,” she said. “If he is asked not to speak on this topic, I will defend his right to do so.”
The city’s issue with openness concerning its financial affairs goes back to before he was elected treasurer, Kinley said. At that time, he recalled that he had attempted to zero in on a number of the city’s financial issues, but met with dead-ends. The city for a time had a finance director, Scott Williams, who was committed to transparency as far as the city’s finances went, Kinley said, but just as Williams was establishing a toehold in 2016, just prior to Kinley’s election, he was fired.
“As the finance director, Scott was doing a good job, and then they just let him go,” Kinley said, noting that Williams’ sacking came during the extended 18 month period while Marty Thouvenell was serving as the acting city manager.
Kinley said he tried to draw out from Thouvenell his rationale for cashiering Williams and resisting reforms to the city’s pension system. “To every question I’d ask, he’d say, ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I can’t talk about it.’ At one time, when I was running for treasurer, I had a lot of enthusiasm for pension reform, and I had confidence that with the right kind of informational campaign, we could do something about it. But what I see now that I didn’t know then is that the people who are in a position to make the needed changes have a huge stake in leaving things just the way they are. Their positions of power and authority and their ability to resist reform is greater than the determination of those of us who want to fix what is an obviously broken and failing system. They are denying us the means to even inform the city’s residents of what is happening, which is the first step that needs to be taken. I don’t have any patience for this. I’ve had my fill. That’s why you don’t see me participating much anymore.”
Kinley said he regretted being seen as unduly alarmist by large numbers of people who find the complacence of city staff and the members of the city council to be reassuring. Nevertheless, he said, the major leap in the projection of the city’s unfunded pension liability from $99,976,917 at the end of Fiscal Year 2017-18 to $112,039,675 at the end of Fiscal Year 2018-19 as of June 30 should alarm everyone.
Several of the San Bernardino County political races that are to take place in the March 3 California Primary have begun to shape up.
The March race’s nomination period, during which those seeking to qualify to seek office must file documents to declare their candidacies, opened on Monday, November 11. It will close on December 6, according to the California Secretary of State’s office.
As of today, candidates filing to run in the 8th Congressional District included Republicans Jay Obernolte and Jerry Laws, Green Party member Manuel Musquiz and Democrats Blanca Gomez, Bob Conaway, James Ellars and Charles Peterson.
In the 31st Congressional District, the only candidate filing so far was Democratic incumbent Pete Aguilar.
The only nominee so far in the 35th Congressional District is incumbent Democrat Norma Torres.
In the 39th Congressional District, Steve Cox, with no party preference, and Republican Young Kim have taken out nomination papers. Democratic incumbent Gil Cisneros had not filed nomination papers by press time this week.
In State Senatorial District 21 Republican Omar Ramirez and Democrat Blanca Gomez have taken out papers.
In State Senatorial District 23 Democrats Hank Ramey, Abigail Medina and Kris Goodfellow are running.
Running for the California Assembly in District 33 are Republicans Rick Herrick, Thurston Smith and Alex Walton, and Democrats Blanca Gomez, Roger La Plante and Socorro Cisneros.
Vying to become an Assembly member in District 36 is Democrat Ollie McCaulley.
James Ramos, the incumbent, was the only candidate to file to serve as the member of the State Assembly in District 40.
In Assembly District 42, Democrat Deniantionette Mazingo has taken out nomination papers.
In State Assembly District 52 Republican Toni Holle is running against incumbent Democrat Freddie Rodriguez.
Members of the Democratic Central Committee in San Bernardino County are elected based upon which Assembly District they reside in.
Those vying to become members of the Democratic Central Committee within the confines of Assembly District 33 are Roger La Plante, Lizet Angulo, Valentino Godina, Sr., Fernando Hernandez, Denise Wells, Blanca Gomez, Doug Olson, Barbara James Dew, Lionel Dew, Mike Curran, Elise Brown, Leslie Irving, Rita Ramirez Dean, Kareema Abdul-Khabir and Stevevonna Evans.
Those within Assembly District 36 seeking membership in the Democratic Central Committee are Scott Brown, Deborah McAfee and Victoria Chang.
Candidates for the Democratic Central Committee representing District 40 include James Albert, Lorraine Enriquez, Talat Khan, Frank Garcia, Valarie Lichtman, Jennifer Xicara, Andrea Vega, Gilda Gularte, Christina Leroy, Nancy Glenn, Mike Saifie, Terry Masl, Diana Cosand, Alice Ruiz, John Jesus Abad, Tim Prince and Ed Millican.
Democratic Central Committee candidates from District 41 are Wendy Lee Eccles, Irmalina Osuma, Linda Lou Baker and Peter Baker.
Democratic Central Committee candidates living in District 42 are Deborah Dunaway, Nicholas Christensen, Debra Gail Savitt, Jo Ann Bollen, John Edward Brennan, Sara Lee, Matthew Mark Campos and Crystal Starr Wysong.
Residing in Assembly District 47 and running for Democratic Central Committee membership are Rafael Trujillo, Bobbie Jo Chavarria, Joe Britt, Gil Navarro, Mark Alvarez, Carol Robb, Marcela Soliz Ferguson, Christina Marquez, Dorothy Kim, Loretta Christine Arenas, Sean Holle, Tariq Azim and Stacie Marie Ramos.
Seeking positions on the Democratic Central Committee to represent Assembly District 52 are Martina Rangel, Flora Juarez Martinez, Judy Jacobs, Chris Robles, Diane Boudreaux, Aaron Bratton and Camille Butts.
Democratic Central Committee candidates from District 55 so far are Brenda Walker, James Gallagher, Kathryn Ann Gallagher, Dena Anderson-Peoples, Mario Gabriel Alfaro, Rodrick Lee Ertel, and Vincent Kaje Hennerty.
Members of the Republican Central Committee in San Bernardino County are elected based upon which supervisorial district they call home.
Those seeking membership in the San Bernardino County Republican Central Committee from District 1 are Valerie Emick, Christopher Dustin, Jo Ann Marie Betty, Rebekah Swanson, Eric Swanson and Shannon Shannon.
The sole candidate filing at this time for membership on the Republican Central Committee from District 3 is Robert Rego.
In District 4, the candidates for membership on the Republican Central Committee are James Na, Sylvia Cervantez Orozco, Andrew Cruz, Roman Gabriel Nava, Candice Cetrone, and Tyler James Ferrari.
Peter Torres and Karen Contreras are vying for election as members of the Republican Central Committee representing District 5.
Orlando Pardo is the only individual to yet declare his candidacy as a member of the Peace and Freedom Central Committee representing District 4.
The Federal Aviation Administration will initiate on December 5 the use of a new flight path that will divert air traffic away from directly over Lake Arrowhead.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the new flight path will be referred to as JCKIE TWO.
On April 27, 2017, the Federal Aviation Administration initiated its Southern California Metroplex Project, which was intended to increase the efficiency of the approaches into five Southern California commercial airports and reduce fuel consumption. The revised routing, based on pre-set satellite navigation beams, diverted westbound planes formerly headed to Ontario International Airport from their previous trajectory over the San Bernardino Mountains using Heaps Peak as a pass-over locus to the airspace above 5,100 foot elevation Lake Arrowhead. With those planes flying at anywhere from an elevation of 7,200 feet to 9,600 feet on what is referred to as the EAGLZ route, those planes passed somewhere between 2,100 feet to 4,500 feet over the homes, schools and businesses of Lake Arrowhead.
Lake Arrowhead residents found the resultant engine noise to be anywhere on the scale from mildly irritating to absolutely unbearable. There were conflicting figures as to how many planes come into Ontario on the EAGLZ route daily, with the Federal Aviation Administration acknowledging an average of no fewer than 29. Anecdotal counts by residents put that number at closer to 80 per day. Furthermore, Lake Arrowhead residents said that an internet site, www.Planefinder.net documented planes flying as low as 1,640 feet above Lake Arrowhead.
Lake Arrowhead residents began importuning their governmental representatives, ranging from Second District San Bernardino County Supervisor Janice Rutherford to Assemblyman Jay Obernolte to Congressman Paul Cook to U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, to seek a solution.
Lake Arrowhead resident David Caine formed the group Quiet Skies Lake Arrowhead, which redoubled those efforts and initiated a petition-gathering drive which netted 4,000 signatures on a resolution requesting the route to be changed. Some residents advocated legal action, which resulted in Rutherford and her representatives insisting that such an approach would not have a salutary effect, and might even harden the Federal Aviation Administration’s position. The Federal Aviation Administration maintained that it had served public notice of the Metroplex Project and the EAGLZ route in a way that was legally adequate, had engaged in public outreach and held information workshops, all ahead of making the change.
In January 2018, the FAA signaled that it was working toward making an adjustment in the flight path during evening hours. Either by chance or by intent, upon the one-year anniversary of the April 27, 2017 switch to the EAGLZ route, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) through its special programs office and regional administrator, Dennis Roberts, announced a change in nighttime flights was in the offing. At the beginning of May 2018, the Federal Aviation Administration made good on that commitment, and the later PM routes were in fact altered to alleviate the sound impacts to the community during evening hours, with Southern California’s terminal control center vectoring Ontario Airport’s nighttime arrivals onto a path east of the EAGLZ arrival route
Nevertheless, planes continued to fly almost directly over Lake Arrowhead during daylight hours.
While the nighttime adjustment was welcomed throughout the community, it was pointed out that several daytime flights at an approximate altitude of 7,700 feet continue to pass over 5,780-foot elevation Rim of the World High School, a clearance of some 1,920 feet, on a daily basis. Similar sound disturbances punctuate the day in Lake Arrowhead.
Earlier this month, FAA officials announced they had completed work on plotting a new flight path to address the remaining excessive sound issues in Lake Arrowhead.
“As part of the post-implementation phase of the SoCal Metroplex project, the FAA looked at designing a new route that could address community concerns while maintaining the project’s enhanced airspace safety and efficiency benefits,” the Federal Aviation Agency announced. “In May 2018, the FAA created a new arrival route for ONT [Ontario International Airport] called the JCKIE ONE, which is located east of Lake Arrowhead.” According to the FAA statement, “The JCKIE ONE could only be used between approximately 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. because it did not provide the necessary separation with the nearby DSNEE and ROOBY arrival routes, which serve John Wayne Airport and Long Beach Airport, respectively. The DSNEE and ROOBY routes are not used at night due to curfews at John Wayne Airport and Long Beach Airport. Therefore, the FAA was able to use the JCKIE ONE route at night.”
The FAA maintains, “After implementing the JCKIE ONE route, the Federal Aviation Administration continued to explore additional options to address community concerns about flights that use the EAGLZ flight path during the day. The FAA determined it could modify the JCKIE ONE route to create a route that could be used 24 hours a day. This route will be called the JCKIE TWO.”
The Federal Aviation Administration reported that “Aircraft that currently use the JCKIE ONE and the EAGLZ flight routes will be assigned to the JCKIE TWO at all times of day. It will provide both nighttime and daytime overflight reduction to the Lake Arrowhead community. The FAA conducted an environmental review of the JCKIE TWO flight path in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act. The FAA will post its documented environmental review once the JCKIE TWO is published. The FAA plans to publish and start using the JCKIE TWO on December 5, 2019. The FAA will cancel the EAGLZ arrival route when it publishes the JCKIE TWO. Implementing the JCKIE TWO will not change runway usage at ONT. The vast majority of aircraft will continue to land from east to west, on Runways 26L and 26R.”
Cook, Obernolte and Rutherford had meetings with Federal Aviation Administration officials to discuss the need for a permanent route change that would not disturb the Lake Arrowhead community. During the development of the new route, they networked with the Federal Aviation Administration to support the creation of a nighttime flight path away from population centers to reduce the impact of noise on the community.
Cook said, “I’m glad the FAA has heard the voice of my constituents whose quality of life has been affected by this issue. Since it was first brought to my attention, I’ve worked with Supervisor Janice Rutherford, as well as my colleagues in the House and Senate, to resolve this problem. I’d also like to thank David Caine and the entire Quiet Skies Lake Arrowhead group for their work and tireless advocacy.”
The hydrogen-powered Fast Light Intercity and Regional Train H2 vehicle will be introduced in 2024 as part of the Redlands Passenger Rail Project, a nine-mile connector between Redlands and San Bernardino’s Metrolink station.
The train, which relies on cutting-edge self-contained hydrogen fuel-cell technology to power it, will be the first of its kind operating in the United States. The designer and builder of the Fast Light Intercity and Regional Train H2 is Stadler Rail, a Swiss-international manufacturer of railway rolling stock headquartered in Bussnang, Switzerland. Stadler Rail is a holding company that controls nine subsidiaries with locations in Algeria, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Switzerland, Spain, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Belarus and the United States. As one of the last European manufacturers of steep grade-capable rack railway cars, it focuses primarily on the manufacture of regional train multiple units and trams.
The fuel-cell technology involved in the Fast Light Intercity and Regional Train H2 utilizes hydrogen and oxygen to create a chemical reaction that produces energy, with byproducts of water vapor and no pollutants. Fuel cells are now in use to power buildings and cars. The hydrogen-powered Fast Light Intercity and Regional Train H2 Is also referred to as the Zero Emission Mobile Unit, or ZEMU.
Under the agreement, Stadler will develop the first hydrogen-powered train to see service in the United States. The vehicle on order is to consist of two cars with a power pack in between, which holds the fuel cells and the hydrogen tanks.
The train is to have seating space for 108 passengers, in addition to what was referred to as “additional generous standing room.” The Fast Light Intercity and Regional Train H2 is projected to transport passengers at a maximum speed of 79 miles per hour. Delivery of the train is anticipated in the year 2023, with the train scheduled to enter passenger service in 2024.
“Implementing innovative solutions like this first-of-its-kind passenger train is an excellent example of how we are demonstrating our commitment to the next generation in San Bernardino County,” San Bernardino County Transportation Authority President Darcy McNaboe said. “The hydrogen-powered Fast Light Intercity and Regional Train will help us address the commuting needs of today while preserving our environment for a better tomorrow.”
“Stadler is committed to designing and building green technology for the transportation industry” said Martin Ritter, CEO of Stadler US Inc. “We are delighted that the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority shares our enthusiasm for this goal. We have an excellent relationship with the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority, and it is a great honor to partner with them to bring the first hydrogen-powered train to the United States.”
Stadler has done business with the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority in the past. In 2017, the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority ordered three diesel electric multiple unit Fast Light Intercity and Regional Trains. The three diesel electric multiple units are intended for the future Arrow Passenger Rail Service, scheduled to run between Redlands and San Bernardino, connecting to the entire Metrolink system at the San Bernardino Transit Center. The diesel electric multiple units are are scheduled to begin operation on the 9-mile Redlands Passenger Rail line by late 2021.
Redlands has hired a 28-year municipal/governmental agency management professional who spent 26 of those years outside of California.
Charles Duggan was the city manager of Auburn, Alabama for more than a decade, ending in 2017, when he voluntarily retired from that post at the age of 46 to go to the Bay Area, where he has overseen financial operations of a large water district in Northern California for the last two years.
Duggan was a 20-year-old student at Auburn University where he was obtaining a bachelor of science degree in advanced physics, when in February 1991 he applied for and obtained a part time position with the City of Auburn as a part-time coach of a junior high level soccer team in the parks and recreation department.
While he completed his undergraduate studies at Auburn and then pursued his master of business administration as part of Auburn University’s graduate program, Duggan remained employed in the parks and recreation department in various capacities for seven years, the last several as the director of special programs.
From October 1998 until July 2005, Duggan was the deputy director of information technology with the City of Auburn, which allowed him contact with a full range of the city’s department heads and staff, and he familiarized himself with all aspects of municipal function. Knowing the city from the internal framework of the information technology division laid the foundation of his future managerial roles, Duggan told the Opelika-Auburn News in 2016.
In August 2005, Duggan was promoted to the position of deputy city manager. He remained in that capacity only seven months, and was elevated to the position of acting city manager at the end of February 2006, when the city council sacked his predecessor, David Watkins. Duggan was credited with maintaining the council’s and the collective community’s equanimity in the aftermath of Watkins’ reluctant departure. The search for a new city manager he was guiding the council through ended when he was put into the position of the city’s top staff member. He remained in the city manager capacity for 11 years and one month.
During his tenure, Auburn dealt with fiscal issues and growth challenges, including major renovations to the Auburn landmark Toomer’s Corner, significant renewal projects along Opelika Road, a major Auburn thoroughfare, up to the Auburn Mall, the revitalization of the city’s primary commercial corridor and collaboration with the Auburn Chamber of Commerce, particularly in the city’s downtown district.
For several of the city managers who had preceded him, development had been a thorny issue. Duggan ameliorated that circumstance by coordinating the adoption of Auburn’s Comprehensive Plan, which was awarded Best Comprehensive Plan for 2012 by the Alabama Chapter of the American Planning Association.
There were also social issues in Auburn, a university city of approximately 64,000 population, that were prototypically Alabaman rather than of the sort normally dealt with in California.
One of those, in 2009, involved an African-American member of the Auburn City Council taking umbrage when the United Daughters of the Confederacy placed Confederate flags on the tombstones of Confederate Civil War veterans at Auburn’s historic cemetery. The councilman removed the flags, breaking one in the process. There was a degree of contretemps over the matter, which carried with it the potential for becoming explosive but which was defused when the councilman paid for the flag he had desecrated.
Another controversy in Auburn in 2009 involved an adult bookstore going into business in Auburn after obtaining a business license in which it was represented as a women’s clothing store.
An initiative Duggan championed while he was in place in Auburn was the application of high performing organizational concepts and metrics in management, as well as the review of efficiencies in communication and cooperation between city departments, in particular the engineering and planning divisions, in order to progress toward managerial and administrative goals.
Duggan’s departure from Auburn came of his own volition, as he was drawn to what he considered to be the visually attractive vistas of Northern California, in particular Yosemite, Muir Woods, the Napa Valley, San Francisco Bay and the California Coast.
Duggan landed the position of administrative services division manager and treasurer with the Marin Municipal Water District in Northern California.
He applied for the city manager’s position in Redlands after the city undertook to do a nationwide search to replace former city manager Nabar Martinez. The city’s selection process began in May with the solicitation of applications. In July, the firm of Ralph Anderson & Associates was hired to coordinate the executive search and evaluation, which included seeking community input. A total of 44 applicants deemed to have met the city’s standards were subjected to a winnowing process by Ralph Anderson & Associates until the field was reduced to a half dozen by early October. Those six were interviewed by the city council. Duggan and a single other candidate were thereafter interviewed extensively on October 26 in a round of exchanges with former city council members, community members, labor representatives and business sector leaders. Using those panels’ evaluations as a guide, the city council interviewed both candidates on October 27. A consensus to hire Duggan was achieved thereafter.
The hiring of a city manager was placed at the end of the November 5 city council agenda but was advanced to the top of the agenda and considered prior to the intervening agendized items between it and the meeting’s convocation by the prerogative of Mayor Paul Foster.
Foster said, “We have been working for some time toward the selection of a new city manager for the City of Redlands. I am pleased to announce that we have concluded that process.”
Foster then read his own prepared statement. “The Redlands City Council is proud to appoint Charles M. Duggan, Jr. as the new Redlands City Manager effective January 13, 2020, concluding an extensive recruitment process that included 44 applicants, residents and business participation and multiple community interview panels,” Foster said. “This has been a thorough, deliberative and collaborative process with our residents, our labor partners, the business community and my colleagues to identify the best candidates, one who will provide effective, efficient leadership and who will guide our city staff as we embrace the opportunities and the challenges that are opening before us. We are looking forward to Mr. Duggan engaging with our community, connecting with all our civic stakeholders and beginning a dialogue with our residents as we move forward into a bright future.”
Foster then continued with a statement attributed to Duggan. “I would like to thank the city council for entrusting me with this responsibility,” Foster read, quoting Duggan. “I am excited about the opportunity to work with such an engaged citizenry and capable staff. The great pride exhibited by the residents, elected officials and city staff is what first drew me to this wonderful community, and I look forward to being an active resident, partner and leader. My initial goals will be learning the values of the community; working for the citizens with and through their elected officials; listening to residents’ views on the future of Redlands and being a part of a team focused on providing the very best service that local government has to offer.”
On a motion by Councilwoman Denise Davis, the council unanimously approved Duggan’s hiring.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department has said that it is now ready to network with homeowners in the county who have been making use of a via-internet remote house monitoring and security device that has grown increasingly popular.
The Ring Video Doorbell app allows users to monitor several different doorbell cameras via wi-fi. Activity picked up by motion sensors actuates the camera mounted to capture the area at and around entrances to the user’s domicile. A signal is sent to the user’s cellphone, from which the use can then view in real time the activity being recorded. Even as the video footage is being relayed to a cloud server for future access, the user can speak to those upon his doorstep or any other entrances to the home using a microphone and speaker built in to the system.
In recent weeks, personnel from the department received training on the features of the system and the department has now authorized and enabled them to receive, with the individual users’ consent, the digitized information the Ring video system involves.
Department personnel, in addition to being provided with the videos, have the ability to interact with the app users.
While the Ring system and Neighbors App are tools that allow interaction and sharing information, they are not monitored 24/7. The Neighbors App is not designed to replace traditional crime reporting. Crime victims can report a crime of suspicious activity to the local San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department dispatch center at the emergency 9-1-1 number. Less pressing reports can be made by calling the department’s non-emergency lines. The valley number is 909 387-8313 and the desert number is 760 956-5001.
The Hi-Desert Water District and Southern California Edison appear to be on a collision course, based on a lack of communication or misunderstanding that led to the destruction of over $200,000 worth of electrical utility appurtenances.
The contention between the energy giant and the water utility division serving Yucca Valley and the surrounding area in the Morongo Valley arose out of Hi-Desert’s contractor on the construction of the town’s sewer system, Sukut Construction, coming across in the course of its work for the district an underground duct bank owned by Edison, which was ultimately demolished.
A duct bank is collection of PVC conduits housing electrical and data cables, closely placed or bundled together and enclosed, for the sake of integrity and protection, by concrete and metal casings.
While trenching for the sewer plant’s piping system, Sukut encountered the bank, nicking it in the process but not causing any substantial damage. The bank was not shown on any of Sukut’s diagrams or plans, as Southern California Edison had not disclosed its existence or whereabouts, as is standard protocol during the site survey period prior to the initiation of construction.
When Sukut contacted Edison, one of its corporate officers gave Sukut permission to bulldoze the bank.
Subsequently, Southern California Edison (SCE) submitted a bill for $201,631 to Sukut Construction. Sukut then submitted a $201,631 change order to the Hi-Desert Water District to cover the bill.
According to the district’s chief financial officer, Jonathan Abadesco, “Sukut Construction, LLC had utilities marked in the area of the jack and bore at TRP-19 and potholed all known utilities. Sukut encountered a Southern California Edison duct bank that was not shown on the plans or marked in the field. SCE representatives stated that the obstruction was not their duct bank and gave approval for the demo of the concrete mass that was later identified as the SCE duct bank. Due to the nature of the obstruction, the jack and bore alignment had to be redesigned. All costs for repairs of damages were agreed to be paid on a T&M [time and materials] basis. The jack and bore and casing installation were done on a pro-rated lump sum based on the original bid item per lineal foot. Damages to the SCE duct bank were repaired by SCE and an invoice for the repairs was sent to Sukut. The SCE invoice is part of this change order. The total of Change Order 0009 is $201,631, and the potential amended contract amount is $33,308,198.”
Abadesco recommended that the district board consent to the change order, and at its November 13 meeting, the board did so.
But there are indications now that the district will seek to recover from Southern California Edison the extra $201,631 that it shelled out to Sukut.
Director of Water Operations Tony Culver stated publicly this week that the destruction of the duct bank was not the result of negligence or fault on the part of the water district or Sukut, and that neither should have to bear the cost. Culver said the district will endeavor to recover the $201,631 from SCE, even if it entails “a fight.”
The $201,631 cost increase was one of eight change orders to the wastewater reclamation facility, totaling $299,443, for additional costs, additions or alterations not anticipated in the original plans and design, which will boost the overall cost of the project from $142.35 million to $142.65 million.
By Leo Lyman and Mark Gutglueck
Amasa Lyman was San Bernardino’s first mayor and one of the founders of the city.
It is noteworthy that on his substantial historical résumé, the role Amasa Lyman played in making San Bernardino a primary city in the region is not listed as his first or even second-most impressive accomplishment. That is reflected in the consideration that fewer than seven of Lyman’s nearly 64 years were spent in San Bernardino, and that after he departed the town, there is no indication he ever returned. In many of the brief and longer biographies about him written over the years, the descriptions of Lyman as a boatman, as a gunsmith, a farmer, an evangelist and as a religious dissident who engaged in a heresy the church excommunicated him for loom as large or larger than the reference to his having been one of the leaders of the first major expedition of settlers into San Bernardino and their political leader once they were established there.
Born in Lyman, New Hampshire on March 30, 1813, Amasa Mason Lyman was the third son of Roswell Lyman and Martha Mason. At the age of 19 in the spring of 1832, Lyman met two traveling Latter-day Saint missionaries, Orson Pratt and Lyman E. Johnson. Taken with Pratt’s and Johnson’s preaching with regard to the belief system Joseph Smith had built around his visions and the transcriptions of golden plates he said he had been directed to by an angel from on high which were inscribed with what he purported was the Judeo-Christian history of an ancient American civilization, Lyman consented to be baptized as a member of the Church of Christ, the original incarnation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, on April 27, 1832, by Johnson. On April 28, 1832 Lyman underwent confirmation by Pratt.
Dedicated to his newfound religion and its church, Lyman sojourned some 380 miles to Palmyra, New York where he hoped to meet Joseph Smith and Martin Harris, the latter of whom claimed to have seen the golden plates from which the Book of Mormon was transcribed and who bankrolled the first publishing, by printer Egbert Bratt Grandin, of Smith’s rendering of those plates’ contents into English. Smith and Harris, however, after experiencing at the hands of the local population considerable disapproval, opposition and competition including threats of violence, arrest, legal challenges and conflicting claims of divine revelations, had moved on to Ohio in 1831. Without means in Palmyra, Lyman hired himself out for two weeks to Thomas Lackey, who had bought Harris’s farm. He used his pay from Lackey to book steerage on a ship from Buffalo, New York to Cleveland, Ohio. Disembarking at Cleveland, Lyman walked the 45 miles to Hiram, Ohio where he had been told Smith was living. In Hiram, Lyman learned that Smith had left that town to reconnoiter Jackson County, Missouri where he was contemplating establishing the headquarters of the church. The owner of the house in which Smith was living in Hiram, John Johnson, the father of the missionary who had baptized him, extended an invitation for Lyman to take up temporary residence at his house and work on his farm. Lyman did so. On July 1, 1831 Lyman met Smith upon his return from Missouri.
In August 1832, Lyman consented to serve as a missionary for the church after Smith informed him that “The Lord requires your labors in the vineyard.” Lyman was ordained as an elder by Smith and Frederick G. Williams on August 23, 1832. Thereafter, Lyman returned eastward with Zerubbabel Snow and William F. Cahoon in an effort to find converts, preaching as far east as Cabell County, Virginia, now part of West Virginia. On December 11, 1833, Lyman E. Johnson and Orson Pratt ordained Lyman as a high priest. In May 1835, Lyman returned to the church headquarters, which at that time had been established in Kirtland, Ohio. In the meantime, Smith had sought to establish Independence, Missouri as a second location in addition to Ohio where his church might flourish. But that effort foundered when church members left on their own grew to perceive Smith as having abandoned and neglected them and then non-Mormons forcibly evicted and expelled Smith’s followers from the state entirely, based on resentment of the church’s advocacy of polygamy. Shortly after Lyman’s re-arrival in Ohio, Smith called him to become a member of the newly organized First Quorum of the Seventy, and in 1836, Lyman received the church’s “Kirtland endowment” in the Kirtland Temple.
In 1835, Lyman married Louisa Maria Tanner in Kirtland. They would have eight children together.
Lyman served several missions for the church, preaching in Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Tennessee.
In January 1838, after a financial scandal in which a church-sponsored bank failed and charges surfaced relating to Smith’s sexual misconduct with a teenage girl, the church relocated once more to Missouri, this time to the extreme west end of the state. Within eight months, Missourians again made clear they did not want the Mormons settling there. In 1838, Lyman followed Smith to Far West, Missouri in Caldwell County, where Smith relocated the headquarters of the church. As tensions between the Mormons and the native population of Missouri mounted, there were again efforts to expel Smith and his legion. On October 25, 1838, just before the Mormons departed Missouri for the second and last time, the Battle of Crooked River took place, consisting of a skirmish the Latter-day Saints engaged in against a Missouri militia unit from Ray County.
Lyman, although appointed a militia captain by Governor Lilburn Boggs, at the Crooked River engagement, served more as a spy, reconnoitering off in the distance, than as a participant on the field of battle. Thereafter, Lyman was jailed because of the activities of the Mormon party. At one point, in an experience both he and Joseph Smith remembered all their lives, they were chained near each other at the Richmond, Missouri jail.
Lyman, despite being some seven years younger than Smith, remained throughout the Mormon prophet’s life one of his most intimate friends and closest non-family
associate right up to the time of Smith’s death.
In 1839, Smith and his considerable entourage departed Missouri for Nauvoo, Illinois.
In Nauvoo, Smith evinced further trust in Lyman, appointing him, in 1841, as a regent of the newly organized University of Nauvoo.
Among the positions of responsibility Lyman inhabited was being called upon to make a speech at Monmouth, Illinois which the then-jailed Joseph Smith could not give as he had planned and was given leave to do, because of threats of assassination if taken from his jail cell there to speak. Chosen as Smith’s replacement, Lyman addressed a large crowd, which included the man who would serve as Joseph Smith’s trial judge the next day, Stephen A. Douglas, who had been selected to preside over one of many of Smith’s Missouri-based trials that had been removed to Illinois. Douglas was sufficiently impressed with Lyman’s sermon the previous night that he released, without complications, Smiith from jail the next day, to Joseph’s enduring remembrance and appreciation.
On August 20, 1842, Smith called Lyman to serve as an apostle of the church. Apostle is the highest station within the church’s Melchizedek priesthood. The president of the Church is always an apostle, as are the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. In practice, counselors in the First Presidency are almost always apostles as well.
Smith also had Lyman fill a vacancy in the Quorum of the Twelve created by the excommunication of Orson Pratt. Five months later, on January 20, 1843, Pratt was rebaptized and restored to his former position in the Quorum of the Twelve. As the most junior and “thirteenth” apostle, Lyman was excluded from the Quorum of the Twelve. On February 4, 1843, Smith called Lyman to serve as an additional counselor in the First Presidency. However, due to the turbulence of the years 1843 and 1844 for the Latter-day Saints, Lyman did not participate at a conference of the church in that capacity.
Amasa and Louisa’s life as a couple devoted exclusively to one another and their family lasted nine years. In April 1844, according to Lyman, Smith in what was to be one of their final encounters, pushed him toward what he said was God’s mandate of plural marriage. “As he warmly grasped my hand for the last time,” Lyman years later related that Smith told him, “Brother Amasa, go and practice on the principles I have taught you, and God bless you.”
Two months later, Joseph Smith was dead, shortly after a reformist movement in his church had formed and he had excommunicated the reformers. In June 1844, Smith, who had declared himself a candidate for U.S. President in that year’s election, was indicted on grounds of polygamy, perjury and being a general nuisance. After he was arrested for inciting a riot in the aftermath of the indictments, a mob rushed the jail where he was incarcerated and he was shot several times as he sought to climb out of a window.
Lyman at that point married his first and second plural wives, Carolyn Partridge and Diontha Walker, whose first name is also listed in some sources as Denicia and in others as Dionetia. In 1846, Lyman married four additional wives. One of those was Eliza Maria Partridge, one of Smith’s numerous widows and the 25-year-old sister of Lyman’s wife Carolyn. The three others he married that year were Paulina Eliza Phelps, Priscilla Turley, and Cornelia Leavitt. In 1851, Lyman married his eighth and final permanent wife, Lydia Partridge, a sister of his wives Carolyn and Eliza.
Amid the conflicting claimants to the role of leadership of the church, Young had pushed for the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to take control of the church and he was ultimately, through his strength of personality and the key support of a handful of others, ordained president of the church in December 1847, three and a half years after Smith’s death.
At several crucial points in the process of deciding how to replace the murdered Joseph Smith, Lyman played an important role in supporting Brigham Young’s claims that Smith had given the twelve Mormon apostles the rights and powers to preside over the church. The first time was some six weeks after Joseph Smith’s death during a combined outdoor conference of the church members at Nauvoo on August 8, 1844. During the morning session, Sidney Rigdon, who had been ordained by Smith as a “prophet, seer and revelator,” made an impassioned appeal and eloquent case that he deserved to be appointed as the “protector” of the church. Rigdon was supported in this by the president of the Central Stake, William Marks. At that point, most of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles were scattered throughout the United States and Europe and were yet to return to Nauvoo in the aftermath of Smith’s death. Brigham Young, the president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, opposed Rigdon’s ambition, and had asserted his own claim for the primacy of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and thereby the church itself. After Rigdon’s appeal, Brigham Young gave Lyman an opportunity to make his own claim to be chosen president and head of the church. Lyman, however, simply backed the apostles’ claims to lead the church. This was tantamount to Lyman supporting Young for the leadership of the church. The members of the quorum available in Illinois, in addition to a gathered assembly of the church’s members, voted to deny Rigdon his claim for church leadership.
Not quite two months after Smith’s death, on August 12, 1844, Brigham Young, as one of Smith’s most ardent followers, was steadily advancing his hold on the entire Mormon congregation when he restored Lyman as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
Extensive external and internal conflict led Young and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to relocate as many of the Latter-day Saints who were prepared to follow them to the Salt Lake Valley, then part of Alta Mexico, sojourning in what was the largest mass migration in American History first to Winter Quarters, Nebraska, in 1846, then to the Salt Lake Valley.
As the Mormons were making their exodus from Nauvoo, Lyman may have married up to six women, including teen-aged girls who were at that point unattached to family. Only half of those stayed with him, asking to be released from their marriage ties within two years, mainly to marry other men, with Lyman’s approval, and sometimes with him paying for the legal changes required in court
By the time Young and the Mormon pioneers arrived at their ultimate destination in Utah on July 24, 1847, it had come under American control as a result of the Mexican American War, although U.S. sovereignty would not be confirmed until 1848.
In 1847, after Lyman, Young and others had led the initial companies of pioneers to found Salt Lake City earlier that summer, Amasa Lyman again provided Brigham Young with strategic backing that shored up his control over the church. In the fall of that year, a large contingent of the Mormons had returned to Council Bluffs, Iowa, where they held several days of council meetings. Lyman helped overcome the opposition of some other apostles to allowing Brigham Young to select two counselors to help him function as a new First Presidency, with Orson Pratt being the last to concede that should be done. After reaching agreement, this was sustained as well by the large gathering of church members in a conference at that time.
Because of the timing of the Mormon Exodus coming at the conclusion of the Mexican-American War, the presence of the Mormons in Salt Lake was welcomed by the federal government and President Millard Fillmore’s administration. Through his positive relationship from afar with Fillmore, Young was recognized as the founder of Salt Lake City and an American colonizer. Though Young petitioned the U.S. Congress to create the State of Deseret, that was not granted. Rather, the Compromise of 1850 created the Utah Territory and Young was appointed the territory’s first governor and superintendent of American Indian affairs by Fillmore. Young aggressively pushed for further Mormon expansion and directed the establishment of settlements throughout present-day Utah, Idaho, Arizona, Nevada, California and parts of southern Colorado and northern Mexico. Under his direction, the Mormons built roads and bridges, forts, irrigation projects; established public welfare; organized a militia; and made a tenuous peace with Native Americans in the areas they inhabited.
Jefferson Hunt, a member of the Mormon Battalion who was involved in the building of roads during the Mexican American War and who had traveled extensively throughout the Southwest, recommended that the church consider creating a major colony in Southern California. This was based in some measure on the potential Hunt saw for the place, which offered a ready supply of lumber from the nearby mountains, verdant soil and adequate water for irrigation and human consumption, as well as an offer by Isaac Williams, an American who had married into the Spanish-California aristocracy, to sell the Rancho Santa Ana de Chino to the Mormon Church on what were deemed “attractive terms.”
By 1849, Young, convinced of the wisdom and advantages of having immigrant converts traveling by sea who would land in California settle either in California or travel overland to the Utah Territory, resolved to establish a Mormon colony in the Golden State. In March 1851 Young instructed Amasa Lyman and six foot-four inch tall Charles C. Rich to lead an expedition to establish a Mormon foothold in southern California. Brigham Young called upon Hunt to serve as the principal guide of the westward-bound Mormon colony.
In 1849, Hunt, in the company of Mormon Missionary Addison Pratt, blazed a trail from Salt Lake City southward through present-day Las Vegas and onto San Bernardino and then northward to Sacramento.
The 1851 party, consisting of 147 wagons and 437 men, women and children, essentially retraced the route that Hunt had established two years previously all the way to San Bernardino. While several of Lyman’s wives accompanied him, Lydia and Eliza Partridge did not, remaining in Salt Lake City. En route, the wagon trains in crossing the desert were obliged, because of the scarcity of forage and water, to separate into three divisions, one led by Rich and piloted by Hunt, another with Lyman as its leader and directed by Captain David Seely and another captained by Andrew Lytle.
During the journey, as the pioneers progressed through very unforgiving territory, the overall party subdivided into 14 or 15 subgroups of approximately ten wagons each, traveling about a half hour apart, so that larger crowds of persons and livestock would not overload the sometimes slow-flowing seeps and springs essential for such desert crossings. Nevertheless, the travelers were sufficiently close to assistance that gunshot signals to other groups could effectively draw help.
During the crossing, one woman died during childbirth.
Luther Ingersoll’s Century Annals of San Bernardino County, published in 1904, relates that Captain Seely, whose name spelling includes the variant Seeley, and his party reached Cajon Pass on June 11 and camped in Sycamore Grove, what is now known as Glen Helen. According to Ingersoll, “The rest of the party arrived on June 20, and camped on the other side of Cajon Cañon. They remained in these camps while their leaders examined the country, visiting Chino and other ranchos.”
Based upon the offer that had earlier been made to Hunt and which was relayed by Hunt to Brigham Young, the intent had been that the Mormon settlement would establish itself on a significant portion of the 22,193-acre Rancho Santa Ana del Chino, at what is today the extreme southwest corner of San Bernardino County. The ranch was a land grant made in 1841 by Mexican Alta California Governor Juan Bautista Alvarado to Antonio Maria Lugo, who in turn had provided it to his son-in-law, an American, Isaac Williams, a fur trapper who had settled in Southern California. In 1843, Williams was the recipient of another three square league land grant from Alta California Governor Joseph Manuel María Joaquin Micheltorena y Llano relating to property proximate to the Rancho Santa Ana del Chino. It had been Williams who had offered to sell a large portion of the rancho to the Mormons when Hunt had come through California in 1849. By 1851, however, Williams had reconsidered his offer and withdrew it, having resolved to hang onto the property. Lyman, Rich, Hunt, Seeley and Lytle continued their discussions with Williams and his contacts in an effort to find property for the Mormon settlement after Williams reneged on his offer. Ultimately a deal was worked out for the purchase of the Lugo Family Rancho in and around present day San Bernardino, owned by Williams’ in-laws. On September 22, 1851, Lyman and Rich, representing Brigham Young, tendered a down payment of seven thousand dollars, leaving a balance of over seventy thousand yet to be paid. The deed to the property was in the names of elders Lyman and Rich.
The purchase of the San Bernardino Rancho, described as being bordered by the Sierra de Yucaipe on the east, the Arroyo de Cajon on the west, on the south by the Serrito Solo and on the north by El Faldo de Sierras, was completed in the spring of 1852 at a full price of $77,000.
The settlers had almost immediately set about raising crops, and fenced in a huge expanse of land between San Bernardino and the Santa Ana River, with each farmer paying a proportionate share of the cost of erecting the fence depending upon the size of the plot he was cultivating. Wheat was a primary crop, and initially it was delivered by wagon to a mill in La Puente, whereafter it was sold for $32 per barrel in Los Angeles. By the end of 1852, a grist mill was built in San Bernardino. Livestock were being raised and slaughtered. Tithes were paid by the church members on the proceeds of their agricultural operations. The church in short order surveyed the entirety of the settlement property and, upon its division into tracts, land was sold at roughly $16 per acre. In this way, the purchase of the Rancho was defrayed, using a combination of money from the church treasury that Brigham Young had entrusted to Lyman, Rich, Hunt, Lytle and Seeley and the capital the settlers were themselves able to generate from their own industry once they were in place.
In 1850, 1851 and 1852, the Utes, Chemehuevi and other desert Indian tribes had descended the Cajon Pass into the inland valleys and carried out raids, driving off livestock and looting existing settlements. A battalion of United States volunteers, led by General J.H. Bean from Los Angeles was only intermittently and limitedly effective in warding off the marauders and preventing losses. In the face of a threat by Indian Chief Antonio Garra to lead a multi-tribe force to drive out all white settlers from the area in November 1851, the Mormons, using lumber they hewed from trees in the area, built Fort San Bernardino, measuring 300 feet by 720, the largest and most elaborate log fort ever built in California.
J.C. Rolfe, who later served as a Judge in San Bernardino, related to Ingersoll for Century Annals of San Bernardino County that “The fort built by the San Bernardino colonists in the fall of 1851 was a palisade enclosure, or stockade on the east side and two ends, made by splitting the trunks of cottonwood and large willow trees in halves, roughly facing them on the split side, straightening the edges so they would fit closely as they stood upright side by side. These stakes were set some three feet into the ground and stood about twelve feet high – with the split sides facing in. This composed the outside of the stockade and was in the form of a parallelogram about three hundred feet in width by seven hundred feet in length. Small one-story houses of logs and adobes were built inside in long rows parallel with the stockade, leaving some sixteen or eighteen feet clear space between each. The west side of the enclosure was made up of houses which had been built in various places before the necessity of fortification was realized and which were moved and placed with their outside walls adjoining so as to form a tight wall. Where this could not be done, separate barricading walls of logs laid up in blockhouse fashion were constructed so as to complete the stockade.”
The settlers lived in the confines of the fort for over a year. When they sensed that the danger of Indian attack had passed, they began to make improvements and build abodes on their own tracts outside the fort, as well as making community improvements. The fort was eventually de-erected and the logs used for other purposes.
What is today San Bernardino County and most of Riverside County had shortly after California’s formation as a state originally been designated as falling within Los Angeles County. In 1853, Hunt, who was representing the eastern portion of Los Angeles County in the State Legislature, petitioned his law-drafting colleagues, who were at that time convening in Benicia City Hall in the north San Francisco Bay Area, to allow for the formation of San Bernardino County, which encompassed its current 20,105 square mile environs and most of what is today Riverside County, by removing itself from Los Angeles County, insofar as its population resided at a considerable distance from the Los Angeles County seat and was not being adequately looked after by its political leaders. The request was granted and San Bernardino County and what is today the northern four-fifths of Riverside County were given autonomy as San Bernardino County by a legislative act on April 26, 1853. David Seeley, Isaac Williams, John Brown and H.G. Sherwood were appointed as commissioners to oversee the new county’s elective process to select a county judge, county attorney, county clerk/recorder, county surveyor, county coroner, county sheriff, county treasurer and county assessor.
Lyman and Rich together constructed the Mormon Council House, which, according to Ingersoll, was “intended as the general office of the Mormon interest, both religious and secular.” It also served as the county’s first courthouse when D.M. Thomas was elected Working collectively and on a voluntary basis, several of the men in the colony, at the direction of Lyman and Rich, built a road up into the San Bernardino Mountains which led to the establishment of six sawmills, what was probably the largest manufacturing enterprise yet in southern California, the lumber product from which was used to construct much of both San Bernardino and Los Angeles.
In 1853, the townsite of San Bernardino was laid out in what Ingersoll described as the “Babylonian style – a miniature Salt Lake City. The town was one mile square, laid out in blocks containing eight acres, with wide streets running at right angles, each one bordered by a zanja, or irrigation ditch.”
According to Ingersoll, “A two-story Adobe building was erected by Amasa Lyman as a home for his family, which included five wives, Maria Tanner, Carolyn Partridge, Priscilla Turley, Cornelia Leavitt and Denicia Walker. Priscilla was the mother of the first white child born after the colonists reached San Bernardino Valley, Lorenzo Snow Lyman. Each of the wives with her children had separate apartments, while a common kitchen and dining room was provided, but it is said, was never used by the women, each preferring her own establishment. The house is described as having no windows, but lighted from skylights above.”
It was not until March 1855 that Page 52 in the Book of California Statutes mandated that all counties have boards of supervisors. Prior to that, however, in 1854, the town of San Bernardino held its first mayoral election, in which Lyman was elected to a one-year term.
The July 4, 1854 Independence Day holiday, was officially observed in San Bernardino by Amasa Lyman’s reading of an account in the Deseret News of an address by “an unnaturalized Englishman” to the congregation in the temple at Salt Lake City the previous year, July 4, 1853. That speech, according to Ingersoll, “in substance eulogized the founders of the Republic and Washington, but declared that in the latter days the government was being diverted from its original purposes and had become degenerate, etc.”
In 1857, relations between the Mormons and the United States, that is to say between Brigham Young and President James Buchanan, had deteriorated to the point that Army troops were dispatched to Utah in what was widely perceived to be the initial staging of a concentrated campaign to eradicate the Mormon settlements in Utah altogether.
Buchanan’s actions stemmed from reports from up to a half-dozen federal officials in Salt Lake City who wrote to the president and his cabinet to report that Brigham Young and others were not acting legitimately in some governmental affairs there. Buchanan in response sent to Utah a newly-appointed governor along with military backing to reassert federal government authority over the territory.
At that point, Young issued a call to all faithful Mormons to return to Salt Lake City. And indeed, loyalist Mormons everywhere, including some 2,000 of the 3,000 in San Bernardino, in the winter of 1857/58 simply pulled up stakes – abandoning everything, including roads, houses, farms, foundries, shops, public buildings, churches, all that the Mormon population of San Bernardino had so impressively created in just under seven years – and returned home.
Prior to Young having issued his edict calling for the return of the Mormon contingents to Utah, Lyman and Rich had already left San Bernardino, having been summoned to Salt Lake City, from whence they were to go on a mission to Europe. Their sojourn across the continent and then the Atlantic, given the rush of events, was postponed, as the church members readied for possible hostilities against their own country.
Buchanan and the nation as a whole were at that point beset with a myriad of other problems, including growing tension over slavery that would plunge the United States into the Civil War very shortly after Buchanan left office and was succeeded by Abraham Lincoln just over three years later. One way or the other, in the contretemps involving the State of Deseret and officials in Washington, D.C., cooler heads prevailed, and war did not break out between the Mormons and the United States.
There is nothing in the historical record to indicate that Lyman ever returned to San Bernardino after he left the town in October 1857.
In 1860, Brigham Young appointed Lyman, Rich and another of the Counsel of the Twelve Apostles – George Q. Cannon – to the presidency of the church’s European Mission. On March 16, 1862, Lyman preached a sermon in Dundee, Scotland, which garnered no immediate attention in America at the time, but which would redound to his considerable difficulty later. In his homily, Lyman disputed that atonement and remission from earthly sin was achieved through the mortal sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross at Calvary in which the Christian savior’s blood washed away the sins of the world. This, it was subsequently held, ran contrary to a central tenet of the Christian element of faith upon which the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was predicated. Nearly five years later, on January 21, 1867, Lyman was brought before his fellow Quorum of the Twelve Apostles members to answer for heresy, as had been propounded during his Dundee sermon.
Though Lyman was not personally convinced that his theological precepts were in error, he was outgunned and outflanked within the context of the church’s primacy with regard to its own doctrine, and he made an abject admission of error and apologized to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, thereafter penning a letter of apology to the general membership of the church that was circulated and published in the Deseret News.
By that summer, however, Lyman was again openly maintaining in his preachment that belief and faith in the intercession of Jesus Christ with the Lord Father on behalf of worldly inhabitants was not requisite for the earthly to gain admission to heaven. This was a repetition of his earlier heresy, and indication that he had failed to abide by his confession and atonement, according to the church elders, who on October 6, 1867 relieved him of his apostleship.
Thereafter, Lyman made an effort to show obeisance to the counsel of the quorum members, though he still felt his position was theologically defensible. By April 1869, he was seen regularly among the congregation attending Sunday service.
Within a relatively short time, however, Lyman came into close and continual contact with William S. Godbe, who was also an apostate Mormon, one with an interest in mysticism. In 1870. Godbe formed what outsiders called the Godbeite Church, and which Godbe called the Church of Zion, essentially an offshoot of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints comprised largely of Mormon dissidents who felt that religious truth was not confined to the Mormon church’s belief system, and that there existed value in all religions and belief systems, including mysticism.
Lyman associated constantly, preached, and even openly participated with the Godbeites in their rites and services. This gave rise to the widespread belief that Lyman was to assume the presidency of the Church of Zion. On May 10, 1870, three representatives from the Salt Lake Stake High Council came to Lyman’s residence to investigate his activism and the rumors. Following a frank question and answer session with Lyman, reports of the exchanges were reported to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints High Council. Thereupon, two days later, on May 12, 1870, the council excommunicated Lyman.
As a consequence of his excommunication, all three of the Partridge wives divorced Lyman, as did Dionetia Walker. Ever faithful to their husband, Louisa Tanner, Paulina Phelps and Priscilla Turley, stayed with him. Cornelia Leavitt was by that time deceased.
Lyman shuffled off his mortal coil in Fillmore, Utah Territory on February 4, 1877. He and seven of his eight wives were the parents of 38 children. Amasa Mason Lyman, who had spent over half his adult life on Latter-day Saint church missions and whose sermons were considered by his contemporaries to be far more inspiring and uplifting than those of Brigham Young and who died the same year he did, was never rebaptized into the church after his excommunication.
However, on January 12, 1909, by direction of Joseph Fielding Smith, Sr., the nephew of Joseph Smith who was then serving as the sixth president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Lyman was posthumously reinstated as a church member and an apostle.