By clicking on the blue portal below, you can download a PDF of the April 2 edition of the San Bernardino County Sentinel.
By Mark Gutglueck
Elected officials and their top staff members intent on obtaining future electioneering funding at any cost, a convicted former top county official, a loophole in state law and the willingness of elements within the private sector to bankroll public officeholders in return for favorable treatment by the government are coalescing to steer San Bernardino County into as intensive of a pay-to-play ethos as it has yet experienced. As a consequence, San Bernardino County’s taxpayers stand to suffer severely inflated costs as county and other local municipal officials are progressing toward conferring no-bid contracts potentially worth $250 million on a San Diego-based company.
Those involved comprise a cross section of the county’s current political establishment, including current Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman, former Congressman/current Supervisor Paul Cook, Supervisor Dawn Rowe and Supervisor Joe Baca, Jr., together with Rowe’s and Cook’s chiefs of staff, Matt Knox and Tim Itnyre. Another beneficiary of the highly questionable arrangement by which politicians have and are being lined up to approve inflated no-bid contracts in exchange for campaign cash or money laundered to them through an ingeniously-formulated means is the mayor of Fontana, Acquanetta Warren.
Key to this violation of the public trust that is in progress is Bill Postmus.
Postmus, the former chairman of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors and one-time head of the county Republican Party, in 2011 was convicted on 14 felony political corruption charges that imposed on him a lifetime banishment from holding elected office within the State of California. Less than two years after his release from prison, Bill Postmus has found his way back into the thick of politics, assisting officeholders with raising funds to pay for their campaigns while simultaneously operating a company through which the political donations that are flowing to those politicians can be laundered, obscuring the sources of funding, so the elected officials who receive that money can vote to support their donors without the public catching wind of the influence peddling that is ongoing.
Postmus experienced the most meteoric political ascent in San Bernardino County history, achieving election to the board of supervisors while he was yet in his twenties. Within four years, at the age of 33, he had become both the chairman of the board of supervisors and chairman of the San Bernardino County Republican Central Committee.
After soaring to the highest echelon of county government and establishing himself as a kingmaker to whom all other politicians bowed, Postmus ignominiously plunged to earth as abruptly as he had risen. In February 2009, a little more than two years after he had successfully vied to become the county’s highest ranking tax official, county assessor, he resigned from office amidst overwhelming scandal. Within a year of his resignation, he was hit with a series of 14 political corruption charges, including bribery, conspiracy, misappropriation of public funds, public office conflict of interest, fraud, conspiracy to accept a bribe, soliciting a bribe, receiving a bribe, embezzlement by a public officer, two counts of grand theft and perjury. In 2011, he entered guilty pleas on all 14 counts.
If politics wasn’t part of William John Postmus’s nature, it was nurtured into him when he was nine years old. That year, Ronald Reagan won the presidency of the United States. The head of the Postmus household at that time was his father, William Kenneth Postmus, then a sergeant with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. To the senior Postmus, Ronald Reagan embodied everything that was right about America, the shining city on a hill with its conservative, level-headed Christian values. The 1980 election saw the vanquishing of the liberal Democrat Jimmy Carter, who in the view of his critics had allowed the Soviet Union to steal a march on the United States around the globe, had given away the Panama Canal and was paralyzed by the Iranian Islamic Guard’s seizure of 98 diplomats and both Central Intelligence Agency and Defense Intelligence Agency officers at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. Carter in the November 1980 election managed to poll a mere 49 electoral college votes to the 489 notched by the staunch Republican Reagan. In the U.S. Senate, Republicans picked up 12 seats, losing none and seized control of the nation’s upper legislative house for the fist time in 26 years. In the House of Representatives that year, the GOP made serious inroads into the overwhelming 277-to-158 majority the Democrats had previously enjoyed, picking up a net of 34 seats in the country’s lower legislative house.
That political pageant captured young Postmus’s imagination, and in the early 1990s, as a college student at Redlands University where he was earning a degree in business and management, he had involved himself in Republican politics, working on campaigns and as an intern and staff member with Assemblyman and later State Senator Jim Brulte and Assemblywoman Kathleen Honeycutt, who prided herself on her conservatism and vitriolic stand against the hand-wringing liberals in Sacramento. With Keith Olberg, Brad Mitzelfelt and Tad Honeycutt, Postmus was founder of the High Desert Young Republicans. It pleased his father to no end when in the late 1990s, young Bill Postmus set his sights on dislodging First District San Bernardino County Supervisor Kathy Davis, the one-time Mayor of Apple Valley, a Republican who had betrayed the true believers in the Conservative Movement by going to San Bernardino and immediately falling in and voting in virtual lockstep with the two Democrats on the board, Jerry Eaves and Larry Walker, and the pot-smoking liberal Republican Jon Mikels. As a 28-year-old, Postmus beefed up his resume by wangling an appointment to the Victorville Planning Commission, ultimately acceding to vice chairman of that panel. Utilizing all the means at his disposal and the solid endorsement of the Republican Party while running in a heavily Republican District, just as Ronald Reagan had done to Jimmy Carter in 1980, Postmus routed Davis, sending her into political oblivion.
Postmus gathered no moss while in office. After gaining, as a sitting supervisor, automatic appointment to the board of the San Bernardino Associated Governments, which served as the county’s transportation authority, he was honored by his colleagues with an appointment as that agency’s chairman. Similarly, after a stint as a board member of the Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District, he acceded to the chairmanship of that entity, just as he moved into the chairmanship of the Victor Valley Economic Development Authority, a joint powers authority dedicated to the civilian conversion of the former George Air Force Base into the Southern California Logistics Airport. He further served on the boards of the Victor Valley Transit Authority, the Morongo Basin Transit Authority, and the Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation District. He participated as a board member with the National Association of Counties, where he strove to solidify his credentials as a rock-ribbed conservative by volunteering to serve in that organization’s Public Lands Steering Committee, from which perch he stridently advocate for private property rights and against liberals, conservationists and Democrats who were seeking, he said, to restrict access to public lands.
In 2004, at which point he had secured appointments as both the chairman of the board of supervisors and chairman of the Republican Party, Postmus bestrode San Bernardino County like a political colossus. That summer he traveled to the Republican National Convention in New York City where he was among no more than 250 of those thought highly enough of to be provided with special seating arrangements in close proximity to President George W. Bush during his delivery of his acceptance speech.
At that point, there was virtually no one involved in San Bernardino County politics who was not convinced that Postmus was fated for higher office. The only open question at that time seemed to be whether he would simply run for Congress or ticket punch on his way there by first seeking election to the Assembly or the California Senate and spend some time sharpening his legislative skills in Sacramento before going to Washington, D.C.
One local Republican luminary in the High Desert at that time was then-Victorville City Councilman Bob Hunter. This young man Postmus, Hunter said, was the real deal, and there could be no doubt that he would soon be a congressman, and that was selling him short. Postmus was clearly U.S. Senatorial material, and there was a possibility, Hunter said, that Postmus would not complete his first six years in that capacity before he would be called upon to take up residence in the Governor’s Mansion in Sacramento. Indeed, it was not unthinkable, Hunter said, that sometime within the coming quarter of a century Bill Postmus would be President of the United States.
All that, however, was before Postmus was caught taking bribes and selling his votes to enrich both himself and his campaign donors who had business before the county, and prior to it being widely known that his stated philosophy of fiscal conservatism and minimizing the cost of government, his pro-law enforcement stance, along with the espousing of Christian family values and his railing against abortion and liberal social mores was a cover for his homosexuality and illicit drug use. Even before he made the transition to the office of county assessor in 2007, a relatively small circle of his closest associates had come to understand that he was leading a double life. Yet his political and governmental status, the political patronage he doled out, the support network that had grown up around him, and his own forceful personality dissuaded anyone from intervening. As assessor, he could hire anyone he wanted into a decent-paying position with his office. If there was not an existing unfilled position in the assessor’s office, he had the authority to create a new one. He could put the arm on other elected officials and ask them to hire or find a place on their staffs for those friends or associates he could not hire himself. Usually those politicians wanted to stay on his good side and they complied. Though he was no longer chairman of the Republican Central Committee, he yet had considerable reach within the county party, and could influence decisions on which candidates for political office were to get party monetary support and how much. Where there was internecine competition among Republicans for a position, with just a few words he could persuade one hopeful to defer to another in an immediately upcoming race, in some cases by either vaguely or more directly hinting at the possibility of party backing and monetary support in a future race. As county assessor, he could make a determination as to the taxable valuation of property or assets or machinery that would save the owner substantial money on his tax bill, sometimes in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Those thankful individuals generally proved amenable to cutting a check for $5,000, $10,000 or more, at Postmus’s suggestion, to some Republican candidate or cause he deemed worthy.
In 2008, his increasingly erratic behavior, a byproduct of his drug use – extending to methamphetamine, cocaine, ecstasy and inhalants – was becoming more and more obvious. When partisan political activity ongoing in his office came to light, involving the use of assessor’s office facilities, employees and equipment, the district attorney’s office in January 2009 obtained search warrants for the county assessor’s headquarters as well as other premises associated with Postmus and his inner circle. Inside his condominium in Rancho Cucamonga, investigators came across methamphetamine and the paraphernalia used to consume it, including syringes, glass pipes and mini-blow torches. Shortly thereafter, in February 2009, Postmus resigned from office.
After Postmus’s departure, the board of supervisors tapped Dennis Draeger, who had previously worked for 23 years in the assessor’s office before going over to the county treasurer/tax collector’s office and rising to the second-highest position there after eleven years, to serve in the capacity of acting assessor. As Draeger settled into that assignment, he learned that Postmus had hired no fewer than thirteen of his boyfriends and political associates into high-paying positions in the county assessor’s office, despite their possessing no experience or technical expertise with regard to assessing the value or taxability of real estate or industrial assets.
For more than a year after charges were filed against him in February 2010, Postmus maintained his innocence, but then in the Spring of 2011, he pleaded guilty and turned state’s evidence, testifying before a grand jury that was looking into widespread corruption and bribery throughout the government structure.
One of the crimes Postmus pleaded guilty to – public official conflict of interest, Government Code Section 1090 – carried with it a provision that anyone convicted under that statute surrender forever the right/privilege of holding elective governmental office in the State of California. For more than six years after Postmus entered his guilty pleas, his sentence was held in abeyance while the prosecutions of those he had agreed to testify against who had been implicated in his depredations while in office played out.
For Postmus, the Government Code Section 1090 conviction was akin to a death sentence. It had effectively ended his existence as a politician, which since childhood and then into his adolescence and early manhood he had come to idealize as his calling. The looming prison sentence he would eventually face, the length and severity of which was to be determined after his cooperation with the prosecutions of the others, was bad enough, but the prospect that he would never hold office again for him was even worse. He was a man without purpose.
As the trials of most of those who had been his co-defendants or others the district attorney’s office and California Attorney General’s Office were counting on him to testify against were delayed by a seemingly interminable number of motions and appeals both to the appellate court and the California Supreme Court, Postmus foundered, alternating between periods of determined sobriety and then slipping back into the thrall of addiction. In 2013, he pulled himself together, determined once more to make his way in the political world, if not as a politician, per se, then as a political operative. He ventured to Wyoming, where he established a limited liability company, Mountain States Consulting Group. He had no real intention of actually doing business in Wyoming, but rather in California, while taking advantage of the relatively sparse reporting requirements for registered businesses in the Equality State. He started off tentatively, engaging at first in some relatively modest electioneering activity through his company. In 2014, he used it as a vehicle for successfully supporting Paul Russ, one of his longtime associates who was running for the Hesperia City Council. In 2016, he used Mountain States to assist several hopefuls in the race for the Republican Central Committee held during that year’s June Primary and he coordinated the successful Hesperia City Council candidacy of Rebekah Swanson, the wife of his longtime political associate Eric Swanson.
Mountain States Consulting was key to Postmus getting back into the political game. He understood implicitly and explicitly how the political system works, the circular pay-to-play element of control and governance where politicians take in money from those with an interest in the governmental decision-making process, use that money to get into office or stay in office and vote to approve the development projects or the contracts or the franchises of those who have donated that money. He had been caught boldly and baldly doing just that. Now as the owner of Mountain States Consulting Group, he could offer politicians a way to engage in the pay-to-play ethos without getting caught and being stigmatized with criminal convictions as he had been. Mountain States took money originating with individuals or companies with a stake in governmental decisions, laundered it through his company and then provided that money, either as legitimate political donations or payments in some other form to the politicians making those decisions. Postmus employs Mountain States Consulting Group as a cutout, insulating the recipients of the money – the politicians – from those who are providing the money. When Postmus properly executes on this mission, it protects the politicians from the perception that their votes are being purchased, which has political benefits, while serving to lessen to some extent the possibility that the politicians he is funneling money to will not be subject to enforcement action for engaging in what in the final analysis are quid pro quos, out-and-out bribes or kickbacks.
Postmus made use of the Mountain States entity in another way to further his political reach. Jeremiah Brosowske had interested himself in politics while he was a student at at Victor Valley College, where he was elected to the Associated Student Body Council and Senate, served in the post of parliamentarian and ultimately rose to the position of ASB vice president. From there, Brosowske was drawn into what has been a continual life in politics, Republican politics specifically. In 2013, Curt Hagman, the one-time Chino Hills mayor who was then in his third term in the California Assembly and therefore no longer eligible to run for reelection to California’s lower legislative house because of term limit rules in place at that time, resolved to transition to the position of Fourth District San Bernardino County supervisor. Brosowske assisted Hagman in that effort. To better position himself for the supervisorial race, Hagman orchestrated a silent coup to move then-San Bernardino County Republican Party Chairman Robert Rego out of the county party’s top spot and assume it himself. Once he had acceded to the county party chairmanship, Hagman had worked closely with the then-22-year-old Brosowske, who exhibited an uncommon enthusiasm and energetic intensity in his involvement on behalf of the party. Under Hagman’s tutelage, Brosowske was given one challenging assignment after another, which he dutifully fulfilled. Hagman proudly proclaimed that his protégé Brosowske had involved himself in 14 separate electoral efforts on behalf of Republican candidates in the 2014 election, and all 14 had won. Consequently, Hagman hired Brosowske at the age of 23 into the post of executive director of the San Bernardino County Republican Central Committee.
There was a recognition among a core group in the local GOP that Brosowske possessed the charisma, attitude, perseverant dedication and temperament the party needed in its leadership and elected officeholders to offset the increasing advantage the Democrats have been accruing over the Republicans in San Bernardino County in terms of voter registration numbers. A consensus had grown that Brosowske should be groomed for office, including supervisor, state legislature and Congress.
In 2016, with little fanfare Mountain States Consulting Group put the 25-year-old Brosowske to work by contracting with Brosowske’s company, Next Generation Holdings LLC, to engage in fundraising and political promotion efforts. This allowed Brosowske to hold body and soul together, while leaving him at liberty to pursue his political interests.
In May of 2018, Hesperia Mayor Russ Blewett died. Rather than hold an election to fill the resulting vacancy until what would have been the end of Blewett’s term later that year, the council, after elevating Councilman Bill Holland into the mayor’s position, invited residents of the city to apply for appointment to fill in the council gap. Postmus arranged to find Brosowske living quarters in Hesperia, and had him apply to serve as Blewett’s replacement. Since Postmus had been instrumental in getting two of the Hesperia City Council’s members at that time – Paul Russ and Rebekah Swanson – elected to their positions, he was able to readily convince them to support Brosowske’s appointment. With some minimal lobbying of Holland, another Republican, Postmus was able to get him to support Brosowske as well. Just like that, Brosowske, at the age 27 was the youngest member of all of the city and town councils in San Bernardino County’s 24 municipalities. Running in the November 2018 race as an incumbent council member, Brosowske, using his own electioneering savvy and the support of Postmus and the Republican Party and its donors, won that election.
In 2018, after the conclusion of the trials of the defendants Postmus had agreed in his plea arrangements with the district attorney’s office and the California Attorney General’s Office to testify against, he came before Judge Michael A. Smith for sentencing relating to the 14 political corruption charges he had been convicted on in 2011. Smith sentenced him to three years in state prison. Postmus was initially incarcerated within the state prison system, but because of so-called prison realignment codified in Assembly Bill 109 and passed by the California Legislature in 2011, he was returned to the custody of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. Because of the non-violent nature of Postmus’s crimes, Sheriff John McMahon released him in August 2019.
Postmus immediately picked up where he had left off. Having established himself as a successful political operative in the 2014, 2016 and 2018 election cycles, he was even more active during the 2020 election.
In recent years, government at all levels have gone on an energy efficiency kick. Emerging technologies have improved insulation methodologies for buildings, keeping them cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Heating, ventilation and air conditioning unit design has evinced substantial improvements, such that less energy is used in heating furnaces whether they are electrically-powered or burn gas or oil. Similarly, there have been improvements to air conditioning units that allow them to operate using far less current for the same cooling effect than was achieved in older models. Improvements in light bulbs and florescent tubes provide today equal or greater luminosity than did previous generation illumination devices that used twice as much electricity. Solar panels as well as solar film can now be mounted on the roofs of buildings or south-facing walls to provide a substantial amount of the electricity used within those buildings.
San Diego-based Alliance Building Solutions has found a niche in the energy efficiency market. While it also does a modicum of work in the private sector in commercial or industrial/manufacturing settings, its specialty is catering to public agencies, utilities, schools and governments. Servicing the public sector confers upon the company an advantage it does not have when it deals with the general public and private companies.
Generally speaking and with a few exceptions, governments are required to carry out a competitive bidding process when contracting for services or the delivery of goods. From the standpoint of the governmental entity or public agency, competitive bidding offers a multitude of advantages. Among those are the opportunity it provides to scrutinize myriad options with regard to the products available, examine the level and types of service, consider the qualifications, experience and track record of those offering to provide the service as well as an opportunity to purchase the goods or services sought at the lowest available cost. While in most cases governments and public agencies at all levels are required by law to utilize a competitive bid process, that requirement is suspended in certain circumstances such as emergencies or where the urgency for the service or goods is so great that soliciting, receiving and evaluating bids would result in a delay that would harm public safety, health or well being.
One specific exception to the competitive bid requirement for public agencies and governments in California relates to energy efficiency projects. As long as a public agency or government can demonstrate that the work or service to be provided will result in improved energy efficiency or a reduction in fuel or energy use as well as show that some savings in cost will accrue to the entity contracting for the service, it need not conduct a bidding process but can simply award a contract to a provider of that service. While not conducting a competitive bidding process on energy conservation or energy efficiency projects is an option for governments and public agencies, they can, if they so choose, seek competitive bids. The process of soliciting bids is referred to in government jargon as a request for proposals.
Already in San Bernardino County, Alliance Building Solutions has gotten three multi-million dollar no-bid contracts from cities – Fontana, Rialto and Upland – to outfit their facilities with energy conservation systems and products and install alternative energy supply sources such as solar energy facilities on rooftops and carports. Word is that the County of San Bernardino over the next several years will embark on similar efforts to efficientize its energy use, reduce its energy consumption and engage in, where feasible and most useful, alternative energy production. Reportedly, county officials are prepared to spend a quarter of a billion dollars toward those goals over the coming decade.
Alliance Building Solutions’ founder and principal, Brad Chapman, has hired Postmus to serve as his company’s representative, remind county officials that they need not engage in a request for proposals, should not engage in an open bidding process and instead would do best to simply give his company the contract for the energy efficiency conversion work without subjecting it to having to compete against any other purveyors of the service.
Accordingly, Postmus has embarked on an effort to convey a substantial amount of money to a majority of the board of supervisors to gain that panel’s assent in awarding the contracts for the facility renovation/upgrading and energy conservation/production work to Alliance Building Solutions. Postmus is now concentrating his efforts on, and has made considerable progress toward, convincing Chairman of the Board of Supervisors Curt Hagman, First District Supervisor Paul Cook and Third District Supervisor Dawn Rowe that Alliance Building Solutions should be given exclusivity in modernizing county facilities with regard to their energy usage and efficiency. In addition to having Alliance Building Solutions pour hundreds of thousands of dollars into Hagman’s, Cook’s and Rowe’s campaign funds, Postmus’s strategy includes demonstrating to their respective chiefs of staff – Yekaterina Kolcheva, Tim Itnyre and Matt Knox – that there is something in this for them, as well.
Postmus is well-suited for this assignment. The county Republican Party has welcomed him back into the fold, where he has now become one of the local GOP’s most energetic fundraisers. Since Hagman, Cook and Rowe are Republicans, Postmus has long-established entrée with them. Because the other Republican currently on the board of supervisors, Second District Supervisor Janice Rutherford, is to be termed out of office after her current term ends next year, Postmus is not intensely focused on her. The remaining member of the board, Supervisor Joe Baca, Jr., is a Democrat. Postmus was involved in the effort to support Baca’s Republican opponent, Jesse Armendarez, in the 2020 race. That campaign involved some hard-hitting, indeed below-the-belt, tactics, and it is not considered advisable for Postmus to make any direct approach to Baca. Nevertheless, Baca, who was previously a member of the Rialto City Council, supported providing Alliance Building Solutions with the no-bid project it captured to provide services to his city. Chapman has reportedly stated he believes it can be safely presumed that when the time comes, Baca will join with Hagman, Cook and Rowe in supporting providing Allied Building Solutions with the series of no-bid project contracts it will seek for reducing energy consumption and enhancing energy efficiency at a number of county facilities.
Chapman is intent, as well, on capturing contracts with other municipalities or agencies in San Bernardino County and perhaps doing further work for the cities of Fontana, Rialto and Upland. On Tuesday, March 30, Postmus and Chapman met with Fontana Mayor Acquanetta Warren over dinner at Fleming’s Steakhouse at Victoria Gardens to discuss the potential for Alliance Building Solutions winning yet another no-bid contract to renovate and modernize Fontana’s other facilities. The Sentinel briefly spoke with Postmus during that meeting around 6 p.m. To inquiries about his effort on behalf of Alliance Building Solutions and what the purpose was for bringing Chapman and Warren together, Postmus maintained that lobbying the Fontana mayor to extend further contracts to Alliance Building Solutions was not the purpose of the meeting.
“I don’t know who you talked to, but obviously, you don’t have very good sources,” he said. As to why he was holding a meeting with Warren and Chapman, he said, “This is still a free country, isn’t it? I’m just having dinner with some friends. I can do that, can’t I?”
Less than two days later, beginning at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday April 1, in Redlands at the Tartan Restaurant, Postmus and his business associate, Dino DeFazio, hosted a fundraiser to benefit Curt Hagman, Paul Cook and Dawn Rowe. Postmus privately told some of his associates that the purpose for the affair was to get enough checks flowing into the three supervisors’ coffers that they would sign off on a non-competitive bid contract with Alliance Building Solutions.
Among the more than fifty people present at the soiree were Postmus, DeFazio, Chapman, Hagman, Cook, Rowe, San Bernardino County Republican Central Committee Chairman Phil Cothran, Sr., Fontana City Councilman Phil Cothran, Jr., Adelanto Mayor Gabriel Reyes, Adelanto City Manager Jesse Flores, Former Fontana City Councilman Jesse Armendarez, Developer Bruno Mancinelli, along with Cook’s chief of staff Tim Itnyre and Rowe’s chief of staff Matt Knox.
Asked if he considered it to be a good idea to be on the receiving end of a fundraising effort by Postmus, Hagman said, simply, “I’ve known Bill for 20 years.” Pressed about the propriety of accepting money from Alliance Building Solutions to be passed through to him by Postmus while Postmus is angling to have the board of supervisors dispense with a competitive bid process that would redound to the benefit of Alliance Building Solutions and potentially to the detriment of the county’s taxpayers, Hagman, somewhat improbably, claimed he was not familiar with Alliance Building Solutions or what it was. Told that it was a company that engaged in building upgrades to achieve energy conservation, Hagman said of such projects, “We haven’t done any of those for several years. We don’t have any of those going on right now, although we should in the future. We need new buildings, too.”
When the Sentinel sought to refocus the discussion on Chapman’s effort to utilize the loophole in state law to obtain a no-bid contract for his company, Hagman seized on the consideration that such no-bid contracts are legal.
“I’m familiar with that from when I was in the legislature,” he said.
The Sentinel asked Supervisor Cook whether he had any misgivings about associating with Postmus and being on the receiving end of money being funneled to him through Postmus and Mountain States Consulting Group that originated with Alliance Building Solutions while that company is seeking to influence the board to give it a no-bid contract with the county. Cook addressed the first element of the question, saying he did not think Postmus’s past actions should be held against him now that he has served his time in prison, and he said that Postmus should not be banned from participating in public affairs.
“We’ve all made a mistake or two in our lives,” Cook said. “He went through the process and now he’s picked himself up. If you look at him, you can see he is doing well. He’s active and involved now. I think that’s a good thing.”
As to being provided money by individuals who are trying to influence his vote, Cook said, “This is politics, and in the world of politics, you have to spend money. If you can go out and get the money to do that and go home at night and sleep, then you have something.”
As for what Alliance Building Solutions is selling, Cook said what they have might be worth buying.
“I think you have took at that,” he said. “Everyone is looking at solar [energy]. You are going to see more and more of that on rooftops.”
When the Sentinel tried to draw Cook into a discussion about whether it would be proper for the county to utilize a no-bid process in contracting for renovations to its facilities to enhance energy efficiency, he, like Hagman, deflected the question by saying he was in the legislature when the provision for suspending the competitive bidding process on such projects was considered and passed.
Later, the Sentinel in writing sought to engage with Hagman, Cook and Rowe with regard to the propriety of their association with Postmus in a political fundraising context, given his legal history and demonstrated propensity for illegally linking the giving and taking of money to votes made in an official governmental capacity. In separate emails to each of the supervisors, the Sentinel noted that Postmus has set up a money laundering network and was now engaged in filtering money into each of their campaign accounts, including money that had originated with Brad Chapman and/or Alliance Building Solutions. After referencing Postmus’s assurance to Chapman that he would deliver each of their votes in support of giving Alliance Building Solutions a non-competitive contract on energy use reduction and energy efficientizing projects to be pursued by the county, the Sentinel asked each of the supervisors if, in order to dispel the suggestion that a majority of the board of supervisors is seeking to confer an unfair and monopolistic no-bid contract upon Alliance Building Solutions, he or she would be willing to now commit that when the county gets around to undertaking the energy conservation/energy efficiency improvements/renovations to county facilities, that it will do so through an open competitive bid process.
In the emails, the Sentinel asked each of the supervisors point blank if he or she would dismiss any suggestion that the money that is being provided to each of their campaign funds, either by Mr. Chapman and his company or anyone else, coming to each of them directly or through Postmus or any other entity, would influence his or her vote.
The Sentinel asked each of the supervisors for a compelling denial of the suggestion that each of them individually and collectively were participating in a pay-to-play environment in which those who have an active interest in the decision-making process of local government and in particular San Bernardino County government, by providing its elected officials with money, achieve favorable outcomes in that decision-making process significantly more often and to a greater degree than do those who do not provide money to the county’s elected decision-makers.
The Sentinel asked each of the supervisors if he or she would be willing to return or refund all of the money provided to him or her by Chapman, Alliance Building Solutions or any money which had come from Postmus or his company or companies.
Neither Hagman nor Cook nor Rowe responded to those emails by press time.
The Sentinel asked Chapman if he was familiar with Postmus’s legal history and if Postmus had provided him with an assurance that he could obtain the no-bid contract with the county. The Sentinel asked Chapman if he would be willing to compete for the county contract. Chapman did not respond to those questions.
While reliable statistics on precisely what amount of savings can be had from conducting a competitive bid process are slim, a haphazard/random analysis of construction and services bids made in responses to requests for proposals put out by San Bernardino County shows a substantial variance between high and low bids on projects. In some cases examined by the Sentinel, high bids were more than 40 percent higher than the lowest bid. The typical spread between low and high bids on the smattering of publicly contracted projects examined by the Sentinel fell in the 15 percent to 20 percent range.
According to a dated study by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, conducting a competitive process will drive costs down by 6.5 percent.
Extrapolating on those figures and assuming San Bernardino County will indeed earmark $250 million to upgrade energy efficiency at its facilities, the county likely stands a risk of overpaying for that work by $16.25 million to $50 million if it does not conduct a competitive bid process for the awarding of those contracts.
Chino Councilman and former Chino Institution For Men Spokesman Mark Hargrove died on Sunday, March 28.
He was 58.
“Our entire community mourns Mark’s loss. He was a man that loved his family and saw the Chino community as an extension of that family,” said Chino Mayor Eunice Ulloa.
A 1982 Chino High School graduate, Hargrove served in the US Air Force from 1983 to 1987, achieving the rank of Sergeant. After returning to civilian status, he found employment with the California Department of Corrections for the next 30 years, 20 of which were at the California Institute for Men in Chino.
Upon his retirement as a California Department of Corrections lieutenant, Hargrove was appointed to the Chino Planning Commission. In 2018, he successfully vied to represent Chino’s District 2 on the city council, capturing 2,276 votes or 38.61 percent to defeat former Congresswoman Gloria Negrete-Mcleod, School Board Member Sylvia Orozco and Republican activist Dorothy Pineda.
As a councilman, Hargrove served as the city’s representative on the Santa Ana Watershed Advisory Council and the Citizen’s Advisory Committee to the California Institute for Men and Women. He was also a member of the Chino Valley Unified School District Measure G Oversight Committee.
Hargrove is survived by his wife, Teri, and their five children.
“It was an honor to be his colleague and friend,” said Councilman Marc Lucio.
The day before the Upland City Council placed City Manager Rosemary Hoerning on paid administrative leave, she advanced Development Services Director Robert Dalquest by six pay grades, conferring on him a raise of more than $30,000 per year, documentation obtained by the Sentinel indicates. That advancement in Dalquest’s remuneration raised his salary before benefits by $32,876.03 from roughly $137,711.65 annually to approximately $170,587.68.
That action was taken without authorization by the city council, the Sentinel is informed, and came shortly after Hoerning learned that the council was inching toward suspending her as city manager, preparatory toward her termination.
Dalquest is one of the five members of the city’s executive management echelon, which includes the city manager, assistant city manager, chief of police, development services director and public works director/city engineer.
In Upland the executive management team is distinct from the city’s body of 37 mid-managers.
Hoerning was elevated to the interim city manager’s post in May 2019 upon the city’s termination of her predecessor, Jeannette Vagnozzi.
During the first several months that Hoerning was serving in the assistant city manager’s capacity, then-Upland Treasurer Larry Kinley, determined to shed light on what he considered to be a looming financial crisis brought on by the city’s runaway pension debt he believed was threatening the city with eventual bankruptcy, insisted on including in the monthly treasurer’s report provided to the city council and the public a running tally of how much in arrears the city was on making payments to the California Public Employees Retirement System. This figure, referred to by the term “unfunded pension liability” had grown to more than $112,039,675 as of mid-fiscal year 2019-20 and would reach $120,920,721 as of June 30, 2020. Hoerning and the city’s finance manager, Londa Bock-Helms, repeatedly altered the treasurer’s reports after Kinley had signed them, erasing, whiting out or removing the references he made to the unfunded pension liability. When Kinley refused to comply with Hoerning’s and Bock-Helm’s insistence that the pension debt references not be included in the treasurer’s reports, they changed the name of the treasurer’s report to the treasury report and bypassed Kinley in producing it, thereby keeping information about the city’s burgeoning pension debt from reaching the city council or the public.
In February 2020, Hoerning was promoted to the status of full-fledged city manager, and the qualifier “interim” was dropped from her title. That action was taken, pending the forging of a contractual commitment on her salary that was mutually acceptable to her and the council. When the council at last took on the issue of settling her rate of remuneration, it did so in a way that created a festering vortex that sent Hoerning into a wicked tailspin some three months later, one from which she did not fully recover.
At issue at that time was that Police Chief Darren Goodman had in late 2019 applied for the position of police chief in Riverside. Ultimately, Riverside in January 2020 had elected to promote to police chief then-Deputy Chief Larry Gonzalez, who had already been serving in the capacity of acting Riverside police chief following the exit of his predecessor. Nevertheless, talk persisted that Gonzalez would fill the deputy chief’s position he had vacated with Goodman, and that Goodman would make the move to Riverside, which is significantly more proximate to where he resides than Upland. At that time Goodman was receiving $184,000 in salary, other allowances of $118,500 and $60,735 in benefits for a total annual compensation of $363,235. In order to keep Goodman in place as police chief, the Upland City Council augmented that with a $66,000 salary enhancement, boosting his total compensation package to $429,235. In this way, Goodman was receiving an annual salary, before benefits and add-on pay, of $250,000, one quarter of a million dollars, or $20,833.33 per month.
Between February and the end of March of 2020, Hoerning had huddled with then-City Attorney Steven Flower. They came up with a formula that was to provide her with a monthly salary of $19,167.67, equivalent to an annual salary of $230,012.04. On top of that, she was to receive $50,683.48 or thereabouts in benefits and other pay of $39,231.39, for a total compensation package of $319,926.91.
For managerial purists, this presented a dilemma, since on the City of Upland’s organizational chart, as is the case in virtually every other municipality in the United States, a city manager is considered to be the police chief’s superior. Through the creation of a circumstance in which Goodman was being provided with higher pay than Hoerning, who was technically Goodman’s boss, the city’s line of authority had been compromised. Councilwoman Janice Elliott at the time had attempted to have the city council examine and redress that issue before ratifying Hoerning’s employment contract as city manager, but the remainder of the city council as it was then composed did not indulge her in that. As a result, Hoerning had an annual salary that was $19,987.96 less than Goodman’s and her total annual compensation was $109,308.09 below that provided to the police chief.
In June 2020, Luz Barrett, a clerical employee in the police department with a fluency in the Spanish language, lodged a complaint against Goodman. Barrett contended that Goodman had her assist him in his efforts to communicate with his family’s Spanish-speaking housekeeper, and that she had carried out that assignment while being paid by the city, what was characterized as a misappropriation of city funds and resources. Consulting only with then-Mayor Debbie Stone, Hoerning on June 22, 2020 suspended Goodman as police chief without consulting with the remainder of the city council before doing so.
In relatively short order, Goodman marshaled evidence to demonstrate Barrett had forged the timecard she said supported her accusation, and Goodman further pointed out that shortly after his hiring as police chief in July 2018 he had promoted Barrett to the position of executive assistant, but in the spring of 2020 had returned her to her former lower clerical classification based upon his conclusion that she lacked the necessary skills to fulfill the executive assistant role. In the face of substantial resident protest over the treatment Goodman had received, on June 29, 2020, Hoerning at the direction of Councilman Rudy Zuniga, Councilwoman Elliott and then-Councilman Bill Velto reinstated Goodman.
According to Goodman’s Lawyer, Stephen Larson, Goodman as late as September and October of last year was experiencing interference in doing his job and shabby treatment from Hoerning.
In November 2020, the San Bernardino County Civil Grand Jury, with which City Treasurer Kinley had filed a complaint, provided a report of its inquiry into the effort by city staff to muzzle Kinley in his role as elected treasurer. According to the grand jury, city officials had obstructed Kinley in his effort to fulfill his role as city treasurer, and had hidden information relating to the financial burden municipal employee pension debt was placing on the city. While noting that it had “found that most actions mentioned in this report may not violate the law,” the civil grand jury in its report stated, “The San Bernardino County Civil Grand Jury is aware that there potentially may be criminal activity associated with these actions that are not within the jurisdiction of the civil grand jury. The civil grand jury does, however, view these practices as deceptive. These actions also demonstrate a lack of proper government practices and transparency to the citizens of Upland.”
The potential criminality referenced in the grand jury report was the alteration of public documents, which is a felony. No criminal grand jury took up that matter.
The civil grand jury recommended that “The Upland City Council investigate and make public, at an open public city council meeting and on the Upland city webpage, how city staff covered up the notation of unfunded pension liability made by the city treasurer on the monthly treasury report [and] make public, at an open public city council meeting and on the Upland city webpage, what disciplinary action was taken addressing the alteration of the treasury report after it was signed by the city treasurer.”
There has been among some of Upland’s residents discontent with Hoerning’s performance. One of those disenchanted with Hoerning is former City Councilman Glenn Bozar. Another critic was the former leader of the Coalition of Upland Concerned Citizens, Steve Bierbaum. Lisa Nicely, a resident who from time to time weighs in on local issues, has found fault with Hoerning’s guidance and management of the city, as has Lois Sicking Dieter, a candidate in last year’s mayoral election.
Until very recently, in general over the course of her tenure as city manager, Hoerning has been well favored by the city council. Former Mayor Debbie Stone, Councilman Rudy Zuniga and current Mayor and former Councilman Bill Velto have in particular spoken highly of Hoerning and have been laudatory of the job she has done. Councilwoman Janice Elliott defended her in the face of criticism of the fashion in which she and Bock-Helms had treated Kinley.
In November 2020, however, the city’s voters displaced Stone as mayor in favor of Velto, and two new members of the council were elected, Shannan Maust in the city’s First District and Carlos Garcia in the Third District. While neither Maust nor Garcia have been directly publicly critical of Hoerning, both have taken issue with certain of the city’s policies and its direction while Hoerning has held the top staff position. The presence of Maust and Garcia on the council, at least initially, did not represent or seem to represent any threat to Hoerning’s continuation in the position of Upland’s top staff member.
In recent days, however, there was a major and sudden shift against Hoerning on the council. She appeared to be riding high, or relatively so, in February when the city discontinued its arrangement with the law firm of Richards Watson & Gershon to serve as its legal advisor and retain the law firm of Best Best & Krieger, a change which saw Steven Deitsch replace Steven Flower as city attorney.
The city has been embattled, in particular over the last year, with regard to land use decisions.
In April 2020, the city council as it was then composed gave a 4-to-1 go-ahead to Bridge Development Partner’s planned 201,096-square foot warehouse on 50 acres on the west side of the city north of Foothill Boulevard and south of Cable Airport intended to house a delivery facility for on-line retailer Amazon. That same month, the city council gave another 4-to-1 nod to Frontier Homes’ proposed residential development on property previously intended for use as a flood control facility north of 15th Street on the east end of the city. With each of those votes, Councilwoman Elliott was the dissenter. Amid accusations of impropriety, favoritism and graft pertaining to those decisions, lawsuits were filed against the city by residents over both of those projects, putting those undertakings on hold and entailing legal costs for the city.
In November and December 2020, city staff sought to insulate the city council from citizen antipathy by designating the city’s planning commission to serve as the decision-making body with regard to another warehouse proposal on the city’s west side promoted by Yellow Iron Development. In that case, the planning commission balked at giving that project approval, even though the zoning on the property in question – light industrial – was consistent with use as a warehouse. A majority of the commission felt that a warehouse at that location was incompatible with neighboring residences. That decision may have staved off another lawsuit from the residents in the neighboring residential subdivision, but it also left the city, already involved in 55 lawsuits – vulnerable to legal action by Yellow Iron Development, the proponent of the proposed warehouse.
In February, the city administration again allowed the planning commission to make the final decision with regard to allowing a 192 total dwelling unit residential project to be built immediately proximate to an existing medium intensity industrial facility, one that manufactures boats using processes that involve the use of fiberglass, epoxies and other chemicals and materials that present certain health risks to those in close proximity to the operation.
All of these land use decisions were overseen at the staff level by Development Services Director Robert Dalquest, who has come in for substantial criticism over his indulgence of the development community in circumstances which entail the placement of what some deem to be incompatible land uses next to residential communities. There was considerable chatter late last year suggesting that Dalquest’s continued tenure with the city was in jeopardy. Word on the street was that the council’s alarm, insofar as such alarm could be said to exist, was in reaction to Dalquest’s performance rather than Hoerning’s. Dalquest, however, has survived.
Indeed, given that Hoerning has been for at least ten months on the outs with Police Chief Goodman, Dalquest, with the possible exception of Assistant City Manager Steven Parker, has been the one member of the city’s executive management suite most closely aligned and supportive of Hoerning.
From an outside perspective, the move toward sacking Hoerning did not manifest until shortly prior to the council’s action, taken in a specially-called meeting on Wednesday night, March 31. It would appear that the action took Hoerning almost as much by surprise as it did the public. The public announcement of the meeting came the day before, on March 30, in this case a mere 24 hours ahead of the meeting commencement. California law requires that agendas for regular governing board meetings, such as those for a city council, be published in full 72 hours ahead of the meeting taking place. As Wednesday’s meeting was called as an “urgency” or “emergency” meeting, the required warning to the public needed to be made only 24 hours in advance.
Hoerning, of course, as the honcho at City Hall, was immediately aware of what was coming. The wording of the agenda put out by the city clerk, stating “Closed session public employee performance evaluation and consideration of dismissal and related actions pursuant to Government Code Section 54957 Title: City Manager,” left little room for Hoerning to avoid the obvious conclusion that her head was on the chopping block. Before she left City Hall that night, she had a document prepared by staff which pertained to Dalquest. That document, titled “City of Upland Employment Agreement Amendment,” without elaboration states that an alteration of the terms and conditions of the previous employment contract the city had with Dalquest had been “agreed upon.” Its terseness indicates the document was drawn up in a rush. In the recital section, again without elaboration or explanation, the document states, “The city desires to amend the employment agreement to provide employee with annual salary increases within the assigned salary range for the development services position.” Using the preexisting employment contract with Dalquest as a jumping off position, the document denotes, “The annual salary for the position of development services director shall be assigned to Range 3243 of the city’s salary scale or $127,097.57 – $179,932.28 annually, with employee’s current salary set at step 7 of Range 3243.”
Because of the secrecy the city maintains with regard to its pay scale and its gradations, known as “steps,” and city employees’ specific pay grades, Dalquest’s pay rate as of the beginning of this week is not publicly known. Nevertheless, there are grounds to believe that Dalquest had progressed to the second step of the eight-step range for Upland’s development services director, based upon his February 4, 2019 hiring date. Thus, with two annual two percent cost of living adjustments and his advancement of a single step of the eight steps between $127,097.57 and $179,932.28 equal to 5,479.338, it would appear that Dalquest was, prior to the drafting and signing of the employing agreement amendment, provided with an annual salary of $137,711.65. Without consulting with the city council first and by the flourish of a pen, Hoerning jumped Dalquest six steps up the pay scale, or $32,876.03, to $170,587.68.
“This amendment shall become effective on March 15, 2021,” the document states, signifying essentially that the agreement went into effect 15 days previously. The document was signed by both Hoerning and Dalquest, with the date of March 30, 2021 affixed next to those signatures.
It is unknown at this point whether any other employment agreement amendments for other city employees were signed by Hoerning during the last two days – March 30 and March 31 – she was in charge at City Hall.
A question now is what the city council is going to do about what Hoerning did.
According to her employment agreement, Hoerning can be terminated for cause if it can be established that she has proven herself unfit or incompetent to carry out her duties to the minimal professional standards expected of a city manager, has been negligent or neglectful, evinces dishonesty, is intoxicated while at work, becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol, is absent without leave, is convicted of a serious crime, makes improper or unauthorized use of public property, accepts bribes, becomes infirm or unable to physically or mentally carry out her assignments, breaches the employment agreement or falsifies any city documents or records. If she is terminated for cause, she is due no severance pay. If she is terminated without cause, she is to be provided with six months severance pay.
Hoerning’s unilateral action at the eleventh hour in giving Dalquest a $32,876.03 per year raise might have severely undercut Mayor Velto’s reported effort to keep Hoerning in place as city manager. After going into closed session during the teleconference meeting it was holding on Wednesday night as a precaution against the spread of the cornonavirus and discussing Hoerning’s performance and what her future with the city, if any, was to be, the council reconvened in the remotely held forum being broadcast on local cable channels and via the city’s website. At that point, City Attorney Steve Deitsch announced that the council had voted unanimously to place Hoerning on leave pending future action by the council.
The Sentinel has learned that despite joining with his colleagues in the vote to suspend Hoerning, Velto is, or at least was, angling to convince his colleagues to bring Hoerning back to the city manager’s position immediately upon her completion of an accelerated college level intensity course in municipal management. It is apparently Velto’s position that Hoerning, who is trained in civil engineering and was the city’s public’s works director before she was elevated to serve as interim city manager, is rough around the edges because her education emphasized the technical aspects of engineering and public works rather than finance and public management. He nevertheless considers her to be a valuable asset to the community, even though she may lack the by-the-book training and experience to serve in the role of city manager. An intensive tutoring session by an individual such as Greg Devereaux, who was formerly San Bernardino County chief executive officer, Ontario city manager and Fontana city manager, would set Hoerning on the right course, according to Velto.
The maneuvering she engaged in to provide Dalquest with a raise he was not entitled to might convince the other members of the council that Hoerning does not deserve a second chance.
The provision of the unauthorized raise to Dalquest might constitute cause for Hoerning’s dismissal, such that she will not be due the roughly $117,306.12 six-months severance she would otherwise be eligible for if she is terminated without citing cause.
Moreover, Dalquest’s acceptance of the raise may have put his continued tenure with the city in jeopardy as well. This, too, is troubling to Velto, who attended Upland High School with Dalquest, who is one year younger than he is, from 1972 until 1975.
While Hoerning could no doubt put the $117,306.12 in severance pay to use, she could probably survive without it.
Hoerning began with the City of Ontario as an intern in 1984 while she was yet a student at Cal Poly Pomona. In 1985, after her graduation, she was given full status as an employee with that city. She subsequently went to work for the City of Upland as the assistant public works director. In 2008, she departed Upland and was hired on as the director of municipal utilities and public works engineering with the City of Redlands. In 2011, she returned to Upland to become public works director. With more than 35-and-one-half years of continuous employment in the public sector, she is qualified, if she retires now, to pull an annual pension of $208,218.36 [calculated thusly: 35.5 (years) X 2.5 percent X $234,612.24 (her present salary)] for the rest of her life.
A missing person report made to the Rialto Police Department led to the discovery of human remains in the backyard of a Fontana home.
The report gave indication that the individual who had disappeared had been buried at a specific location in the 17100 block of Barbee Avenue. Rialto PD alerted the Fontana Police Department, which obtained a search warrant. Detectives then secured the assistance of the bloodhound unit of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department and personnel from the coroner’s office before descending upon the home on Thursday, April 1. In a shallow grave in the backyard, a body was found.
At press time, the coroner’s office had not confirmed the remains are those of the missing individual, and no arrest had been made.
Former Victorville Councilman Eric Negrete, once a fast-rising star within the California Republican Party, has changed his political affiliation.
Negrete is now a Democrat.
Elected to the council in 2014, the charismatic Negrete hewed to a conservative line that had some believing he would be a promising eventual U.S. Senate candidate who might reverse the Democrats’ momentum in the Golden State.
In retrospect, it appears Negrete made a mistake in not capitalizing on the respect he was shown by his council colleagues in 2016 when he declined appointment to the mayor’s position, asserting his professional and familial commitments would prevent him from doing an adequate job if he accepted that assignment.
In 2018, he narrowly lost in his reelection bid to Democrat Rita Ramirez. He ran in the 2020 Victorville Council election, but finished well off the pace in a middle position among the 22 candidates who competed for three seats being contested.
“There are significant social and economic changes affecting San Bernardino County,” Negrete said. “To best serve the residents of Victorville and the High Desert, I recently changed parties to become a Democrat.”
Assemblywoman Eloise Gómez Reyes (D-San Bernardino) has authored a bill now under consideration by the California Legislature that calls for more intensive regulation of future warehouse construction.
AB 1547 would require that a 1,000-yard or .58 mile buffer zone be maintained between the outer boundary of the warehouse site and what are deemed to be sensitive land uses, which include schools, parks, daycare centers, churches or residences.
Under the bill, prior to a warehouse use being being considered by the agency with land use authority over it, wider notice than is required with other developments must be given to the community in which it is located, and that agency is to require, at the project proponents expense, an analysis of air quality impacts of the warehouse development, taking into account the truck traffic increase caused by the project. AB 1547 would further mandate the project applicant hold a series of community meetings with affected residents to develop a community benefits agreement. This agreement is to include a plan to incorporate zero emission trucks, the use of zero emission last- mile delivery and local employee recruitment.
The bill, if passed, will further require that on-site equipment such as forklifts and other dock machinery be powered by zero emission technology. The bill mandates the use of equipment employed for construction during a warehouses development phase that meets the most stringent emission standards currently applied in the state.
“If California is going to meet its environmental goals, we must develop environmental standards for warehouse developments, which often are built near already disadvantaged communities and account for nearly half of nitrogen oxide emissions,” Reyes said. “The lockdowns required because of the COVID-19 pandemic showed the ability of the logistic industry to get supplies and necessary household items to people all across
California. This efficiency comes with a cost to the health of communities near warehouses that suffer from the emissions of diesel truck traffic nearly every day, all day. We must find a balance between the logistics industry and the protection of residents’ health.”
Fontana Mayor Acquanetta Warren, who has aggressively pushed for the development of warehouses as an economic development panacea in Fontana and the Inland Empire, indicated she was concerned about the breadth and depth of the regulations and wanted an “opportunity to discuss this legislation. We hope we can be at the table for this dialogue. Fontana has been a leader in adopting policies to ensure that all businesses are good neighbors. Among other efforts, we ensure every new business that is constructed follows the California Environmental Quality Act and all other state and federal laws.
“What we need to discuss is ensuring that cities can retain the ability to establish land use policies that are appropriate for the local area,” Warren continued. “We don’t need one-size-fits-all mandates from Sacramento that will eliminate jobs and force Fontana residents to go elsewhere for work.”