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Monthly Archives: July 2016
“Skinz” Walks: Plea Deal Nets Meth Selling CSUSB Prof No Prison Time
By Mark Gutglueck
Nearly five years after Cal State San Bernardino Kinesiology Professor Stephen Kinzey was charged with running a methamphetamine distribution ring, he accepted the terms of a plea bargain in which he pleaded no contest to two felonies in exchange for no prison time, three years probation and $140 in fines. Eight other felony charges against him were dismissed.
The resolution of the case with what translates into the imposition of no actual jail time on Kinzey or his moll, Holly Vandergrift Robinson, would have appeared to be unthinkable when the case first broke in the summer of 2011, when Kinzey seemingly eluded a methodically cinched up dragnet and was deemed by law enforcement officers to be an at-large fugitive considered to be armed and dangerous. His likeness was distributed to national and international police forces, and there was a widespread expectation that he would not be taken into custody alive.
And indeed, Kinzey was never apprehended or taken into custody. Rather, in August 2011 when law enforcement officers began rolling up the individuals in his immediate orbit known or suspected of involvement in drug trafficking and descended on Kinzey’s upscale East Highlands Ranch Spanish-style home, they nabbed Robinson and found a pound of methampetamine, loaded handguns and rifles and Kinzey’s personal effects. But Kinzey slipped the grasp of the agents who had been monitoring him so closely and avoided arrest. A few weeks later, while an international manhunt covering all four corners of the globe was yet ongoing, Kinzey quietly walked into court with his lawyer to surrender, posted $300,000 bond and was released without being arrested, booked, photographed or fingerprinted. Thereafter, the warrant for his arrest was rescinded, and Kinzey for the next 58 months, with the exception of having to make a series of court appearances during which the case against him and the remaining defendants was continuously postponed, he was free to roam around at will.
From shortly after the warrant for his arrest was issued, Kinzey became the focus of widespread attention. A tenured professor of kinesiology at Cal State San Bernardino, Kinzey stood accused of being the kingpin of a methamphetamine manufacturing and distribution ring, not of merely being a functionary within a criminal enterprise but rather the brains behind it.
He was charged with ten felonies, including possession of a controlled substance for sale, being armed with a firearm in the commission of a health and safety code offense, receiving property known to be stolen, participating in a criminal street gang, engaging in a conspiracy to commit a crime, engaging in street gang terrorism, possession of a loaded firearm, a second act of street gang terrorism, conversion of illicit profits, and a third count of street gang terrorism.
Ten other individuals, including Robinson who was described as Kinzey’s live-in girlfriend, were arrested in connection with the case. The remaining nine were Jeremy Disney, Eric Cortez, Edward Freer, Chelsea Marie Johnson, Hans Preszler, Elaine Flores, Wendi Lee Witherell, Christopher Allen Rikerd, and Stephenie Danielle Padilla.
In relatively short order, seven of those charged with Kinzey pleaded guilty to elements of the criminal case brought against them. Witherell pleaded guilty September 2011 to reduced charges. Flores, Padilla, Johnson, and Cortez all pleaded guilty in October 2011 to reduced charges. Freer and Rikerd pleaded guilty to reduced charges in November 2011.
Preszler, who along with Kinzey, Robinson and Disney maintained his innocence for 22 months after the arrests, in June 2013 pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to commit a crime.
Disney was charged with drug dealing, running a street gang and possessing illegal firearms. Robinson, a former Cal State San Bernardino student, was accused of helping Kinzey run a handful of meth dealing operations in what law enforcement officials saw as a small-time enterprise that was on the verge of expanding. According to investigators and prosecutors, quantities of methamphetamine, believed to be in the pound to kilogram range, would be provided to drug dealers from the home that Kinzey and Robinson shared in a quiet and relatively upscale neighborhood in Highland.
Kinzey, now 50, has a PH.D in kinesiology from the University of Toledo, and previously earned his master’s degree at Indiana State and his bachelor’s degree at Wayne State. He began teaching at the University of Mississippi in 1995 and transferred into the California State University system in 2001 and eventually became the chairman of the San Bernardino campus’s kinesiology department’s curriculum committee.
It was another of of Kinzey’s avocations – his immersion in the world of outlaw motorcycle gangs – that made the already noteworthy circumstance of a college professor being involved in the illicit drug trade even more sensational. Kinzey had an interest in, bordering on an obsession with, motorcycling and motorcycle clubs. A Harley-Davidson owner, Kinzey joined a local chapter of the Boozefighters Motorcycle Club while he was a professor in Mississippi in 1997.
After coming to San Bernardino County, the birthplace of three of what are referred to as outlaw biker gangs – the Hells Angels, the Vagos and the Devils Diciples – Kinzey intensified his biker club associations. Kinzey started two local motorcycle clubs in Southern California while he was teaching at San Bernardino State. Curiously, his status with each of the clubs he founded eroded and it appears he was forced out of both.
In time, Kinzey moved on to form a new chapter of the Devils Diciples, a biker gang that originated in Fontana in 1967 but which now has its national headquarters in Detroit. Kinzey formed a San Bernardino Mountain chapter of the club and until his arrest was actively promoting the affiliation, selling Devils Diciples shirts, helmets and rider paraphernalia from a website.
Taken at face value, the statements of law enforcement representatives with regard to Kinzey’s activities and the case as a whole signaled a seriousness that in time was belied by the seeming nonchalance with which prosecutors proceeded. The case, prosecuted by deputy district attorney Jill Gregory, seemed to languish as the proceedings against Kinzey, Robinson and Disney were postponed or delayed on eleven occasions, with the pre-preliminary and preliminary proceedings, where the prosecutors office would need to present enough information to convince a judge to bind the defendants over for trial but which would also offer the defense an opportunity to question witnesses and examine the nature of the case and get the prosecution to commit to a narrative that would potentially prove problematic for it when the case went to trial, never taking place.
The prosecution was hampered, it appeared, by the consideration that the defendants who had pleaded out and agreed to turn state’s evidence – Cortez, Freer, Johnson, Preszler, Flores, Witherell, Rikerd and Padilla – were not close enough to Kinzey to provide enough damning information about his activities to ensure his conviction. And the three remaining defendants – Kinzey, Robinson and Disney – were sophisticated enough to not turn on one another, which would have allowed the prosecution to exploit Robinson and Disney in getting them to cooperate in making a case against Kinzey. Ultimately, that united front resulted in what appears to have been a very favorable outcome for all three.
Kinzey, represented by attorney James Glick, on July 22 before Judge Collin Bilash pleaded no contest to PC 182, conspiracy to commit a crime, and PC 12022C, being armed with a firearm during a Health and Safety Code offense. The remaining counts – possession of a controlled substance for sale, receiving stolen property, participating in a criminal street gang, three of engaging in street gang terrorism, possession of a loaded firearm, and conversion of illicit profits – were all stricken or dismissed as a consequence of the plea deal. Kinzey was given a one day jail sentence, with his appearance in court to turn himself in and arrange bail being deemed a day in confinement for which he was given credit, meaning he will need to serve no jail time. He was fined $70 for each of his two convictions and given three years’ probation.
Robinson, represented by attorney Stephen Sweigert, pleaded guilty to the same two counts as had Kinzey, and was given the same one day sentence, a $70 fine for each of the two convictions, provided one day credit for time served on her incarceration in 2011 prior to being bailed out, such that she will serve no prison time. She was given three years of felony probation.
Disney, represented by attorney Ann Cunningham, pleaded no contest to PC 182, conspiracy to commit a crime, and no contest to one count of PC 186.22B, engaging in street gang terrorism. Pursuant to the plea deal, possession of a controlled substance for sale, another count of engaging in street gang terrorism and conversion of illicit profits were dismissed. The prosecution also forsook four counts of PC 667.5B, relating to having engaged in criminal activity after having served a prior prison term, and abandoned pursuing a requirement that he register as a drug offender. Disney was given a six month sentence at Glen Helen Rehabilitation Center in Devore, against which he was credited with having already served 45 days in confinement. He is to begin serving the balance of his sentence at noon on August 19, and is eligible for a weekend/work release program. He was given three years felony probation.
The lenient sentencing of Kinzey, after the nearly incendiary buildup of the case when it was first filed, is extraordinary, explicable perhaps by speculative assumptions that Kinzey and Robinson have agreed to cooperate with federal authorities in efforts to shut down the Devil’s Diciples criminal enterprise.
Prosecutors were in possession of information to indicate Kinzey, who went by his outlaw biker moniker “Skinz,” was acting as a prime mover in the effort to traffic in substantial amounts of methamphetamine. There was intense surveillance around Kinzey in the six months prior to the arrest warrants being issued in August 2011, and virtually every move he made was observed or word he uttered was overhead in the final three months of that period.
As the president of the local chapter of the Devils Diciples, Kinzey administered a website that was utilized to promote the club. Agents analyzed the postings to and from the website Kinzey controlled and took particular interest in purchases made, ostensibly for Devils Diciples t-shirts and other regalia, utilizing the website or e-Bay, with law enforcement officials seeking to determine if the sales masked or signaled drug buys or pick-ups.
Agents also shadowed Kinzey during his occasional meetings with Devil’s Diciples members when those confabs took place in public, including ones that took place at Chad’s Place, a bar in Big Bear frequented by bikers of all stripes.
Investigators obtained warrants to listen in to conversations or overlook text messages involving the ring’s members. Several of those communications piqued officers’ attention, giving them leads on Kinzey’s suspected network of drug distributors. For example, one text message sent to a suspected distributor read: “Bring whatever cabbage u got for my soup cuz ingredients are low.”
With the conclusion of the case without a trial or even a preliminary hearing, a window on a long-asked question that has hovered over the case since it became public is unlikely to ever be answered. That question pertains to whether the case was developed organically by local law enforcement or actually originated at the federal level. Phrased somewhat differently, there is a mystery as whether investigators worked the case from the ground up or the top down. Of significance is whether local investigators came across indications of drug dealing activity at the street level and traced that activity up the ladder, ultimately reaching Kinzey or whether an investigation at the national level that had as its overarching target the alleged network of drug manufacturers and distributors working in conjunction with organizations such as the Devils Diciples came across Kinzey as investigators, in this case those with the FBI and DEA, worked their way down the chain of command or geographically across the country to California.
Federal authorities might consider information Kinzey has to provide as valuable enough to justify having local authorities, in this case the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office, cut him a break to induce him into cooperating with them and ensure his cooperation. The FBI and U.S. Justice Department and other law enforcement agencies have been striving, for some time, to make drug trafficking cases against the Devils Diciples. Federal Prosecutors in 2009 charged the club’s national president, Jeff Garvin “Fat Dog” Smith and 17 other Diciples members with drug trafficking, but then dropped the case six months later. In July 2012, 41 members and associates of the Devils Diciples, including Fat Dog Smith and national vice president Paul Anthony Darrah, were indicted on a variety of criminal charges, including racketeering, drug trafficking, illegal firearms offenses, obstruction of justice, illegal gambling, and other federal offenses. Eighteen of the defendants, including Smith and Darrah, were charged with violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.
What is known is that in San Bernardino County, the prosecutor on the case, deputy district attorney Jill Gregory, had not been given the autonomy to conclude such a high profile matter without some consultation with district attorney Mike Ramos. As elected district attorney, Ramos ultimately would have had veto power over the dismissal of the eight charges against Kinzey as well as the district attorney’s office’s acquiescence in such a minuscule sentence as was laid out in the plea bargain.
Gregory was not available over the weekend.
Neither Glick nor Sweigert returned phone calls left on answering machines at their offices by the time this article was posted.
Suddenly & W/O Cause, Upland City Manager Gets Jettisoned
In a seemingly sudden, inexplicable, contradictory and confusing move, the Upland City Council voted 3-2 to terminate city manager Rod Butler just under two years into his tenure as the City of Gracious Living’s top administrator.
Though over the last two years and particularly in the last several months, Butler was subject to the typical pressure city managers are under to perform, to all public appearances he seemed to have a comfortable relationship with the balance of the city council, well beyond any hint that a critical three-member majority was coalescing to seek his ouster.
At a few points over the last 23 months, Butler experienced a few isolated confrontations with members of the council that were fleeting, or at least seemed so, as when earlier this year he found himself caught between Mayor Ray Musser and councilmembers Gino Filippi and Debbie Stone, after Musser had been slighted by the Upland Chamber of Commerce, which had disinvited the mayor as a keynote speaker at its state of the city address. Stone and Filippi were opposed to the city supporting the mayor in putting on an alternative state of the city forum. Stone became irate with Butler when, trying to stay on the mayor’s good side, he sent mixed signals to the chamber of commerce as to the degree to which the city was prepared to cooperate in making preparations for its event. That brouhaha appeared to be temporary, however.
The single member of the city council who apppeared to have deep differences with Butler was Glenn Bozar. Bozar, a dyed-in-the-wool financial conservative and chairman of the city’s finance committee, has vociferously lobbied for reductions in city spending. Moreover, he has taken very seriously the pension crisis looming over all cities in California, including Upland, which was brought on by commitments made in the past by elected officials up and down the state to provide extremely generous retirement packages to public employees, such that most are able to retire between the ages of 50 and 60 and receive a pension that is anywhere between 75 percent and 90 percent of their highest annual salary. This has led, in the case of Upland, to a circumstance in which Upland currently has accumulaed a calculated $87 million and growing commitment to cover pensions into the future, which translates to the city shelling out somewhere in the neighborhood of $8 million per year to cover shortcomings in pension payouts to its former employees. While Bozar has continuously raised this issue and pushed his colleagues to take decisive action to head off the crisis before it manifests, he has had at best mixed success in getting support for his position from the remainder of the city council.
The tension between Bozar and Butler reached its zenith late this spring and early this summer as the city’s finance committee took up the subject of the 2016-17 fiscal year budget for the city.
Butler’s budget numbers called for a 20.3 percent increase – $1,171,145 – of the city’s contribution into the city’s pension fund; a 20 percent increase – $549,7217 – for so-called fringe benefits; and 5.39 percent – $1,024,553 – for salary increases, all within a proposed $46.5 million general fund spending allotment. Citing concerns that the California Public Employees Retirement System’s investment earnings pool would not meet its anticipated goal, Bozar, with the support of the other two members of the finance committee, councilwoman Debbie Stone and city treasurer Dan Morgan, tasked Butler to rewrite the budget and reduce spending further so the city would be able to meet an anticipated demand from the state pension fund system that the city contribute more money into the retirement account mid-year. Butler, however, was reluctant to make more than token adjustments to the spending plans for the city’s various departments and three times resubmitted to the finance committee budgets that did not meet with Bozar’s approval nor that of Morgan. At the same time, Stone appeared to be persuaded by Butler’s remonstrations that he had imposed as many economies on city operations as he reasonably could. At last, in late June, the budget as Butler had framed it was presented to the full city council without the endorsement of the finance committee. Despite Bozar’s efforts to persuade his council colleagues to hold off on the budget’s approval so more spending reductions could be made to it, his council colleagues at that point expressed confidence in Butler’s judgment and the budget was passed 4-1 over Bozar’s objection.
Shortly thereafter, according to a reliable source at City Hall, Bozar began to push for Butler’s termination, citing cause. That cause would have been based on what Bozar characteried as Butler’s insubordination, consisting of his failure to redraft the budget as he had been directed by the finance committee. Bozar’s animus was based in large measure on the revelation that the California Public Employees Retirement System had failed to meet its 7.5 percent earnings goal over the last year on its investments, earning less than one percent, meaning Upland’s 2016-17 budget would be hit with bearing the added burden of an additional $600,000 to $800,000 payment into the retirement system. Firing Butler for cause would have allowed the city to avoid the triggering of a clause in Butler’s contract that guaranteed him nine month’s pay if he were to be terminated without cause being cited. At that point, in early July, there was not a single vote on the council to support Bozar.
Some three weeks later, however, the city scheduled a special meeting on July 27 at 10:30 a.m. to discuss the termination of an unspecified city employee. After holding a short public input session on the matter, which was problematic because at that point there was no official announcement with regard to which employee was being considered for termination, the council went into a closed session with city attorney Richard Adams. When the council emerged, mayor Ray Musser designated Adams to brief the public on what had occurred. Adams then related that Butler had been terminated on a 3-2 vote, with Musser, Stone and councilman Gino Filippi supporting the action and Bozar and councilwoman Carol Timm dissenting. Adams said that Butler had been placed on administrative leave through August 29 and that his termination would be effective as of that date. Butler would receive, Adams said, nine further months of salary from that date going forward due him under his contract and that the council had authorized him to negotiate with Butler a further separation agreement, presumably calling for conferring more money on the departing city manager. Adams said the city council had directed, on a 4-1 vote with Bozar dissenting, that Martin Thouevenell, Upland’s former police chief who for a time was also acting fire chief and on two occasions stood in as interim city manager, be appointed interim city manager. Jeanette Vagnozzi, Upland’s deputy city manager/city clerk/human resources director, will oversee City Hall operations until Thouvenell’s terms of employment are secured following negotiations with him on his temporary employment contract.
While the gist of Thouvenell’s assignment is to serve in the role of caretaker until a permanent replacement for Butler is found, one specific function in Thouvenell’s assignment, the Sentinel has learned, is to observe Vagnozzi and evaluate her suitability for the role of city manager and to ultimately make a recommdendation to the council as to whether she merits being promoted to the position of the city’s top administrator.
This morning, Thouvenell told the Sentinel he had not yet worked out his terms of employment with the city.
The radical complexion change with regard to Butler at City Hall from the beginning of July when the only member of the council gunning for his head was Bozar to that at the end of July when Musser, Stone and Filippi pulled the trigger on him and Bozar and Timm were unwilling to support his termination is a perplexing one.
One reliable source told the Sentinel that in the immediate aftermath of Bozar’s effort to have him cashiered, Butler broached the issue of his continuing tenure with the other members of the council. While Butler was, at least initially, assured he had nothing to worry about, that discussion at some point morphed into a consideration of what Butler might expect if he were to make his exodus from the city. What evolved was an acknowledgment that Butler, while not anxious to leave the city’s employ per se, was beginning to buckle under the strain of the imperative, sparked by Bozar and now ineluctably being embraced by the remainder of the city council, that further downsizing of municipal operations must come about because of the city’s projected financial future. Butler, faced with the prospect that one vote – Bozar’s – already existed to terminate him with cause and that an erosion of his relationship with two further members of the council with regard to any issue or combination of issues could result in just such a termination where he would not be eligible for a severance package, veered toward leaving under favorable terms now, and simultaneously relieving himself of the pressure cooker assignment.
Somewhat ironically, it may have been Butler’s more recent efforts to move toward meeting some of Bozar’s expectations that triggered his departure. For several years, the city fire department’s continued full-fledged operation of its fire station on San Antonio Avenue has been controversial, as some feel that the operation of a fire truck from that facility is a redundancy, given the geographical distribution of other firefighting assets available to the city, including other city fire stations, the county fire station in San Antonio Heights on Euclid Avenue near the northern border of the city and the CalFire station near the entrance of the National Forest. A suggestion that the fire fighting crew and its engine be withdrawn from the station and that the station be manned by a two-paramedic crew has been consistently resisted by the firefighters’ union. Butler’s apparent willingness to consider the proposal to convert the San Antonio station to a two-man outpost would put him crosswise with Stone, who counts as one of her major constituencies the firefighters union. A fast political alliance has been in place conjoining Stone with Filippi for nearly three years, such that Filippi and Stone are in lockstep on virtually every issue coming before the city council. By attempting to achieve some traction toward the economies Bozar envisions and simply contemplating reducing fire department operations, Butler may have compromised his long term viability as city manager, making an early exodus with a golden handshake for him a desired outcome.
Efforts to get a firsthand account of events from Butler were unsuccessful. He was not present at City Hall on Wednesday and had not returned by Thursday. It appears that he is no longer authorized to access his office at City Hall.
City attorney Richard Adams said there could be no official release of information to the matter pertaining to Butler beyond his statement at Wednesday morning’s meeting.
Those city officials who consented to speak to the Sentinel did so guardedly and with considerable circumspection.
One pointed out that Butler’s departure, after less than two years with Upland, fits what is now discernible as a disturbing pattern, as he remained in the position of city manager with the City of Patterson in Northern California for just three-and-a-half years, from February 2011 until August 2014. Butler’s one other city managerial assignment prior to Patterson was the two years he spent as the top administrator in Crescent City. Butler had previous municipal government positions at lower levels with the cities of Chino, Claremont, Ontario, and Pomona. Former Interim Upland City Manager Martin Lomeli had recommended Butler as the leading candidate among nine considered for the job in 2014. One Upland city official told the Sentinel that the city should have considered other candidates who had demonstrated longevity of five years or more in managerial positions. The official told the Sentinel that “now was the time” to make a decision with regard to Butler, as the electoral season will soon be upon the city “and that would end up in people on the council making decisions for political reasons.”
Another official told the Sentinel that it appeared Butler was getting along well with the balance of the council but that he was wearying of the challenges being city manager presented. “It looks like he just lobbed a softball to the council,” the official said, meaning that Butler offered to leave the city under favorable terms, both for himself and the members of the council, that would not prove problematic for anyone going forward or entail any possible future divisiveness.
A former official told the Sentinel, “Rod is real good at taking directions from the council. He’s not that good at giving directions. He’s not an aggressive leader. The council is supposed to decide where the city wants to go and the city manager is supposed to figure out a way for the city to get there and make sure it goes to where council wants. Rod was waiting for the city council to tell him how to get there. He was constantly waiting for directions. The thing is, if you ask the council for directions, you’re going to get five different answers. He needed to be a leader and figure out what to do and how to do it. The city was in a holding pattern.”
Magnet Effect Almost Leads SB To Look Homeless Center Gift Horse In The Mouth
Last week’s San Bernardino County City Council meeting became a forum on the so-called magnet effect that results from homeless assistance efforts.
The subject was broached during council deliberations with regard to a proposal by Mary’s Mercy Center to establish what was termed a “comprehensive center for homeless men on an 11-acre project site on Walnut Street between Pico Avenue and San Marcos Street.”
The project is one intended to offer housing, job training and other services to up to 115 homeless men. To be known as Mary’s Village, it is intended to match two other centers run by Mary’s Mercy Center, one called Veronica’s Home of Mercy and another called Mary’s Mercy Table, which are about a mile-and-a-half away.
Mary’s Mercy Centers are funded through the Arrowhead United Way, the City of San Bernardino’s pass-through of federal Community Development Block Grants and emergency shelter grants, Catholic Healthcare West, the San Bernardino Community Foundation, the S. L. Gimbel Foundation, the Sisters of Mercy, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange, the Sisters of the Incarnate Word, a Diocese of San Bernardino Sacrificial Giving Grant, the City of San Bernardino Economic Development Agency, the Crestwood Corporation and the San Manuel Mission Band of Indians.
According to a staff report accompanying the agenda item, the project will entail “a village-type campus that will provide support to its residents to facilitate their full inclusion in the broader community. Phase I will encompass approximately 2.92 acres of the project and includes the construction of four single-story residential buildings containing approximately 7,000 square feet each that will accommodate up to eighty-five residents. These buildings will include common kitchen, dining and living areas, training rooms, and administrative offices. Phase 2 will encompass approximately 2.91 acres of the project and includes the development of approximately 17,000 square feet of medical, administrative, and educational space in up to three buildings. Phase 3 will encompass approximately 3.05 acres of the project and envisions the construction of up to fifteen (15) rent-subsidized housing units for graduates of Mary’s Village programs. Finally, Phase 4 will encompass approximately 2.14 acres of the project for the future construction of two buildings containing up to a combined total of approximately 20,000 square feet to house support/community services and a chapel.”
The staff report continued, “The project consists of the development of a men’s residential complex that will provide comprehensive on-site medical, behavioral health, training and support services that offer a healthy alternative to substance abuse, mental illness or homelessness. The goal and objective of Mary’s Village necessitates an extensive and comprehensive program that affords each man a sense of growth and development leading to integration of the man into a new life and society. The development of the proposed project and the implementation of the on-site programs seek to improve the lives of its resident population, and by extension, create a positive change in the broader community. Mary’s Village seeks to address the wide range of needs of each individual client with a goal of increasing community safety and stimulating economic vitality. The residents will live on-site 24 hours per day seven days per week, and a typical resident is at the facility for a period of 12 to 18 months. When completed, Mary’s Village will approximately 39 staff members and up to 115 residents.”
While the staff report appeared to be favorably disposed toward the project, city councilman Henry Nickel was skeptical. After he wrung from staff that the current zoning on the property is residential urban with a density of four units per acre, Nickel took aim at the likelihood that the project would attract greater numbers of homeless into the city than are already there.
“We just had a discussion about Seccombe Lake and the chronic conditions that we’re confronting in our city and, unfortunately, there is a link to the number of homeless,” he said. “One of the consistent complaints I get from the remaining business owners and property owners we have downtown is that it’s very difficult to maintain their businesses because of the decreased patronage because people feel frightened or they have in fact been accosted while downtown. I know this council since I have been a part of this dais has struggled with ‘What is our strategy?’ A couple of years ago we decided to develop an access center to provide comprehensive services to our city’s homeless population, something we had never done before. So I have heard this speech: ‘Something we have never done before.’ I guess my question for Mary’s Mercy House is, ‘How is this different from what we were told we had to provide through our access center?’ The reason I’m asking this is there seems to be some inconsistency in terms of our strategy. The city’s strategy, from my understanding, if we even have one, is that we are going to provide services to individuals that are from San Bernardino. If you are not from here, you need to leave. I’m sorry. We are not the drop center for the region’s homeless population The numbers are stunning and if true problematic. If the surrounding cities are not willing to allow this type of facility in their jurisdiction, why are we doing it over and over and over again? Is there a link between the chronic homelessness problem we have in our city and the fact that we keep approving these types of projects? My question is: ‘How is this facility and the services that are provided by this facility different from what we are providing through our homeless access center and are they exclusive to San Bernardino residents and if they are not I have a real problem because now we are inconsistent with the strategy that we have defined as a city in terms of what homeless population we are going to serve. All it does is it invites individuals who are not from our city now and gives them another outlet of services that we’re trying to contain.”
Nickel then poised the question of the project’s proponent’s and representatives, “Is there a restriction on the residency of the individual that will obtain services from this facility?”
Michael Hein, Terry Kent and Father Michael Barry endeavored to respond to Nickel’s questions over the course of much of the public hearing.
“We will give priority to anyone who is a citizen of San Bernardino,” Hein said, while indicating that others from outside the city would not be absolutely prohibited from participating in the program. “To say that they have to be a resident of San Bernardino and have to have ID, yes we will attempt to do that. They would be given priority. At St. Mary’s Mercey Center we will be a 24 hours 7 days per week operation. They will be housed there 24 hours per day 7 days a week. They could be transported off site for medical and dental [treatment] for training, for educational purposes. They are given a schedule from case management and that is what we work off of.”
Hein angled to make the point that St. Mary Village will offer an in-depth and permanent solution to the homeless status of those participating, and he contrasted that approach with the lion’s share of efforts the city has employed so far.
Hein said of the program available at the city’s access center, “They were given hotel or motel vouchers and medical assistance but there was no case management to see what was going on with them.” Hein said this stop gap approach lacked followup and verification of the effectiveness of the effort, and city officials and others involved in the effort failed “to see if they use it [the provided assistance] for what the purposes really were. We will give priority to San Bernardino City residents and we do follow up to make sure that those people who are residents who are part of the program are making their appointments.”
Hein said that “Since 1987 Mercy Center has been in San Bernardino. It is a woman and children’s program that we currently have at Veromica’s House. We are now seeking to transition it to help men.”
Hein’s assertion was not convincing, Nickel said.
“I keep going back to what is our strategy and each decision we make has to be consistent with our strategy,” Nickel said. “What I am hearing now is a diversion away from what our strategy is to be with respect to our access center and how we are to deal with our homeless challenge in this city. What I am hearing now is we’ve got a new program that is going to be open to all types of individuals that doesn’t appear necessarily consistent. I am troubled by it. If those numbers [of homeless currently in the city and the 38 programs in place to assist them] are correct and we are more or less putting a facility in a single family residential neighborhood and the individual who represents that neighborhood is not here tonight, I am extremely reluctant to approve this tonight.
“Until I am shown how this is consistent, how this moves our city forward, I am not convinced,” Nickel said.
Another of the project proponents, Terry Kent, took a stab at justifying the undertaking. “You asked what is the difference,” Kent said. “The difference is we’ve worked with city staff over the years and they’ve told us the problems you are highlighting and that a lot of the programs are band-aids: ‘Here’s a bowl of soup; this’ll keep you going another day.’ Our facility is not the stereotypical [homeless facility]. If you went to Veronica’s Home right now, I would bet every dime I’ve got you would not find a homeless person laying in the bushes outside our facility, because people know our facility is not a drop-in. Most people who come to our facility, if they came to us at 8 a.m. and started the vetting process, they wouldn’t be living there that night. They have to go through a whole vetting process to see whether they want to be there. We have more people that drop out of it because they don’t like the rules. We become the mommy and daddy for them. Unfortunately, that is where we are in society, that we need to retrain them. That’s what we do with this program. We put them on a reset. We say: “This is your case management. We’re going to get you into school. We’re going to get you your GED. We’re going to work with the logistics companies that are in this county and in this city, and we’re going to train you to run that fork lift, so you can make a decent living and you can end up renting a house or you can own a house. So, what is the difference between us and the access center? We don’t hand them a check to go to a hotel and say ‘We’ll see you next week or whenever. We’re with them day in and day out, for 18 to 24 months and sometimes for years.”
Nickel, picking up on the negative contrast Kent suggested between the access center and Mary’s Mercy House, sought to obtain an even sharper renunciation of the access center.
“So is the access center adequate or inadequate?” Nickel pressed.
“I don’t want to comment on the access center,” Kent said in resisting the question. “I want to concentrate on what our program is. Our program is not a band-aid. It is a life changing program. We don’t want the guy who just wants a bowl of soup We want the guy who really wants to reset his life. He’s figured out that ‘You know what? I’ve really screwed up somewhere down the line. Help me out here and give me those tools.’ And that’s what we’re trying to attempt here.”
Nickels persisted, however, in propounding his view that efforts to assist the homeless in San Bernardino have proven to be exercises in futility, even as each new approach was lauded as a panacea that never panned out. He suggested Mary’s Mercy House was more of the same.
“I guess I’m just frustrated here tonight, because a year-and-a-half, two years ago we were told we had to spend money that we could have spent on other things to create an access center to fix the chronic homeless problem we had in our city and now I am being told ‘Well, we’re just giving out vouchers. It doesn’t work. We need something else.’ It is a very compelling analogy that we just keep trying to find other ways of fixing a problem without addressing what the real problem is. It doesn’t seem to be getting any better. Every time we get a program, the problem is just growing bigger. It’s not diminishing. It’s getting bigger. I’m almost to the point where I am saying, ‘It’s time for a moratorium on these type of facilities. Until we develop a true strategy and partnership with these operators, until we develop a true strategy on how we are going to allocate and use resources in areas of our city to optimal effect to ensure we address this problem effectively. To keep addressing this over and over again in what appears to be an inconsistent manner is very troubling to me, especially when I hear from residents and business owners who say they are at the point of saying ‘I’m finished. I’m leaving. I can’t tolerate it any more.’”
The godfather, as it were, of the Mary’s Mercy House program, Father Michael Barry, was unable to restrain himself from responding.
“You’re saying no because you don’t have a strategy,” Barry said, summoning up his wellspring of moral authority and speaking in a soft Irish brogue, before upbraiding Nickel. “That’s not my fault.”
Barry intoned, “We’re presenting a project and we have a track record. I don’t know if you’ve been to Veronica’s home. But for the city of San Bernardino… we’re not talking about strategies. We’re talking about people. We’re trying to address the hearts of people.”
Sixth Ward Councilwoman Bessine Richard questioned the location selected for the home, which is in the Third Ward. She indicated during the discussion that she would vote against the project because of that consideration “The people that are in support of it don’t live there,” she said, adding that the city’s most intensive commercial area is within the Third Ward and that putting a use that will serve as a magnet for the homeless so close to the tax revenue producing assets in the city was unwise.
“Why are we putting it there, where our money is?” she asked. “I love what you are doing, but why there?”
With Councilman John Valdivia, in whose Third Ward the home was to go, absent from the meeting, the prospects for the project’s passage appeared to narrow when councilman Benito Barrios by his questions of the proponents sounded indisposed to the project. He inquired about the attrition rate from the program, eliciting from Hein that most stay engaged in the program to completion in 12 to 24 months but that some leave within 60 to 90 days.
Barrios pounced on that admission, “If they do drop out of the program, they will be hanging around San Bernardino,” he said, suggesting that the program would, as Nickels suggested, bring more homeless into the city than it will alleviate. “If it is in the city, it has to be for the city only,” Barrios said. “We can’t control who comes here, but we don’t need to attract more. He called for working “together to iron out some of the details.”
Councilman Fred Shorett, however, countered much of what Nickel had said. “It is all about the management and I am confident with the track record of Veronica’s House and Mary’s Mercy House this would be good project. I love the looks of the renderings. It’s new.”
He disputed the gist of Nickel’s argument, saying that Mercy House’s approach constituted a cogent approach and strategy to eliminate homelessness rather than inadequately address its symptoms. “It’s part of our strategy to get housing first for the homeless population in the community.”
At the same time, Shorett said he was in concurrence with Nickel that a series of stopgap measures the city had taken in the past were ill-conceived and inadequate and a squandering of resources. “I agree,” he said. “We don’t have a strong strategy in dealing with homelessness.” But to blur the distinction between the projects that worked and the ones that did not was wrong, he said. “We need to have these kind of effective projects, he said, and referencing the previously quoted number of homeless projects as ones put forth by 38 organizations, he said those should be examined. “We need to vet those and limit them,” Shorett said. “Take those 38 organizations and weed some of them out and bring in others who are doing a more effective job and making real strides in dealing with homelessness. I don’t throwing a good project out is what we should do.
Shorett listed a handful of projects he thought worthwhile, including the Mercy House undertakings and “The Central City Lutheran Mission, the Salvation Army, Kim Carter and her group. I don’t think we did a service to our community when we allowed the access center to come in and push those other organizations away. Housing is critical. This is not a shelter. This is housing. This is working with people.”
In his brief remarks, Mayor Carey Davis, who normally is not empowered to vote but has both veto power in the case of 4-3 votes as well as tie breaking authority, spoke favorably of the project.
Ultimately, when the project was voted upon, Nickel and Richard opposed it, but Barrios, who was either persuaded by Shorett’s remarks or cognizant that Davis was likely to break any tie by voting in favor of Mercy House, voted to approve the project, such that it passed 4-2, with Shorett, councilman Jim Mulvihill, councilwoman Virginia Marquez and Barrios prevailing.
District Court Reinstates USFS Collection Of Recreation Use Fees
SAN BERNARDINO –To implement a settlement reached by plaintiffs and the U.S. Forest Service, a district court has vacated a 2014 ruling that affected the U.S. Forest Service’s ability to enforce recreation fees at standard amenity recreation fee sites in the Los Padres, Angeles, San Bernardino and Cleveland National Forests in southern California.
On May 19, 2016, the district court granted a joint motion by the plaintiffs and the U.S. Forest Service to accept the settlement agreement, which resulted in the 2014 judgment being vacated.
Standard amenity recreation fee sites provide amenities such as designated developed parking, picnic tables, toilet facilities, security, interpretive signs
and trash receptacles for public use. Under the settlement agreement, the U.S. Forest Service will continue to enforce recreation fees at standard amenity recreation fee sites.
Forest visitors parked in standard amenity recreation fee sites in the four southern California national forests must display a valid recreation pass. Information on valid recreation passes, such as the Adventure Pass and the America the Beautiful–the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass, can be found at http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/r5/passes-permits/recreation.
Visitors do not have to display a valid recreation pass if they park outside these sites.
About the U.S. Forest Service:
The mission of the US Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the US Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation’s clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the United States, of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live.
Hesperia Council Suspends General Plan & Main Street Specific Plan To Approve Senior Apartments
The Hesperia City Council has suspended both the city’s general plan and its Main Street and Freeway Corridor Specific Plan in approving Apollo Construction’s mixed use senior living hamlet on the north side of Main Street.
The project represents what is perhaps the City of Progress’s most significant departure from the traditional character of residential projects in the city, including those built prior to and since Hesperia’s 1988 incorporation
According to a staff report on the project authored by Dave Reno and Stan Liudahl, the city’s principal planner and senior planner, respectively, “This project is unique inasmuch that it will provide a complete adult senior living community, enabling residents to obtain many needed services without leaving the development. The project is designed to provide meals, exercise and recreational facilities, medical care, and hair care for those residing within the condominiums and assisted living facilities and those seniors visiting the daycare center. The project requires approval of a planned development, as the Neighbor-
hood Commercial and Medium Density Residential zones of the Main Street and Freeway Corridor Specific Plan do not allow the proposed intensity of nonresidential development nor the proposed parking reductions that this unique combination of senior-oriented uses may obtain.”
Reno and Liudahl suggested that many of the older set living on the premises will not own or drive vehicles.
“The planned development provides regulation specific to the special needs of this senior development and takes into account the associated relationships between the uses, reducing the number of parking spaces required for this development,” the report states.
Even though councilman Eric Schmidt joined with his colleagues in unanimously approving the project, he said he was doing so reluctantly because granting the deviations from the city’s general plan and okaying the changes from the specific plan for Main Street may inspire problematic proposals from other developers or project applicants that might not adhere to the city’s state standards in the future.
The ten-acre project is to be sited on the north side of Main Street some 250 feet east of the California Aqueduct and will entail an 84-condominium facility, a 131-unit assisted living building and a 300-person adult day care center contained within 6.6 acres on the north portion of the property. The 3.4 acres at the south end of the property closest to Main Street is zoned Neighborhood Commercial.
According to Reno and Liudahl, “While the current zoning allows the proposed senior condominiums, the assisted living facility, an institutional use allowed in any zone, hair salon, restaurant and dining facilities, and medical offices with approval of a site plan review, the adult daycare and on-site sale of beer and wine requires approval of a conditional use permit.
A pad for a 4,000-square-foot retail building is included in the plan.
The condominium floor plan includes one- and two-bedroom options, along with studio apartments. The dwelling units range from 438 to 938 square feet.
The assisted living floor plan includes three studios and one-bedroom options, ranging from 398 to 590 square feet. The adult day care center includes a spa, wellness center, multiple senior-oriented services, kitchen and dining facilities, with the sale of beer and wine.
Though Hesperia does not have a minimum half-acre lot size requirement for single family residences as does Apple Valley, most residential properties in the city have lots that are larger than those in vogue in the more citified areas of the county, such as in Chino Hills, Chino, Montclair, Ontario, Upland, Rancho Cucamonga, Fontana, Rialto, Colton, Grand Terrace, Loma Linda, Highland, Redlands and even Yucaipa. Thus, cramming 211 units onto roughly 4.5 acres on the north end of the project represents a density nearly ten times that on other residential properties in Hesperia.
The city council deemed this radical deviation from the norm – entailing this density intensification – to be a justifiable trade-off in terms of providing residential opportunities for senior citizens living at or below the poverty level. To purchase a condominium or rent a unit in the assisted living building, one must be 55 or older.
The adult daycare facility and the medical offices will be constructed within phase III of the project. The daycare facility will be limited to a maximum of 300 senior citizens. These senior citizens will be able to use the dining room as well as all of the senior-oriented uses. Three medical offices totaling 11.200 square feet will be constructed above the daycare facility. It is intended that the medical units will serve the needs of the residents and visitors of the daycare. However, the medical units will be leased on a first-come basis and may serve non-seniors. Phase IV will allow construction of a 4,000 square foot retail building.
Good Guys And Bad Guys Using Cuffs And Wearing Cuffs In Highland & Yucaipa
Monday, handcuffs were of service to some bonafide nogoodniks in Highland and Yucaipa.
Both cities contract with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department for law enforcement service. Sheriff’s deputies routinely carry handcuffs.
It is understandable then, that at about 3:30 a.m., when an unidentified man was parked about a half-mile southeast of the Highland sheriff’s station, which serves as the Highland Police Department headquarters, he assumed a blond-haired white man in his late 20s wearing a green jacket similar to those worn by sheriff’s personnel was a deputy.
The man, described as 5-feet-10 and 150 pounds and wearing blue jeans identified himself as a police officer and ordered the man to get out of his car, which, which was near Norwood Street and Bonita Avenue.
“The victim was parked in the area…when the suspect approached his vehicle and identified himself as a police officer,” investigators said in a written statement. “The suspect had the victim get out of his vehicle and handcuffed him.”
After taking the victim’s wallet, the robber ran away.
In Yucaipa later that day, at around 3:41 p.m. 21-year-old Yucaipa resident Aaron Cole allegedly engaged in a theft at the Subway sandwich shop near the I-10 and Yucaipa Boulevard. The theft was reported and deputies responded, apprehending Cole a short distance away a little less than an hour later. Cole was handcuffed, but began, according to a sheriff’s department statement “to manipulate the handcuffs to get them off his wrists. The deputy tried to reposition the cuffs, but Cole had already freed one hand. The deputy was wrestling with Cole when Cole used the unattached handcuff as a weapon and struck the deputy in the face.”
Cole was able to run from the scene, but other deputies came up on him as he was trying to go back into the Subway restaurant.
Cole was arrested was arrested at 4:37 p.m. and booked for investigation of resisting arrest and assault likely to cause great bodily injury.
Forum… Or Against ’em
By Count Friedrich von Olsen
I am getting so old and my memory so inexact, that I may be misrecollecting the exact words of a popular witticism from a while back. It was something to the effect that first rate people act. Right now I can’t remember if the punch line was “Second rate people teach” or “Second rate people write.” It either put down teachers or writers, suggesting neither set actually does anything…
A few years [actually more like a few decades] ago, when I heard that witticism for the first time, I think I can remember liking it. After all, at that time I was neither a teacher nor a writer. I was a doer, running my modest $5 billion shipping empire. I did things, moving cargo – hundreds of thousands of tons of it per year – across the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean and the Caribbean and lesser amounts of cargo – in the tens of thousands of tons – to various spots around the Pacific or Indian oceans. I had a few teachers when I was younger and I read things from time to time. I was not disrespectful, particularly, toward my teachers, although I might have qualified as mischievous. I would not have suggested that they didn’t do anything. After all, they did educate me. I was not inclined then nor now to be dismissive of writers. It is true that some things are more easily said than done and by the same token, it is probably easier to write about doing something than to actually do it. Far be it from me to be critical of writers just for being writers. And besides, I am now following my avocation, so I am a writer myself…
As a writer, of course, I am a mere amateur, particularly in comparison to the true masters of the craft in the particular genre in which I participate, which is that of political commentary and opinion, most often with regard to California or San Bernardino County. I have no illusions that I am in the same class of true professionals like Thomas Elias, Daniel Borenstein or Dan Walters. Truth be known, I am not qualified to carry either of their typewriters…
Writers are valuable because they are social trip wires. They see trends before others. If all citizens were as aware as writers are, we would have an informed electorate. An informed electorate is key to democracy working…
An example of how writers serve in the role of a societal and political periscope is a recent piece by Daniel Borenstein, a columnist for newspapers in the San Francisco Bay Area. He took a hard and penetrating look at the long term financial prospects for the California Public Employees Retirement System, which is known by its acronym, CalPERS. Mr. Borenstein’s analysis coincided with CalPERS reporting a very disappointing 0.61 percent return on its $300 billion investment portfolio, making it the second year in a row that the system missed – and really missed – its goal of seeing a 7.5 percent annual return. The thing is, the state employees’ pension system is guaranteed by the state and the individual municipal entities whose employees are vested in the system. That means the taxpayers, at both the state and local levels, are backing up the pension system. If the system misses its earnings goal, taxpayer money that would have gone to the provision of public services is diverted to backfill the gap.
Mr. Borenstein bemoaned, rightfully, that the California Public Employees Retirement System is now beset with “a record $139 billion shortfall” to cover the guaranteed pension payments to public workers. Mr. Borenstein pointed out that this fiscal responsibility is growing and growing and taxpayers are falling further and further behind the eight ball. The shortfall is, Mr. Borenstein wrote, “$46 billion more than just two years ago.”
And things look to be getting worse. CalPERS officials and financial advisers, who a few years ago imprudently claimed the state and local governments need not concern themselves with the burden the pensions represent because the invested money would keep growing as if by magic, are now being far more sober in their assessment. They say that the pension investment fund will experience far more modest earnings, maybe three, four or five percent less than the overly optimistic 7.5 percent. Mr. Borenstein was scathingly harsh in sizing up the performance and candor of the retirement trust fund’s managers as well as the politicians who for years have ignored the looming problem. He observed that believing the system is just temporarily in the financial doldrums and will soon right itself through a return to consistent yearly 7.5 percent returns on investments is a pipe dream…
For years now, writers like Mr. Borenstein and Mr. Elias and Mr. Walters have been trying to warn their readers that this absurd and unnecessary generosity to retired public officials is layering, year after year, future generations with a staggering burden that they may never shake off and which will consume and monopolize tax money that would otherwise be available for standard government services…
Unfortunately, Mr. Boernstein, Mr. Elias and Mr. Walters do not have enough readers to force their political leaders to come to terms with this long term problem. I am reminded of the image of Paul Revere, galloping from town to town to warn of the imminent threat of the British. Today, these intrepid columnists are not on horseback, but nonetheless their hue and cry is going out, “Awaken California! You are in long term financial peril! Bankruptcy is coming! You are being betrayed from within by your own public employees and the officials you have elected! Awaken before it is too late!”
Juan Bautista de Anza
One of the first known Europeans to come to what is now known as San Bernardino County was Juan Bautista de Anza, a Spanish explorer of Basque descent and North American birth, who was also at one time the governor of New Mexico for the Spanish Empire.
De Anza twice, in two separate expeditions, passed through what would later be defined as San Bernardino County, or portions thereof, in 1774 and again in 1775/1776.
De Anza was born in Fronteras, Sonora, New Spain near Arizpe in 1736, into a military family living on the northern frontier of New Spain. He was the son of Juan Bautista de Anza I. In 1752 he enlisted in the army at the Presidio of Fronteras. He advanced rapidly and was a captain by 1760. He married in 1761. His wife was the daughter of Spanish mine owner Francisco Pérez Serrano. They had no children. His military duties mainly consisted of forays against hostile Native Americans, such as the Apache, during the course of which he explored much of what is now Arizona.
When the Spanish began colonizing Alta California in 1769-70, Gaspar de Portolá i Rovira (1716–1786) led the initial stage of that effort in what is now referred to as the Portolá expedition. Portolá undertook to explore the upper California territory by sea, involving a voyage against prevailing winds and the California Current, and by land, which entailed a difficult land route from Baja California. Colonies were established at San Diego and Monterey, with a presidio and Franciscan mission at each location. A more direct land route and further colonization were desired, especially at present-day San Francisco, which Portolá saw but was not able to colonize. Subsequently, three further missions had been established with one farthest north being Mission San Antonio de Padua, in the Salinas Valley.
In 1772, De Anza proposed an expedition to Alta California to the Viceroy of New Spain. This was approved by the King of Spain and on January 8, 1774, with three priests, 20 soldiers, 11 servants, 35 mules, 65 cattle, and 140 horses, De Anza set forth from Tubac Presidio, south of present-day Tucson.. De Anza took as a guide a California Native American called Sebastian Tarabal who had fled from Mission San Gabriel to Sonora. The expedition took a southern route along the Rio Altar (Sonora y Sinaloa, New Spain), then paralleled the modern Mexico/California border, crossing the Colorado River at its confluence with the Gila River. This was in the domain of the Quechan tribe near Yuma, with which de Anza was able to establish good relations.
De Anza in what is today Montclair, encountered a clan of Serrano Indians living on the banks of a sycamore tree-lined creek which followed what today is Mills Avenue in Montlcair. De Anza briefly interacted with the Serranos, dubbing the stream “Arroyo de los Alisos” on the maps and in the journal he made to memorialize the journey. Legend has it that D’Anza carved the initials, “IHS” on a large sycamore, which may have been uprooted when the stream, now known as San Antonio Creek, overflowed its banks in 1894.
De Anza reached Mission San Gabriel Arcángel, near the California coast, on March 22, 1774, and Monterey, California, Alta California’s capital, on April 19. He returned to Tubac by late May, 1774. This expedition was closely monitored by the viceroy and king, and on October 2, 1774, De Anza was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel, and ordered to lead a group of colonists to Alta California. The Spanish were at that point seeking to reinforce their presence in Alta California to counter Russian colonization of the Americas advancing southward from Alaska. They were also looking to establish a harbor that could shelter Spanish ships. The expedition got under way in October, 1775, and arrived at Mission San Gabriel Arcángel in January, 1776, the colonists having suffered greatly from the winter weather en route. Today this route is marked as the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail.
In very late 1775 or early 1776 De Anza passed through the southwestern corner of what is today San Bernardino County, near present-day Ontario and Montclair. De Anza camped at what is near or at De Anza Park on Euclid Avenue, which is proximate to De Anza Junior High School.
The expedition continued on to Monterey with the colonists. Having fulfilled his mission from the viceroy, he continued on with Father Pedro Font and a party of twelve others exploring north and found an inland route to the San Francisco Bay described by Portolà. In de Anza’s diary on March 25, 1776, he states that he “arrived at the arroyo of San Joseph Cupertino [now Stevens Creek]… Here we halted for the night, having come eight leagues in seven and a half hours. From this place we have seen at our right the estuary which runs from the port of San Francisco.”
De Anza located the sites for the Presidio of San Francisco and Mission San Francisco de Asis in present-day San Francisco on March 28, 1776. San Francisco was later established by José Joaquín Moraga. While returning to Monterey, he located the original sites for Mission Santa Clara de Asis and the town of San José de Guadalupe, modern day San Jose, California), both of which were later established by others.
Later, de Anza was involved in other explorations and administrating for the government of Spain in the southwest and in Mexico. On August 24, 1777, the Viceroy of New Spain appointed Anza as the governor of the Province of Nuevo México, the present day U.S. state of New Mexico.
He established, at the behest of natives, missions, but also engaged in punitive raids against hostile Indians who resisted the Spanish incursion onto their land, in particular the Comanche. The Comanche had been repeatedly raiding Taos during 1779. With Ute and Apache Indians who were at that time considered Spanish allies, De Anza with around 800 Spanish soldiers, went north through the San Luis Valley, entering the Great Plains at what is now Manitou Springs, Colorado. Circling “El Capitan” (current day Pikes Peak), he surprised a small force of the Comanche near present-day Colorado Springs and pursued them south to Fountain Creek. He crossed the Arkansas River near present-day Pueblo, Colorado and confronted the main body of the Comanche on Greenhorn Creek, who had just engaged in a raid in Nuevo México. De Anza inflicted severe losses upon the Comanche, achieving a decisive victory, slaying Chief Cuerno Verde, for whom Greenhorn Creek is named, along with several other Comanche leaders.
De Anza led other military expeditions against tribes defending their homelands. The Quechan Native American tribe which had invited him to establish a mission at Yuma later rebelled. This led to hard feelings between de Anza and the military commander of the Northern Frontier. In 1783 de Anza lead a campaign against the Comanche on the eastern plains and by 1784 they were seeking peace, with the Comanche chiefs acceding to a formal peace treaty on 28 February 1786 at Pecos Pueblo. This led to the creation of a trading route and the development of the Comanchero trade.
On December 19, 1788, a little more than a year after he ceased to serve as the governor of the Province of Nuevo México, died in Arizpe Mexico, and was buried in the Church of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción de Arizpe.
Back to School: Red Cross Issues Steps to Help Keep Kids Safe
Put safety at the top of the list when getting kids ready for school
It’s almost time for the school bells to ring again and the American Red Cross has steps everyone can follow to help make the trip back to the classroom a safe one.
“Safety should be the top priority for all students, especially younger children and those heading to school for the first time,” said Linda E. Voss, CEO, American Red Cross Serving Riverside, Orange and San Bernardino Counties. “Whether riding, biking or walking to school, we want everyone to arrive and then return home safely.”
SCHOOL BUS SAFETY If children ride a bus to school, they should plan to get to their bus stop early and stand back from the curb while waiting for the bus to arrive. Other safety steps include:
Wait to board the bus until it has come to a complete stop and the driver or attendant has signaled to get on.
Tell children they should only board their bus – never an alternate one.
Always stay in clear view of the bus driver and never walk behind the bus.
Cross the street at the corner, obey traffic signals and stay in the crosswalk.
Never dart out into the street, or cross between parked cars.
GET TO SCHOOL SAFELY If children ride in a car to get to school, they should always wear a seat belt.
Younger children should use car seats or booster seats until the lap-shoulder belt fits properly (typically for children ages 8-12 and over 4’9”) and ride in the back seat until they are at least 13 years old.
If a teenager is driving to school, parents should mandate that he or she use seat belts. Drivers should not use their cell phone to text or make calls, and should avoid eating or drinking while driving.
Some students ride their bike to school. They should always wear a helmet and ride on the right in the same direction as the traffic is going.
When students are walking to school, they should only cross the street at an intersection. If possible, use a route with crossing guards.
Parents should walk young children to school, along with children taking new routes or attending new schools, at least for the first week to ensure they know how to get there safely. Arrange for the kids to walk to school with a friend or classmate.
WHAT DRIVERS SHOULD KNOW Drivers should know what the yellow and red bus signals mean and be aware that children are out walking or biking to school and slow down – especially in residential areas and school zones. Yellow flashing lights indicate the bus is getting ready to stop and motorists should slow down and be prepared to stop. Red flashing lights and an extended stop sign indicate the bus is stopped and children are getting on or off. Drivers in both directions must stop their vehicles and wait until the lights go off, the stop sign is back in place and the bus is moving before they can start driving again.
Parents should also make sure the child knows their phone number, address, how to get in touch with their parents at work, how to get in touch with another trusted adult and how to dial 9-1-1. They should also teach children not to talk to strangers or accept rides from someone they don’t know.
TAKE A FIRST AID CLASS Red Cross training can give someone the confidence and skills to help with everyday emergencies from paper cuts to school sports injuries. A variety of online and in-class courses are available at redcross.org/takeaclass. People can download the free Red Cross First Aid App (redcross.org/apps) for instant access to expert advice whenever and wherever needed.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.