By clicking on the blue portal below, you can download a PDF of the November 25 edition of the San Bernardino County Sentinel.
The City of San Bernardino is abandoning its 44-year-old City Hall, some nine years after a structural engineer offered an assessment that the building is likely to collapse in the wake of a major seismic disturbance centered along the region’s fault line.
The issue was brought to the forefront in early October, after a succession of minor but recurring earthquakes, referred to as a swarm, were registered near the Salton Sea in late September. Afterward, the California Office of Emergency Services put out a warning that the chances of a magnitude 7.0 or greater earthquake was slightly greater than normal.
On the evening of October 2, a Sunday, San Benrardino City Manager Mark Scott, saying he was doing so “out of an abundance of caution,” called for canceling the city council meeting scheduled for the following day, Monday October 3. Concerned that cancelling the meeting to protect members of the public who would normally attend the meeting might damage employee morale if they were to be on hand to work at San Bernardino City Hall and were being subjected to the same risk, Scott elected to shut down City Hall entirely for two days.
A reexamination of the stability of City Hall followed.
In 1971, the City of San Bernardino was moving toward building a new City Hall in Downtown San Bernrdino, on property reclaimed from a longstanding historic section of the city, where nearly a score of buildings had been demolished to undertake an urban renewal effort that was to include government-sponsored capital improvements entailing a new civic center. To design City Hall, the city commissioned César Pelli, a highly accomplished Argentine American architect who emigrated to the United States in 1952, married Diana Balmori, a landscape and urban designer, and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1964. He established himself as one of the world’s leading architects, particular with regard to designing majestic buildings as well as some of the world’s tallest structures, including the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, which were for a time the world’s tallest buildings, as well as the World Financial Center complex in downtown Manhattan, Salesforce Tower in San Francisco, the Sao Paulo Corporate Towers, Xuzhou Central Plaza in Xuzhou, the Unicredit Building in Milan, and scores of others around the world.
In the early morning of February 9, 1971, the San Fernando earthquake also known as the Sylmar earthquake, occurred in the west foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. The unanticipated thrust earthquake had a moment magnitude of 6.5 or 6.7 on the Richter Scale. The quake did damage to the San Fernando Valley and other densely populated areas north of central Los Angeles, causing several buildings to collapse. This demonstrated the inadequacy of the building standards that had been put into place in California following the Long Beach Earthquake of 1933. California lawmakers acted quickly to develop legislation related to seismic safety, tightening construction standards. Already at that point, architects and engineers had introduced the concept of incorporating rollers into the foundation of high rise buildings, which would allow the foundation to roll or shift with a seismic disturbance. Two decades later, rollers would be replaced by massive vertical springs in the foundations of large buildings. But San Bernardino City Hall had neither of those features. What is more, it would utilize pillars composed primarily of concrete, nearly a dozen of them, to support the building, including a major portion of the upper stories on the building’s east side, an overhang which was architecturally striking. Because of this, the easternmost portion of the building – all five of the upper floors, are not supported by a ground floor. Seismic integrity calculations done three decades later would determine that under the stress of a major earthquake, those pillars would be very likely to crumble.
City leaders of a generation-and-a-half ago, rather irresponsibly, elected to hurry the timetable on the completion of the $4,950,579 City Hall project using Pelli’s original design and its accompanying specifications, instead of incorporating the stricter standards that were put into place in the years following the Sylmar Quake. The result is that City Hall, which was supposed to have a life of as long as a century or a century-and-a-half, now represents a potential hazard to those who work within it or citizens who come to it for municipal services or to pay municipal utility bills.
A structural engineer brought in by the city nearly a decade ago to examine telltale signs of instability and aging that were manifesting in various spots around the 104,000 square foot building came to the conclusion that it would in no case be able to withstand a locally-based temblor greater than 7 on the Richter scale and would likely collapse in the face of a 6.5 scale quake. The building’s hopes would be marginal if shaken by a 6.0 event, the engineer prognosticated. The city, which had been facing progressively harder financial challenges going back two decades until it sank into the economic abyss and filed for Chapter Nine bankruptcy protection in 2012, did not have the means to tackle the issue and so it went unaddressed until the Salton Sea swarms jammed the matter into Scott’s cortex early last month.
Since that time, Scott has formulated a plan that calls for city employees departing from City Hall beginning in February and being completely cleared out by April. They will move to quarters in the Vanir Tower, in property owned by Vanir across D Street and two offices in the recently abandoned offices that housed SBETA, the San Bernardino Employment and Training Agency. City employees will stay in place there for two years, while a seismic upgrade is being made to the building adjacent to City Hall that formerly housed the San Bernardino Economic Development Agency, the city’s erstwhile redevelopment agency. In the meantime, according to Scott, the city will seek funding to do a complete seismic retrofit to City Hall that will cost somewhere between $14 million and $20 million.
Many city residents were skeptical about the seismic assessment, and questioned whether a move from the edifice, which entails six stories above ground and one below, is necessary. Some suggested that Scott had inappropriately panicked over the Salton Sea earthquake swarms and reacted in a way that was out of proportion to the actual danger.
Tim Prince, whose father was the longest serving city attorney in San Bernardino history, told the council that it was being stampeded into a foolhardy departure because “some unknown consultant nine years ago told us this building has to be closed.” Prince upbraided city officials for having placed the discussion of the closure of City Hall on the November 21 city council meeting’s consent calendar, which is reserved for noncontroversial issues.
“This building can likely be retrofitted while it is occupied,” Prince said, suggesting that there was no need to move city employees elsewhere. “That would save taxpayer money.”
Prince was likewise critical of the $1.80 per square foot rate the city is paying on the lease, saying that despite his own personal friendship with the broker handling the lease of space in the Vanir Tower, Frank Schnetz, he believed the city could do better, much better. “At Chase Bank Building you can get space at less than a dollar. There is all kinds of space in this downtown.”
Prince was further critical of the city’s simultaneous abandonment of the Carousel Mall, just a stone’s throw west of City Hall. “You are going to vacate the 60-acre Carousel Mall,” he charged. “You are going to attract homelessness, crime and blight. You are going to destroy downtown.”
Brian Robbin was similarly critical of the move.
“My father and uncle owned a business in this city,” Robbin said. “They owned it for 43 years. Downtown is the soul of the city.” He chided the city council for abandoning City Hall for a “high rise hotel. This will destroy that soul irrevocably. For what? Abandoning it for earthquake retrofitting? Nearly 40 years ago my father and uncle had to retrofit the building that they owned and their business was in with two other businesses. They didn’t abandon it when it was finished. It was the soul of their existence just like a vibrant downtown is the soul of this city’s existence. Let’s set aside the fact that we’re abandoning City Hall for Vanir Tower and above-market rents. That doesn’t matter one iota, if we get the big one here because Vanir Tower will come down.” He said the exodus from City Hall was an example of “careless, haphazard and shortsighted planning.”
The council, in this instance led by councilwoman Virginia Marquez, invited Scott to put their collective best foot forward and offer a defense of closing out operations at City Hall proper, at least for the next two years, and finding alternative accommodations.
Scott, who has had a relatively upbeat relationship with the council and the public since he arrived in February to replace embattled former city manager Allen Parker, noted that he has suffered a reputational contusion as a consequence of his decision to close down City Hall.
“The honeymoon is over,” he said, before offering an explanation/apologia.
“I can assure the council and the public that in what we’re talking about doing – moving out of this building so that first and foremost we can eliminate the danger that exists to the public and our employees who are working in this building right now – the intent is not to demolish this building. The intent is to save this building The easiest and best and most cost-effective way of saving this building is to do the work when there’s not the staff inside the building However, it is a significant cost to do the work here. It is estimated between $14 million and $20 million to do the work to preserve this building and in order to do that we probably want to look at other alternatives on financing, including potentially having a partner who goes into it with the city and/or to pursue grant opportunities, for instance with FEMA [the Federal Emergency Management Agency]. That’s not a sure thing. We’re working on it and we’re hoping. I’m trying to not make it too optimistic because we don’t know if we’ll get it, and I don’t want people to count on it until we’ve had a chance to obtain that kind of funding. But every effort will be made to preserve this building.”
Scott said a major portion of shoring up the building structurally will consist of “wrapping” the pillars, that is, encasing them so they will maintain tensile strength and their integrity under stress.
“In fact, we will be working on the wrapping [of] the pillars that hold up this building because seismic science being what it is they can predict in a large earthquake those pillars will fail,” Scott said. “This building was build pre-Sylmar Earthquake. Sylmar was in the early 70s, and after the Sylmar Earthquake they learned some things about seismic engineering and they changed the codes. Then we had other earthquakes in California –Loma Prieta, Whittier – and every time there were additional earthquakes, the codes changed. They learned new things and they changed the codes. After the Northridge Earthquake, the codes were changed even more, especially as it relates to what they call soft story construction. This building is a perfect example of that. When you look at the building, it is held up in the middle by pillars. You wouldn’t do that today. You wouldn’t build a building with that kind of construction today. Lucy Jones from Cal Tech has been the expert on seismic issues in Southern California for a long, long time. She has recently put us and other cities on notice that, not only the way our City Hall is constructed, but that there are other buildings that we need to change our codes so we can provide a more safe environment for people to live and work in this city, and that other parts of this state are further along in doing that than we are and furthermore our risk is greater literally because you can see the fault from City Hall. The report that we have on City Hall says that in a six point earthquake there is a likelihood of building failure. That’s strong language. The way this building is built, when we have even a smaller earthquake, we get damage.”
Scott pointed to a crack along the council meeting chamber’s south wall.
“The seismic engineer that did the study in 2009 says that wasn’t here in 2009,” he said. “There are other places around the building he has cited in recent visits that suggest this building is in fact very much in danger of significant damage in a six point. The 2009 report says that a 6 point or greater earthquake epicentered in this region has more than a ninety percent chance of occurring in a fifty year period. We’re some years into that already. It’s likely that someday that’s going to happen. Now, that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen tomorrow. And I would agree the Salton Sea Earthquake Swarms were not a tremendous risk. However, when we thought about not having the council meeting that Monday night it made no sense to tell our employees it was okay for them to be in the building but it wasn’t safe for the public to have a public meeting. So, we took an extra step. What we’re doing in moving out of this building doesn’t have anything to do with the Salton Sea Earthquake Swarms. It has to do with this building has been studied and studied and it is confirmed this is a building that shouldn’t be occupied in this day and age this close to a major earthquake fault. So, we’ve made arrangements to move out of the building. We’re not looking for a new City Hall building. We’re in fact proposing we move into the old building the city has behind City Hall – the 201 building or the EDA [Economic Development Authority] Building. That building needs some seismic structural work and it made no sense to move out of one into the other until we did that. It’s much less expensive to do and over the next roughly 18 months we’ll be working on getting that work done in the 201 Building. We will then make that our new location for City Hall at least for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, we’ll continue to work on this building and on the Convention Center Building, which has got its own set of issues, to see if we can get those upgraded to the point where other options are available for the continued use of this building. It would be a shame to lose the continued use of this building. We need to do work to preserve it before something terrible happens to it. When we looked [for] temporary facilities, we wanted something that would be near here because we don’t want to contribute to the death of activity downtown. So, we did in fact look at the mall first. That was the very first place we looked. The trouble with the mall building [is] first of all it’s obviously not viable for retail right now. If it were, we’d already be doing it. It’s already the plan of this city to work with developers to look for other opportunities with that site. It’s already in our plan that the mall portion – not the parking portion, certainly not the Harris building – that the mall portion be demolished in the future so it becomes more attractive as a development site. Those plans are already part of city policy and city plans. But in looking at trying to move City Hall into that building we learned the building systems there – plumbing, mechanical, electrical, even structural – need significant repairs. Plus, it is extremely expensive to operate that building. We wouldn’t have furnishings available. We wouldn’t have an IT [information technology] system available, wiring for the kinds of uses City Hall would need. There just wasn’t anything about that move that made any sense. It was much more expensive. So we instead looked at the Vanir Building. We looked at the building owned by them across the street – the 290 and 250 sites – that are in the lease proposals. We’re also looking at moving some of our staff over to the building where SBEDA [the San Bernardino Employment Development Authority] was located, which is fully furnished with furniture we bought and it’s an opportunity for us on a very quick basis to get into another building that will be functional in a hurry. We are picking up a whole city operation. We are an emergency services operation and we have to do that right away. We have to be able to move out of one and into the other and stay functional while we do it. So, these are all opportunities for us to do fairly easy moves. It’s not simple, but it’s easier to do the IT part of the move. It’s easier for us to do the telephone part of the move. In most of the cases the tenement improvement part of the move is minimal because of the fact we are renting space that is set up for us. Rents may be a little higher than you would normally get because we are only doing a two-year lease. If you do a twenty-year lease, you get a better rate than if you do a two-year lease. It doesn’t make any sense to do a longer lease. So those are the conditions we are able to come up with. I very much appreciate the cooperation we’ve had from Vanir and from their team in trying to make this happen and happen in a hurry. It’s been an extraordinary effort and I just want to assure everybody, we’re not at all looking at doing something precipitous here. This is something we have studied and studied and evaluated. We have to get our employees and get the public out of this building, and we plan on doing it as soon as we can.
I can guarantee you there will be some chaos. You don’t move a city governmental operation without some.”
Along those lines, Scott said he believed confusion on the part of the public would be minimized by “putting an information counter in the bottom level of the Vanir Building’ and keeping the lion’s share of the city offices near to where they are now located and putting in signs to alert the public to the move and exactly where the new offices are. The Vanir Building is very proximate to City Hall, next to the City Hall parking structure. “Most city facilities [will be] in Vanir or across the street,” Scott said, with the community development, engineering and parks departments in the SBETA building.”
Critics of the move such as Robbin had questioned the seismic stability of the Vanir Tower. Scott offered reassurances on that point.
“We had the ownership certify to the stability of that building before we did the deal,” Scott ssid. “That was the first question for us. Let’s not move out of one bad building and into another. So the first thing we had them do was provide certification of their building. First of all it is built very differently, and they’ve made that certification.”
Councilman Henry Nickel told the Sentinel the Vanir Tower was constructed with rollers built into its foundation.
In response to questions about whether city staff could remain in place during the seismic stability retrofit of City Hall, Scott reiterated that “It is much less expensive to do without the employees in the building,” he said, saying the major work in hardening the building against collapse would consist of “putting wrapping on the pillars.”
Scott further responded to Tim Prince’s suggestion that less expensive quarters could be found elsewhere in the heart of the city.
“We started off by looking at every opportunity we could find where there are spaces big enough that we could occupy enough of the operation so we didn’t end up with ten locations,” Scott said. “There’s a number of spaces we found that are less ready for occupancy and smaller and further away from this location but what we found was right next door and I’ll give credit to the people from Vanir for reaching out and contacting us because they actually contacted us first and said, ‘We’re right next door Do you want to see the space?’ So, we went and looked at it and the space in the Vanir Tower is excellent space. It’s very usable, very convenient. There were some security issues we had to work out. There were some IT issues that their building lent itself to. But their building was not big enough to handle everything. We did not find any other spaces that were larger and readily available where we could have met the timelines we set for ourselves.”
Scott said future council meetings will likely be held in the former economic development department building, at the Norman Feldheym Library or, less likely, in the board meeting room at the school district administration office.
Asked point blank by councilwoman Bessine Richards why the city operations will not be maintained and staged out of City Hall during the seismic retrofit, Scott said, “Because it’s dangerous. This is not a building we should be in. This is a building which any seismic engineer who looks at this building will tell you… can collapse in a 6 point earthquake. This community is way behind other parts of the state in adopting seismic safety codes. We have not imposed them here in the way it has been done in other places and our City Hall building is a perfect example of that. It is time for us to take the leap and do that. No one needs to take my word for it. We can talk to all the seismic engineers in the state and I’m sure we’re going to get the same results as everyone who looks at this. This is a dangerous building in the condition it is in today.”
The council voted 7-0 to follow Scott’s recommendation. The city will pay $1.80 per square foot for Vanir Tower, which is at 290 N. D Street and $1.55 per square foot for 215 N. D Street — $21,566 and $42,688 per month during the first year of the two-year lease.
The current City Hall is San Bernardino’s fourth formalized official municipal headquarters. Its current 43 year life, which is considerably shorter than was originally envisaged for it, is a lengthier tenure than any of its predecessors. San Bernardino’s first City Hall, completed in 1872 and lodge on the second floor above the Meyerson & Company dry goods and grocery store, lasted 29 years at its Fourth and D Street location. D Street was then called Utah. In 1901, the city’s second City Hall, located very close to where the Vanir Tower stands at Third and D streets, was dedicated. City officers occupied the ground floor. Above it was a dentist’s office. The life of that City Hall was 18 years. In 1919, the city purchased the Farmers Exchange Bank Building, built in 1888 on the west side of D Street between Fourth and Fifth streets. Municipal offices moved into that location, becoming the city’s third City Hall, on August 30, 1919. In 1937, the city began work on its fourth City Hall at 426 Third Street. The two-story building was constructed as a federal Public Works Administration projects, and was completed in February 1938. That facility lasted 31 years, at which time it was knocked down to make way for the current City Hall.
By Ruth Musser-Lopez
The results are in. As of 3:41 p.m. on November 23, it appears that 642,362 of San Bernardino County’s 888,019 voters participated in the November 8, 2016 General Election.
Most of these votes were from urban areas and the majority voted for Hillary Rodham Clinton, which kept the county “blue” at 52% to 42%. Democrat Kamala Harris also won in San Bernardino County, with roughly 55% to sister Democrat Loretta Sanchez’s 45% countywide.
Donald J. Trump did not do as well in his bid for the presidency in San Bernardino County as did John McCain or Mitt Romney in 2008 and 2012 against Barak Obama, each Republican receiving about 45% as opposed to Trump’s 42%. This may indicate that about 3% of Republicans simply withheld their vote. In surrounding rural counties, Clinton faired even better in Imperial County at 70% – 30%, in Mono 52% – 40% and Riverside 50% – 45%
The reverse is true in Kern County and the Central Valley, which continue to be red. Trump fetched 60% of the vote there and 53% in Inyo and in Tulare 53%. Republican unity behind the GOP candidate continues to be the rule across the “Joad belt,” which basically follows the midwest migration pattern of John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath family from Needles to Barstow, through the Tehachapis and into Bakersfield and filling the Central Valley up to Fresno.
The evidence of the disparity of voting pattern in the Inland Empire of San Bernardino and the desert I-40/58 Dust Belt is reflected in the numbers from the Congressional, State Assembly and Senate district and supervisorial district results.
Looking at surrounding Congressional districts, in Imperial County’s CD51, Juan Vargas, a Democrat won hands down with 72%. In Riverside County, Democrat Raul Ruiz won 61% in CD36, Mark Takano won 64% in CD41 leaving only one congressional seat, CD42, with a Republican frontrunner—Ken Calvert. In the Inland portion of San Bernardino County, Congressman Pete Aguire held firmly to his title against Paul Chabot.
The opposite is true in desert San Bernardino County, Kern and Tulare. Representative Paul Cook in CD8 won decisively, 194,000 votes with observably little campaigning against challenger Dr. Rita Ramirez-Dean’s 122,000 votes. Kevin McCarthy remains in the house seat for CD23, defeating Democrat Wendy Reed. In CD21, David Valadao remains in place, having vanquished Democrat Emilio Huerta, the son of Delores Huerta, the champion of farm labor rights who was an activist alongside Caesar Chavez in the 1960s and 1970s. In Tulare’s CD22, Kevin Nunes kept his seat but Louie Campos like Reed and Huerta gave the Republicans a reasonable run for their money.
The contrast of the Republican hold in the Joad Belt as opposed to adjacent areas is striking when you consider that Cook received overall 63% of the vote and Ramirez-Dean 37% as opposed to the vote in less populated Mono County where Cook and Ramirez-Dean nearly tied.
In the west desert’s State Senate District 21 there were about 90,000 voters with 50,000 or thereabouts going to Republican Scott Wilk and 40,000 to Democrat Jonathan Ervin despite the infusion of about $800,000 from the California Democratic Party to the latter’s campaign fund, the Sentinel is informed. The picture changes when the LA County votes are considered. There, Wilk received 54% to Ervin’s 45%, but since LA County is only a small part of the district, his performance there was not enough to change the outcome.
Also in the far western portion of San Bernardino County’s desert around Palmdale, we had a race for State Assembly District 36 with Democrat Steve Fox making a comeback attempt against now incumbent Republican Tom Lackey. In San Bernardino County the Republican received 70% as opposed to 30% for Fox. The count was more favorable toward Fox outside of the San Bernardino County portion of the district with cross county totals coming in at…55% to 44%.
In the desert around Morongo Valley and 29 Palms, similar percentages of 66 to 33% for Republicans vs. Democrats were registered with Chad Mayes keeping his seat against challenger Greg Rodriguez for State Assembly District 42. When Riverside’s totals were counted in it was a closer race with 58% to 42%.
In the eastern Mojave Desert from Barstow to Needles, the AD33 race is entirely contained in San Bernardino County. New Democrat Scott Markovich, who ran as a Republican in the same race in 2014, fared better this time, first beating out former Assemblyman Tim Donnelly’s punch back at the position during the primaries and coming in the top two against Republican incumbent Jay Olbernolte. In the General, the Olbernolte-Markovich match ended with a 20 percentage point spread as opposed to 30 or even 40 % in other rural districts of the county. Markovich fetched 53,637 votes against Olbernote’s plus 781,330 for a total of 134,967 votes in that district.
According to Mike Curran, who is on the Democratic Executive Board representing AD33 “the vote spread has basically been the same for the last 30 years.” The odds have apparently discouraged Democrats from running against the heavily-advantaged Republican candidates. The county’s First District supervisorial race in the General was between two Republicans, incumbent Robert Lovingood and challenger Angela Valles. Pockets of isolationist voters exist in the rural desert areas. Valles made a failed attempt to gain victory by appealing to this constituency, leading a protest march against 25 immigrant Syrian families who were brought in by Catholic charities after 3 years of vetting.
The protest march that Valles led took place on the Bear Valley Road bridge across the I-15 freeway in the Victor Valley. This march was met with protestors protesting the protestors.
One bright spot for Democrats in the desert was a local race where a candidate endorsed by the party, Blanca Gomez, won a seat on the Victorville City Council. According to Curran, “things are changing in that part of the desert, which cannot really be considered ‘rural’ anymore with an approximate 367,000 population in Victorville, Adelanto, Hesperia and Apple Valley.”
By Mark Gutglueck
Despite the reluctance of the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office to apply criminal sanctions against the sheriff’s department over acts of violence and death inflicted upon its detainees and prisoners, the county and its taxpayers continue to succumb to civil sanctions meted out by state and federal courts when the families of those who have lost their lives in sheriff’s custody sue.
Without going to trial, the county last week settled, for $1.5 million, a lawsuit filed by the parents of a 19-year-old black man from Ontario beaten to death in his cell last year at West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga. In the case of a 29-year-old black man shot and killed last year by a sheriff’s deputy during an encounter at the Barstow motel where the man was in residence, the county is looking, on November 28, to make a quick exodus by means of a similar payout from a federal lawsuit filed by the deceased’s mother, and the county is now gearing up to defend itself against or buy its way out of a parallel lawsuit from the man’s father filed early this month.
In the first of these cases, on November 15, lawyers for San Bernardino County and the lawyer for the parents of Rashad Davis Jr. agreed to a $1.5 million settlement, precluding the need for the case which named San Bernardino County, the sheriff’s department and sheriff’s captain Jeff Rose to go to trial.
Woodland Hills-based attorney Dale K. Galipo represented Rashad Davis Sr. and Deandra Thomas, in the lawsuit relating to the death of their son, Rashad Davis Jr, 19, who was in custody at the West Valley Detention Center in May 2015 following his arrest on suspicion of robbing the New Happy Day Spa in Ontario at knifepoint on March 18, 2015, and stealing a cell phone and purse at San Joaquin Valley College, also in Ontario, on March 26, 2015.
Davis, who was 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighed about 105 pounds, had no record of prior criminal offenses before his arrest on suspicion of armed robbery and burglary. He was placed into a cell with Jeremiah Ajani Bell, 22, on April 27, 2015. Bell, 22, who had been arrested for attempted murder, was in custody on suspicion of severely beating a 54-year-old Rialto resident, Armando Barron, with a baseball bat. Barron subsequently died from the injuries sustained in that beating. On Friday, May 22, 2015 at 10:02 a.m., West Valley Detention Center deputies found Davis unresponsive on the floor of the two-man cell he occupied with Bell. Davis, who had been repeatedly slammed into the concrete floor, received immediate medical attention and was transported to Kaiser Hospital in Fontana, where he was pronounced dead.
An autopsy on Davis was conducted on Tuesday, May 26, 2015, by the Riverside County Coroner’s Office. The cause of death was determined to be from blunt force injuries. Investigators from the San Bernardino County Specialized Investigation Division Homicide Detail, detective Gary Hart and sergeant John Gaffney, conducted the investigation into the incident. Those investigators determined that Jeremiah Ajani Bell was responsible for the death of Rashad Paul Davis. Bell has been charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of both Barron and Davis.
Davis had severe learning disabilities, including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and what has been described as “the mentality of a 10-year-old.” He attended special needs schools. There are several contradictions in the sheriff’s department’s and the county’s position with regard to Davis’ murder. The sheriff’s department maintains it was not responsible for Davis’ death, asserting that state prison realignment, in which many prison inmates have been transported to county detention facilities, accounts for what occurred, although Bell at the time of Davis’ death was not convicted and would have been in the sheriff’s custody in any case. Nevertheless, the sheriff’s department maintains that in reaction to Davis’ death, the sheriff’s department has instituted “system improvements” at its jails to prevent a repeat of the circumstances that led to Davis’ death. The settlement, while acknowledging Rashad Davis Sr. and Deandra Thomas are due $1.5 million as the result of the death of their son, contains language to the effect that it is not to be construed as an admission of guilt by the department, the county or captain Rose. Rose oversaw operations at the jail, which has been the focus of an FBI and federal grand jury investigation into allegations of inmate abuse since March 2014. Sheriff John McMahon has said he is cooperating with that investigation, which implies he has provided information to federal investigators, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, prejudicial to Rose.
In another case, Nathanael Pickett I, the father of 29-year-old Nathanael Pickett II, who was shot and killed by San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Deputy Kyle Woods last November, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against San Bernardino County, Kyle H. Woods, Riverside County, the El Rancho Motel and the City of Barstow on November 1.
Nathanael Pickett I is represented by Victorville-based attorney Bob Conaway. Nathanael Pickett I’s lawsuit was filed in San Bernardino County Superior Court. That lawsuit relates to essentially the same events covered in a lawsuit filed by Nathanael Harris Pickett II’s mother, Dominique Archibald, in U.S. Federal Court in Riverside on May 31, naming San Bernardino County, the sheriff’s department, sheriff’s deputy Kyle Hayden Woods, and an unidentified civilian reserve deputy as defendants.
Nathanael Harris Pickett II’s shooting occurred in the Barstow Police Department’s jurisdiction, within the City of Barstow. There are a number of issues with regard to the matter that represent a degree of liability on the part of the county and the sheriff’s department, the suit alleges.
Based on deputy Woods’ statements and his police report, the sheriff’s office has maintained the shooting was a justified use of deadly force in which the deceased tempted fate through his own behavior. Other available information and evidence, including a video and statements by witnesses, controvert Woods and the department.
The incident took place on November 19, 2015 and began after Nathanael Harris Pickett II, according to the department, was observed making an unconventional entrance onto the property where he was residing. When he was approached, Pickett failed to properly identify himself to Woods and a reserve officer accompanying Woods on his patrol rounds that evening, the sheriff’s department maintains. Pickett remained uncooperative and then fled when Woods attempted to place him in handcuffs, the department maintains. A scuffle ensued, during which, according to the sheriff’s department, Pickett repeatedly punched Woods in the head.
Woods and the citizen volunteer were on duty the evening in question when they witnessed, at approximately 9:07 p.m., a man, subsequently identified as Pickett, jumping over a fence at the El Rancho Motel in Barstow. When the officers moved to question Pickett, according to the department, he furnished the pair with a “false name and became uncooperative. As the deputy attempted to handcuff the suspect, he attempted to run and a fight between the two broke out. Pickett struck the deputy numerous times in the face and refused to comply with the repeated verbal commands to stop hitting him and move away. The deputy fired his weapon, striking the subject, at which time the assault ceased.”
Pickett was pronounced dead at the scene.
Woods, according to a sheriff’s department news release at the time, suffered multiple injuries, including broken bones. Furthermore, according to the sheriff’s department, Pickettt has a history of resisting arrest, such that he merited the use of deadly force against him.
Pickett was twice convicted, in 2006 and again in 2011, of “obstructing an executive officer.” In 2012, Pickett was sentenced to three years of conditional and revocable release stemming from the 2006 misdemeanor obstructing an executive officer arrest, court records show. He was simultaneously sentenced to three years of supervised probation following a no contest plea to two counts of felony obstructing an executive officer and a felony false impersonation charge stemming from a 2011 arrest.
Nevertheless, witnesses say it was Woods who was punching Pickett rather than the other way around. Nor does video footage captured by a security camera at the El Rancho Motel, where Pickett had been living, bear out the department’s and Woods’ version of events. Woods activated an audio recorder on his uniform belt. At various times during the encounter Pickett can be heard asking Woods, “What’s the problem?” The video depicts Woods talking to Pickett, then Pickett running from the deputy, who pursues Pickett off camera. A few minutes later, Pickett reappears on video, running down the motel corridor and being chased by Woods. Pickett trips and falls. Woods, seen on the video from behind, at that point appears to be pointing his gun at Pickett. Pickett scoots back, away from the approaching deputy, but does not appear to be hitting or in any way striking Woods. A single flash of gunfire briefly flickers and Pickett is then seen prone on the ground. At no point is Pickett seen striking Woods. Woods, however, can be seen punching Pickett repeatedly. At one point, the reserve deputy can be seen assisting Woods.
According to the complaint filed on November 1, 2016 by Conaway on behalf of Harris Pickett, there are 24 overt acts or causes of action, including wrongful death, conspiracy to destroy evidence of civil rights violations, excessive force, a violation of the Fourth Amendment and violating a familial right to bury a family member.
The complaint alleges Woods “unlawfully, improperly and maliciously” shot Pickett while he was on the ground and “presenting no threat of harm” to anyone. Pickett’s body was moved, according to the suit, to obscure the crime scene and manipulate the body in a way that altered or destroyed ballistic evidence that would have, if handled properly, established Pickett was shot while lying on the ground and could have survived the gunshot wounds if “prompt and proper medical care” had been rendered in a timely manner. Furthermore, according to the suit, the sheriff’s department dissuaded, or attempted to dissuade witnesses.
Additionally, according to the suit, Pickett’s body was left for several hours at the scene of the shooting and, after it was removed, left “unrefrigerated” for several days while in the possession of the sheriff’s coroner’s division, leading to decomposition.
The complaint alleges Pickett’s body was taken to the Riverside County’s coroner, where it “sat for the better part of a week without any refrigeration.”
“Had (the) plaintiff known the whereabouts of the body of the deceased, they would have requested refrigeration so the remains at the funeral would have been recognizable after proper preparation,” the complaint reads. “Instead the remains desicated to where they were unrecognizable, making an open casket viewing impossible.”
Conaway says the coroner’s offices in San Bernardino and Riverside made no appreciable attempts to inform Pickett’s family of his death within 24 hours of the shooting.
Pickett’s father seeks general, special, punitive damages and reasonable attorney fees, to be determined at trial.
Pickett’s mother, Dominique Archibald, is the plaintiff in the separate federal case. She is represented by Victorville attorneys Jim Terrell and Sharon Brunner, along with Dale Galipo. Archibald, Terrell, Brunner and Galipo acknowledge that Pickett suffered from an undiagnosed mental illness, most likely schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. But Pickett’s condition in no way justified the treatment he received at the hands of Woods, according to the suit, which lists among its causes of action unreasonable search and seizure, excessive force, deliberate indifference to Pickett’s medical needs, and violations of civil rights and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Moreover, the suit paints a picture of out-and-out sadistic brutality and criminal acts perpetrated by Woods. Woods acted “unlawfully, improperly and maliciously shot” Pickett, the suit states. After Pickett was shot, according to the suit, Woods reholstered his gun, and he and the reserve deputy punched and kicked Pickett as he lay on the doorstep of death. Woods merits being prosecuted by the district attorney’s office for murder, Terrall and Bruner maintain.
U.S. District Court Judge Andre Birrote Jr. set the trial date for March 6, 2018, court records show. Nevertheless, the county is anxious to avoid the prospect of going to trial and it is anticipated the county will settle the matter prior to the March trial date.
The Barstow Police Department investigated the shooting with assistance from the sheriff’s department. That report was forwarded to the district attorney’s office on April 19. Two days after Conaway filed his suit on behalf of Harris Pickett, the district attorney’s office on November 3 entered a finding that Woods was justified in “using deadly force to protect himself and others” when he shot and killed Pickett. According to the district attorney’s office, Woods and the civilian reserve deputy believed, mistakenly it would later be determined, that Pickett was trespassing on the El Rancho Motel grounds. Killing Pickett was further justified, according to the district attorney’s office, given the results of a toxicology report showing Pickett had marijuana in his system and a blood-alcohol level of 0.01. Pickett had taken part in and had completed all phases of a court-ordered mental health rehabilitation program imposed upon his as a term of probation. Records show he had cooperated with a psychiatrist and medical doctor and took all prescribed medication given him under the Cedar House Rehabilitation Program. The district attorney’s office routinely deems uses of force by law enforcement officers as legally justified.
Conaway told the Sentinel, “The DA’s report making the finding the shooting was justified is based on incorrect facts. To start with, Nate II walked into the property where he rented a room. He did not jump the fence. He did identify himself, which the cop acknowledged, but that he chose not to believe him and as much said so.”
The complaint states, “For reasons that are not known, perhaps to impress his ride along (herein referred to as Doe 31) or to brandish his power (Woods was a rookie on the force) Woods pulled into the El Rancho Motel common area after which Woods and his ride along exited the marked patrol vehicle and for some reason approached Nathanael Pickett II who was already on the motel property and in route to his rented place in the motel. Without probable cause, reasonable suspicion to believe Nathanael Picket II had violated the law, or any other legitimate law enforcement purpose, Kyle Woods approached Nathanael Pickett II, demanding he stop and answer questions. After talking to Kyle for a short time, during which time plaintiff is informed and believes and thereon alleges that Nathanael Pickett II identified himself to Kyle Woods as Nate Pickett, the same name as his father who has been involved, has worked in and owned properties in the City of Barstow and the County of San Bernardino for approximately three decades, and that Nathanael Pickett II resumed walking to his room at the motel, but rather than breaking off contact, Kyle Woods continued, despite no indication of a crime having been committed, about to be committed or any other exigent circumstance or warrant continued pursuit, followed Nathanael Pickett II again but by this time, Kyle Woods was in the curtilage of his rented residence, consisting of a six riser covered stairway immediately surrounding his residential rental unit in the motel or presumed protected zone under the 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution.”
The suit continues, “Kyle Woods open hand pushed Nathanael Pickett II from behind, causing Nathanael Pickett II to fall onto the hard concrete surface on the six riser walkway onto his side & torso and according to a video record it appears possibly strike his head on the concrete floor, causing what plaintiff is informed and believes unspecified injuries, the extent of which plaintiff will never be able to evaluate and assess due to the mishandling of the corpse post mortem by San Bernardino County and Riverside County coroner’s offices. At some point between the push and after the fall, Doe 31 comes over to kick Nathanael Pickett in the curtilage of his rented residence, causing fright, emotional distress and injuries plaintiff is unable to evaluate due to the mishandling of the corpse as alleged above.”
Conaway told the Sentinel, “The cop repeatedly said he was going to taze Pickett II, twice according to witnesses. So, what does he do? He shoots him twice in the chest after Nate II was pushed to the ground. This is clearly shown on film. After Nate II is on the ground, he pulls his gun and shoots him.”
Deputy Woods showed absolute disregard for Pickett’s safety, Conaway said, engaging in what was literally overkill and then prevented medical aid from reaching the man he shot in anything approximating a timely manner.
“While Nate II was bleeding from two gunshot wounds, Woods flails at his body, while he complains he is having trouble breathing,” Conaway told the Sentinel. The complaint states, “Nathanael Pickett II died a slow painful death, struggling to breathe, while Kyle Woods & Doe 31 [the unidentified civilian reserve deputy] instead of helping Nathaeel Pickett II, violently struck his body.”
According to Conaway, “The shooting happened at approximately 9:15-9:16 pm; the paramedics, who were less than two miles away, were notified at 9:20 p.m. and arrived at 9:25 p.m. But when they arrived, the paramedics were “staged out of the area” and given access only after being escorted in, so the exact time of arrival to the gunshot victim is not clear as the fire paramedic unit was not cleared until 9:58 p.m.”
The lawsuit states, “In furtherance of the care denial, the Barstow Fire Protection District was given a delayed notice of the incident and the County of San Bernardino’s officers at the scene restricted the paramedic’s access to Nathanael Pickett II, such that when they arrived, Nathanael Pickett II had expired. Decedent was entitled to receive necessary medical attention while in the custody of Kyle Woods, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department and the City of Barstow’s Police Department.”
The suit states Woods showed “deliberate indifference to the decedent’s medical needs.”
Conaway maintains there was demonstrable tampering with the scene of the shooting, Pickett’s dead body and the evidence in what he characterized as “a coverup.” He said law enforcement officers cataloged through a set of related but falsified scenarios to justify the shooting before settling upon one that can be shown to be a fabrication.
“Barstow PD appeared at the scene and moved the body to a location close to the fence, which supposedly was the point of entry or planned exit,” Conaway told the Sentinel. “The story released to the media the following morning is that the suspect was running to a fence to jump it. Then it was changed to his jumping the fence to get in. They should not have been involved in the investigation.”
The lawsuit references “The efforts of Kyle Woods, the City of Barstow by and through its officers named herein as Doe defendants 11-20 & San Bernardino County & employees named as Does 1-10 who contrary to the statutory mandate that only the coroner should move the body in such facts (a shooting related death), in fact moved the body from where the decedent was shot on the ground on the walkway outside his rental unit, to a location close to the fence, where Woods and Does 1-10 and 11-20 would fabricate his story that Nathanael Pickett II was not being compliant, that Nathanael Picket II was attempting to scale a fence away from where he lived and that Woods needed to violently wrestle to the ground an unarmed man, whereupon a struggle allegedly ensued which allegedly injured Woods and justified his shooting Nathanael Pickett II to death. In furtherance of the conspiracy, the sheriff’s department’s shooting team (one of the Does 1-10) removed evidence from the actual scene consisting of the blood, the shell casings and the spent rounds that went through the torso of Nathanael Pickett II and certain portions of the video on scene and ‘awarded’ the investigation to the Barstow Police Department, the employer of the assisting officers in what plaintiff is informed and believes was a coverup. Due to the expertise of the coroner’s office in both counties by and through their employees, and their knowledge that defensive wounds, angles of entry of gunshots and pre-shooting traumatic injuries are all relevant to the question of whether a person put up a struggle, fight or was evasive, the condition of the body was crucial for plaintiff to be able to fully investigate claims and potential rights and in violation of 42 USC 1985(3) as two or more persons are involved in an effort to deprive plaintiff, either directly or indirectly, of equal protection of the laws and/or of equal privileges and immunities under the laws.”
According to the suit, “For reasons that are unclear, Nathanael Pickett II’s body was not released until nearly a week later making any forensic investigation of the angle of gunshot wounds, whether there were any defensive wounds on the arms of the decedent or abrasions indicating pre-death injury from his being pushed down by officer Woods and hitting the concrete stairs and floor, struck by officer Woods pre-shooting and or striking injuries from the civil ride-along identified as Doe 31.” The suit further references, police officers “with the City of Barstow who assisted in moving the body to fabricate a fleeing suspect alternative crime scene scenario, chasing off witnesses to the events leading up and including the shooting who were present [and] handling the body in such a way as to destroy ballistic evidence.”
Furthermore, according to the suit, “The San Bernardino County’s sheriff’s department has demonstrated the practice in shooting cases of moving the body before any coroner can inspect the body with the assistance of police officers that arrive at the scent to a location to fit the false account that is planned, of in fact developing an alternative story based on where the bodies and related evidence is moved, the moving of evidence before it can be independently inspected where it came to rest or lie after the fatal officer shooting, preventing family from accessing the body by shipping off to another county and then letting the body deteriorate to where a forensic examination by the family or representatives becomes problematic.”
According to the suit, “the Sheriff’s department has employed and retained as deputies who they reasonably knew or should have known had dangerous propensities and tendencies for abusing their authority and mistreating citizens by failing to follow any written San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department polices and for using excessive force.”
Roger A. Colvin, an attorney representing the county said he wants the federal cases and state cases to be joined together under what he called the “one action rule. The one action rule requires that all claimants be joined in a single action where the alleged wrongful death arises out of the same set of facts with the same parties.”
Colvin said the county will have the suit Conaway filed on Pickett’s father’s behalf vacated if he insists on going it alone. “If the joinder is not effectuated, our office will have no other recourse than to file a demurrer and/or motion to strike the first amended complaint,” Colvin said in a letter to Conaway obtained by the Sentinel.
Lawyers for Dominique Archibald are scheuled to have a settlement conference with lawyers representing the county on Monday, November 28.
Public employee unions’ effort to derail the government pension reform movement in California advanced this week when the California Supreme Court consented on November 22 to review an August First District Court of Appeal ruling that authorized state and local governments’ reduction of government retirees’ pensions.
Three months ago, a three-judge panel of the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco ruled that state and local government employees are not necessarily entitled to pensions upon retirement that match the exact terms provided to what current or past government retirees were being provided at the time of their hiring. That ruling held that government pensions are not “immutable” and can be reduced.
The court of appeal’s August ruling amounted to a major change in California public pension law, legal and labor law experts maintain.
Historically, what has become known as the “California rule,” which is based on a series of state court decisions, the primary one having been handed down in 1955, has been the controlling factor holding what many consider to be overly-generous retirement benefits provided to public employees in place.
In the 1955 case of Allen v. City of Long Beach, the California Supreme Court said, essentially, that the pension benefits agreed to between governmental entities and the unions for governmental employees are permanently locked in.
“To be sustained as reasonable, alterations of employees’ pension rights must bear some material relation to the theory of a pension system and its successful operation, and changes in a pension plan which result in disadvantage to employees should be accompanied by comparable new advantages,” the state Supreme Court said in Allen v. City of Long Beach.
Over the years, government employees continued to enjoy retirement benefits that were substantially better than those offered through most private sector employers. The so-called California Rule was strengthened
in public employees’ favor with a series of further court rulings, in particular one in the 1983 state Supreme Court decision Allen v. Board of Administration. In Allen v. Board of Administration, the phraseology in the Allen v. City of Long Beach decision was changed from “should” have a comparable new advantage to “must.”
In the intervening years, however, dwindling financial resources for governmental operations have become acute, in part because of the burgeoning cost of providing pensions to governmental employees, who are living longer and longer, while remaining until death eligible to pull yearly pensions that approach or exceed the annual pay or salaries they received while working. In this way, many cities in California, including a majority of the 24 cities in San Bernardino County, have a future debt burden, referred to as “an unfunded pension liability,” exceeding $50 million and in some cases approaching $100 million in those individual municipalities. The California Public Employees Retirement System, known by its acronym CalPERs, is the entity that oversees a large share of the provision of public pensions in California by taking in participant and governmental contributions to the system and handling investments. To maintain its integrity, CalPERS says it must achieve a 7.5 percent return annually on its investments, a goal it has consistently missed over the last several years. CalPERS now has a future shortfall or “unfunded liability” of $139 billion. This has resulted in governmental entities up and down the state – including cities, counties and the state government – having to make up the differences. Because of this, money that was previously available for ongoing governmental operations has been reduced, entailing a drop in the availability of normal and standard governmental services currently and anticipated into the future. An effort to offset this has been ongoing by reforming the public pension system.
A significant case in that reform movement is one involving the effort by Marin County to end what is referred to as “pension spiking,” the practice of public employees counting their benefits – vacation, sick pay, medical coverage, etc. – as part of their salaries in the calculation to set their annual pensions.
In 2012, Marin County employee unions filed suit, contending their vested rights were violated by a pension reform enacted in 2012 that prevents pension boosts from unused vacation and leave, bonuses, terminal pay and other things. Those “anti-spiking” provisions apply to current workers from January 1, 2013 going forward and all new hires brought in after that date.
In August, a three-member panel of the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco, consisting of Justices James Richman J. Anthony Kline and Maria Miller, concluded that Marin County, and by extension other governmental entities in California could reduce future pensions and eliminate spiking provisions.
Pension spiking has occurred when some workers cash in years of accumulated vacation or sick pay or pay for added duties they volunteered for, thus inflating their pay during the period on which their retirement stipend is based — usually the final year or years of their employment. In certain cases this has given retirees pensions that exceeded their regular salary. The Marin County retirement system, relying on the new law, decided it would no longer base pensions on the addition of various on-call duties and for waiving health insurance. The unions contested that move in court. They maintained employees had set their hearts on getting the increased pension benefits and in some cases agreed to go to work in the public sector because of the expectation of the fatter pensions.
In saying that Marin County was justified in not allowing the pension spiking to occur, Justices Richman, Kline and Miller referenced one of the few court cases in the past half century that cast a shadow over the California rule, Miller v. State of California, which said, “the governing body may make reasonable modifications and changes before the pension becomes payable and that until that time the employee does not have a right to any fixed or definite benefits but only to a substantial or reasonable pension.”
In their ruling, Richman, Kline and Miller stated, “Sort of actual abolition, a radical reduction of benefits, or a fiscally unjustifiable increase in employee contributions, the guiding principle is still the one identified by Miller in 1977.”
Justice Richman, who wrote the decision for First District Court of Appeal wrote that “while a public employee does have a ‘vested right’ to a pension, that right is only to a ‘reasonable’ pension — not an immutable entitlement to the most optimal formula of calculating the pension. And the Legislature may, prior to the employee’s retirement, alter the formula, thereby reducing the anticipated pension. So long as the Legislature’s modifications do not deprive the employee of a ‘reasonable’ pension, there is no constitutional violation.”
If it stands, that ruling could be the means by which the massive unfunded liabilities facing cities, counties and the state could be significantly reduced along with the scale of the public pensions. But the union representing Marin County’s employees have challenged the ruling and on November 22 the California Supreme Court, which could have declined to consider the matter, unanimously consented to hearing labor unions’ appeal of the First District Court of Appeal’s ruling. The court will not take up the matter until another panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal resolves another pending pension dispute.
YUCCA VALLEY— Dogs throughout the Morongo Valley are in mortal risk, as a general outbreak of parvovirus nationally has made its way into the local community.
Health officials say there have been 32 cases of parvovirus in the basin. Officials said this is the most pervasive waive of the canine virus locally in memory. Approximately ten of the pets that contracted the disease have died so far.
Parvo is an aggressive virus that attacks a dog’s immune system, taking root in the digestive system before it wreaks extensive and life-threatening damage to the animal. It is most serious in puppies, whose immune systems are not developed. But it can be devastating as well in older dogs that are not vaccinated. Parvo can live outside of a host for several months. It has no appreciable impact on humans, who have a lower body temperature than dogs. It can be warded off through vaccination. Vaccination consists of a shot administered typically to a puppy and then supplemented with subsequent booster shots.
It is recommended that the owners of any dogs not yet vaccinated secure immunization for their pets. Adult dogs should be vaccinated every three years. It is further recommended that dogs not vaccinated be kept away from dog parks. An unvaccinated dog can contract the disease by merely coming into contact with the environment where an infected dog was present, including where the droppings or vomit of an infected dog are present. Moreover, the contagion can be spread by humans who unwittingly pick up the virus on the soles of their shoes and then track it into their homes or yards.
Coyotes, which are indigenous to the Morongo Basin, can carry the virus.
Home vaccination of dogs is possible but not recommended as the handling of the vaccine, the temperature and conditions under which it is stored and the administration of the shots must be done appropriately.
By Count Friedrich von Olsen
In recent weeks discussion relating to Hillary Clinton’s capturing of a popular vote victory while actually losing the election because she was outperformed in the Electoral College by Donald Trump has intensified. I will not spend time defending the electoral system as it exists or spend time explaining that it was intended to protect the lesser-populated agrarian states from being dominated by the more heavily populated citified states that existed at the time of our nation’s formation. Nor will I spend time trying to explain that this system continues to protect vast Middle America from being overshadowed by the fewer but more heavily saturated coastal areas. I certainly understand that Ms. Clinton’s edge in the total number of votes cast nationwide – something like 64.4 million to President-elect Trump’s 62.3 million – is a significant statement of faith in her leadership. Under the rules, however, Donald Trump will come to occupy 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on January 20…
I offer the following history tutorial so that my readers understand that this is not the first time the winner of the popular vote – by either a plurality or a majority – did not inherit the presidency…
First let us consider the cases where the majority vote leader failed to win…
In the 1876 election Samuel Tilden, the Democrat, garnered 50.92 percent of the popular vote, outdistancing Republican Rutherford Hayes, who polled 47.92 percent, and three other candidates. But Hayes carried 185 electoral votes to Tilden’s 184 and became the 19th President of the United States.
To this day, it is not clear who really won the popular vote in the 1960 election, John Kennedy or Richard Nixon. Officially, Kennedy received 112,827 (0.17%) more votes than Nixon nationwide. But there were major irregularities in the voting in West Virginia and Illinois, with a whole lot of dead people voting. The ballot boxes might have been stuffed in favor of Kennedy, who won a 303 to 219 Electoral College victory. Nevertheless, Nixon won the popular vote contest among more individual states, 26 to 22. Nixon conceded the election and did not contest the outcomes in favor of his rival in West Virginia and Illinois…
In addition to those two contests, there were sixteen others in which the winner did not claim more than a majority of the votes cast…
In 1824, Andrew Jackson won a plurality of the popular vote, beating John Quincey Adams, William Crawford and Henry Clay. But none of those had prevailed in the Electoral College and under the 12th Amendment, the decision moved to the House of Representatives. The forces behind Adams joined forces with those supporting Clay and gave the presidency to Adams. That was considered to be a “corrupt bargain” by Jackson’s supporters, who came back with vengeance in the 1828 Election, when Adams was voted out of office after a single term…
In the election of 1844, James K. Polk outpolled both of his opponents in the race, Henry Clay and James G. Birney. But Polk did not capture a majority of the vote, but rather 49.6 percent. Polk received 1,339,494 votes, Clay received 1,300,004 votes, and Birney received 62,103 votes…
In the election of 1848, Zachary Taylor, the Whig candidate, was up against Lewis Cass and Martin Van Buren, who had been president a decade previously. Taylor received 1,361,393 (47.3%) votes, Cass received 1,223,460 votes, and Van Buren received 291,501 votes…
In the Election of 1856, James Buchanan was elected with 45.3 percent of the vote, capturing 1,836,072 votes to the 1,342,345 votes received by the first Republican to run for president, John Fremont, and 873,053 votes for former president Millard Fillmore…
In 1860, Abraham Lincoln received the lowest percentage of votes of any successful candidate for president in U.S. History when he captured 1,865,908 votes, or 39.8%, to the 1,380,202 votes cast for Stephen A. Douglas, the 848,019 votes for John C. Breckinridged and the 590,901 votes for John Bell…
In 1880, Republcian James Garfield prevailed in the popular vote by fewer than 2,000 votes over the second place finisher, Democrat Winfield Scott Hancock. Garfield received 4,446,158 votes, or 48.3% to Hancock’s 4,444,260 vote total. James Weaver, the Greenback Party candidate, received 305,997 votes. Grover Cleveland ran for president three times, in 1884, 1888 and 1892, winning two of those contests on the way to being the only President to serve non-consecutive terms. In all three of those elections, win or lose, he failed to capture a majority of the vote. In 1884, Cleveland with 4,914,482 votes or 48.9% and 219 electoral votes, narrowly defeated the Republican candidate, former United States Senator James G. Blaine of Maine, who polled 4,856,905 votes or 48.3% and 182 electoral votes. John St. John and Benjamin Franklin Butler captured most of the remaining 1.8 percent…
In 1888, President Cleaveland again won a plurality of the popular vote, 5,534,488 or 48.63%, but lost the electoral vote and the election to Benjamin Harrison, who received 5,443,892 or 47.8% of the popular vote. The other candidates were Clinton Fisk and Alson Streeter. Harrison received 233 votes in the Electoral College to Cleveland’s 168…
In the 1892 rematch between Democrat Cleveland and Republican Harrison, the field was again crowded, with James Weaver, Simon Wing and Jon Bidwell competing. Cleveland received 5,551,883 votes or 46.2%; Harrison received 5,179,244 votes; Weaver received 1,024,280 votes; and Bidwell received 270,770 votes. Cleveland prevailed in the electoral college, with 277 votes over Harrison’s 145 and Weaver’s 22…
In 1912, Woodrow Wilson, a Democrat, won the election with 41.8 percent of the vote, or 6,293,152 votes, while William Howard Taft, the Republican incumbent, garnered 3,486,333 votes; former president Theodore Roosevelt polled 4,119,207 votes and Socialist Eugene Debs received 900,369 votes.
In 1916, Wilson again prevailed, taking a narrow 277 to 254 victory over Charles Evans Hughes in the Electoral College. Wilson received 49.24 percent of the popular vote in a field that included Allan Benson, Frank Hanly and Arthur Reimer…
The 1948 election featured Harry Truman, Thomas Dewey, Henry Wallace and Strom Thurmond. Truman won with 24,179,345 popular votes, or 49.6 percent, and 303 electoral votes, safely outdistancing Dewey and his 21,991,291 popular votes and his 189 electoral votes…
In 1968 Richard Nixon received 43.4 percent of the popular vote in a race that pitted him against Hubert Humphrey, who ran a close second, and George Wallace. Nixon outpointed Humphrey in the Electoral College 301 to 191…
Bill Clinton was elected and then reelected president in 1992 and 1996, outdistancing first incumbent George H.W. Bush and then Bob Dole. The presence of third party candidate Ross Perot in both races prevented Clinton from getting 50 percent in both races…
In the 2000 race, Al Gore captured 50,999,897 votes or 48.38% to George W. Bush’s 50,456,002 votes or 47.87%. Bush prevailed with 271 electoral votes to Gore’s 266. The race featured five other candidates, who shared the 3.75 percent of the popular vote that did not go to Bush or Gore…
All this illustrates, I hope, that Hillary Clinton’s loss of the election despite her having captured the lead in the popular vote, while remarkable, is not unique, unprecedented or all that rare. It is not, as some have suggested, a manipulation of the electoral process by Mr. Trump or the Republican Party…
By Mark Gutglueck
With World War II raging in Europe at the beginning of 1941, war clouds were drifting across the Pacific toward the United States. Across the American continent, out in the Mojave Desert in San Bernardino County, cheap land where an Army Air Corps base might be built sat fallow.
In one of those paradoxes of life, because it was so sparsely populated and undeveloped, the government considered it especially suited to be developed. And so the desert town of Victorville, then boasting just a few more than 3,000 residents, was earmarked for a radical change that put it on track to become the city of 123,000 it is today, the fifth largest of San Bernardino County’s 24 incorporated cities.
On April 21, 1941, after Army officials had intimated to state and county officials an interest in spending $1.3 million in constructing an Army Air Corps training base and spending $4 million per year in payroll for 3,500 men, county supervisors passed a resolution authorizing acquisition of 1,440 acres of land between Victorville and Adelanto.
In June Victor High School graduated 47.
That same month, the War Department notified the county of a $3 million spending authorization for the construction of a military airport and bi-motor school between Victorville and Adelanto. Edwin C. Kelton, the army’s district engineer for Southern California telegraphed Chairman Gene Grier on June 7, 1941: “G.F. Grier. Authority received this date to advertise for construction military airport Victorville. Kelton”
Grier was then the chairman of the county board of supervisors.
On June 9, 1941, the board of supervisors acted to immediately exercise options on most of the 1,440 acres to accommodate the air base and approved action to procure a right-of-way for a proposed railroad spur tract, to be built by the government from Victorville to the airport site. Elaborately arranged groundbreaking festivities for the air base were held on Saturday June 12.
Ten days later, the Army upped authorized expenditures to $5,612,186 and imposed a June 28th bid deadline to provide for accommodations for 4,100 airmen, to include 71 barracks, 16 supply rooms, an officers’ club, officers’ quarters, fire station, 170 bed hospital, 18 day rooms, seven mess halls, 17 administration buildings, a chapel, two post exchanges, a guard house, two gasoline storage units, a motor repair shop, a theater and seven warehouses. The original plans called for a 7,000 foot runway into the prevailing wind.
On Saturday June 28 1941 the government granted a $2,126,100 bid to Ford J. Twaits, Los Angeles contractor, for the construction of buildings at the Victorville airport and school site. The San Bernardino contracting firms of George Herz Co. and Bakker and Robinson were given subcontracts totaling $450,000. George Herz Co. was selected to do the paving under a contract of nearly $200,000, involving the blending of some 600,000 square yards of cement mix. The runway was to be composed of a gravel base covered with a soil-cement mixture to be surface prepared at the site with special equipment sent in by the government.
Bressie and Bevanda, a Los Angeles contracting company that built the Sepulveda Dam near Los Angeles, was cut in to do a portion of the work and get part of the $1.3 million allocated for general contract work.
The board of supervisors on June 30, 1941 ordered payment of $10,210 to Taylor M. and Julia Peterson of Ontario, owners of 1,180 acres in the Adelanto district, which formed more than two-thirds of the airport site. Another 260 acres, owned by several people, was condemned by the county and purchased in exchange for $16,400. The deal was completed through the Security Title Insurance & Guarantee Co. of San Bernardino.
On Friday July 18, 1941 a groundbreaking ceremony for the base was held, with Major W.B. Higgins, an army engineer standing in for the ailing Colonel Kelton, turning the first shovel of earth at the project.
By August 7, two million feet of lumber had been delivered and 664 men were at work and engaged in various construction functions on the base.
On August 12, Major William B. Offutt was assigned to serve as the project officer overseeing the 1,047 men at work in various capacities on the base.
On August 22, 1941, there were 918 construction workers employed at the base.
On September 8, pouring on the first of the field’s two 6,600 foot runways was underway. For a time, in August and September, the demand for lumber on the project was not being met, slowing and then temporarily halting the feverish pace of building.
In October 1941, a dispute among the directors of the Adelanto Mutual Water Company threatened to undermine a three-way agreement on guaranteeing water service to the base.
In August or September, a private meeting was held between at least three of the water company’s board members including board president and director Henry Deutschman. Representatives of the Army and the county board of supervisors, who served as the governing board of county water works district No. 2 at Adelanto. During the conference held behind closed doors, a “gentlemen’s agreement’ had been reached, pledging the Adelanto Mutual Water Company would provide 50 inches of water to the army for use at the base and at the same time would extend for 25 years the lease of the waterworks district on a similar amount of water.
The agreement included a clause giving the county an option to purchase the mutual water company. In return, the supervisors, as a governing board of the water works district, would submit an application for a $100,000 Reconstruction Finance Corporation loan. If this loan were granted, the district would purchase the Mutual Company, improve the distribution system and retire $30,000 in bonds.
On October 6, 1941 H.H. Scofield, one of the Mutual company’s directors who did not attend the conference with the supervisors and the army’s representative, said he refused to approve the gentlemen’s agreement because, according to the company’s by-laws, all five members of the directorate must act unanimously at a special session of the board, in order to act with the full authority of the board of the water works district. Within a week, Scofield’s resistance to the Army’s commandeering of the Mutual Company’s water, which had played out in public up until that time, was taken behind closed doors. His board colleagues, county officials and Army representatives or a combination thereof at some point prevailed upon him to cease his resistance, and the base thereafter was provided with enough water for operations and the domestic purposes of those stationed there.
In October Major Offut was uprated from project officer at the air base to commanding officer.
As of October 30, all barracks, supply rooms, three 1,000-men capacity mess halls and one 750 cadet capacity mess hall were completed. The first 6,600-foot runway was two thirds done, with four of its six lanes poured. At the end of October there were 1,529 workers employed at the base with 10,79 employed by Ford J. Twaits Company, 285 signed on with Bressie & Brevenda, 91 working for Bakker & Robinson, ten men with Chicago Bridge & Iron Company, and 56 men with the Army Corps of Engineers.
In the first week of November 1941 the Army upped its capacity requirements, increasing the length of the runways and the base’s housing capacity, raising the cap on the project cost to $10 million and preparing to support 12,000 personnel in both permanent quarters and cantonments.
San Bernardino County supervisors on November 3 ordered the purchase of additional land for runways as requested by Colonel E.C Kelton in his capacity as head of the army engineering staff for Southern California. Army instructors wanted a radio range-finding site. The board condemned 9.7 acres one mile south of the field. The value of the condemned tract, according to the November 7 edition of the Valley Press, was “approximately $100.”
On November 14, 1941, the original orders for the paving of two 6600-foot and one 5400-foot runway were half filled. On November 17, 96 soldiers arrived at the base and 250 more arrived for duty on November 24.
Just days before the attack on Pearl Harbor, George Herz & Company of San Bernardino underbid Bressie & Bevanda of Los Angeles by $76,000 to capture a $138,991.50 contract to pave the air base streets.
On December 18, Lt. Colonel Donald B. Phillips relieved Major Offut as base commander.
On December 20, the base’s USO building was dedicated as Miss Priscilla Lane, the screen star, danced with 75 enlisted men, signed autographs and furnished the recorded music on her own amplifying machine.
In the final week of January 1942, the War Board gave a priority rating to building materials, ending material shortages that had retarded the accelerated construction schedule at what was identified as the Victor Army Air Force Base.
In not-too-distant Hesperia on February 18 that community’s first PTA was organized.
On April 24 1942 the flight school at Victor Army Air Force Base graduated its first class of pilots, with 83 cadets receiving their twin engine wings in ceremonies at the Post Theater. All 83 were commissioned second lieutenants in the Air Corps Reserve with the aeronautical rating of “pilot.”
Among the Victor Valley’s more successful merchants were the Army Navy Store, Turner’s Insurance Company, Charles Pool Hall, City Cleaners, Lee’s Authorized Chevrolet Service, the Bachelor Shop, The Desert Den, Bennett’s Chapel of the Desert, Scott’s Café the Green Spot Desert Inn, the Green Spot Café, the Green Spot Motel, the Green Spot Bowling Academy, Charles Super Service, Bank of America, Parker’s Department Store, Desert Maid Bakery, the California Electric Power Company, the Log Cabin Café, Snyder’s Department Store, Hotel Smith, Safeway Store, Gift & Gown Shop, The Varsity Shop, the Shell Station, McCoy Cleaners, and Victor Valley Insurance Agency.
As of Friday May 15, 1942, the Victorville branch of the Bank of America’s deposits stood at $800,000, a $350,000 increase in five years. The Victorville branch was originally opened in on March 25, 1935.
On May 21, 1942 the second class from the training base graduated, consisting this time of 71 bombardiers and 82 more twin engine pilots.
On June 4, Victor High graduated 40.
On June 22 Lt. Col. Roy D. Butler relieved Colonel Phillips as base commander.
In July 1942, 73 aviation mechanics graduated from the Victor Army Air School.
Thereon, the Victorville Air Station was an intrinsic part of the war effort, graduating native son, Kemper Campbell, Junior.
On the first anniversary of Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1942, the school graduated its first class of advanced glider pilots.
A deluge in January 1943 washed away the Adelanto Waterworks well at the river, which had been Adelanto’s main water supply, leaving the town without a source of water other than a single well located in Adelanto.
The Adelanto Mutual Water Company’s board resolved to drill another well in Adelanto and initiated drilling on April 29, 1943 and the well was completed on July 6 1943. A pump was installed and a new line laid from the new well to the reservoirs so that the well was in service on August 3, 1943, supplying 179 gallons per minute at an operating cost of about half of that of bringing the water from the river, according to John C. Berry of the Victor Press.
On July 14, 1943, Col A.S. McVea began a five-day stint as base commander. On July 19, he was replaced by Colonel Earl C. Robbins.
By December 1943 the local economy was booming in both Victorville and Adelanto. Businesses that were flourishing included Lew Parrish Signs, Victorville Drug Co., Schotte & Wadleigh Welding, the Krieger Gas Station, Madeleine’s Dress Shop, the Shell Station, Mesa Theatre, The Town Taxi Co., Richardson’s Barber and Beauty Shop, Gerry’s Chicken Shack, the Log Cabin Café, the Desert Den, the Beverage Exchange, Western Auto Supply, Snyder’s Federated Store, the Texaco Service Station, the Green Spot Motel, Standard Service-Goodyear Tires, Homestead Bakery, the Jackrabbit Café, the Wagon Wheel Café, Don Burbank Maintenance Service, Valley Auto Supply, the Army & Navy Store, Turner’s Insurance, the Gift and Gown Shop, the Victorville-Barstow Truck Line, Hayward Lumber Company, Desert Maid Bakery, the Red & White Store, Pontiac Sales, Victorville Auto Body Works, the Smith Hotel, the Smith Hotel Barber Shop, Kal’s Shoe Service Shop, Ewing’s Trading Post, Desert Dome, Nu Way Laundry and Cleaners, the Standard Station, McKinney’s Market, Parker’s Department Store, Union Oil Service Station, Valentine’s Service Station, the Bank of America, Victorville Limerock, Standard Oil Wholesale Distributors, National Garage, Bill Merrill’s Butane Service, Victor Valley Insurance Agency, Scott’s Café, Brooks’ Central Pharmacy, Peterson Feed Store, Stewart Hotel, Victor Jewelry, Jane’s Gift Shop, and Mr. Todd Strafelda Optometry.
Throughout the war years, San Bernardino County was dogged with black market trading in beef. Ranchers and farmers who did not closely watch their herds would fall victim to men willing to poach steers or cows, slaughter them and then dress them for sale illicit sale to those weary of the government-imposed rations on beef.
In March 1944, the civilian population of Victorville had climbed to 5,455, calculated upon the state of California’s tally of 5,455 ration book holders in the city. At the same time, Phelan had 142 ration book holders, Oro Grande had 538, Lucerne Valley 345, Hesperia 144, Apple Valley 249, Adelanto 513, and Las Flores 150.
In March, 1944, the Army Air Corps activated the 36th Flight Training Wing as a school for P-39 single-engine pursuit pilots at Victor Army Air Field. The wing also included training crew members in the B-24 and B-25.
In 1944, the Victor High graduating class numbered 35
All debt for construction of the Adelanto water works project undertaken in 1943 was paid off as of October 1944.
In November, the War Department began stationing B-24s at Victorville Army AAir Field. As of December 1, 1944, there were 702 student enrolled at Victor schools, including elementary schools and the high school.
The Victor Press edition of Friday January 5, 1945 reported that the Victorville Bank of America transacted $38,149,468.59 in business in the entire year of 1944, which included outgoing clearings which totaled $23,581,603.31.
As of January 1945, the population of San Bernardino County had reached 221,400.
At the end of January 1945 the California Electric Power Co. began erecting in Hesperia poles with cross arms to meet 53 applications for electric power there.
In April 1945, the Victor Chamber of Commerce undertook to incorporate. Also that month Clyde Tatum planted 100 acres of “white rose” potatoes three miles south of Hesperia.
During the third week of May the California Electric Power Company began delivering electricity to customers, with the first meter installed being that for service to Clyde Tatum’s Appleton Land Company in Hesperia. Sixty other applicants for power were in line behind Tatum.
In June there were 43 graduates from Victor High.
On July 13, 1945, the first of 1,500 members of the 8th Army Air Force began arriving at Victor Army Air Field. The Eighth, including 300 officers and 1,200 enlisted men who had engaged in combat against the Nazis and Italy, was being sent to VAAF for orientation, training and instructions preparatory to operations against Japan, and included all personnel from the 482nd Bombardment Group,
In the weeks just prior to the atomic bombings in Hiroshima on August 6 and Nagasaki on August 9, the 812th, 813th, and 814th bombardment squadrons had assembled at Victor Army Air Field in anticipation of their imminent deployment in the Pacific.
With the beginning of the school year in September, there were 721 students enrolled in three Victor schools
In October, with the Japanese instrument of surrender having been signed on September 2, the Victor radar school was deactivated.
While fire is usually considered to be a bane to the forest, some plants actually require fire to proliferate. One of these species is the bigberry manzanita.
Arctostaphylos glauca is a species of large shrub varying in size from one to well over six meters in height, known by the common name bigberry manzanita. It is one of several types of manzanita, which include Arctostaphylos glandulosa (Eastwood manzanita) and Arctostaphylos patula (greenleaf manzanita), Arctostaphylos parryana (Parry manzanita), Arctostaphylos pringlei (pinkbracted manzanita), and Arctostaphylos pungens (pointleaf manzanita).
The bigberry Manzanita is native to California and Baja California, where it grows in the chaparral and woodland of coastal and inland hills.
Arctostaphylos glauca growing in desert regions tend to be shorter than those on the coast. Leaves are light gray-green, somewhat waxy, oval in shape to nearly round, and smooth or toothed along the edges. They are up to five centimeters long and four wide and grow on short petioles about a centimeter long. The bark is red-brown and its branches crooked.
The inflorescence holds hanging clusters of narrow urn-shaped white flowers. The edible fruit is a round or egg-shaped drupe 12 to 15 millimeters wide. It is light red in color and has a thick pulp covered in a tough, sticky coat. The fruit contains three to six nutlets fused into a single mass or single large stone.
The Arctostaphylos glauca branchlets of the typical variety are glabrous.
The shrub reproduces by seed and by layering. Seeds require exposure to fire before they can germinate.
It is a long-lived species, reaching 100 years of age or more, though it does not begin to fruit until it is around 20 years old. The shrub is allelopathic, inhibiting the growth of other plants in its understory when rain leaches toxic arbutin and phenolic acids from its foliage. These compounds prevent the germination and growth of annuals for a distance of 3.3 to 6.6 feet from the edge of the canopy drip line.
Arctostaphylos glauca tolerates sand and clay. Arctostaphylos glauca does well in heavier soils but also excels in decomposed granite. It needs water for the first year but is quite drought tolerant afterwards. Bigberry manzanita is distinguished from other manzanitas by its large, viscid fruits. Unlike some manzanitas, this species does not have a lignotuber. It is shallow-rooted. The root habit is radially spreading, with coarse lateral roots exceeding the length of vertical roots.
Arctostaphylos glauca’s fruit is edible. The fruit is sour but does contain some sugar. Partially ripe berries make good manzanita jelly. Among the Cahuilla Native Americans of southern California, manzanita was regarded as a primary food source since it could be collected in volume and stored. It was once considered an important food additive. Typically, manzanita was used as an aspic, a thickener, or a sweetener to other foods. It also makes a pleasant beverage.
The leaves of various manzanita species are also used medicinally. Because the leaves contain arbutin, a glycoside that is broken down to hydroquinone in the urine, manzanita leaf tea has disinfectant qualities. This tea can be used in cases of mild urinary tract infections, chronic kidney inflammations, and water retention. The tea from the leaves also acts as a mild vasoconstrictor for the uterus and therefore can be helpful during painful and heavy menstruation. However, this is not advisable for use during pregnancy.
It is usually not a dominant chaparral species except in mixed chaparral of the San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountains. It occasionally forms dense, pure stands or codominates with Eastwood manzanita in manzanita chaparral.
Bigberry manzanita may hybridize with pointleaf manzanita (A. pungens) and Eastwood manzanita (A. glandulosa)
Bigberry manzanita flowers from mid-February to mid-March in chaparral and from mid-February to early April in pinyon-juniper woodlands.
Plants flower sporadically after these times, but later flowers do not set fruit. Fruit ripens from late February to mid-May in chaparral and from late February through May in pinyon-juniper woodlands. Seeds are dispersed in late summer. Germination occurs from mid-March to mid-April following fire scarification of seed. Fire kills bigberry manzanita. High-intensity fire may kill some seed, but merely cracks the seedcoat of most seeds without harming propagules.
One propagule usually outcompetes the others, resulting in establishment of one seedling per seed. Seedlings do not compete well with annuals or sprouting species but generally establish in greater numbers than other obligate seeders. Its large seed apparently gives this species a competitive advantage over other obligate seeders. Seedling mortality is high. Most seedlings are outcompeted or die from summer drought. Surviving seedlings grow rapidly, and mortality of adult plants is extremely low until the next fire.
Fashion continues to move back, and move forward with the weather being sunny one day and cold another. This explains why heels paired with socks is the new trend alert. It’s like being a kid all over again because I recall wearing my mom’s heels over my socks. We had so many dress code rules back then, and we didn’t have Madonna or Beyoncé to break rules for us. But we did have simple creativity, which made things fun if even in front of a mirror. After achieving womanhood, believe it or not, I did take the dress code rules seriously into the 80s, 90s and even into the millennium. However, today the rules don’t apply as much in California, which makes heelsocking a fun, creative, and daring trend. Heelsocking really is a thing with a suit, a dress, skirts, and denim. It’s a wild look in a good taste and looks pretty amazing, too. Socks also keep you warm and you can remove them when its too hot. The heelsocking is pretty chic with a vintage edge so grab your heels, socks and get to it.
“If I’m traveling, I’ll pack socks in my bag – really cute furry ones.” Nicki Minaj