Charge Council Is On The Take Gives Garcia Umbrage

Evincing an extreme sensitivity to allegations suggesting the city council or members thereof are on the take, Victorville Mayor Gloria Garcia last week issued a blanket denial of wrongdoing on the part of the former council and expressed confidence the newly composed council is as above reproach as Caesar’s first and third wives – Cornelia and Calpurnia – and less censurable than Caesar’s second wife, Pompeia.
Garcia took umbrage at some campaign material that apparently suggested the council was hiding things from the public by burying them or obfuscating them in the council’s meeting agendas and further suggested that the council had been compromised by graft and bribery.
In November, former councilman Ryan McEachron was defeated in his reelection effort by Blanca Gomez. McEachron, who was the senior member of the city council at the time of his departure, was soundly defeated, having garnered fewer votes than not only Gomez, but Garcia, incumbent councilman Jim Cox and Lionel Dew, another challenger, in the race for three positions on the council.
McEachron’s defeat was widely seen as a rejection of a pay-to-play atmosphere some believe has come to predominate Victorville. McEachron, who started his first council run in 2008 as a political outsider, transitioned into an insider midway through that campaign when he was embraced by then-county assessor Bill Postmus as an alternative to incumbent councilman Bob Hunter, who had previously been a Postmus ally but who had fallen into disfavor with the Postmus political machine. McEachron’s ascendency came during the final throes of Postmus’ political hold over San Bernardino County, which had previously consisted of his chairmanship of the board of supervisors and simultaneous chairmanship of the San Bernardino County Republican Party. Upon McEachron coming into office, widespread revelations about Postmus’ homosexuality and drug use, which he had for more than eight years hidden from the public during his reign as one of the county’s most powerful politicians, compromised the effectiveness of the Postmus political machine, which celebrated itself as a conservative Christian and family-value oriented institution and counted among its members assemblyman Anthony Adams and Postmus’ successor as supervisor, Brad Mitzelfelt. Both Mitzelfelt and Adams would see their political careers evaporate in the multitude of revelations that attended the discrediting of Postmus, including ones pertaining to bribe-taking, money laundering and political conflicts of interest. McEachron, who was less solidly connected to Postmus and succeeded, at least initially, in distancing himself from him, adroitly tapped into many of the same fundraising sources Postmus had used to build his political career to gain reelection to the Victorville City Council in 2012. But by this year, McEachron’s connection to elements of the business community accustomed to paying politicians to do their bidding appear to have caught up with him.
What was unclear in Garcia’s remarks at the end of the December 20 Victorville City Council meeting, while only a handful of residents remained in the council chambers, was whether she genuinely did not understand or appreciate the forces which had laid McEachron’s political career to rest or whether she was militating to deflect any suspicion that accompanied her affiliation with McEachron.
“I do find it necessary to bring something to the public’s attention,” Garcia said. “A video went out during the city council campaign that was totally untrue. It stated that the agenda was difficult to follow, that our meetings are so boring that people fall asleep. If the agenda is difficult to follow we would like to hear from the public. The agenda [that] is provided to the public is identical to the agenda each council member has and each agenda item is called out by category and number. So my suggestion is if you have suggestions for us to improve this, feel free to contact us. Call the city, make appointments with council members, anything that helps, because we are here to serve you.”
Garcia then turned her focus away from the charges of obfuscation to those pertaining to outright graft on the part of the council.
“An issue that really needs clarification is that on that video the council was accused of something that is very serious,” she said. “At that time, the council included myself, Mr. Jim Cox, Jim Kennedy, Ryan McEachron and Eric Negrete. We were accused of making backroom deals and that we were paid and bought for. I really do want the public to know that in the four years that I have been a council member none of these accusations have ever taken place.”
Garcia continued, “The reason that I bring this up is because people are now coming up to us or to me, I’ll speak for myself, and asking if this is true. And of course, it is self-fabricated and untrue. This is something that is harmful to all persons involved and I do feel I need to clarify the truth. I have been very proud to be a part of a council that represents the city in a very respectful and professional manner and I do hope that this new council will continue to do the same.”

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