In 7th Ward Run, Negrete Advocates Utilizing SB’s Advantages To Overcome Its Confounding Challenges

Esmeralda Negrete says she is seeking a position on the San Bernardino City Council representing the city’s Seventh Ward because city officials are squandering the enviable opportunity they have to capitalize on the community’s advantages to overcome its challenges.
“San Bernardino has so much potential,” she told the Sentinel. “It’s in a perfect location, an hour from the beach, the mountains and close to many Southern California attractions.”
Municipal officials have allowed the city’s greatness to fall from their grasp, she said. “I have seen the better years and I am confident that we can bring back the luster of our city,” she said.
Negrete said, “I believe that resident services need to come first and I will collaborate to provide those quality services to our families while working within our city budget. To the people of this city who are tired of broken promises or candidates who knock on their  door asking them what the problems are, only to cater their response to something they think people would like to hear, I am offering an alternative. They can vote for me, an independent candidate who knows what the current problems are. I am the candidate with no strings attached. I’m running in hopes of giving San Bernardino residents the opportunity to vote for a candidate who is not being guided by campaign contributions.”
The general malaise that has gripped City Hall is what has motivated her to run, Negrete said.
“San Bernardino has been my home for more then twenty years and I am fully aware of the decline of services and the rise of problems in our city,” she explained, noting that the breakdown of government has impacted every quarter of the 61.95-square mile, 217,000-population county seat. “There is a misconception that north San Bernardino is better and gets everything, but that isn’t the case. The problems of decay and crime are everywhere, including the 7th Ward. Potholes and  homeless encampments are here too. There are illegal marijuana swapmeets such as the one that was open for months at the closed Alpha Beta Market on Marshall and E Street and which now has been replaced by the drug dealers who park by the laundromat in the same shopping center and deal out of their cars. It’s similar to the situation as what had been happening at the shopping center on Waterman and 40th. Slumlords are also here. Package thieves and mail thieves are abundant. There are needles at children’s bus stops, in the parks, in the SBX parking lot. Adding to all those issues are the decisions of the majority of the current council. Their decisions and votes have made things worse.”
Negrete said cataloging the city’s problems would be an exhaustive task. Her intent, she said, is not to become mired in pessimism for the city’s present and future, but to deal as energetically as she can with each successive challenge as expeditiously as possible.
“The list can go on and on, but since the voters live here, there’s no need to continue describing things they already know,” she said. “Instead, I would like to share some solutions in no specific order.”
She said she would “restore library funding”  through reprioritizing spending. “With the support of the council and San Bernardino residents, I propose to submit to the voters the abolishment of the mayor’s position to have a council-city manager form of government, as is the case in Highland,” she said. “The salary savings from the mayor’s position would be used to restore funding to our libraries.”
The expenditure rerouting through the abolishment of the glorified mayor’s post would extend beyond enhancement of the library, Negrete said. “We should look toward funding currently unfunded positions that provide revenue and direct services to residents such as code enforcement staff,” she said. “If we have no mayor, we would have no need for a chief of staff. I propose using the savings from the elimination of the chief of staff position to fund some of the many positions that provide direct services to residents which remain in the pages of unfunded positions.”
With regard to a landmark located within the 7th Ward, the Arrowhead Golf Course, Negrete said, “I am proposing a revamp of the municipal code to address future multi-housing/apartments where there are already plenty of existing apartments within a half mile radius. After looking into the criteria for historical designation, I learned that the golf course would probably not meet the requirements. However, the redrafting of the municipal code could address the concerns of residents in the city as a whole given that there are many areas with clusters of apartments.”
Given that more than 80 percent of the city’s budget is monopolized in the provision of public safety in the form of the police department and defraying the cost of the entirety of the city having been annexed into a county fire service zone, Negrete said, “Public safety and fiscal responsibility go hand in hand. The 5-Year San Bernardino Police Department Plan did not include the seven 2019 promotions. To get back on track of being fiscally responsible with public funds, I propose the abolishment of the seven promotions, and since Riverside has been a city used repeatedly for comparison, I would also propose the abolishment of the assistant chief of police position, and using the savings to create incentives to retain and attract officers. Our need for patrol officers remains a priority to address public safety.”
Negrete said she believes the response times of the police department “can be improved once funding is allocated for unfunded police department dispatch positions. I believe the allocation of funds is possible without increasing the police department budget by conducting the audit that has been spoken about but not been done, and creating civilian positions where sworn positions are not required.”
With respect to the tide of homelessness plaguing the city, Negrete said, “There is no need to hire more consultants to tell us what may work. We can adopt the tools that have proven to work such as, the ‘app’ by ESRI that the San Bernardino County sheriff has been using. The sheriff’s Homeless Outreach and Proactive Enforcement Task Force has proven that it has a formula which works, so let’s form that team here.”
Negrete, continued, “We  should apply for funding from the $36 million that was allocated for San Bernardino County, so we can work on doing our part to end the homeless cycle. We should apply for and use  grant funding to provide housing for our homeless  veterans. We can have housing with localized services in the manner available at the Loma Linda Veterans Village. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel when sister cities have led the way with functional services in place.”
With regard to the city’s animal control function and its aged and delapidating animal shelter, Negrete said the formula that would work is one that utilizes both public and private assets.
“We already lost one community member on New Year’s Eve of 2017 when he swerved to avoid hitting two stray dogs, and losing one resident is one too many,” she said. “Using the model of the Friends of the Upland Animal Shelter can be the economical solution to keep the shelter in our city, and would open the opportunity for students and the community to be involved. In the future, I hope that a well-run local animal shelter will attract surrounding cities and they can again contract with San Bernardino.”
Negrete said she was respectfully requesting that the residents of the 7th Ward consider her positions on the issues before making their choice for a council representative on March 3. She invited communication or inquiries from the public through her email address,

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