Adelanto Solons Using CARES Act Money For Luxury Ride

Adelanto city officials find themselves being looked down upon by scores or even at this point hundreds of their counterparts with other municipalities in San Bernardino County and Southern California, to say nothing of a major cross section of that city’s 34,007 residents, for the profligate way in which they spent some $126,000 in CARES Act funding last year.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act, was a $2.2 trillion economic stimulus bill passed by Congress and signed by then-President Donald Trump in March 2020 to deal with the anticipated economic devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic. It included $300 billion in one-time cash payments to American taxpayers, $260 billion in increased unemployment benefits, the creation of a paycheck protection program and loans to small businesses, $500 billion in loans for corporations, and $339.8 billion earmarked for state and local governments.
Members of the Adelanto City Council in a 4-to-1 vote with Mayor Gabriel Reyes, then-Councilman Gerardo Hernandez, Councilman Ed Camargo and Councilwoman Joy Jeannette prevailing and Councilwoman Stevevonna Evans dissenting on August 12, 2020 voted to use $126,000 of the $440,336 in CARES Act funding the city had received to purchase a 2020 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van. While a basic Sprinter at that time cost $41,095 before taxes, title, registration and transportation/dealer preparation fees, City Manager Jessie Flores had the vehicle outfitted with all available optional enhancements, such that the city council and other city officials would be able to travel in the ultimate of luxury and style.
Flores disguised the purchase as a vehicle to be used in the city’s program to deliver food to shut-in senior citizens.
Indeed, the van, which has a hitch, has been used, on occasion, to pull a trailer in which meals are carried.
In the main, however, the van is used by top city management and members of the council to chauffeur campaign donors and VIPs, friends and acquaintances around the city.
This has given rise to the perception that the city’s high-ranking officials and politicians have taken advantage of their status and position and have used for their own selfish benefit and comfort money that could better have been applied to offset the losses, blows and suffering some of the city’s residents and businesses sustained because of the coronavirus crisis. City officials have struck back at those who have made this charge, saying that while it may look like the city’s leaders are luxuriating as they cruise in the van around town, they are actually hard at work, using the vehicle as a tool while they escort prospective investors in the city to various sites, trying to convince them they would do well to locate their businesses in Adelanto.
At press time this week, the Sentinel was working toward confirming a report that while two of the city’s elected officials and city management were driving about town in the city’s luxury van with two cannabis entrepreneurs contemplating a move to the city, the five of them sparked up a doobie.
Mark Gutglueck

Leave a Reply