The FBI Is Delving Into WVWD Political Intrigue, Document Shows

The extent to which festering political corruption in the Los Angeles County city of Baldwin Park migrated to inhabit the structure of governance and management within San Bernardino County’s West Valley Water District was put on display late last week with the unsealing of a document that accompanied the announcement of former San Bernardino County Planning Commissioner Gabe Chavez’s guilty pleas on bribery and money laundering charges related to a payola scheme for obtaining marijuana-related business operating permits.
Key players in the panorama of graft and the exploitation of the public trust are former Baldwin Park Councilman and one-time West Valley Water District Assistant General Manager Ricardo Pacheco, former Baldwin Park Police Chief and former West Valley Board President Mike Taylor and former Baldwin Park City Attorney and West Valley General Counsel Robert Tafoya.
According to a narrative compiled by the FBI, the trio engaged in a free-flowing exchange of political campaign assistance, lucrative employment and contractual opportunities that involved both the Los Angeles County city and the San Bernardino County water district which were demonstrable quid pro quos. All of this was an outgrowth of an illicit shakedown operation which originally involved efforts by Pacheco, who was being advised by Tafoya and Taylor, to profit through under-the-table payments from entities and individuals looking to establish marijuana/cannabis-related businesses in Baldwin Park, according to the FBI. Continue reading

Judge Dismisses Travis-Miller’s Suit Against SB Over Ibarra’s Defense Of Her Firing

Judge Michael Sachs has entered a ruling which does not sustain former San Bernardino City Manager Andrea Travis-Miller’s civil complaint that a 2020 social media posting by Councilwoman Sandra Ibarra not only defamed her but violated her employment termination agreement with the city.
Travis-Miller endured two stints as the head of San Bernardino’s municipal operations, each under what turned out to be very trying circumstances. The first time she left willingly and the second time she was forced out. Continue reading

School District Won’t Release Video Of Principal’s Tussle With Second Grader

The San Bernardino City Unified School District has refused the Sentinel’s request that it release a video of George Brown Elementary School Principal Dr. Christine Ramirez’s altercation with a second grade student that took place early this school year.
On August 5, for a yet unexplained reason, interaction between the student, a seven-year-old, turned violent.
According to an account of what occurred that was provided to the Sentinel, Dr. Ramirez first engaged with the student in an outdoor area of the school grounds, after which he was taken into a classroom.
A teacher who went into the room shortly thereafter saw two other teachers restraining the student restrained on the floor. The Sentinel was further told that several students saw what was going on, as did at least two teachers. According to an individual with knowledge about what occurred, some of the students and at least one of the teachers found the incident to be traumatizing.
The Sentinel was informed, and subsequently confirmed, that there is a video of Dr. Ramirez’s interaction with the second grader. The video was reportedly turned over to the San Bernardino Police Department.
Despite repeated and persistent efforts by the Sentinel to learn from the department’s official spokesman, Sergeant Equino Thomas, what action and determination the department has made on the basis of that video, no information has been forthcoming from the department. As best as can be determined, Dr. Ramirez has not been arrested or charged or relieved of her position. No formal statement to that effect has been provided by the police department.
The Sentinel has the name of the student but is withholding it from publication while conducting further inquiries with the district about the matter.
On September 29, the Sentinel made a request under the California Public Records Act that the district provide “a copy of the video footage depicting the physical interaction/confrontation/altercation between Principal Dr. Christine Ramirez and [the student] which took place on or around August 5, 2022 at George Brown Jr. Elementary School.”
On October 11, the Sentinel received a response from Harold Sullins, the district’s associate superintendent for business, facilities, and operations.
“Your request is denied pursuant to Government Code sections 6254(c), 6254(k) and 6255, individual privacy rights existing under the California Constitution and the United States Constitution, Education Code sections 49060, et seq., and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, known as ‘FERPA’(20 U.S.C. section 1232g; see also Rim of the World Unified School District v. Superior Court, et al. (2002) 104 Cal.App.4th 1393, 1399 and Poway Unified School District v. Superior Court (Copley Press) (1998) 62 Cal.App.4th 1496,1506.)”
Government Code Section 6254(c) pertains to withholding from disclosure any information, data or material requested under the California Public Records Act “Personnel, medical, or similar files, the disclosure of which would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.”
Government Code Section 6254(k) pertains to withholding from disclosure any information, data or material requested under the California Public Records Act “Records, the disclosure of which is exempted or prohibited pursuant to federal or state law, including, but not limited to, provisions of the Evidence Code relating to privilege.”
Government Code Section 6255, pertains to withholding from disclosure any information, data or material requested under the California Public Records Acthe agency shall justify withholding any record on the basis that express provisions of of the government code exempt disclosure or “on the facts of the particular case the public interest served by not disclosing the record clearly outweighs the public interest served by disclosure of the record.”
Government Code Section 6255, nonetheless contains a provision that a government agency in withholding the records or documents from disclosure can do so only “by demonstrating that the record in question is exempt.”
Sullins offered no such demonstration or explicit explanation of how or why the video is exempt.
Sullins’ citation of with its reference to “provisions of the Evidence Code relating to privilege” implies but does not explicitly state that there is an ongoing investigation into the matter or a pending legal action arising from it.” Sullins, however, offered no further clarification of how Government Code Section 6254(k) applied to the video.
The Sentinel is conferring with legal counsel and examining its options on how to obtain further information with regard to the August 5 incident involving Principal Ramirez and the student.

Eyebrows Raise As County GOP Central Committee Chairman Unleashes Attack On Fellow Republican

The Republican versus Republican match-up in this year’s Second District county supervisorial race has created a lurid political spectacle that is threatening to fracture the solidarity that has for generations allowed the GOP to maintain an upper hand in far flung San Bernardino County.
Most remarkable is that the county’s top Republican – San Bernardino County Central Committee Chairman Phil Corthran Sr. – is playing a central role in the contretemps.
Concern is intensifying among a growing number of the local members of the Party of Lincoln that as a consequence of the ongoing Republican-on-Republican mayhem, the traditionally meek and ineffectual Democrats just might inherit San Bernardino County.
Indeed, there is talk among a number of deep-pocketed donors to the Republican cause that a shake-up at the top of the county party is in order and that if Cothran does not step down or if he is not removed, they will close their checkbooks.
Time was when San Bernardino County’s Republicans needed fear no Democrat. Continue reading

October 14 Sentinel Legal Notices

Notice is hereby given pursuant to Sections 3071 of the Civil Code of the State of California the undersigned will sell the following vehicle(s) at lien sale at said address below on: 10/28/2022 09:00 AM
Year of Car / Make of Car / Vehicle ID No. / License No. (State)
2015 DODGE 3C4PDCBG8FT722469 8RZK256 CA
Said sale is for the purpose of satisfying lien for together with costs of advertising and expenses of sale.
Published in the San Bernardino County Sentinel on October 14.

T.S. No.: LO-32755-CA Loan No. ******2866 APN: 1061-131-32-0-000 NOTICE OF TRUSTEE’S SALE YOU ARE IN DEFAULT UNDER A DEED OF TRUST DATED 6/9/2017. UNLESS YOU TAKE ACTION TO PROTECT YOUR PROPERTY, IT MAY BE SOLD AT A PUBLIC SALE. IF YOU NEED AN EXPLANATION OF THE NATURE OF THE PROCEEDING AGAINST YOU, YOU SHOULD CONTACT A LAWYER. A public auction sale to the highest bidder for cash, cashier’s check drawn on a state or national bank, check drawn by a state or federal credit union, or a check drawn by a state or federal savings and loan association, or savings association, or savings bank specified in Section 5102 of the Financial Code and authorized to do business in this state will be held by the duly appointed trustee as shown below, of all right, title, and interest conveyed to and now held by the trustee in the hereinafter described property under and pursuant to a Deed of Trust described below. The sale will be made, but without covenant or warranty, expressed or implied, regarding title, possession, or encumbrances, to pay the remaining principal sum of the note(s) secured by the Deed of Trust, with interest and late charges thereon, as provided in the note(s), advances, under the terms of the Deed of Trust, interest thereon, fees, charges and expenses of the Trustee for the total amount (at the time of the initial publication of the Notice of Sale) reasonably estimated to be set forth below. The amount may be greater on the day of sale. Trustor: Michael W. Robb and Jacqueline Robb, Husband and Wife as Joint Tenants Duly Appointed Trustee: Nationwide Reconveyance, LLC
Recorded 6/14/2017 as Instrument No. 2017-0243476 in book XX, page XX of Official Records in the office of the Recorder of San Bernardino County, California, Date of Sale: 10/24/2022 at 1:00 PM Place of Sale: NEAR THE FRONT STEPS LEADING UP TO THE CITY OF CHINO CIVIC CENTER, 13220 CENTRAL AVENUE, CHINO, CA 91710 Amount of unpaid balance and other charges: $424,141.30 Street Address or other common designation of real property: 5406 Sard Street Alta Loma, CA 91701-1312 A.P.N.: 1061-131-32-0-000 The undersigned Trustee disclaims any liability for any incorrectness of the street address or other common designation, if any, shown above. If no street address or other common designation is shown, directions to the location of the property may be obtained by sending a written request to the beneficiary within 10 days of the date of first publication of this Notice of Sale. NOTICE TO POTENTIAL BIDDERS: If you are considering bidding on this property lien, you should understand that there are risks involved in bidding at a trustee auction. You will be bidding on a lien, not on the property itself. Placing the highest bid at a trustee auction does not automatically entitle you to free and clear ownership of the property. You should also be aware that the lien being auctioned off may be a junior lien. If you are the highest bidder at the auction, you are or may be responsible for paying off all liens senior to the lien being auctioned off, before you can receive clear title to the property. You are encouraged to investigate the existence, priority, and size of outstanding liens that may exist on this property by contacting the county recorder’s office or a title insurance company, either of which may charge you a fee for this information. If you consult either of these resources, you should be aware that the same lender may hold more than one mortgage or deed of trust on the property. NOTICE TO PROPERTY OWNER: The sale date shown on this notice of sale may be postponed one or more times by the mortgagee, beneficiary, trustee, or a court, pursuant to Section 2924g of the California Civil Code. The law requires that information about trustee sale postponements be made available to you and to the public, as a courtesy to those not present at the sale. If you wish to learn whether your sale date has been postponed, and, if applicable, the rescheduled time and date for the sale of this property, you may call (714) 986-9342 or visit this Internet Web site, using the file number assigned to this case LO-32755-CA. Information about postponements that are very short in duration or that occur close in time to the scheduled sale may not immediately be reflected in the telephone information or on the Internet Web site. The best way to verify postponement information is to attend the scheduled sale. For sales conducted after January 1, 2021:
NOTICE TO TENANT: You may have a right to purchase this property after the trustee auction pursuant to Section 2924m of the California Civil Code. If you are an “eligible tenant buyer,” you can purchase the property if you match the last and highest bid placed at the trustee auction. If you are an “eligible bidder,” you may be able to purchase the property if you exceed the last and highest bid placed at the trustee auction. There are three steps to exercising this right of purchase. First, 48 hours after the date of the trustee sale, you can call (714) 986-9342, or visit this internet website using the file number assigned to this case LO-32755-CA to find the date on which the trustee’s sale was held, the amount of the last and highest bid, and the address of the trustee. Second, you must send a written notice of intent to place a bid so that the trustee receives it no more than 15 days after the trustee’s sale. Third, you must submit a bid so that the trustee receives it no more than 45 days after the trustee’s sale. If you think you may qualify as an “eligible tenant buyer” or “eligible bidder,” you should consider contacting an attorney or appropriate real estate professional immediately for advice regarding this potential right to purchase. Date: 9/20/2022 Nationwide Reconveyance, LLC 5677 Oberlin Drive, Suite 210 San Diego, California 92121 Sale Line: (714) 986-9342 By: Rhonda Rorie, Trustee (TS# LO-32755-ca SDI-24592) Published in the San Bernardino Sentinel. Published on: 09/23/2022, 09/30/2022, 10/07/2022 & 10/14/2022

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Wapner Pressured Airport Staff To Sell Property At One-Sixth Its Lease

By Mark Gutglueck
In December 2015, what had been more than a four-year running battle between the City of Ontario and the City of Los Angeles over the ownership and management of Ontario International drew to a close, with Los Angeles capitulating and agreeing in writing to surrender both the title and operational responsibility for the aerodrome.
Ontario City Councilman Alan Wapner was hailed as not only the prime mover of that victory by which Ontario restored to itself status as the master over its own fate and possessor of what is thought of as its own and the region’s primary economic engine but as the architect of that coup and as someone who had done the heavy lifting by convincing the sophisticated political leadership of one of the world’s major cities that it could not afford a scorched earth war with the much smaller city 37 miles to its east in an adjoining county.
At that point, Wapner had been a member of the city council for more than two decades and was the dean of that panel, having been in office for four more years than the member with the next greatest number of years of seniority, Mayor Paul Leon, who had been appointed to the council four years after Wapner was first elected. Despite Leon’s title and official position wielding the mayor’s gavel and officiating over council meetings, many close to Ontario government perceive Wapner as Ontario’s true leader and the backbone of the community.
Indeed, the airport is Ontario’s proudest and arguably its most valuable asset. In 2012, when the Ontario International Airport Authority was formed in anticipation of Ontario ultimately wresting ownership and control of the airport from the City of Los Angeles and its corporate entity, Los Angeles World Airports, Wapner was chosen to serve as the president of the authority’s board of directors. He has remained in that position ever since. Continue reading

Redlands City Manager’s Incentive Bonus W/O Specified Criteria Questioned

The Redlands City Council’s unanimous move to extend the city’s employment agreement with City Manager Charles M. Duggan Jr. for three years is generating controversy, with one of its provisions being questioned as an unabashed conflict of interest.
In the aftermath of a tempest that came about with the 2018 suspension and eventual firing of the city’s longtime city manager, Nabar Martinez, the city gravitated toward and on November 5, 2019 hired Duggan, formerly the city manager of Auburn, Alabama and at that time the administrative services division manager and treasurer for the Marin Municipal Water District in Northern California, with an effective start date of January 13, 2020.
Duggan’s current contract is set to expire in January and the council this week moved to secure his services for another three years. Continue reading