Valdivia Reportedly Laundering His Political Funds Through His Laundromat

What for many was a long four-year municipal nightmare in San Bernardino grew to a close on Wednesday, December 21, with the installation of Helen Tran as the 222,101-population county seat’s mayor.
Amid a host of firsts and landmarks represented by Tran assuming the mayoralty – not the least of which is that she is the city’s first Asian American mayor – the event was more remarkable because it marked the departure of John Valdivia from the city’s premier political position.
A mere four years after Valdivia assumed the mayor’s gavel and appeared to be catapulting toward much loftier positions in either or both state and federal politics, his career as a public official now lies in tatters, with even his most ardent supporters and hangers-on, individuals who had linked their own business or political prospects to him, having abandoned him.
Meanwhile, no longer wielding the power that came with the position into which he was entrusted, he is now incapable of staving off the examination of and delving into the depredations he routinely engaged in both during his term as mayor and while he was in the position of Third Ward councilman in the more than six-and-a-half years prior to that.
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Judge Rules H2O Replenishment Fee Applies In The Northwestern Mojave

A ruling handed down on Wednesday by Orange County Superior Court Judge William Claster clears the way for the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority to impose water replenishment fees across the board on water users in the northwestern end of the Mojave Desert as part of an effort to end overdrafting of water in that region.
Ultimately, the imposition of that fee will drive Searles Valley Minerals, the largest company in the northwestern corner of San Bernardino County, out of business, the company’s chief executives and its attorneys maintain.
Indian Wells Valley lies at the extreme northwestern end of the Mojave Desert and the confluence of the northwestern corner of San Bernardino County, the southeastern end of Kern County and the southwestern extension of Inyo County.
Over the last several years, the critical shortage of water throughout California has triggered conservation and resource management measures which have fundamentally altered the way in which companies located in the state’s desert areas must operate. Nowhere is the implication of the effort at governmental regulation of the state’s water resources as pronounced as it is in Indian Wells Valley. Continue reading

Two Years After Davis Blocked His Ascendancy, Tejeda Installed As Redlands Mayor

By Mark Gutglueck
The extent to which identity politics has intruded upon the governmental process in Redlands was given further illustration as the mayoral succession controversy that has existed since 2020 wound down to a still not entirely certain denouement this week.
Eddie Tejeda, whose anticipated appointment to the mayoralty was delayed for two years because of the interference of Councilwoman Denise Davis, took possession of the gavel early in the meeting, which began with Tejeda, Davis, Councilwoman Jenna Guzman Lowery, Mick Gallagher and Mayor Paul Barich as its five members. Gallagher, who had been appointed early this year to replace former Councilman Paul Foster following his January 3 resignation, did not seek election in November. Barich ran unopposed and Davis gained reelection in November, defeating three challengers. Also elected this year was former Planning Commissioner Mario Saucedo.
After a ceremonial celebration at the beginning of the meeting in which Gallagher was saluted for his service on the council and Davis, Barich and Saucedo were sworn in, the council took up the appointment of the mayor and mayor pro tem, which traditionally takes place in Redlands following the installation of the council following an election. Continue reading

Continuing Republican Primacy In San Bernardino County Boosts Wallis Past Holstege In 47th District

San Bernardino County persists as one of the last bastions of Republicanism in the Golden State, a circumstance that was illustrated by the crucial role the voters in the 47th Assembly District who reside in the county played in ensuring the victory of Greg Wallis over Democrat Christy Holstege by one of the slimmest margins in California history on November 8.
In the immediate aftermath of the voting on election night and the next day, Holstege appeared to be the winner in the race to represent the 47th Assembly District, the borders for which were redrawn in accordance with the decennial redistricting that occurred as a consequence of the 2020 Census. The 47th Assembly District now includes all of Banning, Beaumont, Calimesa, Cathedral City, Desert Hot Springs, Indian Wells, La Quinta, Palm Springs, Palm Desert and Rancho Mirage and part of San Jacinto in Riverside County, along with all of Yucaipa and Yucca Valley as well as parts of Redlands and Highland in San Bernardino County.
Prematurely confident of her victory, Holstege flew to Sacramento to take part in an orientation for new members of the legislature on November 10. Wallis, however, made dramatic gains over the next several days, surpassing her and then falling behind and then retaking the lead, as the two remained neck-and-neck with each tally of incoming mail and provisional ballots. Continue reading

Ontario Delayed Going To District Elections For Two Election Cycles

Nearly two years and ten months after it committed to doing so, the Ontario City Council on Tuesday adopted a district voting map together with the scheduling of district-based voting by 2026.
That action came a month and 12 days after the city failed to deliver on holding its first by-district election, which was supposed to take place on November 8.
The city council voted on December 20 to adopt what it referred to as Map 17, which divides the city into four districts for future elections.
District 1, which lies at the northwestern end of the city abutting Montclair to the west along Benson Avenue and the 10 Freeway at its north end, is the most densely populated of the four districts. It extends eastward to North Allyn Avenue and south to Mission Boulevard. Continue reading

Train Derailment Near Victorville Shuts Two Rail Lines Down Tuesday & Wednesday

Twenty-seven Union Pacific freight cars derailed near Victorville Tuesday morning, December 20, proximate to Mojave Narrows Regional Park near the Kemper Campbell Ranch, about one mile south of Outer Highway 18 near Stoddard Wells Road.
The mishap occurred on a railroad track owned by the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway around 8 a.m.
There were no injuries reported.
The cars that went off the track were carrying iron ore, according to the railroad.
Two of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway tracks at that juncture had to be closed.
Burlington Northern Santa Fe crews arrived on the scene within 75 minutes to begin an effort to clear the tracks and restore them to use.
One consequence of the derailment was that Amtrak’s Southwest Chief train, scheduled to depart from Los Ángeles to Chicago on Tuesday, was canceled.
One of the tracks was restored to functionality by late Wednesday, December 21.
The derailment’s cause is under investigation.