After A Third Of A Century, The First Council Recall Effort Yucaipa History

By Mark Gutglueck
For the first time in Yucaipa’s 33-year history, discontent with its political leadership has reached a point where there is sufficient motivation among residents for them to mount an effort to remove members of the city council from office.
While recall efforts often confine themselves to a single member, the action under way in 55,496-population Yucaipa is targeting three of its current leaders, including the mayor, its longest-serving current member and one of its most recently elected councilors.
Despite the unmistakable discontent an activated segment of the city’s residents have toward the troika of Mayor Justin Beaver and councilmen Bobby Duncan and Matt Garner, as well as the relative advantage recall proponents picked up with the city’s division into five voting districts in 2016, those looking to remove the three from office still face an uphill battle in first qualifying recall questions against the officeholders and then in convincing a majority of an often-apathetic and disengaged electorate to make a radical change in the city’s governance.
Primary factors in the recall movement consist of the long-established status of former City Manager Ray Casey, the inconsistency in Beaver and Duncan’s attitude toward Casey, the sudden turnaround Beaver and Duncan evinced with regard to Casey earlier this year, the swiftness and secretiveness with which Beaver, Duncan and Garner acted in forcing Casey’s departure and the continuing secrecy the city has sought to maintain about what motivated the council majority to bring about Casey’s exit due to the standard confidentiality that is maintained with regard to governmental personnel matters and decisions. The situation was exacerbated by what appears to have been miscalculations on the three council members’ parts as to the hold Casey had on a good portion of the Yucaipa establishment. Continue reading

County Tally Of Homeless Eclipses 4,000

The number of homeless in San Bernardino County has eclipsed 4,000, according to figures released this week by county officials taken from the so-called point-in-time count completed on January 26.
With in 4,195 of the county’s 2,225,586 inhabitants identified as having no home, 0.018848968316659 percent of the population is fully destitute, that is, one out of every 530.53 people subsisting in the county at present is doing so without a roof over his or her head.
Key findings extrapolated from this year’s count and an analysis of past counts were that:
* The number of adults and children counted as homeless increased by 25.9 percent when the 2023 point-in-time homeless count of 4,195 is compared to the 2022 point-in-time homeless count of 3,333.
* The number of adults and children counted as unsheltered increased by 24.6% when the 2023 unsheltered count of 2,976 is compared to the 2022 unsheltered count of 2,389.
* The number of homeless adults and children counted as sheltered increased by 29.1 percent when the 2023 sheltered count of 1,219 is compared to the 2022 sheltered count of 944. Continue reading

Ramos Prevailing In Quiet Democratic Backroom Power Contest With Gómez Reyes

In the struggle for the position of primary influence among local legislators and an inside track on the eventual leadership of the legislature itself through placement within the Democratic hierarchy in Sacramento, it appears that Assemblyman James Ramos (Democrat-Highland) is maneuvering and accelerating past Assemblywoman Eloise Gómez Reyes (Democrat-San Bernardino).
To be sure, Gómez Reyes, who is senior to Ramos in California’s lower legislative house by two years and who has acceded to an official leadership position within the party and the Assembly above Ramos, that of Assembly majority leader, on paper appears more powerful and influential than her colleague. Nevertheless, in the arena where it counts in terms of moving bills out of committee and to the floor for a vote or other action, it appears that 56-year-old Ramos is outhustling the 67-year-old Gómez Reyes.
A case in point is the contrast between two bills – one written, introduced and sponsored by Gómez Reyes and another authored, brought forth and supported by Ramos – both of which are ostensibly aimed at the same goal.
Gómez Reyes’ Assembly Bill 1000 would have required 1,000 feet be maintained between new warehouses of 100,000 square feet or more and homes, apartments and other places where people congregate and spend a lot of time, such as day care centers and schools. It would have been applicable statewide.
Ramos’s AB 1748 deals with the same topic as AB 1000, that being the proximity of warehouses to living quarters, educational facilities and the like. Ramos’s version would impose a substantially less exacting limitation, however, specifically a 300-foot buffer between dwelling units or quarters or sites where large numbers of people spend hours on a daily or semi-daily basis and warehouses of 400,000 square feet or more in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Continue reading

Bill Landecena, Raised In Ontario, Navy Veteran, Meatpacker And Upland Philanthropist, Gone At 98

Bill Landecena, a pillar of the Upland Community for more than sixty years, died on March 25, 2023. He was 98.
Born William Vincent Landecena on March 2, 1925 in Chicago to James Vincent Landecena and Caterina Fazio Landecena, he moved as a child with his family to Ontario in 1929, where he was raised in a household at 1002 San Antonio Avenue that included his father, stepmother Margaret E. Tomeo Landecena, older brother Harry, younger sister Bridget, older stepsister Lucile Repola, older stepbrother Ernest Repola, and younger stepsister Adeline Repola.
While he was yet in junior high school, he started working part-time at Cal-Vine Market in Ontario. He worked in the meat department and eventually became a journeyman butcher.
He enlisted in the Navy on his 18th birthday in March 1943, dropping out of high school to take part in the war effort. He served four years in the United States Navy, and, while stationed in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Theater, was given a service assignment as a butcher/cook because of his meat cutting experience. He was transferred back to the United States before the end of World War II, and served upon the then-newly-commissioned U.S.S. Fall River.
After his honorable discharge from the Navy, he returned to Ontario and ultimately Upland, where he worked as a meat cutter and butcher with several meat markets. Continue reading

Yucca Valley Takes Stand Against The Joshua Tree Protection Act

The Yucca Valley Town Council has unanimously gone on record as opposing state legislation aimed at preventing the destruction and removal of Joshua Trees.
The Western Joshua Tree Protection Act was was formulated and presented to the California Legislature earlier this year by Governor Gavin Newsom’s administration after the California Fish and Game Commission in June 2022 deadlocked 2-to-2 on whether to confer endangered species status on western Joshua trees, known by their scientific name, Yucca brevifolia.
The petition for the Yucca brevifolia’s endangered listing and the protections that would come with it was made by the Center for Biodiversity in 2019. In September 2020 the California Department of Fish and Wildlife recommended that Joshua trees be temporarily protected while Dr. Cameron Barrows of the University of California Riverside, Dr. Erica Fleishman of the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute, Dr. Timothy Krantz with the University of Redlands, Dr. Lynn Sweet with the University of California, Riverside and Dr. Jeremy B. Yoder from California State University Northridge undertook the completion of a peer-reviewed report and recommendation relating to the western Joshua tree.
According to that report, released in April 2022, the outlook for the plant, while less than encouraging, is not absolutely critical.
“The population size and area occupied by [the] western Joshua tree have declined since European settlement largely due to habitat modification and destruction, a trend that has continued to the present,” Barrows, Fleishman, Krantz, Sweet and Yoder collectively stated. “Primary threats to the species are climate change, development and other human activities, and wildfire. Available species distribution models suggest that areas predicted to be suitable for [the] western Joshua tree based on 20th Century climate data will decline substantially through the end of the 21st Century as a result of climate change, especially in the southern and lower elevational portions of its range.”
Nevertheless, the scientists said, “the department [the California Department of Fish and Wildlife] does not currently have information demonstrating that loss of areas with 20th Century suitable climate conditions will result in impacts on existing populations that are severe enough to threaten to eliminate the species from a significant portion of its range by the end of the 21st Century. The effects of development and other human activities will cause western Joshua tree habitat and populations to be lost, particularly in the southern part of the species’ range, but many populations within the range of the species are protected from development, suggesting that a significant portion of the species’ range will not be lost by development alone. Wildfire can also kill over half of western Joshua trees in areas that burn, and wildfire impacted approximately 2.5% of the species’ range in each of the last two decades, but wildfire does not appear to result in loss of range, only lowering of abundance within the species’ range.”
Barrows, Fleishman, Krantz, Sweet and Yoder stated that “the evidence presented in favor of the petitioned action, the scientific evidence that is currently possessed by the department does not demonstrate that populations of the species are negatively trending in a way that would lead the department to believe that the species is likely to be in serious danger of becoming extinct throughout all or a significant portion of its range in the foreseeable future. The department recommends that the commission find that the recommended action to list [the] western Joshua tree as a threatened species is not warranted.”
There was some dissent from that conclusion. Dr. Krantz indicated in June that he was not in consonance with the recommendation that had been put out under his name and the collective aegis of his colleagues.
“The western Joshua tree is already very much a threatened species,” Krantz told the Sentinel.
The June 2022 vote was not definitive in that the California Fish and Game Commission is a five-member panel. Staff with the commission indicated that the matter would be reheard upon the appointment of a fifth commissioner. In the meantime, commission staff sought input from California’s Native American tribes. In October, following the appointment of a fifth commissioner, the commission again voted to delay a decision on the listing to see if legislation related to the tree would move through the legislature.
On February 7, the Newsom Administration laid out its proposal for the Western Joshua Tree Protection Act, which it introduced without any authorship assistance or sponsorship from state senators or Assembly members. If passed into law, the act would authorize removal of western Joshua trees only if specific conditions are met, including the avoidance and minimization of impacts to include transplanting of the trees rather than removal and destruction where possible and the inclusion of an option for payment of fees calculated to mitigate specific impacts by specific projects, the depositing of fees in the Western Joshua Tree Mitigation Fund and the requirement that the Department of Fish and Wildlife deploy the fund, in collaboration with Indian tribes and others, to address threats to the western Joshua tree, including, but not limited to, acquiring, and conserving western Joshua tree habitat.
The act would further require the Department of Fish and Wildlife to develop and implement a western Joshua tree conservation plan in collaboration with the California Fish and Game Commission, governmental agencies, California Native America Tribes, and the public. Under the act, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife would be required to incorporate of traditional ecological knowledge into the conservation plan and co-manage the strategy for ensuring the species’ survival through consultation with California Indian tribes and facilitate the relocation of western Joshua trees to tribal lands upon a request from a tribe. The act would authorize the Department of Fish and Wildlife to delegate to a county or city the ability to approve the removal or trimming of dead or dying trees, subject to conditions, and an option to pay fees, pursuant to Department of Fish and Wildlife oversight, with express California Department of Fish and Wildlife authority to revoke any delegation. The act as drafted includes annual reporting to the Fish and Game Commission about the effectiveness, performance, and success of the program, with specific deadlines for accountability and flexibility to increase fees as necessary in accordance with open public processes.
On March 8, 2023, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that it will not list Joshua trees under the federal Endangered Species Act. The federal government’s opting out of the process for the protection of the species, environmentalists said, intensified the importance of the state taking action.
In that timeframe, the Western Joshua Tree Protection Act was being considered by both houses of the state legislature. It was referred to the Appropriations Committee on April 24. A Western Joshua Tree trailer bill accompanying it would set aside funding for the implementation of the act.
Yucca Valley Town officials have expressed the view that the act would prove overly restrictive in seeking to protect the western Joshua Tree and potentially act as a precedent in creating unworkable restrictions with regard to other species. The mitigation and permitting costs for both public or private property owners could prove prohibitive and indiscriminately prevent future development, town officials maintain.
On April 18, the Yucca Valley Town Council received an update regarding the proposed Western Joshua Tree Conservation Act from Town Manager Curtis Yakimow, and considered whether it should share with the state legislature “the Town’s concerns and position with the appropriate parties as there may be an opportunity for some modification of the legislative language through the budget hearing process,” according to that evening’s meeting agenda. As a consequence of that discussion, the town council voted unanimously to oppose the Western Joshua Tree Protection Act, action which Yakimow recommended. According to Yakimow, the Western Joshua Tree Conservation Act will impose requirements and fees on private individuals, property owners, corporations and governmental entities that are not backed with science. He said that the passage of the act absent prior efforts to coordinate conservation efforts and fines with local governmental agencies “is neither good public policy nor good governance.”
In a press release, the Town of Yucca Valley stated, “local regulations continue to be an effective regulatory tool that would assist in preserving the western Joshua Tree through public review and transparency of related native plant permit requests.”
-Mark Gutglueck

Ontario Chaffey Community Show Ban To Put On Dual Concerts May 15 And May 30

The musicians of the Ontario Chaffey Community Show Band and Al and Jennifer Boling are proud to present “Music of the 70s” on Monday May 15, 2023 at 7:30 p.m.
The concert will be held at the band shell in Ontario Town Square located at N. Euclid Ave. and “C” Street in Ontario. Since, the performance is outdoors, you are encouraged to bring your lawn chairs and picnic baskets. The performance is free to the public.
Popular music in the 1970’s saw the rise and development of many subgenres that included Disco, Funk, Soul, R & B, Smooth Jazz, Hard Rock, New Wave, Punk Rock, Progressive Rock, Blues Rock, Soft Rock and Pop, and Heavy Metal. The first half of the 1970’s witnessed the emergence of British heavy metal groups such as Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. In the second half of the decade, many acts primarily from the U.S.A. along with groups from the British Isles and Australia, became very popular. They included Alice Copper, Aerosmith, Van Halen, Ted Nugent, Elton John, Simon and Garfunkel, Barry Manilow, Frank Zappa, Billy Joel, Olivia Newton-John, The Carpenters, Carlos Santana, The Bee Gees, The Jackson Five, Neil Diamond, Helen Reddy, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gayes, and many others. Continue reading

Chino Paying Nearly $600,000 To Survey Its Handicapped Accommodation Shortcomings

An Irvine-based company is examining the City of Chino’s existing municipal facilities and public improvements to ascertain their compliance or lack thereof with the Americans With Disabilities Act.
While employees with Veritas Technical Assessments are doing the actual inspection of the streets, curbs, curbcuts, sidewalks, crosswalks, buildings, parks, amenities and other municipal assets, the city in its parlance is referring to examination as “a self-evaluation survey of accessibility barriers for people with disabilities.”
Veritas Technical Assessments began the effort on April 17. Continue reading