Letter To Fontana City Manager Matt Ballantyne

Mr. Ballantyne…
      This is Mark Gutglueck with the San Bernardino County Sentinel. 
      I am writing to you with regard to the clean energy grant that Congresswoman Norma Torres was instrumental in obtaining for the City of Fontana.
      Some individuals within your organization have informed the Sentinel that in the past, Mayor Acquanetta Warren and her ruling coalition on the council steered a previous energy efficiency project contract to Alliance Building Solutions, using a loophole in California law that suspends the requirement that public agencies and governmental entities use an open bidding process on contracts for capital projects if the project pertains either to increasing energy efficiency or can be demonstrated to have saved the agency/governmental entity on energy costs. According to those at Fontana City Hall, Mayor Warren and her allies on the council deliberately used this loophole so that Alliance Building Solutions could be awarded the contracts in question despite the consideration that there were other companies offering the same energy efficiency upgrades at a lower cost than Alliance Building Solutions. This bypassing of the open bidding requirement was orchestrated, the Sentinel was told, by former San Bernardino County Supervisor Bill Postmus, who has reinvented himself as a lobbyist and political fixer, who is acting as what was variously described as a “cut-out” or go-between to convey money from Alliance Building Solutions principal Brad Chapman to Mayor Warren and the other decision-makers on the Fontana City Council, money intended to “grease” the mayor and council and thus facilitate the provision of the no-bid contract to Alliance Building Solutions. In essence, the Sentinel is told, the monetary installments originating with Mr. Chapman being delivered to the mayor and council members through the laundering process involving Mr. Postmus are quid pro quos, bribes paid in return for the approval of the energy efficientization projects.
      The Sentinel is further told that though you are not overjoyed, exactly, at the prospect of having something like this perpetrated on your watch, you don’t have much of a choice in the matter, as you need to stay on the good side of Mayor Warren and you lack the courage and character to stand up to her as some people would prefer you would. 
      Thus, I am writing to you now.
       How does the city intend to use the Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant?
       Will the Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant be used to provide another contract to Alliance Building Solutions?
      Will you insist on an open bidding process for any energy efficientization projects that the City of Fontana initiates and which use the Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant?
        Can you offer a succinct defense of not conducting an open bidding process for the project/projects that are to be undertaken using the Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant?
       Have you already met with Brad Chapman? If so, who introduced you to him? Was Bill Postmus in attendance when you met Mr. Chapman? Was Mayor Warren there as well?
      Do you have any concerns about the city involving itself with Mr. Postmus? 
      Do you feel that the city should use an open bidding process on its project contracts? 
      Do you feel the city should use an open bidding process on its project contracts even in those cases where exemptions for energy efficiency and energy savings are involved? 
     Is there some justification, in your view, to utilizing Alliance Building Solutions for the city’s energy efficientization efforts, even if other companies can provide those services more economically? Can you explicate that justification?
If Congresswoman Torres or other federal officials stipulate a condition to the 
Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant award that the contracts to paid for by the grant must be ones that use an open-bid process, will the city accept this limitation and use an open-bid process?
      I am fighting an unforgiving deadline in pursuing this story. If you could get back to me at once, I would like to use your input in the final setting of pen to paper on this.
      Thank you, Mr. Ballantyne, for what I anticipate will be your rapid response.
                                                                      …Mark Gutglueck  (951) 567 1936

December 2 Sentinel Legal Notices

TO ALL INTERESTED PERSONS: Petitioner MATHEW ALLEN OWEN filed with this court for a decree changing names as follows:
THE COURT ORDERS that all persons interested in this matter appear before this court at the hearing indicated below to show cause, if any, why the petition for change of name should not be granted. Any person objecting to the name changes described above must file a written objection that includes the reasons for the objection at least two court days before the matter is scheduled to be heard and must appear at the hearing to show cause why the petition should not be granted. If no written objection is timely filed, the court may grant the petition without a hearing.
Notice of Hearing
Date: DECEMBER 6, 2022
Time: 8:30 AM
Department: S16
The address of the court is Superior Court of California,
County of San Bernardino, 247 West Third Street, San Bernardino, CA 92415
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a copy of this order be published in the San Bernardino County Sentinel in San Bernardino County California, once a week for four successive weeks prior to the date set for hearing of the petition.
Dated: 10/24/2022
Deputy Clerk of the Superior Court: JORDYN DRAKE
Mathew Allen Owen, In Pro Per
15533 Ridgecrest Lane
Chino Hills, CA 91709
(909) 838-8708
Published in the San Bernardino County Sentinel on November 11, 18 & 25 & December 2, 2022. Continue reading

California Public Employee Pension System Sustained A $30B Loss So Far In 2022

The already unbearable burden California’s taxpayers are staggering under in defraying the pension costs of retired public sector employees has grown heavier still as the California Public Employees’ Retirement System has sustained investment losses approaching $30 billion through the first ten months of 2022.
The California Public Employees Retirement System is the pension system for all of state government’s employees, the employees of 427 of the its 482 cities, 36 of its 58 counties, and more than 900 other public agencies, including trial courts, special districts, transportation and transit districts, sanitation districts, library districts, fire districts, water districts, housing authorities, flood control districts, pest control districts, air quality districts, community college districts, park & recreation districts, hospital districts, utility districts, port authorities and cemetery districts. Continue reading

Verbal Version Of Mayoral Misdeeds Was Given Obscure Release Earlier This Month

The long-anticipated report of the investigation into Barstow Mayor Paul Courtney’s activities and alleged abuse of authority was released earlier this month, done verbally as a report of discussion that had taken place during a closed session of the council and its attorney at the November 7 city council meeting.
Coming as it did, in a fleeting announcement by City Attorney Matthew Summers without being provided in written form and a day before the November 8 election, the report was largely ignored by the public. Continue reading

Supervisor Cook Defiant In Face Of Effort To Remove Him Over Residency Violation

By Mark Gutglueck
First District San Bernardino County Supervisor Paul Cook is digging his heels in as momentum is building toward what those with regard for his legacy had hoped would be his voluntary resignation and what increasingly appears will be his forced removal from office.
At issue is the 79-year-old’s residency in Yucca Valley within the county’s Third Supervisorial District, outside the First District, which he has represented since December 2020. County officials have tacitly acknowledged that Cook, first in declaring and then qualifying his candidacy for the supervisor’s post in 2019, misrepresented that his domicile was in Apple Valley. At that time, the abrupt dismissal of questions from those who were aware of Cook’s longtime residency in Yucca Valley dissuaded the public from pursuing an examination of whether Cook in actuality had changed his residence to the First District. Cook had been a councilman and mayor in Yucca Valley in the early 2000s, where in 2004 he built a 3,527-square foot home built on a 1.15-acre lot on Country Club Drive overlooking the 12-hole Hawk’s Landing Golf Course. That was his declared residence when he successfully ran in 2006 to represent the 65th Assembly District in the California Legislature and was reelected in 2008 and 2010, as it was in 2012 when he was elected to represent California’s 8th Congressional District and was reelected in 2014, 2016 and 2018. Continue reading