Wednesday, November 24, 2010 – 08:20 a.m.

There is several reasons why a proposed new San Bernardino County government center to be located at the foundering Carousel Mall site was never really in the cards.

An idea hatched about four years ago. That’s right, four years!

Let’s look at each of the players and their respective issues.

The City of San Bernardino:

1.) An obvious problem here is the fact that San Bernardino has long been a city that can’t seem to get out of its own way. The primary reason? Political in-fighting.

2.) San Benardino is vitrually broke and had nothing to bring to the table other than its ownership of the mall parking lot.

3.) The city, using an economic development agency credit line, borrowed $16.5 million from Citizens Business bank to purchase the note on the mall property. The city hopes to screw over the current mall property owners. A move that now looks like a huge blunder.

4.) The city granted a business permit and a long-term lease to a charter school now located in the lower level of the mall. The arrangement puts the school at the site for years to come. It should be noted that a required conditional-use permit (CUP) was never issued for the school.

The County of San Bernardino:

1.) A disorganized and distracted board of supervisors along with the ego of fifth district supervisor Josie Gonzales made the project at the mall site, which is located within Gonzales district, a non-starter. Gonzales resented the involvement of third district supervisor Neil Derry. Here ineptitude didn’t help either.

2.) County supervisors were led to believe they had sufficient cash flow to cover the debt service on the new construction. This misstep lands squarely at the feet of former county administrative officer Mark Uffer.

3.) The lack of institutional talent within county management further handicapped this large-scale project. Basically no one in the administration possessed the skill sets to know what to do.  Another misstep clearly at Uffer’s feet.

4.) County supervisors were misled about their own budget situation. Based upon what is known today there will be no government center anytime soon. When and if it does happen, you can look for it in the existing county footprint area of downtown. Another Uffer issue here as well.

5.) Finally, the economy didn’t help the situation either.

It’s no wonder anything never seems to get accomplished in the central valley.