A group called Save Our San Bernardino which calls itself SOS has become much more involved since the city authorized a bankruptcy filing. (Staff)

Ryan Hagen, Staff Writer
Posted: 07/26/2012 05:23:55 PM PDT

Special Section: San Bernardino

SAN BERNARDINO – Concerned citizens say the city’s shortage of cash and budget deficit have revealed other problems – and other solutions.

“We had a bankruptcy of civic engagement,” said Roxanne Williams, who recently moved to San Bernardino and now is vice-chairwoman of a group called Save Our San Bernardino, which formed four months ago. “I’ve always been concerned about the lack of vision of San Bernardino, so our concern actually predated the fiscal bankruptcy.”

But the group – which calls itself SOS – has become much more involved since the city authorized a bankruptcy filing, she said.

And it’s not alone.

Concepcion Powell, a Grand Terrace resident, started a group the week of the bankruptcy move called Concerned Citizens Coalition of San Bernardino.

“The main focus of the group is to get the five sectors involved,” Powell said, referring to the private, educational, church, nonprofit and government sectors. “What we want to do, the other (nongovernmental) sectors, is smack them on the head. There’s been no leadership, and we want to change that.”

The group has about 60 members, she said, many of them also from outside the city.

“They’re past residents or they just care about the city,” said Powell, who also runs the San Bernardino-based US-Hispanic Women Grocers Association. “The city has had very, very little communication in regards to the Hispanic community, and I think that we as a group can make a difference in bringing that information to the community.”

The coalition is meeting at 9a.m. Saturday at The Home of the Neighborly Services at 839 N. Mount Vernon Ave., for what she said is its third meeting.

Volunteerism can be as simple as picking up trash or as involved as the monthly weeding that some members of the Del Rosa Neighborhood Action Group have been doing for years, said Evelyn Alexander, president of that 17-year-old group.

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