Josh Dulaney, Staff Writer
Posted: 09/06/2012 06:55:05 PM PDT
Special Section: San Bernardino
SAN BERNARDINO – Oldtimers in this once-thriving town can gripe long about its decline from an All-American City designation to a national spectacle mired in bankruptcy.
But there’s a generation coming of age without memories of Christmas shopping at Harris’ Department Store or bumping into celebrities at the Arrowhead Springs Hotel. And they have a message for City Hall: We’re proud of our town too. Now fix it.
Among them is Hugo Sanchez, a 20-year-old warehouseman and college student who sees San Bernardino as a big city with lots of potential.
But Sanchez, who was shopping Thursday for a video camera at Walmart, suggested the city’s bankruptcy illustrates its biggest problem.
“We need someone to take leadership,” he said.
His matter-of-fact demeanor belied a serious call for San Bernardino’s leaders to pull the city out of the economic ash heap.
The remark came a day after another contentious City Council meeting, where $22 million in cuts to services also saw the elimination of 100 positions, in an exhaustive effort to help close a $45.8 million deficit.
But that was just the beginning.
Other planned actions, including concessions from city employees, are expected to bring the deficit down to $7 million, according to the City Manager’s Office.
It remains to be seen how the still-gaping hole in the budget will be filled.
Interim City Manager Andrea Travis-Miller was in meetings most of the day on Thursday, but Acting Assistant City Manager Gwendolyn Waters said in an email that “there is no plan in place yet to address the remaining deficit.”
The city is aiming to “take as big a bite out of the deficit” as it can, “then let the dust settle on layoffs and reorganizations” and see what else can be reduced, Waters said.
“The city manager is the one pulling plans together with input from the department heads as well as employees and the public,” Waters said.
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