San Bernardino Seal

Route 66 Rendezvous loss another fiscal crisis black eye
Ryan Hagen, Staff Writer
Posted: 04/27/2013 06:22:32 PM PDT

The announcement that San Bernardino’s signature Route 66 Rendezvous – or at least the essentials that made it a local mainstay – was leaving for Ontario struck many San Bernardino residents as sad but almost inevitable.

It’s not that Ontario didn’t have the resources to do a good job, many said. Far from it.

It’s that everything seems to go right in Ontario, while sometimes everything seems to be going wrong in San Bernardino.

“Despite all the downfalls of San Bernardino that we’re all aware of, it’s an excellent spot for it,” said Steve Portias, president of the custom van club Inland Vans Berdoo. “It’s a San Bernardino event. It’s ours. It’s one of the few positive things to still come out of this town, and we need it.”

Officials said the San Bernardino’s recent misfortunes – the decision to file for bankruptcy, its high crime – didn’t cost the city the car show it’s held since 1990.

Instead, it was Gov. Jerry Brown’s decision to eliminate all redevelopment agencies in the state that left no money for the San Bernardino Convention and Visitors Bureau, said Jim Morris, the mayor’s son and chief of staff.

Until 2011, the bureau provided $140,000 for the event, with the rest of the $520,000 to $550,000 tab coming from participants, sponsors and vendors. A dedicated fundraising effort kept the Stater Bros. Route 66 Rendezvous in town for 2012, but organizers decided earlier this year that a 2013 event wasn’t possible.

“What does Ontario have that we don’t?” Morris said. “They have an active CVB that can support these kind of initiatives. “Honestly, from my perspective, that’s the difference. If we had a CVB that was still being funded, we’d have the Rendezvous. It’s that simple.”

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