Wednesday, February 2, 2011 – 05:45 a.m.
Will the City of Victorville ever learn from its mistakes?
For a city being investigated by the San Bernardino County Grand Jury, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, it doesn’t look like it at this point.
City Council member Angela Valles asked a simple question regarding a proposal for the construction of a solar generation project on city-owned property.
The question? Is William “Buck” Johns involved with any of the bidders being considered?
The answer? Yes.
Valles blew up, and rightfully so.
Johns, who runs Inland Energy, a fixture in Victorville politics, has had his hand in the city’s pocketbook for years. He’s a man who has received an abnormally high percentage of contract awards from a city council that has pretty much plundered the municipalities finances.
It’s not uncommon to witness Johns attending events with a quorum of Victorville council members in tow.
Now Johns’ Inland Energy, along with east coast partner Faros Infrastructure Partners, is hiding behind the name Colusa Solar.
Colusa is one of two finalists for the project.
Johns is also tied to the city’s failed Victorville II power plant project and EB-5 Technical Worker Visa Program.
Valles, who was easily elected to the council last year, has railed against the sweetheart backroom deal-making which has victimized the city. It was a centerpiece of her campaign.
Now Valles has caught Johns with his hand in the cookie jar once again.
What’s different this time? Interestingly, alleged pro-reformer Mayor Ryan McEachron is now drinking the Johns’ flavored Kool-aid.
Yes, McEachron, who has recently called for the end to all investigations into financial irregularities in his city, appears to have intentionally kept his mouth zipped on Johns involvement in this new piece of city business.
The big question here? Why has McEachron rolled over and become one of the boys?
End the investigations? Sneaking a contract through for Johns?
Something definitely smells here.