Sunday, November 20, 2011 – 05:15 a.m.
It’s 1976 and San Bernardino is designated an All-America City.
Fast forward thirty-five years to 2011 and the city is now ranked #2 on the list of the poorest cities in America.
What a twist of fate. An All-America City to the 2nd poorest city in America in just thirty-five years.
The #1 poorest city? Detroit.
I should stop right there. Enough said!
After all, Detroit has only had to endure all the fallout from the downsizing of the American auto industry.
Here, on the other hand, local politicians have sat with their heads in the sand for years, and now the situation has come to this.
While surrounding cities, without exception, have taken positive steps to ensure their viability. San Bernardino has been in a gutter.
The city is nearly bankrupt, and half of its population is on some form of public assistance.
The city now once again hinges its downtown revitalization on a revamped movie theater.
Yes, a movie theater.
On its own, and indicator of just how desperate San Bernardino’s situation has become.
Even the construction of a new downtown court complex could be delayed for years.
The city’s finances have been plundered on half-baked ideas that have done nothing more than line the pockets of a select crowd, with nothing to show in return.
Remember that Lakes & Streams project?
You know, the one that was going to turn that area, just north of downtown and east of the I-215 freeway, into a lake.
Millions were sunk into studying the concept.
Then there’s the downtown hotel and convention center.
What was the name of that now-closed hotel again? Maruko, Radisson??
What about the closed down and dilapidated convention center.
Then there’s the city’s economic (EDA) and redevelopment (RDA) agencies.
Both entities have pretty much mortgaged and or encumbered every city-owned property and revenue dollar.
The city itself has sold all of its taxpayer-owned property to the EDA or RDA, in exchange for money to finance general fund operations.
An ill-fated move to say the least.
Now that lifeline is exhausted and the city faces another multi-million dollar deficit.
If not for the California State University campus, the city would be a ghost town.
City leaders, pat and present, have been warned for years and now the vulture’s are circling and there’s little time for city leaders to react.
As a matter of fact. It may be too late.