San Bernardino Seal

By Ryan Hagen, The Sun
Posted: 10/19/13, 7:31 PM PDT |

SAN BERNARDINO >> Rising crime, plummeting morale and a budget that’s already dropped off the ledge into bankruptcy — that’s the trend 11 candidates for mayor, 13 contenders for City Council and three vying to be city attorney have said they can reverse.

Eleven mayoral candidates said it until Thursday, anyway, when Councilman Chas Kelley pled guilty to felony perjury, resigned and dropped out of the mayoral race. Kelley’s plea deal dropped the number of mayoral candidates to 10 and further darkened the city’s image on the same day that an unrelated case brought 18 felony charges and 12 misdemeanor charges against Councilman Robert Jenkins.

San Bernardino resident Antoine Greer, reading a book of poetry in front of the nearly-abandoned Carousel Mall along a torn-up section of E Street, could see for himself that the city wasn’t in the shape it was when he was born in 1987.

But the details made him drop the book.

“I knew we were bankrupt, but that’s just impossible,” said Greer, who said he’s registered to vote but has never cast a ballot. “It’s a good thing I’m a believer (in God), or I wouldn’t see any hope.”

A few minutes later, Greer asked who was running.

“I don’t vote because I kind of think they’re all evil, and I don’t want to be part of that,” he said. “But I’ve been thinking about it. Something should change, right?”

Candidates have offered dramatically different visions of what should change and how.

And Nov. 5, voters will decide which way the city goes.

They’ll be making their choice in an election with a near-record number of candidates: Counting recall elections, it’s the most in at least the last 20 years and perhaps the last 50. Campaign spending is also at historic levels.

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