Jim Penman

By Ryan Hagen, The Sun
Posted: 11/05/13, 9:13 PM PST | Updated: 3 mins ago

SAN BERNARDINO >> After 26 years, James F. Penman’s role as San Bernardino’s city attorney has come to an end.

Nearly 60 percent of voters favored recalling Penman, although the total number of votes cast — 11,048 — was less than the 15 percent of registered voters who signed a petition asking for his recall to be on the ballot.

Penman expects his last day to be Nov. 13, when results are certified, or perhaps the day afterward, with real estate attorney Gary Saenz taking over.

Saenz gathered 56 percent of the votes on the question of who should replace Penman, with the remainder going to attorney Tim Prince.

“There are so many like-hearted people who really want to change how we do things,” Saenz said. “It’s very encouraging.”

Penman said he had left a voicemail with Saenz congratulating him and seeking to begin working on the transition.

“Whatever the final outcome tonight, I know for 26 years I fought the good fight, I finished the race and I kept the faith,” Penman said after the first batch of results showed him down heavily.

Mayor Pat Morris, who often sparred with Penman, said in a speech at an election party hosted by recall leader Scott Beard that the city could move forward now that Peman was out of the picture.

“To have an end to that legal reign of terror is really a critical part of that renaissance,” Morris said.

Even Prince — another frequent critic of Penman’s through the years — said he was celebrating despite being behind Saenz in early results.

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