IE Business Daily

By IE Business Daily
May 24, 2014

Leadership requires many virtues. The first and foremost of those is competence, or at least the public perception of it.

Apparently, that quality is severely diminished in the bankrupt City of San Bernardino. The Mayor and City Council, who are for the most part new to the jobs and should engender some political capital, appear to be squandering any opportunity of building a sustainable consensus in moving the city forward.

Case in Point: The Mayor and City Council’s decision to place a Charter Amendment on the ballot in November that will have no discernible impact on the city’s current or future financial situation, when bankruptcy is the “word for the day.”

Much of what is being proposed in the effort to change the city charter is little more than a cleanup measure, nothing more than rounding-off corners and the clarification of existing policy and matters of state law. These are unworthy of the $175,000 cost of an election on five separate measures in November when San Bernardino cannot mow the grass in her parks.

Far worse, in the midst of a contentious bankruptcy proceeding that, by its legal nature, will determine the debts owed to creditors, the Public Employee’s Retirement System (PERS) and her employees, city leaders seem intent on attacking the one Charter provision that affects public safety employee’s salaries, Charter Provision 186. Some people ignorant of government finance blame San Bernardino’s fiscal train wreck on employees and a charter provision that has been in place since the 1960’s.

Funny how the city wasn’t bankrupt in the last Fifty years of 186? It wasn’t until eight years of Mayor Pat Morris, a failed airport debacle, a giant casino built within its borders that saps the economic strength of San Bernardino Citizens, and dozens of failed big government programs and redevelopment schemes that the city had to file for bankruptcy. Even nearly a billion dollars in freeway and transportation construction over the last six years hasn’t made a dent in San Bernardino’s economy.

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