Sanbag - Ben Stein

Actor and economist Ben Stein speaks at the fourth annual San Bernardino Associated Governments general assembly at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario Thursday. (Neil Nisperos — staff photograhper)

By Neil Nisperos, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Posted: 06/12/14, 10:07 PM PDT | Updated: 49 secs ago

San Bernardino Associated Governments, the county’s transportation planning agency, held its fourth annual general assembly Thursday night at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario to recognize the past year’s accomplishments, tout upcoming projects, and to celebrate a county-wide vision toward improving the well-being of residents.

The keynote speaker was the actor and economist Ben Stein, who was also a long time educator. Stein is famous for his scene-stealing turn as a monotone teacher taking attendance in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” and as cohost with Jimmy Kimmel of the television game show “Win Ben Stein’s Money.”

Although he didn’t talk about Voodoo Economics or challenge anyone to win his money, Stein, a speech writer for President Richard Nixon, was full of opinions on current events.

An exuberant Stein, who dispensed with his characteristic deadpan delivery from the movies, said he was excited to speak in front of an audience filled with people “who build things” like bridges and roads.

The Beverly Hills and Rancho Mirage resident expressed his fondness for the county’s freeway system and for a Del Taco in Yucaipa.

He spoke of his fear about the political situation in Iraq in which a militant jihadist organization has taken control over a large swath of the country.

“Where is Richard Nixon when we need him?” Stein said. “Nixon knew foreign affairs.”

Among other topics, Stein spoke about his concern about the direction of the Republican Party after House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s loss to his tea party opponent Dave Brat in Virginia.

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