San Bernardino Residents for Responsible Government has notified all the members of the City Council as well as the City’s Mayor and City Attorney that they intend to throw them all out of office. The announcement, via press release, press conference, and the notices of intent to circulate a recall petition are the first steps in forcing a November 5 election to remove everyone from office.
“The City’s elected leaders must be held accountable for the current dismal condition of the City,” said Scott Beard, the responsible officer for the committee. “The Recall will lead to a more expedient exit from bankruptcy while paving the way for much needed reforms. San Bernardino needs new and cohesive leadership if residents are to see real economic revitalization.”
According to the group’s website, “[San Bernardino’s] elected leaders have failed to protect city residents and businesses, resulting in painful consequences. Dysfunction and infighting have paralyzed city hall while crime rates soar, businesses leave, and city services suffer. The City needs cohesive leadership to move forward and create economic revitalization.”
The consequences mentioned are detailed on the website as a veritable laundry list of grievances:
14.5% unemployment rate
$45 million budget shortfall
50% increase in homicides last year
Home values declined more than any other large city in the U.S., 2007 to 2011
Second only to Detroit as the poorest large city in the nation (Census Bureau)
A reduction in the availability and effectiveness of city services
Reductions in police and fire personnel
Delinquency in pension payments to CalPERS
City bond ratings cut
Longer police response times
Increased number of unfixed potholes and streetlights
Parks and public spaces filled with trash, graffiti and nuisance crimes
In order to qualify the recall for the Mayor and City Attorney, the group must collect signatures from15 percent of registered voters Citywide . To recall each council member, the group must collect 25 percent of registered voters from their respective wards.
Those targeted for recall are gearing up for the fight, with Councilman John Valdivia saying the group can, “Bring it on. Exclamation mark, exclamation mark.”
City Attorney James Penman said the recall group is funded by out-of-town interests and members of former councils who helped drive the City to bankruptcy.