The October Surprise In The San Bernardino City Attorney’s Race

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

First, a disclaimer:  this site is neutral as explained in the post “Why We Try To Keep Partisan Politics Out of These Postings”  These postings are provided as a community service, and not to push a particular candidate, or slate of candidates.

There is a memorandum on the Internet that purports to be a memorandum from a department head to the City Attorney, with carbon copies to a variety of people in the City Attorney’s Office.   I have this to say, I have read the writing of many engineers, and many attorneys, and the memorandum reads as if an attorney wrote it.  Note the memorandum is dated October 11, 2011, but came to light on October 28th.  Consider who might have released it to the press and blogs.

However, it is the very definition of an October Surprise: an attempt to release something in late October to influence an early November election.  We will have to see what effect, if any, it has on the election.  Probably none, because voters probably made up their minds a long time ago.

The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

Address : 300 E. State St. Suite 517

                  Redlands CA 92373-5235
Telephone: (909) 708-6055

San Bernardino City Unified School District Campaign Flier Roundup 2

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

Once again, a preface: Why We Try To Keep Partisan Politics Out of These Postings. These posts are provided as a public service  to inform the voting public about who is running and what they are saying.  If the material is received, this site posts and comments about the campaign material.

The San Bernardino City Unified School District fliers have come in an avalanche, so much that it is hard to keep up.

Here is what we have since the last time:

Teresa Parra Craig has sent her second mailer: Here is the front, here is the back.  Her mailer has a Claremont postage permit.

The San Bernardino Teachers Association has sent two mailers: Here is the back and front of the second mailing; here is the front and the back of the first mailing.  They have endorsed Sharon “Bobbie Perong, Juan M. Lopez, Margaret Hill and incumbent Lynda K. Savage.

An organization calling itself “San Bernardino Parents for Great Schools” has sent out a mailer, here is the front and the back. I have no idea who that is, the only thing that turns up on a web search is a firm called JMR Strategic, which claims that San Bernardino Parents for Great Schools is a client.  JMR Strategic is a San Francisco firm that claims to be a “strategic communications firm focused on public affairs, public relations, politics, and media. JMR Strategic excels in challenging situations where government, politics, and media intersect. Every client served receives hands-on strategic communications direction led by senior-level talent.”

Incumbent Lynda K. Savage sent out a second mailer consisting of four color pages; here is page one, two, three and four.

Challenger Juan M. Lopez sent out a flier, here is the front and the back.

Incumbent Elsa K. Valdez sent out a mailer, her first, here is the front, here is the back.

The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

Address : 300 E. State St. Suite 517

                  Redlands CA 92373-5235
Telephone: (909) 708-6055

Attack Mailers: City Attorney James F. Penman versus David McKenna

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

First, a disclaimer:  this site is neutral as explained in the post “Why We Try To Keep Partisan Politics Out of These Postings”  These postings are provided as a community service, and not to push a particular candidate, or slate of candidates.

The United States Postal Service has been busy.  We have arrived at the point in the campaign when the negative mailers have replaced the ads that focus on the candidate sending the mailers touting their achievements.  I am not using “attack” as a pejorative. Election politics is about pointing out the differences among the candidates, not just the positives of each candidate.  The reader can judge whether these mailers are fair or unfair.

Two fliers from David McKenna arrived to one Jim Penman mailer, so I’ll present them in a McKenna – Penman – McKenna format.  Again, these are posted as a community service, and not to push either candidate.

The second mailer from David McKenna is a  single sheet, glossy, two-sided heavyweight piece of paper.  Here is the front, here is the back.

City Attorney Jim Penman has sent his fourth mailer, though it says it is from the San Bernardino Police Officers Association, it also says it is paid for by Jim Penman for City Attorney 2011, so it is treated as a Jim Penman mailer.   Here is the front, here is the back.

The third mailer from David McKenna has the same color scheme as the second mailer.  Here is the front, here is the back.

These fliers will be discussed at greater lengths another time.

The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

Address : 300 E. State St. Suite 517

                  Redlands CA 92373-5235
Telephone: (909) 708-6055

The San Bernardino City Clerks Since the 1905 Charter

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

There have been just seven San Bernardino City Clerks since 1903, when Harry Allison became City Clerk for the pre-Charter City of San Bernardino.  The original 1905 Charter of the City of San Bernardino kept the existing City Clerk until the 1907 election.  Harry Allison won that first City Clerk’s election, and served until 1911, when S.G. Batchelor became City Clerk.  John H. Osborne became City Clerk in the next election in 1915, and served as City Clerk until at least 1950.  In 1951, Jack Felton was elected City Clerk.  He served at least until 1970.  In 1971, Deputy City Clerk Lucille Goforth was elected as City Clerk.  She served until the late 1970s.  In 1979, Shauna Clark was elected City Clerk.   Rachel Mendoza Clark was elected City Clerk in 1991, and again in 1995, 1999, 2003, and 2007.  She is now retiring, and one of the following will be elected City Clerk, only the eighth City Clerk since 1903: William Valle, Amelia Sanchez-Lopez, Gigi Hanna, Esther Jimenez, or Peggi Hazlett.  I would expect any of the candidates, if they win, to be in office for four or five terms, so it is important that voters examine the candidates and their positions.  Should the next City Clerk serve four terms, the time period between 1903 and 2028 (125 years), there will have been only eight City Clerks, an average of only one City Clerk for every 15.625 years.

Voters decided by an overwhelming percentage that they wanted to vote for City Clerk.  Make sure to make an informed decision on the candidate, as voters have only changed City Clerks six times since 1903.

The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

Address : 3o0 E. State St.#517
                   Redlands, CA 92373
Telephone: (909) 296-6708

City Attorney candidate David McKenna: “I didn’t feel comfortable voting … so I chose not to participate”

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

First, a disclaimer:  this site is neutral as explained in the post “Why We Try To Keep Partisan Politics Out of These Postings”  These postings are provided as a community service, and not to push a particular candidate, or slate of candidates.

In the International Baccalaureate program in high school, we had a required class called “Theory of Knowledge.”  Our teacher, Mr. Newman left me with the phrase “The Clock That Strikes Thirteen Puts Into Doubt The Previous Twelve.”

David McKenna has struck thirteen.

I am not big on aggregating news (you can go to the hyperpartisan blogs for that), but this piece in the Riverside paper, available online here, must be read by every voter:

 David McKenna, who is challenging six-term incumbent San Bernardino City Attorney Jim Penman in the Nov. 8 election, acknowledged a charge Penman leveled during a candidate forum: Until moving to San Bernardino this year, McKenna lived in Riverside County for the past five years without registering to vote.

McKenna said he had spent most of the past five years working in Riverside and visiting hisSan Diego and children in Virginia.

“I didn’t feel comfortable voting … when I was not part of the community and didn’t know the candidates, so I chose not to participate,” McKenna said. [Emphasis Added].

Not only does it feed into City Attorney James F. Penman’s campaign theme that David McKenna is a carpetbagger, but it shows questionable judgment for a position that requires a considerable amount of discretion.

Add the earlier gaffe when David McKenna did not do his due diligence and sent out thousands of electronic mail messages that wrongly accused City Attorney James F. Penman of accepting money from the Colonies defendants, when that money was an independent expenditure in support of City Attorney Penman’s 2007 opponent, Marianne Milligan.

Another incredible incident was when City Attorney challenger David McKenna reinforced the carpetbagger meme when McKenna said he didn’t know anything about the San Bernardino International Airport except that it was an airport.

The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox, LLP
A: 1447 Ford St. #201
      Redlands, CA 92374
T: (909) 296-6708

What Will Happen If The Sun Stops Publishing?

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law.

According to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, the San Bernardino Sun, through 3/31/2011, has a six-month average daily circulation for Monday Through Friday of 57,503.  In the early 1990s, when the paper was owned by Gannett, that number was closer to 100,000.  The 1990 population of San Bernardino was 164,164, in  2000 it was 185,401;  the 2011 estimate is 211,076.  With a population gain of almost 50,000, the circulation of the paper has declined almost as much. According to the paper’s website, it claims that it serves Adelanto, Apple Valley, Banning, Barstow, Beaumont, Big Bear, Colton, Crestline, Fontana, Grand Terrace, Hesperia, Highland, Loma Linda, Mentone, Redlands, Rialto, San Bernardino, Victorville and Yucaipa.  The core area served is probably San Bernardino, Rialto, Colton, Redlands, Highland, Loma Linda, Grand Terrace, and Yucaipa.

In comparison, the newspaper to the south has an average daily circulation for the same time period of 121,825.   Since the Sun and Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, both owned by the Los Angeles Newspaper Group, have merged, we have seen more stories from the West End in the Sun, and no doubt the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin has more East End news. The Sun gets all of its Redlands news from the skeleton staff at the Redlands Daily Facts.  When I started as Assistant City Attorney at the City of Redlands in 2006, the Sun still had someone covering Redlands City Hall.

The Sun was never the Los Angeles Times, but in the past its staff was doing a decent job covering the City of San Bernardino and other area City Halls.  After rounds of layoffs, there is rarely anyone with any institutional knowledge at the publication.  Moving out of downtown has not improved coverage of City Hall, either.  The current inattention to the San Bernardino City Clerk’s race verges on criminal negligence. What are the issues in the San Bernardino City Unified School District election?  You would not know reading the Sun. Yet, the San Bernardino Unified School District is the eighth largest school district in the state.  The paper, if it was not already, has become akin to the break-in joints in the casino world, somewhere to start, but not somewhere to make a career.  Add to that situation the collapse of print journalism in general.  In turn, the quality makes people stop subscribing, which makes advertisers stop advertising because they can reach fewer people.  The current situation is not good for the area.

At some point, if the Sun stops publishing, there will be a huge void in reporting to the detriment of San Bernardino County.  The Los Angeles Times does not cover the area, except for its drive-by reports that lumps the two counties together and makes some generalizations.  The Press-Enterprise may fill the void, but without competition, no matter how meager, there will be plenty of stories not reported.  The internet cannot fill the void, because the content is largely from the print newspapers already.  The Los Angeles news stations will report fires (unless there is a closer fire) and sensational crime.  Maybe the East Valley will get another free weekly that will partially fill the void.

In short, no mater how you feel about the quality of the Sun, it provides an important service, and if it stops publishing after 117 years, the City of San Bernardino will be poorer for it.

The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

Address : 300 E. State St. Suite 517

                  Redlands CA 92373-5235
Telephone: (909) 708-6055

Third James F. Penman for San Bernardino City Attorney November 8, 2011 Mailer

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

A preface: Why We Try To Keep Partisan Politics Out of These Postings. These posts are provided as  a public service  to inform the voting public about who is running and what they are saying.  If I get it, this blog posts and comments about the campaign material.   With the dearth (and death) of good reporting coming from our local newspapers, this may be one of the few places to get neutral reporting about the candidates.

The third mailer from the Jim Penman for City Attorney 2011 campaign has arrived, quick on the heels of the first mailer.  This mailer is in color and is four pages long.  Here is page 1, page 2, page 3, and Page 4.

Page one, or the cover of the mailer, has a manila  folder labeled “The People of San Bernardino vs.Politician David McKenna” with the headline in red letters: “UNFIT for Public Office”

The case file theme continues as the reader opens up the mailer.  Again, in red, “The People vs. Politician David McKenna”

The flier continues:

Exhibit A: Financial Misconduct

  • David McKenna was forced to resign as San Bernardino County Public Defender after he was caught illegally spending millions of dollars.
  • McKenna admitted that he “intentionally violated” county rules by spending public monies without authorization because he knew the County “would turn down his requests.

A quote from the Press-Enterprise from January 1999 reads “Public defender to resign today” By David Wert – January 1999:

San Bernardino Public Defender David McKenna under pressure from the Board Supervisors after disclosing that [highlighted in yellow]  he had intentionally violated county spending policies for nearly a decade, [end yellow highlighting] on Thursday notified the county that today will be his last day on the job . . .

“He was violating county policy for years,” said Supervisor Fred Aguiar.  “… it’s imperative that the Board of Supervisors appoint a public defender we have confidence in.  Someone who complies with all the regulations of the county.”

The third City Attorney Jim Penman mailer continues with a quote attributed to the Inland Empire Taxpayers Association which reads “McKenna’s arrogant and unethical behavior as County Public Defender disqualifies him from holding a position of trust in city government.”

Starting on the bottom of page 2 and continuing to page 3 reads:

Exhibit B: Lack of Integrity

  • David McKenna sent an unsolicited email to thousands of San Bernardino voters which falsely accused City Attorney Jim Penman of taking campaign funds from the scandalized Colonies Developers
  • Those Developer monies were actually used to OPPOSE City Attorney Penman who is known for his hard-line stand against political corruption.

There is another quote from the Press-Enterprise titled “McKenna apologized for erroneous email” by Brian Rokos, dated August 2, 2011.

San Bernardino city attorney challenger David McKenna today phoned incumbent Jim Penman to apologize for an email McKenna sent to 6,000 people that inaccurately said Penman’s campaign for city attorney in 2007 received $8,605 in “Colonies scandal payoff money.”

[Yellow highlighting] The money … actually was an independent expenditure … opposing Penman’s election.

The flier continues on page 3 with the text “Exhibit C: Soft on Crime”

  • Since 1983, McKenna has represented criminals as Public Defender and a Private Defense Attorney.
  • McKenna says that, if elected, he will eliminate City Attorney investigators even though it means reducing enforcement measures against street gangs.

Next to the Exhibit C text is a picture of facsimile San Bernardino police badge and shoulder patch.  “‘The last thing San Bernardino needs is a pro-parolee, soft on crime City Attorney like Mr. McKenna.’ Mike Reynolds San Bernardino police Detective.

The third page of the  flier finishes with “The Verdict Is Clear! David McKenna is unfit to serve as our City Attorney.”

The fourth page of the flier says, in red letters “You Just CAN’T Trust Politician McKenna!”:

LIED about his residency                                   ——–>                  FACT: McKenna is a carpetbagger

On his Facebook Page, McKenna says                                             McKenna has not lived in San Bernardino for many years.  He moved from Sun City to San

he has “lived and worked here for decades.”                                 Bernardino on June 24, 2011 just to run for political office here.

LIED about his law experience                       ——–>                   FACT: McKenna defends criminals
McKenna told the Sun newspaper that he                                      The Riverside Law Firm where McKenna works lists him as “Chief Defense Counsel” on its

did most of his legal work on “civil                                                   Corporate website.

litigation and family law.”

LIED about his government record                ——–>              FACT: McKenna ousted for corruption

In his official ballot statement, McKenna                                   McKenna was forced out of his County job for “intentionally” violating county spending rules and

claims he was a “reform leader” and a                                          wasting millions of taxpayer dollars.

“taxpayer’s advocate”.

Certainly, this is a hard-hitting mailer.  It hits the carpetbagger issue, the resignation from the public defender’s office (mentioned in both endorsements of McKenna from the Press-Enterprise and the Sun.  The design is very clean and not too cluttered with facts.   The only other thing expected is tying David McKenna to Mayor Pat Morris, a figure that no one is linking themselves with at this time, except Tobin Brinker.  Perhaps that is for future mailers, perhaps with a quote from David McKenna from the Rotary City Attorney forum wherein he said that he knew nothing about the San Bernardino International Airport except that it was an airport.  That would work with the carpetbagger theme and tying David McKenna to Mayor Patrick Morris.

The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

Address : 300 E. State St. Suite 517

                  Redlands CA 92373-5235
Telephone: (909) 708-6055

Recent San Bernardino City Unified School District Election 2011 Mailers

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law.

If you have not voted yet, here are some recent San Bernardino City Unified School District Election 2011 mailers.

A glossy post card from Margaret Hill (front and back); A large glossy mailer from incumbent Lynda K. Savage (front, back), a smaller glossy mailer from Sharon “Bobbie” Perong (front and back), and a post card from Gil Navarro (front and back).

The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

Address : 300 E. State St. Suite 517

                  Redlands CA 92373-5235
Telephone: (909) 708-6055

The Impact of Early Voting On Campaigning in the San Bernardino City Elections

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law.

I received my vote by mail ballot Monday and I voted on Tuesday by turning in the ballot to the San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters.  I am certain that many other voters did the same thing.  What that means is that if you, the candidate did not reach me by yesterday, then you potentially missed out on my vote.  Vote by mail (which is a misnomer, because I always deliver my ballot in person) is a convenient way to vote, and it allows you to get an “I Voted” sticker.

I was able to obtain my ballot and vote before any of the negative campaign mailers and before any of the slate mailers.  Neither were going to impact my voting, because my choices became clear after writing about the candidates for a month, attending forums, reading their literature, reading the ballot statements (which caused me to rethink my support of one candidate),  reviewing campaign filings, and in some cases, personally interacting with the candidates.  The only thing I learned from campaign signs is who likes to post in the public right-of-way, and who likes

I would like to thank the candidates for running.  Though they are not all quality candidates, thirteen candidates for four spaces on the San Bernardino City Unified School District Board shows that democracy is alive in San Bernardino.  I am just sorry that there were no candidates in the Sixth Ward and for City Treasurer, because single candidate elections smacks of totalitarianism.  Hopefully, there will be significant undervotes and write-ins to protest the lack of competitive races for those two positions.  There is no need for term limits if there is an active electorate.

The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

Address : 300 E. State St. Suite 517

                  Redlands CA 92373-5235
Telephone: (909) 708-6055

Caveats for Local Political Campaign Facebook Pages

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law.

I am not a great fan of Facebook because of privacy concerns, but there are plenty of people who like Facebook and other social media outlets such as Twitter.  As time goes on, reaching the Facebook demographic is another tool for local political candidates to use to reach voters and supporters.  Here are some caveats for Local Poltical Campaign Facebook Pages based upon what I have seen in the San Bernardino City elections to be held on November 8, 2011.

1. If you are going to have a Facebook page, make sure your grammar and spelling are correct.  Social media makes connections easy, whether it is done from a personal computer or a mobile device like a phone.  That does not mean that you can ignore grammar and spelling.  The worst is when using a mobile application, a candidate uses text speak, or even worse, some dialect of leet.  The worst are the candidates for Member of the San Bernardino City Unified School District Board who cannot write grammatically correct sentences.

2. Have separate personal pages and campaign pages.  You should not use the personal account for campaigning and vice versa.  Sometimes, your real life friends or family will say something stupid  that should not appear in public.  You will be unfairly judged for the actions of those around you.

3. Anything you say on Facebook can and will be used against you.  Employ the “New York Times Rule” for all postings.  Once again, the ease of posting can relax a candidates’ inhibitions, and they can say something that is not appropriate for the campaign.

4. Consider restricting the dialogue on the site between you, your supporters and voters.  If you do not control your message, your supporters can hijack your page for their own ends, or worse, you can be drawn into debates with your opponents’ supporters, trolls, gadflies, and opposition researchers.  The benefit of Facebook is its interactivity, but that interactivity can be a double-edged sword and end up hurting you.

5. If you are going to have a Facebook page for your campaign, make it open to the public.  Especially people who have no other web presence, it is counter intuitive to require a potential voter to become a fan or friend you in order for them to see basic campaign information.

The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

Address : 300 E. State St. Suite 517

                  Redlands CA 92373-5235
Telephone: (909) 708-6055