The City of San Bernardino is the fourth city in California to go bankrupt in the last two years. Now we find out that there have been several years of fiscal accounting errors. The starting balance for the city's general fund, for example, was reportedly off by $1.2 million for fiscal year 2011-12.
The stewards of the city's resources have been asleep at wheel this entire time... or where they?
As a resident and stakeholder in San Bernardino, I have been to countless council sessions, and I am always amazed by the toxic political climate, constant infighting that plagues the council.
Our city has had so much contention over the last eight or nine years where the council members fight amongst themselves, "My Ward this... My ward that..." Sadly, this behavior over the years has brought them to a place where they have lost sight of their responsibility: safeguarding taxpayer's dollars. We want to know, where is the money?
In one way or another, I believe that San Bernardino County & City has been the target of every crook, corrupt politician, backward investor and anyone else who had the opportunity to come rob, steal and destroy. So far, these folks seem to have been welcomed with open arms.
On the other end of the spectrum, I have witnessed individuals who have come to help this city take care of the pressures, issues and needs that have been met with resistance, bureaucracy and unfair punitive policies that would run any Good Samaritan away.
As a former accountant for the large events center in San Bernardino, I'm astonished how a city could not realize what their year-end balance was after dealing with millions of dollars.
Both local state and federal funding require audits on a regular basis. Therefore, why didn't any of these audits or government firms reveal these "so called" accounting errors? A curious mind just wants to know.
I have had a great admiration for the city government, particularly with city employees who do the work to ensure this city is amenable to future growth and development. But more often than not those employees are lambasted and tormented through city council meetings, which leaves morale very low, and a desire to do the best job possible flows out the window.
Now, as we sit here with another statistic tied to San Bernardino besides poverty, high unemployment and a disgusting homelessness rate, I'm wondering: Are the same folks who brilliantly and masterly participated in this city getting to this point really going to go into a closed session and discuss, argue or conduct some political grandiose activity, instead of really looking at the best interest of this city? I was in a meeting once and I heard a homeless woman say, "Since the government officials in charge of ending homelessness haven't been able to do it, why not put the homeless people in charge?"
As I look at this city and all of the well-educated individuals who have managed it, I ask myself, "Do we need to get some residents from this community to take back our city and make it a place where we can all enjoy living, playing and working again?"