A recent editorial in the SB Sun illustrates the challenges that remain in San Bernardino with an election just a few days ago that left the landscape of the city's elected officials unchanged. In their own response to the election results the Black Voice News adds their voice as well to call for a city council that can temper its often antagonistic tendencies in an effort to move forward for progress in San Bernardino.
Election Results follow...
Tomorrow, 11/6, in the city of San Bernardino three individuals are seeking to keep the city moving towards an agenda of progressive leadership. These three leaders - Rachel Mendoza Clark, Carolyn Tillman, and Rikke Van Johnson - all share common values of community building, with attention focused on safety, modernization, and respectful governance.
San Bernardino faces a moment in which it can choose to turn towards an era of building cohesive leadership, an era that finds itself working in collaborative action instead of mired down in bitter battles, and an finally era of representation at the city level that where justice and accountability matter.
With a voter mobilization kick-off on October 20th the San Bernardino Social Justice Coalition Steering (SBSJC) Committee has seen some hard work and has found success.
Working in a coalition with local San Bernardino community activists and CBOs they have dispatched daily walk teams to contact thousands of voters in the city of San Bernardino. To date over 3,000 homes have received literature for the upcoming November 6 election. Now the SBSJC is preparing its walkers for a disciplined and targeted GOTV weekend and Election Day mobilization.
Paraphrasing the words of coalition organizer, Esther Portillo, "A big shout out goes out to the CCAEJ, Libreria Del Pueblo, and Time For Change Foundation for mobilizing their bases and leadership to the participate in these walks and for making a commitment to this groundbreaking campaign in San Bernardino!"
PowerPAC is proud to support this coalition and others like it. Without community based and community led movements like these - California will continue to lack true demographic representation in its elected officials, social justice in its communities, and economic success for its unheard workers.
So join us and stay tuned... this is just heating up... we've got a lot of road to cover in California to support coalitions like these while bringing attention to more opportunities for progressive change!
Recently Robert Rogers wrote in the San Bernardino Sun a piece called "Civic shirkers: Volunteerism, political action low in the I.E."http://www.sbsun.com/ci_6496840 At first upon reading this article it raised in me some guilt as I reflected on activism in my hometown. Upon rereading it, however, I realized instead that I'd missed an opportunity. Instead I decided I should focus on an opportunity to recognize groups that have been working to take the Inland Empire back for progressive change.
Turner has 10 days to collect an additional 2,500 signatures if he still wants to push the initiative this fall. Indications are that he won't be successful, but the community is still on alert to be prepared just in case.
Mayor Pat Morris has been a leading voice against the measure, saying it was far from the right solution to San Bernardino's problems. Yesterday he told the L.A. Times:
"In every respect, we saved ourselves from the emotional trauma of a fight that has no meaning," said San Bernardino Mayor Patrick J. Morris, a former Superior Court judge who has denounced the proposal. "Mr. Turner said this would send a message. It's like shooting ourselves in the stomach."
The San Bernardino City Council today rejected an anti-immigrant measure put forth by the radical racist group Save Our State, putting the measure before voters in the coming months, likely in a special election.
More than 200 people gathered at City Hall to give input on the measure, which qualified for the ballot with only 2,200 signatures. The majority of those who turned out for the meeting were opposed to the measure, and community members said those who were in support were largely from outside of San Bernardino.
As the first wave of media coverage indicates, this promises to be one nasty, ugly battle:
David Nelson of San Bernardino spoke in favor of the measure.
"I am an American. I speak English ... therefore if you wish to become a part of this society learn English. The one great right of this society is the right to leave."
San Bernardino is a microcosm of what is happening nationwide around immigration. The immediacy of this ballot measure, which will most likely be decided in a special election between now and November, will bring all the conflict front and center, and force this community, the state and the country, to deal with some intensely difficult issues.
It is now time for every leader in this state, including those running for Governor, to speak out strongly against this measure. Immigration reform is complicated, sure. But this measure is not about immigration reform. It is about racism and xenophobia, and to not get involved in this fight is to compromise basic human dignity. No matter how bad things get, I refuse to accept that we live in a country that would deny working people rental housing, or criminalize people who are only trying to feed their families.
I hope our state's leaders can find the political courage to say the same.
The San Bernardino City Council right now is debating an initiative proposal that would deny rental housing to undocumented immigrants, as well as ban city-supported day labor hiring centers. If the City Council rejects the proposal tonight, which it is expected to do, the measure will automatically go on the ballot for voters.
PowerPAC.org, which has been providing data tools, resources and support to grass-roots organizations in San Bernardino for the last year, is in contact with community members who are gathering en masse to oppose this draconian measure. Hundreds of people have come to City Hall this afternoon to speak against the proposal, and have had to enter in shifts because the room only holds 100 people!
This local battle has both state and national implications, and PowerPAC.org will be working closely with the community to continue to fight this measure at the ballot box. Stay tuned to Blog for Justice for updates!
The San Bernardino City Council will be forced to vote on a draconian proposal to ban hiring centers for undocumented workers and prevent them from renting apartments in the city, which is 71% people of color.
The overtly racist group "Save Our State" is responsible for circulating a petition and invoking a rarely used provision of San Bernardino's City Charter that requires the council to take action on the proposal within 10 days. If it's rejected, the measure will go automatically on a citywide ballot for a vote.
San Bernardino is one of the areas targeted by PowerPAC in our Vote to Power program, because of the large numbers of eligible but not voting people of color. This dangerous proposal, which if passed would likely embolden this group to take it to other vulnerable cities, is exactly why building local electoral power for social justice in these areas is a critically important strategy in California right now. Rick Avila, a Latino candidate for Mayor of San Bernardino last year, summed it up perfectly:
"The minorities are the majorities in San Bernardino, but they don't vote like it," said Rick Avila, a contractor and the lone Latino candidate in a recent mayoral race in which he finished fourth of five.