Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Three leaders of bankrupt San Bernardino head to recall ballot

Bankruptcy filed

Steven Cuevas

Longtime San Bernardino city attorney James Penman will face a recall election in November.

Three leaders in the bankrupt city of San Bernardino will find their names on recall ballots in November.

Recall organizers who became weary of the city's financial and political turmoil had originally targeted nearly every elected leader.  Ultimately, they found support to put City Attorney James Penman and council members Wendy McCammack and John Valdivia on the recall ballot.

Voters in this city of 213,000 will have the chance to replace most of their elected officials when they go to the polls November 5. That's because another three people on the seven-member council are up for election. Voters will also choose a new mayor from 11 candidates.

This week, a federal judge ruled that the city is eligible to seek bankruptcy protection.


 

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Maven's Morning Coffee: Jerry Brown's legacy, Vernon's audit, a breakdown of LA's racial groups

Governor Jerry Brown

Andrew Nixon/Capital Public Radio

Rolling Stone did a sitdown with Gov. Jerry Brown. It follows other flattering pieces in The Atlantic and The New York Times.

Good morning, readers. Welcome to the Maven's Morning Coffee -- a listing of the important headlines, news conferences, votes and announcements you need to know to fuel up and tackle your day.

The Maven's Morning Coffee is also available as a daily email. Click here to subscribe.

Today is Friday, Aug. 30, and here is what's happening in Southern California politics:

Headlines

Rolling Stone spends some time with Gov. Jerry Brown. "No longer thinking of his post as a steppingstone to higher office, Brown is instead determined to craft a durable legacy – the capstone to more than four decades of public service. His foulmouthed motto? 'I want to get shit done.'" Capitol Alert calls the piece (along with some other recent articles) "flattery from afar."

Vernon city officials are conducting a forensic audit of their former city administrator's compensation, reports the Los Angeles Times. "The new openness has intrigued prosecutors. They complained bitterly that Vernon withheld key information during the district attorney's investigation into (Bruce) Malkenhorst, who at the height of his power rode around in a limousine and regularly played 18 holes of golf on the city's dime," according to The Times.

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UPDATED: California lawmakers split over Syria, but not along party lines (Read reps' letter to President Obama)

Democratic Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez says, regarding U.S. involvement in Syria, "Congress should be involved in any course of action that the Obama Administration takes."

Congress is out of session until September 9th, but that hasn't stopped lawmakers — including many Californians — from weighing in on whether the U.S. should get involved militarily in Syria following allegations of a chemical weapons attack against civilians.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee of Oakland and 12 other California Democratic colleagues were among those who signed a letter to President Obama, saying they join "the unequivocal condemnation" over reports the Syrian government used chemical weapons. But before the use of military force, the Democrats want a debate on the facts and the alternatives.

The letter reads: "while the ongoing human rights violations and continued loss of life are horrific, they should not draw us into an unwise war – especially without adhering to our own constitutional requirements."

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Maven's Morning Coffee: Trial of Robert Rizzo, San Bernardino in bankruptcy, investigation into Venice hit-and-run

Mercer 15780

Irfan Khan/AFP/Getty Images

Former Bell City Manager Robert Rizzo will have his trial in Los Angeles County, a judge ruled.

Good morning, readers. Welcome to the Maven's Morning Coffee -- a listing of the important headlines, news conferences, votes and announcements you need to know to fuel up and tackle your day.

The Maven's Morning Coffee is also available as a daily email. Click here to subscribe.

Today is Thursday, Aug. 29, and here is what's happening in Southern California politics:

Headlines

San Bernardino is eligible for bankruptcy protection according to a federal judge, reports KPCC. "The city asked the bankruptcy court to allow restructuring of its debts, including those it owes its own employees and retirees. A mediator will now work with the city and creditors to negotiate payment of debts," per the station.

The trial of Bell's Robert Rizzo will not be moved to another county, according to the Los Angeles Times. Rizzo is facing 69 counts of falsifying public records, perjury, conspiracy, misappropriating public funds and conflict of interest. According to his attorney, the public perception of Rizzo is that he is a "scoundrel and should spend rest of life in jail."

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Judge rules San Bernardino is eligible for bankruptcy protection

berdoo bankrupt

Steven Cuevas / KPCC

The San Bernardino City Council voted last summer to seek bankruptcy protection in a case that is being watched closely by other financially-strapped cities.

A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the City of San Bernardino is eligible for bankruptcy protection. The city, facing a $24 million deficit, filed for bankruptcy a year ago.

The city asked the bankruptcy court to allow restructuring of its debts, including those it owes its own employees and retirees. A mediator will now work with the city and creditors to negotiate payment of debts.

While San Bernardino is a fairly small city, with a population of about 213,000, the case is being watched closely by officials in other debt-stressed cities in California, and also in bankrupt Detroit. They are watching to see whether the bankruptcy court will let them change pension contracts. That matter was not taken up by the court Wednesday.

San Bernardino has also asked the court to let it reject its collective bargaining agreements with police, firefighter and employee unions. Wages and benefits make up about three-quarters of the city’s budget. The city expects to save about $26 million with the personnel cuts they’ve imposed.

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