City attorney and councilmember recalled in San Bernardino

Bankruptcy filed

Steven Cuevas

In this file photo, San Bernardino city attorney James Penman takes the podium at a town hall meeting on the city's fiscal crisis. Penman was recalled along with city councilwoman Wendy McCammack in Tuesday's election.

San Bernardino declared bankruptcy a year ago, and the politically divided City Council has struggled to agree on a strategy to get back on solid financial footing.

It was against that backdrop that residents and business-people mounted a recall of San Bernardino's most dominant political figure — City Attorney James Penman — and two of his council allies.

In most California cities, the attorney advises only on legal matters, but Penman — elected in 1987 — often took the podium to debate issues as a councilmember might.

Sixty percent of the voters decided they wanted him to leave. They also recalled his ally, Councilwoman Wendy McCammack. But she got the most votes in the mayoral election, so she'll be in a February runoff.

A second councilmember, John Valdivia, survived the recall.

Councilman Robert Jenkins, recently accused by the Riverside County District Attorney of stalking and identity theft, lost his bid for re-election in the city's second ward.

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