Measure R has qualified for the November ballot. It is the measure that will make the board part-time and cut the salary and benefit packages of members of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors (BOS) from a high of $308,000 a year to $60,000, more in line with the average county taxpayer. It will reduce funding for staff from $6 million a year to $1.5 million. Currently, some staffers are making more than $225,000 annually.
In 2006 the BOS placed Measure P on the ballot to give themselves a $50,000-a-year raise. They called it “term limits.” Once passed, they then went on to increase their own benefit package by another $30,000 a year.
Since receiving the salary and benefit increases, the board has taken several actions that has cut their meeting schedule in half and delegated their duties to an unelected bureaucrat. They have given that bureaucrat so much authority that they even agreed not to assist their own constituents to wade through the ocean of red tape that some county employees throw in the way of citizens and businesses.
About a year and a half ago, members of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors did not believe it when they were notified a grass roots citizens group was writing an initiative to qualify for the November 2012 to undo the BOS’s duplicitous actions in 2006. To board members’ surprise, 73,672 angry residents signed the petition to qualify the initiative for the ballot. It was an indictment of a corrupt political body by an electorate tired of the lies and self-serving actions coming from what is known as the “Fifth Floor” or board of supervisors.
For two decades or more San Bernardino County elected officials have been the target of local, state and federal investigations. Of the past six chairmen of the board, all but one has been arrested, named as a “John Doe” in a criminal case or is currently under investigation. Additionally, two former sheriffs, one former district attorney, a former treasurer, several aides to the BOS, two county administrative officers, two or more board members and several department heads have been investigated, arrested, charged and/or convicted.
Corruption is so commonplace in San Bernardino County that criminal acts are committed by county officials with audaciousness and impunity that can perhaps only be rivaled by mob-run cities elsewhere. A reader sent an email today asking, “When the Mormons settled San Bernardino in the early 1800s was the government they initiated honest, or has it always been crooked?” That is a question on the minds of many county residents.
The BOS is fighting back against the wishes of the residents of San Bernardino County with another deceptive initiative, Measure Q. They claim their measure will provide more accountability when in reality, it does almost nothing. It will allow the BOS to continue receiving large salary and benefit packages and hire very well paid staffers. In other words, the BOS is once again lying to the public about their actions.
Fourth District Supervisor Gary Ovitt initiated the creation of the BOS-sponsored measure. He was named as a “John Doe” in what District Attorney Mike Ramos and then-Attorney General Jerry Brown called one of the worse examples of public corruption in a century in the $102 million Colonies scandal. Ovitt’s chief of staff, Mark Kirk, was arrested for taking bribes to assure Ovitt’s vote in that scandal.
Sources close to the board say Kirk is the coordinator for the campaign against Measure R and in favor of Measure Q. He is using Meridian Pacific Inc., a political consulting firm in Sacramento. Kirk used Meridian for his own failed campaign for Hesperia City Council and successful campaign of his father, Robert Kirk, for Hesperia School Board.
Kirk was indicted last year in the $102 million bribery scandal. No court date has been set for his trial.
For more information on Measure R, visit www.ReformSBCounty.com or visit the Facebook Fan Page. Follow the campaign on Twitter @YesOnMeasureR.