My first thought went to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. asking that question after the signing of the 1964 Civil Rights Act; not that this election compares to that struggle. However, we have been living under a cloud of intimidators on the council, an activist city attorney, and self-interested public safety employee associations for the past twenty-five years.
One of the things I remembered from Dr. King’s book by the same title is the statement: “a man can’t ride your back if you are standing up straight.” Well in November the citizens of San Bernardino decided to stand up straight.
We have already reaped some benefits by the new city attorney firing all the retired police officers that former City Attorney Jim Penman hired as investigators.
To complete the task of changing city hall we’ll be electing Carey Davis as our next mayor. I had an opportunity to spend some quality time with Carey and outside of his professional qualifications as a Certified Public Accountant and Controller; he is a warm and compassionate individual who loves San Bernardino and is a strong family man.
Carey impressed me with his understanding of how policymakers should establish and evaluate policy and leave management to implement policy while holding them accountable.
He has a vision for diversity through inclusion in his administration, which is key in a city that is as diverse as San Bernardino. He cannot do it alone. So we have to reach out and support his campaign if we are to complete our vision of change for the city.
I suggest the Black community, in particular, reach out to Carey and get involved in the effort to elect him. If we want the city to reflect our values and aspirations, then we cannot sit in the background and only support secretly. I am encouraging Rikke Van Johnson to openly support one candidate over the other. Leadership requires one being out front sometimes. Carey told me that Virginia Marquez has already given him her support so having Johnson’s endorsement would go a long way in showing racial unity in the city.
Now I cannot see anyone in our community supporting his opponent based on her past actions on the council.
Where do we go from here? Once Carey is elected, along with Fred Shorett in the 4th Ward, we need to work to change the city charter section 186 that governs the pay of public safety employees. We need to ensure we focus on political campaign reform. We need to change the city attorney’s position to appointed, not elected. And we need to ensure clear lines of authority between the mayor, council, attorney, treasurer, city clerk, and staff.