Editorial Staff | Op Ed Contributor
For those in the City of San Bernardino who may still be wavering about how to vote on the city’s Measure S, here are a few additional and important reasons we encourage you to vote NO.
A NO vote also has particular resonance for the city’s Black and Brown communities (as well as working class Whites) , many of whom struggle daily to make ends meet because they have lost their jobs or continued working as essential workers who often make long commutes to low-wage jobs often risking their lives in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
Measure S would raise taxes on local residents in the City of San Bernardino long recognized as one of the most economically insecure communities in the nation, only to have those dollars doled out to local police and city officials who do not live in the community and pay no taxes here.
Over the years these officials and the police union, during times of fiscal stress, conspired to ensure pay increases for police officers regardless of what services local residents might be forced to do without and regardless of fiscal pressures of the day.
Twenty-eight percent of the city’s residents live in poverty and according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2018 the median household income of San Bernardino residents was $43,136 before the current crisis.
Despite this reality, city officials have pushed Measure S onto local voters without consideration and they believe, without consequence. Maybe they think voters are asleep or do not understand the implications of disparity especially when the median income of the city’s residents is compared to the salaries of city officials and the police. Consider the following additional reasons to Vote NO on Measure S.
Acting Police Chief Eric McBride was forced to withdraw from the search for a police chief in the City of El Monte because of the anti immigrant policies he professed during his tenure as Mayor of Hemet. In his current role as Acting Police Chief he earns $457,797 per year—more than 10 ½ times the median income of San Bernardino.
Acting Assistant Police Chief David Green, who has earned himself a reputation for shooting Black people, is paid $398,781 per year or 9.25 times more the city’s median income earner.
The San Bernardino Police Officers Association President Brian Lewis, who holds the rank of Detective, earns $271,000.
Here are other salaries of San Bernardino Police Department elites for you to consider and weigh in the equation as you prepare to vote on Measure S:
- Paul Williams, $370,712
- Brian Pellis, $355,292
- Adam Affrunti, $355,291
- Vicki Cervantes, $350,038
- Robert Young, $315,139
- Eric Fyvie $314,401
- Frank Macomber, $314,307
- Brian Harris $307,810
- Timothy Crocker, $276,112
Mayor John Valdivia earns $106,916.00 per year for his service to the city. He is personally defending himself against three lawsuits currently and would love for city taxpayers to cover his personal attorney fees. Although he was largely turned down in this quest by the City Council earlier this year, he is certain to ask again after the November election.
Between now and election day, as many readers in the City of San Bernardino are forced to “Rob Peter to Pay Paul”; or worry about having enough gas money to make it back and forth to work until your next pay day; or hope you have enough groceries to make it through the week; or toss and turn as you try to figure out how you will catch up on mortgage or rent payments when the moratorium ends; or are forced to cut prescription pills in half because you don’t have enough money to pick up your refills; or forgo a doctor’s appointment because you can’t cover the co-pay; or sigh in disgust, anger and dismay when another Black or Brown man or woman is mistreated, disrespected or worse by the police, take a moment to remember how much you are paying in taxes so the city can pay such exorbitant salaries these very officers who don’t look like you and don’t live in your community.
Next, think about Measure S and whether you want to pay even more in taxes to afford these individuals and their families, things you cannot afford for yourself and your own family. And then ask yourself whether you are getting your money’s worth for what you already pay in taxes.
If you like others in the community answer with a resounding NO, then we encourage you to vote NO on Measure S.
Hardy Brown Sr. is Publisher Emeritus of the Black Voice News and S. E. Williams is Executive Editor for the IE Voice and the Black Voice News.