- Sun Lakes Life
We don’t normally comment on rulings by California’s Supreme Court, but one that came out recently will send shivers up the spine of school administrators from Banning to Los Angeles. In essence, the state’s highest court said that a school district and its administrators can be held liable for an employee who molests children when they knew or should have known the employee had such tendencies.
We’re not saying Beaumont school district didn’t learn from the scandal in the City of Bell. We just don’t think it learned enough. You might recall that Bell was secretly paying its corrupt city manager an eye-popping $800,000 a year. Bell’s lesson is that taxpayers now more than ever want to know how much they are paying their public officials. With that in mind the state controller’s office began requiring local governments to publicly disclose such salaries. It doesn’t matter whether high-paid officials are uncomfortable with disclosure of their salaries. As the U.S Supreme Court famously ruled in a government access case from Riverside County, “embarrassment” doesn’t trump “public disclosure.”
Each year the Veterans of Foreign Wars Desert Edge Post 233 honors public service in the Pass area, handing out awards to people who have made a difference, including, of course police officers. For 2011, three people involved in law enforcement were honored on Jan. 6 by the VFW, and deservedly so.
We’re unsure whether Beaumont High School’s decision to require tickets to get into this year’s graduation ceremony is a solution looking for a problem. But, we will reserve judgment until later. For now, we expect the school to hear comments from parents whose teens are in the Class of 2012.
The viability and vibrancy of nonprofits is critical for every American community. Banning is no exception. I have had a series of conversations with numerous Banning nonprofits this past year and I realized that they all need help with fundraising. Most manage to get by with an annual event and a few donors or members. With one exception, no Pass area nonprofit has developed an endowment program.
We’ve taken Beaumont City Councilwoman Nancy Gall to task in the past for not thinking things out.
Banning has hired a new economic development director, Mr. William Manis. The 51-year-old lives in Claremont, holds a degree in urban planning from Cal Poly, and comes to Banning from Cypress, where he was responsible for atttracting businesses to that city. His experience will be well tested here.
“In this day and age, it’s a tremendous feat to hit these targets.” That was the chief of Beaumont’s schools, Barry Kayrell, talking about the achievement of Sundance Elementary School: winning national “Blue Ribbon” status by improving student achievement as measured by test scores.
The Spirit Run in Beaumont is in its second year, and will benefit the local schools and, importantly, promote a healthier lifesyle for residents.
The annual Stagecoach Days celebration in Banning — this is the 54th edition — commemorates the time when the town was a main rest stop on the east-west stage line.
The cost of it will be a tough nut to crack, as much as $2 million. But, a museum to house an extensive collection of fire fighter memorabilia, including antique fire trucks that routinely appear in local parades is a good idea.
Beaumont officials pride themselves on the city’s relative success: its high-volume business and housing development; its budget reserve of millions. But, recently the City Council has been taken down a peg from the lofty heights.
… Not long ago, a little known redistricting proposal appeared on the ballot. Named Proposition 11, it promised an end to the practice of self-serving politicians in Sacramento controlling the drawing of their own districts. Some raised eyebrows, a few protested, yet it passed with relative ease amidst the chaos of that year’s election cycle. Most didn’t understand exactly how the new process for drawing political boundaries would work … it was somewhat complicated with several moving parts and a “non-partisan” citizens redistricting panel. Initially designed to merely affect state legislative districts, in 2010 Proposition 20 passed adding congressional districts to the process as well.
The United States Supreme Court decision to release thousands of criminals from California prisons because of violations of Eighth Amendment prohibitions against cruel and unusual punishment is radical.
Deja vu — paramnesia — is full of sleaze when it comes to San Bernardino County.
The City of Banning has set up a Housing Authority to handle the “affordable housing” aspects of the city’s Redevelopment Agency, which has been threatened with extinction by Gov. Brown. The governor wants to take tax money now siphoned off by redevelopment and re-route it into general services, an idea which has generated both support and consternation, depending on where your bread is buttered, and on whether you think revitalization efforts in California’s cities have been successes or failures. By its nature, redevelopment is prone to failure because it attempts to revitalize areas that the free market has shunned, making it an incredibly tough job. It makes redevelopment an easy target, though the governor is finding out that it has vocal champions, and city mayors have been the loudest among them.
Fourth-grader Geno Middleton is a symbol of success. No, he’s more; he’s an example of it. Two years ago then-second-grader Geno struggled to write, and he tended to print his “S’s” backwards. So, he entered Hemmerling Elementary School’s CARE Lab. Today his handwriting has improved, his words put together more eloquently. He recently wrote: “The best thing about school is basketball because it is fun. I like basketball because you can put the ball in the basket and earn points.” (Yes, all 10 “S’s” were printed right-ways. Geno, you can write sports for us someday.)
When Liberty Energy pulled out of Banning along with its proposal to build a multi-million dollar sludge-burning plant in the city, it left behind, well, a mound of controversy.
Regional economy expert Dr. John Husing — a man the Los Angeles Times described as one of the 100 most powerful people in Southern California — spoke recently at a lunch sponsored by the Beaumont Chamber of Commerce. What some in the large audience might not have known is that Dr. Husing is an avid adventurer, having trekked over the Himalayas into Tibet, having entered unexplored jungles of New Guinea to make “first” contact with previously undiscovered stone-aged tribes, and, as an amateur genealogist, has traced his family lineage to the Mayflower. But, they all knew that he is the top expert on the Inland economy, and they hoped for good news for a change. He offered a smidgeon: the local economy is slowly improving on the jobs front. But, Dr. Husing was quick to note, as he had in his January Inland Empire Quarterly Economic Report, robust construction activity must return for true job recovery. He also noted that housing probably won’t recover until 2015.
At first blush, we like the direction the City of Banning is taking for development of the historic San Gorgonio Inn property and its surroundings. It seems as if the city has brought in the right developer, with the right kind of experience to get the project moving ahead, who is fashioning the project in tandem with the budding Mid-County Justice Center in downtown.
Banning leaders made a good decision when they approved a low-interest loan to owners of the Fox Cineplex Theater for needed upgrades to downtown’s key entertainment attraction. With the $650,000 loan, the Fox will be dressed out in the latest digital sound and screens, crucial for getting the full enjoyment from today’s digitally enhanced Hollywood films.