S.B. Neighborhood Leaders Ponder Year Ahead
By Dianne Anderson
San Bernardino community advocates are looking to the year ahead and concerned how revenue streams could be impacted beyond the pandemic, such as closed businesses and the risk of higher foreclosures for both residential and commercial real estate.
Other problems facing the city, including the growing homeless population, have not gone unnoticed.
Rev. Bronica Martindale-Taylor expects to revisit projects she’s worked on in the past as chair of Measure S and the city African American Police Advisory Committee.
She said she is encouraged that City Council has a new face with three new council members, who happen to be African American. And, she is hopeful that fresh ideas will help move the city forward.
“We have a new Sixth Ward councilwoman Kim Calvin that seems to be very [eager] about listening to the voice of the people and about doing projects here,” said Martindale Taylor, who had resigned her seat as president of California Gardens Neighborhood Association last year due to family emergencies.
She also hopes that the council will call for an assessment to get a clear understanding of what the community wants, and identify local priorities. She said Measure S holds promise for projects for the city, and also within the Sixth Ward.
“We have to put at least the top five projects that are going to be going on, and see what the people would like to have, and how we can accomplish that,” she said.
Close collaboration is important to address the scope of issues facing the city, and she wants to learn more about how she can help with the council’s vision.
“We have new leaders in position to cast the vision, then we’ll know how to approach it. A lot of O.G.’s like myself, I’ve been there and done that. You can’t just throw out fairy dust,” she said.
Amelia Lopez, president of the Neighborhood Association Council, said due to COVID-19 and the holidays, the member meetings are on hold, but they stay in the loop through Nextdoor, calls and email communications.
At one point, she said the city seemed to be making progress, but the budget remains a big concern.
“We have $11 million deficit we had to cover, then we had lawsuits we had to cover, some pending, that disgusts everybody. We wonder about leadership and the progress we make. When we’re on track to move forward, something happens,” she said.
For January, she expects a meet and greet with the mayor and new city manager. The high turnover rate for so many city positions over the past 15 years has been troubling, but she tries to look on the bright side.
“With three new city council people, we basically are feeling that everyone is new or just brand new and we’re hopeful that is a sign of the change of leadership,” she said.
She hears city budget concerns from her association members, including questions around Measure S funding, which imposes a one percent sales tax to support the city’s general fund and pending new developments.
The Neighborhood Association’s goal is to stay on top of information and keep connected with local leaders.
“[It’s] to ask what is the plan, and how much we can support it, give feedback and ask questions. We always ask when we can meet again, and what’s the yardstick to measure the progress for what you have outlined.”
Crime is always on the radar for association members.
By December 11, the city had already reported 66 murders.
In Charle Jacob’s neighborhood, sometimes affectionately called the “upper bench,” it’s been relatively quiet. The helicopters hover overhead or firetrucks blast by, but nothing serious on streets close to home.
Nicholson Park is Jacobs’ pet project, as well as her pet peeve. It’s still in bad shape, but more visitors are coming around from other neighborhoods.
“There’s rogue baseball players, they’re bouncing from park to park and not wearing masks. They’re unpermitted. You need a license to play on the field. They could be superspreaders,” said Jacobs, president of Terrace West Neighborhood Association.
Going forward, she thinks the city could benefit if more police data were accessible and sorted into several city sections so association members or residents can see what areas are hit hardest with specific types of crimes.
“Is it certain streets? Is it the lighting? Is it because of trees? Or, too many apartments or too much parking on the street?” said Jacobs, who is also Sixth Ward Parks and Rec commissioner.
One of the recent conversations was that catalytic converters were being stolen because the metal is recyclable.
“They’re cutting them off cars,” she said. “Some portions of E Street are still without lights because of the removal of copper, and one of the issues with Nicholson Park was the copper was pulled out of the lighting there too.”
Recently, four City of San Bernardino projects received CARES Act funding, including Public Works Department Operations Division – Park Gates $28,425, Information Technology Infrastructure Project $40,421, Water Facility and IT Infrastructure Project $161,000, Building Improvements $60,000.
Also included, Cat Sanctuary Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Upgrade was $81,000, split 50/50 between County Cares Act funding and City of San Bernardino Animal Shelter Improvement Funds.
“Municipalities in San Bernardino County received considerable funding to help them cope with the pandemic, and thus far, our 24 incorporated cities or towns have invested more than $20 million on 110 separate projects. Another $25 million will be made available for proposed infrastructure projects (which require a 1:1 match from the participating city). ,” the county website says.
To find out more about San Bernardino County CARES Act funding allocation, see
To see funding to California cities and counties, check out:
State Department of Finance for the report of allocations to cities: