Tillman To Run For S.B. Mayor
By Dianne Anderson
As the old saying goes: If kids don’t like you, then you’re in trouble.
Danny Tillman doesn’t have that problem.
The kids that he’s mentored over the decades are now grown, and they’re back to help him with his campaign in the run for San Bernardino Mayor.
Everyone is excited and supportive, and he said the team effort has been great to get the social media and marketing out to the community.
“I actually got young folks from 18 to 40 doing my social media campaign. I’ve been mentoring and tutoring these kids from when I was 18. I never dreamed the work I did with young people would come back and benefit me.”
Tillman said that his biggest concern for the city is the same concern for the school district. To thrive, the city needs someone familiar with handling big budgets.
During his years on the school board, he typically helped manage a budget about four times greater than the city of San Bernardino. The school district’s budget is $670 million compared the city’s budget at only $130 million.
Operating the school district’s budget gives him the edge, he said.
“The city budget is a lot smaller number and a lot easier to deal with,” he said. “Going to the city isn’t a big deal for me.”
Whether the city or the school district, staying afloat requires an ongoing stream of money to pay full-time employee salaries, the cost of living and the cost of benefits increases, such as medical and pension. The city must be careful not to overextend its budget, and fall back to the same bind as before the bankruptcy.
For now, the city’s budget is balanced.
If elected, he said a safer downtown is a priority. He questions why the city is unfairly taking on homeless parolees from surrounding cities. With only one parole office in San Bernardino, and the other in Victorville, he said homeless parolees gravitate locally to avoid missing their appointments.
By law, parolees are remanded back to the county where they did the crime, but not remanded back to the city. He feels it’s not fair for San Bernardino to give its resources away to clients coming from Fontana, Rancho Cucamonga, Ontario, Rialto, Redlands, and surrounding areas.
He said an easy fix is to ask the local parole office to stop managing parolees from other cities, or take it to the state legislature to back a law that any city over 100,000 must manage their own parolees.
“When you do that you’re using resources of fire or police to respond to calls of those individuals from other cities. San Bernardino, just coming out of bankruptcy, can’t afford that,” he said.
While on the school board, the big task is to identify unique possibilities to get revenue and then follow through. Since he’s been on the board, 16 brand new schools were built, with much of that funding with state construction bonds, not local bonds.
During the city bankruptcy, he said the school district also struggled with recession. Some teachers gave up part of their pay raise, but he said the district has been slowly keeping its promise since the economy turned around.
“I went before them and said the money is not here, we have to give back some of the raise that we got. They believed in me, and we were able to stay solvent,” he said.
Now past the bankruptcy, the city’s debt has gone away, but he said the root of the problem was that everyone was too reliant on redevelopment funds, which dried up.
“That was the nail in the coffin for the city because the city didn’t have a balanced budget,” he said.
The city is stronger today, as long as it doesn’t go back to the old ways. He also feels the city can glean more revenue by negotiating with companies and charging fees for heavy trucks to recoup some costs of road repairs.
“There’s got to be a way to do it. Some of these containers weigh 50,000 pounds, they tear up your streets,” he said.
Now that marijuana is legal in half of the United States, there are other revenue opportunities in San Bernardino. He said some arguments he’s heard against marijuana revenue are based on a fallacy.
“People have been smoking and selling in San Bernardino for as long as I can remember,” he said.
Oakland made over $2 million in marijuana revenue in their first quarter, and San Jose made over $2 million in their first two months of this year from businesses that sell marijuana. San Jose, at about twice the size of San Bernardino, could add $12 million annually, and that is potential revenue that San Bernardino could use toward providing more services to residents.
If elected, he would expedite an ordinance to emulate what other cities are doing to bring in money because legalized marijuana doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon.
“It’s a no-brainer,” he said. “They act like if you don’t have an ordinance you won’t have people smoking in the city of San Bernardino. They always have, and they always will so let’s make money off of it.”