May 24, 2022 Minutes-Cassie MacDuff, News Contributor, KVCR In-Person & via Zoom

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Hybrid Meeting In-Person and via ZOOM


Present:  Deborah Barmack, Peter Barmack, Greg Bradbard, Mike Burrows, Rachelle Bussell, Ken Coate, Sandra Cuellar, Kevin Dyerly, Mark Kaenel, Lena Kent, Lowell King, Bill Lemann, Darcy McNaboe, Miguel Mendoza, Jacquelyn Mercado, Dan Murphy, Bansree Parikh, Catherine Pritchett, Thomas Rice, Elizabeth Romero, Dan Schenkel, Kristine Scott, Paul Shimoff, Eric Ustation, Pete Van Helden, Reggie Webb, Michael Wells, Ray Wolfe, Marisa Yeager, and Frank Zabaleta.

Guest: LaDonna DiCamillo and Sheriff Shannon Dicus.

Announcements:  1) The year-to-date financials for period ending March 31, 2022, with the treasurer’s summary are now posted on the Inland Action web site. 2) The meeting next week is for the Executive Committee and is an in-person only meeting.  3) The meeting on June 7, 2022, will be an off-site meeting at the new Yaamava Resort and Casino where we will have breakfast and a tour for a limited number.  The tour is full, but we are creating a waiting list for those who would like to participate. Appreciation was expressed to Eric Ustation and the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians for this opportunity.  4) The 28th Annual Inland Empire World Trade Conference will be held at the Double Tree Hilton in San Bernardino or via Zoom from 9a.m.-11a.m.  For more information, please go to  5) The first annual Leaders in Energy Summit will be held on June 9, 2022, at the Bear Springs Hotel in Highland from 8a.m.-5:00p.m. Energy leaders and community leaders will discuss energy innovation and workforce development in disadvantaged communities.  The Leaders in Energy Summit is brought to you by SBD International Airport and Right Energy Group.  To register or for more information go to

A majority of the members present voted to extend an invitation of membership to Harvest, LLP.  Their primary representative will be Michael Rivera.

The membership voted that Jose Torres, Executive Vice Chancellor, will serve as the Alternate representative for San Bernardino Community College District.

Lowell King, Chair presiding.

Motion/Second/Passed: Minutes from May 17, 2022.

Bill Lemann introduced Cassie MacDuff, News Contributor, KVCR who joined us in-person.

Cassie MacDuff is a retired journalist who wrote a Metro column for The Press-Enterprise for 17 years, and before that, wrote for The San Bernardino Sun for 13 years. She continues to provide a weekly roundup of Inland Empire news for NPR affiliate 91.9 KVCR.  A native Californian, she majored in journalism and political science at San Jose State University, graduating with highest honors.

As news contributor with over thirty years’ experience as a journalist covering Inland Empire news, Cassie MacDuff has a unique perspective on politics and elections within our region.  She spoke with us about the effects of term limits and redistricting on the upcoming June 7 election in key Inland Empire races.

The Mayoral race in San Bernardino will be very interesting with the incumbent John Valdivia and six challengers.  The incumbent is controversial and has been accused of sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment by five employees.  A similar action by one additional employee has been settled for $50,000.  Later he was the censured by the City Council for misusing public funds/resources.  Consequently, the Council slashed his salary to $50K annually (a 56% reduction) so as to be more in step with other mayoral salaries and be in-line with his current duties. Although censured he retains veto power.  He has vetoed the $2M needed to clear a large pile of cement that has been stored on vacant property in the city and is a problem for the residents of Verdemont, which is in the northern portion of the city.  The Mayor indicated that it would not be a proper use of city funds.  He does, however, favor spending $10M to tear down the Carousel Mall.   He has not participated in any of the San Bernardino Neighborhood Association forums, unlike four of the six candidates.

The best-known challenger is the former and recalled City Attorney, Jim Penman.  Well known for making many inflammatory comments, he is endorsed by former Mayor Judith Valles.  Helen Tran, former Director of Human Resources for the City of San Bernardino, is endorsed by former Mayors Pat Morris and Carey Davis.  Treasure Ortiz had interned for the City and later with the Cities H.R. Dept. and now teaches public administration at Cal State San Bernardino.  She has been very active over the past several years attending most Council meetings and expressing her opinions.  She is endorsed by the Southern California News Group.  Former Councilman Henry Nickel whose re-election campaign two years ago failed, is attempting a comeback as Mayor.  Candidates Gabriel Jaramillo and Mohammad Khan, have no history in city government.  The runoff will be interesting to watch.

There are three City Council positions up for election.  The three incumbents all have challengers which is healthy for our system.   The biggest concerns of the city are:

  • Homelessness
  • Rising crime
  • City Council disfunction
  • Redevelopment of Carousel Mall
  • Hazardous waste in Verdemont

The State legislature is experiencing some big changes due to redistricting.  Several incumbents are now in the same district, and they typically do not want to run against each other, especially if in the same party.   As an example, rather than run against democrat Senator Susan Rubio, Connie Leyva is running for County Supervisor.

In the Assembly redistricting put three democratic incumbents in the same district here in the IE.  Jose Medina will not seek reelection, and Eloise Reyes will move from Grand Terrace to Colton where she already has her law offices.  A similar situation happened in the high desert.  She summarized the incumbents, challengers and open seats in both San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

She is encouraged with the voter turnout in the last elections and increased voter engagement.  When asked, she favors NPR as a news source as it is not politically polarized other mainstream news.

A Q & A period followed.
Meeting adjourned at 8:30 a.m.