Is San Bernardino County’s Countywide Vision Racist?

By Kathleen Marquardt, American Policy Center, July 15, 2020 – Updated July 19, 2020

Cities located in San Bernardino County, that signed on to the Countywide Vision, are being used as pawns by the County to buy into a new Equity element for the Vision. In a unilateral move the San Bernardino Board of Supervisors recently voted to deem racism as a public health crisis. Therefore, by proxy, cities are now involved in an overt political movement.

Would San Bernardino County cities have originally signed onto a Vision if they knew it would be used to promote lifestyles that would lead to diminished economic standards of living for its residents; then, later on overtly, be turned into a political tool ?

That’s what happened on Tuesday 6-23-2020, when the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors voted to approve a resolution to deem racism as a public health crisis. Supervisor Janice Rutherford worked with local Black groups in the County in advance of the vote to ensure the moniker: Racism as a Public Health Crisis. Board Chair, Curt Hagman, championed the resolution as “a first step”. He  promoted the resolution and encouraged all cities and counties in the State to do the same.

Press Enterprise reporter, Sandra Emmerson in an article dated 6-23-2020, titled, “San Bernardino County Declares Racism a Public Health Crisis,” wrote, in regards to what Hagman said, “Thanks to the partnership and support of several community members and organizations, my colleagues and I became the first county in California to declare racism as a public health crisis, and I sincerely hope we are not the last. Through today’s action, we built a foundation for positive change throughout the county and encourage our 24 cities to join us.”

In doing so, Hagman laid the ground work for other States to do the same. Now we have liberation groups demanding direct reparations from governments.

Black liberation activists exploited recent race riots to pressure the County to draft a resolution listing oppression issues that affect blacks in the County; this they claimed, to solve the problem of “systemic” racism.

Systemic racism is an oxymoron because on one hand activists claim to want to solve the problem of racism and on the other they want to make it systemic, or chronic; therefore, the problem won’t ever go away. It can never be solved.

The goal is to institutionalize racism and convince us it is part of our American heritage. If racism is defined as systemic or structural, the narrative is set in stone to demand reparations from the current generation to the current generation of blacks – and people of color. Defining it as systemic indicts the entire nation for the sins of past generations – without a trial. Federal and State agencies already cater to social justice through structural racism.

Structural racism is supported, as a central tenant to social justice, by the Southern California Association of Government (SCAG), the largest metropolitan planning organization in the United States, as a primary reason to social engineer the public to support “investments”, that is, tax people, in order to redistribute wealth from one group to disadvantaged groups of color.

To address the issues of black liberation groups, County Board Supervisor, Janice Rutherford, suggested including language to add an “Equity” Element Group to the Countywide Vision. The irony is the Vision is already addressing disadvantaged communities through existing Elements: Public Safety, Wellness, Education, Housing, and Jobs/Economy.

Since the County is financially broke, officials want a way to increase revenue – at the expense of transparent government. “Recognizing the constraints declining revenue has placed on governments; we must build new, and expand existing partnerships among public agencies and nonprofit business [corporations]…” In essence, officials figured out a way to skirt government by the people.

The Countywide Vision is a nonbinding, utopian, idea that was floated by the local council of governments, back in 2011, in order to yoke cites in the County’s sphere of influence to support Social Equity and Environmental Justice, which are wealth distribution schemes. The idea is to emphasize working through unelected governance as opposed to, accountable, representative government by working with private nonprofit corporation groups and other “stakeholders.”

Cities in the County endorsed the Vision through a resolution. Hesperia rescinded their resolution in October, 2018 because they did not want to be under the purview of the County. They opted out the regional Vision in favor of local control.

According to officials at the County, Vision goals are accomplished through element groups that meet periodically to suggest “ideas”.  It’s a way to endorse nonprofit corporations and stakeholders so they earn added street credibility. This garners publicity for grants and fundraising.

The Vision provides a mechanism for the County to push off responsibilities and offset costs by having nonprofit corporations pick up the slack. In this public-private partnership (P3) structure, taxpayers foot the bill. Because much of the funding is secured by environmental climate change grants, the Vision promotes austerity – reduced standards of living – through increased taxes –  by promoting rationing schemes to change people’s behavior. For example, Water Element Group member, Celeste Cantu’, general manager of the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority, in 2012 stated, “We will have enough [water] only if all things come together through investment and behavior modification,” Investment means increased water prices.

The Countywide Vision is a lot of air. According to the County, “The element groups are made up of volunteers. There is no one who picks and chooses who can or can’t participate. The discussion leaders for each element group either naturally emerge from or are appointed by those who volunteer to participate. The element groups don’t report to anyone in the sense that they are held accountable for their performance.” Representatives of the element groups supposedly meet once a month to discuss their progress and look for opportunities to partner with each other on projects. Staff, from the County Administrative Office, moderate the meetings. County officials claim that, Element groups don’t recommend policy strategies.

Element groups are relied on by County staff to foment policy.  They are made up of unelected, unaccountable members of groups from agencies, boards, bodies, nonprofits corporations and Indian tribe members. By definition, groups have agendas and they foment policy as evidenced when Daily Press reporter Martin Estacio in an article dated 6-10-2020 titled, “Equity group to address racial disparities in San Bernardino County” He wrote: “Other [Element] groups including wellness and public safety have created focused campaigns based on community discussion.” Policy suggestions continue.

In his article titled, “County Declares Racism A Public Health Crisis”, Estacio on 6-24-2020 wrote in regards to the new Equity Element, “County Deputy Executive Officer Diana Alexander said once the new equity group is created, it will conduct a series of public meetings and surveys to receive input from stakeholders to determine racial disparities and formulate a strategy to tackle them.”

In the same article, Estacio continues: “Pastor Samuel Casey, of New Life Christian Church and executive director of Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement (COPE), asked the Board that the newly formed equity group not be just “ceremonial.”

COPE is already working with the County as a “partner” with the Reentry Collaborative. COPE has received a grant from the Marguerite Casey Foundation. The foundation promotes Black Lives Matter (BLM).

Black Lives Matter is a project – a vision. It’s an idea couched as a movement. In an article posted on the Marguerite Casey Foundation’s website, titled “Alicia Garza: Black Lives Matter Proves that ‘New Leaders Are Possible” – October 23, 2015  BLM co-founder, Garza, says, “We are not trying to build corporations out of social movements. We are trying to give oxygen to the flames that those social movements are sparking.”

According to a New American article by Alex Newman, titled, What’s Really Behind the Riots, dated 7-6-2020, “BLM was founded in part to glorify convicted cop-killer Assata Shakur (aka Joanne Chesimard). In an article explaining why she created Black Lives Matter movement, Alicia Garza, cited Shakur saying, “When I use Assata’s powerful demand in my organizing work, I always begin by sharing where it comes from, sharing about Assata’s significance to the Black Liberation Movement, speaking from the “lineage” from which it is derived.” 

In a recent 7-2020 online interview, another BLM co-founder, Patrisse Cullors, stated: “We have an ideology:

“We are trained Marxists.”

Recently in a 6-25-2020 broadcast, Fox commentator, Tucker Carlson, opined in regards to recent riots: “These are not about protests; it’s not about George Floyd or systemic racism. America is not a racist country. You are not a bad person for living here. Again, these are not protests. They aren’t even rioters. They are the armed militia of the Democratic Party. They are working the over throw our government and put themselves in power.  They are idiots… they fall for any lie… If you want to get your elected representatives attention, quit voting, stop paying taxes and burn down buildings.”

In his article dated 6-29-2020 titled, “San Bernardino spent $500,000 on police response to George Floyd protest”, San Bernardino Sun reporter, Brian Whitehead, chronicles rioting that took place on May 31 in the city of San Bernardino, California.  Whitehead cites a report by police Chief Eric McBride prepared in reference to events that took place that day:

“After learning on May 30 that there likely would be several Black Lives Matter-related protests” in San Bernardino, McBride marshalled resources to deal with the threat. Several protesters began banging on the building’s glass doors; some people became hostile toward the officers and began throwing items. Others became destructive; more than 2,000 people gathered at the Waterman Discount Mall and became very destructive … bombarding the officers with rocks, bottles, bricks, fireworks, and anything that could be hurled to injure an officer; looting was being reported elsewhere in town… Nearly 130 properties sustained damage  or had to be boarded up to keep looters out.”

Police that night arrested 32 individuals, 22 of whom were not San Bernardino residents, which equates to 69%, McBride said. Between May 31 and June 1, there were 1,284 calls for service, “an exponential increase,” the acting chief added.

Crime, rising prices, rationed goods and services, less freedom and an overall lower standard of living for County residents does not help blacks or other disadvantaged communities. Defining racism as systemic will only play into the Marxist playbook of “divide and conquer.” Further, paying reparations will only complicate matters.

As city budgets are stretched, cities that signed on to the Countywide Vision need to reconsider, and get out. They need to side with local control and rid themselves of their association with the caustic, political, Vision.

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