San Bernardino City Council Unanimously Votes to Censure Mayor John Valdivia
After two hours of discussion on Wednesday evening, the San Bernardino City Council unanimously voted to censure Mayor John Valdivia.
Mayor Valdivia is accused of misusing city resources and funds associated with a VIP reception he had after his State of the City Address in June. The censure only represents the opinion of the city council and will not penalize or remove Valdivia from office.
Former District Attorney of Riverside County Rod Pacheco represented and spoke on behalf of the mayor. “There’s one objective to this hearing, and that’s the political assassination of the mayor,” said Pacheco.
Part of the accusations include the mayor spending public funds to send over 2000 invitations to his VIP reception and failing to timely report a $5,000 contribution from the Inland Empire Health Plan. Pacheco added, “There is no law other than generic law cited in the report that identifies any actions complained about by the lawyer that supports a violation of the law.”
Special counsel to the city council Norma Garcia Guillen refuted Pacheco’s claims and said he was misleading. She also discussed another accusation that the mayor used city funds to create merchandise for his party, which she said typically isn’t an issue.
“That’s true if it’s a promotion, of the city of San Bernardino, not a tchotchke as Rod Pacheco called it where the mayor actively in his writing struck the City of San Bernardino logo and said replace it with my logo that promotes me only,” said Garcia Guillen.
Councilwoman Sandra Ibarra emphasized during her speaking time her view that the mayor’s VIP party was for the not public, which countered a statement by Pacheco. “That was a private event only to benefit himself. He did not invite us (City Council), he did not invite everybody from the city. The previous events that have been held in our city, we’ve had well over 100/200/500 people attend, and it was open to the public.”
Another viewpoint expressed by several councilmembers was that this was a turning point for the city and that behavior deemed corrupt would no longer get a pass in San Bernardino.
Councilwoman Kimberly Calvin called to order the seven to zero vote. She said, “We will no longer accept mediocracy, thievery, blatant denial of oversight, marginalization, disenfranchisement, corrupt mentalities, nor folks running for office who have negative reputations that will continue to bring our city down.”
The council will now look to potentially remove the mayor from all regional boards and press criminal charges. There is currently no date set for when that will be considered.