IE Advocacy Group Suing SB County Supervisors, Wants Better Representation Regionwide

Jan 23, 2019

Credit ieunited.org

The local political advocacy group IE United is suing the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors over the process that four superviors used to appoint a fifth supervisor to a vacancy.  IE United contends the process supervisors used violated state law.  Who is this group, IE United?  KVCR's Benjamin Purper has this profile.

Inland Empire United got some media attention after filing a lawsuit against San Bernardino County. They alleged that the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors violated the Brown Act, the state’s open-meeting law, by narrowing down a list of 48 applicants for the vacant Supervisor seat to only 13 applicants who would get interviews.

Based on that, I.E. United filed a petition with the San Bernardino County Superior Court to overturn the appointment of Dawn Rowe as 3rd District Supervisor.

I spoke with Executive Director Michael Daly to find out more about the group. Daly says the IE United came about in 2017 to try to organize all the separate community organizations in the Inland Empire.

Daly: “So we all came together, and we were thinking about, could we be more effective if we joined together? And had a unified platform that not only took care of the issues that each one of us solely focused on but hadn't talked about intersectional aspects of all these issues. And so we started it in 2017 with the hopes to provide infrastructure for candidates who come up from our communities, as well as for campaigners themselves to kind of build that cadre of institutional knowledge. And that's what formed it.”

Daly says the group is a coalition of community agents and leaders who believe in affecting change in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.

Daly: “Our mission is, IE United envisions a region of politically-engaged residents dedicated to building power and leading the creation of a diverse, healthy, safe, and thriving community. Our goal is to engage frequent voters as well as under-represented and long-ignored voters to educate and persuade to support various issues and or candidates.”

Daly also says that Riverside and San Bernardino County governments have a representation problem.    

Daly: “It really comes down to, for an elected to truly understand the needs of the community, they have to have shared experiences and shared life events with the communities they represent. And unfortunately when you examine the make-up of many of the elected Boards across the two Counties, it's obvious they do not share the same experiences. A simple examination of the policies that are coming out of these Boards indicate as much.”

But Daly also says he’s optimistic that’s changing.

Daly: “Across the two counties alone there's an influx of first-time candidates, a good chunk of them are women of color. On a good example of this is Gracey Torres, who's a chemist-professor at Cal State San Bernardino, just got elected to Western Municipal Water District. It was her first time running. Stevanna Evans, an entrepreneur from Adelanto, also ran as a first-time candidate and she was elected to the City Council.”

Daly says the organization is working on a program designed to mentor up-and-coming candidates for office. 

Daly: “Currently we're working on a leadership pipeline designed for candidates that are running for elected and appointed office. We're going to pair them with mentors and run them through campaigning and governing trainings. As well as expose them to broader community platforms that IE United supports, which includes environmental justice, a diverse and healthy economy with good private and public sector jobs, open and affirming community for our LGBTQ family, safety for immigrant families, universal access to healthcare including reproductive healthcare, and community policing and racial justice in sentencing, policing, rehabilitation. And parallel with this program we are strategizing ways to help new electeds be more conscious of good governances as well as push our existing electeds to be more accountable to the communities they represent.” 

You can learn more about IE United at ieunited.org.