Groups not satisfied with Quality of Life, demand more from city leadership

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Photo/Anthony Victoria: An unidentified man near a lie of debris behind the Pioneer Cemetary in San Bernardino. Some residents are urging leaders to do more to address the quality of life in the city.

San Bernardino Mayor Carey Davis emphasized further collaboration between government, law enforcement, and the community during his State of the City Address Friday. Some residents, however, believe much more needs to be done to address the quality of life.

“As a concerned resident, I reach out to the Mayor and city councilmembers to please do something about this situation,” said resident Tina Lopez, who also volunteers with grassroots organization Serving Others With Unlimited Love (Team S.O.U.L.). “The people need help.”

Last December, the council approved a plan to address blight in communities and parks, as well as cite those who illegally dump trash. A staff report prepared by the Mayor’s office pointed out that over 1,900 illegal dump complaints were filed with the City of San Bernardino from Oct. 2014 to Oct. 2015. Other complaints in recent years have dealt with homeless encampments and panhandling.

On May 2, newly appointed City Manager Mark Scott will be presenting an action plan in attempts to receive aid from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), Home Investment Partnership (HOME), and Emergency Shelter Grant (ESG) funding. The federal programs will contribute to improvements in public facilities, economic development, preserving and increasing the supply of affordable rental and owner-occupied housing, supporting homeless shelters, and much more.

The Mayor’s Chief of Staff Chris Lopez said in a phone interview on Monday that the city can improve the effectiveness on how it deals with quality of life issues, but nonetheless is optimistic that staff and community partners have had an effect on improving San Bernardino.

“Obviously we can always improve,” he said. “San Bernardino has taken a stance and is making impacts.”

Photo/Anthony Victoria: A homeless residents living space. The City of San Bernardino this year had a 26.4 percent decrease in its homeless population. Approximately, 564 of people in San Bernardino are homeless.
Photo/Anthony Victoria: A homeless residents living space. The City of San Bernardino this year had a 26.4 percent decrease in its homeless population. Approximately 564 of people in San Bernardino are homeless.

Team S.O.U.L. and supporters were at Seccombe Lake Park on Saturday, giving out food, blankets, and other supplies to homeless residents. Tina Lopez expressed criticism of the Mayor and Council, expressing that their current efforts are, “self-serving.”

“You had four members that voted to keep SBETA open, and he stepped in to veto it. That was a tool to help these poor people,” she said. “Why isn’t he here? I have confirmation that I emailed him, called him, talked to his secretary. If you can’t make it, send someone that can.”

Residents Benita Rodriquez and Carrie Walker said there is no accountability for the inaction of city leaders.

“Mayor Davis said we are making progress. What progress?” said Rodriquez. “Our city is going downhill. Have they actually walked these streets?”

“I challenge our leaders to come down here,” said Walker. “I’m willing to spend the night out here with them. Would they want someone to [expletive] on them? We’re asking for transparency and real solutions.”

 

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