April 18, 2024

IE COMMUNITY NEWS

El Chicano, Colton Courier, Rialto Record

San Bernardino at a Crossroads: Measure W’s Fire Safety Funding Dilemma and Downtown Business Crime Crackdown

3 min read

Fire Chief Dan Munsey discussing the implications of Measure W.

On February 13, Downtown San Bernardino’s Studio D hosted its second Business Watch Meeting, drawing over 60 business and community members, including San Bernardino Councilmember Theodore Sanchez. The event, supported by the San Bernardino County Fire Department and the San Bernardino Police Department, focused on crucial issues impacting the local community, such as the contentious Special Tax Measure W and initiatives to enhance downtown safety, ahead of the upcoming March Primaries on March 5th, 2024.

Fire Chief Dan Munsey provided an in-depth discussion on Measure W, a special parcel tax generating $10 million annually for the fire district. Munsey explained, “Each APN number is charged $178.85, regardless of whether it’s a single-family residence or a Costco. This tax is vital, as it accounts for 1/3 of our station operations, funding fire stations, firefighters, and fire engines.” He stressed the importance of this funding, highlighting that a repeal would significantly impact the fire district’s ability to provide services. “A ‘yes’ vote to the repeal means the fire district has $10 million less in our budget,” Munsey cautioned, urging the community to consider the consequences of their vote in the March Primaries.

Additionally, Munsey recently testified before Congress in support of new public lands legislation, emphasizing the importance of local resources in preventing wildfires. “It has been frustrating to watch fires get bigger and to not allow local resources to assist the federal government in preventing these emergencies,” Munsey stated. He highlighted the critical need for access to federal lands to effectively respond to and prevent emergencies in the communities surrounded by these areas.

Sergeant Nicholas Oldendorf, Southern District Commander, shared updates on “Operation Downtown Resort Hope,” an initiative aimed at reducing crime in the downtown area. “Since early 2023, we’ve made 27 felony arrests, issued 259 infractions, and handed out 152 parking citations. Our team is dedicated to making the downtown region safer and better,” Oldendorf shared. He also addressed the recent vandalism of streetlights for their copper, stating, “It’s thousands of dollars in damage for them to get a couple of hundred dollars. Our goal is to make it not as easily accessible.”

Oldendorf also spoke on the enforcement of camping ordinances, clarifying the city’s approach. “It’s not that we will never do anti-camping enforcement again. It requires us to come forward with a more detailed plan on how we’re going to address this law. Trespassing is still a crime and it’s still enforceable,” he explained.

As the March Primaries approach, the community is urged to carefully consider their vote on Measure W. A “yes” vote supports repealing the special parcel tax, while a “no” vote opposes the repeal, maintaining the critical funding for the fire district. The Business Watch Meeting served as a platform for community members and officials to discuss these pressing issues and collaborative efforts to enhance the safety and prosperity of Downtown San Bernardino.

The 60+ person audience includes Realicore Real Estate Group and Viva La Boba Owner David Friedman, IECN Co-owner Denise Berver, Councilman Theodore Sanchez, amongst many others.

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