So much for increasing our trust… (3-12-2023)

In this week’s News Mirror, there is an article about the background investigation of Chris Mann, the new City Manager of Yucaipa. The lengthy piece assured the reader that nothing was found, that Mann himself instructed the investigator to be extremely thorough, and that there is absolutely no reason to think there were any unusual or unethical activities involved in the tumultuous last few months and finally that there is absolutely nothing to worry. The article’s self-described purpose was to reestablish trust in the authorities. The text did also include lengthy sections describing how great Chris Mann is and how Yucaipa is going to benefit from his leadership.

On the surface, this looks great. The text is well written and if it all were true, awesome! - Unfortunately, the truth is not that straight forward. The article was obviously crafted either by Mann himself, his personal lawyer Steven Graham, or by one of his other loyalists, who now hold all the key positions in Yucaipa’s City Hall. The article had no reporter’s name listed, instead it had the city’s logo. This means everything coming from City Hall, including articles like this one in the News Mirror, unfortunately need to be questioned from now on. For all the history buffs out there, do you remember what you need to do if you want to take over a country? Take control of the executive, legislative, and judicative systems, and put the ”right” people in charge of your propaganda, set some bold examples, such as firing Ray Casey and David Snow, or demoting key people, and start a positive PR campaign, for instance, showing you as a friend of the elderly, disabled, children, businesses, veterans, or all the above. Sounds familiar?

Unfortunately, in local government, it is much too easy to take over City Hall, the primary reason being that there is too much power concentrated with the City Council and City Manager. Like in the case of Yucaipa, if one can establish a voting bloc of only three Council Members, then that bloc can hire a new City Manager and City Attorney, who can then fill in any other position in City Hall (The Directors) who have power. The City Manager basically decides what is on the agenda at any meeting of the Council and the Council gives its Yae or Nay; because the City Manager is directly dependent on Council this can lead to some very awkward situations as you can imagine. If all participants play by the rules and have the best interest of their constituents in mind, – as it was the case for Yucaipa between its incorporation in 1989 and last year (2022) – then there is no problem. However, if the motivations are different, then this is a recipe for nepotism and misuse of power.

If this News Mirror article was supposed to “reestablish trust into City Hall and Council” and considering the last few months as a measuring stick, then the article failed miserably and was yet another farce, suggesting that most of Yucaipa is either indifferent, oblivious, or much worse.

The trust is broken, and it will take time and an honest effort of those in charge to fix this, instead of the doubling down that we have seen since Beaver, Duncan, and Garner have formed their voting bloc. Instead of really listening to their constituents and acting upon it (yes Mr. Duncan, this is what you have been elected for), the three Council Men keep pushing through their own agenda. This is not what they have sworn to do, that is, being true public servants of the people of Yucaipa and acting in the interest of the city.

“It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.”
— Benjamin Franklin.”

In the case of Yucaipa, it is not one bad deed, it is a whole shipload of bad deeds. In fact, the sheer number of issues and irregularities makes it very hard to focus. Is this on purpose? Most likely yes.

We have received a number of comments and questions regarding Chris Mann’s golden contract with the city for which Yucaipa will pay dearly, financially and most likely also indirectly because of reduced or inferior services and the damaged morale of city employees who are fearful of losing their job. One does not simply invade a place, trash everything to pieces and then install new carpet and all is fine. The recent changes will likely also have an impact on businesses, because the group who rules Yucaipa now does not do well with criticism, how well founded it may be. It will be their way or the highway. If the past is any indication for the future, then Chris Mann will rule with an iron fist all while smiling and waving.

In future essays and in response to the public inquires that we received, we will be probing Chris Mann’s contract and the motivation that might be behind the recent shakeup of City Hall. We do also plan to find ways how the situation in that Yucaipa is currently in could be fixed.

Thank you!
Your Friends of the North Bench