Valdivia vetoes asking San Bernardino voters what to do with the mayor’s office – San Bernardino Sun

San Bernardino Mayor John Valdivia has vetoed the City Council’s recent decision to place a measure on the June 7 ballot asking voters whether they want to continue electing their mayor in a citywide contest.

The City Charter gives the mayor the authority to veto any move approved by fewer than five council members.

Only four – Theodore Sanchez, Juan Figueroa, Fred Shorett and Kimberly Calvin – supported asking voters to decide the future of the mayor’s position at the Feb. 2 council meeting. In lieu of an elected mayor, the proposed charter amendment stated, the role would be filled each year by one of the city’s seven policymakers.

Council members Sandra Ibarra and Damon Alexander opposed.

Councilman Ben Reynoso abstained from the vote.

In a memo Monday, Feb. 7, Valdivia, who was absent from the Feb. 2 council meeting, vetoed the decision.

The memo was shared with this news organization.

“This city, we don’t need distractions right now,” Valdivia said in a phone interview Monday. “It’s too costly and, frankly, this do-nothing City Council continues to be distracted with non-essential items. What we should be concerned about is the Carousel Mall development, high crime. …

“This veto,” he added, “is a way to re-prioritize this council, which needs to get to work, plain and simple.”

Placing the measure on the June 7 ballot was estimated to cost approximately $50,000.

Responding to the veto, Shorett, who a year ago first proposed putting such an initiative before voters, said Monday Valdivia axed the electorate’s right to vote “in a self-serving way.”

Valdivia, whose term expires in December, is one of several candidates running for mayor in June’s primary election.

The mayor’s seat and council seats in the 1st, 2nd and 4th wards are on the ballot.

Shorett said Monday he believes the item can be brought back before the council at a later date.

Elected officials must call for the initiative no later than March 4 for it to qualify for the primary election.

Valdivia last used his veto power in April, when four council members agreed to pull $2 million from reserves to remove the heap of uncovered concrete from atop Palm Avenue in the northern part of town.

The massive pile of broken concrete from the Oxbow site in the foothills of North Verdemont has not been touched since, though Reynoso, who represents the area, said last week he intends to bring the issue back before the council for discussion.

Council members last month agreed to reduce the mayor’s salary to $50,000 beginning in December to align with the duties of the position.

Five council members supported that move.

Ibarra and Figueroa opposed.

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