I am very happy that Janice went forward to start this group. She is going partially in the right direction. We really need to look into the political corruption in this county. We need to have people not already involved in county business or others that have not been in county government on these groups.
I think Janice should have stayed away from old politicians and those that have close ties with the county. This makes me throw a red flag. I believe in Janice and will support this group. I truly think she should go back and bring more outsiders into this group. It will look less political and will not waver from past political friendships.
This group wants to rebuild the reputation tarnished by more than a decade of corrupt influence at the highest echelons of county government.
Members of the group included former Assemblyman and Sen. Bill Leonard, whom Rutherford has previously worked for; former Sun and Daily Bulletin publisher Bob Balzer, now the director of capital fundraising at Cal Poly Pomona; and ex-Arrowhead Credit Union CEO Larry Sharp, now the vice president for university advancement at Cal State San Bernardino. Other members included former Supervisor Dennis Hansberger, ex-Fontana Councilman and Police Chief Frank Scialdone, and Hillel Cohn, the rabbi emeritus of Congregation Emanu El in San Bernardino.
There are members of this group that will bring a fresh approach, but those that have been involved in politics will be looked at and questioned when it appears they have given favor to past friends.
Rutherford, who campaigned on a platform of restoring public trust in county government and weeding out corruption, has worked on assembling the group since taking office in December.
Redlands attorney and former Loma Linda Councilman Robert Ziprick said one of his observations is that the public, in general, doesn’t seem to be very civic-minded. He would like to see that change.
Probably the best way to get the public involved in civic projects is to allow them to be involved in groups like, “ethics groups” and other places in government where they feel they have a voice. When we continue to keep career politicians in these positions, it makes most hard-working folks throw their hands in the air and give up.
I have been asking that the county to start an office of independent review for the past few years. It might not be the model I wanted to see, but Janice is stepping out and doing something. I hope it works.—Paul Schrader