San Bernardino County

On Nov. 3, voters will cast ballots on two countywide measures that could affect term limits, policies and salaries of San Bernardino County supervisors.

In addition to choosing Fontana City Council and School Board representatives in the November election, local voters will cast ballots on two countywide measures that could affect term limits, policies and salaries of San Bernardino County supervisors.

Measure J, proposed by the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors in July, would amend the county charter in four areas.

• Term limits: It would close a loophole to prevent a supervisor from moving to another district to serve more than the 12 years now allowed.

• Lobbyists: Would let the public know which special interests are lobbying the board and its members.

• Redistricting: Would increase transparency to the redrawing of district boundaries by creating a platform for citizen involvement.

• Emergency response: Would ensure that leadership is working “full-time for the people, especially during emergencies like global pandemics, massive fire storms and other crises that require quick and effective responses.”

It would also delete obsolete and redundant provisions in the charter and require the Board of Supervisors to convene a charter review committee once a decade, according to the impartial analysis by County Counsel Michelle D. Blakemore.

----- MEANWHILE, MEASURE K, placed on the ballot by a petition signed by more than 70,000 county voters, would limit county supervisors to one four-year term and reduce their salaries to $5,000 a month.

Supervisors can now serve three four-year terms, according to Blakemore’s analysis.

Under the existing county charter, supervisors are paid the average salaries of supervisors in Riverside, Orange and San Diego counties. The salary cannot exceed the average.

Annual salaries (including benefits) in 2019 ranged from $242,941.27 for Dawn Rowe to $265,738.17 for Janice Rutherford, according to transparentcalifornia.com (Rutherford represents the 2nd District, which includes part of Fontana). If Measure K is approved, the salary will be $60,000.

If Measure J passes, the formula for supervisor salaries would change. They would get 80 percent of the salary of a Superior Court judge. The average salary is $178,473, according to salary.com, which would give supervisors a salary of about $175,000 -- a significant pay cut but nowhere near what they would lose under Measure K.

“Don't be fooled,” says the argument against Measure J. “This charter ‘reform’ is not reform. It's a way for the county Board of Supervisors to lock out voters when it comes to decisions about term limits and compensation.”

Two of the three authors of the arguments against Measure J are authors of Measure K -- Thomas O. Murphy, president of the Redlands-based Red Brennan Group, and Angelica Montoya, a business owner. The redbrennan.com website describes the group as “a party-agnostic organization whose mission is to create positive change in the County of San Bernardino."

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