Welcome to The Banning Informer ! This website is dedicated to take you behind the scenes of the political arena in the City of Banning, CA. Here you will find information that you won’t find anywhere else. Our mission is to provide you with reporting based on careful research and documentation. You may contact The Banning Informer by clicking here
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Banning Water Utility Warns About Chromium6
7/24/15 – Recently customers of the Banning Water Utility were notified about the presence of elevated levels of chromium6, a dangerous carcinogen, in the City’s water supply. Should we be alarmed ? And what are our options? - click here for the article
Councilman Ed Miller’s Council Report for July 14, 2015
Councilman Ed Miller’s Bi-Monthly Council Reports – Now At The Banning Informer
5/19/15 – Lately, you may have enjoyed reading councilman Ed Miller’s regular bi-monthly Council reports, published in the Record Gazette. Presented factually and without political bias, Miller’s reports offer a much needed public service. Through his work, issues that are often not covered by the media are brought to the attention of the public.
Ed Miller says he was just notified by the Record Gazette that his Council reports will no longer be published. Miller states that the paper suggested he pay for publishing the material. - click here for the article
Police Chief Delivers Sobering Reality Check on Banning Policing
5/8/15 - In one of the most powerful Staff presentations in recent memory, Banning Police Chief Alex Diaz recently delivered a sobering reality check on the enormous challenges his Department is currently facing.
Diaz’ compelling presentation covers the shortfalls of under-staffing and, more importantly, the devastating effects of the early release of convicted criminals under AB-109. Also discussed are the effects of Proposition 47, which has turned some felony offenses into misdemeanors. - click here for the article
Moyer, Franklin elected – Measure “J” passes
BANNING VOTER GUIDE
CITY COUNCIL : JERRY WESTHOLDER (AS THE ONLY VOTE)
MEASURE “J” : YES
MEASURE “AA” : NO
SAN GORGONIO WATER – DIRECTOR AT LARGE : RAY MORRIS
SAN GORGONIO WATER – DIRECTOR DIVISION 3 : JOHN JETER
- click here for the article
Banning Bizarre: Attack of the Zombie Voters
10/6/14 - Things are heating up – with the elections near, proponents of the Debbie Franklin/ George Moyer camp have started a new Facebook page they call “Save Our Pass”. Their motto : “We need to stop negative campaign attacks in Banning & Beaumont”. Surprisingly, upon closer examination, even real zombies appear out of nowhere to join in on the discussion. - click here for the article
UTILITY SCANDAL : Banning Chamber Received $ 32,000 In Free Utilities
9/24/14 – During public session of August 12, Councilman Don Peterson released a true bombshell : he asked City Manager Homer Croy for a formal explanation, why the Banning Chamber of Commerce has not made a utility payment in 7 years ; the Chamber currently owes over $ 32,000 in utility payments.
While many Banning residents cannot afford to run their a/c, the Banning Chamber of Commerce has been immune from such worries – at the cost of the rate paying public. - click here for the article
Mining Tax To Be Placed On November Ballot
7/22/14 – Did you know that there is a large mining operation within the City limits of Banning ?
Unknown to many, Robertson’s Ready Mix is mining aggregate on Banning’s East side – and they have done so without paying any fees to the City for years on end . This is now about to change : according to a new proposal before the Council, voters will get to decide whether the City should tax the mine. - click here for the article
Grand Jury Report Scrutinizes AB-109 Probation/Parole Impact
6/20/14 – Previous warnings by Banning City Council members Jerry Westholder and Don Peterson about the new AB-109 Probation/Parole system seem to find confirmation in a new report by the Riverside County Grand Jury. - click here for the article
Did Public Works Director Promise Free Landscaping to Private Citizen ?
6/12/14 – A contractor for the City of Banning has come forward, complaining that Public Works director Duane Burk was unable to provide his daughter with what appears to be free landscaping for her new Banning home, due to the actions of the Banning City Council. - click here for the article
Probation Department Lease – a Result of Insider Dealings
5/24/14 - About 3 months ago, the Banning Informer broke the story that the Riverside County Probation Department was set to become the anchor tenant in the much acclaimed – and heavily subsidized – “Village at Paseo San Gorgonio” development , located on the former San Gorgonio Inn site. - click here for the article
A Closer Look at the Sheriff’s Race
5/20/14 – On June 3rd, 2014, Riverside County voters will elect their Sheriff. Two candidates are on the ballot : incumbent Sheriff Stan Sniff and Sheriff Deputy Lt. Chad Bianco.
In many such elections the candidates are interchangeable and very much alike. Not so in this one : there is a world of difference between Sniff and Bianco. - click here for the article
Mayor Franklin Accused of Causing Wrongful Death at Fire Museum Party
5/6/14 – A lawsuit filed in Riverside Superior Court accuses Mayor Debbie Franklin of having negligently caused the death of a Banning resident. Banning resident Pat Azarnoff blames the Mayor and the Fire Memories Museum for the death of her husband, 81 year old Roy Azarnoff, (Riverside case # RIC1308649 – view).
On August 25, 2012, Mayor Debbie Franklin held a lavish birthday party for her husband Roy at the taxpayer funded Fire Memories Museum, located at 5261 W. Wilson Street. The lawsuit alleges that about 80 guests were in attendance. - click here for the article
DA Paul Zellerbach under Criminal Investigation
4/24/14 - District Attorney Paul Zellerbach is under criminal investigation : the Press Enterprise reports that he was seen pushing over his opponent Mike Hestrin’s sign in Indio – a criminal offense . If the County’s highest prosecutor himself commits a crime, do we have a problem? And what is he doing using a County vehicle to place his campaign signs ?
NOTE : It should not surprise anyone that the following Banning “good-ole-boy” politicians endorse Zellerbach : Mayor Debbie Franklin, Council Member Art Welch, Ret. City Council Member Bob Botts (source). – click here for PE article
UPDATE : Gas station surveillance video shows Zellerbach tampering with signs - view video
Anonymous Letter Alleges Deep Rooted Corruption in Banning
4/10/14 – The City of Banning has received an anonymous letter alleging severe corruption and bribery by a City official.
Providing great detail, the letter accuses Public Works Director Duane Burk of severe improprieties and names Council member Art Welch and Mayor Franklin as being “part of (the) scam”. - click here for the article
City Council Fires City Manager Takata Denying Any Severance Pay
3/26/14 - The Banning City Council says it finally “has lost confidence” in former City manager Andrew Takata . Takata had resigned on January 14, 2014, pending an agreement for remaining severance pay as provided by his contract. - click here for the article
City Council Ready To Fire Out Of Control City Manager Takata ?
3/20/14 - As previously reported, City Manager Andrew Takata resigned on January 14, 2014, pending an agreement with the City for his remaining pay. Takata has since been on leave, but continues to receive his full salary of over $ 20,000 per month – plus benefits.
Recent developments appear to give grounds for speculation that Takata’s departure may no longer be uncontested nor amicable : three recent consecutive closed session agendas (view) have called for a discussion of “Public Employee Discipline/Dismissal : Position of City Manager”, so far without any reportable action being taken. The same item appears – now for the fourth time – on the upcoming closed session agenda for March 25, 2014 (view). This begs the question : is the City Council getting ready to terminate Andrew Takata for “cause’ ? - click here for the article
Letter to Banning’s Citizens from Council Member Jerry Westholder
2/22/14 - click here to view letter
New Police Chief Extends Department Opening Hours
2/7/14 - Taking immediate action as Banning’s newly appointed interim Police Chief, Alex Diaz has re-opened the lobby of the Banning Police Department to the public : the new lobby hours will be 8 AM to 5 PM , Monday thru Thursday.
Ever since the new $15 million Police station opened exactly 4 years ago, former Police Chief Purvis ordered the doors to remain locked , except for 3 hours every Thursday. - click here for the article
Probation Department Becomes Anchor Tenant in Premier Downtown Development
2/5/14 - $ 4 million in taxpayer dollars have already been spent by the City of Banning to secure the former San Gorgonio Inn site on Ramsey Street, with the declared intent to turn it into a prime retail and office complex named “Village at Paseo San Gorgonio”. The City took a $ 2.9 million loss in 2012, when they sold the 5 acre site to developer Art Pearlman for a mere $ 1 million – no money down (see previous story).
But today, two years later, no commercial tenants have signed up. Instead, the developer has signed a 15,000 sqft. office lease with the Riverside County Probation Department. Council member Don Peterson has gone public questioning the City’s direction in regards to this development. - click here for the article
City Manager Takata may have some Explaining to do
1/23/14 - As reported last week, Banning City Manager Andrew Takata has resigned from his position. But today, only a week after his resignation, new, very serious questions are emerging about Takata’s background.
The City of Banning had responded to a Public Record request from December 2013, which asked for the contract and resume of Andrew Takata. Prior to Takata’s resignation the Banning Informer began to conduct a thorough verification of Takata’s resume – with rather shocking results. - click here for the article
Controversial City Manager Andrew Takata Finally Resigns
1/16/14 - As of Tuesday, January 14, City manager Andrew Takata has tendered his resignation. Finance Director June Overholt will be acting as temporary City manager. There can be little doubt that on a personal level, many people liked Andrew Takata: he was very personable, had a great sense of humor and was friendly to everyone.
But Takata was also highly controversial due to his unaccountable management style, lack of oversight and for being a reliable ally of Banning’s good-ole-boys.
Has Andrew Takata served the citizens of Banning well ? Or can the case made that during his 4 year term as City manager, Takata gave one of the worst performances of any City manager in recent memory ? Lets take a look at his record …. - click here for the article
Council member Don Peterson Cleared of Wrongdoing
12/30/13 - As widely reported earlier this year, Police Chief Leonard Purvis had accused Council member Don Peterson
of misconduct, citing Peterson’s actions as the sole cause of him suffering from “severe anxiety” and “stress”. Purvis demanded $ 250,000 from the City in compensation (view claim).
Attorneys for Banning’s insurance carrier, ERMA (Employer Risk Management Authority – website ) have reviewed Purvis’ allegations. In an email of December 30, 2013, ERMA lead attorney Melanie M. Poturica issued a memorandum stating that there have been ” no findings of wrongdoing” against Don Peterson in connection with the claim by Ex-Police Chief Leonard Purvis (view memorandum). - click here for the article
CBS covers Banning’s Armored Military Combat Vehicle (MRAP) story :
12/18/13 – “City, police at odds over military vehicle – Banning City Council says it never approved”
Unlicensed Banning Police Officer speeds, crashes Armored Military Combat Vehicle
11/22/13 - About 2 months ago, the Banning Informer broke the story about the secret acquisition of a controversial Armored Military Combat Vehicle (MRAP) by the Banning Police Department (view story). As it now turns out, while en route to Banning, the vehicle was involved in a severe accident on I-10. So far, this accident has resulted in over $ 42,000 in damage to the “self insured” Banning taxpayer.
To make matters worse, the driver of the vehicle, Banning PD Sergeant Joseph Karl Feola, did not possess a license to drive the 19 ton vehicle. Feola also exceeded the maximum speed for the vehicle allowed by the US Army. - click here for the article
Jerry Westholder appointed to City Council
11/20/13 - During last night’s session, the Banning City Council appointed Pastor Jerry Westholder to the Council. The unanimous vote for Westholder came after Council member Ed Miller had nominated Lyndon Taylor and after Council member Art Welch subsequently had nominated George Moyer. Both of those nominations failed to gain the required support from the Council. For more information on Jerry Westholder, including his resume, please refer to our previous post of 11/11/13.
Six Candidates apply for Appointment to City Council
11/11/13 - Six candidates have applied to be considered for appointment to the Banning City Council. The Council had decided to make use of the appointment process in order to fill a vacancy created by Bob Botts’ recent abrupt resignation. The good news is that apparently none of the 6 candidates have ever held public office. This means that no matter who gets appointed, there will not be yet another ‘recycled’ politician appointed to the Council.- click here for the article
11/6/13 - Martha Bederio and Jan Spann both win seats on the Banning School Board.
Appointed incumbent James C. Smith loses the election. An article in the Banning Informer had previously exposed Smith as a deadbeat (view article) .
City announces Appointment Process to fill vacant Council Seat
10/23/13 – With a vacancy on the City council created by the resignation of Bob Botts, the City of Banning today announced the procedural details for an appointment to the Council. Any registered voter within the City of Banning will be eligible to apply for appointment to the vacant Council seat. - click here for the article
Council Member Bob Botts resigns
10/9/13 - In a surprise move at the end of a 4 hour long council meeting, Bob Botts, obviously unhappy with the direction the council was taking, resigned – and walked out. In a brief statement Botts questioned whether the new City council had made any “positive decisions” for Banning during the last 9 months. See PE article here
Police Chief Purvis out !
10/8/13 - The controversy involving Banning Police Chief Purvis appears to be coming to an end. Effective Saturday, October 5, Purvis is on “voluntary paid leave”.
While details about his departure are still sketchy, it is reasonable to conclude that this move is directly related to him filing a $ 250,000 claim against the City for “severe anxiety and stress” (see previous story).
The Banning Informer has learned that Purvis lost the support of his own officers back in early August, when the Banning Police Officers Association (BPOA) voted unanimously for “New Leadership” in the Police Department, essentially giving Purvis a vote of “no confidence”. We will keep you posted as further details emerge …..
Deadbeat School Board Candidate owes Banning Taxpayers over $ 80k
10/4/13 - Should you run for public office if you personally owed the taxpayer tens of thousands of dollars ? With the School Board elections approaching, one School Board candidate apparently seems to think so : incumbent candidate James C. “Jim” Smith is asking for your vote, while at the same time he owes the City of Banning over $ 80,000. In addition, several other creditors are standing in line to get paid as well . - click here for the article
Police Chief acquires Armored Military Combat Vehicle
9/22/13 – Has Banning had a problem with roadside bombs lately?
That is what you would think, looking at the latest acquisition of the Banning Police Department : a 19 ton armored military combat vehicle. With its 50 caliber machine gun turret on top, this killing machine was designed to eliminate Al-Quaida insurgents in Afghanistan, while providing ample protection against roadside bombs. - click here for the article
Is City Manager Takata running Banning into the ground ?
9/16/13 – A key component in the success of any City lies in its appearance and the way it is kept. Many Banning residents have complained that the City lacks proper maintenance and upkeep, executes extremely poor planning and does not effectively enforce City code.
We took a tour of Banning to see for ourselves, and here is what we found : click here for the article
Rezoning Scandal : Councilman Bob Botts closely tied to Developer Partner
9/5/13 - .Almost daily, more and more ugly details emerge about the highly controversial Housing Element rezoning issue. In this article we will take a closer look at Developer Jeffrey Burum, who is currently under indictment in the largest bribery scandal ever to hit San Bernardino County. Our focus will also be directed at Councilman Bob Botts and his close ties to a key player in this ongoing saga. So fasten your seat belts as we follow the money and connect the dots. - click here for the article
Smoking Gun : City Staff Deceives Public In Order To Pass Controversial Rezoning
8/26/13 – Facing unprecedented public protest, on July 23, 2013 the Banning City Council approved the highly controversial Housing Element rezoning. According to City Staff, the size of the new VHDR (Very High Density Residential) area was to be 26 acres, located on the corner of Sunset Avenue and Bobcat Drive.
A thorough review by the Banning Informer has uncovered that the true size of the VHDR rezoned area was severely misrepresented : it is not 26 but 60.35 acres ! – more than twice the size of what the public was made to believe! - click here for the article
Police Chief Purvis helped Convicted Felon receive lesser Sentence
7/27/13 – Public perception of the Police is that they make sure that criminals are convicted and punished. Not so in the City of Banning, where – in one particular case – the Police Chief came to a convicted felon’s rescue : Documents obtained by the Banning Informer show that in late 2010, Chief Purvis used his office to personally aid a convicted felon in receiving a lesser jail sentence. - click here for the article
Banning Police Chief says he suffers from “severe anxiety” and “stress” – files $ 250,000 claim against City
7/19/13 - On July 1, 2013, Banning Police Chief Leonard Purvis filed a $ 250,000 claim against the City of Banning, i.e. its taxpayers. Purvis says he is suffering from “severe anxiety” and “stress”. Usually, Police officers make these types of claims because they are traumatized by what happens to them on the street.
But Chief Leonard Purvis does not work the streets – he sits in a comfortable office – day in and day out. Purvis says his “severe anxiety” and “stress” were solely caused by the actions of one City Council member (view Purvis’ claim). We contacted Chief Purvis via email to ask for his comments about this matter. He did not respond. - click here for the article
Out of Control : City Employee Take-Home Vehicles
6/7/13 - When it comes to getting to and from work, average Americans are expected to pay for their own transportation. However, in the City of Banning the taxpayer pays for 16 City employees to drive to and from work every day.
A detailed review of the City’s take-home vehicle practices reveals profound violations of existing written policies and almost a complete lack of accountability on part of City management. - click here for the article
Federal Agents raid offices of Banning Airport Developer
4/30/13 - The offices of Highland Fairview in Moreno Valley were searched today by Federal Agents. The search is said to be part of an ongoing political corruption investigation focusing on Moreno Valley and also involved the searches of the homes of all 5 Moreno Valley City Council members. As of today, no charges have been filed.- click here for the article
Cap & Trade arrives in Banning : Electric Rates to Skyrocket
.4/12/13 – Starting May 1, Banning’s electric rate payers will face a 12 % increase in their electric utility rates. Just like with Banning’s water utility, it is huge amounts of debt that continue to take their toll on rate payers. In the mid 2000s, previous City Councils loaded up the (then debt free) City with over $ 110 million in new bond debt – all without the vote of the people (story) .
Another reason for the increase, other than inflation, is “cap & trade”. - click here for the article
Council member proposes to extend public comment time
3/23/13 – In an unprecedented move to ensure the right of the public to comment, newly elected Council member Ed Miller is proposing to extend the public comment time from 3 to 5 minutes . - click here for the article
City finally evicts Cultural Alliance for non-payment of rent
2/25/13 – City manager Andy Takata on February 13, 2013 asked the Banning Cultural Alliance to pay rent or receive an eviction notice for non-payment of rent on the City owned art gallery located on 130 N. San Gorgonio Avenue. In response, the Cultural Alliance is said to have opted to vacate the property within 30 days.
Under the lease agreement (view) the Cultural Alliance was obligated to pay rent since September of 2010 but – protected by the previous City Council (Barbara Hanna, Don Robinson and Bob Botts) – got away with never paying a single dime – until today. The City manager’s actions are the first shreds of hard evidence that the tides are finally turning in Banning and accountability is being restored. - click here for the article
Is the San Gorgonio Hospital getting ready to suck taxpayers dry ?
1/26/13 – Another huge bond measure may soon be on the horizon. In a presentation before the Banning City Council on January 22, Mark Turner, CEO of the San Gorgonio Hospital alluded to the possibility that there may be an additional $ 185 million needed from Pass area taxpayers. The funds are earmarked for a new patient tower – the same tower that was promised long ago – but was never built.
In 2006, the hospital had secured a $ 108 million bond for this purpose – to build the tower (Measure A) . But due to horrendous mismanagement the taxpayer did not get what they paid for. In 2012, the Riverside County Grand Jury investigated the hospital and issued a report, citing mismanagement of the project among many other major issues, (view report). - click here for the article
Ousted Ex-Mayor Don Robinson may have a lot of explaining to do
12/15/12 - Banning voters have finally kicked out Banning’s self absorbed Mayor, Don Robinson – he has lost the election.
But his cronies, the Banning good-old-boys, were right there to catch his fall : they selected Robinson – who is a confirmed check bouncer (story) – to take over as paid Executive Director of the Banning Chamber of Commerce (which is independent and not affiliated with City government). And – no surprise – the Chamber refuses to disclose his salary. Who says we need transparency and accountability ? After all, this is Banning !
As we have documented on this website over and over again, Don Robinson is by far the greatest con-artist the City of Banning has ever seen. He has lied under oath about his military record, has written several bad checks to the City of Banning, failed to pay his property taxes for years and gave away hundreds of thousands to his cronies at the Banning Cultural Alliance. But wait, there is more…. -click here for the article
UPDATE 11/27 - Registrar of Voters certifies election results:
Demario Jackson acquitted
11/1/12 - After a 2 week trial, followed by 2 days of deliberation, a Riverside jury has acquitted Demario Jackson of murder in the shooting death of Beaumont resident Andy Albarran,46. Jackson’s attorney, Susanne Cho, had argued that her client acted in self defense. Prior to the incident, the Banning City Council had given Demario Jackson a $ 550,000 loan which was never repaid. - click here for the article ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
UPDATE : Amid public outcry, City Council decides to reject “Speaker Cards” in 10/23 session
Coming in below the Radar : “SPEAKER CARDS”
10/21/12 - Will next Tuesday effectively mark the end of Free Speech in the City of Banning ? At a time when the public is focused on the upcoming elections, an unexpected threat emerges : disguised as a new “Procedure Manual” and deceptively placed on the “consent calendar”, “Speaker Cards” are here to shut you up – once and for all ! - click here for the article ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
DUI Police Reports Contradict Buchanan Statements
10/14/12 - As it turns out, Idaho Court records tell quite a different story from what Banning candidate Adam Buchanan wants the public to believe. Now, for the first time, Banning Informer readers will have access to the police reports on both Buchanan DUIs, as well as other important Court documents. - click here for the article ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
ELECTION SCANDAL : Court records show City Council Candidate Adam Buchanan is a convicted criminal and a Fugitive from Justice
.. . 9/17/12- 23 year old Adam Buchanan is a new face on Banning’s political scene : Only a couple of months ago, he moved here from Idaho and is now running for Banning City Council. Two weeks ago, Buchanan received the endorsements of “good-old-boy” Council members Bob Botts and Barbara Hanna. It did not take long for Mayor Don Robinson to soon follow suit . Court documents obtained by the Banning Informer indicate that Adam Buchanan is a Fugitive from Justice who is evading arrest from the State of Idaho. Buchanan has a criminal record which includes convictions for two DUI’s within the last 12 months. Buchanan was also convicted of carrying a concealed weapon without permit and charged with possession of a controlled substance and driving on a suspended license. - click here for the article _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Mayor and Council OK buying risky Mortgage Backed Securities – with your money !
8/30/12 – This is hard to believe, but true : High yield/high risk Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS) are the latest “investment” the City will engage in on behalf of the taxpayer. Last Tuesday Mayor Don Robinson, along with the Council, approved a measure by which up to 60 % of the City’s last remaining cash reserves can be “invested” in MBS. - click here for the article _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Remarkable new candidate for Banning City Council
8/1/12 – In Banning, the good-old-boys (and-girls) have been in control of City Hall for years. Irreversible damage has been done by Mayor Don Robinson, Barbara Hanna and Bob Botts and the last thing Banning needs is for the old guard to continue a status quo of corruption. In the upcoming November elections, however, Banning’s political landscape may finally change : Enter Don M. Peterson, retired Police Sergeant, Vietnam veteran and Purple Heart recipient. - click here for the article _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Grand Jury faults San Gorgonio Hospital for unaccountability and failures
7/12/12 – The Riverside County Grand Jury has issued a report (view) that faults the San Gorgonio Memorial Hospital District for lack of organizational transparency, mismanagement of $ 108 million in bond proceeds and poor performance when compared to other hospitals. Furthermore, the Grand Jury finds there to be overall unaccountability : they were unable to ascertain how tax dollars are spent at the District. - click here for the article _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Here we go again : Cultural Alliance receives yet another $ 225,000 !
6/4/12 – Having already received over $ 1.3 million in taxpayer dollars is apparently not enough to satisfy the never ending greed of Banning’s mega-parasite, the Banning Cultural Alliance. Adding insult to injury, the City of Banning will now give them yet another $ 225,000 to remodel an art gallery located on 130 N. San Gorgonio Ave. We had warned about this more than 2 years ago (story). The gallery building is owned by the City and is leased to the Cultural Alliance. The money will come from bond proceeds. - click here for the article _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
“Banning Cultural Alliance” – a Cancer on the Community
4/26/12 - In any corrupt City, conveniently there is always a “charity” at hand which receives millions in City funding. In the City of Bell it was the “Steelworkers Oldtimers Foundation”, run by former Bell Mayor George Cole , that received over $ 2.6 in cash while providing no benefit to Bell’s citizens. Likewise, in Banning it is the “Banning Cultural Alliance”, founded by former Mayors Bob Botts and given its initial public funding by former Mayor Art Welch, that takes on an almost identical role : over the last 5 years the Cultural Alliance has received about $ 1.3 million in City funding – and also has nothing of value to show for in return. Most of the money remains unaccounted for and most if not all of the Alliance’ assignments have been total failures. Today, with the City being out of money and despite the Riverside Grand Jury asking the Council to “cease and desist” doing business with Cultural Alliance (view report), City Council support continues unabated: The latest financial shenanigans benefiting the Cultural Alliance include the City’s failure to collect over $ 32,000 in past due rent from the Cultural Alliance and committing even more taxpayer funding .- click here for the article _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
EDITORIAL : Blatant Lies and Measure “D”
by Lyndon Taylor 4/7/12 - The current political propaganda associated with Measure “D” states that “Measure “D” won’t increase Your Taxes”! This is an outrageous lie! - click here for the article _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Hospital : Registrar’s Official Ballot contains advocacy letter !
4/5/12 – With Measure “D”, Pass area voters are currently asked to decide whether they want to be taxed for the San Gorgonio Hospital’s emergency services. Official Ballots sent out by the Riverside Registrar of Voters – an office that is supposed to remain unbiased and neutral – contain a cover letter (view) by the Hospital District’s CEO, Mark Turner. The letter makes incorrect and misleading statements, as it appears to engage in advocacy for Measure “D”, while failing to disclose material facts. - click here for the article
Over 30 Million Dollars up in smoke !
2/27/12 - Where Did All the Money Go, or How to Waste Tax Money Without Really Trying! by Lyndon Taylor - click here for the article _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ UPDATE : Grand Jury has discontinued its investigation into the oil spill for lack of evidence
Grand Jury investigating City of Banning – again !
2/7/12 – The Banning City Clerk has confirmed that the Riverside County Grand Jury has recently contacted City Hall. Their latest investigation appears to focus on possible foul play in connection with a mysterious “oil spill” in Banning, which cost the taxpayer over $ 1.8 million to clean up (see previous story). Experts as well as a whistle blower (story) had previously documented serious concerns about the veracity of the billing. This marks the second Grand Jury investigation of the City of Banning in just 2 years. Their previous report contained rather devastating findings about the City’s operations (view). Undoubtedly, an ongoing Grand Jury investigation is always very big news. But the main stream media – once again – remains completely silent on the subject. Why ? Are they trying to cover things up for a corrupt Banning City Hall ? _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Whistle blower alleges Oil Spill Foul Play
1/24/12 – A subcontractor hired during last year’s oil spill cleanup has come forward and has blown the whistle on the $ 1.8 million oil spill cleanup bill. On November 8, 2011, the City council had unanimously authorized paying the highly controversial bill in full. In a lawsuit filed on January 20, 2012 (view), Robert Cruz, d.b.a. Cruz Concrete, claims that cleanup contractor HCI billed the City for “hours not worked and services not rendered”, and that HCI marked up his invoice by as much as 287 %. - click here for the article _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Taxpayer loses over $ 2.8 Million on San Gorgonio Inn
1/16/12– Banning’s five geniuses on the City council have done it again : after losing millions on projects like All Star Dodge, the Haven Coffee House, the Banning Business Center, an art gallery and on useless land acquisitions, they just sold the San Gorgonio Inn site at a loss of $ 2.8 Million. But what else would you expect from a City council that felt it was a great idea to loan over $ 500,000 to murder suspect Demario Jackson, only to find out that he defaulted on the deal ? - click here for the article _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
“RECLAIMED WATER” – an analysis – Part 3 of 3
by Lyndon Taylor .12/22/11 - “FINANCIAL ASPECTS OF RECLAIMED WATER” – click here for the article _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
The $1.8 million oil spill debacle
12/6/11 – On November 8, 2011, the Banning City Council unanimously approved a 1.8 million dollar oil spill cleanup bill – more than three times the original estimate of $ 500,000. But not a single Council member asks even one question ! Could there be more to the spill than meets the eye ? Let’s take a look …. click here for the article _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
“RECLAIMED WATER” – an analysis – Part 2 of 3
by Lyndon Taylor
11/1/11 - RECLAIMED WATER AND YOUR HEALTH : In this article I would like to examine the impact that reclaimed water could potentially have on human health issues. Understand that I am not advocating a position with regard to reclaimed water, but I do believe that informed decisions are those that are made when all of the facts are laid before us. The final conclusion is yours, after considering the risks and benefits of this proposal. – click here for the article _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Beware of School Board incumbent Deborah Dukes
.10/24/11 - Banning School Board elections will be coming up soon. Former Mayor and City Council member Bob Botts has endorsed incumbent Deborah Dukes (view). Whenever Botts, – or Barbara Hanna and Don Robinson for that matter – endorse anyone or anything, beware : there usually is an agenda. It was Botts’ endorsement that has caused us to take a closer look at the record of Banning School Board candidate Deborah Dukes. – click here for the article _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
“RECLAIMED WATER” – an analysis – Part 1 of 3
by Lyndon Taylor 10/15/11 – The latest proposal out of City Hall in Banning deals with the use of reclaimed water to water the golf course and common areas of Sun Lakes. The plan calls for capturing the sewage outflow from that community and separating out the water for further processing. – click here for the article _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
“Banning White House” finally shut down
10/13/11 – For almost a full year, the now infamous “Banning White House” has been operating as a commercial facility in a residential zoning. They were able to do so mainly because Mayor Barbara Hanna has been using her office to aid and abet the “Banning White House” in their illegal quest to do business without a business license and without paying any business taxes to the City of Banning. For about a year, the City never enforced the law – until now : on September 29, the City finally served the owners of the “Banning White House” with a “Notice of Violation”.- click here for the article_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
“Banning White House” debacle finally raises concern – for one (!) City Council member
9/22/11 - It has been over 9 months since this website first reported on the ongoing “Banning White House” debacle. Believe it or not , the issue has now finally registered with one – out of five – City Council members. Debbie Franklin has chosen to step up to the plate and recently met with neighbors of the Banning White House. Her findings are documented in a lengthy memo to City Manager Andy Takata. – click here for the article_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
“The Banning White House Has Destroyed Our Neighborhood”
8/29/11 – For about 9 months now, a Banning residence, pretentiously named the “Banning White House”, has advertised itself as a “for hire” facility for corporate events, meetings, overnight accommodations and weddings. Now over 50 neighbors are up in arms : they claim that vastly increased traffic, loud noises, drunk drivers and speeding cars going up and down to the “Banning White House” have ruined their once quite neighborhood. And as you would expect, the City of Banning does nothing to stop the alleged nuisance. – click here for the article _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Sheriff releases Demario Jackson booking photo
DOES HE LOOK LIKE A BANNING “BUSINESSMAN” / “DEVELOPER” TO YOU ?!?!?!?
BANNING’S MAYOR BARBARA HANNA, COUNCIL MEMBERS DEBBIE FRANKLIN AND JOHN MACHISIC ALL SEEM TO THINK SO - THEY GAVE HIM OVER $ 500.000 OF YOUR TAX DOLLARS !
SHOCKING new evidence on alleged 2009 Demario Jackson assault
8/13/11 – Pending murder charges are not the only accusations made against so-called “businessman” Demario Jackson. Ignacio Reyes says he as well was victimized when Demario Jackson assaulted him in December of 2009 in Banning. Witnesses have come forward and have told us that then-Mayor Bob Botts witnessed the entire incident, however, Botts has failed to report what he saw to police. - click here for the article _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Mayor Hanna tied to Murder Suspect
7/27/11 – On July16, 2011, Banning resident Demario Jackson was arrested and has been charged with murder of a Beaumont resident. Public record shows that Jackson had funded Banning Mayor Barbara Hanna’s 2008 election campaign and also had ties to Council member Debbie Franklin : both bent over backwards and gave a then 22-year old Jackson an uncollateralized $ 550,000 loan, which he has since defaulted on . - click here for the article- - – UPDATE 8/12/11 : Jackson enters “Not Guilty” plea _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
8/11/11 - City flat out refuses to release the requested “Banning White House” public safety document (view City response) - Needless to say, we do NOT concur with the City’s decision ! Most importantly, the City’s behavior goes to show that the document sought must indeed be a “smoking gun” which must be hidden from the public at all cost ! Stay tuned …. this is far from over !
Cover-up of Huge Public Safety Issue !
7/20/11 – Getting to the truth sometimes can be extremely difficult. The City of Banning, along with the Fire Department, appear to be stonewalling repeated requests for the release of a public document. This document presumably details possible non-compliance with public safety code by the “Banning White House”. — click here for the article _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Council Member Debbie Franklin engaged in illegal fundraising for suspended and unregistered “Charity”
6/25/11 - “Pass Area Supporting Soldiers” run by its President, Banning City Council Member Debbie Franklin, is the latest addition to a growing list of highly questionable “charities” operated throughout the Pass Area, many of which are fully endorsed by our elected officials.– click here for the article ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
All Star Dodge : “When pigs fly”
06/02/11 – Let’s assume you have 2.5 million dollars laying around that you didn’t know what to do with. Would you spend your 2.5 million dollars in exchange for *maybe* getting back $ 600,000 – ten years later ? No you wouldn’t. Nobody would. But wait, there’s one exception : the unaccountable Banning City Council thinks this is a wonderful idea ! – click here for the article _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
2011 Art Hop : Taxpayer money well spent ?
5/21/11 – When the government gets into the car business, you get GM. When the government gets into the coffee business, you get the Haven Coffee House. Finally, when the government gets in the entertainment business, you get the Art Hop. The event is supposed to “revitalize” downtown Banning. Let’s take a look what the taxpayers got for their money — click here for the article _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Why do Council members Hanna and Robinson support an unregistered “Charity” ?
5/5/11 – Operation Kidz Komfort, which holds itself out to be a local “charity”, recently held a fundraiser at the Banning “White House”. Both Banning’s Mayor Barbara Hanna and Council member Don Robinson came out in support and attended the March 19 event. But according to the Attorney General’s website, the organization is not registered as an eligible charity in the State of California. Why is it that wherever you look, Banning Council members can never do anything “above board “ ? – click here for full article ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Banning’s own Holocaust ?
4/13/11 – How would you like to wake up one day to find out that the City of Banning quietly “re-zoned” your residential property to “industrial” zoning, without you ever receiving a written notice ? This is what happened to Banning resident and holocaust survivor Ingeborg Graves, who’s home on Charles Street is now practically worthless. Three other home owners, all living on Charles Street, are also affected.- click here for full article _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
UPDATE : Issue has been postponed – for now
Speaker Cards - how the City Council plans to shut you up !
3/28/11 – With the next round of utility rate increases on the horizon, here is how the City Council wants to brace itself against the upcoming public outrage: Speaker Cards. They tentatively are on the agenda for April 12. The card system is presumably designed to allow Mayor Barbara Hanna to chose who speaks and when. The proposed cards give the Mayor the power to curb critical speech and suppress dissent. – click here for full article ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
“Haven Coffee” : Mayor Hanna’s pipedream is coming home to roost
3/4/11 - The story of the Haven is a tale of favoritism, cronyism, the commingling of Church and State, lack of business sense, false Christianity, slick corporate shell games and outright abuse of governmental powers by our elected officials. Click here for the entire story ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 3/1/11 – Press Enterprise : “City increases consultant’s pay by $ 50,000″ – click here - Please see our related story : “San Gorgonio Inn Redevelopment – who takes the risk ?”- click here ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
City of Banning sued over road dispute
2/18/11 – The Los Angeles Times, ABC 7 News and Press Enterprise all report on a legal dispute between property owner Lloyd Fields and the City. Fields claims he is being denied unhindered access to his 41 acre parcel of land on Fields Road. While the western half of Fields Road belongs to Banning, the eastern half belongs to the Morongo Tribe. For about 5 years, the Tribe has been blocking public access to Fields Road by setting up barriers and a guard shack. This raises many questions : Why has the City Council failed to take any action against this ongoing blockade of one of Banning’s public roads ? Do we elect our City Council to protect the interests of the Morongo Tribe – or those of Banning ? - click here for the L.A. Times article – 2/25 : Press Enterprise click here ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Don’t want to pay rent on City owned property ? No problem – if you are friends with Mayor Barbara Hanna
2/8/11 - Once again, the Banning Cultural Alliance rips off the taxpayer with full knowledge of the City Council : this time the notoriously unethical organization stiffs the public for over $ 9,000 in rental payments – and counting. And the City of Banning, led by corrupt cheerleader Mayor Barbara Hanna, does nothing about it.- click here for full article ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Doing business without a license ? No problem - if you are friends with Mayor Barbara Hanna
.1/10/11 - Mayor Barbara Hanna – along with ALL other City Council members – makes it possible for her friends to operate their businesses without business license and/or permits. Once again, “Politics of Special Interests” are a daily reality within the City of Banning. – click here for full article ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Profiting from “Non-Profits” : Schoolboard member Amy Herr doubles her salary at the School-funded Boys and Girls Club
12/19/10 – As we reported before, the “Non-Profit” Boys and Girls Club of the San Gorgonio Pass each year receives well over half a million dollars in taxpayer funding. The funding was solely made possible by 2 votes taken by the Banning School Board (2007 + 2009). School Board member Amy Herr participated in both of these votes – despite having a conflict of interest : she did so despite being a paid executive of the Club (see previous Banning Informer Article- view ). While much of Banning is out of work, Amy Herr has since managed to double her salary and gets rich at the public trough. – click here for full article ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Hand recount confirms election results : Franklin and Botts re-elected
12/7/10 - As previously reported, Lyndon Taylor had requested a hand recount of all Banning ballots cast on November 2nd. The recount was conducted on December 6th and 7th ; it revealed no significant anomalies, confirming that the official result was of remarkable accuracy. Most candidates were able to pick up a very small number of votes ( click here for details ). After counting 4 precincts representing over 30 % of the total vote, which included Banning’s two largest precincts, the recount was discontinued at the request of the proponent. There can be no doubt that the citizens of Banning have voted for Debbie Franklin and Bob Botts to serve yet another 4 year term on the Banning City Council ( click here for certified results). ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 11/27/10 – A BANNING INFORMER EXCLUSIVE ! - Banning resident Roger Ramsey interviews Bob Botts – ENJOY ! Here Banning resident Roger Ramsey talks to Debbie Franklin about her stunning victory in the 2010 city council elections ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
City Council seeks to destroy 2008 financial records
11/8/10 -Request has been made to destroy financial records of the Banning Electric Department as recent as Fiscal Year 2008 (view request). The issue is on the consent calendar for Nov. 9 as item # 5 ; for consent items no staff report is given and no discussion is anticipated. The destruction of recent financial records would obstruct a possible audit of the City’s finances. Particularly the Electric Dept. deals in thousands of dollars of cash every month. The destruction request raises questions of an attempted cover up. UPDATE : City says they will retain the records in electronic form. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Banning City Attorney Aleshire : adviser to corrupt Irwindale City Council
10/28/10 - The L.A. Times reports that David Aleshire, City Attorney of Banning, was City Attorney for the City of Irwindale during a time when City officials are accused of spending $ 205,678.00 on five lavish trips to New York City. According to the article, Aleshire, who is not accused of any wrongdoing, has admitted to attending at least one of these lavish trips. Way to go, Mr. Aleshire ! You fit well within the City of Banning ! - click here for the L.A. Times article __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Botts attacks L.A. Times reporter – at taxpayer’s expense !
.10/22/10 - Documents obtained by The Banning Informer suggest that City Attorney David Aleshire aimed to protect the public image of Mayor Bob Botts when he complained to the L.A. Times about a recently published article. The October 1st front page story (view) pointed to Banning as a prime example for the abuse of redevelopment funds . For his services Aleshire normally bills the Banning taxpayer an hourly rate of up to $ 190.00 . – click here for full article __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 10/13/10 – Press Enterprise : “Council approves water rate hikes” - view All City Council members voted unanimously to increase water rates : 15 % effective immediately, another 15% next year, then 7 % in each of the the following 2 years. The increase was caused by the council using $ 15 M from a water bond fund to build a police station. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
L.A. Times : “Lots of cash and little scrutiny in city redevelopment”
L.A. TIMES FOCUSES ON CITY OF BANNING IN FRONT PAGE ARTICLE
10/1/10 – After breaking the story on the City of Bell, the Los Angeles Times focuses on the abuses of Redevelopment Agencies. The well researched article points out shady activities of the Banning Redevelopment Agency and Mayor Bob Botts ; it also makes reference to the Banning Informer website – view the L.A. Times article here . Banning Informer article on “All Star Dodge” – here Banning Informer article on other Banning “Redevelopment Disasters” - here __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Water Rate Increase/Police Station : Official record shows “Writing was on the Wall”
9/23/10 – Minutes of the City Council meeting of June 24, 2008 (view pages 12 – 27 ) show that Banning’s Finance Director issued a clear warning to the Council that the City’s water utility will incur a 20 Million Dollar shortfall in years to come, should the Council decide to build the new police facility using water bond proceeds. The record clearly indicates that the entire Council ignored the warning : they unanimously voted to spend the money anyway. -click here for full article __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Bob Botts : “Progress” anyone ?
9/15/10 - With his re-election campaign already underway, Bob Botts claims that we should vote for him so we can “continue our Progress”. Doesn’t he know that Banning is facing one major crisis after another ? Or is Bob Botts just trying to insult the intelligence of Banning voters ? -click here for full article
San Bernardino Sun : “ Banning police station funding becomes election issue” - view __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Botts, Hanna, Robinson : “Smoke and Mirrors”
.8/20/10 - Would City Council members Bob Botts, Barbara Hanna and Don Robinson ever use outright lies and deception in order to justify their actions ? Let’s take a look …. click here for our story __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ..The following article , published in March of 2010, explains the REAL REASON FOR THE WATER RATE INCREASE : it is DEBT SERVICE on a previous water bond that now drives up the water rates. The bond money has been spent by the City Council on the new 15 million police station, a new swimming pool and other items . In reality, the cost of water has very little to do with the proposed rate hike. Please read :
“The Sun Lakes “reclaimed water” fraud – or how Mayor Botts and rest of the Banning City Council stole your tax dollars”- click here
ALL STAR DODGE : yet another Redevelopment Disaster on Banning’s books ?
It’s official : four City Council members defy the Grand Jury
UPDATED 7/6/10 - The City of Banning has now filed their official response to the Grand Jury report . The response cover letter (view) states clearly that the City has no intention following the Grand Jury’s recommendations. – click here for more __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Botts, Hanna, Robinson funnel another $ 111,500 into Banning Cultural Alliance
6/25/10 - No, this is not a misprint – just further evidence that the Banning City Council is completely out of control : Mayor Bob Botts as well as Council members Barbara Hanna and Don “taxdodger” Robinson, forming a majority, just voted to give yet another $ 111,500 of your tax money to the unaccountable, scandal ridden Banning Cultural Alliance. – click here for full article __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Bob Botts : Banning’s greatest liability . - an editorial by Lyndon Taylor
6/18/10 – click here for editorial __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Dictator Bob Botts’ idea of free speech : “leave the room”
6/10/10 - He does not like to be criticized and has long had a pattern of interrupting speakers critical of the council (view video here and here). But now it gets even worse : with an attitude reminiscent of that of a dictator, Mayor Bob Botts recently suggested that speakers who disagree with his point of view ought to “leave the room”. – click here for full article __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
“Curiouser and Curiouser !” - an editorial by Lyndon Taylor
6/1/10 - A line spoken by Alice in Wonderland could not be more apt for present day Banning! Just when you thought Banning couldn’t get more bizarre, something else happens! – click here for full article __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Record Gazette silent on the City Council’s response to Grand Jury – why ?
5/19/10 - When the Grand Jury issued their Report in late February of this year, the Record Gazette covered it as front page news. Now that the CRA (City Council) has formulated their response essentially defying the Grand Jury’s recommendations and letting the Banning Cultural Alliance keep $ 162,000 ( plus interest) in taxpayer money, the Record Gazette noticeably avoids covering the story anywhere. For all of what Record Gazette readers know, there was never a response to the Grand Jury by the City Council. Not even on the back pages could we find any mention of the City’s response. Why do you think such vital information is being withheld from the citizens of Banning ? Is the Record Gazette trying to protect a corrupt City Council from being thrown out of office ? – click here for full article __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Cultural Alliance Director caught lying about use of taxpayer money
5/9/10 - The Director of the Banning Cultural Alliance, Carol Newkirk, lied to the public when she stated that no public (redevelopment) funds were used for a political propaganda event . Documents obtained by the Banning Informer now show that the taxpayer forked up the money for “Hang the Politicians”, a so-called “art” exhibit promoting Mayor Bob Botts and Council member Don Robinson. - click here for full article __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Council member Don Robinson bounces several checks to Banning Utility – apparently without any consequences
4/26/10 - Don Robinson’s business, Renaissance Pet Resort and Spa, has bounced several checks to the Banning Utility . Contrary to the Utility’s written shut off policies, they did NOT tag Robinson’s business for non-payment nor was his business ever shut off . Unlike any other utility customer that fails to pay, Robinson was able to enjoy uninterrupted service for his business and did not have to stand in line to pay in person either ….. - click here for full article __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Independent auditors find “significant deficiencies” in City’s financial reporting
4/12/10 - The auditor’s report ( view ) states that fund balances for both the General Fund and the Redevelopment Fund had to be “restated” ( page 8 ), meaning the City’s books are significantly flawed. Furthermore, the City was entitled to over a million dollars in Federal Grants in 2008/09 but never asked for the money. The total expenditures of the City that were subject to these grants were $ 1,388,600 ( page 5 ). Under the program the Federal Government would have matched those funds. - click here for full article __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Government by Secrecy : Botts, Hanna, Robinson holding illegal secret meetings with Banning Cultural Alliance
4/1/10 - Conspiring against all citizens of Banning, three City Council members have been attending secret meetings organized by the Banning Cultural Alliance. The meetings , held under the ambiguous name “Banning Revitalization Initiative”, are conducted in secrecy : the public is not allowed to attend, there is no agenda available, no minutes are published and the time and location is being withheld. According to press reports the meetings are aimed at shaping City policy. – click here for full article __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Grand Jury Video Flashback : Who is responsible for funding the Banning Cultural Alliance ?
3/9/10 – Let’s look back at who voted for funding the Banning Cultural Alliance with complete lack of oversight : on June 23, 2009, the Community Redevelopment Agency voted to fund the Alliance with an additional $ 131,500. This article contains telling video from this session – click here for full article ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Grand Jury finds abuses by Banning City Government on many levels
2/27/10 – The Riverside County Grand Jury has issued a report that confirms what the Banning Informer has been pointing out all along : The Community Redevelopment Agency ( City Council ) is not doing its job, has overpaid for properties without appraisal and should immediately “cease and desist” funding the Banning Cultural Alliance. Furthermore, the CRA should ask the Alliance to immediately return $ 162,000 plus interest for services they never performed.
>>>>> DOWNLOAD GRAND JURY REPORT HERE <<<<<
Corruption : Banning School Board President Amy Herr influences votes for personal financial gain
2/26/10 - Conflict of Interest laws say you can’t serve two masters. But that is exactly what Banning School Board President Amy Herr did when she influenced not one, but two votes on the Banning School Board, both resulting in handsome payoffs for herself. Aside from being the President of the Banning School Board , Herr acts also as Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of the San Gorgonio Pass and made sure the Club received two big contracts. – click here for full article __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
City Council allows Haven Coffee to operate without required permits
2/19/10 - Here is yet another example of Banning’s corruption and the “selective enforcement” that goes along with it : Haven Coffee , Banning’s government funded coffee house ( view previous article ) , apparently is above the law : it was allowed to open and continues to operate illegally without proper permits, without paying fees, without plans or City inspection, without Fire inspection, without safety inspection, and without displaying a valid business license - for 3 months now ! – click here for full article __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Banning’s biggest fraud : Council member Don Robinson
2/13/10 – Banning City Council member and confirmed tax dodger Don Robinson has made false claims – under oath – that he underwent training as a Navy S.E.A.L.. As we will show, Robinson’s Navy S.E.A.L. claims are taken straight from his sworn deposition and are a complete lie . – click here for full article __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
City Council member John Machisic lies in financial declarations
2/8/10 - For years, Banning City Council member John Machisic has been filing false declarations under penalty of perjury, lying about the true nature of his economic interest. – click here for full article __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
“High on the Hog” : Mayor Botts orders $ 65 Filet Mignon
2/1/10 - City employees are being laid off. Due to a severe budget crisis Banning City Hall remains closed on Fridays . But Mayor Bob Botts doesn’t seem to care : on an all-expense-paid trip to Washington D.C. in 2009 he ordered a Filet Mignon for $ 64.95 at the plush “Ruth Chris” Restaurant – and charged it to the Banning taxpayer. Way to go, Bob ! – click here for full article __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
MORE INSANITY : City Council (CRA) gets ready to spend hundreds of thousands on Cultural Alliance Art Gallery
1/27/10 - Layoffs and cutbacks in essential City services now are a daily reality within the City of Banning, which is facing the greatest financial crisis in it’s history . But the City Council seems to ignore the crisis : they are getting ready to spend at least $ 250,000 – and maybe as much as half a million – on the most non-essential building the City owns : an Art Gallery operated by the Banning Cultural Alliance - click here for full article__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Tax Delinquent Don Robinson unanimously re-confirmed as Chairman of CRA
1/2 /10 – In a move that can only be viewed as the ultimate insult to every Banning taxpayer , the City Council (CRA) on Dec. 8, 2009 unanimously reelected tax delinquent Don Robinson as chairman of the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) for yet another year. Several weeks before this vote was taken, the Banning Informer had exposed Don Robinson as not paying his fair share of taxes – click here for full article __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
UPDATED : Barbara Hanna took money from Special Interest – MORE QUESTIONABLE DONATIONS DISCOVERED
- an investigative report by The Banning Informer – 10/19/09 – updated 12/15/09
12/15/09 - The Banning Informer has learned that City Council member Barbara Hanna has been receiving funding from special interest in at least three five different cases – click here for full article __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Did Council member Hanna’s husband, Ed Ball, perform consulting services for the owners of the Oddfellows building ?
12/10/09 - It is no secret that Banning City Council member Barbara Hanna owns a consulting firm named “Hanna & Associates” which generates declared annual revenues between $ 10,000 and $ 100,000 (view page 2). Hanna’s husband, Ed Ball , is a partner in her firm , however, Hanna keeps the identity of all of her clients a secret. - click here for full article __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Only in Banning : City Council gives Free Rent on City owned building AND relinquishes $ 192,000 in income belonging to the taxpayer
12/2/09 – In mid 2008 the Community Redevelopment Agency (City Council) bought a building on 130 N. San Gorgonio for $ 450,000 specifically for use by the Banning Cultural Alliance as their Art Gallery. The taxpayer was told that this was a good deal for the City because rental income from the building was going to offset the cost of funds used for the purchase. As it turns out, nothing could be further from the truth. – click here for full article __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Redevelopment Disasters courtesy of City Councilmembers Hanna and Machisic (and others)
11/24/09 - If the Banning Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) was a business enterprise, chances are it would have been bankrupt a long time ago. Many projects that were approved for funding by City Councilmembers Barbara Hanna and John Machisic have gone sour : due to foreclosure proceedings they have ended up as a total loss to the taxpayer . - click here for full article __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
San Gorgonio Inn Redevelopment : Who takes the risk ?
11/20/09 – The US commercial real estate market is the worst it’s ever been and is on the verge of a total collapse. Commercial real estate financing is practically unavailable. Warnings of ghost malls, too much commercial real estate, rising vacancy rates are all over the place. So why on earth is the City of Banning thinking that we still need MORE retail and/or office space ? - click here for full article __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Is That The Coffee You Smell ? - by Lyndon Taylor
11/17/09 - Amazing things continue do happen in the operation of the City of Banning ! With Measure L settled and more taxpayer money flowing to the City, the Banning Community Redevelopment Agency has found a new way of spending tax dollars. Imagine someone comes to you requesting a $30,000 loan to start a coffee house in downtown Banning…. click here for full article__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
“Downtown Revitalization” efforts fail to attract any new businesses
11/12/09 – After receiving over $ 700,000.00 in Redevelopment Funds from the City of Banning , Cultural Alliance Executive Director Carol Newkirk is forced to admit that the Alliance’ activities have failed to attract even a single new business to Banning. – click here for full article __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
The strangely identical voting records of Bob Botts (“Dr. Evil”) and Don Robinson (“Mini Me”)
11/5/09 – In this article we will examine the strangely identical voting records of Bob Botts and Don Robinson on the Banning City Council. In 2009, the Council voted a total of 89 times . Not a single time was Robinson’s vote different from that of Botts - click here for full article ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Councilman Don Robinson delinquent on over $ 20,000 in taxes
11/4/09 – He portrays himself as a responsible and honest businessman claiming to be qualified to sit on the City Council. As current Chairman of the Banning Redevelopment Agency Don Robinson decides how Millions of dollars in taxpayer funds are being spent. Yet a look at the tax roll reveals that he has not paid his own property taxes since 2005. - click here for full article ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
The $ 110,000 Rip Off
10/28/09 – How the Banning Cultural Alliance ripped off the taxpayer for $ 110,000 – with the CRA (City Council) looking the other way click here for full article ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Expert warned against funding Banning Cultural Alliance
10/26/09 – In 2006, right before the City first contracted for “services” by the Banning Cultural Alliance, the acting Redevelopment Director Oscar Orci issued a memorandum in which he concluded that funding the Banning Cultural Alliance would be a bad idea. - click here for full article _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Banning Cultural Alliance : first audit raises more questions than it provides answers
10/19/09 – For several years – since 2006 – the Banning Cultural Alliance has received massive taxpayer funding from the City of Banning totaling roughly $ 750,000. However, how this money was used has always remained a mystery. Giving in to public pressure, the Banning Cultural Alliance has now released it’s first audit . – click here for full article ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Banning’s $110 Million Dollar Bond Debt – or how Hanna and Machisic mortgaged our future
10/19/09 – Most voters of Banning have little or no idea that in 2005 the City Council indebted Banning with over $ 110,000,000 for the next 30 years ! You may say this cannot be true. Why is it that we never got to vote on this ? No, this is not a misprint. Over Onehundred Million Dollars were borrowed in 2005/06 via several bond issues. This was voted for by no other than Barbara Hanna and John Machisic, who apparently thought that they – not the voters of Banning – should make the decision to borrow this unprecedented sum of money. They felt that they knew best what’s good for us. - click here for full article __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Your tax dollars at work - by Chuck Katz
10/19/09 – Very recently we learned that the Banning Cultural Alliance presented us with a show entitled “Hang the Politicians”. The event featured the “art” work of Mayor Bob Botts, Council member Don Robinson and former Council member Jenkins . Unfortunately the local press failed to mention a very important detail about this event: The City of Banning , meaning you the taxpayer, was the official “sponsor” of the event . - click here for full article ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Video : Botts and Hanna interrupt speaker critical of City Council
10/19/09 – During the public session of October 13, 2009 Banning resident Chuck Katz, an activist who helped defeat the Liberty sludge plant, addressed the City Council. He was cut off by Bob Botts acting in concert with Barbara Hanna - click here for video __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________