Record Gazette silent

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 ?



In its almost 100 year history, the City of Banning has rarely been  the focus of a Grand Jury investigation.

But in 2010 the actions of primarily four City Council members – Bob Botts, Barbara Hanna , Don Robinson and John Machisictriggered  one of those rare Grand Jury reviews : their shady dealings, namely buying property without appraisal via improperly noticed “emergency” sessions and excessive funding of the Banning Cultural Alliance without accountability nor oversight were part of a devastating Grand Jury report (view).

The Grand Jury’s final recommendations included for the CRA ( City Council ) to no longer acquire property without appraisals , making reference to the acquisition of the former Dodge dealership. The recommendation also called for the City to “cease and desist “ any further dealings with the Banning Cultural Alliance and to enforce the repayment of $ 162,000 (plus interest) from the Alliance for contracted services they never performed.



Banning's only newspaper : The Record Gazette

In their issue of 5/14, there was not a word mentioned by the Record Gazette about an hour long session of the CRA (City Council) which occurred on 5/11, during which four City Council members voted to defy practically all of the Grand Jury’s recommendations.

The Council unilaterally decided NOT to enforce the repayment of $ 162,000 that the report said the Alliance owes the City. They also voted NOT to “cease and desist” doing business with the Alliance in the future. And the Council voted to reserve their right to continue to acquire property without appraisals. In short : the Council defied the Grand Jury at every turn.

The Grand Jury report was headline news for Banning’s Record Gazette, when it came out almost 3 months ago. Even the full text of the report was published at the time.  So why does the Record Gazette now consider the City Council’s defiant response not newsworthy ? We are talking about a historic and rather unprecedented event for Banning – but not a word about the response in the Record Gazette ? The silence is truly deafening.

Budget cuts, threats to close the community center, pool and senior center, which the Council all discussed that same day were covered by the Record Gazette in length. In this context, also reporting that the Council will NOT ask for the $ 162,000 back would have certainly created public outrage and infuriated the citizens of Banning with their City Council, would it not ? Did the Record Gazette try to protect the Council from such public outrage by not reporting on what really happened that day ?



It is a fact that the Record Gazette receives very substantial ad revenue from the City of Banning . In these hard economic times, have they been put on notice by Botts & Co. that they could lose that ad revenue if they reported on the Council’s shady activities or question the Cultural Alliance ?

Has Bob Botts – who will be running for reelection this fall – asked the paper to stay quiet about the City’s response to the Grand Jury  ? It seems, the paper has completely turned its back on the community and protects the Council at every turn.



While the Record Gazette did not report anything about this to the Banning citizens, they instead praised the Alliance for their ability to “put on a show”. What they referred to was the Alliance’ production of the latest ART HOP.

In this context, the Record Gazette reported a completely unsubstantiated, fictional attendance figure of 2,500 – 3,000 people at the ART HOP. This number was arbitrarily created out of fresh air by the  Banning Cultural Alliance in order to justify their continued massive taxpayer funding. A vastly overstated attendance figure should not come as a surprise :  the Banning Cultural Alliance has a confirmed history of lying to the public, (view article).

The truth is, there was hardly anyone visiting the ART HOP. The Banning Informer estimates that the real attendance at this year’s ART HOP was between 250 – 300 people, or 10 % of the “official” published number.



On the day following the Council’s decision to defy the Grand Jury, the session’s rebroadcast on  Channel 10 showed that major parts were cut from the broadcast. The omitted segments – for the most part – consisted of  speakers who were very critical of the Council. After numerous public complaints the City corrected the issue the following day. “Coincidence” ?



It is becoming more and more clear : the Record Gazette covers things up – they appear to be in cahoots with a corrupt Banning City Council. When they write about the Cultural Alliance, everything is always great. When they report on the Council there is never any concern.

Which one of the following “bombshell” stories have you ever seen covered by the Record Gazette ?


  • Has the Record Gazette ever revealed that Sun Lakes will never get their reclaimed water facility because the money was squandered (illegally) on a  $ 14 M police station, among other things ? ( view our article here )
  • Have you ever been made aware by the Record Gazette that Council member Barbara Hanna gave over $ 2.3 Million in taxpayer money to five individuals who funded her political campaign ? (view our article here )
  • Have they ever told you that the City of Banning is over $ 110 Million in debt and those interest payments are the reason why the City has to cut back public services ? ( view our article here )
  • Have they ever reported on the Council spending thousands of taxpayer dollars on luxury hotel stays or that Mayor Botts ordered a $ 65 filet ? ( view our article here )
  • Have you ever read in the Record Gazette that Council member Don Robinson owes over $ 20,000 in  back taxes, bounced several checks the Banning utility and is a confirmed military imposter ? ( view our articles here, here and  here )


No – none of those issues have ever been covered by the Record Gazette. All of them were brought to light exclusively by the Banning Informer. But not even once has the Record Gazette ever acknowledged that the Banning Informer even exists. Why do you think this is ? It is pretty clear –  they don’t want you to know what you read here.



Vladimir Lenin reading "Pravda"

During the course of history, corrupt and oppressive governments have always engaged in the control of the news. That is why the communists had “Pravda” – translated the “Truth” –  but, of course, always far from it.

Whatever the Soviet government wanted to accomplish, “Pravda” came out in full support, no matter what. Vladimir Lenin loved reading “Pravda”. The Soviets could always count on having  “Pravda” , the “Truth” – on their side .

How is this different from what is going on in Banning ? Our City Council can always count on their “Pravda”, namely the “Record Gazette”, supporting them as well – no matter what the issue. As we have now seen, they even suppress the news if it is to the advantage of the Council.

The Record Gazette now appears to have become to Banning what “Pravda” once was to the communist Soviet regime.




Instead of reporting on the City’s historic response to the Grand Jury, on its front page of 5/14/10 the Records Gazette brings us a trivial “filler” story entitled  “Stop and smell the flowers”.  Well, maybe we should – because something definitely smells.

Maybe it is time to smell the flowers and send a message to this so-called “News”paper :  the citizens of Banning do not appreciate the “selective reporting”  they are up to.

Call them ( 849-4586 ). Write them letters. Switch to the Press Enterprise, at least they covered the City’s Grand Jury response ( view ). If you advertise your business, it may be time to think about pulling your ads from these scoundrels. This must not stand. Suppression of news has no place in a free society.