City Council Getting Ready To Defy Grand Jury – Again!


6/25/16 – Here we go again: Just as they did with the 2010 Grand Jury Report, a corrupt City Council majority is about to defy the recommendations made by the latest Grand Jury Report (view here) as well!  The agenda for Tuesday, June 28, calls for yet another “extension” for the Chamber to pay their past due utilities in the amount of $ 15,795.



The extension requested gives the Chamber until August 25th to pay the utility bill, and goes past the 90-day deadline set by the Grand Jury.

We all know that the average utility customer can never get an extension. They get shut off. On the other hand, the Chamber had over 2 years of  “extensions” already, and had their bill cut buy more than  60% ! And yet another extension ?  What comes after August 25 – more extensions ? This matter is in desperate need of closure, but it looks like the drama may not end anytime soon.

banning-chamberNo reasons are given in the staff report why granting an extension is to the benefit of the people of Banning. Why ? Because there is none. Indeed, this transaction only benefits one party: the Chamber of Commerce.

And besides, if the Chamber cannot borrow $ 15,795 from a bank, then this is evidence of them being a failed organization that is not credit worthy, i.e. is a high credit risk.

So why would the citizens of Banning want to extend credit to the Chamber via an extension?

We might as well loan the money to James C. Smith !



Advocates solely for the interests of the Banning Chamber : City manager Michael Rock

Advocates solely for the interests of the Banning Chamber : City manager Michael Rock

For Rock to recommend an extension without explaining its benefits for the City, shows that his buddies at the Chamber come before the interests of the people of Banning.

With this setup, Rock effectively has made himself an advocate for a special interest group. Isn’t this an obvious direliction of his professional duties, which call for him to protect the interests of Banning ?  Has Michael Rock already forgotten who pays his salary ?

Besides the above, Rock also failed to provide proper documentation for the request. Noticably absent from the Staff report is a formal letter from the Chamber requesting the extension.  Rather, the request is based on hearsay related to a conversation he and Mayor Welch supposedly had with Chamber President Ron Duncan.

Rock’s “paperless”  approach appears as highly unprofessional. It is reminiscent of yet another “handshake agreement” and raises questions about Rock’s professional standards and his ability to properly administer a City.

Rock was hired earlier this year by a unanimous vote of the council. The fact that not a single councilmember saw through his smoke screen, shows that we lack good judges of character on the City council. How sad !



The Banning Chamber of Commerce is not your normal Chamber of Commerce: arguably, it is completely useless to business and commerce in Banning. Rather, it is a tight, self serving good-old-boy club that solely appears to exist to serve the selected few who run it. Time and time again, it serves as a clubhouse for corrupt politicians who have fallen out of favor with the public, (i.e. Don Robinson, Art Welch, Larry Higgins – and maybe soon Franklin and Moyer ?).

crooked2The Chamber’s books have never been audited. Until recently, the organization was run by a deadbeat conman (see story), who’s track record identifies him as a professional in the art of financial deception.

James C. Smith was forced to resign, but has since indicated that he will remain involved in the organization’s operations from behind the scenes. The fact that a deadbeat conman like Smith can remain a member of the Chamber, seems to indicate that the organization has no real desire to give even the appearance of accountability.

With this background it should not surprise anyone that no detailed accounting is available to the public. The tens of thousands of dollars the chamber receives through their fundraising events every year are untraceable, and there is no way of knowing how the money is spent.

Debbie Franklin and Mayor Art Welch are both involved with the Chamber -can you guess how they will vote on Tuesday?

Debbie Franklin and Mayor Art Welch are both involved with the Chamber – can you guess how they will vote on Tuesday?

As a matter of fact, the Chamber’s accounting is so shady, that one suspected charitable imposter – Councilmember Debbie Franklin who runs “Holiday Wish”– has piggybacked on the Chamber, in what appears to be an attempt to launder charitable funds for personal use, (story coming soon).

This is not a Chamber of Commerce that the people of Banning should respect or look up to – this is an organization with no or bad credit, as they are unable to qualify for even a small bank loan. Our City would gain tremendously if they took back the building the Chamber occupies and put them out of business asap.

Like any City, Banning needs a Chamber of Commerce, but certainly NOT THIS USELESS, CROOKED, POS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE !



Same old story ! Looks like 3 councilmembers (Welch, Moyer, Franklin) have already given the green light behind the scenes to go ahead and violate the recommendations of the Grand Jury Report.

Why does this not surprise us? Because the same thing happened in 2010.

Three corrupt leaders, aided by a corrupt City manager, continue to sell out Banning – with no end in sight !


If you would like to comment or discuss this – or any other – article,  please visit us on FACEBOOK