As citizens of San Bernardino, we should stop playing the victim role in this economic crisis and help ourselves to become the strong leaders that this city needs in order to help it become prosperous once again.
San Bernardino, once a beautiful vibrant city home to blue-collar workers who earned decent wages, is now one of the poorest places in the nation.
Last Nov. 17, San Bernardino was reported to be the second largest poorest city in the nation just behind Detroit, according to the Press Enterprise.
The bad economy has been an ongoing problem, but it hasn’t been until the past couple of years that we have seen how much it has affected our city.
The Census Bureau reports that the poverty rate in this city is at a staggering 34.6 percent, which translates to more than one third of San Bernardino residents living in poor conditions.
The federal government categorizes anyone that earns $11,139 a year or less before taxes as poor and for a family of four the poverty rate is $22,113, according to the Press Enterprise.
“Everyone moved from Los Angeles to Rialto and San Bernardino to get away from all the gangs but they brought the gangs with them,” said William Hansen, a San Bernardino resident since the mid-1950s.
As you drive down E Street you can find more and more stores that are out of business or empty lots, but there are numerous thrift stores that are still prospering.
You see more “invisible hands” like Mary’s Table on Roberds Avenue or single families that go out on Thanksgiving and Christmas to give out food to the homeless because they are fortunate enough to be at a financially secure level.
I have volunteered at Mary’s Table and have given out food to the needy myself and it is rewarding to help those in need.
We can agree that this city has changed dramatically from what it used to be ten years ago and it is ridiculous that we have become accustomed to the hostile environment.
You can stay in San Bernardino because of the sentimental value that this city brings you or you can pack those memories along with everything you own and run away. But the latter is no solution.
As educated individuals who care about the community can write to Sen. Barbara Boxer or Rep. Joe Baca to demand change in our public education system and pay close attention to the funds going in and out of the city.
“Political infighting, loss of large employers and high dropout and foreclosure rates has hindered the city’s growth,” said Lora Hines in the Press Enterprise.
Our mayor, Patrick J. Morris, needs to focus on creating public projects that create jobs and foster a feeling of community in San Bernardino.
We need to be critical of who we place in office because the state that San Bernardino is in is the result of bad leadership and poor judgment. Take time to read up on upcoming political candidates.
I am sure that the majority of us base our decisions on the political campaign advertisements that are shown on television, but this shouldn’t be because those are only meant to discredit the competition and not to focus on issues.
More and more independent owners take their business elsewhere because they are selective about the type of customers they want to attract, if all they see are poor customers, they will take their businesses and the jobs elsewhere creating a reverse snowball effect.
The more knowledgeable we are the better odds we have of making sound decisions that can lead to a prosperous city and prevent San Bernardino from becoming the absolute poorest city in the nation.