Two Black Eyes for the City of San Bernardino
By Derek Obregon
Councilman Robert Jenkins was charged with 30 criminal counts for using something many of us go to on a daily basis—Craigslist. Jenkins is being accused of utilizing the website to stalk and harass his ex-boyfriend and another man. Some of the crimes he is being charged with are 12 misdemeanor counts of unlawfully disturbing via computer, personal identifying information of a harassing nature, creating a false San Bernardino Police Department internal memorandum, using the names of two employees of the police department, felony charges of unlawfully obtaining information of another person, stalking and forging an official state seal.
San Bernardino City Attorney James F. Penman said Mr. Jenkins’ former partner planted the incriminating evidence on his computer because he had access to his house, email accounts, passwords and at least one witness saw the former partner enter Mr. Jenkins’ house on one occasion when no one was home. Where there’s a sex scandal, there’s usually a financial scandal not too far away.
Another City Councilman, Chas Kelley, has resigned and dropped out of the mayoral race before pleading guilty to one count of felony perjury. Kelley knowingly under-reported the amount of money his campaign received and spent by $74,222 from July 2006 to June 2012. He will spend 90 days in county weekend jail and five years on probation (and could spend up to four years in prison if he violates the terms of his parole). The 44-year-old apologized to the city: “Unfortunatly, I have made a terrible mistake and let my constituents, as well as all residents of San Bernardino, down. My Failure to properly report campaign expenses and contributions is a criminal violation that I am deeply embarrassed about.”
The dishonest actions of this councilman were found out because an affidavit was filed by Schyler Beaty, a senior investigator with the DA’s Public Integrity Unit. Kelley’s treasurer (his wife, Teri) filled out the campaign reports with information provided by her husband. She did not sign them, make withdrawals or write checks from the campaign account. According to the affidavit, Kelley has been using his county retirement account to pay personal bills. City Attorney Penman was not at all surprised that Kelley pled guilty to the charges so quickly.
Mayor Pat Morris had this to say, “The responsibility assumed by elected officials is a heavy yoke to bear. Those elected to public office are expected to be models of civil behavior, and provide ethical decision making in the pressure-filled environment.” That is definitely not the case for this forever blemished week in San Bernardino history. Kelley was considered a frontrunner for the 2013 mayoral election, but he will now be ineligible to run for public office again.