A couple of weeks ago I was copied on an email from a citizen who wrote to the manager of the Devore Animal Shelter. The premise of her email was that if all you strive for is failure, or at best mediocrity, that is all you will ever achieve. I could not help but think of that email when I was having a conversation with Teamsters Joint Council 42 Organizing Director Randy Korgan about the upcoming rally.
There is a new game in town and that game is the Teamsters. Whether one is a union supporter or not, what they have to say makes a lot of sense.
Korgan expounded on the concept that one of the biggest reasons local governments do not have money to give employees raises and benefits is because they have squandered taxpayer money on various forms of corporate welfare with little to no bang for their buck. He says over the past few decades billions of taxpayers’ dollars have been spent subsidizing large corporations that want to locate in San Bernardino County but do not want to spend the money to improve infrastructure or to pay living wages to employees.
There is no doubt our local governments—San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors and many city councils within county boundaries—have promoted a culture of poverty by their actions and deeds. The RDA may be dead, but county corruption and incompetence is not. It is as though county leaders want residents to remain dependent on government subsidies for survival.
The county of San Bernardino, for example, does not promote all of the highly skilled and educated residents that call the county home but are forced to commute outside of the county for jobs that are commensurate with their education and experience. Instead, when attracting new employers to the region, they tout our unemployed, unskilled labor force who will be delighted in finding part-time, minimum wage jobs. In other words, County leaders are doing little to bring prosperity to the region. They are striving for mediocrity and even failure.
The welfare mindset could not be more evident than in the actions of those who run the county’s jobs and welfare programs. The goal of these county leaders is not to get the unemployed employed and off of government assistance. It is to keep caseloads high so that state and federal tax money continues to pour into the county.
A perfect example is Walmart. County leaders worked very closely with Walmart to keep them staffed with low-skilled workers.
It was a win-win situation. Employees who worked 20 hours a week remained eligible for food stamps, Medi-Cal, child care, Section 8 and cash aid while meeting federal welfare-to-work standards. That meant county caseloads remained high.
Walmart was able to pay minimum wage to part-time employees with no health benefits while getting federal tax breaks for hiring the long-term unemployed. That was more profit for Walmart.
Electeds and appointed executives throughout San Bernardino County have been caught up in scandal after scandal. More often than not, those scandals involve personal gain after giving sweetheart deals to those developers and corporations trying to make a buck off of the taxpayer.
The Teamster’s say they have lots of documentation to prove it is even worse than we imagine. It probably is.
The question is whether they can change the culture-of-poverty mindset that is San Bernardino County. It will take replacing certain BOS members, such as Janice Rutherford and Robert Lovingood, and the Chief Executive Officer, Greg Devereaux. It appears they are headed in that direction. Only time will tell if the Teamsters can deliver, which will only occur with the support of those they represent.
The union has a town hall meeting scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. It will take place at the Ontario Convention Center in Ontario, Calif. For more information, check out their Facebook page or website.