A city that files for bankruptcy must brace itself for one embarrassment after another.
San Bernardino is finding out the hard way.
The latest indignity is the rampant talk to outsource the city's police protection to the county.
Perhaps there is no help for it, but what a disgrace.
San Bernardino needs a strong police department of its own. More than most cities, quite frankly.
There are lots of much smaller cities in San Bernardino County that manage to have their own police department. They are able to look after themselves, thank you very much. Chino (population 79,000) manages it. Redlands (70,000), Colton (52,000) and Montclair (37,000) manage it. Even little Barstow (23,000) manages it.
But, sadly, it may be that the county's largest city, the county seat itself, San Bernardino, with 215,000 citizens, cannot manage it.
For crying out loud.
The news gets worse. San Bernardino, as it turns out, can't even manage to do bankruptcy well. Listen to this. City officials recently were obliged to plead their case for bankruptcy protection before a wary federal judge in Riverside. That's right, the city is actually being forced to beg for bankruptcy, and it's not a given.
It's humiliating. Mayor Pat Morris came out of the hearing and said, "If we can't get into bankruptcy court and the protection provided by Chapter 9 we will have no city.
It seems like such a short time ago that bankruptcy was a nightmare prospect that we had to fight to avoid, at all costs. Now we learn that it is the best case scenario, and we must pray for it with all our might.
For pity's sake, I think the time may be drawing near, at long last, for me to declare myself Emperor of the Inland Empire and seize control of this situation.
The first thing I will do is outsource the entire city of San Bernardino to the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. After all, it is from them that we stole this town site, fair and square, in the first place. And now we can give it back, fair and square.
We will become part of the tribe's sovereign nation holdings, and we will benefit accordingly. If there are federal issues involved, and we need to have the designated reservation boundaries redrawn, I will work to make it happen with the help of my friends in Washington (if they will stop being voted out of office or being forced into retirement at such an alarming clip).
If there are county issues that need to be addressed, I will work with my friend James Ramos, the former San Manuel chairman who just now has been elected to the county Board of Supervisors.
It's all good.
Our friends at San Manuel have money. And they know how to use it wisely. And they choose to use it generously. Their civic spirit is strong.
Under the terms of the new city ownership deal that will be worked out, the San Bernardino Police Department will be retained and expanded. All officers in good standing will receive raises.
In fact, all hardworking city employees will be kept on - at or above their current salaries.
A new era of prosperity is at hand.
The expertly run San Manuel casino generates incredible wealth, and it is hidden away in the mountain foothills near Highland. Imagine how much more wealth will be generated at the new, colossal casino that will be located conveniently in downtown San Bernardino, on the present site of the moribund Carousel Mall.
This revenue will fund improvements throughout the city. In the southern province we will tap the abundant mineral springs under the National Orange Show grounds and turn that venue into one of America's great spa resorts.
In the city's north end, we will reopen and expand Arrowhead Springs. Once again it will be one of Southern California's classiest playgrounds for the rich and famous. And, believe me, we all are going to be rich and famous soon, according to my plan.
We'll hold the Stater Bros. Route 66 Rendezvous every weekend, instead of just once a year, so the whole town will be teeming with happy multitudes on almost a constant basis.
Once San Bernardino is a destination city again, we'll get that international airport up and running in no time. Transportation into the city will become a top priority. The improved 215 Freeway corridor and the SBX Super Bus line through the city are happening just in the nick of time.
We also will get that big midtown Lakes and Streams Project done. Finally.
What does San Manuel get out of all this? Well, expansion of their interests and influence, for one thing. Plus, the pride that comes with building a great city.
Also, I will see that they get naming rights. I assume, based on precedent, that the city's name will be changed to San Manuel.
It's OK with me. What difference does it make whether the place is named after St. Bernie or St. Manny?
No big deal.
I'll tell you one thing. The riffraff in this city is going to be priced right out of town. The new city of San Manuel is going to be way too upscale for the beggars, takers and troublemakers.
They will move on.
Maybe they can build a ramshackle city of their own, out in the middle of nowhere somewhere. After all, there's plenty of "middle of nowhere" in San Bernardino County, and I'll see to it that they find a place.
They can call it whatever they like.
In fact, I know of a name that will just happen to be available.
They can call it San Bernardino.
Read more John Weeks at http://sbsun.com/johnweeks.
Contact him by email at email@example.com.