San Bernardino, CA City Attorney Jim Penman Tells Residents to "Load The...

A Poorer San Bernardino, and a More Dangerous One, Too

Published: January 14, 2013

James F. Penman, the San Bernardino city attorney, said he told residents they had to take their own security measures.

The city is still doing regular trash collection — at least for now — if not dead animal removal. But after 15 years driving a garbage truck here, Carlos Teran does not know if the city will have enough money to pay him next month. His payroll is now month-to-month, he said.
Mr. Teran owes more than $200,000 on a house in Bloods gang territory that is now worth closer to $50,000, he said.

Up the street, a tree-lined avenue with views of the nearby foothills, four candles marked the spot where a gang member was killed in a drive-by shooting. Across the street, metal thieves have gutted one of the foreclosed homes that dot the neighborhood, ripping air conditioners and electrical boxes off the walls long before the police responded.
“It’s scary,” said Mr. Teran’s wife, Elizabeth. “You hear gunshots. You have to watch your surroundings.”

Some of Mr. Teran’s co-workers, even the ones who have not been laid off, have left San Bernardino. The Terans, who both grew up here, have considered doing the same, walking away from their underwater mortgage and moving their five children to a place where they can leave the house wearing their blue soccer shirts without fear.
But they have decided to stay. Mr. Teran is the block captain for a neighborhood watch group that also cleans up a park every month. Like other residents in the rougher parts of San Bernardino, he said he knew the area well enough to feel safe here.
“I know people say this is a shameful city, one of the worst places to live, one of the worst cities to raise your kids,” Mr. Teran said. “But down deep in my heart, I love this city. And one day it will turn around.”


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