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San Bernardino County Diversion Program Only Helps Rancho Cucamonga Offenders

By Renea Wickman

Last Tuesday, the Inland Empire Concerned African American Churches held a community forum with the San Bernardino County Public Defender and District Attorney’s office. The topic of discussion was the diversion program for non-violent misdemeanor offenders. It was implemented as an effort to reduce the case loads of misdemeanors by upwards as 25 percent.

The diversion programs is a four month program at a cost of $400 run by the private company Corrective Solutions. To qualify for the program you must be charged with a misdemeanor, have no prior record, live in Rancho Cucamonga, pay $400 for the Corrective Solutions program and volunteer for the program.  The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors approved the program last month.

The issue that concerned the African American community included a number of things. The issues at hand are the program’s cost of $400 run by a private corporation; other possible costs could be incurred for drug testing, alcohol and drug classes, anger management classes and other classes if suggested by the Judge, DA or Public Defender to complete the program.  The DA says the cost of $400 to low income families is on a sliding scale, but not the additional classes that may be required. In addition, concerns that the program only applies to Rancho Cucamonga residents and those who have no prior criminal record were also raised because the African American community has a disproportionate number of community members with prior convictions. The DA also mentioned that it is at the discretion of the DA and Public Defender if a person with a non violent record can be allowed to voluntarily enter the program. For this reason the concern was that fair discretion is rarely given to an African American in the criminal court system. Lastly, the concern was that the community members of the City of San Bernardino would best benefit from such a program. However, the DA stated that Rancho Cucamonga had the most misdemeanors of any city in San Bernardino County. The IECAAC asked the Public Defender and District Attorney’s representatives to include racial stats of all qualified cited individuals weather they volunteered for the program or not.

If the program is completed the individual would not have any record of the charge what so ever on their record. The DA added that the program is a pilot program and reviewed every six months and will last 3 years. If you have more questions or concerns about the Diversion Program you can contact the San Bernardino County Public Defender and District Attorney’s Offices.

What It Do With the LUE: Bernice Celeste

Bernice Celeste

Bernice Celeste

What up my I.E. peeps and everybody! Singing Sensation Bernice Celeste is What It Do with the LUE this week. When it comes to raw talent, this young lady has it hands down. I was mesmerized the first time I heard Bernice sing and play. You can’t help but to fall in love with her angelic voice. So here’s more on my girl. Enjoy!

Bernice Celeste is a 21 year old singer/songwriter born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. At the age of 10 her family relocated to the States where they lived in New Mexico, Texas, and South Carolina. Along the way her passion for singing grew immensely that the time came when she asked her parents to relocate back to Los Angeles in order to pursue her dream. As an independent artist, Bernice is progressing to be the next big solo artist in the industry. The songs she writes about are either life experiences or events witnessed throughout her life. Bernice first started singing at age 7; throughout her school years she was involved in choir. She began playing the guitar at age 14 which she self-taught and at a later time she took guitar lessons. By taking lessons, it helped her to write her own lyrics.

Her unique sound is that of a mixture of Pop/Acoustic. Growing up her music influences were given by her parents and grandparents who listen to music like R&B, Oldies, Motown, Beatles, Classic Rock and 80’s Pop. During her middle and high school years she was influenced by Alternative Rock, Folk and what was popular on the top 40’s. For the last 6 years she has been performing throughout the Los Angeles, Orange and Inland Empire counties. She has also performed in venues like The Cinespace, The Roxy, The House of Blues, Aqua Lounge and The Pomona Fox Theater Lounge. She had the pleasure of singing the National Anthem for the Inland Empire 66ers Minor League baseball that is in her hometown.

Bernice has performed at community events and foundations from The Britticares for the CHLA foundation, to one’s that deal with cancer awareness, battered woman, and underprivileged young girls, to feeding the homeless in her own community. Bernice has featured as a special guest on several internet radio stations including, The 3 Guys Rant, David Alcarez Talent show, CGD Live Radio, The Heart Of, and Monivision Live. She recently was contacted and is having her new single, “Falling Fast” in rotation at the Coyote Radio which is one of the biggest internet radios in Southern California and country!

You can catch her performing live for the kids Tuesday, December 22 at Ribs located at 2360 Sterling Avenue in San Bernardino at 2 p.m. for LUE Productions and Drac Entertainments special event, “THE GIFT of GIVING”. Keep an eye out for this up and coming artist you won’t regret it!! Until next week – SAN BERNARDINO STRONG & L’z!

Letter to the Editor: My Condolences to San Bernardino From China

Penny Li

Penny Li

By Penny Li, 李盼

My condolences go out to the victims’ family of the December 2, 2015 horrific incident.  I am from China and I have come to San Bernardino for two weeks for the purposes of requesting for the City of San Bernardino to Re-instate the Sister City program for China.  This trip was planned much before the horrific incident.

The December 2 act of cowardice could not deter our motivation to build a bridge between our two cultures.  We propose for the city to reinstate the Sister City Program for China, allow international exchange participants to volunteer for the city of San Bernardino to help share the language and culture, and for San Bernardino to support the newly created International Business Expo, which has been initiated by Keith McCarter of McCarter University for the purposes of encouraging cooperation between our Chinese company participants and your local businesses.

I and a few of my colleagues will be speaking at the December 21 city council meeting to request for the city to place these items on the agenda.  These plans were submitted to the city far before December 2 and we believe that now, more than ever, is a good time for the city to consider making positive international connections to create positive international programs to enhance the future prospect of success for the companies and citizenry here within.

We wish to invite all members of the public to come listen to our short presentation and feel free to offer your support of our plans and project.  Lastly, unlike many other proposed programs, this program will not cost the city one red cent, but it has the potential of bringing elevated profits to the city directly, indirectly and to its businesses.  We will appreciate your support and again, we wish to offer our condolences to the victims of December 2.