Wednesday, February 26, 2014
New Hopes and Opportunities for San Bernardino
The San Bernardino region is home to many high density destinations such as CSU San Bernardino, the Loma Linda University Medical Center area, and several government services in the downtown area. It is well on its way to becoming a more transit-friendly region for both local and out-of-area commuters and travelers.
Government officials broke ground on two key projects that will make this happen: The downtown San Bernardino Transit Center project, and the Metrolink extension into downtown. The riding public has much to gain. The popular Metrolink San Bernardino Line and numerous existing express buses are proposed to connect at this major hub. From there, out-of-area riders can seamlessly get to the major destinations aboard the soon-to-open E Street sbX line. Likewise, numerous Omnitrans routes that already pass through downtown will also connect, providing better options for local area riders.
The City of San Bernardino has a key opportunity here to become a desirable urban center. If officials get serious and take a leadership role in ridding the city of its miserable crime, the area can become a true transit-friendly destination that people would be proud to call their home. Besides the Loma Linda area down south and the CSUSB campus up north, the region is currently mired street gang crime and limited private sector job growth. We cannot afford to have these robust transit facilities that will be built mired in vandalism and crime only a few years later.
The solution of combating San Bernardino gang crimes is complex but officials should take into consideration any ideas that have already been proven to work. That includes broadcasting firm public messages for parents to properly raise, discipline, and spend more undivided time with their children and allowing the non-profit sector to expand youth center facilities so that troubled youth can positively establish healthy fraternal bonds with peers and caring adult mentors. This can be as simple as allowing private groups to offer additional after-school youth programs and social time at area middle and high school campuses. Evidence shows that both of these solutions will help keep kids out of gangs.
For those already in the gangs, it's a matter of cleaning up the streets, locking up those involved in crimes and rehabilitating youth exposed to the criminal world of whom desire to turn away from it. Flooding troubled areas with additional investigating and patrolling law enforcement--even if it be volunteer reserves--is necessary to deter crime and catch such criminal activity. Our jails and prisons should have mentorship programs available for inmates and incarcerated gang members. Yes, jail and prison budgets are tight and the governments will have limited public resources to tackle this challenge on their own. However, such programs can be provided by working with the non-profit private sector and prison ministry outlets. These options should be available for inmates who really desire to turn away from the criminal culture and reintegrate back into the community once their sentences are served.
The excuses of omission to this grave problem needs to stop and officials need to debate and propose real solutions to make San Bernardino streets safer and to allow youth and children to grow up and become productive selfless workers. We never know if one of these youth has what it takes to find a cure for cancer and AIDS, gets the nation to be fully self-reliant on fuel and energy, or has the answer to efficiently mass-desalinate ocean water. San Bernardino can be a true destination in the years to come.