San Bernardino to combine Fine Arts and Historic Preservation commissions, form body addressing cultural issues
San Bernardino city leaders have agreed to merge the Fine Arts and Historic Preservation commissions, an alternative to their consolidation with other citizen advisory bodies.
While the group’s name has yet to be determined, the commissioners will pool their knowledge and resources to address issues of cultural significance in the city.
Mayor Carey Davis made the suggestion Wednesday after several speakers urged the City Council to reconsider consolidating the commissions.
Formed in 1983, the Fine Arts Commission meets monthly and works with local organizations to promote the arts and cultural experiences. The nine-member body played a key role in bringing a statue of Rosa Parks to downtown San Bernardino.
“The work we do is focused,” said Gil Botello, Fine Arts chairman. “The work we do, a lot of times you don’t see. … But our work and our efforts will be lost” in a consolidated commission.
Late last year, city leaders began reexamining the responsibilities of its 23 boards, commissions and citizen advisory committees. With only a handful required per city and state law, the rest were evaluated on a number of criteria.
City staffers on Wednesday recommended consolidating the Parks and Recreation, Fine Arts and Senior Affairs commissions into the Parks, Recreation and Community Services Commission; the Historic Preservation Commission, which meets bimonthly, was to be consolidated with the Planning Commission.
Suzie Earp, a Historic Preservation commissioner, told the council her peers and planning commissioners often take opposite sides on pertinent issues.
“Too often the city tears things down in the act of progress,” she said. “We have a lot of gems in this town. Let’s save them.”
Councilmen Benito Barrios and John Valdivia voted against merging the Fine Arts and Historic Preservation commissions, believing they should remain separate. They were outvoted, 4-2, with Councilman Fred Shorett absent.
City staffers are expected to return to the council later […]