San Bernardino Mayoral candidate Helen Tran.
San Bernardino Mayoral candidate Helen Tran. Credit: (source:

Last Updated on September 29, 2022 by BVN

Hardy Brown | Publisher Emeritus, Black Voice News 

In my opinion Helen Tran’s experience as Human Resource Director in city government gives her an advantage in serving as mayor under our city charter form of government. 

The charter spells out that the mayor will  “preside over the city” and it is my understanding that the mayor would be a facilitator or moderator over city government business and not the chief executive officer. The charter also states, the mayor “represents the city as chief spokesperson” to the community and other government entities.

In my opinion Helen has the skills, training and knowledge of the city’s mission to assist the council and city manager in delivering services to all citizens, while showing respect to their position. Respect for the council members will go a long way in team building and creating an image that will increase business and services to our residents.

About Jim Penman

Tran’s opponent Jim Penman, will claim he has more experience in city government, which is true, but he has been disruptive in using that 26 years experience and he has not changed. If you watched the last council meeting on September 21, you saw he was up to his old tricks of asking the council to petition the court to open up an old case where Helen had given a disposition regarding one of her investigations. 

This is an example of the kinds of tactics Penman uses to get council members to fight each other, against the city attorney and the city manager. The leopard has not changed his spots, even though he is talking about how the public has a right to know.

If the public has a right to know, Mr. Penman, then tell the public about your involvement in the recall attempt of four council members–two Blacks and two Latinos. The public has a right to know if it was racially motivated.

Former San Bernardino City Attorney Jim Penman who was recalled from that position in 2013 now seeks to become the city’s mayor in the November election in a race against Helen Tran. (

Did you tell a Mexican American Family if they did not like San Bernardino, they could go back to Mexico, was that because of their race or national origin?  The public has a right to know, so tell the public what really happened.                                                                                   

Tell the public about those five women who filed “Sexual Harassment Complaints” against you and cost the city $50,000 to investigate. 

Mayor Tom Minor said he believed the outside investigators report and councilmember Valerie Pope-Ludllam said she believes the women employees. 

The women said in the report you gave them neck rubs. Can you tell the public what really happened? It was also reported in the Sun newspaper that you allegedly told one of the women ”My libido rises and falls based on how much time I spend with you each day.”

Can you tell the public what you did to make those five women file those allegations and complaints against you? The public wants to know and has a right to know before they vote.

It is this kind of sexual harassment behavior that the current mayor John Valdivia is accused of.

I heard Penman tell the public at the council meeting that he was in Fontana protesting against George Pepper and the KKK. Now I was there on the front line taking pictures. If he was there, I did not see him standing in the crowd. 

I do not want to tell you all I know or the conversations I have had with Penman, other than I was happy to see him recalled from office.

About Helen Tran

I first met Helen in 2014 in her office at city hall. I am convinced she is up to the challenge of being mayor. She has already demonstrated to me, she has political contacts outside of the city as you can see from those who have endorsed her which is what we need in San Bernardino if the city is going to regain its proper place as the county seat.

Helen Tran is the daughter of Vietnamese refugees who grew up in San Bernardino. She is a public servant, non-profit leader, and mother of three. Tran is the youngest person to ever serve as Director of Human Resources for the City of San Bernardino. (

We need a new face to carry our message outside of the city limits and interact with county, state and federal governments. Helen can do that.

All of you know I am always pushing for racial inclusion, feel strongly about it, and yes, it is one of the reasons I’m supporting Helen for mayor. It is time for a member of the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community to lead the city– they have been in this community since 1867. I know a Black person has never occupied the position of mayor but now we have a Black police chief.

Today, our community is fairly represented on the city council Latino, Black and white representation. With Helen as mayor it will be reflective of the city’s diverse population, except for the area’s indigenous people. It will also put another female voice in making our public policies for the city.

The late Dr. Margaret Hill former member of the San Bernardino City Unified School District. .(source: |

Black support for Tran

I investigated a concern a Black person came to me with when he saw a picture with Helen and the late Dr. Margaret Hill showing her support for Helen. He only saw the picture but not the statement Dr. Hill had made about Helen before Hill’s passing. Dr. Hill’s statement was:

“It’s not always about the suits and high heels but it’s about a team. We need someone with leadership, someone with a vision, someone with passion, someone who is concerned with all people, not just a few. That’s what we need in San Bernardino someone who cares about all of our children; She [Tran] will transform San Bernardino for future generations to come, if not us, then who.  We need to work together.”

I agree with my late friend Dr. Margaret Hill. In my opinion, Helen Tran is the “Best Choice” for Mayor of San Bernardino.