Photo Tour - San Bernardino, California: Summer 2013

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 - 11:17pm
Let's take a photo journey of downtown San Bernardino, California as of summer 2013.
Thanks to traveling salesman Ray Kroc, life is much different for a lot of folks because of his little trip through San Bernardino, California: the epicenter, ground zero if you will, the start of it all, for the ubiquitous fast food empire. Let us pay homage to McDonald’s, where it all began, and all of its competitors that have so thoroughly inundated the American marketplace so as to create generations of horrifically obese people to the point that the United States federal government enacted comprehensive health care reform known as Obama care.
Here is the McDonald’s Museum:
note the metal fence and gate:
and the surrounding neighborhood:
and the huge vacant lot just south:
and the nice homeless encampment under the shade tree, sweet!:
And here is the view to the south, looking directly towards the heart of downtown San Bernardino off in the distance about a mile:
I especially liked the irony of the McDonald's billboard above, showing a Bic Mac. Note also off in the distance is a large building, which is the new courthouse under construction:
and here:
Nice to see taxpayer money going to a durable project, as opposed to subsidized office buildings or tenements, like here, noting these are only a few blocks north of the brand spanking new courthouse:
and here, directly across from the County Government Building is an empty, brick building:
or this one:
or this one:
or this one:
or this one, perhaps my favorite old building, no doubt full of problems like asbestos and other unmentionables:
And what photo essay would be complete without showing an abandoned middle-class restaurant:
or the classic, old-school movie theater which has gone the way of the dodo bird, typewriter and VCR:
and here:
The theater is not even being used by the local ethnic minorities to hawk their wares! Even downtown Los Angeles utilizes their old movie theaters along Broadway in this fashion. So sad . . .
Stunning, huh?
Remember, the former Norton Air Force Base once figured prominently in the City of San Bernardino’s financial picture. A steady stream of C-141s continually landed and departed, and the Air Force based house a large population of airmen. Those airmen, and their families, lived in the surrounding city, bringing a tremendous economic benefit to the area in the region.
Notably all of this economic activity in the region in general, and in the actual City of San Bernardino in particular, was brought about from US federal government defense spending in the form of airmen payroll checks and the “money-multiplier” effect of that federal spending. (Is that called "trickle-down?").
So, back in the day, what did the airmen spend their payroll checks on? Well, if they were stuck on the base, they spent their paychecks on the base, at the PX. If someone had a car, they ventured off base into the city and surrounding areas. Naturally, entertainment was a high priority, and movie theaters were all over the place. In the 70's and 80's I saw many first-run movies here, now the theater stands empty, economically valueless to the point that the land it sits upon is even for sale.
Note the theater photo again:
This above photo shows Mill Street, with a direct off ramp to the 215 Freeway off in the background about 1/4 mile away (the photo is taken in the afternoon, looking west, note the shadows). The I-10 Freeway is due south, less than one mile away.
In the background there is the “Turner’s Outdoorsman” store. That store has been there ever since I can remember (at least since 1970 or so, even though the gas station and restaurant across the street have long since closed, and the large department store next to it has long since been shuttered. Guns and ammo are always in high demand, even in San Bernardino.
I did not photograph the "Pussycat Theatre," located on E Street, because that XXX film venue boarded up long ago.
What else did the airmen spend their money on? Toys for their kids? Sure, this was formerly a brand new Toys R Us, the first one in the area, which turned into an ethnic "discount mall," and is now shuttered:
There was always the fun of having loud music, and what better thing to spend money on than a brand new car stereo! Oh, wait, here is what happened:
Heck, even the graffiti is faded . . .
And then there were the downtown office buildings, in which were located traditional white-collar businesses and jobs, and which provided much needed services for the local population, but no such services are needed now, as all of the services are of the govt variety, like the parole office, the welfare office, parking enforcement, and the court, which I already showed above. Here are some of the available places, all within one mile of the City Center, including vacant lots, and even a whole building taking up the entire block:
and here:
and here:
and here:
and here:
and here:
and here:
and here:
Are you understanding now?
I tried not to photograph any of the locals, because I was afraid they would carjack me!!
Anyhow, thank you Federal Reserve, and the insane federal government for making this possible.
The City is bankrupt, pensioners will be harmed, as will the local populace from the increase in crime and reduction in services. Oh well, the Hamptons are roaring this summer . . .
My next post will provide an interesting potential solution, based on a radical private enterprise concept which properly incentivizes both the private entrepreneur and the govt officials. It is called a Private Enterprise Zone.
Stay tuned, I post on Wednesday nights!

About the Author


Jul 31, 2013 - 11:20pm


Very sad indeed.


Jul 31, 2013 - 11:25pm


Great stuff from the Attorney General!

Spartacus Rex
Jul 31, 2013 - 11:29pm

Now Hold On There Turd!

Is that really FAIR? BTW: THURD!

Jul 31, 2013 - 11:33pm

Wow, Sad Pics of Urban Decay

Makes me glad I live in Bug Tussle, Nowhere.


Jul 31, 2013 - 11:35pm

San Detroitardino... coming

San Detroitardino... coming soon to a town near you. CL were you rolling around in disguise with that set of gold teeth we know you keep in the glove box?

Jul 31, 2013 - 11:36pm


Hard to imagine two climates or economic bases as different as Detriot and San Bernadino, yet they wound up in the same condition. The cause? By doing roughly the opposite of what Cal Law is going to outline in his next post on it, I would bet. Free markets and the rule of law create prosperity, their absence creates the opposite. Oh well, the good news is that we can fix that if we want. Stellar post CL.

Dyna mo hum
Jul 31, 2013 - 11:46pm

Cal Law

I see shades of pre collapse Detroit in those pics. Pretty sad indeed. Look on the bright side in winter you have no snow and salt on the streets.

Jul 31, 2013 - 11:50pm

I just scored 6 ike silver

I just scored 6 ike silver clad dollar coins from the bar I'm at for face; the cute bartender Ashley had no clue. I'm gonna bone her one day, no joke.

Aug 1, 2013 - 12:08am

Kalifornia dreaming....a nightmare.

Ahhh!!! The wonders of Kalifornia. Socialism at work, by the sheeple, for the sheeple and TO the sheeple. Get out now, CL....before the "big one" dumps the fruits and nuts into the drink.

Aug 1, 2013 - 12:10am

@Dyna Mo Hum

Interesting, is it not?

The San Bernardino winters are extremely mild. Look on the Wiki page I linked. There you will see wintertime. Snow is only on the foothills of the San Gorgonio Mountains to the North.

The climate here is amazing. Yet, no economic activity. The whole collapse cannot be blamed on the shuttering of the car industry, or the movement of high-paying manufacturing jobs to overseas. No, there is a more obvious, painful truth. I delve into this in my next post on Wednesday. I have a solution, too. It is palatable, workable, and non-offensive to all but the statists. Which is why I think it just may work in the context of a bankruptcy filing and a potential order from the bankruptcy judge.

It is a radical solution, though. This same solution would work in Detroit, too. There just needs to be a critical mass of support for the idea, then it will spread exponentially, at least one can hope, that is.

Dyna mo hum
Aug 1, 2013 - 12:24am

Cal Law

I am gonna like seeing you expand this story. You should see the Detroitish blight in Memphis Tn. It is really sad to watch a community/civilization tear itself apart. Most folks run from the situation you are in there. You must be different.

Bongo Jim
Aug 1, 2013 - 12:35am


Luckily my co-worker who lives on D Street quit so I don't have to risk life and limb to give him a ride to work. Sucks for him though, he's still on D Street.

Dyna mo hum
Aug 1, 2013 - 12:39am

Cal Law

I counted 29 pictures and I see something profound is missing in every one. It just hit me right between the eyes when I noticed. What's missing is a contributing factor to the problem. Look again and see if you see what I see.

El Gordo
Aug 1, 2013 - 12:44am

CL - I look forward... your comments regarding a solution, but until the government decides to step aside and allow the private sector to work its magic, even any fixes may only prove to be temporary. Meanwhile our populous is being rapidly dumbed down and made more dependent upon government services for daily living, while the entrepreneurs, industrialists, and hard working people are ridiculed and considered evil. Can't wait to hear your thoughts.

Green Lantern
Aug 1, 2013 - 12:59am

On The Otherside

Oh well, the Hamptons are roaring this summer . . .

It's true. I have some familiarity with the flip side of CL's San Bernadino story having grown up in the Hamptons.

Some of my old high school classmates are in the Real Estate business in the Hamptons. The guy making the most money was a real weisel in school. Probably cheated his way through gym class. He never left home and went into the Hamptons Real Estate Business. Definitely not too late to spend 10 to 25 grand to spend a relaxing week.

Or up to a million bucks for the entire summer if you are a Russian mogul. This post QE3. Because last year when I was out in Long Island wine country sipping, actually quite lousy wines compared to California (soil too dry), I saw for sale signs every few houses. Some of the locals told me that instead of groups of Yuppies (might be a new term for that demographic) renting houses in groups, it was just day trippers. My what a difference a year makes

But now a days, the illegal immigrants who cut the hedges and mowing the lawns on Gin Lane for the mecca wealthy are driving Mercedes. They renovated the High School Planetarium around QE 1

Take a look at some of these properties. Some could fit a 9 hole golf course The lawn and other maintenance on these properties is outrageous. I grew up down the street from Gin Lane. I called it Malt Liquor Terrace.

This is the horror of loose monetary policy. When the bust comes, it ruins lifes forever. It is a crime despite all the books that tell you it's necessary The boom is so pleasing while it lasts.

Hampton's moment. Look, I think I see Jerry Seinfeld around his baseball diamond.

But think about this. Do you know how many celebrities probably lost millions and millions of dollars with the great Bernie Madoff scandal? Alot. Smart guys too like Spielberg. I forget who else. Oh yeah, Kevin Bacon, who is a nice guy and plays in his band around town and had to go back to work to make ends meet. Imagine how much wealth will be lost when the greatest ponzi scheme of them all come falling down? It won't be pretty. The Hampton's will have it's day.

Detroit, The boom years. Let's remember him the way he was before he came down leprosy

Aug 1, 2013 - 12:59am

@Cal Law - Excellent!

Excellent photo essay!

Sadly, I had a similar experience in OC, LA, and San Diego counties.

Amazingly, this has been occurring for SIX YEARS in these counties!

There is no incentive in the tax codes to do any innovation.

And, State of California had a temporary halt to all unemployment, disability, and family leave claims due to a change in the EDD.CA.GOV website's database.

The EDD offices had no phones operating and no website access for any citizens for one week!

I guess that's one way to do a bank holiday!

Strongsidejedi Dyna mo hum
Aug 1, 2013 - 1:01am

@Dyna mo hum - People?

Are you referring to the missing people or auto traffic?

Jakarta Expat
Aug 1, 2013 - 1:21am

Great Photo Essay

Hi CA, Great post, although I am an American (born & bred in VA) I have not lived there nor even visited for over 23/24 years by now. Your post shows exactly what some of the people I know there have been telling me is happening and it truly hurts me to see these kinds of things happen to the US.

Green Lantern
Aug 1, 2013 - 1:25am

Route 66

Everytime CL mentions San Bernardino, the song Route 66 comes to mind. Anybody remember it? Route 66 a piece of Americana. The Will Rogers Highway. Well here are the lyrics with the unemployment rates inserted in. I'm not ashamed to say I have no idea where Winona is? Missouri? There are least two or three. So I left that one out.

If you ever plan to motor west,
Travel my way, take the highway that is best.
Get your kicks on route sixty-six.

It winds from chicago to la, (10.3%)
More than two thousand miles all the way.
Get your kicks on route sixty-six.

Now you go through saint looey
Joplin, missouri, (5.2%)
And oklahoma city is mighty pretty. (4.1%)
You see amarillo, (4.4%)
Gallup, new mexico, (10%)
Flagstaff, arizona. (5.5%)
Don't forget winona,
Kingman,(11.3%) barstow,(15.7 %) san bernandino. (13%)

Won't you get hip to this timely tip:
When you make that california trip
Get your kicks on route sixty-six.


Dyna mo hum
Aug 1, 2013 - 1:30am


No not people. Look hard.

Dyna mo hum
Aug 1, 2013 - 1:32am


What binds a community together?

Aug 1, 2013 - 1:42am


most are small store front, or in tilt up warehouse type buildings and not well marked, the days of large, if not ornate, recognizable churches has passed in much of so cal

Dyna mo hum
Aug 1, 2013 - 1:43am


Its plain as the nose on your face.

Aug 1, 2013 - 1:46am

There are No Restaurants

Is that it Dyna Mo hum? There are no restaurants that I photographed. There were a few located closer to the freeway, but almost none in and around the central core. From time to time a restaurant opens but usually fails. Molly's is still open, as is the Mexican restaurant where I get coffee before court. There are no Starbucks or other corporate coffee joints anywhere in the central core. There is a bank right next to city hall. There is a public train station, but it is on the other side of the freeway. West San Bernardino is dangerous and no place for respectable folks, let alone for such to be using public transportation and risk getting robbed at the station or in the parking lot.

Dyna mo hum
Aug 1, 2013 - 1:53am


It is not walmart, gasoline, hamburger joints,pavement,police or government. All great civilizations have failed because of what????

Green Lantern
Aug 1, 2013 - 1:54am

This San Bernadino Restuarant

This San Bernadino Restuarant looks like business was booming back in November. I like my leaves off the tree's by November.

Central City Lutheran Mission Church

Spartacus Rex
Aug 1, 2013 - 1:54am

@ Dyna mo

I gotta agree w/ SSJ, the lack of People translates into a lack of Commerce which is a major contributing factor to the problem, and it is Commerce which contributes Revenue to pay those totally worthless City Admin Asshats! Hell, FIRE the City Manager, Mayor, Atty, etc., etc. and use their former salaries to hire some itinerant labor fix the streets, sidewalks, curbs and clean up the dump! Next pass a City Ordinance to impose a Blight Fine, and even VACANCY Tax (Use It or LOSE IT) imposed after 90 Days of Vacancy. That will quickly bring the Rents down to match the true Market Value and will undoubtedly increase local employment! Up to now I thought that the citizens of Bell, Ca. took the prize for being idiots. But man, those San Berdooligans overtook them by not only putting up with this crap, but willing to pay those ridiculous public salaries & benefits for B.S. results! And in Third Place are the Idiots of Lane County in the great State of STUPIDITY:

Dyna mo hum
Aug 1, 2013 - 1:59am


Not a proud little church in sight but I am sure they exist there somewhere. All civilizations that turn away from God pay a heavy price. The note is due. Judgment is at hand.

Aug 1, 2013 - 2:00am


cal lawyer didn't go down the alleys

p.s. I said churches

Green Lantern
Aug 1, 2013 - 2:01am

Re: Hint

All civilizations have failed because of what???

Lead pots. That's right. One of the 180 reasons attributed to the Fall of the Roman Empire was lead pots. You don't see any stinkin' lead pots in San Bernardino. That must be it.

I bet there is plenty of temporary housing.

I think I'd better retire before the sun comes up and I'm no longer a werewolf. Or is it vampire?


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