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Petition to save Barstow courthouse launches online

Former mayor seeks 1,000 signatures to grab politicians' attention

Staff Writer

BARSTOW • In an attempt to grab the attention of city, county and state lawmakers, former mayor Joe Gomez has gone to the web — petitioning signatures to save the Barstow Courthouse which is slated to close in May.

“I wasn’t going to stay idle,” he said. “I believe we need to get the attention of our politicians to bring awareness to an issue that will be devastating to our community.”

On Thursday, Gomez launched SaveBarstowCourthouse.com, which already collected over 300 signatures.

The website is just phase one of a process “to get momentum going” in support of the troubled courthouse, he said. In February, Gomez plans to go to the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors and, later this week, he will try to begin circulating paper petitions at key local places such as City Hall.

He has been utilizing social media and email to get the word out.

“The ultimate goal is for state, county and city representatives to find the funds,” Gomez said.

Last month, the San Bernardino Superior Court cited financial woes when it announced that the Barstow courthouse would close May 6. The projected deficit this year for the county court could exceed $13 million, the press release explained at the time.

People who have commented on the website in support of saving the courthouse typically point to declining services within the city or personal hardships as reasons why.

“I have lived in this community my entire life and I don’t want this town to die,” Janice Willems wrote. “We need a courthouse here to keep it going.”

“It is often easy to make a decision when it looks good on paper,” Christina Chavez wrote, “however, it’s important to consider the overall impact that closing the courthouse will have on the individuals and the families who are already struggling to make ends meet.”

Gomez, who noted the closure would also affect the police budget since officers would have to drive to Victorville during work hours, said his goal is to acquire at least 1,000 signatures.

“I believe every town needs a judge,” he said.

To sign the petition in favor of keeping the Barstow courthouse open, visit SaveBarstowCourthouse.com.


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