December 15, 2020- U.S. Congressman-Elect Jay Obernolte -Meeting via Zoom

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Open Board Meeting

Virtual Meeting via ZOOM


Present:  Ruthy Argumedo, Patti Arlt, Deborah Barmack, Peter Barmack, Carole Beswick, Mike Burrows, Chris Carrillo, Mark Cloud, Ken Coate, Sandra Cuellar, Jennifer Cusack, Louis Goodwin, Otis Greer, Fran Inman, Mark Kaenel, Carol Kim, Lowell King, Doug Kleam, Pam Langford, John Magness, P.T. McEwen, Darcy McNaboe, Tomas Morales, Dan Murphy, Ginger Ontiveros, Vikki Ostermann, Steve PonTell, Catherine Pritchett, Thomas Rice, Michael Rivera, Dan Roberts, Elizabeth Romero, Dan Schenkel, Kristine Scott, Paul Shimoff, Phil Southard, Sol Teh, Eric Ustation, Lupe Valdez, Pete Van Helden, David VanVoorhis, Kim Wilcox, Ray Wolfe and Frank Zabaleta.

Guests:  Julian Cuevas, LaDonna DiCamillo, Dan Flores, Stephanie Medina, Ross Sevy and Todd Warden.

Announcements: 1) The Inland Action web site home page now has a ab for News & Opportunities.  The area is accessible to view by the public and members are encouraged to make us of this new option.  Appreciation was expressed to staff for keeping the web site interesting, up to date and user friendly.

Louis Goodwin, Chair, presiding.

Motion by L. King/Second by K. Scott/Passed: Minutes from December 8, 2020.

Motion by P. Southard/ Second by D. Roberts/Passed: Eric Ustation, Director of Local Intergovernmental Affairs, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, will replace Dan Little as Alternate Member.

On the recommendation of the Executive Committee, members were asked to approve creation of the Appointments Committee which will work on gaining representation from the Inland Region on State Boards and Commissions.  Ken Coate will serve as committee Chair.
Motion by T. Rice/Second by Pam Langford/Passed

A majority of the members present voted to extend the invitation of membership to San Bernardino Valley College Foundation.  Mike Layne, Executive Director will serve as their representative.

Pete Van Helden introduced U.S. Congressman-Elect Jay Obernolte, representing California’s 8th Congressional District. Congressman-elect Obernolte served as a California State Assembly member (2014–2020) representing California’s 33rd Assembly District and was Mayor of Big Bear Lake.

Congressman-elect has a business background as the owner, president, and technical director of FarSight Studios, a video game developer established in 1990.  He has strong feelings about the economic importance of entrepreneurship and the need for a thorough understanding of business. His business background is reflected in his style of governance.

Congressman-elect Obernolte has recently participated at the freshman orientation in Washington, D.C.  He was impressed and appreciated the caring, friendliness, and outgoing personalities of people on both sides of the isle.  Prospects to work together are excellent.

Congress is likely to pass an omnibus spending bill with bi-partisan compromises.  Tacked on to the bill will be provisions for extended meaningful COVID relief through 2021.   Controversial pieces in this $900B bill have been separated out leaving agreeable issues like $300B for Small Business Administration, extension of the PPE Program with a new format for businesses to document loss of revenue to address some of the perceived PPE abuses, and extension of aid for schools and health care.  Controversial pieces include State/Local aid and provisions for liability protections for businesses.

Committee appointments are very different at the federal level and he has been lobbying to serve on Natural Resources or Veteran’s Affairs.   As a freshman he is not yet a candidate for Energy and Commerce on which he would like to serve in the future.

Outside content on social media (Facebook etc.) is ruled by Section 230 of the Federal Communications Code.  They may curate content that is offensive and or misleading without losing liability protection. An update is needed to for well-defined objectivity and application.

Both labor practices and our national deficit spending and national debt are his top concerns.

He led the opposition to California’s AB5 which requires companies that hire independent contractors to work for the main business purpose, be reclassified as employees.  This law hinders Californian’s work force and entrepreneurs.  He believes that the law, which went into effect in January, ties the hands of employers that can no longer easily address an influx of demand/capacity by hiring independent contractors for temporary work.  He stated that his own business may not have survived if AB5 had been in place.  “We need the freedom to work how and when we want, in addition to the freedom to be creators of jobs and the building of small business”.    A federalized version of AB5 legislation failed this year but will likely surface next year and he will strongly oppose.

California has a balanced budget provision in the State Constitution but there is no such provision at the federal level, and he is alarmed that the last balanced budget was in the 1990’s.  Earlier this year our deficit exceeded our gross domestic product for the first time.  The national debt is disturbing and needs to be addressed or the next generation will be saddled with 100% of the burden.  The CARES Act has substantially added to the national debt and Congress needs to get their arms around this problem.  Saddling the next generations with this kind of debt is far from leaving the country better off than when we started and sets the stage for a lack of success and prosperity that we have enjoyed.  Having served the last 5years on the California Budget Committee he believes he has the skills that would be helpful in the process and hopes he will have the opportunity to assist in the future.

He expressed appreciation of being selected to represent the 8th District and that is an honor to serve the District and the region.

A Q & A period followed
Meeting adjourned at 9:05 a.m.