February 23, 2021-Member Only-Committee Presentations of Federal Issues Meeting via Zoom

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Virtual Meeting via ZOOM


Present:  Ruthy Argumedo, Deborah Barmack, Carole Beswick, Mike Burrows, Jennifer Cusack, Michelle Decker, Kevin Dyerly, Louis Goodwin, Otis Greer, Milford Harrison, Mark Kaenel, Carol Kim, Lowell King, Pam Langford, Mike Layne, Bill Lemann, Darcy McNaboe, John Mirau, Dan Murphy, Bansree Parikh, Catherine Pritchett, Thomas Rice, Michael Rivera, Dan Roberts, Dan Schenkel, Kristine Scott, Phil Southard, Sol Teh, Eric Ustation, Pete Van Helden, Ray Wolfe, Marisa Yeager, and Frank Zabaleta.

Guests:  Megan Barajas

Lowell King, Chair, presiding.

Motion by M. Burrows/ Second by K. Coate/Passed: Minutes from February 16, 2021.

Carole Beswick made the first announcement of prospective new member, Amazon Air.  Amazon Air operates a regional air hub at the San Bernardino International Airport.  Known as the East Gate Air Cargo Logistics Center they will serve as a sort center that receives international and domestic planeloads and then reroutes orders to different states.  Matt McCardle and Miguel Mendoza would serve as representatives.  To learn more about them please visit their web site: https://www.amazon.com/Amazon-Prime-Air/b?ie=UTF8&node=8037720011

Kristine Scott, Chair, Legislative Committee, reported that City ordinances mandating Hero Pay of an additional $4 per hour in grocery stores with 300 employees will be decided today in Long Beach Court and the decision will likely set a precedent.  Since the beginning of February an increasing number of cities in Southern California have had suits filed or are expecting them.  Although San Bernardino County has not yet had suits filed, Riverside has, and it is important to be aware and poised to address the issue.  Comments included why the grocery industry is targeted, how this may affect additional sectors of our economy, and the effects of allowing a city to dictate wage rates to private businesses.  The Inland Action Legislative Committee has recommended opposition as does the Executive Committee.  Both Committees will monitor closely as it could affect the Inland Empire.
Motion M. Harrison/Second by P. Van Helden/Passed:  Inland Action opposes the proposed Hero Pay for grocery workers. Letters to oppose would be sent to cities where suits are filed in the Inland Empire.  3 abstentions.

Louis Goodwin, Past Chair, presented an Executive Committee recommendation that Inland Action oppose the Proposed Rule 2305: Warehouse Indirect Source Rule (ISR)SCAQMD Rule.   The rule would require dry goods warehouses of over 100,000 sq. ft. to take action or pay an annual mitigation fee of $1 per sq. ft. and air-conditioned warehouses (cold or freezer) to pay $2 per sq. ft. to mitigate truck travel to and from their warehouses.  The suggested actions to mitigate include upgrading trucks to electric, although there is not as yet a manufacturer of these vehicles; adding solar panels to roofs, even though only 30% of the warehouses in So. California could safely install these panels due to weight restrictions; and installing electric charging stations, for which there is a 2-3 year wait.  Additionally, the rule does not specify how the fees would be used and does not include a sunset date.  The logistics industry would be adversely affected in our region.
Motion R. Wolfe/Second by T.Rice/Passed:  A letter of opposition will be sent to the SCAQMD regarding  Proposed Rule 2305: Warehouse Indirect Source Rule.

The Committee Chairs presented their Federal issues.

Judicial Committee

  • Appoint qualified candidates to fill existing judicial vacancies in the Central District of California, especially in the Eastern Division of that Court serving the Inland Empire.
  • Physical space upgrades are necessary in the Eastern Division in order to deliver adequate justice to the Inland Empire.
  • Bring the court back to its full authorized strength, new judgeships are urgently needed in the Central District.

Economic Development Committee

  • Support the Affordable Housing Resident Services Act of 2021.
    • Supports the creation of a new $100 million line item in FY 2022 appropriations bills (e.g. half from?) T-HUD and half from the Labor/HHS/Education Subcommittees to fund supportive services in affordable housing projects.
    • Applicants will be owners of affordable projects – both for-profit and non-profit. The selection criteria will give priority to applicants with experience in services that: (a) Facilitate good health outcomes, including partnerships with health care entities. (b) Provide self-sufficiency, economic empowerment, and homeownership services. (c) Enhance educational opportunities and provide after-school services. (d) Assist seniors, through a range of services that help them age in place. (Two sets of selection criteria?)
    • Selection criteria will include: (1) Innovative proposed use of funds for services, (2) experience in development/management of affordable rental housing, (3) extent of partnerships and relationships with localities and non-profits that provide supportive services, and (4) supportive services economies of scale (projects close together that can share services).

There are significant benefits to linking supportive services with affordable housing projects.  Currently, programs addressing this need are severely underfunded; there are limited funding sources to pay for supportive services for the millions of families living in affordable rental housing developments constructed through project-based Section, 8 RHS Section 515, or low-income housing tax credits.

Transportation Committee

  • Increase the cap on private activity bonds, supporting various transportation projects, affordable housing, and others. There is general support from the financial community.
  • Funding for Highway Bridge Rehabilitation and Replacement (HBRR0-Section 130) increasing funds. Bridge construction and repair projects are needed as aging infrastructure needs an infusion of funds to avoid catastrophic failures and stimulates continued movement across supply chains.
  • Long term Transportation Bill (8-10 year)-AKA Infrastructure Bill
  • Air Quality Mandate in 2023-Federal highway funds will be withheld if California cannot show conformity with the ozone threshold through the State Implementation Plan (SIP)

Education Committee

  • Support continuing protections for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students as well as establishing a pathway to citizenship.
  • Support enhancements to the Pell Grant Program to help more Inland Empire student’s complete college and earn degrees faster.
  • Workforce for the 21st Century-
    • Support legislation that expands apprenticeships, pre-apprenticeships, and youth apprenticeships.
    • Support legislation that expands and funds Master of Science, Physician’s Assistance programs

Healthcare Committee

  • Permanently expand access to telehealth services. The Temporary Reciprocity to Ensure Access to Treatment (TREAT) Act was introduced in both the House and Senate in early February and addresses a core roadblock to developing a national telehealth strategy. The Committee supports the TREAT Act and are eager to work with policy makers to advance licensure portability to expand access to care, especially for specialty services. Additionally, they support eliminating the in-person requirement and urge law makers to support consistent requirements across health care services to improve access to telehealth services.
  • Support COVID Relief Package with emphasis on health care systems and coverage. Congress should include provisions to expand access to affordable health care coverage and funding to support vulnerable families and communities, including increased funding for Medicaid, and social determinants of health, including housing/homelessness assistance, and access to food and bridging the digital divide.

 Environmental Committee-

  • Support for funding for continued management of the Salton Sea. The Salton Sea is impacted by rising salinity of the Sea as well as changes in runoff from irrigated agriculture (supplied by Colorado River water). Reduced water flows to the Sea could result in the exposure of nearly 100 square miles of dry lakebed, resulting in diminished habitat, significant air quality problems, and a damaged economy.  Exposure of previously submerged lakebed is known as playa.  The playa exposure is subject to wind erosion and can be a source of fine airborne dust known as particulate matter.  This dust is a significant health hazard contributing to respiratory illness in humans, damage to agricultural crops and wildlife, and can harm the region’s tourism industry.  Areas downwind from the Sea are already suffering from severe non-attainment under the Clean Air Act.
  • Support for increased funding for water supply, water quality, and water storage projects
    • Support for Delta Conveyance Project
    • Enhance Reliability of Long-Term Supplies, Storage and Drought Resiliency for California
    • Support Water Conservation Rebate Tax Parity
    • Federal Support for Water Purveyor Consolidation Efforts
    • PFAS – Secure Funding for Monitoring and Remediation
    • Habitat Conservation


Staff will summarize the issues and send to the full board requesting their input on selection of priority issues.  Members were reminded that all issues presented by Committees will be included for the 2021 advocacy platform.

Meeting adjourned at 9:05 a.m.