June 20, 2023 Minutes-Supervisor Dawn Rowe, County of San Bernardino -Hybrid Meeting In-Person and via ZOOM

Tuesday, June 20, 2023 

Supervisor Dawn Rowe, Chair, San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors

Meeting In-Person and via ZOOM



Present:  Megan Barajas, Deborah Barmack, Carole Beswick, Bill Blankenship, Rebecca Boydston, Greg Bradbard, Mike Burrows, Chris Carrillo, Luis Cetina, Mark Cloud, Ken Coate, Josh Cox, Kevin Dyerly, Dr. Sam Gibbs, Louis Goodwin, Milford Harrison, Fran Inman, Mark Kaenel, Lena Kent, Lowell King, Steve Lambert, Bill Lemann, Michael Lewin, Miguel Mendoza, Dan Murphy, Robert Nava, Vikki Ostermann, Bansree Parikh, Cid Pinedo, Catherine Pritchett, Michael Rivera, Dan Schenkel, Kristine Scott, Paul Shimoff, Eric Ustation, Lupe Valdez, Pete Van Helden.

Announcements: 1) Appreciation was expressed to Eric Ustation for hosting the Congressional baseball “watch party” at Yaamava’s The 909 sports lounge.  Thanks to Kristine Scott for initiating the idea and all that participated.  2) The Greater Ontario Business Council will present Pancakes & Politics Homelessness and Housing: “The answer is NOT more money” on Thursday, July 27, 2023, at the Ontario Airport Hilton. 3) Members of the Executive Committee were asked to convene for a brief meeting immediately following the presentation today.

Kevin Dyerly, Chair presiding

Motion by B. Blankenship/Second/Passed: Minutes from June 13, 2023 

Since the robust discussion last week regarding UCR’s Inland Center for Sustainable Development, Rick Bishop, Co-Director, has been invited and has agreed to speak with Inland Action at the July 25, 2023, meeting.

Bansree Parikh introduced Third District Supervisor Dawn Rowe who joined us in person. Supervisor Rowe was appointed to the Board of Supervisors in December of 2018. In March of 2020, she was re-elected and began her first four-year term in December 2020. In January of this year, she was unanimously selected by her colleagues to serve as Chair of the Board for a two-year term.

The Supervisor participated with others on a trade mission building on “sister city” relationships out of the country to help our County bring further sectors here that have positive financial impacts and to assist businesses here to export goods where it is appropriate.  They highlighted that the ports of Long Beach and L.A. which are in close proximity to us and gave examples of utilizing both Ontario and San Bernardino airports furthering our brand outside the country. The representatives from South Korea and Japan have already begun diverting some goods to Huston and other ports as they have concerns about the stability of labor and union negotiations in southern California.  The marketing of air and rail opportunities in our county were well received.

As the Chair of the County Board, she runs the meetings but more importantly builds consensus among the Supervisors.  She indicated she will run for one more term before she retires.

Litigation continues on Measures D and K. Both were approved by the voters, and it was thought that Measure D supersedes Measure K. An appeal has been filed and if K prevails then they may appeal to a higher court. They are currently operating under the parameters of Measure D.

Representation on the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) and the San Bernardino County Employees’ Retirement Association (SBCERA) has changed since Janice Rutherford’s retirement from the Board.  Supervisor Hagman is now a Board member of the SCAQMD, and Supervisor Rowe sits on the SBCERA Board.  Both boards are very challenging, and she is adjusting and learning with these new responsibilities.

The National Association of Counties (NACo) is an organization that represents county governments in the United States. It is the only national organization that represents county governments and helps both urban and rural counties operate more efficiently.  Under the Chairmanship of Curt Hagman, San Bernardino County was the proud recipient of 82 awards.  Supervisor Rowe and the County was challenged to meet the record, and this year San Bernardino County won 160 awards.

The County has a budget of $9.4B and operates 40 departments with some 26,000 employees.  Much of their budget is “pass through” funds from the State and federal government. The County manages many state and federal programs such as health and human services. Redistricting has changed many of the areas of representation, and the Board of Supervisors is busy getting to know many of the new representatives. Many have small areas of the County in their district, and the Board is encouraging a focus on these areas and how it impacts the broader picture of their district.  The Board has engaged with two lobbyist firms for both the State and federal governments. The firms work well together, and they feel the County is now receiving more positive attention than in the past.

A good deal of the pass-through funds from HUD are to house the unhoused.  Many debates remain on the cause of homelessness (addiction, mental health, lack of affordable housing, etc.).  Fifth District Supervisor Baca and Second District Supervisor Armendarez sit and chair the homeless coalitions as these Districts have a bigger population of homeless than the others. They work with cities, HUD, and housing authorities to provide affordable access to healthcare and housing. By recognizing the causes, they hope to reduce additional homelessness and address chronic homelessness.

Job opportunities for the future and exposure for our youth are critical. California University’s School of Science and Medicine offers scholarships through the County and IEHP partnerships that pay for  medical school training if the student agrees to commit their medical practice to the Inland Empire.  Garner Holt has been a wonderful partner with the school districts; and last year, the world’s first Bio AniMaker Space opened at Fontana High School. The newly opened AniMaker space at the Lewis Library in Fontana gives accessibility to the general public. The San Bernardino County Library System will offer classes that teach children (ages 8-17) how to use 3D printers, laser cutters, and other state-of-the-art machines to learn invaluable technological skills, as well as build their own unique animatronics. All events and classes are free of charge.

The Inland Empire is still challenged by a negative reputation but that is changing especially at the federal level with strong positive leadership from Congressmen Pete Aguilar and Jay Obernolte.  At the State level Assemblymembers Ramos, Reyes and Bogh are all trying to elevate our status. Our large Inland delegation of 16 makes a difference and uniting with Riverside County makes us all stronger. Curt Hagman is chairing a study with an outside consultant on getting our fair and equitable share of funding.  They are looking at various sectors and which areas where we fall short.  Collaboration with Riverside County is important.

A Q & A period followed
Meeting adjourned 8:32 a.m.