May 4, 2021-Supervisor Joe Baca Jr., County of San Bernardino- via Zoom

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Virtual Meeting via ZOOM


Present:  Patti Arlt, Deborah Barmack, Carole Beswick, Greg Bradbard, Rachelle Bussell, Chris Carrillo, Lydia Chelle, Ken Coate, Sandra Cuellar, Michelle Decker, Kevin Dyerly, Louis Goodwin, Otis Greer, Mark Kaenel, Lowell King, Mike Layne, Bill Lemann, P.T. McEwen, Darcy McNaboe, John Mirau, Dan Murphy, Vikki Ostermann, Bansree Parikh, Thomas Rice, Karen Richmond, Michael Rivera, Dan Roberts, Elizabeth Romero, Dan Schenkel, Kristine Scott, Paul Shimoff, Sol Teh, Eric Ustation, Pete Van Helden, Reggie Webb, Ray Wolfe and Marisa Yeager.

Guests:  Megan Barajas, Sheriff John McMahon, and Todd Warden.

Announcements:  1) Appreciation was expressed to the Inland Action members who participated in the virtual Federal advocacy meetings last week. 2) Invitations were sent out to members via e-mail for golf and an in-person reception on Thursday, June 3, 2021.  This social event is free of charge.  3) Members were reminded that next week (5/11) the group will Debrief on Federal meetings & Committees will break out to work on State issues.  On 5/18 Committee Chairs will present State issues and the membership will select priorities in preparation for the virtual State advocacy which will be held on 6/8.  4) Inland Action has signed on to a coalition letter of opposition to SB 342 which is attempting to add 2 additional members to the AQMD Board.

Lowell King, Chair, presiding.

Motion by R. Wolfe/Second by T. Rice/Passed: Minutes from April 20, 2021

Approve Dr. Judy White as alternate to Reggie Webb, Cooperative Economic Empowerment Movement of the Inland Empire.
Motion by T. Rice/Second by P. McEwen/Passed: Dr. Judy White will serve as the alternate representative of Cooperative Economic Empowerment Movement (CEEM)of the Inland Empire.

Paul Shimoff introduced Supervisor Joe Baca Jr., San Bernardino County.

Joe Baca, Jr., was sworn in as San Bernardino County’s Fifth District Supervisor on December 7, 2020.   The Fifth District includes the cities of Colton, Fontana, Rialto, and San Bernardino and the unincorporated communities of Bloomington, El Rancho Verde, Glen Helen, Arrowhead Farms, Muscoy, Little Third and Rosena Ranch.  Supervisor Baca and staff have created and submitted to the County CEO a 12-page white paper “Roadmap to Revitalization: A Plan for Healthier and Sustainable Communities,” a 4-year plan to invigorate the 5th District.  A majority of the suggested infrastructure projects create prevailing wage jobs and put people back to work.

The number one issue is homelessness.  In 2020 it was estimated that there were 3,125 people in the County who were homeless.  Of that number almost 47% were in the Fifth District.  A significant portion of those are classified as chronically homeless defined as being without shelter for 12 plus months and having a disability such as a physical health condition, mental health condition, and/or substance abuse disorder.  Without stable housing the chronically homeless cycle in and out of hospital emergency rooms, inpatient hospital stays, as well as psychiatric centers, detoxification programs and jails resulting in escalating costs to local government.   To combat homelessness, we must share a collaborative vision which will provide immediate solutions, measurable outcomes, and efficient use of limited resources.  One size does not fit all, and programs must be tailored to the individual.

Supervisor Baca has recommended working with the Social Work Action Group (SWAG), an established group of professionals dedicated to assisting individuals who face a variety of mental health and physical challenges.  SWAG uses an individualized approach to homelessness that implements best practices and delivers measurable results.  SWAG will work with the County’s Behavioral Health and the Sheriff’s HOPE Team, local police and local hospitals to identify the top 100 individuals and begin there.  They hope to find someone who will serve as a full time “czar” to coordinate efforts of the many existing agencies and departments that are addressing homelessness and to leverage funding.

Many of the unincorporated areas are lacking infrastructure and are in need of sidewalks and paved roads.  They recently were awarded a “Safe Routes to School” grant in the Muscoy community and will pursue additional grants with recommendations from school districts like Rialto, Colton, and San Bernardino.

Regional Parks are undermaintained and have experienced some ADA issues, including costly lawsuits from slip and fall incidents.  Currently, only Calico Ghost Town and Yucaipa Regional Park generate revenue, and we need to look at others that could serve as monetary resources.

The Bloomington Investment Program is focused on increasing law enforcement and improving the recreational spaces of Ayala and Kessler Parks with the new and safe park amenities.  Bloomington can reap from the community benefits agreements with future proposed industrial developments and the current agreement stemming from the West Valley Logistics Development in Fontana.  Annual funding from this agreement is estimated at $800,000-$1.2M providing key public service and quality of life enhancements.

The Animal Shelter in our County is out of compliance and in dire need of improvements.  Areas like Colton, Rialto, and Fontana all contract with Riverside County which creates long drive times and expense to relocate these animals.  It is logical to keep them locally, and the City and County of San Bernardino are looking at partnerships to buy land for a shelter.  The County has dedicated $10M in the budget for a shelter.

The Supervisor hopes that the County prioritizes investments in housing, homelessness, and infrastructure with the $422M the County is receiving from the federal government through the American Rescue Act.  Housing has many challenges, and partnerships between the County and private developers will be needed to leverage funds to keep costs down.  The home shortage continues, and State legislation could assist developers with incentives like tax credits and waiver of some CEQA requirements.

The County’s $7B budget has very little wiggle room as 85% of funds are “pass through” money which is directed to various departments/programs.  The Supervisorial Districts rely on individual “asks” to get funding.   His “white paper” specifies the needs and the “asks” for his District.

The County re-districting process has begun but has been delayed as the census data is running way behind.  The Supervisors will adopt one of the two maps proposed by the County Re-Districting Commission in October.  The Supervisor doubts that there will be any significant change in his District.

Both ballot Measures J and K passed, and the County has filed lawsuits challenging the Measures as both provisions might violate the California Constitution or other laws.  He will not be impacted for this term but the Second and Fourth Districts will be affected in 2022 if the Measures stand, turning them into part time seats.  The other three districts would change to part time seats in 2024, and he anticipates that the part time aspect will attract only the very wealthy or retirees.

Q & A period followed.

Meeting adjourned at 8:54 a.m.