Tuesday, June 5, 2018
Member Only Board of Directors Meeting
Norton Event Center
1601 E. Third St., Suite 138
San Bernardino, CA 92408
Present: Deborah Barmack, Carole Beswick, Mike Burrows, Mark Cloud, Ken Coate, Sandra Cuellar, Jennifer Cusack, Kevin Dyerly, Sandra Espadas, Adam Eventov, Ashley Gaines, Louis Goodwin, Lowell King, Temetry Lindsey, John Mirau, Dan Murphy, Roman Nava, Kevin Porter, Kevin Pulliam, Brian Reider, Michael Rivera, Daniel Roberts, Kristine Scott, David Van Voorhis and Ray Wolfe.
Announcements: 1) Governor Brown announced the appointment of Judge Stephanie E. Thornton-Harris, of Pasadena, for the San Bernardino County Superior court. 2) Remember to vote today if you have not already done so.
Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D. has two bills for consideration of support.
The Heroes Lesley Zerebny and Gilbert Vega First Responders Survivors Support Act (H.R. 5060). The bill would amend and reform the Public Safety Officers’ Benefit Program with the following: increase the death and disability benefit, fix the benefit determination date to ensure families get the full benefit they are due, increase the educational benefit and change the inflation rate to the CPI for college tuition and fees, study & identify ways to improve access and utilization of the education benefit.
The Help Veterans Exposed to Toxic Burn Pits (H.R. 1279) would create a designated office within the VA to assist in the diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of health conditions related to burn pit exposure. Burn pits were used on American military bases as a primary method to dispose of waste, chemicals and garbage. Soldiers exposed to the burn pits suffer from pulmonary issues, insomnia and cancer. It is a bipartisan bill.
Members present discussed both bills.
M/S/P: A letter of support will be sent for H.R. 5060 and H.R. 1279.
M/S/P: Minutes from May 15, 2018.
Chairman Kristine Scott lead the discussion about the meetings held in Washington, D.C.
The group expressed appreciation for the meetings with lobbyist groups as they had suggestions on various approaches and what resonates with legislators.
Having a meeting room where legislators come to us is very helpful and is a direct way to get issues to legislators. The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner received an offer to visit our region and discuss the creation of a Regional Inland Port for user fee airports in the Inland Empire. He is interested in talking with freight shippers/customers. Discussions with Rep. Aguilar (D) and Rep. Will Hurd (R) were very interesting as they are working together with others to bring DACA to the House floor by means of the Queen of the Hill rule. They believe there is a reasonable chance to make it happen. Rep. Raul Ruiz, M.D. was interested in the Regional Inland Port as it would positively impact the Palm Springs airport. He discussed the importance of restoring habitat and controlling toxic dust at the Salton Sea. Although a good distance away from us, it’s an issue that will impact us all. The schedule for the group on Tuesday was tight and proved a bit difficult when legislators Rep. Calvert and Rep. Cook overlapped. Unfortunately, Rep. Norma Torres did not speak to the group as she was 20 minutes late. IA staff will communicate with her staff regarding our issues. She may be asked to speak to the group at an Inland Action west end meeting. Meeting with agencies and administration are very difficult to obtain without a contact. Additionally, many are not fully staffed.
The meeting room we used (the Gold Room #2168, Rayburn Bldg.) had very poor acoustics and proved to be a challenge. If used in the future, audio assistance and/or a different configuration of seating will be considered.
Staff asked the group to consider changing the timing of the trip as lobbyists informed us that we were “a little late” and bills have already been “baked” in mid-May and are now in committee. The cherry blossom season should be avoided for hotel and airfare pricing and availability. April may be a good alternative, but members were reminded that having the Sacramento trip in March and D.C. in April would be overwhelming for staff unless committee work for both state and federal issues are done simultaneously. Committees would likely need to begin preparation in late fall or early winter to meet deadlines. More thought and discussion are needed.
The Hotel Palomar changed ownership in January of this year and some negative situations were identified. Staff will research other facilities including the Navy Yard region (located near the baseball stadium) which has a great amount of growth in building with housing, hotels, restaurants and shops. It is an easy walk to the hill and has good Metro access.
Potomac Partners brownstone, our usual venue for the reception, is moving and has offered their future space for our event. Staff will look closely at their new location and will consider other options. Ideally the facility should be near the hill and at low or no cost rental.
Suggestions for the future included:
- Co-ordination/use of district staff regularly
The upcoming Gubernatorial race is an opportunity for the Inland Empire as it is seen as a swing area in the state. A group has been identified to attend events and create a joint op-ed piece. Participants include some members of the Monday Morning Group, Inland Action and other community leaders.
Meeting adjourned 8:30 a.m.