Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Open Board of Directors
San Bernardino Community College District
114 S. Del Rosa Drive
San Bernardino, CA 92408
Present: Dimitrios Alexiou, Peter Barmack, Carole Beswick, Tom Brickley, Ann Bryan, Ken Coate, Bill Easley, Dick Hart, Mark Kaenel, Neil Macready, John Mirau, Charlie Ng, John Prentice, Kristine Scott, Larry Sharp, Shelli Stockton, Janet Weder, and Stan Weisser.
Guests: Phil Baldick, Robbie Broedow, Larry Garrity, Nick Goldware, Pam Langford, Nathan Miller, Steve Wall and Kevin Webb.
Announcements: 1) A reception will be held by Union Pacific Railroad to honor Deborah Barmack on Thursday, November 17, 2011 at 5:30 p.m. The event will be held aboard a historic Heritage Fleet of passenger rail cars. For more information or to Rsvp to this event please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
2) A reception honoring the Californian Transportation Commission will be hosted by Inland Action, Monday Morning Group, Mobility 21 and the Greater Riverside Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, December 14, 2011 at the Mission Inn from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Invitations will follow. 3) Appreciation was expressed to John and Melody Prentice for hosting a gathering in their home for Inland Action members.
M/S/P: Minutes of the November 8, 2011 meeting
Ann Bryan introduced Senator Bill Emmerson.
Senator Emmerson stated that historically California, unlike many other states, splits its ballots. The message is clear that voters expect politicians to work together regardless of party affiliation. When Governor Brown asked to work with Republicans, Senator Emmerson along with four other party members met regularly from February thru June to work on reform issues.
The Redistricting Commission in general has done a fine job. The Senator believes they held to the laws and guidelines for the process. He also stated he doubts the challenges against the Commission’s results will hold up in the courts.
Reforms must be made in public employee’s pensions and benefits. California cannot sustain these benefits and the formula must change. Additionally we must pay down our state debt as quickly as possible. Currently California has a 40 billion dollar debt. Over 20 billion is owed to schools. It will take us approximately 10 years to build up this funding and then we can work on building the “rainy day” fund. Our state budget now has a spending cap. Future budgets can grow if needed but cannot exceed 5%. Education has experienced enough cuts, and although he supports reforms, he will not support more reductions in this area.
California is ranked 50th in the nation for manufacturing. Duplication of regulations is keeping our state from growth. Other states like Colorado and Texas accomplish projects in months, where California takes years, due to paralyzing regulations. Regulatory reforms are needed.
In the past when economic times were better, California raised much of their revenue from Capital Gains taxes. The prosperity of the past is gone. Senator Emmerson stated that 50% of California pay no tax. This leaves an undue burden on the top tax payers. Legislators must work together to reform our tax regulations.
Understanding California’s complex issues and creating relationships takes time. Term limits are hampering the legislature. An extension of term limits to 12 years could benefit California.
The Delta is a priority. As we are struggling with the environmental impacts that water flow creates to living inhabitants in the Delta we should also carefully review the current infrastructure and what we are putting into the Delta. A peripheral canal, which is now believed to cost some 11 billion dollars, is viable and will only become more costly in the future.
A train from San Diego to L.A. which already has 40 planned stops will not be a very fast train as is seen in Europe. The Senator approves of long term planning for high speed rail but right now the cost is too high and unrealistic. The train will be electrified and we are not prepared for this need. He believes there must be a balanced approach to our energy needs which will always contain some carbon based fuel. Solar although very popular will not be the whole answer. We need a stable source but not overuse any one source.
A Q & A period followed.
Meeting adjourned at 8:30 a.m.