November 14, 2023 Minutes-Marek Gootman, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institute-Hybrid Meeting

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

 Meeting In-Person and via ZOOM



Present:  Deborah Barmack, Carole Beswick, Bill Blankenship, Mike Burrows, Rachelle Bussell, Ken Coate, Otis Greer, Fran Inman, Mark Kaenel, Lowell King, Mike Layne, Bill Lemann, Darcy McNaboe, John Mirau, Dan Murphy, Robert Nava, Vikki Ostermann, Bansree Parikh, Cid Pinedo, Michael Rivera, Dan Roberts, LaShe Rodriguez, Dan Schenkel, Kristine Scott, Eric Ustation, Michael Wells, Ray Wolfe, and Frank Zabaleta.

Guests:  Matthew Mena, Kevin Palmer, and Carrie Schindler.

Announcements: 1) The Senate has confirmed Magistrate Judge Kenly Kiya Kato to serve as a federal district judge for the United States District Court for the Central District of California.  Judge Kato will preside over matters in Riverside in the Court’s Eastern Division. 2) The Riverside Community College District will hold the Chancellor’s holiday reception on Thursday, December 7, 2023, from 5:00-9:00p.m. 3) The Making Hope Happen Foundation will hold their “Jingle and Mingle” holiday mixer and toy drive on Thursday, December 7, 2023 at 6:00p.m. at the Thinkwise Credit Union in San Bernardino.

Kevin Dyerly, Chair presiding.

Motion by M. Rivera/Second/Passed: Minutes from November 7, 2023.

The full Board of Directors was notified and asked to review the 2022 Federal and State Tax returns that were posted on the Inland Action web site.

Motion by L. King/Second/Passed: Approval of the 2022 Tax Returns

 Dan Schenkel introduced Marek Gootman, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institute who joined us in person to talk about Moving from Principles to Practice for Regional Economic Initiatives.

Nearly seven years ago, the Inland Empire was among the first California regions to consider new approaches through the Inland Economic Growth and Opportunity (IEGO) initiative, but then struggled to move strategies into action. Many other regions have experienced similar challenges, but the Brookings Institute has more experience and re-tooled to better address the process.

Data, analysis, and marketing to attract and increase retention for business and expansion for traded sectors must be used. Cluster-building in numerous sectors has been discussed for years but has not really been accomplished. International engagement and global visibility should only happen on a regional scale rather than foreign direct investment, individual counties, or jurisdictions. Currently we are not marketing the region well as it is not well organized and is lacking consistency. Our ecosystem is vast with many good existing programs across the region, but they are siloed or not scaled. We need to work together to stay on the same page with consistent messaging and cooperation. Agreements need clarity and need to be in writing for true commitment and to be held accountable. Individual jurisdictions can prioritize what makes sense to them, but we need a written agreement on a regional scale that will benefit both Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

Strategy/Sector selection/coordination
In part it is a public sector problem as this sector in this region is dominant in terms of its economic resources and activities making the public sector accountable to elected officials, not to business opportunities and demands. Places around the country that are doing well with better job quality, increased innovation and competitiveness have 80% private sector leadership, investment and private sector decision making and 20% government. Our region is the reverse of that ratio and hurts our economic outcomes. The successful groups are led by non-governmental personnel and are business leadership groups & economic development organizations that have broader mandates and are also layered so as not to replicate but rather fill in areas at local jurisdictions. These business leadership groups are not responsible for getting everything done but make sure that funding is in place so that others can do the work.

Redefining economic success includes growth, prosperity, and inclusion. Growth equates to the creation of more jobs and expanded output that increases labor demand and wages. Young firms generate greater wealth, employment, and earnings. Prosperity is a result of increased production that grows the economy from within and generates higher paying jobs, so the region competes on quality vs low wages. Inclusion gives access to opportunities that raise employment and income enabling residents across all community segments to participate to the fullest of their ability.

Common tensions in regional inclusive economy initiatives consist of:
Regional vs Local-Differentiating the scale at which the economy works-bringing economy into communities or connecting residents to the economy-and nesting what has a competitive advantage if done regionally or locally.

Aspiration Without Wishful ThinkingSetting boundaries for realistic decision-making with shared principles for economic success, baseline understanding of differences between economic and community development.

Prioritization Among Many InterestsForcing focus and difficult trade-offs to maximize scarce resources and a truly unique position.

Demand-Side and Supply-Side NeedsBalancing emphasis between the quality jobs deficit and worker/community-focused programs-recognizing there can be growth without inclusion but no inclusion without growth.

Multiple Paths to Improve Job Quality are Perceived as ConflictingRecognizing job creation is complementary to strategies like worker empowerment, public policy and regulation, and cost reduction (not either or).

Economic/Workforce Development System AlignmentSyncing both systems for focus on the same sectors and job quality results, despite conflicting requirements and reality that neither is measured or rewarded for these outcomes.

Evolving Role of Community EngagementAddressing variation in efficacy and form of community input at different stages of planning and implementation.


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