October 6, 2020-Rob Field, City Manager, City of San Bernardino- Meeting via Zoom

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Member/Alternates Only Meeting

Virtual meeting via ZOOM

 Present:   Ruthy Argumedo, Deborah Barmack, Carole Beswick, Christie Cardenas, Ken Coate, Sandra Cuellar, Michelle Decker, Sandra Espadas, Louis Goodwin, Milford Harrison, Mark Kaenel, Pam Langford, Bill Lemann, Dan Little, P.T. McEwen, Darcy McNaboe, John Mirau, Ginger Ontiveros, Vikki Ostermann, Bansree Parikh, Steve PonTell, Catherine Pritchett, Brian Reider, Thomas Rice, Michael Rivera, Dan Roberts, Elizabeth Romero, Dan Schenkel, Kristine Scott, Paul Shimoff, Phil Southard, Sol Teh, Lupe Valdez, Pete Van Helden, Kim Wilcox and Ray Wolfe.

Guests: Jessica Leyva, Arnold San Miguel and Ken Stream.

Announcements: 1) Economics & Politics, John Husing, has resigned from membership effective 9/30/20.  2) Tomorrow at 11 a.m. there will be a live virtual announcement of California State University, San Bernardino’s official leadership role, in partnership with the National Security Agency and the National Centers of Academic Excellence, to strengthen the federal government’s cybersecurity talent. Space is limited. Register online here. 3) Next week is a Member only meeting where the pros and cons of each of the California initiatives will be summarized.  4) Paul Shimoff reported that Senate Bill 972 which allowed the release of “private tax information” to the public was vetoed by the Governor.  Additionally, AB 1253 Raising the Marginal Tax Bracket and AB 2088 Proposed Wealth Tax were blocked.

Louis Goodwin, Chair, presiding.

Motion by T. Rice /Second by E. Romero/Passed:  Minutes from September 22, 2020.

Michael Rivera introduced Rob Field, City Manager, City of San Bernardino.  Mr. Field was named as the San Bernardino City Manager on September 3, 2020 and began his new position on September 21. He previously served as the Assistant County Executive Officer in the County of Riverside, where he oversaw the County’s Economic Development Agency.

Public perception of the City is very different than the reality.  The City is a very different place and credited previous City Manager, Teri Ledoux, for making some very difficult but needed changes.   The City has momentum addressing homelessness and appreciates partners like National CORE for successful programs and looks forward to additional opportunities.  The City will be further enhanced with projects like the Redlands Rail commuter line that will connect at the City’s Transit Center with the new Metro Link station.

Development patterns are trending eastward from Ontario, and San Bernardino will do all they can to ensure they do not miss this opportunity.  Citing the development of the San Bernardino Airport and the surrounding area though IVDA, there is clear proof that San Bernardino has significant opportunities and a bright future.  The City is preparing for this upswing in part by investing in and improving parks, community centers and roads.  The City has suffered a good deal of deterioration and in order to present a stable community, people need to recognize the City as a whole, where benefits in one ward benefit all.  Code enforcement has been lacking as due to understaffing but must be addressed quickly as a “dirty city” is a barrier to growth and confidence.

The long gradual deterioration of the City has been difficult to witness and they have suffered with a very poor image.  Changing the image around will be most challenging. The City is working to restore and create positive attention.  They want to find messaging that will appeal to a broad spectrum and would appreciate suggestions from Inland Action members.  They will be using messaging, initially with City employees, to present the significant “upsides” to living and working in the City.  If these messages resonate, they will expand to a broader base.  Hope has been missing and must be restored to be successful.

Funding from the State ($3.6M) has allowed the City to hire consultants who will expedite development of both a new general plan, last updated in 2004, and a downtown specific plan. He recognizes the importance and need of representation in Sacramento and they will soon be developing a legislative platform.

Complaints regarding poor customer service at the City’s Planning and Safety Department will hinder development and investors.   Rob Field indicated that the department’s staff, which has been augmented by Willdan Engineering, may not be working as expected.  They will emphasize the importance of good customer service and staff will be held accountable with the implementation of new policies.

He believes the City employees are too spread out since the closure of City Hall.  There is great interest and affection for the building designed by Cesar Pelli, world famous architect.  Costs to re-open are estimated at $20-25M as retrofitting and fundamental systems need upgrading from the 1970’s.  The building is large, and the City would take advantage of lease options.  They will look for support to re-open.

He is hopeful that voters will pass Measure S, an extension of the City’s sales tax on the November ballot to maintain funding for city services to our community.

Staff is dedicated, motivated and ready to take San Bernardino to the next level.

A Q & A period followed.
Meeting adjourned at 9:03 a.m.