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Press Release: May 2017 Sacramento Trip


Contact:  Carole Beswick

Inland Action Advocates for Issues Affecting the Inland Empire

San Bernardino – Inland Action recently returned from Sacramento where they met with legislators and administrative officials to discuss issues of importance to the Inland Empire.  Topics included transformative communities, transportation, health care, education, economic development and the economy.  “We found that the legislators and government officials were keenly interested in the needs of our Inland counties, and we look forward to continuing our work on behalf of the region,” said Kristine Scott, Chair of Inland Action.


One of Inland Action’s top priorities was to support expanding college access and increasing degree attainment in the region.  Funding for the University of California, California State University system, and private university students are important investments which can grow student enrollment, produce highly qualified college graduates for a growing workforce, and provide for a vibrant economy within the region.


Designation of the City of Ontario as a third location for the Transformative Climate Communities Program was also a top priority for the group.  In their meeting with the director of California’s Strategic Growth Council, Inland Action members urged that the Council consider Ontario’s plan for improving housing and public transportation to assist its underserved population as it allocates funding to designated communities.


Members met with the Governor’s staff to encourage the appointment of new judges to vacant seats in the San Bernardino Superior Court.  The number of vacancies due to retirements has closed desperately needed courtrooms serving residents throughout this vast county.  They also urged the Governor to sign Senate Bill 39 when approved, which would reallocate four vacant judgeships from northern California to San Bernardino and Riverside Counties.  These two counties have been found to have a deficit of over forty judgeships each when assessing the judicial workload in the Superior Courts, indicating a significant lack of judicial service to residents of the Inland Region.  Inland Action was gratified to learn that two judicial appointments were made by the Governor last week.


Inland Action is a non-profit, non-partisan group of business and community leaders who work for the betterment of the Inland Empire region. Over a two-day period, twenty members of the Inland Action Board of Directors participated in over twenty separate meetings with legislators representing the Inland communities, as well as committee chairs and ranking members with expertise in the issues on the Inland Action legislative platform.  For more information about Inland Action and the Legislative Platform, visit

Inland Action members discuss improving access to higher education in the Inland Empire region with Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon.

Rendon Meeting.Mirau speaks

Inland Action members meet with Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon on issues related to the Inland Empire region.

Rendon Meeting.Group Pic

9/22/15 Santa Ana Sucker Case Appealed to Supreme Court

ENVIRONMENT: Santa Ana sucker case appealed to Supreme Court

From the Press Enterprise

ENVIRONMENT: Santa Ana sucker case appealed to Supreme Court


Published: Sept. 22, 2015 4:00 p.m.

The 12 Inland water providers that have petitioned the high court to reduce the amount of critical habitat designated for recovery of the Santa Ana sucker, a fish threatened with extinction, are:

Bear Valley Mutual Water Company in Redlands; Big Bear Municipal Water District; City of Redlands; City of Riverside; City of San Bernardino Municipal Water Department; East Valley Water District in Highland; Riverside County Flood Control and Water Conservation District; San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District; San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District; Western Municipal Water District in Riverside; West Valley Water District in Rialto; and Yucaipa Valley Water District.

A dozen Inland water providers that have long fought federal habitat protections for a small, algae-eating fish – the Santa Ana sucker – petitioned the United States Supreme Court on Tuesday to hear their case.

The agencies contend the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service violated two federal environmental laws when it doubled the acreage of critical habitat – land considered crucial for recovery of a species – in 2010. The fish is threatened with extinction.

The habitat designation jeopardizes numerous water capture and groundwater recharge projects planned for the Santa Ana River, from its upper reaches at the Seven Oaks Dam near Highland to Prado Dam near Corona, they said. A critical habitat designation does not prohibit development, but it can restrict it.

One of the laws in question, the National Environmental Policy Act, known as NEPA, “requires you to look at the needs of everything – water, people – to try to find a balance. We believe that this decision in 2010 was not balanced,” said Doug Headrick, general manager at the San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District, one of the agencies that filed the petition.

In 2010, the wildlife service designated 9,331 acres along the river in both counties and a few waterways in Los Angeles County as critical habitat. The water districts appealed the decision in federal court, but were denied.

Last year, the agencies asked the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to order the wildlife service to consider the impact of its decision on the human environment, to re-evaluate the needs of the fish using the best available science, and to cooperate and collaborate with state and local agencies on that evaluation.

The appeals court ruled against them in June, saying NEPA does not apply to the wildlife service.

Lawyers for the water agencies say that contradicts a ruling by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, which has said the wildlife service must comply with NEPA.

“As a result, residents of Cheyenne, Wyo., Santa Fe, N.M., and Denver, Colo., all of which are within the Tenth Circuit, can compel the Fish and Wildlife Service to comply with NEPA when critical habitat is designated, while residents of Riverside or San Bernardino — or anywhere else in the western U.S. within the Ninth Circuit, cannot,” said Greg Wilkinson, an attorney representing water agencies with their petition. “This unequal application of the law is overdue for correction.”

The Supreme Court will decide whether to consider the case.

The water agencies also are focusing their case on an Endangered Species Act amendment that requires federal agencies to cooperate with local agencies to resolve water resource issues while saving species.

Water officials have objected to the critical habitat designation, saying many parts of the river never sustained the fish.

Environmentalists say expanding protected areas better ensures survival of the fish by pushing rocks and gravel the sucker needs for reproduction to downstream areas where it lives. The species exists primarily in a three-mile stretch of river south from Highway 60 in Riverside.

Ileene Anderson, a biologist with the Center for Biological Diversity office in Los Angeles, said she doubts the Supreme Court will agree to hear the water agencies’ case.

“Clearly the court’s rulings to date have been in favor of the critical habitat standing as designated. This is the last gasp in sending it to the Supreme Court where they don’t have to take up the matter at all,” she said. “It seems like the time would be better spent trying to recover the species rather than fighting it in court.”

Anderson’s group sued the wildlife service in 2002 for not designating critical habitat for the sucker as ordered by a court in 2000, when the species was listed as threatened.

Despite the lawsuit, the water districts and federal scientists are moving ahead with a habitat conservation plan to gain scientific knowledge and better protect the sucker. They conducted population studies in the river in Riverside last week.

Contact the writer: or 951-368-9586

Event-11/6/13 Decision Time Ahead: Tolls, Carpools or Congestion

This lunch event initiated by Inland Action, in partnership with CalState San Bernardino’s Business Alliance and Leonard Transportation Center will be held from noon to 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 6, 2013 at the Santos Manuel Student Union Center located on the campus of California State University, San Bernardino.

The purpose of this event is to inform and engage business and community leaders relative to the upcoming decision on express lanes in San Bernardino County.  For details please see the flyer Event Nov 6, 2013 Flyer.pdf

Please note that you may register for the event on line at the web site listed

We hope to see you at the event on November 6!

Elected Officials

The following is a quick list of the elected officials related to the Inland Empire. Each link will take you to the respective website in a new tab.

U.S. Congress

California Senate

California Assembly

County Supervisors