While sitting in the comfort of my home watching the Riverside and Fontana city council wrestle with many local issues, it became clear that there are many issues that impact their cities from other locations. These issues must be addressed and will require involvement from other local governments and the private sector community in order to get solutions.
This region currently has an unemployment rate over 12% with the leading employers being health care, computer information services, and hospitality. They are also the highest to lowest paying careers with computer information being in the middle according to the State Employment Development Department. They also project these industries growth will continue for another 20 to 30 years because of the size, age, and demands of the population.
I am going to give a few examples in which collaboration is required by regional governments beginning with the Ontario International Airport. This LA owned airport serves the Inland Empire community and would require a two-hour one-way trip to the Los Angeles International Airport when family and friends come to visit should the Ontario Airport close. We need to come together to help solve this problem because every community in Riverside and San Bernardino county will feel the impact from its closure.
The University of California Riverside is in the process of opening a medical school (UCR-SOM) that will help supply the region with doctors to serve our current and future needs. With the training of more doctors will come the need for other health care providers to meet our employment and health care needs. In order to make this a reality with proper funding, it is going to take the cooperation of many local governments and private businesses working together in support of this school.
Another opportunity for collaboration is the development of the March Life Care (MLC) project planned for the former March Air Force Base land. Many governments have supported the project but with the advent of the state removal of redevelopment it brings on many new questions, but working together, solutions can be found. And like the airport and medical school, MLC will create thousands of jobs in the Inland Empire area not just one city.
When I first came to the Inland Empire area, people lived in various communities but worked at Kaiser Steel in Fontana, ROHR, Bourns, March AFB in Riverside, Norton AFB in San Bernardino, Hansford Foundry, and George AFB in Victorville. The location of these large employment engines were no accident, they came from strategicregional decisions by elected officials and private corporations working together. Of course it was easier then because we had one or two congressional districts and fewer state elected officials to bring together but it is not impossible for us today once we put our minds to it.
Most of our local cities did not consult school boards or the education community before they embarked on projects when redevelopment agencies were under their control. Now is the time to reach out and include these governing bodies that occupy most of the land within the city limits and educate our business leaders and employees of tomorrow while employing many citizens that pay taxes. It is also a perfect time to bring in the small employers and look for incentives to expand and grow their businesses.
I implore our local elected officials to think outside of their own city limits and help build a better region.
Gigi Hanna Wins by Six Votes in Recount
Gigi Hanna won by six votes in the requested recount by her opponent Amelia Sanchez- Lopez for San Bernardino City Clerk. Before the recount, Hanna had won by 2 votes so the lead increased by four. Congratulations again to Gigi Hanna the new clerk that will take the oath of office Monday at the city council meeting.
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