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Transportation Secretary Coming To Riverside

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California Business, Transportation, and Housing Agency Secretary Dale E. Bonner will address those gathering at the 2007 Legislative Summit presented by the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce on October 12, 2007 at the Riverside Convention Center.  The jam-packed afternoon will highlight the accomplishments of the Chamber's Governmental Affairs Council, and a question and answer session with Dale Bonner. 

Dale E. Bonner
The 2007 Legislative Summit is not only a chance to gain insight into what is happening at the state level, but also an opportunity for people within the community to be in touch with their legislators.  Senator Bob Dutton and Assembly Members John Benoit and Kevin Jeffries will also provide a legislative update. 

Dale E. Bonner returned to public service in March 2007, when he was appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger as Secretary of the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency.  Bonner previously served in the public sector as deputy secretary and general counsel for BT&H from 1996 to 1998.  From 1998 to 1999, he served as Commissioner of the California Department of Corporations.  As Commissioner of Corporations, he regulated California's corporate securities, financial services and managed care industries.  Bonner served as deputy legal affairs secretary in the Office of Governor Pete Wilson from 1992 to 1996.  The 2007 Legislative Summit will be held on Friday, October 12 at 11:30 a.m. at the Riverside Convention Center.  Cost is $40 per person and includes lunch. 

Held annually, the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce Legislative Summit gives business owners and leaders the opportunity to interact with high level government officials and legislators. With nearly 1700 members, the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce is a member driven, volunteer organization that is dedicated to building a stronger local economy by actively promoting and supporting our community, by fostering the growth and strength of our member organizations, and by engaging federal, state and local officials on behalf of business interests.

Rev. Reginald Beamon Joins Congressman Joe Baca’s Office

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Congressman Joe Baca (D-43) announces the addition of Reverend Reginald Beamon to his District Office staff.

Reverend Reginald Beamon
Reverend Beamon is known for his grassroots efforts to reduce violence in the neighborhoods of San Bernardino.  He is also a businessman and a church leader.  He is the President and CEO of Sentinel Surveillance Systems, Inc.  He is also the Founding President of the San Bernardino Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and Co-Founder of both Minisha Circle and the Pastors on Premises Program.  He previously served as the Chairman of the San Bernardino County Equal Opportunities Commission, and serves as the Board Chairman of Young Visionaries Youth Leadership Academy and the 2nd Vice Chairman of the Inland Empire Coalition of Concerned African American Churches for 4 years.  He is a member of several other community organizations in San Bernardino.

"Reverend Beamon has been working at the grassroots level to address the many issues affecting San Bernardino and the 43rd Congressional District," commented Congressman Baca.  "His local leadership experience is a great addition to my office.  We are committed to improving the quality of life in the region."

Reverend Beamon was born in Compton, California in 1959.  He came to San Bernardino in 1998, and married longtime resident Toi Beamon.  He has five children.  He has received numerous awards for his years of work with the community, including the Don Williams Memorial Award in 2004 and the Margaret B. Hill Award for Community Service in 2007.

Agua Caliente Has Jobs

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By Bill Clark

Agua Caliente Spa & Casino is currently seeking individuals to fill a variety of positions at its Palm Springs and Rancho Mirage locations.

The spa resort and casino is operated by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and is the largest employer in the Coachella Valley. Agua Caliente offers competitive salaries, first-rate benefits and an excellent opportunity for career growth and advancement. Employees receive health coverage, tuition reimbursement, English language classes and GED assistance.

Nancy Conrad, press secretary for the Band of Cahuilla Indians, says tribal governments' commitment to empowering the local community is what makes Agua Caliente an ideal career choice. Conrad says that when one factors in tips and other benefits an entry-level employee can make up to $22.00 an hour.

"The Band of Cahuilla Indians has always been actively involved in the community, and we are glad that we are able to attract the brightest and the best. We believe in helping individuals reach their full potential in all areas of their lives. We are especially interested in individuals who are thinking long-term and who want to advance into supervisory and management roles with the spa and casino," she said.

The 228-room spa resort in Palm Springs is well-known for its fine restaurants and healing, natural waters. Gaming, dining and entertainment at the casino in Rancho Mirage rival that of Las Vegas' famous "Strip." According to Agua Caliente's Web site finishing touches are currently being made to a new resort in Rancho Mirage and a grand opening is slated for early 2008.

To view current positions and to submit an application visit www.aguacaliente.org   or drop by the human resources office at 401 E. Amado Road in Palm Springs (888) 999-1995.


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By Chris Levister

Democratic Assembly member Wilmer Amina Carter (D-Rialto) is determined to change the way California doles out road and rail money. With bipartisan support from Republican and Democratic lawmakers AB 945 authored by Carter passed the Assembly late Tuesday, as the Legislature prepared to adjourn for the year.

The measure would require the California Transportation Commission and Caltrans to assess statewide transportation needs and funding sources every five years beginning on July 1, 2008. The state has no requirement that any state entity appraise overall state transportation needs which makes it hard to allocate funding wisely. 

The newly appointed chair of the Inland Empire Transportation Committee says Californians made the right decision by approving nearly $20 billion in transportation bonds last year, however she says spending billions of dollars of transportation money - $19.9 billion from last year's Prop 1B alone with no real understanding of the overall picture is senseless policy.

"This is the reason why I introduced AB 945, which would provide the information California needs to determine where transportation dollars are needed most," says Carter.

AB-945 puts spotlight on state funding needed to clear congestion at notorious 'Colton crossing' bottleneck where westbound Union Pacific freight trains roll over Burlington Northern Santa Fe tracks.

"California has an obligation to allocate transportation dollars on a more rational basis than political pressure or haphazard planning."

Carter says the bill will spur the state to reshuffle funding priorities for vital infrastructure repairs in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties.   

In a recent opinion editorial Carter stopped short of saying the state has all but ignored the Inland Empire's aging dangerously overcrowded, network of highways, railways and surface streets.

 "These priorities should include many vital projects in the Inland Empire, such as the need to ease congestion on the I-10 freeway and our railroads. The elaborate nationwide goods movement network goes right through San Bernardino County's population centers and as rail traffic increases in the next few decades, so will the impact on residents."    

Say "Colton Crossing" to transportation experts as far away as Los Angeles and beyond, and they recognize it as one of the most notorious freight-train bottlenecks in the state.

Yet the rail line intersection of Union Pacific Railroad tracks and Burlington Northern San Fe railroad tracks south of I-10 that holds up mile-long trains carrying goods from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to the rest of the nation, has gone from bad to worse while awaiting funding to separate the tracks, this despite having the support of several agencies including the Southern California Association of Governments and the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports. Plus a willingness by the two railroads to contribute to the estimated $150-250 million cost of the project.

"Right now, we've got freight gridlock here. There's a recognition this project reaches far beyond its geographic location," Carter said.

Trains passing through the junction begin to stop long before they get to the intersection of rail lines in Colton, idling their engines sending plumes of diesel fumes into surrounding neighborhoods and backing up motorists at railroad crossings.

Riverside and San Bernardino county officials who've lobbied for the improvements say rail congestion has reached intolerable levels, cost millions in lost revenue and are now a chief cause for Metrolink commuter line delays.

"If we don't fix this crossing it will be what bottlenecks freight in Southern California," says Darren Kettle, director of freeway construction for San Bernardino Associated Governments, (Sanbag) the county's transportation planning agency

Thanks in large part to self imposed half-cent sales taxes in San Bernardino and Riverside counties there has been a boom in construction work on the regions long overstressed freeways.

While the two-county population exploded from about 2.6 million people in 1990 to 3.9 million in 2005, an increase of nearly 51 percent, funding for road construction didn't come close to keeping up.

For San Bernardino residents the vital project is the widening of I-215 through downtown. The improvements will correct a half century old injustice to the largely Black and Hispanic community on the city's Westside.  Limited by the rail lines and other space constraints, engineers who designed the aging freeway directed critical ramps to the east, steering traffic away from the Westside.

Sanbag is working with the Riverside County Transportation Commission to coordinate improvements on both sides of the county line. In the planning stages is a companion project on I-215 south of I-10 through Colton and Grand Terrace to the border with Riverside County.

Riverside County includes the worst commuter corridor in the Inland region, Highway 91

where a 20 mile rush hour commute can take an hour. Despised by generations of motorists the interchange where Highway 60, Highway 91 and I-215 meet is being completely rebuilt.

Carter says passage of AB-945 will spur the state to fix it's infrastructure starting with the weakest links.

Bipartisan support of AB-945 is viewed as a major victory since Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed a similar bill last year saying Californians didn't need another report to tell them about the state's transportation woes. Carter disagrees arguing the estimated $250,000 cost every five years for compiling the needs assessment is a drop in the bucket compared to the billions at stake in transportation decisions.

"Let's take a critical lesson from the Minneapolis bridge tragedy and not wait until it's too late to improve our system."

Carter “Toasts” Student Leaders

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District 62 Assembly Member Wilmer Amina Carter (D-Rialto) evaluates Shatoya Harrison's public speaking technique on August 24 as part of Toastmasters Youth Leadership Program and L.A.U.N.C.H. High School Summer Youth Employment Program sponsored by Kaiser Permanente in Fontana. Shatoya of San Bernardino is a recent graduate of A.B. Miller High School and is studying to become a registered nurse. She was among 20 area students who completed the program which offers paid summer work in the healthcare field to 11th and 12th graders.

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BVN National News Wire