- G Avenue lead track expected to create 400 jobs -
From the Hesperia Star, April 27, 2012 … By Beau Yarbrough, Staff Writer …
Hesperia officials rolled out a steel red carpet for industry on April 19, cutting — or rather, snapping — the ribbon on a new train track intended to allow businesses direct access to the BNSF Railway and generate 400 jobs.
A BNSF locomotive snapped the ribbon on the G Avenue Industrial Lead Track. The rail spur provides rail access which opens up 200 mostly undeveloped acres of property in the city’s industrial zone. Officials expect the rail line will attract new businesses to the city and allow existing businesses to ship their goods more cheaply. The city is also considering building a “transload” facility that will allow businesses not located along the rail line to load and unload goods from rail cars.
“We have a resurgence, right now, of manufacturing,” 1st District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt said, “and it’s happening right here.”
The one-mile rail line is located within the city’s enterprise zone. Officials expect the rail line to ultimately create 400 new local jobs.
“The journey’s not over until we find the right clientele,” said Michael Devine, BNSF Director of Economic Development. “Some day, we’ll look back on this day as a significant milestone.”
The city’s $5.6 million contribution to the $8.6 million project was provided by the now-defunct Hesperia Community Redevelopment Agency. According to officials, the area surrounding the track is the only available real-served industrial area in the Victor Valley.
“This track will revitalize the industrial area of the city,” Mayor Russ Blewett said.
Beau Yarbrough may be reached at (760) 956-7108 or at beau@HesperiaStar.com. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Hesperia.Star.
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… From The Sun, April 25, 2012 … By Ryan Hagen, Staff Writer…
An air quality report released for the first time as a companion to the American Lung Association’s annual report shows the same steady decline in pollution, but more accurately reflects differences between regions, say those in charge of regulating air quality locally.
The report by the California Air Pollution Control Officers’ Association, released last week, compares fine particulate matter and ozone pollution among the state’s 35 air quality management districts. The lung association’s “State of the Air” report compares counties nationwide.
“The lung association report that came out tends to lump areas together,” said San Bernardino County Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt, who chairs the Victorville-based Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District board. “For instance, the High Desert might be lumped in with the city of San Bernardino, when the Mojave Desert is not only in a different air basin, it’s very different from a meteorological standpoint and as far as the issues we face.”
Mitzelfelt, who also represents much of the High Desert on the county Board of Supervisors, said the area is much healthier than the San Bernardino and Pomona valleys.
“(The report) tells a story about the High Desert and the fact that our air is more healthful than you would think putting us with the rest of the county,” he said.
The Mojave Desert exceeded federal ozone standards for 35 days in 2011, compared with 66 days in 2010, according to the report. Combining ozone and particulate matter, the number of “good” Air Quality Index days for the desert region grew from 173 in 2000 to 277 in 2010.
By contrast, San Bernardino County had the worst ozone pollution in the country, according to the American Lung Association’s report. The South Coast Air Quality Management District – which includes the urban portions of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties plus all of Orange County – had slightly more unhealthy ozone days in 2011 than 2010. Overall, the San Bernardino County portion had 175 healthy air days in 2011 and 155 in 2000.
The South Coast AQMD has reduced particle pollution through dozens of measures, with some of the most effective involving regulation of diesel engines, said spokesman Sam Atwood.
“The progress is especially dramatic when you look at the worst form of pollution, which is fine particle pollution,” Atwood said.
The highest levels of ozone – responsible for asthma and other health conditions – are found in communities in the San Bernardino Mountains such as Lake Arrowhead, Atwood said.
“Complex atmospheric chemistry comes into play, but…that smog is pushed inland by prevailing winds, and it keeps going until the mountains,” he said. “People are surprised that places we think are pristine are the worst for ozone, but for fine particulates the levels are very low in the mountains.”
Mitzelfelt said his district has successfully partnered with many companies to lower pollution while protecting business, despite standards in California that he says are more burdensome then in other states.
But the key to economic growth and air quality improvement is development, he said.
“The fact that we (in the High Desert) have so few jobs compared to houses means people are driving great distances to work, which generates even more pollution than would be the case if we had industry close to home,” he said. “So what we’re really all about is to bring the jobs closer to home, so we’ll not only have a greater quality of life, we’ll also have cleaner air.”
From High Desert Daily, April 25, 2012 … By Nolan Patrick Smith …
(Hesperia) In the last article, High Desert Daily spoke with San Bernardino County First District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt to talk about the legacy he feels he is leaving behind as he moves forward to the race for Congress. In this article, we talk about the future and what Mitzelfelt sees in the coming months and years.
Brad Mitzelfelt is currently the Vice-Chairman of the Board of Supervisors for San Bernardino County. According to the San Bernardino County website, the district Mitzelfelt represents includes the incorporated municipalities of Victorville, Apple Valley, Hesperia and Adelanto in the Victor Valley, as well as Needles on the Colorado River. The First District also includes unincorporated communities measuring more than 15,000 square miles from Wrightwood in the San Gabriel Mountains to Trona to Baker, four military bases and two national park units, and bordering Arizona and Nevada. With this year being his last as Supervisor, Mitzelfelt has Congress in his sights as he continues his campaign for the 8th Congressional District. Regarding the future, the first question asked is what makes him the best person to represent this district.
“I have absolutely unmatched experience when it comes to dealing with federal issues that affect the High Desert. I have sued the National Parks Service, I have sued the Bureau of Land Management, I have been fighting battles for public access to public lands to protect our ranching industry, to protect our mining industry, whether it be as Chairman of the Mojave Air Quality Management District or as Supervisor or any of the other roles that I have. I feel it is my responsibility to protect our economic future and in order to do that we have to protect the historic uses of the desert. There is a place for conservation, for recreation, for military training: we can accommodate all these uses. But when a politically popular type of development comes forward, like solar, and the federal government is ready to throw out many of the hurdles other industries have to overcome in an unsustainable way, the only long term outcome is reduced access to the desert for people who live here and the people who visit here, so I am really concerned about that. My involvement with the federal government is a daily undertaking. What I find is, everyday, I find laws like the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act; well-intentioned laws that certainly do some good, are in desperate need of reform. The agencies that implement these laws are unelected, unaccountable and very powerful, and often times very arbitrary. That impacts people, that impacts opportunity and it needs to change.”
One issue that always seems to be present in the desert is that of the Desert Tortoise. Mitzelfelt explained how though (m)illions are being spent, the outcome of saving this species just isn’t happening. “We find that with the Desert Tortoise mitigation, they’re costing our economy hundreds of (m)illions of dollars but they aren’t saving the tortoise: the tortoise is still going extinct. They are not addressing the root cause of its decline, which is ravens and coyotes. Because its philosophical and political that they won’t address predation, all they want to do is limit access to land and acquire all the private land they can: that’s a bad formula for us, people who live and work in the desert because it takes away our opportunities. So I will address those things.”
Another aspect Mitzelfelt made clear was the intention of staying proactive, just as he has been as Supervisor. “My approach again is to be proactive, to find ways to be a leader. I don’t want to go to Washington and wait for thirty years to have influence. I don’t want to go there for thirty years, quite frankly. I hope I’m not doing this in thirty years, because I want to enjoy my life. I look at the example of Kevin McCarthy from Bakersfield. He has only been there for a few terms, and he is the number 3 or 4 most senior member of Congress as far as his position. He’s proven that it can be done; you can achieve opportunities to serve at a higher level and to be more effective for your district or for your state even if you haven’t been there for twenty years. That would be my intention from day one, to get into positions on the committees where I can do the most good for the people I represent. I’m running not for myself, but for the people I represent. I could have probably very easily been reelected for another term on the board of supervisors, but I feel I owe it to the people I represent to find the best opportunity to serve them, and that’s why I chose to run.”
What about the far future? Passed the Congressional campaign, what are his plans for the future? “I dedicated my adult life to public service for the most part. I’m a veteran of the Marine Corp, I worked in local and state government, and my goal is to serve in Congress and be the best representative that San Bernardino County has ever had. Other than that, there are a lot of things I could do and am interested in. Eventually I would love to write and publish some works. Other than that, I am interested in business; I am very interested in the financial and development sectors. I worked in the building industry for several years, and I have a lot of interests, but I don’t really have a plan other than to run for Congress and be elected. I didn’t plan to ever be a Supervisor either: the opportunity presented itself. I like to work that way, not put all my eggs in one basket.”
For more information on Mitzelfelt’s campaign for U.S. Congress, visit his website at http://votebrad2012.com/.
… From High Desert Daily, April 22, 2012 … By Nolan Patrick Smith …
(Hesperia) Change is in the air. It only takes a mere glance at the High Desert to see the change forthcoming: election time is here; there is no doubt about it. High Desert Daily recently sat down with San Bernardino County First District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt to talk about his legacy as Supervisor and what the future holds as he continues his campaign for the U.S. Congressional 8th District.
Brad Mitzelfelt is currently the Vice-Chairman of the Board of Supervisors for San Bernardino County. According to the San Bernardino County website, the district Mitzelfelt represents includes the incorporated municipalities of Victorville, Apple Valley, Hesperia and Adelanto in the Victor Valley, as well as Needles on the Colorado River. The First District also includes unincorporated communities measuring more than 15,000 square miles from Wrightwood in the San Gabriel Mountains to Trona to Baker, four military bases and two national park units, and bordering Arizona and Nevada. With so much land to govern, the legacy Mitzelfelt is leaving behind as he finishes out his last year as Supervisor and goes forward in the race for Congress is one of major significance.
“I feel very good about many of the changes that we’ve made. I accomplished a lot of what I set out to do,” Mitzelfelt said. “One thing that we have done is completely change the leadership of the county, and overhaul its management and budgetary practices.”
“We are looking much more long term and we are putting ourselves on a more sound financial footing than we have been. We have cut our non-public safety general fund discretionary spending by 50% since the recession started. We are taking assets that are losing money and we are converting them to assets that are making money. It is not an easy process, but it is necessary. Sound fiscal management, along with good, strong executive management.”
Mitzelfelt continued, “We have changed from a time when the board of supervisors micromanaged the county to a time where the board focuses on making policy and having good, professional leadership implement that policy. I have seen it done both ways: I have seen board of supervisors’ micromanage the county, and I have seen the county professionally managed. I think the latter is much better for the people. It results in a more predictable, stable environment for businesses to be able to work with the county, to know that there is no political consideration in dealing with the county. It is a forthright, straightforward organization that is very professional and is guided by ethical principles.”
Looking at the High Desert, one can see the major advancements in transportation that have moved forward as of late. Some of these projects, like the Nisqualli interchange, have been in development for over 20 years, and are now moving full steam ahead. “We advanced a lot of the regional transportation projects: the Nisqualli interchange, the Yucca Loma bridge, the Ranchero interchange, these projects have been languishing for years, and with improved regional cooperation, we brought money to bear from the state and other sources. We worked cooperatively and we are moving them forward,” Mitzelfelt explained.
“Nisqualli interchange is under construction, Ranchero interchange will be in construction by next year, the Ranchero underpass, thanks to the City of Hesperia, is under construction now, and the initial phases of the Yucca Loma Bridge are starting this year. We also advanced the High Desert Corridor, which is really our future economic engine in the High Desert, by probably twenty years. We did this by creating a joint powers authority, which I convened with Supervisor Antonovich from Los Angeles County, and now we have the LA MTA as the lead agency. I think we can build the High Desert Corridor in 5-10 years instead of 30 years, as it would have been if we waited for Cal Trans or SANBAG to build it.”
A major issue in any area, but especially the High Desert, is employment. Mitzelfelt spoke on job growth and the efforts he has put forth in creating a better economic landscape for the future. “We have supported job growth and job training with the A & P School for Aviation Technicians on SCLA. We have invested in numerous programs through the mining industry, nursing and more recently for highly skilled manufacturing technicians,” Mitzelfelt said. “This is important to support the economic future, which is that much more difficult now that the state has taken away redevelopment as an economic development tool.”
“So there are certainly challenges, some of the challenges materialized very recently, like the redevelopment issues, but I feel during my time I have certainly proactively dealt with issues and moved the High Desert forward. I’m not a believer in sitting back and letting people bring issues to me and ask me what I think about it, I’m proactive.”
In the second part of the interview with Supervisor Mitzelfelt, we will speak to him regarding his future, which includes his run for Congress for the 8th Congressional District.
For more information on Mitzelfelt’s campaign for U.S. Congress, visit his website at http://votebrad2012.com/.
The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors on April 12 agreed to a proposal by First District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt to begin development of a military liaison program to better inform military staff along with active duty military personnel and their families about an array of social and other services administered by San Bernardino County.
“Military personnel and their families stand to benefit from a variety of public services offered through the County, but often military staff aren’t aware of services that they and their families would qualify for,” said Supervisor Mitzelfelt, who served in the Marine Corps. “We need to establish an on-going and formal relationship between the military bases and County departments to ensure our active duty military and their families know about, and therefore can access, the services they need and deserve.”
There are all or part of five important military bases in San Bernardino County including the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, the National Training Center at Ft. Irwin, and the Marine Corps Logistics Base in Barstow. Combined, those three bases have roughly 15,000 active duty personnel along with more than 16,000 family members.
Military bases have high turnover of both leadership and administrative personnel, making it incumbent on the County to keep the bases informed of available services and maintain channels of communication to ensure all military personnel are fully informed of services that are available to them, Supervisor Mitzelfelt said.
“The military does a great job of taking care of its own, but there are gaps in the safety net, and many County programs can either fill in those gaps or complement other services to make the daily lives of our fighting men and women and their families easier,” he said.
Many state and federal programs provide funds for outreach, and a military liaison program would likely fall under that category, meaning the county will incur minimal new costs, if any.
Supervisor Mitzelfelt emphasized that he is not looking to create a full new program, but rather he wants to formalize a functionality that will guarantee and facilitate the military’s access to the County and its services. This function would endure as both County and Military leadership and staff change.
During the April 12 board discussion on the issue, Supervisor Mitzelfelt gave examples of ongoing efforts with which his office has been involved assisting the Army at Fort Irwin in responding to a request to install call boxes on Ft. Irwin Road, which will be accomplished in the near future, keeping the Women and Infant Children (WIC) program operating at the post after almost shutting down in 2010, and helping meet transit needs from the City of Barstow to the post. “There needs to be a singular County presence the military can look to across all departments to ensure communication is happening and needs are being addressed,” Mitzelfelt said.
Other County departments administering services include but are not limited to: Behavioral Health (Counseling, alcohol and drug program), Transitional Assistance Department (Food stamps, subsistence), Veterans Affairs (helping veterans transition from the military and access their benefits), Preschool Services (for families living off base), and Workforce Development (job training).
The County Administrative Office will bring back options to the Board of Supervisors for a military liaison program within 45 days.
… Reprinted from the Office of Brad Mitzelfelt, Vice-Chairman and Supervisor, First District, San Bernardino County … April 10, 2012
With limited funding these days from the federal government for San Bernardino County nonprofits, the Board of Supervisors has signed off on a plan to revamp the ability of charities to tap funding.
The board last week approved an agreement with the Community Foundation in which each of the five supervisorial districts contribute $45,000 from their discretionary funds, according to Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt’s office.
The Community Foundation lines up donors with charities in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. … (Continued below) …
… From the Redlands Daily Facts … By Ryan Carter, Staff Writer … April 1, 2012 … (Continued below) …
… The plan leans on grant-writing strategies that support the foundation.
Combined, the support from the district adds up to $225,000, which will go into a project that will include:
– Develop a nonprofit capacity-building plan to increase funding from outside the county and improve the network and infrastructure of nonprofits.
– Train forums for the boards of directors of nonprofits within each supervisor’s district.
– Create in-depth grant-development training for nonprofit staffs and volunteers in the grant-writing skills and budget development.
Mitzelfelt said the program comes at a key time for charities.
With budget cuts on the state and federal level, funding to local communities from the Community Development Block Grant program came to a halt.
According to Mitzelfelt, foundation support for nonprofits in San Bernardino County ended up only $3 per capita compared to $119 per capita throughout the rest of California.
Mitzelfelt, whose district includes the High Desert, added that he already expects the High Desert Resource Network – a group that started in 1998 as a way to collaborate and share information between nonprofits – to be a key participant in the capacity-building effort.
To reach Ryan via email, or call him at 909-386-3884.