… From High Desert Daily, May 23, 2012 … By Staff Reports … ”Mitzelfelt Funds Improvements, Programs For Nonprofits; Endorses Training for Nonprofits in Grant Writing, Fundraising’
(Victor Valley) – At the request of First District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors today approved funding for a variety of capital improvement projects and program support for nonprofit organizations, including charitable, educational and cultural organizations.
Among the projects and programs approved for allocations from First District Discretionary Funds are $75,000 for the Lane House Museum at Calico Ghost Town regional park for renovations critical to the protection and preservation of historic artifacts, $20,000 to Desert Manna Ministries for the purchase of a refrigeration truck, and $30,000 to the Oak Hills Community Center for installation of heating and air conditioning and other upgrades.
Supervisors also approved allocations of $15,000 to the Boys and Girls Club in Adelanto, $10,000 to the Family Assistance Program for continuation of domestic violence services, and $5,000 to A Better Way, also for domestic violence services.
“This will be one of the last opportunities for a County supervisor to provide direct support to worthy nonprofit community groups and local governments, such as Community Services Districts,” said Supervisor Mitzelfelt. “That’s why I called for efforts to train our local nonprofits to improve and coordinate their fundraising and grant writing programs.”
The Board today approved a $137,500 agreement with The Community Foundation for the purpose of developing and implementing a Countywide Grants Development Initiative, including establishment of a Centralized Grant Writing Team to increase grant support to educational, health, government, and nonprofit organizations in San Bernardino County and by extension, to the 2.2 million people who live in the County.
The agreement is being funded with $27,500 from the Board Discretionary Funds of each of the five supervisorial districts. Due to ongoing budget constraints, Board Discretionary Funds are being eliminated, and federal Community Development Block Grant funds are being directed to a few large projects, rather than being distributed to numerous nonprofit groups or agencies.
“As government becomes more limited in its ability to assist local nonprofits and agencies, it becomes imperative that we expand private sector support,” Supervisor Mitzelfelt said. “The state of California generates an average of $119 per person in support from foundations, but in San Bernardino County, that number is only $3 per capita. We have the greatest need, but among the least support, and we need to work together to improve that.”
…From the Desert Dispatch, Barstow, Calif., May 23, 2012 … ‘Supervisors award funds; Grants cut in future budget’ … By Sam Pearson, Staff Writer …
BARSTOW – Desert Manna received $25,000 in county funding Wednesday at its Health and Information Fair, with both Barstow-area county supervisors arriving to present them with checks. The money, though, comes from a source that will soon run dry for good, as the county faces a budget shortfall.
The discretionary funds, which came from accounts allocated to individual supervisors, still had to be approved by the entire county board. But they have come in handy for unexpected purchases over the years, Desert Manna Executive Director Sheri Randolph said, like when her organization needed to purchase frozen turkeys for Thanksgiving.
“It’s not something that they really need government to help them with,” 1st District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt said, “but it’s nice when the city and the county can do that.”
The financial gifts Wednesday will provide support for a popular program and allow the group to purchase a used refrigerated truck.
Mitzelfelt provided $20,000 for the truck, which Randolph said Desert Manna needs to obtain frozen or perishable foods. Third District Supervisor Neil Derry kicked in another $5,000 to cover operating expenses at the organization, which Randolph said would go towards the Summer Sack Lunch program. That program provides healthy lunches for students when school is shut down for the summer.
But with the impending cuts, “It’s one less place that we can go to when we need funding,” Randolph said.
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By Brad Mitzelfelt, San Bernardino County Supervisor
May 14, 2012 – Reprinted with permission from FlashReport.org
[Publisher’s Note: As part of an ongoing effort to bring original, thoughtful commentary to you here at the FlashReport, I am pleased to present this column authored by San Bernardino County Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt – Flash]
Solar energy development in California is largely driven by artificial state mandates that now have utilities increasing their use of expensive renewable energy.
It’s a dubious legacy of a state government that can’t maintain its highways or keep felons in prison but can arrogantly assign itself the responsibility of curing “climate change” by destroying its citizens’ economy.
The tools to fast-track this renewable energy development include preferential regulatory treatment by federal and state agencies along with government “stimulus” incentives, tax breaks and loan-guarantee subsidies.
The costs of all of this will be fully realized when the electric bills come due in the near future. That indicates that this is hardly being driven by economics, but rather by politics. And the politics of saving the planet derive from the same movement that ostensibly tries to protect the environment from the impacts of development.
However, this new, well-connected renewable energy development sector – in the form of unionized large-scale solar energy generation projects on California’s federal desert lands – has elbowed its way ahead of all other types of development, including mining, which actually produces things people need.
This is one of several attempts to grab more desert away from average Californians. The U.S. Marine Corps is proposing to take over a majority of the Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle recreation area to add to its sprawling Twentynine Palms training base. Eight-hundred-thousand people a year visit Johnson Valley – as many as 40,000 in a single weekend.
As a former Marine who served in a desert war, I certainly want the Marines to have the land they need to realistically train. But I also believe that if they don’t have enough room on their current base, they could simply apply for BLM permits for periodic training exercises on the nearby lands as is done in other parts of the country with no problems.
At the same time, Senator Dianne Feinstein is proposing a second so-called “Desert Protection Act” that would take 1.6 million additional acres of BLM land out of potential development, including mining exploration, by designating two new “National Monuments”, one adjacent to the Mojave National Preserve (which was created by the 1994 Act, taking 1.5 million acres out of BLM multiple use in addition to 800,000 acres out of private ownership), and one adjacent to the Joshua Tree National Park.
These proposals sound harmless, but what most people don’t realize is that just about every square inch of the desert is spoken for, either for military use, national parks, wilderness and special conservation areas, Indian reservations and other types of land management. Half of the lands under BLM management, the supposed “multiple use” agency, are protected under wilderness or special conservation area restrictions.
Projects that would disturb or destroy habitat, say, of the desert tortoise, must make up for that loss by purchasing private habitat at ratios of usually at least three acres for every one acre disturbed. At that rate, even in the nation’s largest county – San Bernardino – just three solar projects on federal land will require an unacceptable amount of private land acquisition – 22,000 acres, or roughly 34 square miles. And that land will come off of the county’s tax rolls. We will literally run out of mitigation land after a handful of projects.
The federal Energy Policy Act of 2005 requires that 10,000 megawatts of renewable energy be generated on public lands in the west. To meet California’s mandate of having 33 percent of our energy come from “renewable” sources, it requires more than 20,000 megawatts of production and they are looking mainly to public lands.
If we approved that much solar, the result would be a regulatory lockdown on the rest of the desert by the federal Fish and Wildlife Service and the state Department of Fish and Game.
And we still wouldn’t be making a dent in the problem these projects purport to solve. California has the ninth largest economy in the world (and falling) but we generate less than 1.5 percent of the world’s so-called greenhouse gases. If we slash emissions by half, we’ve reduced global emissions by a scant three-quarters of a percentage point.
I do support accommodating our fair share of renewable energy as part of a portfolio of economic land uses. More than $5 billion is currently being spent in San Bernardino County on projects and there is some economic benefit there. That benefit would increase if we were to direct those projects to private lands, where they can have more positive economic benefits and less environmental impact.
For projects on public land, we must stop the unsustainable private-land acquisition requirements in favor of scientifically supportable efforts to effectively recover species on existing federal land. Head-starting (raising juvenile tortoises until their shells can withstand predator attacks), which is successfully used by the military, should be allowed for other types of land management.
Aggressive predator control to protect tortoises from ravens and coyotes would also be more effective than simply putting land off limits. They have been doing that for 20 years and the tortoise is still going extinct.
These public lands have long supported a range of beneficial uses. Let’s not destroy the desert, or our ability to use and enjoy it, in the name of saving the planet. All we’ll get in return is a world and a way of life less worth saving.
Brad Mitzelfelt is Vice-Chairman of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, representing the Mojave Desert. He is also a candidate for the newly drawn 8th Congressional District. He is Chairman of the Quad State Local Governments Authority, which includes nine Western counties that advocate for access and economic opportunity on federal lands. And he is a Member of the Public Lands Steering Committee of the National Association of Counties.
… From the Daily Press, May 08, 2012 … By Rene De La Cruz, Special to the Daily Press …
APPLE VALLEY – High Desert jobs may be scarce, but a number of Inland Empire manufacturing firms have difficulty finding highly skilled machinist, fabricators and designers.
Apple Valley High School’s Precision Machining Academy may be able to help fill that void, after San Bernardino County 1st District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt secured $95,000 from the Board of Supervisors to help the academy.
“Manufacturing is one of the bright spots in the local economy, and that industry needs highly trained workers to continue growing,” Mitzelfelt said during a special presentation Tuesday at the school’s welding shop with school and county officials, students and community leaders in attendance.
The funds, which came from Mitzelfelt’s 1st District discretionary funds, will be used by the academy to purchase tools and equipment that will help train the next generation workers.
“I’m excited for the students who will have the opportunity to take advantage of this,” said instructor Casey Penfold, who teaches 120 academy students each year. “Once we get approval, we’ll start ordering.”
The need to develop skilled workers is being advocated by the High Desert Chapter of the Alliance for Education’s STEAM 2020 initiative. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math.
The initiative seeks to create a partnership of education, industry and local government to train workers needed in a growing high-tech manufacturing sector.
The facilities will also be open to students throughout the High Desert after hours, similar to Regional Occupation Programs.
The Inland Empire manufacturing sector added more than 3,000 jobs in the past year, according to a country report, but with the county’s unemployment rate at 12.7 percent, local manufacturers report that they have difficulty finding skilled blue collar positions.
School Superintendent Thomas Hoegerman said the school’s academy will be able to provide skilled workers directly to industry.
Eric Schmidt, vice president of Exquadrum, a manufacturing firm in Adelanto that works with the Department of Defense, said America became a world leader during the industrial era of the 1930s and ’40s.
“This program will help our country get back to where we were,” Schmidt said, “in a country that makes things, accomplished things and gets things done.”
Rene De La Cruz can be reached at email@example.com.
- Move aimed at improving safety for dangerous roadway -
… From the Daily Press, May 08, 2012 … By Katie Lucia, Staff Writer …
FORT IRWIN – The first of 32 call boxes has been installed along Fort Irwin Road — a move county officials say will make the historically dangerous road safer to travel.
By the end of the week all call boxes should be installed along the 30-mile highway that connects Barstow to Fort Irwin. Fort Irwin Road is notorious for the number of serious or fatal car accidents that occur, including a collision last week that took the life of Fort Irwin woman Jonell Davis, 24.
“It will be a much safer drive for those who live and work at Fort Irwin,” said Brad Mitzelfelt, vice chairman of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors. “I just think it’s a great revolution in San Bernardino County and the call box program in which we’re using them where they are most needed, where they will do the most good.”
These are among the first call boxes in the county to be installed on a non-state highway.
“You know, emergency call boxes should go where they’re most needed,” Mitzelfelt said. “And I just feel strongly that in San Bernardino County in particular we have these rural highways that are technically county roads, but they are traveled by a tremendous number of motorists.”
Approximately 5,000 vehicles per day travel on Fort Irwin Road to and from the Army post, according to a statement by Mitzelfelt’s office. An estimated 25 percent of those travelers are Victor Valley residents traveling to the post for work.
Cell phone coverage is spotty along the route and there are no services between the base and Barstow, meaning there can be major delays in notifying officials about an emergency, or seeking help in the event of a breakdown, the statement said. The call boxes were positioned based on cell signals. They are more powerful and have taller antennas, meaning even if a motorist cannot get a cell signal, the call boxes will still function. During collisions cell phones are also often lost or destroyed.
The project cost $41,276 and is funded by a fee for call box services on vehicle registrations.
Katie Lucia may be reached at (760) 256-4123 or KLucia@DesertDispatch.com.
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… From the Press-Dispatch, Sunday, May 6, 2012 … VALLEY VOICES …
By Brad Mitzelfelt
As our region continues the painfully slow economic recovery, there is a surprising bright spot. Manufacturing in the Inland Empire is adding jobs.
The sector added 3,300 manufacturing jobs between February 2011 and February 2012. That’s 60 percent of the manufacturing jobs added in all of California.
We’re also seeing the Inland Empire’s logistics sector making a comeback. As international trade has recovered, Inland Empire warehousing and shipping firms added 3,500 of these logistics jobs.
Container traffic through the ports is nearing pre-recession levels, but the exciting thing is not just the full containers coming in. Full containers are heading out, too. Exports are at a record level.
In April, manufacturing nationwide grew at the fastest pace in 10 months. In the Inland Empire, the Purchasing Managers Index hit 60.8, its second highest level ever.
That bodes well for our predominantly blue-collar work force in two of our strongest sectors: logistics and manufacturing.
Manufacturing today is not the rote assembly line work we may think of. Many manufacturing jobs require a high level of skill and training, including machining, welding, design and fabrication. Inland Empire manufacturers report they are having trouble filling those kinds of positions. Among those is Scott Turbon Mixer in Adelanto, which is having a hard time finding qualified machinists. And there are many others who have notified us of this shortage. This is a situation in which local government can partner with industry and education to start filling that need. We already have a model. A few years ago, San Bernardino County at my request helped a public-private consortium launch the School of Aviation Technology at Southern California Logistics Airport to start training FAA-certified Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) mechanics to provide a skilled labor force for our growing aerospace industry. This included equipment, tuition assistance and later transitioning the school to a Victor Valley College program.
Now as part of VVC, A&P students get college credit and are eligible for financial aid. And most of the school’s students and graduates are working at SCLA in their new field of expertise.
So here’s another answer to another identified need that builds on the model of the A&P School at SCLA: Apple Valley High School now has classes in fabrication, including design, welding, computer numeric control (CNC) and CNC plasma cutting and 3D modeling.
Apple Valley schools Superintendent Thomas Hoegerman says let’s expand it to the next level: a Precision Machining Academy that will be able to provide skilled workers directly to industry.
I agree with that goal, so I will be recommending an appropriation of $95,000 this week from the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors to assist the district in purchasing precision measuring tools, CNC milling machines and other advanced equipment.
While the facilities will be located on campus, they will be open to students throughout the High Desert after hours, similar to Regional Occupation Programs. It will provide entry-level training and experience coordinated with local manufacturers. A higher level of certification could be developed in cooperation with Victor Valley College, and an even higher tier could be coordinated with Cal Poly Pomona.
I want to thank our public and private community leaders who take part in the Alliance for Education in cooperation with San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools Gary S. Thomas Ed.D., and the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) 2020 initiative, along with the Apple Valley Unified School District. Their efforts combined are what lead to programs like this that will address unmet work force educational needs.
Having a work force specifically trained for the industries that are here or are considering setting up shop here will bring more jobs. All of us in government, industry and education need to work together to create and support this new breed of skilled blue collar worker.
Brad Mitzelfelt is vice-chairman and the First District representative on the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors.
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… From the Needles Desert Star, Monday, April 30, 2012 …
SAN BERNARDINO – The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors has approved expanding County Route 66 from Goffs Road eastward through Needles and to the California/Arizona state line.
“This county route marker program, which began with County Route 66 last year, has already been a success, and this is the next step in expanding the coverage of the route markers,” said First District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt, who initiated the marker program. “This will make navigation much easier and supports tourism along the popular Route 66.”
In September 2011, the board formally established County Route 66, beginning on National Trails Highway in Oro Grande just north of Victorville, through Barstow and out to Goffs Road where it intersects with U.S. 95.
That same month, the Barstow City Council agreed to designate County Route 66 within its city limits.
The new signs designating County Route 66 will be funded with up to $10,000 from First District discretionary funds. Signs will be installed along the route, including U.S. 95 and Interstate 40.