By Robert A. Lovingood, 1st District Supervisor, County of San Bernardino
As we start a new year, it’s a good time to look back at the year past and look forward as we set priorities for the future.
In 2016 we saw new business investment in the High Desert. Stirling Capital Investments announced the completion of a fully leased 447,740-square-foot industrial facility in Victorville. Arden Companies relocated to a new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Victorville, creating 100 jobs. Plans are underway for a 1.3 million-square-foot distribution center, which is expected to create 400 to 500 long-term jobs in the North Apple Valley Industrial Specific Plan area. And in December, Clark Pacific broke ground on its new precast concrete manufacturing plant in Adelanto.
Last year, for the third year, we allocated county funds for “Operation Desert Guardian,” a three-month series of crime sweeps that ended with 376 arrests in Hesperia, Apple Valley, Adelanto, Victorville and unincorporated Victor Valley areas. We also implemented reforms to welfare fraud policies and supported a series of ongoing welfare fraud sweeps around the county. The Board of Supervisors added two additional investigators to strengthen the District Attorney’s Cold Case Prosecution Unit. And Sheriff’s Academy Class 205 marked the very first time ever the Department had three academy classes going at the same time.
In the past year, my initiative to use inmate work crews kicked into high gear. Inmate crews cleared more than 578 tons of trash and 7,922 tires in the First District, plus an additional 68 tons of cement and nine boats at an illegal dump site near Interstate 15 and Dale Evans Parkway. The cement was recycled and the tires were used as fuel at local cement plants.
As we look ahead to 2017, we will work on streamlining County Land Use Services processes to better serve the development community. Specifically, we will look to streamline the entitlement and permitting for commercial, residential and industrial developments. These projects create well-paying jobs and have an astonishing economic multiplier effect:
Each new home built creates seven well-paying jobs. Here in San Bernardino County, we are facing a housing shortage that is expected to grow to 65,000 homes within two years. A significant number of San Bernardino County renters spend more than 50 percent of their income on housing. So we have an opportunity to grow jobs and expand our regional economy.
Robert Lovingood is chairman of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors representing the First District.