Category Archives: General

General

Publisher’s Message – Spring 2018

Published by:

Joseph W. Brady

Sunday, May 13, 2018, marked the 30th year that I have resided in the High Desert region. As publisher of The Bradco High Desert Report, the longest standing economic overview of the High Desert region, my first trip to the High Desert region was on Saturday, September 1, 1986.

As Vice President of Pegasus Devel­opment (Santa Barbara) my former employer, Mr. Marc Logan, President of Pegasus Development, asked me to take a look at the High desert region and all its attributes that drove legend­ary homebuilders such as Mr. Ira Nor­ris (deceased) of Inco Homes, etc., to discover the High Desert region and what a great place it is to live, work, and to do business.

Thirty years later we now prepare for the 57th edition of The Bradco High Desert Report, which began in May of 1993. This publication would not have been successful without the continued support, help, and determination of Dr. Alfred Gobar, the Chairman-Emeritus of Alfred Gobar and Associates, who continues to win his battle with cancer, who used to work with his doctors in maintaining his lifestyle in retirement, and spending the majority of his days stock trading.

We continually talk to Dr. Gobar and encourage him in his struggles. I love his sense of humor, his vision and, most importantly, his stories. If you wish to reach out to him directly, please do so by sending him an email at agobar@sbcglobal.net.

The High Desert economy continues to improve, and I do apologize that it has been nearly 10 months since our last publication, but rather than putting out a publication for publications sake (we have put out 56 so far and put nearly 300,000 copies worldwide) we wanted to be sure we had the right information from all of our sponsors and article suppliers.

We wish to re-welcome Mr. John Mul­ville, Regional Director for Metro Study, the country’s largest consult­ing group that deals with new housing throughout the country. I recently heard Mr. Mulville speak to the Building In­dustry Association, Baldy View Chap­ter, (they held their annual conference here in the High Desert region), under the leadership of Mr. Carlos Rodriguez, their Executive Director, and Mr. Mul­ville, like usual, gave a great overview. Welcome back, John.

I would also like to recognize our long-term friend Ms. Violette Roberts, the Community Relations and Education Manager for the Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District, who recently retired from this great agency. Her last article is included. Stepping in to fill some very big shoes is Mr. Ryan Orr, whom I have known for many, many years. He is a great future leader and a great writer, Mr. Orr has recently hired a long-time and well-known local writer, Mr. Martial Haprov. Martial congratulations on your new job and welcome aboard, Mr. Ryan Orr.

Over the years I have heard from Mr. E. Lamont Cosby, who talks about cost segregation and accounting, depre­ciation, etc. This is a very important subject as far as the Internal Revenue Service is conserned. I welcome Mr. Cosby’s article.

I hear from both First District Supervi­sor and Chairman of The San Bernar­dino County Board of Supervisors, Mr. Robert Lovingood, about the reality of crime, (nationally and locally) and have a great update from Mr. Paul Gra­nillo, President and CEP of the Inland Empire Economic Partnership, IEEP.

I wish to thank Mr. Douglas S. Smith, Assistant Executive Director of La­hontan Regional Water Control Board (a very important agency regulating underground water supplies in the rural areas in California), as well as Mr. Tim Watkins, Chief of Legislative and Public Affairs for SBCTA (San Beranrdino County Associates Governments). Congratulatons, Time, to you your staff, and your great Board of Directors, on not only your name change but how you help us expandour roads and transportation networks throughout our country.

I wish to welcome Ms. Sharon Page of HR Edge. Sharon is well known throughout the High Desert region as HR Expert, and we asked her to bring us into the 21st Century with the ongoing regulations in the State of California and nationally. Thank you, Sharon, for all your help.

I always appreciate the work of our 8th Congressional Congressman, Co. Paul Cook (ret.), who represents a very large Congressional District. Thanks, Congressman Cook for all the work you are doing for our military, our veterans, and those helping to keep our country safe.

It’s the first time we have an article from Ms. Lisa Skeels that discusses the aviation pathways project with ComAv, one of the High Desert’s successful job creator at Southern California Logistics Airport with nearly 250 employees, the average wage is nearly $90,000 and we congratulate Mr. Craig Garrick, its founder and President for all the work that you do and all the contributions that you make to the many groups that you help including Victor Valley Community College Foundation, etc.

During the last ten years, there have been may questions about the San Bernardino County Housing Authority, their impacts on Section 8 Housing, etc. I can tell you that I have personally met with their leadership, I have met with some of their Board Members, and I have asked them to answer some very candid questions. I applaud their hon­esty, transparency and candor and wish to recognize one of our local leaders, Ms. Caroll Yule, partner in Shear Real­ty, the High Desert’s largest residential brokerage company, for her leadership role in this group.

I wish to thank Ms. Yvonne Hester with the Mojave Water Agency, Ms. Marika Erdely, CEO of Green EconoME, and speaking about the energy disclosures that are required, our great Assembly­man Jay Obernolte, VVTA (Victor Val­ley Transit Authority) under the leader­ship of Mr. Kevin Kane, and the article supplied by Mr. Fidel Gonzalez. If you ever want to understand the United States Constitution, go to a lunch that is hosted by Senator Mike Morrell. Mr. Morrell represents the 23rd District in California, and he is one of the great­est assets that our state and our coun­try have. Mike, I could listen to you for hours. You are a true stateman and someone who truly appreciates the United States of America, its Constitu­tion and what our forefathers expect for us to do.

Many thanks to CalTrans for their up­dates. The High Desert region is very dependent upon CalTrans, and the great leadership of Mr. John Bulin­ski, Executive Director or this agency. CalTrans has many projects throughout the High Desert region, including the widening of Highway 138, the D Street Interchange project, etc.

The local county school superintendent, Mr. Ted Alejandre, ran unopposed in the June 5th primary. That should tell you that he is doing a great job, as is Assessor Bob Dutton, the San Bernar­dino County Assessor-Recorder-Clerk. I wish to thank both of you personally and professionally for the great work that you do, the leadership roles that you take and how much you truly are dedicated public servants.

Pay special attention to Senator Scott Wilk’s column, “High Desert isn’t your dumping ground, California; time for change in inmate placement.” This is a very serious issue that not only impacts the High Desert portion but impacts many places in California.

I also wish to thank Mr. Marc Cam­popiano, Ms. Jennifer Roy, and Mr. Joshua T. Bledsoe of the Bureau of Land Management, Latham and Wat­kins, Mr. Robert Sewell, the great Pub­lic information Officer and Director of Marketing (the man who wears 20 hats at Victor Valley Community College District), which is helping us now en­joy our year. I am incredibly humbled and happy to be a Trustee at this very fine institution.

I would like to thank Ms. Melissa Radeka with CoStar for allowing us to supply the most accurate information about the industrial market within the High Desert region.

As a Trustee at Victor Valley Com­munity College District, I wholeheart­edly support our youth and educational system and would like to congratulate Enrique Arcilla, winner of the Victor Valley Libertarian Alliances Brushfire of Freedom $1,000 scholarship for his outstanding essay titled “Overreach, the Constitution, and Theft of Legisla­tive Power: Tyranny Sprouts Anew.” Enrique will continue his studies in in­ternational development and econom­ics at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England next year. We wish him well.

Lastly, I wish to thank our five (5) local cities (Adelanto, Barstow, Hesperia, Victorville, and the Town of Apple Val­ley) for their continual support of the Bradco High Desert Report.

Our great writers include Mr. Logan Olds of VVWRA (Victor Valley Waste Water Reclamation Authority), a former Associate of The Bradco Companies, Mrs. Kathryn Tong, who is now associ­ated with Welfont Commercial, a com­pany that has a great amount of benefit in the sale of real estate for certain types of sellers of high end property and high net worth individuals who are taking a very close look at 1031 exchanges but, more importantly, a very old IRS rule, the IRS 170 Bargain Sale.

As publisher of this publication, if I can be of any personal assistance in answering any questions that you have, or if you have any suggestions about how we can make this publication even bigger and better, please feel free to call me at my office at (760) 951-5111 x 101. You may call me during the daytime between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Pacific Standard Time, on my cell phone, (760) 954-4567 or email me at jbrady@thebradcocompanies.com. If you email me, please be sure to note in the subject line: Bradco High Desert Report/ “Your Comment.”

Economy General Property

The Firmest of Housing Market Recoveries

Published by:

By John Mulville, Regional Director – Metrostudy

Most people, especially those in the housing industry, can remember a few unbelievable anecdotes from the sub­prime era. One of the most memorable was the one about the Riverside County “investor” who owned 15 homes, all with “no doc” stated income loans (so called “liar loans”). Inevitably, the slightest hiccup in rent payments, taxes, dues and maintenance caused a shortfall in cash flow for this unfortunate inves­tor that ultimately led to a bankruptcy filing.

Compare the subprime era to 2018. Our thesis for 2018 is that the current recov­ery is experiencing conditions that are diametrically opposite of the subprime era. In fact, the conditions that typify the current housing market expansion have established one of the firmest hous­ing market recoveries in U.S. history.

Remember early in this recovery cycle when new home builders focused al­most exclusives on upper-end housing? Here is why.

Upper-income households don’t rely on wages from working as do lower income classifications. Affluent households have investments and business income that recovered much more quickly and with greater vigor than wage income. As a result, this cycle has many more home purchases being made by financially capable households than has been the case in past recoveries. Higher income groups are financially resilient, make larger down payments and have greater reserves in case of financial distress.

Composition_of_income_caries_with_Income_Level_Table

A second factor is immigration. In recent years immigration has been dominated by well-educated groups that earn higher wage levels than immigrants have historically. Additionally, current immigrants have a much greater propensity to buy and will spend more on housing, with larger down payments, than existing American citizens. It is important to note that the housing stock in many foreign countries is very unattractive. Immigrants considering a purchase have reported that U.S. housing, particularly new homes, are vastly more attractive and livable than housing in developing nations.

Trend_of_H-1B_Petitions_Filed_By_Annual_Compensation_Chart

A third factor is household debt. The so-called Great Recession rebalanced the amount of household debt with overall income levels (shown next). While it is true that the reduction in household debt came about as the result of foreclosures and short sales, it is also true that many households rid themselves of debt that could not have been paid off or amortized away. As shown below, debt service payments have retreated to levels last seen in the 1980s.

Mortgage_Debt_Service_Payments_Chart

The severe shortage of new and existing homes for sale has forced those interested in purchasing to improve their standing as potential purchasers. In general, it takes a degree of determination and persistence to be a successful purchaser in today’s market. Prospective home buyers have cleaned up their credit, made multiple offers, and written “sweetheart” letters to sellers, only to find there are dozens of other buyers. Some interested buyers opt for the new home market, where they hope there is less competition. However, builders recognize the deep undersupply of homes and will tend to cater to those parties that have the best chance to qualify for a loan and the determination to complete the purchase transaction.

The competition for homes can be viewed in terms of credit scores among those that have qualified for a loan (shown next). As shown below, for 2017 the FICO score (credit ratings for consumers) for successful mortgage applicants is at an all-time high. Public homebuilders that often originate their own loans report similar stellar credit scores among their applicants. A 720 FICO score is considered to be in the “good” range and highly creditworthy. Accordingly, current scores indicate a highly qualified and capable pool of purchasers is competing for the available homes.

Much has been made about the lack of entry-level and first-time buyer activity until recently, when this activity has finally picked up. The fact that buyers are much older and marry later in life has a profound impact on the home purchase equation. Intuitively, we recognize that getting married later in life offers more maturity to the relationship; in fact, divorce rates for those married at older ages are markedly lower.

Lending_Standards_for_Approved_Mortgage_Loans

The same can be said for older home­buyers, particularly in a market climate were the determination and persistence needed to purchase will tend to exclude the less-committed buyer that may be infatuated with the concept of owning. Over time the older homeowner will prove to be a better neighbor, a better owner and a better borrower than would be typical of a much younger age profile.

Age_at_Which_Majority_are_Married_or_Homeowners_chart

Another contributor to the quality and durability of the current recovery is the lack of new home construction. The recession depressed housing construction levels in a very severe manner. Housing starts were far below the totals needed to meet population growth. New home construction rebounded very slowly, especially in Southern California, even as the economic expansion took hold and then strengthened.

The chart on page four shows building permits in six Southern California counties going back to 1990. Normal population growth suggested the need for 83,000 apartments, condos and single-family-home permits annually (as shown by the dashed red line). Permits levels have been below 83,000 in nearly all years and far below that level in most years.

Annual_Residential_Permit_Activity_Chart

The magnitude of the undersupply is large enough that there is no practical way to build our way back to supply/de­mand equilibrium. This indicates that strong demand will persist and that the current recovery will enjoy positive de­mand characteristics for years to come.

Key Takeaways

It is widely recognized that housing, or more specifically, poor credit stan­dards and loan underwriting, led to the subprime debacle and the Great Reces­sion. Historically and statistically, it is very unlikely that real estate will be the cause of the next economic downturn or recession. Additionally, policy mak­ers and government officials have typi­cally taken steps to avoid a repeat of the conditions that caused the LAST reces­sion. The aforementioned factors indi­cate that housing will not be the cause of a similar disruption. Moreover, the factors suggest that the current housing market recovery may enjoy the firmest footing and the most positive alignment of conditions experienced by any hous­ing market recovery in U.S. history.

Please refer any comments or questions to:

John Mulville, Regional Director – Metrostudy
2211 Michelson Drive, Suite 810
Irvine, CA 92612
jmulville@metrostudy.com
949-579-1250

General Politics Property

Steady Property Value Gains in the High Desert

Published by:

By Bob Dutton, San Bernardino County Assessor-Recorder-Clerk

As businesses and residents continue to be priced out of Southern California’s coastal communities, San Bernardino County is experiencing strong eco­nomic growth. There is a slight uptick in commercial construction, residential construction, and new transfers in prop­erty ownership. Housing affordability is a key factor in the large number of people moving to the Inland Empire. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, from 2016-2017 San Bernardino County added 20,000 new residents. More peo­ple are buying homes in San Bernardino County or opening up a small business. With such increases, steady property value gains are being experienced in our region.

State law requires the office of the As­sessor to locate and identify all taxable properties to establish their assessed values. My goal as County Assessor is to ensure that property owners are not being over-assessed. Every year my of­fice works diligently to fairly and accu­rately appraise over 800,000 parcels in San Bernardino County.

2017’s Annual Property Assessment Roll showcased a number of positive attributes, some never before seen in our county. In 2017 the Roll contained 810,304 taxable parcels, valued at $206,576,804,207. The county’s total property valuation grew 6.1% as compared to the 2016 Assessment Roll. Notably, this is the first time in the county’s history that total assessed value of all property surpassed the $200 billion mark.

1978-2017_San_Bernardino_County_Assesment_Roll_Chart

In some portions of the High Desert, there was much higher growth. Accord­ing to the 2017s Annual Property As­sessment Roll:

  • The City of Adelanto’s total property is valued at $1,941,513,249. The val­ue is a 6.4% increase from the 2016 Assessment Roll.
  • The City of Apple Valley’s total property is valued at $5,646,168,002. The value is a 5.3% increase from the 2016 Assessment Roll.
  • The City of Barstow’s total property is valued at $1,286,061,810. The val­ue is a 7.8% increase from the 2016 Assessment Roll.
  • The City of Hesperia’s total property is valued at $5,683,417,520. The val­ue is a 6.5% increase from the 2016 Assessment Roll.
  • The City of Victorville’s total prop­erty is valued at $8,259,259,319. The value is a 4.5% increase from the 2016 Assessment Roll.

Growing property values are a sign of a strong local economy. However, there are still many hurdles that our county faces. According to the Building Indus­try Association of Southern California, issues include a high poverty rate of 19.5%, an estimated housing shortage of 65,000 homes in San Bernardino County by 2019, and government road­blocks at the state and local levels.

Creating acces­sible, good-paying jobs is one step in addressing poverty. State lawmakers, however, continue to overtax Californians and businesses at some of the highest rates in the nation. Removing business tax burdens would help entice more employers to create good, local jobs in the Inland Empire. Another step would be to remove bur­densome local and state regulations and reforming the California Environmental Quality Act to mitigate lengthy envi­ronmental impact studies. Such actions would help boost the building process of new homes and commercial buildings to meet the increasing housing demands in San Bernardino County.

As San Bernardino County’s Assessor- Recorder-Clerk, and a member of the California Assessors’ Association Legislative Committee, I am committed to working with colleagues to develop and support legislation which encourages economic growth. If you have any questions or wish to see personal assessed values of your property, visit my website at: www.sbcounty.gov/assessor and click on the Online Services, Property Information Management System link. You can also call our toll-free number at 1-877-885-7654.

Air Quality General

This Year, the Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District Celebrates its Silver Anniversary

Published by:

By Ryan Orr, Community Relations & Education Supervisor, and Martial Haprov. Administrative Services, Community Relations

Over the last 25 years, MDAQMD has consistently strived to educate the com­munity on air-quality issues. For in­stance, in 2001 MDAQMD spawned the Mojave Environmental Educational Consortium, which has grown into one of the largest non-profits in the High Desert: and which provides environ­mental education to students and assis­tance to teachers.

MDAQMD employs a common sense, inclusive approach to the development of air quality management programs.

Led by Executive Director and Air Pol­lution Control Officer Brad Poiriez, the District boasts 40 full-time employees and encompasses more than 20,000 square miles. As the geographical sec­ond largest air district in the state, the state of Rhode Island could fit within the District’s boundaries 16 times without overlapping. District responsibilities include air monitoring, permitting, in­spections and community outreach, and education.

Despite its large coverage area, the district has fostered an atmosphere of healthy air quality throughout the Mo­jave Desert through its air quality educa­tion, pollution prevention and maintain­ing constant contact with stakeholders.

We aim to relate to regulated businesses in an approachable manner while per­forming our mandated responsibilities.

“We really focus on educating and in­forming our residents on air quality, protecting their health through air monitoring and support­ing lowering emissions,” said Poiriez. “We also fo­cus on building a coopera­tive relationship with lo­cal businesses, creating an atmosphere that promotes responsible and sustain­able economic growth in our communities.”

MDAQMD is committed to providing a welcoming environment to stakeholders currently residing in, or looking to re­locate into, the district, while protecting public health through pollution preven­tion initiatives. Our permit engineering department is the first stop for new busi­nesses. This is where business owners can apply for air quality permits and work closely with engineers to identify permit conditions and regulations appli­cable to their operations.

In today’s economic climate, regula­tory flexibility can mean the difference between success and failure for some businesses. Historically, California’s air quality regulations have garnered a reputation as being some of the most challenging in the nation. The Golden State is divided into 35 local air districts that are responsible for implement­ing these regulations that apply to per­mit engineering of air pollution. Each district enforces rules and regulations based on air pollution laws and imple­ments air quality programs required by state and federal mandates. Every air district in the state must show progress in reducing air pollution to meet state and federal air quality standards in order to preserve the environment and protect the health and safety of the general public.

To attain and maintain a healthful environment while supporting strong and sustainable economic growth.” — MDAQMD Mission Statement

Rather than focusing solely on punitive actions, the MDAQMD takes pride in recognizing businesses that set an example of environmental stewardship. During Pollution Prevention Week each September, the district confers its prestigious Exemplar Award on the best of our regulated community whose work in the area of air pollution prevention or control “raises the bar” for others. Year-round, our inspectors also seek out gas stations that exceed regulatory requirements, and these stations receive the Mojave Green Business Award.

Today, the agency holds 3,869 permits covering 588 companies with 1,203 fa­cilities, including 42 Title V facilities. Title V of the Clean Air Act requires major sources of air pollutants, and cer­tain other sources, to obtain and operate in compliance with an operating permit. Title V facilities include industries such as power generation, mining and cement plants. Sources with these “Title V per­mits” are required by the Act to certify compliance with the applicable require­ments of their permits at least annually.

We want to say thank you to the community for a successful 25 years and make it known that we are here to answer questions and help residents and the business community for the next 25 years and beyond.

Economy General

Tax Reform has Made Investment in Commercial Real Estate More Attractive

Published by:

By E. Lamont Cosby, Cost Segregation Services, Inc. Senior Consultant

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, along with other tax reform, has made investment in commercial real estate an even better proposition. There is now the opportunity for a greater “Return On Investment” for commercial build­ings. This legislation is also important to investors considering the purchase of a commercial building.

To put it simply, ROI is positively im­pacted by a 5% to 8% influx of cash flow from a significant reduction in income tax liability. This reduction in income tax is largely from bonus depreciation. Money that is not paid in income tax­es is now money available to building owners, business owners, and investors to use or invest.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act increased the bonus depreciation of commercial buildings from 50% to 100% for quali­fied property purchased after Septem­ber 27, 2017. While there are technical and other considerations, bonus eligible property must have a depreciation life of 20 years or less. Bonus depreciation has been expanded to include both newly constructed buildings and existing prop­erty purchased after Sept. 27, 2017.

While accountants are a part of the pro­cess, this is an engineering-platform-based building analysis. In fact, many CPAs are turning to organizations like Cost Segregation Services Inc. to pro­vide them with the calculations and guidance to allow incorporation of the relevant data into the business or prop­erty owner’s tax returns.

Experts who handled depreciation schedules and forecasts prior to the Act are now on a steep learning curve. For example, Qualified Improvement Prop­erty (QIP) has replaced qualified lease­hold improvements. Qualified retail improvements and qualified restaurant improvements, which have had a 15-year recovery period, are now eligible for 100% bonus depreciation in the cur­rent tax year.

In order to achieve these financial ben­efits requires that building “units” are identified and valued by a specialized building analysis called Cost Segrega­tion. Although there are other methods of identifying buildings, Cost Segrega­tion is the proven method and the most acceptable method by the IRS.

In summary, the way that buildings are treated for tax purposes has changed. These changes are favorable to the build­ing owners. An engineering-platform-based Cost Segregation analysis allows building owners to take full economic advantage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, as well as the Tangible Property Regu­lations. Cost Segregation Services, Inc. is one of the national firms that does the identification, valuing, and calculations for the owners and their accountants.

E. Lamont Cosby
Cost Segregation Services
310 218-0446 direct line
www.costsegserv.com

General Politics

Violent Crime is a Problem Both Nationally and Locally

Published by:

By Robert A. Lovingood, 1st District Supervisor, County of San Bernardino

In small towns, suburbs and large cities across the nation, violent crime rate in­creases in 2015 and 2016 represent the largest single-year increases in the na­tional violent-crime rate since 1991. In 2015 the United States saw the largest jump in the murder rate since 1968.

In the High Desert we have also seen sharp increases in crime. So I’d like to share with you what we’re doing.

Since I took office in December 2012, funds have been allocated for the sher­iff’s summertime crime sweeps in part­nership with High Desert cities. Last summer’s “Operation Desert Guard­ian” included 20 separate operations between June and September, resulting in 834 arrests, including 150 felony and 684 misdemeanor arrests. The Sheriff’s Department has also added a fifth Ho­micide Team to investigate and solve murder cases across the county.

Because of the success of “Desert Guardian,” I successfully advocated for $1 million in supplemental funding for a yearlong series of sheriff’s crime sweeps throughout the county.

In the first six months, these additional operations resulted in 660 arrests, in­cluding 466 felony arrests. Sheriff John McMahon’s teams of deputy sheriffs are continuing to focus on gang en­hancements and repeat offenders. These targeted sweeps are ongoing.

Furthermore, because of decriminaliza­tion policies promoted by Sacramento politicians, Sheriff McMahon has re­structured the Narcotics Division by combining both gang and narcotics units under one umbrella. The unit focuses the department’s resources on criminal street gangs, utilizing proactive enforce­ment and intervention measures specifi­cally designed to enhance public safety. It is proving to be an effective strategy.

Another element of our strategy is the “GIT”—the Gang Intelligence Team. It is a task force comprised of Sheriff’s De­partment personnel and personnel from the FBI, Probation, CHP, and San Ber­nardino Police Department who handle complex investigations. The GIT con­ducted three large-scale investigations, resulting in the arrest of 85 gang mem­bers for major felonies (most are facing multiple-year sentences). They also as­sisted homicide with two unsolved mur­ders, resulting in the arrest of five sus­pects for murder. The county has also made progress in reducing recidivism and addressing the issue of mentally ill inmates in county jails.

These strategies are working. Our crime problems were not created overnight and they won’t be resolved overnight; but you can be assured that our deputies are working diligently toward resolution. Thank you for supporting our men and women who put their own safety at risk every day to protect our families.

General Politics

Regional Economic Strength

Published by:

By Paul C. Granillo, President and CEO of Inland Empire Economic Partnership

In March-April 2018, the Inland Em­pire Economic Partnership (IEEP) hosted two major events focused on the growing strength of the Inland Empire economy. One was Dr. John Husing’s 2018 State of the Region, where 430 local leaders heard him emphatically state that the inland economy is in the midst of the “strongest period of economic performance in the 53 years he has studied the area.” He underscored this by pointing out that the region had 12.2% more local jobs (160,00) in 2017 than it did at the 2007 pre-recession peak. California was only up 8.8% and the U.S. by 6.7%. Amazingly, he pointed out that the 49,433 new local jobs in 2017 were barely exceeded by Los Angeles County’s huge economy (50,617) and were more than every other CA metropolitan area.

In April, IEEP and the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce cooperated on the 2018 Southern California E-Com­merce and Logistics Conference spon­sored by UPS. This event focused on the growth and rapid changes occurring in the supply chain that delivers goods to our homes and businesses. It ex­plored the changes occurring in the sup­ply changes in light of new technolo­gies, as well as the explosion in on-line shopping and continued expansion of international trade.

Among others, the speakers included the World Wide Public Relations Director for Amazon.com, who pointed out the huge local labor force now working for the firm; Colliers International’s chief location strategist discussed how the size and shape of buildings is changing to accommodate the advanced technolo­gies being deployed within them; the Executive Director of the South Coast Air Quality Management District led a panel on strategies for deploying new technologies to increase goods move­ment efficiency and lower air quality difficulties.

A thread throughout the conference was that the current trends and future tech­nologies in the movement of goods all point to great potential for the econo­my of Southern California and the In­land Empire. The only hesitancy was the harm that regulators and legislators might do to the supply chain. As Dr. Husing had stated earlier, “The logis­tics sector added 23.3% of all new jobs and indirectly supported another 10% as workers spent their payrolls locally. Had the sector’s growth been stopped, the inland area would still be mired in the recession.”

That danger was underscored by Noel Massie, U.S. Operations Manager for UPS. He was quoted in the Inland Val­ley Bulletin saying, “Legislators are sometimes quick to make decisions that adversely impact the movement of goods … they can become very arrogant about their intentions when it comes to regulations. And it will show up in some way that impacts the economy in a negative way later on after the damage is done. That’s why you need the bod­ies you have, like the chamber and the Inland Empire Economic Partnership and Orange County Business Council. The best you can hope to do is educate them.”

That is one mission that IEEP continues to work to try to fulfill through events like the State of the Region and the Southern California E-Commerce and Logistics Summit.

General Water

Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board Implementation of Statewide Water Quality Policy for Onsite Wastewater Systems

Published by:

By Douglas F. Smith, Assistant Executive Officer

The Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board, known as the Lahontan Water Board, is a state agency whose mission is to protect surface and ground­water uses for current and future benefit of all Californians. The board has seven members appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate. Staff offices are located in South Lake Tahoe and Victorville.

This article’s focus is the implementa­tion of the State’s Onsite Wastewater Treatment System (OWTS) Policy as it affects the South Lahontan Basin. These onsite systems are more commonly re­ferred to as septic systems.

Sewered and Non-sewered Areas

In the Lahontan Region, both commu­nity wastewater treatment facilities and individual septic systems are used to manage domestic wastewater discharg­es. The Lahontan Water Board autho­rizes more than 100 discharges through individual waste discharge require­ments or orders. Most discharges of treated wastewater are applied to land as recycled water for crops, used in land­scape irrigation, or allowed to percolate through the soil to groundwater. Land applying such discharges helps to filter out pathogens and provides an effective method of groundwater recharge. Reg­ulated facilities are required to conduct monitoring and reporting to ensure the protection of water quality.

Where individuals or subdivisions do not have readily available community wastewater collection systems (sewers), individual septic systems are used. Es­timates of the number of septic systems in California are more than 1.2 million. Because the Lahontan Region is pre­dominately rural, the population served with septic systems is a significant frac­tion of the total population within the region.

Pre-policy Regulation of Septic Systems

Local jurisdictional agencies (local agencies) issue building permits for the construction of septic systems. The lo­cal agencies are counties and incorpo­rated cities/towns.

Conventional septic systems consist of a septic tank for solids removal and liq­uids disposal by sub-surface drain fields or seepage pits. To ensure protection of public health and safety, the Water Quality Control Plan for the Lahontan Region (Basin Plan) has specified mini­mum criteria that local agencies must follow before issuing building permits for new septic systems. Through the Basin Plan and implementing memoran­dums of understanding (MOUs) with lo­cal agencies, the Lahontan Water Board restricted septic system discharges to 500 gallons per acre per day or 250 gal­lons per day per two equivalent dwell­ing units per acre. Installation of septic systems were allowed on lots having a net area greater than or equal to 15,000 square feet at subdivisions approved be­fore 1988.

Emergence of the Statewide Policy

There have been occurrences in Califor­nia where septic systems, for a number of reasons, have not protected water quality and public health. Because of this concern, the Legislature amended the Porter Cologne Water Quality Act and required the state to adopt a state­wide policy for septic systems regula­tion. The State Water Resources Con­trol Board (State Water Board) adopted the OWTS Policy on November 13, 2012, and it became effective on May 13, 2013.

OWTS Policy Objectives, Scope, and Processes

The OWTS Policy allows the continued use of septic systems providing they are protective of water quality and public health. The OWTS Policy recognizes that existing local agencies are best to manage septic systems and relies upon existing local programs to improve these systems, with coordination between local agencies and the Water Board. To accomplish this, the OWTS Policy establishes a statewide, risk-based, tiered approach for the regulation and management of septic systems installations and replacements, consisting of Tiers 0 to 4. The OWTS Policy also sets the level of performance and protection expected from septic systems. General OWTS Policy information describing OWTS Policy Tiers is presented below and can be accessed on the Lahontan Water Board website at: www.waterboards.ca.gov/lahontan/water_is­sues/programs/owts/index.shtml.

OWTS Policy Tiers

The OWTS Policy sets five different tiers for regulating septic systems, based on risk to water quality:

Tier 0 Properly functioning septic sys­tems and no impacts to water quality

Tier 1 Statewide standards for new or replacement septic systems

Tier 2 Local Agency Management Program (LAMP) to regulate septic systems

Tier 3 Specific standards for septic systems that may be affecting surface waters

Tier 4 Septic systems that require cor­rective action

Tier 1 sets prescriptive siting and design standards to assure short-term and long-term protection of water quality. Of significance is the allowable density for new septic systems. In the High Desert area, the minimum density under Tier 1 is one equivalent dwelling unit per 2½ acres for subdivisions created after May 13, 2013.

Tier 2 is a LAMP, administered by local agencies, for new or replacement septic systems. Local agencies develop and maintain the LAMP. The LAMP pro­vides an alternative method of achiev­ing the OWTS Policy’s objective to protect water quality and public health. A LAMP may contain different siting and design requirements than Tier 1. Of interest to economic development, the tiers associated with the local agency approval of new and replacement septic systems are Tier 1 and Tier 2.

Tier 3 applicable in areas of impaired water bodies, does not currently apply in the High Desert, as there are no listed impaired surface water bodies.

Tier 4 applies to septic systems that are not properly functioning (failing). Fail­ure may be indicated by surfacing efflu­ent, wastewater backing up in plumb­ing fixtures, septic systems component/ piping structural failure, or significant groundwater or surface water degrada­tion.

Timeline

While the OWTS Policy contains a number of milestones, it allows local agencies to manage their previous septic system program under the Basin Plan/ MOU until the Lahontan Water Board approves the local agency LAMP or May 13, 2018, whichever occurs first. After May 13, 2018, a local agency must regulate septic systems under either the Tier 1 restrictive requirement or the Tier 2 LAMP.

Summary of LAMP Submissions in the High Desert

The table below presents the eight local agencies in the High Desert portion of the South Lahontan Basin that propose to implement a Tier 2 LAMP.

Lahontan_Regional_Water_Chart

These agencies have proposed different approaches to limit septic system den­sity but generally continue the existing Basin Plan/MOU density criteria: one dwelling unit per ½ acre and 15,000 ft² for some parcels. An up-to-date status of LAMP submission, review, and La­hontan Water Board approval is avail­able on the Lahontan Water Board web-site.

Septic Systems with Supplemental Treatment

In some cases, supplemental treatment is needed because of site conditions, such as rapid infiltration rates in underlying soil and shallow groundwater or a com­mercial site that does not meet the den­sity criteria. In these cases a developer may need to add supplemental treatment to septic systems to compensate for in­creased loading of pathogens and nutri­ents. Some local agencies will include these types of systems within the scope of the LAMP and require inspections, maintenance, and monitoring. Lahon­tan Water Board staff may review these proposed systems at the request of the local agency and will provide recom­mendations for the siting, construction, and ongoing maintenance of the system. However, if the local agency chooses not to regulate these systems, the de­veloper must obtain waste discharge requirements (e.g., permit) from the La­hontan Water Board.

Water Quality Assessment Program

As stated, local agencies with a LAMP must maintain a Water Quality Assess­ment Program to evaluate the impact of septic system discharges. A Water Quality Assessment Program must include surface and/or groundwater moni­toring, data collection, and assessment. However, local agencies may use data collected from other monitoring pro­grams or data sources to characterize the effect of septic system discharges on water quality. Additionally, Water Board staff supports and encourages local agencies to track and evaluate lo­cations and densities of septic systems and water supply wells to estimate and predict future adverse changes in water quality.

Lahontan Water Board staff recogniz­es that the Water Quality Assessment Program is an evolving process. Lo­cal agencies are encouraged to partner with other agencies, such as the Mojave Water Agency, who maintains a reposi­tory of groundwater quality data from its programs as well as data gathered by the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The State Water Board’s Divi­sion of Drinking Water also maintains data from regulated drinking water sys­tems.

Conditional Waiver of Waste Dis­charge Requirements

The State Water Board has waived the requirements for a septic system owner to submit a report of waste discharge, pay fees, and obtain waste discharge requirements from the Lahontan Water Board. The waiver applies to septic system discharges covered under the OWTS Policy, primarily domestic wastewater discharges of less than 10,000 gallons per day and less than “high-strength” water (less than 900 milligrams per liter of biochemical oxygen demand). Septic system owners with a design flow of greater than 10,000 gallons per day (or that meet other criteria – such as discharges of industrial wastewater) must obtain waste discharge requirements from the Lahontan Water Board.

Local Financial Effects

Local agencies are proposing LAMPs that comply with the OWTS Policy and, if accepted by the Lahontan Wa­ter Board, propose negligible effects on new developments. LAMP implementa­tion may increase tracking and monitor­ing by the local agencies and bear the cost of preparing and submitting Water Quality Assessment Program reports or supporting counties in preparing these reports. Future changes to LAMPs may be proposed to the Water Board. In­creases in local agency program costs are unknown. The Lahontan Water Board encourages developers to consid­er installing community sewer systems, where feasible, to allow for the re-use and recycling of such water for benefi­cial use of the public. In this manner the underlying high quality groundwater of the Mojave Desert can be protected and managed to provide safe drinking water to our communities for a long time to come.

General

2018 Employment Laws and Regulations

Published by:

By Sharon Page

California Governor Jerry Brown kicked off 2018 by signing several bills that have a direct impact on employers and employment throughout the state. Two major bills restricting hiring informa­tion both went into effect on January 1, 2018. Both restrict an employer’s abil­ity to inquire into an applicant’s back­ground. The first restricts an employer from asking about and/or using criminal history information and the other re­stricts salary history. Minimum Wage, Immigration Enforcement and the Pa­rental Leave Act round out the major legislation.

Criminal History Restriction AB 1008 was proposed and passed by the Califor­nia Legislature in response to the statis­tic that nearly one in three adults have an arrest or conviction record leading to under- and unemployment for millions. Language in the bill states, “Experts have found that employment is essential to helping formerly incarcerated people support themselves and their families, that a job develops prosocial behavior, strengthens community ties, enhances self-esteem, and improves mental health, all of which reduce recidivism. These ef­fects are strengthened the longer the per­son holds the job, and especially when it pays more than minimum wage.” The restriction on using criminal background history is designed to reduce barriers to employment for those with prior convic­tions. In addition to the statewide ban, several municipalities have developed their own restrictions, and employers are cautioned to seek additional information if they have employees who are working in those areas which include the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco.

As of January 1, 2018, employers with 5 or more employees may not seek crimi­nal history inquiries prior to making a conditional offer of employment. This includes seeking information on an ap­plication, during the interview process or conducting a criminal background check prior to extending a conditional offer of employment. The only excep­tion is when the position is required by any state, federal or local law to conduct a criminal background check.

Employers who desire to do a back­ground check should now take these steps:

  • Review application and verify it does NOT ask about criminal history
  • Make sure interview questions don’t ask about criminal history
  • Extend conditional offer of employ­ment, if using a background check
  • Perform or authorize background check.

If it comes back “clear,” proceed with hiring

  • If the background check comes back with a “Flag,” follow these steps, out­lined in the regulations:

Company completes Individualized Assessment Worksheet

Company issues Preliminary Written Decision (if assessment excludes applicant from qualification)

Applicant has opportunity to respond

Company issues written notice of Fi­nal Decision.

Salary History Restriction is an expan­sion of the Fair Pay Act and equal pay protection in California. The rationale behind this law is that determining an applicant’s current salary based on prior salary may perpetuate discriminatory pay practices. California’s law (and the other states that have passed similar laws) are intended to narrow the pay gap between men and women and among racial and ethnic minorities by emphasizing the pay being for a specific position and not based on prior salary. This law applies to all employers, regardless of size. An employer shall not rely on salary history information of an applicant for employ­ ment as a factor in determining whether to offer employment to an applicant or what salary to offer an applicant. Em­ployers may not seek salary history in­formation, including compensation and benefit information, about an applicant for employment. Employers are also restricted from using an agent to gather that information, so employers need to ensure they are not getting salary his­tory from background check vendors as well. Many smaller employers have his­torically used applicant information to do an informal analysis of the going rate for the positions and what competitors may be paying for similar positions, and this restriction will prevent them from doing that. In addition, employers, upon reasonable request, need to provide the pay scale for a position to an applicant applying for employment. This means that employers may need to create pay scales for the different positions within their business if they don’t already have them.

The only exception to this regulation is that it does not apply to salary history information disclosable to the public pursuant to federal or state law, includ­ing the California Public Records Act or the federal Freedom of Information Act. In addition, if an applicant voluntarily and without prompting discloses salary history information to a prospective em­ployer, nothing in the regulations pro­hibits that employer from considering or relying on that voluntarily disclosed sal­ary history information in determining the salary for that applicant. Employers should take the following steps:

  1. Ensure the application does not have a space for prior salary (typically found in the sections asking about current or past employment)
  2. Ensure anyone involved in the hiring process understands that employers can not ask about past salary
  3. Create or review pay scales for the different positions within the company

Minimum Wage Requirements While not a new law, minimum wages increased again this year during the phase-in of the minimum wage steps to reach $15/hour by 2022-2023. When minimum wages for hourly employees increase, employers must also ensure exempt employees’ salaries are at least two times the state minimum wage. Currently, employers with 26 or more employees must pay a minimum of $11/hour and exempt employees must be earning at least $45,760/annum. Em­ployers with 25 or fewer employees must be paid a minimum of $10.50/hour and exempt employees must be earning at least $43,680/annum.

Steps for employers to take:

  1. Ensure all hourly employees are be­ing paid at least minimum wage for all hours worked (and appropriate over­time)
  2. Ensure all exempt employees are being paid at least two times the state minimum wage

In a lose-lose proposition for employ­ers, the state has declared specific rules on Immigration Enforcement and im­poses restrictions on federal immigra­tion agency access. The state has now set up employers to possibly risk fines and penalties from the state for violating their law and fines and penalties from the feds for not complying with their agency instructions. To comply with state law, California employers should only allow access to a non-public worksite with a judicial warrant. In addition, employ­ers are to post a Notice of Inspection in the language employees predominately use. The Labor Commissioner is devel­oping a notice template and will have it published by July 1, 2018. Currently, the federal Department of Justice has filed suit against the state. Best practice for California employers would be to contact their employment law attorney immediately upon being visited by Im­migration and Customs Enforcement to ensure they get proper guidance on how to limit their liability in these murky wa­ters.

Lastly, with a major impact on employers with 20-49 employees, and a lesser im­pact on larger employers, the new Paren­tal Leave Law provides job-protected leave for 12 weeks of baby bonding leave within one year of birth/adoption or fos­ter care placement. This leave is in addi­tion to an employee’s eligibility for Preg­nancy Disability Leave. The law does not apply to employees subject to the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) but extends the job protection to addition­al employees.

Employees are eligible for Parental Leave if the employee worked:

  • For a covered employer for at least 12 months;
  • At least 1,250 hours in the past 12 months; and
  • At a worksite with at least 20 em­ployees within a 75-mile radius.

Employers should review their work­sites to see if their employees may be entitled to Parental Leave and, if they are, set up a system for notifying em­ployees, tracking the leave, and ensur­ing compliance with the new law.

Employers in California are suffering from rule and regulation fatigue, and this year the legislature continued in its path of adding to the burdens of the business community. Businesses need to make sure they keep their eyes on Sacramento and closely follow all new and updated regulations to be compliant.

Sharon Page,The HR Edge, Human Re­sources, Consulting, Training. The HR Edge specializes in partnering with our clients to ensure compliance with state and federal rules and regulations; assisting with hiring and firing; providing training and coaching; and helping businesses manage their risks.

General Politics

Federal Tax Cuts Helps Businesses and Families

Published by:

By Col. Paul Cook (Ret.) U.S. Congressman, 8th Congressional District

With most Americans having filed their 2017 tax returns, it’s important to call attention to the historic tax reform legislation that’s benefiting Ameri­cans on their 2018 taxes. Passed by Congress and signed by the President, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is working to provide a fairer, simpler, pro-family tax code, and it’s giving more money back to taxpayers and spurring eco­nomic growth.

Big-government politicians and slant­ed news outlets have sought to mis­characterize the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act as an attack on the middle class. Noth­ing could be further from the truth. As a result of lowered tax rates for busi­nesses, already more than four million Americans have received bonuses, with many companies increasing sala­ries and benefits for their employees.

The new tax law nearly doubles the standard deduction – from $6,350 to $12,000 for individuals and $12,700 to $24,000 for married couples. With the expanded standard deduction alone, over 91% of taxpayers in my district will get a better deal under this new law by taking the standard deduc­tion rather than itemizing. Tax reform also will provide taxpayers with lower individual tax rates, particularly low-and middle-income Americans, and it doubles the child tax credit from $1,000 to $2,000 per child. In total, the average American household will save approximately $2,000 a year.

It’s also important to note that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act preserves the home mortgage interest deduction for exist­ing mortgages and maintains the home mortgage interest deduction for new­ly purchased homes up to $500,000. This will continue providing tax relief to current and aspiring homeowners. Additionally, it allows people to write off the cost of state and local property taxes up to $10,000.

In addition to the benefits the tax law provides directly to individuals and families, it also reduces taxes on both large and small businesses, setting the stage for continued economic growth. At 35%, our corporate tax rate has been among the highest in the world, making it difficult for businesses to be competitive and giving them every reason to move operations overseas. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act lowers the corporate tax rate to 21% – still higher than average in the industrial­ized world, but low enough to make us competitive. The lowered rate will free up businesses to continue creat­ing American jobs, paying more to their workers, and reinvesting here at home.

Locally, the numbers for our region’s labor force continue to move in a positive direction. According to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, local unemployment is down to 4.5%. Moreover, the fastest growing job sector is the building trades, with a total of 14,300 new construction jobs added last year. I’m optimistic that the regional economy is primed to continue to experience growth as we continue to see the benefits from tax reform and as Congress and the administration continue to work together to reduce burdensome federal regulations.

Economy Education General

Victorville’s ComAv Takes the Lead in Local Job Creation and Education Through “Aviation Pathways”

Published by:

ComAv

By Lisa Skeels

Aviation_Pathways_Logo

After adding 100 jobs, and expanding to over 300 employees over the past year, ComAv CEO Craig Garrick’s biggest challenge is finding local Victor Valley residents who can handle the type of work that the global airplane maintenance and leasing company excels in.

Last year, ComAv launched “Aviation Pathways” to directly address the issue it was facing in sourcing local employees and, along the way, gear students for promising careers in aviation. The plan was to partner with local educators to gain a better understanding of their interests and needs, leading to the development of aviation-based educational programs while providing aviation field expertise.

“We want to recruit locally as our staffing requirements increase,” Garrick told the Victorville Daily Press when the program was launched. “We’ve found that we are not only helping our own community by providing jobs, but recruiting locally provides our company with a longer-term and loyal employee base. We pride ourselves as a company with low employee turnover, which is unusual for an aviation-based compa­ny.”

On February 20, 2018, ComAv hosted the first “VVC Aviation Tour” with students, joined by fellow aviation companies GE, the VVC Aviation School and Exquadrum, coordinated with the Vic­tor Valley College Bridge Program.

ComAvPhoto

“It was a joint effort, everyone did a really great job,” said Lisa Skeels, ComAv Director of Corporate Marketing. “Victor Valley College Bridge Program did a lot of the heavy work in coordinating us all to make this happen. We’re happy to see the Aviation Tour as a great extension of the Aviation Pathways efforts”

Over 100 students from Victor Valley area High Schools convened at Southern California Logistics Airport (SCLA) and held a day-long program at ComAv’s hangar for a tour of aviation facilities and presentations by the companies and Victor Valley College programs. This tour provided students with not only ex­posure to the aviation industry, but with the unique mix of aviation companies, students can learn about different types of jobs and education within the avia­tion/aerospace industry.

Students at this session came from all over, including Serrano High School, Oak Hills High School, Hesperia High School, Victor Valley High School and Barstow High School. College students from Victor Valley College also attended.

At GE, students learned about en­gine testing and jet propulsion; at Ex­quadrum, they learned about rocket science, engineering & testing opportu­nities; the Victor Valley College Avia­tion School showcased its airframe and power plant education program and taught students about the educational requirements needed to pursue a career at the aforementioned companies.

ComAv, in addition to presenting about the job opportunities available at the company, offered students the opportunity to tour a 747.

The program ended at ComAv’s wide body hanger where over 100 students were treated to lunch and gathered to ask questions and get more one-on-one time with the organization they may have been most interested in. Aviation Pathways allows those interested students to seek internships with ComAv and get the hands-on experience needed to become a licensed airframe and power plant mechanic.

Inside_Cockpit

Located right next to Victor Valley Col­lege’s Airframe and Powerplant (A & P) school, ComAv offers paid internships, as well as provides the guidance and in­struction needed to further the intern’s education. Don Dombrowski, ComAv’s Director of Quality and a founder of the Aviation Pathways program, is a long-time teacher at the A & P school.

A part of Aviation Pathways’ program are student internships with a pathway to employment at ComAv. One student from the first Aviation Tour has already been accepted for a ComAv internship, and there are three more slots open for summer internships.

Another Aviation Tour is scheduled in May, with a date to be determined. Educators interested in being a part of Aviation Pathways can learn more by contacting Lisa Skeels at lisa.skeels@comav.com.

General Property

Housing Authority of the County of San Bernardino (HACSB) Questions & Answers

Published by:

What housing programs does HACSB administer?

HACSB owns and/or manages approximately 12,700 housing units through three main housing programs throughout San Bernardino County:

  • Housing Choice Voucher Program (commonly referred to as Section 8), serves 10,121 households. This total in­cludes families participating in the tra­ditional Housing Choice Voucher Pro­gram, Term-Limited Lease Assistance Program (term limited program), and special purpose programs such as vouch­ers exclusive for veterans. HACSB does not steer or designate where a family should move; families have the choice to find a home suitable for themselves/their families in any city. These units are privately owned, with rent subsidies paid directly to owners by the Housing Authority. These programs are man­aged by HACSB offices in Ontario, San Bernardino, Upland, and Victorville.
  • Public Housing Program, serves 646 households. In partnership with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban De­velopment (HUD), these units are owned and managed by the Housing Authority through its offices in Barstow, Chino, Colton, Redlands, San Bernardino, and Upland.
  • HACSB’s Authority-Owned Portfo­lio serves 1,926 households that are a mix of affordable and market rate units. These units are owned by the Housing Authority and were either acquired or developed through a variety of part­nerships with the State of California, San Bernardino County Department of Community Development and Housing, various cities throughout the county, and Housing Partners I Inc., a nonprofit pub­lic housing corporation.

Why is HACSB different than other traditional Housing Authorities in other areas?

HACSB is not like a traditional Hous­ing Authority; they are Congressionally designated a Moving to Work agency for being a high performer and innova­ tive agency, which means they have the ability to develop, transform, and estab­lish local housing programs and servic­es that best meet the needs of the local communities. Currently, there are only 39 designated MTW agencies out of 3,200 housing authorities nationwide.

The name of the designation can be a bit confusing, but the three goals are to help families achieve economic inde­pendence, provide families with various housing options, and save taxpayer dol­lars through administrative efficiencies.

They have used this designation in a wide variety of ways, such as imple­menting term limits on new families assisted as part of the Housing Choice Voucher Program (non-elderly/non-disabled).

Is immediate housing assistance available? Does it really take years to receive help?

Unlike other health and human services programs, HACSB provides housing as­sistance based on the number of vouch­ers and public housing units in which they are authorized and funded through HUD. Unfortunately, they do not have the resources to provide immediate housing assistance.

There are approximately 51,574 appli­cant households on our various housing programs waitlists. The waiting lists are broken down and managed by housing programs, housing sites, and bedroom sizes.

The wait time varies in each of these waiting lists. As families move off any of our housing programs, families are pulled from the waiting lists to back­fill. Families wait years to get housed. In the recent decades it has taken some Housing Choice Voucher waiting list applicants 7-8 years to get housed.

How can an individual/family access the waiting list applications?

For current information on HACSB’s open waiting lists, please download an pre-application from the following web­ site: www.hacsb.com/residents/future-residents-participants

Pre-applications are also available at any HACSB office location.

Does HACSB screen their housing applicants to make sure they are law- abiding program participants?

All applicants 18 years of age and older are subject to third party screening and verification of criminal history. We also require that all adult members adhere to a crime-free addendum. HACSB’s Voucher/Family Obligations Agree­ment also stipulates that they must not engage in any criminal offenses, or they may be subject to the termination of their assistance.

How have the federal budget cuts af­fected the Housing Authority and is anything being done to help program participants rely less on government assistance?

The ongoing budget reductions at the federal level have resulted in a loss to HACSB of approximately $39 million between calendar years 2008 – 2018. The majority of HACSB’s funding comes from the federal government to subsidize its two main affordable hous­ing programs: Housing Choice Voucher and Public Housing Programs.

HACSB only receives a certain allo­cation of vouchers and public housing units. Without an increase from HUD/Congress, we aren’t able to serve addi­tional families outside those allocations. Slight increases happen throughout the years, but primarily for the special purpose vouchers like those designated exclusively for veterans, but these are literally a few vouchers here and there. As families move off any of our housing programs, families are pulled from the waiting lists to backfill.

HACSB’s Career Development Initia­tives Team helps families with career mentoring; resume building; overcom­ing barriers to employment; financial literacy/capability skills such as budget­ ing and credit/asset building; and other employment development services. HACSB also partners with the San Ber­nardino County Workforce Develop­ment Department, which provides on-site Workforce Development Specialists who work exclusively with HACSB customers to assist them in job training and placement. These efforts and part­nerships help insure greater personal ac­countability for the families while pro­viding meaningful services to help them achieve economic self-sufficiency.

Is it true that there has been an influx of HACSB “Section 8” partici­pants in the High Desert cities?

Currently, approximately 3.85% of all HACSB Housing Choice Voucher program participants live in the High Desert (when considering the follow­ing cities only: Barstow, Adelanto, Vic­torville, Apple Valley, and Hesperia). This is down from the previous average of 4.3% living in the High Desert cities between 2013-2017.

Families/individuals participating in the Housing Choice Voucher Program (commonly referred to as Section 8), have the choice to live in any city of their preference. HACSB does not steer families to live in any one particular area.

Are there any resources in San Bernardino County for homeless individuals and families?

The Housing Authority doesn’t have the resources for immediate housing as­sistance or manage homeless shelters.

San Bernardino County has established a Coordinated Entry Systems (CES) to identify, assess and prioritize homeless individuals and families for housing and services based on their individual situations.

Therefore, all individuals/families in need of homeless housing assistance and resources should call, dialing the 3-digit calling code, 2-1-1. The caller is connected to a live, bilingual homeless-assistance call specialist who will help assess the caller’s situation and stream­line access to homeless assistance ser­vices, screen applicants for eligibility for these and other programs in a consistent and well-coordinated way, and assess needs to determine which interventions are the best fit for each individual and/ or family. A call can be made 24-hours a day, 7-days a week.

What is HACSB’s governing structure?

HACSB has two governing boards: the Governing Board of Commission­ers and the Housing Commission. The Governing Board of Commissioners is the County of San Bernardino’s five-member Board of Supervisors. The Board of Supervisors appoints the sev­en commissioners to serve this public agency and to act as its Housing Com­mission. These individuals provide strategic and policy direction.

For more information on the governing boards, please visit:

www.hacsb.com/about-hacsb/board-of-commissioners

Who can a community member contact with issues regarding any HACSB program participants?

If a community resident believes a household may be a participant in any of HACSB’s affordable-housing programs and is causing disturbance in the com­munity, they may call (909) 332-6302 to report the situation. Whether the family is an HACSB-program participant can­not be disclosed. However, if the family is an HACSB-program participant, we will open an investigation and address any findings.

General Water

Opportunity for Participation in the California WaterFix

Published by:

By Yvonne Hester

As the Inland Empire continues to rank number one in job growth, the communi­ties of the High Desert are preparing for the next wave of development. As com­munity leaders plan for growth, the ques­tion of water supply becomes paramount turning the focus on the Mojave Water Agency (MWA)—the entity responsible for ensuring a sustainable water supply. Currently, MWA’s leadership is examin­ing ways to protect and enhance supplies, and one opportunity is participation in the California WaterFix (Cal WaterFix).

What is the Cal WaterFix? It is the con­struction of an underground conveyance system (tunnels) to carry water from the Sacramento Delta to other parts of the state. It is designed to more efficiently store, capture, and move water, as well as protect endangered fish and the fragile Delta habitat. This project is an upgrade of the aging State Water Project (SWP) system which is dependent on 50-year-old levees that are subject to rising sea levels, earthquakes, and flooding.

The Mojave Water Agency is one of 29 State Water Contractors that helped fi­nance the construction of the current state’s water system and, as a participant, may buy this water to augment local sup­plies. MWA uses this imported water to sell to water districts in the MWA region. This water also is used to replenish local groundwater supplies via recharge pro­grams. The Agency purchases additional water during wet years to store in under­ground aquifers to help meet water de­mands during droughts.

How would MWA participate in the Cal WaterFix? The proposal to build the Cal WaterFix has a similar funding and use plan as the current SWP system. Con­tractors of the SWP system will pay their share of the construction costs, as well as annual maintenance and use costs. The project would not provide a new source of water, but it would improve the reliability of existing sources. This would provide flexibility to meet water demands as the region grows.

The cost for MWA to participate in the Cal WaterFix cannot be determined until decisions are made regarding the final con­struction and design and costs. The MWA Board of Directors has taken a position supporting the project in concept, but no commitment has been made to financially participate. As more detailed information becomes available, MWA will invite pub­lic input before making a decision.

Another effort underway to stretch wa­ter supplies is a new desert landscaping conservation tool to help homeowners, businesses, and landscapers choose water-wise landscaping. This new landscape ed­ucation program is a joint effort between MWA and the Alliance for Water Aware­ness and Conservation (AWAC) and it’s available online. This easy-to-use online plant database now offers information on hundreds of beautiful, California native plant species and adapted plants.

The plant database, called “Plant Search,” is hosted on the AWAC website, www. hdawac.org. A simple click takes the viewer to options that include Califor­nia native plants, groundcovers, peren­nial sub-shrubs, shrubs, cacti, succulents, trees, vines, ornamental grasses, and an­nuals. Each selection includes a series of photos, a plant description, as well as in­formation on the plant’s size, spread, cov­erage, flowering season, bloom months, color, water usage, life form, soil prefer­ence, growth rate, sun exposure, cold tem­perature ranges, and more.

The database also allows users to cus­tomize their search based on a number of factors, including color, flower season, plant cold hardiness, plant height, plant spread, soil preference and much more. New plants and updates will continually be made to the program.

For more information on MWA programs, contact Yvonne Hester at 760.946.7067.