Category Archives: Politics

Economy General Politics

Momentum is Ours

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By Larry Vaupel
Economic Development Agency Administrator
San Bernardino County

Momentum. Defined by force or speed of movement. Our County is experienc­ing momentum again. It is a speed of positive movement that will benefit us all. However, the challenge is to ensure this positive economic momentum is broad based, hitting all key aspects of our region from healthcare to education to business.

We have population momentum. Ac­cording to economist Joel Kotkin, Cen­sus Bureau data indicates that, from 2007 to 2011, nearly 35,000 more resi­dents moved from Los Angeles County to the Inland Empire than moved in the other direction. There was also a net movement of more than 9,000 from Or­ange County and more than 4,000 net migration from San Diego County.

Healthcare is expanding. Loma Linda University Medical Center recently an­nounced plans for a new construction project that will provide a new building to house the International Heart Insti­tute and establish two state-of-the-art centers for imaging, gastrointestinal, and pulmonary services, allowing for expansion of services and ease of access to accommodate the rapidly growing population of the Inland Empire.

Business is growing. The unemploy­ment rate in San Bernardino County dropped from 7.7 percent in November to 7.0 percent in December of last year, according to data released Jan. 23 by the California Employment Develop­ment Department (EDD). The county’s jobless rate had been one of the highest in the nation during the recession, but it has decreased steadily in recent years. Moreover, to further encourage greater job growth, five companies within the County of San Bernardino were award­ed California Competes Tax Credits totaling nearly $5.5 million for the cre­ation of 1,148 new jobs. The award is from the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) and approved by the California Com­petes Tax Credit (CCTC) committee. The California Competes Tax Credit is an income tax credit available to busi­nesses that want to come to California or stay and grow in California. These five local businesses were among the 56 companies statewide chosen by the Governor’s office.

Education is meeting demand. Chaffey College was recently awarded nearly $15 million to create an advanced man­ufacturing training center at California Steel Industries in Fontana. According to officials, the grant will provide a ma­jor economic boost since an expected 3,000 students will be able to benefit from the program over a four-year pe­riod, starting mid- 2015.

County government is innovating. We recognize that our role is to facilitate in­vestment and fuel the momentum. It is no small task that our County was rec­ognized in 2014 with multiple awards for its innovative programs from the National Association of Counties and the California State Association of Counties.

On Wednesday, April 15, I encourage you to join me at the State of the County where more than 1,000 business, gov­ernment and community leaders will be on site at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario. We will share more of what is driving an era of momentum for our region, as well as provide a forum for discussion and collaboration. We in­vite you to help build the momentum. Tickets are available at www.sbcounty­advantage.com

Economy General Politics

Change to California Revenue and Tax Code

Published by:

By Brad Golden

Effective January 1, 2015, anyone submitting a document for recording can no longer “hide” its associated transfer tax from the public records by use of a separately attached declaration.

Formerly, Section 11932 of the California Revenue and Taxation Code provided an option permitting that the amount of transfer tax due for a taxable document not be disclosed on public record but, rather, declared in a separate paper attached thereto when presented for recording. Pursuant to Assembly Bill 1888 of 2014 (Chapter 20, Statutes of 2014), effective January 1, 2015, Section 11932 is amended to repeal this option, thereby requiring that all documentary transfer tax declarations thereafter must be included in taxable documents and become part of the public record. Assembly Bill 1888 requires no change in the form or content of the presently used transfer tax declaration.

Assembly Bill 1888 was sponsored by the Appraisal Institute, an association of real estate appraisers, for the purpose of obtaining ready access to transfer tax information and provide much-needed assistance to appraisers. In the past, it was possible to hide this tax amount by simply requesting that the taxes be marked “Filed” thus hiding the transfer tax, and therefore the value of the property declared to the County taxing officials. The Appraisal Institute made contact with every county in the state, and received positive response to the proposed legislation from every county with the exception of one. The bill, carried by Assembly member Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), was passed overwhelmingly in the Assembly and State Senate. The Governor then signed it into law.

While some investors and speculators may be disappointed with this new transparency, it will definitely create better data points for the overall market.

Brad Golden is a Major Accounts Manager for Chicago Title in Southern California. He coordinates commercial and subdivision transactions throughout the region, as well as nationally. He can be reached at brad.golden@ctt.com or 805-218-8879.

General Politics

High Desert Detention Center

Published by:

By Sheriff John McMahon
County of San Bernardino
Sheriff’s Department

The expansion of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department’s High Desert Detention Center continues in Adelanto, with a current total of 2,074 beds, 1,368 of them newly added. Sitting on seven and a half acres, the hi-tech facility’s enlargement has a total price tag of $150 million, with a proportionately hefty contribution predicted to the tax rolls of Adelanto, Victorville, Hesperia, and other surrounding communities.

At the present time there are 199 employees at HDDC, with a payroll of $7.5 million. When the facility is fully staffed, however, employees will number approximately 325. Complete build-out and full staffing is expected sometime in the 2016/2017 fiscal year.

Between February of 2014 and January of 2015, the High Desert Detention Center witnessed 14,802 bookings. The average daily inmate population is 918 persons.

HDDC continues to provide a tremendous measure of convenience for both the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, and for inmates as well, because the presence of the facility eliminates the need for deputies to travel to Rancho Cucamonga to book inmates with medical conditions. Such technological advancements at HDDC as specially coated walls to reduce the spread of infectious diseases, and an onsite dental facility equipped with two stations and an X-ray suite, make it possible to reduce costs associated with inmate health care, and to drastically cut down on prisoner travel time and deputy man-hours spent in transit. Instead of transporting sick inmates down the hill, deputies are now able to stay in the high desert and get back to their assigned area to provide proactive patrolling. Inmates with common conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes are now routinely monitored and treated “in house.”

Funding for the expansion of HDDC has been provided by state monies designated for the construction associated with enlarging local detention facilities. The expansion was made necessary by AB 109, a law which shifted the responsibility of housing some state prisoners from the state to the county in order to comply with a federal mandate regarding prison overcrowding. Governor Brown signed the bill into law in 2011, a move that quickly became known as “realignment.” As a result, sheriff’s departments throughout California have been required to house inmates who normally would have been sent to state prisons. Design for HDDC, however, began in April of 2006, shortly after the opening of the original Adelanto Detention Center.

Other technological highpoints in the design of HDDC include a hi-tech video surveillance system and “video visitation,” which allows inmates a greater chance to visit with family members without all the intra-facility movement of the past: less inmate movement means a safer detention center. Also, a wide variety of rehabilitative programs and services are available at HDDC, which can now be conducted in classes directly within the housing units, cutting down, again, on inmate movement.

Economy General Politics

IEEP Working to Put Inland Empire on California Leaders’ Radar

Published by:

By Paul Granillo

The year that recently came to an end will be remembered as one where the Inland Empire was certainly on the agendas of more people than when the year started.

As the largest economic development agency in San Bernardino and River­side counties, one of our major goals has been and still is raising the region’s profile. To too many of the people in the coastal regions of the state, and in some political locations, California starts at the Pacific Ocean and ends 50 miles in­land.

The Inland Empire Economic Partner­ship worked hard in 2014 to teach the rest of the state that we do not live in “those cities east of Los Angeles,” that the inland Empire is its own region with its own identity. More importantly, it has a distinct set of economic and social needs.

That message can be delivered with strong effect on November 12 and 13 when the California Economic Sum­mit comes inland for the first time. The event, put on by the California Forward and the California Stewardship Net­work, assembles leaders from across the state to discuss economic prosperity for everyone in the state, and it will be held in Ontario this year. Previous summits have been in Santa Clara, Sacramento and Los Angeles.

As Co-chair of the Steering Committee for the Summit, I advocated for an In­land Empire venue. California may be famous for its beaches, lush vineyards and Silicon Valley, but it is made up of millions of working people. This year’s Summit will be among these people, among us.

However, this is just one small piece of the puzzle. To enhance the quality of life, we at the IEEP have worked hard in the past year building relations with elected officials in Los Angeles, Sacra­mento and Washington, D.C.

We believe, as we have for several years, that there are policies that predominate in California which do not consider the economic interests of the Inland Empire. No one in the area is in favor of more pollution or willing to tolerate danger­ous levels of emissions. But a one-sided policy that apparently does not consider the economic survival of millions of In­land residents is a severe problem for us. It is, however, one we now feel we can counter because we now have a place at the table.

Last April I led a delegation of Inland Empire business leaders to Washington and secured what we assumed would be a five-minute talk with U.S. Senator Di­anne Feinstein. Instead, California’s se­nior senator gave our delegation 35 min­utes. The result: an increased awareness on the part of one of the state’s leaders on the needs of the Inland Empire.

Another aspect of political leadership is our efforts to bring the area’s entire Congressional delegation together for an Inland Empire Caucus. Our organi­zation does not take political sides be­cause we recognize that the region has needs that really have nothing to do with party affiliation.

Our region has seen its economy re­bound from the pummeling it took dur­ing the Great Recession. There are about 1.3 million people collecting regular paychecks in the Inland Empire right now, almost as many as eight years ago when the economic struggles began.

But, as some have said, keeping the peace is often harder than waging the war. A lot of work still needs to be done. For one thing, cities such as Victorville, Hesperia and Barstow still have unem­ployment rates that are higher than that of the nation, state and the overall In­ region.

For another, we have to ensure that eco­nomic opportunities continue to happen and that the next generation of jobs is a good one. The IEEP is working with the leaders of Cal State San Bernardino and UC Riverside to help secure new fund­ing that support the schools’ ongoing ef­forts to reduce the time it takes to earn a degree and to make it easier to transfer from a community college. Less than one in five people in the Inland Empire have college degrees, and an underedu­cated workforce is one of the things that discourages next-generation investment in the region.

We are also working with educators and health care groups to make it easier to train a next generation of health care workers, a profession that is expected to be in demand in the coming years.

All told, we have almost returned from a long journey. There is still a distance to travel, but we are going to continue to fight for a better life for all our resi­dents.

Mobility 21 Helps Keep California Moving, In More Ways Than One

California is a place that almost literally grew up on the road. The importance of our car culture is in evidence every­where, and probably nowhere is this as obvious as it is in some of the more remote areas of the region, like the Inland Empire and the High Desert area.

That is one of the reasons I became Chairman of Mo­bility 21, a nonpar­tisan partnership of public officials, civic leaders and the private sector from across Southern California that looks for solutions con­cerning transportation and its related in­frastructure. These are very complex is­sues that affect everyone, from the small manufacturer trying to ship goods to a global market to the person going to the store for a bottle of milk. Transportation is a huge part of the quality of life equa­tion in Southern California.

Mobility 21 is a group that recognizes that our transportation issues have to be solved with 21st Century solutions. Not enough neighborhoods in the High Desert, or almost anywhere in the In­land Empire, have good job opportuni­ties that are only a few miles away from home. The era when a person can leave his or her great job and drive 10 minutes to a great home is probably over. And few people have public transportation options that create a convenient way to get to work or get almost anywhere.

Much of the debate is traced back to the logistics industry, which plays a signifi­cant role in the High Desert’s economy. In the Inland Empire, the goods move­ment industry accounts for more than 10% of all payroll jobs, and puts food on the table for hundreds of thousands of people.

But that industry often finds itself under siege because of an attitude in Califor­nia that looks at the issues of congestion and automotive emissions and tries to fix the problems by trying to slash the Inland Empire’s economic lifeline.

During my tenure as Chairman of Mo­bility 21, we addressed those problems from a responsible direction, one that recognizes that people need to make a living and respects the quality of our lives as well. The group’s summit last September, which was attended by more than 1,000 people, included discussions on new infrastructure investments, de­sign-build contracting and more express lanes across Southern California’s free­ways, among many other issues.

Many of those issues will be advanced when the Inland Empire Economic Partnership, the largest economic de­velop organization in our area, hosts the Southern California Logistics Sum­mit, which will be held on April 23 at the Fairplex in Pomona. A collaboration with the Drucker School of Manage­ment at Claremont Colleges, this is the first time this important event has been held in Los Angeles County, amplifying that these are critical issues to everyone in Southern California.

The IEEP recognizes that transporta­tion is a critical issue. Forums like those established by Mobility 21 ensure that these issues will remain in the forefront of regional discussions and that the so­lutions will benefit all the communities in Southern California.

Paul Granillo, President and CEO, In­land Empire Economic Partnership

General Politics

In the Wake of Redevelopment: New Tools and Collaborative Approaches to Economic Development for High Desert Cities

Published by:

By Larry J. Kosmont, CRE, President & CEO, Kosmont Companies

By Brandon Phipps, Project Analyst, Kosmont Companies

As the Redevelopment dissolution pro­cess continues for the 14 former Re­development Agencies comprising the High Desert Cities region, new partner­ships between unlikely members are forming and new tools for regional eco­nomic development are being explored.

Redevelopment Dissolution Status in the High Desert Cities:

The 14 former Redevelopment Agen­cies, now called “Successor Agencies,” located in the High Desert cities region are: Adelanto, Apple Valley, Barstow, Bishop, California City, Hesperia, Lan­caster, Needles, Palmdale, Ridgecrest, Tehachapi, Twentynine Palms, Victor­ville, and Yucca Valley.

During the past three (3) years since the State-mandated redevelopment dissolu­tion process began, many cities, includ­ing some of the High Desert cities, still have much to do before their redevelop­ment wind-down process is complete. The timeline for winding down former RDAs has, for many California cities, been extended. The Department of Fi­nance’s deadline to review and approve Long Range Property Management Plans (PMPs) is now January 1, 2016, per AB 1963, approved in 2014.

Out of the above 14 listed agencies, 6 have received their PMP approval from the State’s Department of Finance (DOF), 4 are still waiting to receive their Finding of Completion (FOC), which is only the first step in the process, and the remaining 4 are somewhere in the middle, working on their PMP, waiting for the DOF’s approval, or working through litigation.

Figure 1 highlights the status of redevelopment dissolution in High Desert cities:

Fig. 1 In the Wake of Redevelopment

Individual Successor Agencies with­in the High Desert region will need to achieve PMP approval prior to the DOF’s new deadline of January 1, 2016, or potentially be exposed to a loss of control as the unwinding process moves forward.

Once these cities complete the wind-down process, they can begin working on new and existing economic develop­ment assets and implementing new proj­ects of community-wide significance.

High Desert Obstacles and Opportunities:

The cities of the High Desert Region share reasonably comparable demo­graphics in many categories, as well as fairly compatible regional water, sewer and transportation issues. For years the region was hit hard by the recession and has experienced the impacts of dimin­ishing revenues from falling property values, high foreclosure rates, and an unemployment rate that peaked at ap­proximately 16%. These issues, coupled with the loss of redevelopment funding, have created cash flow problems for the area. Although the majority of Califor­nia cities and counties see redevelop­ment dissolution as unfavorable to fur­thering economic development projects, for some regions like the High Desert Cities, there may be a silver lining as follows:

  1. Former RDAs are forced into maxi­mizing the value of their properties by preparing them for development oppor­tunities, primarily through a liquidation or re-use strategy.
  2. Instead of jurisdictions acting as in­dependent RDAs amidst fierce competi­tion sometimes involving closed “nego­tiation” meetings, new and collaborative regional solutions such as “Opportunity High Desert” (OHD) have an improved chance of prevailing.
  3. A new economic development tool called Enhanced Infrastructure Financ­ing Districts (EIFDs) is now available to communities in the High Desert which, with some refinements, may emerge as a viable economic development tool.

“Opportunity High Desert”— Example of Regional Cooperation:

OHD, the region’s newest economic de­velopment marketing entity, which is a result of redevelopment dissolution, is one example of a creative regional so­lution to High Desert funding issues. OHD promotes cross-jurisdictional col­laboration between 5 communities with one singular vision: to market the High Desert cities region to attract and retain business. Apple Valley Town Manager Frank Robinson spoke on OHD and re­gional collaboration expounding on the fact that: “Wherever a company locates, if they bring jobs to our citizens, we all benefit.”

The communities that consist of “Op­portunity High Desert” are: Adelanto, Apple Valley, Barstow, Hesperia and Victorville.

OHD has experienced dramatic growth since its inception. Interested businesses and developers appreciate the value of meeting with an entire business-friendly region as opposed to meeting individu­ally with jurisdictions. As a result of the program’s success, the collaboration is expanding into other areas of govern­ment and may grow to include joint public services and other cost-sharing endeavors. OHD serves as an example for other regions in California on how collaborative approaches to regional economic development can be more ef­fective than locally sourced endeavors.

EIFDs: A New Economic Develop­ment Tool for High Desert Cities:

This shift in the High Desert Region complements new economic develop­ment tools such as Enhanced Infrastruc­ture Financing Districts (SB 628), which return the potential to secure and use tax increment to California cities and coun­ties (so long as school district property tax is not touched) and demonstrate a trend towards creating collaborative and sustainable funding mechanisms that promote cross-jurisdictional coopera­tion.

Enhanced Infrastructure Financing Dis­tricts (EIFDs), through SB 628, were signed into law on September 29, 2014. The new legislation provides legislative bodies such as cities and counties with a potentially powerful tool to assist in the economic development of their commu­nities. Similar to former redevelopment agencies, EIFDs can use tax increment financing (TIF) to fund projects or to pay debt service on outstanding bonds.

Unlike former RDA’s, EIFDs cannot collect tax increment from K-12 School Districts, Community College Districts or County Offices of Education, so the amount of tax increment generated by EIFDs will be relatively less. However, in addition to tax increment financing, EIFDs can draw from numerous funding sources such as Proposition 1 (a water bond of over $7.5 billion); cap and trade proceeds through the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (estimated to provide billions of funds annually in the coming years); infrastructure user fees; Vehicle License Fee backfill; and private sector investment, among many other options.

EIFDs can use any powers enumer­ated under the Polanco Redevelopment Act, which permits EIFDs to engage in brownfield remediation, as well as ex­ercise eminent domain under specific circumstances. With such a broad array of funding sources, EIFDs are permit­ted to develop or implement a diverse array of projects with “communitywide significance that provides significant benefits to the district or the surround­ing community.” Various infrastruc­ture projects may be eligible, including storm water recharge and wastewater treatment, transportation infrastructure, as exemplified by public light rail and Bus Rapid Transit, affordable housing, childcare facilities, construction or ret­rofit of industrial structures, and open space, just to name a few.

Taking the High Desert Cities’ new col­laborative approach to development, EIFDs are one example of a regional economic development tool that exem­plifies a creative method of financing that the state has approved since rede­velopment dissolution. Victorville’s Southern California Logistics Airport, a long-term economic development en­gine, is just one project that could poten­tially receive funding through an EIFD.

Sustainable Economic Development without RDAs; A Bright Future for Cities & Counties:

Although California lost its most pow­erful economic development tool when Governor Brown and the legislature dis­solved redevelopment, new tools such as Enhanced Infrastructure Financing Districts demonstrate that there may be a viable economic development project financing program that would enable cities and counties to induce new projects that generate jobs and taxes. In addition to EIFDs, there is a variety of recently approved legislation that promotes eco­nomic development that reduces carbon footprint impacts and advances environ­mentally sustainable practices.

Propelled by these recent legislative ap­provals, the High Desert cities region, much like the rest of California, will soon be moving into a new era of “sus­tainable” regional economic develop­ment, driven by regional collaboration and sustainability, with an emphasis on infrastructure, which is motivated by a collection of creative and progressive new tools and regulations as listed in Figure 2.

Fig. 2 In the Wake of Redevelopment 2

As development expands beyond the In­land Empire, High Desert Cities should set their sites on regional collaboration such as the “Opportunity High Desert” initiative, as well as EIFDs, as a way to fund the necessary infrastructure im­provements needed to attract private investment that will, in turn, bring new jobs and revenues to the region.

General Politics

Jay Obernolte 33rd Assembly District Legislative Update

Published by:

Assemblyman Jay Obernolte

Legislative Update – April 2015

The 2015 Legislative Session is in full swing and things are starting to get very busy in Sacramento. Once a bill is introduced, that piece of legislation is then referred to one of a number of different policy committees. Here, bills are thoroughly analyzed, debated, and oftentimes killed before getting an opportunity to be presented to the entire California State Assembly. Here is a list of some of the bills that I am working on and where they are in the process:

Assembly Bill 203 – Fire Prevention Fee Due Dates

This legislation extends the period for paying or disputing a fire prevention fee from 30 days to 60 days from the date of assessment. AB 203 was set to be heard in the Assembly Natural Resources Committee on March 23, 2014.

Assembly Bill 410 – Improving Government Transparency

This bill requires a state agency to post on its website any document that is mandated by law to be submitted to a legislative committee so that the public can freely access the information. It has also been included in the Assembly Re­publican Caucus #MakeGovWork bill package. AB 410 is currently waiting to be referred to a policy committee.

Assembly Bill 809 – Local Tax Measure Ballot Labels

This legislation is sponsored by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and requires local tax ballot labels to state the amount of the tax to be raised, the rate, and the duration of the tax, to better inform voters about the taxes they are being asked to approve. AB 809 is currently waiting to be referred to a pol­icy committee.

Feel free to email me at Assemblymem­ber.Obernolte@assembly.ca.gov or con­tact my District Office at 760.244.5277 with any questions or concerns you may have.

Please visit my website for additional updates: www.assembly.ca.gov/ober­nolte

General Politics

Protecting State Assets: Aerospace and Defense

Published by:

By Senator Steve Knight

For decades the High Desert has been instrumental in California’s defense and aerospace industries and, subsequently, the Nation’s security. California State leaders need to protect this valuable national asset and businesses that are creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and generating billions of dollars for the state’s economy.

To that end, California’s Governor created the Governor’s Military Council to protect and expand defense and aerospace’s vital role in national security as well as California’s economy. I am honored to be a part of the inaugural council. As a veteran of the U.S. Army, Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Defense and Aerospace, and Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, I look forward to sharing insights at future council meetings.

I will counsel our federal delegation on ways to best represent California on the national level, reinforcing the significance of protecting the aerospace and defense industries by cultivating an environment that is business-friendly and promotes economic growth.

Near and dear to my heart are Edwards Air Force Base, Exquadrum, NASA Armstrong (formerly Dryden), Plant 42, and major military contractors with close proximity to Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin and Boeing. These proven assets must be protected to ensure jobs and economic prosperity for our region and California as a whole.

Fostering job creation has always been a legislative priority of mine. Assembly Bill 2243, which was passed in 2012, provides limited liability for commercial space ventures so innovators remain competitive in this promising market. Senate Bill 415, which I am currently running, is an extension of AB 2243 adding “suppliers” or “manufacturers” as a space flight entity with limited liability for any participant injury relating to commercial space launch activities. Also, this year I am working to create geographically-based aerospace hubs around existing aerospace manufacturing clusters, and creating benefits and business incentives within the aerospace hubs. These measures will ensure California’s private space flight and exploration industry is protected while it continues to prosper and create jobs for our state.

California needs to bolster the aerospace and defense industries, particularly with the backing of the Governor’s Military Council, to ensure existing state installations are not threatened.

Senator Steve Knight, (R-Palmdale), represents the 21st Senate District which includes the communities throughout the Antelope, Victor, and Santa Clarita Valleys.

General Politics

What is AB 1103, California’s new Nonresidential Energy use Disclosure Law?

Published by:

By Marika Erdely
CEO
Green EconoME

You may have heard about AB 1103, the new Nonresidential Energy Use Disclosure Law, and if you haven’t, you should. Here’s what you need to know:

AB 1103 came into effect on January 1, 2014 for all commercial buildings in excess of 10,000 square feet in California. On July 1, 2014, it drops to include all buildings over 5,000 square feet. If the building has a residential component, or has a Group F (Factory F1/F2) occupancy permit, it doesn’t need to comply with the law.

The law requires nonresidential building owners to disclose their energy usage via a software tool called “Energy Star Portfolio Manager.” This software tool will “benchmark” a building and produce data, as well as an Energy Star rating or Energy Use Intensity (EUI), depending upon the building type.

The Energy Star rating is from 0 to 100, with 100 being the most energy efficient. The EUI looks at the energy efficiency of the building from a square foot perspective, and the lower the number the better. Of the over 80 different building types, only 20 can actually receive the Energy Star rating. The others must rely on the EUI to assess energy efficiency.

The process of “benchmarking” involves entering the most recent 12 months of energy (electric/gas) usage and certain physical and operational characteristics of the building into the software tool. Benchmarking compares all of this information against similar building types in the software tool, while also performing a zip code weather normalization function. Benchmarking produces several reports, but only one report is required for compliance with AB 1103: the “Data Verification Checklist,” or the “disclosure report.” The AB 1103 guidelines stipulate that at least 30 days before a disclosure is required, a building owner must open an account for the building in Portfolio Manager and begin the preparation of the disclosure report.

Since the disclosure report is required prior to a financial transaction being executed, it is best to have the report prepared in advance. The law requires the report to be presented to:

  • A prospective buyer – at least 24 hours before the purchase agreement is executed.
  • A prospective tenant (for a single tenant building only) – at least 24 hours before the lease is executed.
  • A prospective lender – no later than upon submittal of the loan application.

Unfortunately, the disclosure report expires within 30 days. Because the energy usage data must also be kept current, after 120 days additional energy usage data will need to be entered into the software tool or the tool is unable to produce a rating or EUI.

Having fun yet? Another glitch to the process is that in many buildings, it is the tenant that must provide the energy usage data since they are the one paying for the meter. Utilities will in no way assist the building owner in providing the tenant’s energy usage data to meet the requirements of this law. It is up to the tenant to provide it, so all building owners should make sure all new leases include a provision requiring the tenant to provide their energy usage data upon request.

What happens if you don’t comply? Well, the California Energy Commission has stated that their actions may include:

  • Investigating non-complianceallegations (which may include subpoenas, compelling testimony, and convening investigative hearings).
  • Initiating administrative proceedings before the full Energy Commission for an order compelling compliance.
  • Initiating a civil judicial proceeding to enforce an Energy Commission order.
  • Initiating a civil judicial proceeding to obtain injunctive relief.
  • Settling enforcement actions through negotiated settlements that impose reasonable and appropriate requirements, including possible payment of penalties.

It is not clear who they will be going after, but since this is now the law of the land, it is best to comply.

Buildings with an Energy Star Score above 75 are able to be “Energy Star Certified.” This requires an on-site inspection by a Professional Engineer (PE) and further testing. Testing includes looking at the indoor air quality, thermal comfort and illumination of the building. The PE uses the same disclosure report to perform the inspection and testing, and fills out all the forms associated with it.

Why do this extra step? Well, there are demonstrable economic benefits from owning an Energy Star-certified building. Occupancy rates are 3% percent higher for Energy Star-certified office buildings, and while rent premiums can range from 5 to 8.5% higher; most significant resale premiums can range from 13 to 26% higher.

AB 1103 is about raising awareness and encouraging building owners to find ways to increase the energy efficiency of their buildings and reducing consumption of energy in the state. Utilities currently have incredible opportunities to fund energy efficiency retrofits of buildings.

Title 24, California’s Energy Building Code, also has some interesting changes coming in July, 2014, which will push energy efficiency to new heights. Goals include residential construction to reach zero net energy by 2020, while commercial construction is to be zero net energy by 2030.

Pushing energy efficiency in existing building stock makes sense, because these properties will be competing against this new construction. New technology, such as lighting and HVAC control systems, can significantly reduce usage and demand. It is clear that these technologies will become more important in the coming years. Being energy aware is just the beginning!

Green EconoME produces the report for compliance with AB 1103. Contact us!

Marika Erdely is the Founder and CEO of Green EconoME, a full-service Energy Consulting firm with offices in Malibu and San Jose. Marika had been a financial professional for over 30 years and holds an MBA and a Contractor’s License B (#892673). She is a LEED AP BD+C, and has been trained as a Certified Energy Auditor (CEA). Marika founded Green EconoME in 2009 to meet the needs of a growing industry fueled by the mandates required by AB 1103 and Title 24. Green EconoME’s services begin with a full analysis of a building’s energy and water usage. They project manage the retrofits and stay around to ensure projected energy savings are met. Because of Marika’s financial background, all analysis is financial based and easy to understand, with clear ROI and payback periods.

Economy General Politics

Thinking Regionally

Published by:

By Paul Granillo
Director of Public Policy
IEEP

Everyday a thousand thoughts cross our mind. Most thoughts concern our family and loved ones. For those of us in the work force, much of our thought focuses on the job, our career goals and our co-workers. Many times it is not till the evening news when we think about politics, our nation’s economy, the world situation or just how our favorite team is doing. Hopefully we carve out a thought for the poor and suffering. So in that long list of thoughts there is not much time left to think about our region. Yet every thought in the previous list is effected by the economic and quality of life reality of our region, the Inland Empire.

The United States government’s Bureau of the Census defines the Inland Empire as the Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario metropolitan area, which covers more than 27,000 square miles and includes the entirety of San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. If the Inland Empire were a state, we would currently be the 26th largest state in the nation; soon our region’s population will pass Kentucky and be able to claim a population greater than half the states in the nation.

Now, while most of us do not spend inordinate amounts of time thinking regionally, myself, and the organization I head, the Inland Empire Economic Partnership, do just that: we think about ways to better the business climate and quality of life of our two-county region. We do this because the economies of our two counties our interlinked.Moreover, our regional economy is tied to the larger Southern California economy, which is part of the 9th largest economy in the world (just behind Italy and larger than Russia’s) the State of California, which is part, of course, of the largest economy in world, that of the USA.

So, one might ask, how does one better a regional economy? The answer is with a lot of work. A lot of work because we have barriers in our way like our educational attainment rates, nonstop growth, reluctance to cooperate, lack of resources, and growing poverty rates.

First our baccalaureate attainment rate. Only 19% of our region’s residents have a bachelor’s degree, meaning 81% of our residents do not have a bachelor’s degree. Further, of that 81% of residents, almost 42% did not complete high school. So what does this mean? It means we are a region heavily dependent on economic sectors that have little to no educational requirements to enter. That is why manufacturing, goods movement and logistics, and construction are critical to the Inland Empire’s economy and job base.

IEEP sees the need and supports our region’s educational leaders as they work to educate our region’s children from the earliest opportunities parents have in the home to college graduation. And for those in the modern economy who may not choose a college path, we support the finest workforce training that our region can provide.

Second, the last 25 years has seen unprecedented growth in our region. Since 1990 alone our population has grown from 2,588,793 to 4,293,892 in 2012. The Southern California Association of Governments predicts we could grow to 6 million by 2035, with the County of Riverside becoming the second largest county in the state next to Los Angeles.

Third and fourth, the residents of the two counties move freely across the county lines working, shopping and playing from the wine county of Temecula, the forests of Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear and the deserts of Palm Springs and the High desert communities. Unfortunately, too often, elected officials, business and community leaders, although rightly looking after local issues, have failed to see the value of working collectively and regionally. And the cost of that has been our region’s lack of ability to attract the resources that our region is properly entitled to, like the resources available through philanthropic institutions that support the non-profit sector.

Finally, of all the issues we have, the most troubling to me is the growing rate of poverty in our region. Using the same years as I previously referencedfor population growth, in 1990, 306,417 or 11.8% of residents were defined as living in poverty. In 2012 that number was 809,234 or 19% of our population living in poverty and today, in 2014, the number has only grown.

The members of the Board of Directors of the Inland Empire Economic Partnership are business leaders, elected officials, college presidents and chancellors, non-profit and community leaders from throughout Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. They care about our region and its future. They want to tackle the hard problems that face our region and also celebrate the beauty and benefits of working and living in the Inland Empire.

From time to time they will write here about their perspective on our region, their struggles, wisdom and ideas as employers, educators and leaders about how together we can build a better Inland region.

Of course, that begins when we all take a little time to think regionally.

General Politics

Seeking Solutions to Spur Economic Growth

Published by:

By Robert Lovingood
1st District Supervisor
San Bernardino County

As First District Supervisor of San Bernardino County, economic growth is key to every facet of our community, and there can be no economic growth without job creators. As someone whose entire career has been in the private sector, I firmly believe that government needs to treat job creators like their best customers – because they are.

Unfortunately, too often, government at all levels can be a hindrance to economic and job growth. So when I was elected to the Board of Supervisors, I met with a diverse group of folks from the mining industry around the county. In short, we heard how permitting processes had become bogged down. This became a priority in my office, as well as with the county’s new director of Land Use Services, Director Tom Hudson. Tom pledged to address the concerns, and when we had a follow-up meeting several months later, area mining industry representatives were very pleased with the improvements they were seeing.

A few months ago, we also formed a roundtable of architects, commercial real estate brokers and others from the High Desert development community. It was a frank, but healthy, discussion on how we could streamline county operations. We forwarded the group’s suggestions to Land Use Services.

Land Use Services is making efforts on two fronts to reduce the time and cost involved in processing applications.

First, they are completing efficiency studies on planning staff time and procedures. This is greatly improving efficiency and throughput.

Second, the department is utilizingcontractor assistance to clear backlog applications more efficiently (with their entire focus on application processing and not including other duties required of staff planners). Land Use managers are measuring each planner’s productivity in order to guide staff assignments and time management.

Some business roundtable participants suggested creating a “road map” to outline steps and costs of various LUSD processes. So the Planning Division is adding a lot of helpful information to the web site, particularly in answers to Frequently Asked Questions. The Division has several FAQs dealing with the application review process and is adding flow chart illustrations soon.

Another way to combat uncertainty in the planning process is to take advantage of the free pre-application review process. The process involves review by staff from multiple County departments who are involved in the development review process. The committee meets with potential applicants to explain exactly what can be expected upon filing of an application. Applicants in the Pre-Application process receive a general overview of the requirements and potential costs prior to investing in the filing of an application.

If anyone has a concern that an individual staff member is not following the Countywide Vision of customer service, the Department provides comment cards that are reviewed by the management team and the Land Use Services Director. Comments may be signed, or they may be submitted anonymously. Land Use Services also has an on-line customer survey, www.surveymonkey.com/s/3RK9JH7, for the same type of feedback.

The Planning Division has been reviewing procedures to find ways to reduce applicant’s time and materials. The Land Use Services does accept electronic application filing now. The following link to the user guide is posted on the County web site: http://cms.sbcounty.gov/lus/Planning/ePlans.aspx . And, of course, I would love to hear your thoughts. Please feel free to contact me at SupervisorLovingood@SBCounty.gov or at 760.995.8100.

General Politics

Destination County of San Bernardino for the Film Industry

Published by:

By Sherri Davis

The Economic Impact for the Inland Empire for 2013 was $40,518,600 with 690 projects and 1,564 days. County of San Bernardino had an economic impact of $24,942,300 with 425 projects and 905 days of production throughout the county.

A close look at the 1st and 3rd Districts of San Bernardino showed that 13 out of 24 features were shot in the two districts. Most were low budget indie films except for Legendary Pictures’ “Interstellar” which was shot in Johnson Valley on BLM land. Christopher Nolan was the Director and the film stars Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine and Ellen Burstyn, to name a few. Some of the other features were Australian-based Layfilm Dhi, LTD’s “The Uberkanone,” which shot at Dumont Dunes; L.A. Butterfly, LLC feature “Butterfly,” shot in Barstow, and Slinmmit, Inc.’s film “Echos,” shot at El Mirage Dry Lake.

Several Episodic Television shows selected locations near El Mirage – FTP Productions’ “RAGTAG” and Renegade Pictures “None of the Above.” Brownstone Entertainment’s “Barter Kings” shot their reality television show in numerous locations throughout the year. Green Bottle Pictures’ reality show, “Hot Rod Rescue,” shot near Barstow, while Hollywood Sky Entertainment’s “Cinderella” selected Lucerne Dry Lake.

There were 74 commercials shot in the region with 48 using locations throughout the high desert. A great Super Bowl commercial for the Fiat 500 was shot at Dumont Dunes starring Sean Combs aka Puff Daddy (this commercial is still on the air). The commercials have ranged from “Max Factor’s ‘I am Oasis’” to “American Express v.1” while the car commercials covered everything from “VW” to “Tesla.”

Barstow BLM opens additional sites for filming

The Environmental Assessments on 9 locations in the 1st and 3rd Districts has been completed after almost 5 years of work. This had been part of the InlandEmpire Film Commission’s projects since 1998. In 2000 a presentation was made to Supervisor Postmus to support the environmental work to open additional locations within BLM for filming. At that time filming was not a priority and the project stalled. When presented again, this time to Supervisor Mitzelfelt in 2009, funding was allocated and work on the environmental assessments began. This funded project, thanks to Brad Mitzelfelt, will give the County an edge when production is looking for more diversity in the desert.

What is often misunderstood is the fact that even though BLM land is open for commercial (i.e. mining, grazing, alternative energy, etc.) and recreational use, it does not mean it can be it can be used for filming. According to Federal statutes, separate environmental assessments must be done for commercial filming use. This is what the funding from the County paid for.

These new areas are Sawtooth Canyon; Stoddard Valley OHV area; Rasor OHV area; Afton Canyon; Portions of Odessa Canyon; Portions of Mule Canyon and the Hollywood Canyon and Sperry Wash sections of Amargosa Canyon.

We are hopeful that the Incentive bill, AB 1839, which is currently working its way through the committees, will be passed and signed by the Governor.

As the Inland Empire Film Commission,we have been very active with the California Film & Television Production Alliance, supporting AB 1839 – California Film and Television Job Retention and Promotion Act.

The motion picture industry has long called California its home and has grown into one of America’s greatest and most lucrative exports, a cultural touchstone known around the world, an economic engine for jobs and business and a tourist magnet. Combined, the industry supports more than 190,000 direct jobs and $17 billion in wages in California.

AB 1839 would expand the current production incentive program beginning in 2016 to include one-hour dramas and large budget feature films. There is an added incentive for filming outside the Los Angeles area to support increased production for the entire state. This additional incentive will dramatically impact the Inland Empire. It will help make California—the state known across the globe as the home of filmmaking—competitive once more.

Statistics from the California Film Commission speak to the hazard of runaway production. In 2012-2013, of the 54 large, live action feature films shot during that time frame, only ONE filmed exclusively in California. These big-budget movies generate the most jobs and revenue, but presently they do not qualify for our state tax credit program. For many years, California was home to one-hour dramatic television shows. Now, many of those shows have left. In 2005, California hosted 51 of the 79 one-hour dramas made (65%), but in 2013, that number fell to 39 out of 137 shows (29%).

The loss of big budget pictures cost California $410 million in state and local tax revenue, 47,600 jobs and total economic output of $9.6 billion, according to the study, which was conducted by the Los Angeles Economic Development Corp.

This is an example of the feature activity in the Inland Empire:

  • In 1999 we had 11 large feature films plus 15 additional features within the 1 to 5 million dollar budget range.
  • In 2013 we had 1 large feature

The County of San Bernardino and the Inland Empire Film Commission along with other concerned stakeholders are greatly concerned that the state’s status as the epicenter for motion picture production is at risk. What started as isolated runaway film and television production to a few countries some 15 years ago has become an ever-growing exodus of high quality middle-class jobs. And with those jobs, California is sending precious tax dollars, economic opportunity and its iconic brand to other states and nations.

A petition calling on state legislators to help bring production back to California is now in circulation at www.filmworksca.com. If keeping filming and middle-class jobs in California is important to you, we encourage you to visit Film Works CA and join with the more than 11,000 other petition signers who have already voiced their support.

PLEASE SIGN THIS PETITION AND SHARE THIS PETITION WITH 3 MORE PEOPLE. Together we can keep our signature industry in California.

We are looking forward to a successful year in 2014.

General Politics

Killing Prop 13 Should be a Capital Offense

Published by:

By Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R-Twin Peaks)

They say those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it.

The battle over Proposition 13 is about to be fought all over again. Prop 13 passed by nearly 65% of the vote back in 1978. A significant majority of citizens of all political persuasions were united in support of a proposition that protected property owners and tenants alike from massive property tax increases.

The reason for this is simple. Markets work, and ordinary Californians are very savvy when it comes to their money, even if their politicians aren’t.

For an example of just how much public support Proposition 13 has, we need look no further than the 45th Assembly District, where candidate Susan Shelley nearly defeated her Democratic opponent – in a highly Democratic district – by putting the issue of Proposition 13 at the front and center of her campaign.

The most dangerous assault on Prop 13 is what’s called the “Split Roll.” In simple English, it means you divide the residential and commercial property rolls and only allow residential properties to continue to be covered under the protections of Prop 13. This means all commercial properties, including business properties, retail properties like your local shops and restaurants, could be reassessed at dramatically higher values, doubling or even tripling their property tax.

Many businesses not only do not own the property, but are on triple net leases, which means they pay three times any additional costs incurred. So your favorite local hang-out might be forced out of business if the split-roll scheme were to pass. If they stay in business, the only way they are to be able to provide you their goods or services is to raise the price. But the dirty little secret is that the tenants of apartment buildings – those who can least afford it – might suffer the worst.

Renters are not stupid. They know if the cost of housing goes up, their rent must go up to cover the cost. There are no “free lunches.” Someone has to pay. The politicians believe they are sticking it to the income property investors – and this may be true for a year or two, but eventually all costs get passed on to the tenant.

The reason for that is also simple: investors need to know they will earn at least a minimum rate of return on investment, also known as the Capitalization rate (or Cap Rate for short), or it is not worth putting their capital at risk.

Since the average cap rate for apartment investments is about 5%, that means every dollar of extra tax lowers the value of the property value by $20 (it’s a 20 to 1 ratio) Meaning, if property tax goes up $5,000 the value of the property comes down $100,000. Why is this important? Because the property is being taxed on its value. So raising the rate does not net out the amount the politicians think it will.

Property tax receipts will fall because property values will fall to bring the market in line with the average cap rate. So their net gain will not be as much as advertised. The lower property values will mean that the county will receive less transfer tax upon the sale of the property. The state and federal government will receive less capital gains tax upon sale. The budgets of cities and counties have been under intense pressure as tax revenues continue to fall, and business owners and taxpayers are leaving California in droves to flee the crushing burden of the nation’s highest income tax.

Since apartment housing is the cornerstone of affordable housing, we cannot overstate the case that a split roll would not only fail to accomplish the proponents goals, but it would put tens of thousands of small business owners livelihoods at risk, and might possibly put an end to affordable housing in California altogether. Rarely do you see a cause that is joined by renter and building owner alike, where the interest of the employee and business owner are the same, but it can be argued that splitting Prop 13 poses a unique threat to public sector budgets and private sector enterprise, equally. The higher tax is just another reason for large businesses to leave the state, taking their jobs with them.

According to contemporary polling on this issue, Proposition 13 still retains the substantial support it had 35 years ago. It is urgent that we join forces and stand unified against the one move that could sink California’s once-vibrant economy for all time. We can do this, you can help.

General Politics

Grand Re-Opening of the High Desert Detention Center

Published by:

By John McMahon
Sheriff-Coroner
San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department

San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department officials unveiled a new, state-of-the-art expansion of the High Desert Detention Center Thursday that will provide more housing capacity for inmates and better services to High Desert residents by eliminating the need for deputies to travel to Rancho Cucamonga to book inmates with medical conditions.

The High Desert Detention Center expansion is comprised of 297,000 square feet of various buildings on 8 acres of land and was built adjacent to the existing facility, formerly known as Adelanto Detention Center. Six housing units were constructed, adding an additional 1,392 beds that will help housing issues brought about by the realignment of state prisoners.

In October of 2011, Gov. Brown shifted the responsibility of housing of some state prisoners from the state to the county in an effort to comply with a federal mandate regarding prison overcrowding. As a result, the sheriff’s departments in California have been tasked with housing inmates that would have normally been sent to state prison.

The Sheriff’s Department applied for state funding designated for realignment and placed first in the competitive application process to secure $100 million in funding for the expansion. Also, leveraging the additional facility saved taxpayers more than $30 million versus the cost of building an entirely new stand-alone building.

The High Desert Detention Center will not only add much-needed bed space, it also boasts several technological, medical and social innovations that will provide better security and services to the inmates. The facility is equipped with a high-definition video surveillance system to enhance safety and reduce liability exposure. The facility is also equipped with video visitation, allowing inmates more access to visit with family members. This technology decreases movement throughout the facility, thus making it safer.

Medical advancements at the facility include specially coated walls to reduce the spread of infectious diseases, as well as an onsite dental facility equipped with two stations and staffed with a full-time dental hygienist and a dentist three days a week. Additionally, the facility was designed to allow rehabilitation services, classes and programs to be run directly in the housing units, giving inmates better access to services and, again, eliminating the need for inmate movement.

HDDC will also provide basic medical services to inmates, negating the need for deputies assigned to patrol in the High Desert to have to drive to West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga to book inmates with common medical conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure. This single fact alone will prove a betterment for the entire High Desert region as deputies can stay in the region and get back to their assigned area to provide increased proactive patrol duties.

The new facility will open in phases, with 222 beds being filled in the first phase. These inmates will be determined based on court cases in the High Desert and will be transferred from West Valley Detention Center within weeks.

High Desert Detention Center Facts

  • Design for this facility began inApril, 2006, shortly after the opening of the original Adelanto Detention Center
  • Construction began in 2011 and was completed at a cost of $145.4 million
  • The project consisted of the following:
  • Construction of a new 25,000-square foot support and booking building
  • Construction of 3 new housing units for a total of 255,000 square feet
  • Remodeled existing kitchen and laundry facilities to handle the increase in population
  • Construction of new parking lot, sally ports and fire access roads
  • Each of the three individual housing buildings weighs approximately 11,000 tons, not including the furnishings or foundation
  • 18,000 cubic yards of concrete were used in construction
  • 5,297,842 pounds of rebar were used
  • 1,882,000 linear feet of wire were used
  • 600,000 linear feet of airlines were used
  • 950,027 linear feet of conduit were used
  • There are 736 smoke detectors in the new facility
  • The HDDC has a new water facility system consisting of a well, water treatment system, 228,000-gallon storage tank that allows the facility to maintain its own drinking water supply in the event of a natural disaster.