City Updates General

For Adelanto – The Metamorphosis Continues – City Update

Published by:

City of Adelanto

By Michael Stevens

Communications Consultant, City of Adelanto

The City of Adelanto is pleased to be a part of the 56th Edition of the High Des­ert Report. In the last issue, I talked about “Resiliency, the ability to overcome challenges of all kinds–and bounce back stronger, wiser…you don’t have to look any further than the City of Adelanto to see how it works.” I also mentioned how Adelanto “has experienced a meta­morphosis since the great recession of 2008, starting with the election of three new Councilmembers in 2014.”

The metamorphosis is continuing, and just as Reno, Nevada, is often referred to as “The Biggest Little City in the World,” Adelanto is also becoming the “Biggest Little City in the in the State of California!”

Consistent with the city’s slogan, the “City with Unlimited Possibilities” and supported by a staunch pro-business, pro-development City Council, devel­opers and builders alike are discovering the untapped potential for growth and development in the city. What was once barren land is now being transformed by job-creating, tax-revenue-building projects at various locations around the city. Mayor Richard Kerr indicates that the city is expected to have 11 ground­breaking ceremonies in 2017 and well into 2018. That is progress the city has not experienced in over 20-years in such a short period of time.

The following projects are currently underway or soon to begin:

Clark Pacific—a state-of-the-art concrete manufacturing plant on 110 acres, slated to replace facilities in Fontana and Irwindale and bring as many as 500 jobs to the city. The plant, a two-phase project, is scheduled to open this year, will produce precast concrete structural products for parking structures, retail stores, auto dealerships and others. Clark Pacific is currently 35

building the new football stadium for the Los Angeles Rams in Inglewood.

Industrial Integrity Solution—the largest industrial park in the city’s his­tory, 630,000-square-foot HDO Indus­trial Park will consist of 21 buildings (at 30K each) for cultivating, manufac­turing, distributing and testing medical marijuana. It is expected to create 550 permanent jobs and generate more than $2 million in annual tax revenues.

Largest cultivation project currently un­der construction in CA

AirCore Kitchen Cookwear—a manu­facturing facility. The plant is relocating from China to Adelanto and will build a 100,000-square-foot facility.

“Rancho Plaza” at 395—an 18-acre development just north of Adelanto Sta­dium at the vacant northeast corner of Highway 395 and Rancho Road. The project covers just under 200,000 square feet and will include a gas station, 60-room three-story motel, drive-through restaurants, office and retail facilities and a car wash.

Shell Station—the 4,900-square-foot station, large when compared to the av­erage 1,700-4,000 square foot station—will become just the third gas station in the city and is strategically located at the northwest corner of Highway 18 and Bellflower Road. The combination gas station and convenience store is ex­pected to hire at least 11 employees for its 24-hour operation.

Frontier Homes—is building 65 homes on 10 acres in the city off Highway 395 & Cactus;

Projects expected to close after publica­tion of this edition of the High Desert Report:

  • Medical Corridor consisting of a Vocational School/Retail/Commer­cial project on approximately a 22-acre property adjacent to City Hall;
  • Hotel/Commercial/Retail/Indus­trial Development An ap­proximately a 27-combined-acre project adjacent to the Adelanto Baseball Stadium and the Budweiser Distribution Center;
  • Hotel and other commercial and re­tail development on approximately 19 acres at the intersection of Rancho Road and Highway 395;
  • The City Council voted unanimously to approve an 18-acre development just north of Adelanto Stadium at the vacant northeast corner of Highway 395 and Rancho Road. Covering just under 200,000 square feet, the multi-tenant retail center—known as “Ran­cho Plaza” at 395—will see the de­veloper subdividing the current four parcels into 10 in order to build a gas station, 60-room three-story motel, drive-through restaurants, office and retail facilities and a car wash.
  • ARCO Gas Station at the intersec­tion of AirExpress Way and Hwy-395. Poker Card Club Former loca­tion.

The metamorphosis within the City of Adelanto isn’t limited to commercial and residential development. The city is transforming in other ways as well.

Some believed the departure of the High Mavericks baseball team last fall would see the baseball stadium moth­balled. But the City Council signed a unique one-year agreement—including three, one-year options—with the 28th District Agricultural Association (San Bernardino County Fair) to have the As­sociation reach out to promoters, market events and negotiate contracts on behalf of Adelanto. This includes management and operations of Adelanto Stadium.

Under the agreement Adelanto will re­ceive 30% of all revenues generated by events held within the City of Adelanto, and High Desert residents will continue to have excellent venues for a variety of exciting events.

One major success of the partnership was securing the semi-professional baseball team, the High Desert Yardbirds of Pe­cos League, to play a 64-game schedule. Half the games will be played at what is now known as Adelanto Stadium. Other prominent events scheduled at the sta­dium include the phenomenally popular Adelanto Grand Prix, Adelanto Rodeo, concerts, Mud-Run and a host of other activities never before held at the sta­dium.

Adelanto is also home of the High Des­ert’s fourth dog park, located adjacent to City Hall at Richardson Park. Pryke Dog Park is named after the late pub­lisher Raymond Pryke, whose Founda­tion contributed $25,000 towards the project.

To discover opportunities that exist for development in Adelanto and to become a part of a growing revolution, visit: or call (760) 246-2300 extension 3063.

City Updates General

Town of Apple Valley – City Update

Published by:

Town of Apple Valley

By Orlando Acevedo

Economic Development Manager

With a popula­tion of 80,350, and an economy driven by 4.2 mil­lion square feet of retail and office space, low vacancy rates, competi­tive lease rates and well-performing units, Apple Valley’s commercial re­tail market is strong. Apple Valley’s unemployment rate continues its strong downward decline to a seven-year low of 6.9% in year 2015. The last monthly numbers reported are for December 2016 at 5.4%.

Mal Riley, developer of the highly successful Jess Ranch Marketplace II and III, has returned to Apple Val­ley to design and develop the Quail Ridge Plaza (formerly known as The Fountains at Quail Ridge) at the NEC of Apple Valley Road and Yucca Loma Road. Riley has al­ready assembled a remarkable de­velopment team, including the DLR Group and, in a rare move signifying the intensity of the project, is bring­ing in two of the largest commercial brokerage firms, Jones Lang La­Salle and CBRE, to assist in leasing. Located near the strongest median income demographics in the region, the project will be designed as a mixed-use concept, including retail, restaurants, office, townhomes (or multi-family) and senior living. The team is expected to unveil the project at the ICSC RECon retail conference in Las Vegas in May.

The Apple Valley Town Council re­cently took action that clears the way for development of a 1.35 million-square-foot Big Lots Distribution Center, located in the North Apple Valley Industrial Specific Plan. The $115 million-dollar project will bring 400 to 500 jobs to the area, expand infrastructure, and affirm Apple Val­ley’s position as a cost competitive alternative to the Inland Empire in­dustrial market.

In mid-2016 the Apple Valley Plan­ning Commission approved Apple Valley Gateway Center, a 10-acre, 80,480 square foot commercial proj­ect at the northeast corner of Inter­state 15 and Dale Evans Parkway. Belco Development, of Murrieta, is proposing to construct a hotel, retail shops and restaurants. Hotel and ten­ant interest is now being accepted.

Apple Valley is on pace to see a 10-year high in housing starts as Pulte Homes begins their fourth phase at Sun City and other infill projects get off the ground. Median home values continue year-over-year growth to $245,000, the highest in the region, at an average price per square foot of $126, with expected growth into the next year.

Yucca Loma Bridge will open to the public with a ribbon cutting on May 19, three years after breaking ground on this $37 million capital improvement project. The project opens up a critical east-west corridor into and from Apple Valley. Now open is the Mojave Riverwalk, a 2.75 mile multi-use trail adjacent to Jess Ranch Marketplace from Bear Valley Road to the town’s southern boundary. The project includes a 12-foot wide concrete path and 12 36

concrete benches. Plans are under­way for more multi-use trails that will link this segment of the Mojave Riverwalk across Bear Valley Road to the Yucca Loma Bridge and con­tinue into Victorville, traversing past several major commercial centers in Apple Valley.

Other recent store openings include Rebel Oil Co., Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, 99 Cents Only Store, The Gal­ley Fish Tacos, CrossFit One So­ciety, Samaritan Animal Hospital, 3G Tacos at Apple Valley Airport, DeeDee’s Hobby Emporium at His­toric Apple Valley Inn, Bear Valley Rock n Wood, Nancy’s Clayworks, Rusty Bull Roadhouse, and more.

For more information contact Or­lando Acevedo, Assistant Director, Economic Development and Hous­ing, at 760.240.7915 or via email at, or visit

City Updates General

Barstow City Update

Published by:

California Barstow logo

By Gaither Lowenstein

Economic Development and Planning Manager

The economic recovery is in full swing in Barstow, with several new commercial enterprises opening their doors in 2016 and numerous additional retail stores, hotels and service establishments pre­paring to break ground or open in 2017. Optimism surrounding current econom­ic conditions and proactive steps being taken by the Barstow City Council have led to a significant increase in interest on the part of prospective developers in residential and industrial opportunities in the city.

Among the businesses celebrating openings in Barstow in 2016 were Oggi’s Pizza and Brewhouse, Asian Food Court, Marshall’s and Choice Medical Group. 2017 is expected to witness the opening of a 66-room Best Western Plus hotel that is currently under construction; a 103-room Home2Suites hotel, for which plans have been approved and groundbreaking is expected in mid-year; retailer Fallas, which will join Marshall’s and Harbor Freight in filling out the former K-Mart retail space; and a new Super Walmart, which will replace and double the size of the city’s existing Walmart store while making eight new retail pads available for future development. The city’s historic Route 66 corridor has begun to experience a renaissance, with Tractor Supply Company set to occupy the former Barstow Motorcycles shop with a 32,000 square-foot showroom space on the West end of Main Street and Borrego Medical Group currently renovating the former Revolutions Bowling Alley for use as medical offices. In the Downtown Business and Cultural District, Roy’s restaurant is planning to reopen, and throughout the Route 66 Business Corridor the city is erecting eight monument signs honoring Route 66, with each sign featuring a different classic automobile.

With regard to industrial development, inquiries, site visits and discussions have markedly increased in recent months, with several prospective industrial land uses approaching the project proposal stage. There are grounds for optimism that one or more major industrial devel­opment projects in Barstow will be an­nounced at some point in 2017.

The city’s long dormant residential mar­ket has begun to show signs of resur­gence, thanks in no small part to a joint initiative of the Barstow City Council and the Barstow Unified School District Board of Trustees whereby residential development impact fees have been temporarily reduced by 50% through December 31, 2017. This initiative, which reduced residential building costs by $5,000-9,000 per unit, depending upon square footage, has contributed to the city’s first residential building per­mit issuances since 2013 while jump-starting discussions of subdivision-scale residential development projects among landowners and prospective builders.

Overall, the City of Barstow is expect­ing 2017 to be among the strongest years in recent memory for commercial, resi­dential and industrial development. The resurgent economy, combined with the city’s low land costs, favorable location and builder-friendly local government, present outstanding opportunities for development in 2017 and beyond.

City Updates General

Hesperia City Update-Quite Simply, Hesperia Works for Business

Published by:

Hesperia logo

By Lisa LaMere

Economic Development Management Analyst

Six months into the current fiscal year the number of single family residential (SFR) permits issued in Hesperia con­tinues its upward trend, having shown a 155% increase since 2013-14. This was achieved in part with 72 permits issued for 200 planned duplexes at the northwest corner of Main and Mesa Linda Street.

Grading of the 50-acre West Main Vil­las duplex project at Mesa Linda and Main Street has begun. The duplexes, located between Interstate 15 and U.S. Highway 395, are well-sited for the 83,000 High Desert residents who commute down the hill for work each day. The one- and two-story duplexes contain vaulted ceilings in two eleva­tions each, and both have attached two-car garages. There will be 172 of the single-story, 1,074 SF, two-bed­room versions available, and only 28 of the two-story 1,330-square-foot op­tions with three bedrooms. West Main Villas is complete with a clubhouse, pool and spa, children’s playground and a sand volleyball court.

On the multi-family front, Eagle Real Estate Group’s 96 low- and medium-income senior apartments are well underway. Leasing activity is brisk in this gated 55+ community, and al­ready plans for another 96 apartments have been submitted for Phase II. A grand opening ceremony for Phase I is scheduled for August 30, where en­tertainment will be provided by the swing band, Phat Cat Swinger.

Retail development in Hesperia con­tinues without pause, and more than 100,000 SF is currently planned or un­der construction. In Lewis Retail Cen­ter’s Phase I of High Desert Gateway at Main and Interstate 15, a 7,500 SF Famous Footwear is opening in April, and an 18,000 SF Planet Fitness is expected to open this May. M&M Jewelers, Leslie Pool Supply and America’s Best Eye Glasses will join them for sum­mer 2017 open­ings. Lewis also has broken ground on the first 16,000 SF of Phase II at Main and Cataba Av­enue, where residents will soon enjoy Starbucks, Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches, and Fatburger.

A new grocery-anchored center from Rich Development at the NEC of Main Street and Escondido Avenue will fea­ture a 20,446 SF Aldi grocery store, as well as a 10,000 SF Dollar Tree. The center will include a multi-tenant building, Les Schwab Tire Center and Wendy’s. Hesperia is Aldi’s choice for its first location in the High Des­ert. Their closest stores are current­ly in Fontana and San Bernardino.

Aemerge RedPak, a cutting edge technology com­pany that manu­factures energy and beneficial car­bon co-products from medical waste, is building their first west coast plant in Hesperia. Red­Pak safely treats medical waste in a manner that utilizes the waste as a me­dium to produce power and produces recycled treated metals. RedPak is the only facility in California permitted to treat all types of medical waste as regulated by the CA Department of Public Health (CDPH).

The City of Hesperia is pleased to an­nounce funding availability for the First Time Homebuyer (FTHB) Pro­gram. The FTHB Program is funded from the city’s annual allocation of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds. The City of Hesperia receives an allocation of CDBG funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Commercial, industrial, and office properties abound throughout Hes­peria, and this pro-development, cus­tomer service-oriented city is serious about bringing your business to Hes­peria! To see how Hesperia can work for you, visit or contact the Economic De­velopment Department by email at

City Updates General

Victorville City Update – A Year of Growth in Victorville

Published by:

City of Victorville

By Doug Robertson

Victorville City Manager

Victorville is the center of growth in the High Desert. In 2016 our popula­tion grew to nearly 140,000 residents; and Victorville con­tinues to attract major retailers, manu­facturers and industrial development.

Last year BJ’s Brewhouse and Res­taurant opened to great excitement on Amargosa Road, adjacent to I-15. In its opening week, our BJ’s recorded sales of $184,000 – the best opening week sales for BJ’s new prototype. BJ’s became the 14th restaurant in Victorville’s “Restaurant Row.”

Restaurant Row has become a destina­tion in our region. And with visibility to more than 98,000 cars traveling the I-15 daily, this dining destination has become a highly profitable investment for retail developers.

Just one year after BJ’s grand opening, we were pleased to learn that another nationally-recognized restaurant plans to locate in Victorville. Cracker Bar­rel Old Country Store submitted plans to build and operate its first California location in Victorville.

Cracker Barrel will be located on 1.31 acres just south of BJ’s Brewhouse and Restaurant. The building space will encompass 9,550 square feet, with 1,284 square feet under a covered porch.

Cracker Barrel is part of a larger ex­pansion on Restaurant Row being developed by Vantage One Real Es­tate. Plans call for the development of an 11,350-square-foot, multi-tenant building with a drive-thru, as well as one or two free-standing buildings we expect to be used for restaurants. Starbucks, Nekter Juice, Which Wich Sandwiches, Pieology, Ono Hawaiian BBQ, Cafe Rio, and The Habit Burger are expected to be part of this broader development.

Additional retail space was developed throughout several locations in Victor­ville. At Desert Plazas, located along Interstate 15 at the Roy Rogers exit, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts opened in late 2016, creating 74 jobs. Desert Pla­zas is planned for ultimate build-out of 800,000 square feet anchored by Home Depot. The Plazas welcomed a new WaBa Grill and Dickey’s Bar­beque Pit in 2015 to existing tenants such as In-N-Out Burger, Papa John’s Pizza, Winco Foods and Wells Fargo.

In the specialty retail arena, RAM Truck Center is the newest dealer­ship, currently under construction at the AutoPark at Valley Center. The 7,261-square-foot facility sits on ap­proximately 2.66 acres. The dealer­ship will offer heavy duty RAM trucks such as the 1500, 2500 and 3500 mod­els. The brand has been named Motor Trend Magazine’s truck of the year five times.

Additionally, Valley-Hi Toyota is undergoing a major renovation and expansion to its existing dealership. Scheduled for completion in 2017, the new facility will feature an amazing 47,643 square feet of building space. In 2016 we also saw the desert Alfa Romeo franchise added as a co-brand to the existing desert FIAT dealer­ship.

In addition to commercial growth, in­dustrial development has been strong at Victorville’s Southern California Logistics Airport (SCLA). Arden Companies, America’s leading manu­facturer and marketer of outdoor cush­ions and décor, moved its west coast operations from Rancho Cucamonga to Victorville last year.

Arden leased half of a 440,000-square-foot manufacturing facility constructed by our master develop­ment partner, Stirling Capital Invest­ments. This facility at SCLA was met with such demand that it was leased before construction was complete. Current SCLA tenant Newell Rubber­maid leased the other half of the space to expand its operation.

Growth at SCLA will continue. Stirling recently announced con­struction of Distribution Center 18, a 370,000-square-foot industrial facility that will be utilized by another SCLA tenant, Plastipak, for an expansion.

Victorville is among the most cost-effective locations in California to do business. Businesses are choosing Victorville because of the investments we have made in our public infra­structure, our close proximity to major transportation routes, our skilled labor force, and our commitment to promot­ing a business-friendly environment.

We are one of the few locations in Southern California that offers af­fordable land and industrial space available for immediate development. With SCLA we also offer businesses a global reach with our Foreign Trade Zone and U.S. Customs Port of Entry. In fact, you might be surprised learn that 60% of all goods moving into and out of Southern California travel through Victorville.

2016 was a promising year for Vic­torville, and we expect this growth to continue in 2017. Look for more an­nouncements in the near future.

For more information about devel­opment opportunities in the City of Victorville, visit our website at or contact our Eco­nomic Development Division at (760) 955-5032.


Publisher’s Message-2016

Published by:

Joseph W. Brady

By Joseph W. Brady, CCIM, SIOR

We have some very exciting information to share in this Edi­tion of the Report. But first, I wish to welcome our cur­rent, future, and long standing subscrib­ers and sponsors of the 55th Edition of The Bradco High Desert Report, the first and only economic overview of The High Desert, covering the northern portion of San Bernardino County, California.

As many of you longtime readers know, Dr. Alfred Gobar has continually supplied some of the greatest articles to The Brad­co High Desert Report since its inception in May of 1993, all the way through our 52nd Edition. Due to an 8-year battle with cancer, he was unable to prepare an article for this edition. Considering how long he has been in this battle, Dr. Gobar is do­ing quite well. We talk often and he con­tinues to be one of my personal mentors. When the doctors told him they thought he would lose a substantial amount of weight, they forgot that Dr. Gobar is a unique individual, undoubtedly one of the most unique people anyone will ever meet. He has actually gained over 16 pounds. He looks great and still has the greatest sense of humor. For those of you who have ever heard him speak, as I have more than 50 times, you know that humor. We are glad that the health of Dr. Gobar continues to improve, and we wish him well. For those of you who may wish to do so, please extend your regards to him at his email:

It has been nearly 11 months since we published the 54th edition of our Report. The reason for this is simple: it has been a very tough year for my family and for the High Desert community in terms of health and personal losses.

Everyone, including myself, has been ex­tremely busy, and unfortunately, during this time, we have lost many High Desert leaders. While I reflect upon my father’s declining health at 85 years old, I realize how lucky all of us are to have our health and how lucky we are to live a vibrant lifestyle. In the pursuit of business, I hope we all remember that family, friends and colleagues are the most important part of what we do each day.

On that note, I want to dedicate the 55th Edition of The Bradco High Desert Re­port to those great individuals whom we have recently lost. These people touched my life in one way or another, and I was privileged to call all of them my friends. They taught me the value of life and to not take our time here on earth for granted. They all loved our High Desert region and all that it has to offer.

Those we lost in the last year in the High Desert include: Mr. Bill Emick (father of Town of Apple Valley Councilmember Curt Emick); Mr. Manuel Mojica Benitez Jr.; Mr. Michael Yannone; Mr. Robert R. Gaines, Sr.; Mr. Brad Orchard; Mr. Mark Eagleton; Ms. Judith Joan Curren; Mr. Mike Perry & Mr. Tom Perry (the son and husband of our close friend and renowned escrow professional Mrs. Debbie Perry); Mr. Stephen J. Flannery; Mr. Bill Nelson; Ms. Susan Mari So; Ms. Rita Rae Dale; Mr. Chuck Love; Mr. Jack Julian Hall; Ms. Rita Louise Jaramillo; Mrs. Cherie Vackar; Mr. Lowell Draper; and my wife’s 99-1/5-year old Aunt, Ms. Myrtle Mason­er-Unger. May you all Rest in Peace. This special edition of The Bradco High Desert Report is dedicated to you, your families and the memories you created for us all. Thank you for all you gave to the High Desert. Hopefully, we can strive to con­tinue following in your footsteps.

As we dedicate this issue to those we lost, I would be remiss not to thank those who continue to contribute to our efforts to bring The Bradco Report to our read­ers and our community. Much thanks to: Mr. Dan Taylor of the Inland Empire Film Commission; State Senator Mike Morrell; and Ms. Joy Sepulveda, Public Informa­tion Officer for Caltrans. Additionally, I want to recognize Ms. Courtney Degener, Vice President of Communications & In­vestor Relations for Cadiz, where she has been a team member for over 12 years; the new San Bernardino Auditor-Con­troller/Treasurer/Tax Collector, Mr. Oscar Valdez; Community Liaison Officer for the Mojave Water Agency, Ms. Yvonne Hester; Chief of Legislative and Public Affairs for San Bernardino Associated Governments, Mr. Tim Watkins; Ms. Patty Z. Kouyoumdjian, Executive Director for Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board; and Ms. Christie Robinson, CRE Specialist for the Mojave Desert Air Qual­ity Management District.

Thanks also to our great friend Ms. Lisa Lawrence, Executive Director of the High Desert Community Foundation. I strongly encourage all High Desert property own­ers, investors, and those who want to sup­port a local organization to consider the contribution that the Foundation makes to the community through the leadership of Ms. Lawrence and their very strong Board.

Lastly, I would also like to give thanks to Ms. Laurie Hunter, the Special Advisor/JPA High Desert Corridor Administrator; Ms. Mary Jane Olhasso, Assistant Executive Officer of County of San Bernardino; City of Victorville Councilmember and SANBAG President Ryan McEachron; Ms. Marika Erdely, Founder and CEO of Green EconoME; Col. Paul Cook (Ret.) U.S. Congressman, 8th Congressional District; Mr. Robert Sewell, Director of Marketing & Public Information Officer/ASB Advisor for Victor Valley College; Assemblyman Jay Obernolte, 33rd Assembly District; Mr. Bob Dutton, San Bernardino County Assessor; Mr. Oscar Wei, Senior Economist of the California Association of Realtors®; and Ms. Sandy Harmsen, Executive Director for the County of San Bernardino Workforce Development Board.

I would also like to thank each one of our city partners for the updates from their Economic Development Directors. Offi­cials from our local cities were the first to urge me many years ago to create a means by which to accurately portray our High Desert economy and all of the work done by the cities, their Mayors and Councils, City Managers, and Economic Develop­ment Directors. I appreciate each one of you for all that you do.

And just in case they think their hard work goes unnoticed, I must thank my staff and my wife, Deborah. I would not have made it through this past year and could not do what I do on a daily basis without your support and encouragement.

As I said earlier, we have some very excit­ing information to share and we are look­ing at new sources of information data about the High Desert region. What we have opted not to do is take retail, indus­trial office data from Costar and publish it without showing our source. You can find that information by visiting our website at

As the first company to actually measure the square footage of industrial, retail and office space throughout the High Desert region with two individuals collecting data for over a year, we make the information about the market readily available to all of our subscribers. If you need a snapshot of a particular segment of the market (indus­trial, retail, office or land) please give us a call and we would be glad to share.

The next few months will be rather excit­ing for our country and our country’s his­tory with the upcoming 2016 Presidential election. Put on your seat belts and strap yourself in. Do I believe that the Presi­dential election will have an impact on the High Desert economy? Absolutely, but to what extent I don’t really know. We are hoping that the uncertainty that typi­cally happens in the six months prior to a Presidential election and six months after will not happen this time around. The one thing I tell my friends is that, as an elected official within the High Desert region (I am very proud to be an elected Trustee at Victor Valley Community College one of California’s greatest community colleges); we are watching history being made. No matter what you think, your vote counts. I encourage everyone to vote, regardless of your candidate. Voting is a privilege in other countries and a right in ours, so please vote.

The High Desert still offers great econom­ic and investment opportunities to those who spend the time seeking those oppor­tunities. We hope that includes you.

Lastly, if you wish to continue to receive a copy of the Bradco High Desert Report, any statistical reports, op-ed articles that we post to our website for free, please register at our website at

Film General

What Happened to the Inland Empire Film Commission?

Published by:

By Dan Taylor

Many of you remember the articles by Sheri Davis of the Inland Empire Film Commission (IEFC), revealing all the juicy tidbits of information about the film industry traipsing around the High Desert looking for the perfect location for their feature film, commercial or magazine shoot. All of a sudden the Inland Empire Film Commission disappeared with little fanfare.

“What happened,” You ask? Well, the details are pretty convoluted, but basi­cally the entity housing the Film Commission decided to close that division. So how will the High Desert continue to get the filming that brings so much money to the area?

The County of San Bernardino Eco­nomic Development Agency quickly stepped in to help fill the gap. They contracted with the newly formed Dan Taylor Consulting company to pick up the pieces – in other words, they hired the author of this article. I have worked for Sheri Davis and the IEFC for over 14 years and at the time it closed, I was the Deputy Director. Riverside County decided to also open their own film of­fice with two wonderful ladies Sheri and I have been training for over a year, Stephanie Stethem and Bettina Breck­enfeld. Sheri Davis is semi-retired but is still working, filming with the Big Bear Lake Film Office and the Greater Palm Springs Film Office / Alliance. Once you have worked 27,000 square miles of filming opportunity for over 20 years, I guess you would consider two filming regions as semi-retired too. Over the 20 plus years the IEFC was in existence, Sheri and I helped to bring in over $1.4 billion dollars in economic impact to the two county regions of the Inland Empire.

“How will all these changes affect me and my business,” you might ask. Well hopefully, you did not notice any change at all. Due to the quick actions of Mary Jane Olhasso, Assistant Executive Of­ficer – Finance and Administration for the County of San Bernardino, the day the IEFC closed the San Bernardino County Film Office (SBCFO) was up and running. The SBCFO does most of the same things the IEFC did, such as process permits in 1-3 days, coordinate with the various county departments (i.e. Transportation, Parks, Fire, etc) to accommodate special filming requests, maintain a local film crew and services database, and keep a location library re­source to assist the film industry in their search for the perfect spot to film.

Filming Report for 2015

Feature Films: Unfortunately, we were not able to secure any major feature films this year, but the High Desert had the opportunity to have a total of 18 in­die features, up from 11 in 2014. Cali­fornia as a whole has benefited from the recent State Film incentive, but so far it has not trickled down to the High Des­ert. Here are some of the smaller films that shot here:

“The Bad Batch,” shot at El Mirage Dry Lake and Aviation Warehouse in El Mirage. This might have technically been an indie film, but it will star Keanu Reeves, Jason Momoa and Jim Carrey.

“The Neon Demon,” shot at Bristol Salt Flats in Amboy, I think Keanu Reeves likes the High Desert. This is another indie he did also starring Christina Hen­dricks and Elle Fanning.

“Sky,” shot in Barstow (High Noon Saloon); Hinkley (Hinkley Rd; Hinkley Ranch); Joshua Tree (Copper Mountain College; Quail Springs Rd; Broadway Rd; Sunfair Rd); Landers (Rattlesnake Cyn Rd); Lenwood (Hills Ranch); Ludlow (Ludlow Café; Main St; Na­tional Trail Hwy; Lavic Rd); Newberry Springs (Mobil Gas Station; Black Butte Rd; Pisgah St; Bagdad Café); Victor­ville (Holland Burger). This “little mov­ie that could,” starred Diane Kruger, Norman Reedus, Lena Dunham, Lou Diamond Phillips and Joshua Jackson. They hopped all over the High Desert for several days to get this movie made.

“Honey Jar: Chase for the Gold,” shot at Calico Ghost Town in Yermo.

TV Episodic: The most notable was cable show “Into the Badlands,” which came out in September and shot a scene on the El Mirage Dry Lake.

TV Reality: Five TV Reality shows chose the high desert for their locations. “Little Women,” shot at Silverwood Lake in the Hesperia area, “The Great Food Truck Race,” shot at the Route 66 Museum in Barstow; “The Story Trek,” shot at Calico Ghost Town in Yermo; “This is Life with Lisa Ling,” shot at the Hotel Nipton; “Storage Wars,” shot in Adelanto; and the “Rich Kids of Bev­erly Hills,” shot in Yermo and Baker.

Commercials: There were 107 commer­cials that chose the county as a location and 54 of them were shot in the High Desert. Here are some of the most no­table:

“Mercedes,” shot at the Pisgah Crater in Newberry Springs; “Born Shoes,” shot at the Death Valley National Park; “5-Hour Energy,” shot at Dumont Dunes; “Johnny Walker,” shot at El Mirage Dry Lake; “iPhone 6,” shot at El Mirage Dry Lake, and Aviation Warehouse in El Mirage; “Jay Leno’s Garage,” shot his opening sequence at the El Mirage Dry Lake; and “Dominos,” shot at Harper Dry Lake in Hinkley.

Stills & Catalog: Still photographers have loved the High Desert for years be­cause of the wide open spaces, topogra­phy and the abundance of natural light. In 2015, 35% of all the stills shoots in the county chose the High Desert:

“Ford,” shot at Coyote Dry lake in Ye­rmo; “VW,” shot at Rabbit Dry Lake in Apple Valley; “Maite Perroni:” This Mexican actress, model and singer/songwriter chose El Mirage Dry Lake for her latest shoot. “Kiyoharu:” This Japanese musician and singer/song­writer also chose El Mirage Dry Lake as the backdrop to his portfolio; and “Pepsi Strong Zero:” This new product from Pepsi Cola chose Cougar Buttes in Lucerne Valley for their ad campaign shoot for this Japanese soda.

Music Videos: The High Desert is THE place to shoot your music video, as evi­denced by the 41 of the 54 music videos that shot in San Bernardino County:

“Interscope Records Music Video:” An undisclosed client of Interscope chose to shoot their music video at Giant Rock in Landers. I wonder who it was? “Pa­rade of Lights:” This new genre-bending band chose Dumont Dunes and Silurian Dry Lake in the Baker area for their de­but song, “Feeling Electric.” You can watch their video here – “Andreea Balan:” This Romanian pop singer loved El Mi­rage Dry Lake when she shot her video “Uita-ma” – watch it here – http://ti­ “Cheek:” Cheek is a Finnish Rapper who found the rocky desert area of Cougar Buttes perfect for his music video “Sa Huudat” – check it out at

Documentary and Industrial: 12 of the 22 Documentary and Industrial shoots were in the High Desert. Here are a few to look into:

“In Search of Colour:” The BBC loves California and comes out almost every year. This year they chose to shoot in Big Bear Lake, Fawnskin and Death Valley. “Scout Junior:” This was an In­dustrial shoot for Indian Motorcycle that shot at the El Mirage Dry Lake. What is an Industrial shoot? “It is a video that targets ‘Industry’ as its primary audience,” according to Wikipedia. In this case it was an educational video made for an audience within the motorcycle industry.

Students: 50% of ALL the student shoots in the County of San Bernardino were based in the High Desert. Here is a list of the schools that chose a desert backdrop for their project:

Art Center College of Design, Azusa Pacific University, Biola University, Chapman University, Columbia Col­lege Hollywood, Loyola Marymount University, New York Film Academy, Saddleback College, and St. John’s Uni­versity.

Other: Other encompasses any film shoot that does not fit into one of the categories above (i.e. web video, short films, etc). Over 59% of this category chose the High Desert:

“Mini/Tony Hawk BTS” – Web Com­mercial; “Triumph Motorcycles” – Web Commercial; “King of the Hammers” – Event Video; “The Road” – Short Film; and “Leap” – Short Film –

General Nonprofits

High Desert Community Foundation

Published by:

By Lisa Lawrence

It is a privilege to join my colleagues and past Bradco High Desert Report article submitters Vici Nagel and Debbie A. Cannon, in discussing the current status and future outlook for nonprofit organizations in the High Desert region and the important connections with the business community.

So what are we facing? The National Council of Nonprofits says, “The top three trends for charitable nonprofits will continue to be: limited resourc­es, increased demands on nonprofits, stemming from increased needs in communities; and the growing aware­ness that every nonprofit and board member needs to be an active, vocal advocate for his/her nonprofit’s mis­sion.”

The national trend is magnified in our High Desert area. The issue of an un­derfunded Inland Empire region has been widely discussed over the past few years, particularly as it relates to foundation dollars coming into our area. The increased needs in our com­munity, likewise, have been identified through formal processes and reported by statistics. More profoundly, we all see, hear, and read real-life stories of the people affected. These stories are what fuel those of us in the nonprofit community and our supporters.

The response to these trends has been for Inland Empire nonprofit to contin­ue to focus on building stronger networks and collaborations. While for-profit businesses with like products and services do not necessarily work in cooperation with their “competi­tors,” that strategy is highly utilized and effective among nonprofit orga­nizations. A recent Daily Press ar­ticle titled “The Business of Poverty” outlined a food distribution program headed by Desert Manna in Barstow. The article described the worsening economic plight of the region, using data provided by the county, school district, nonprofit organizations, and The Bradco Companies. It also gave a beautiful illustration of nonprofit or­ganizations working together and le­veraging resources for greater impact. The logistics alone are impressive.

Another example of nonprofits work­ing together is Academy for Grass­roots Organizations (AcademyGO) and High Desert Community Foun­dation. Mrs. Nagel and I are the Ex­ecutive Directors, respectively, and we are continually collaborating to strengthen and improve our communi­ty. AcademyGO does an outstanding job in capacity building of nonprofits through training, regular networking events, and connections to resources. At the foundation, we have over 60 projects providing services or support for: veterans, low income families, se­niors, children, health, animals, edu­cation, homeless, civic efforts, arts, music, and public safety. Our foun­dation has directly benefitted from the services of AcademyGO, and many of our projects have grown in their abil­ity to obtain resources, including sev­eral first time grants.

The High Desert Community Foun­dation also manages permanent and temporary funds for in­dividuals, families, and businesses to impact our community both now and into the future. We are an excellent alterna­tive to establishing your own foundation and can assist you in leaving a legacy by supporting causes you care about. We also have a thriving scholarship program and over $250,000 will be given to graduating high school seniors this year. We set up scholarships in coordination with the donor, including memorial scholar­ships to honor a loved one’s legacy.

The nonprofit community recognizes the continuing contributions of our businesses. Many of our High Desert businesses are already actively en­gaged with and supportive of nonprofit organizations and activities. Academy for Grassroots Organizations is em­barking on a campaign to strengthen that vital connection and effectively build the capacity to serve and respond to the increased needs in our commu­nities. The question of “Why are non­profits good for business?” will also be asked and answered. Watch for more information in the coming months or contact Debbie A. Cannon through

On behalf of the nonprofit community, thank you to our businesses! You are an invaluable partner in improving our High Desert region.

Lisa Lawrence is the Executive Di­rector of the High Desert Community Foundation. For more information, visit or call her at (760) 242-8877.

General Politics

Governor’s Record Budget Asks Taxpayers For Even More

Published by:

By Senator Mike Morrell

At the beginning of the year, the gov­ernor released the details of his pro­posed state budget. While the next few months will be filled with negotiations and committee hearings to hammer out the details, it is already clear that this budget continues a trend of gov­ernment growth and spending at the expense of the taxpayer – this time to the tune of a record $122.6 billion.

The governor and Democratic leaders have reiterated their belief that Cali­fornia is in good financial shape and have used this assessment to justify spending increases, though many, in­cluding the governor himself, con­tinue to warn that another recession could be just around the corner.

Yet still the governor has doubled down on calls for higher taxes.

A cornerstone of this plan would enact $3 billion in new gas taxes and “road user fees.” Senate Republicans have put forward our own plan that would provide nearly the same amount for California’s roads and highways with­out raising taxes. Included in our plan is a guarantee that taxes paid by driv­ers and truckers would be used to the benefit of our roads and highways.

If you drive as much as I do, you are well aware that in California, we al­ready pay among the nation’s highest prices for gas. Between taxes and en­vironmental regulations, government costs imposed on motorists are nearly 70 cents per gallon. For families and businesses alike, paying more at the pump will mean even less money to put toward investing and saving for the future.

This budget proposal is premised on a view that the books are balanced. By several measures, however, Califor­nia’s fiscal situation is far from bal­anced.

Consider that the State Treasurer has estimated state and local government debt at $1.5 trillion. While the budget includes about $7 billion to pay down related debt costs, this amount rep­resents only the minimum necessary to pay off a small portion of state li­abilities. With windfall revenues, the budget could pay off more debt, avoid future interest costs, and prevent the cycle of issuing more debt to finance existing debt so that future generations are not stuck having to foot this bill rather than fuel more out-of-control spending in Sacramento on things like high-speed rail.

Our duty is to provide an environ­ment where businesses and families thrive. We have our work cut out for us in California, where the nation’s top CEOs for 11 years straight have named our state the worst place to do business.

Throughout history it has been dem­onstrated that the larger government becomes, the more it consumes, and the fewer freedoms all of us will have. Last year Republicans heeded this cautionary truth to stop tax increases in their tracks.

As we finalize the budget in the months ahead, our resolve remains the same as we work to protect the taxpayers of California.

Senator Mike Morrell, R-Rancho Cu­camonga, represents the 23rd District in the State Senate which includes portions of Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties.

General Transportation

Caltrans Achieves Major Milestones in the High Desert

Published by:

By Joy M. Schneider – Public Information Officer, Caltrans

For approximately four years, Caltrans has been actively working in the High Desert to improve and upgrade the transportation system. Rap­id growth in the region and the resulting congestion have made improvements a priority. As one of three routes in and out of Southern California, the Inter­state 15 (I-15) and Interstate 215 (I-215) interchange is a heavy goods movement corridor and recreational gateway to places like Las Vegas and the Colorado River, in addition to being a commuting route.

Two of the major projects that will ad­dress congestion and wear-and-tear on the facility are nearing the finish line, while several others continue to work to bring relief to the High Desert.

Devore Interchange Project

The $325 million I-15/I-215 Devore In­terchange Project, which began in No­vember 2012, will add a truck by-pass lane, add an additional lane in each di­rection and bring the interchange up to operational standards, as well as address the arterial highways network deficien­cies—specifically the reconnection of Route 66 (Cajon Boulevard).

Devore Interchange

The project is currently 95% complete. The major items of work left to be per­formed are completion of Cajon Boulevard and final striping of various areas of the project.

The project team joint ribbon cutting cer­emony (partnering with the I-15 Cajon Pass Pavement Rehabilitation Project) was held May 20, 2016. The ceremony included a walk, run, bike event geared toward community involvement.

I-15 Cajon Pass Pavement Rehabilitation Project

The I-15 Cajon Pass Pavement Reha­bilitation Project began in Spring 2013. As a strictly pavement rehabilitation project, it will resurface and restore the pavement between Kenwood Avenue and the Hesperia overhead, which will provide approximately a 40-year life to the pavement through the Cajon Pass.

Coffman Parsons Joint Venture, the project contractor, is currently complet­ing the last few concrete replacement areas. They expect the striping to be back to the existing configuration by the end of April 2016. Once the striping is finished, workers will install a rumble strip.

The Cajon Pass Project team working in coordination with the Devore Inter­change Project team held a joint ribbon cutting ceremony on May 20, 2016.

SR-138 Widening (West) Project

The SR-138 Widening (West) Project consists of widening State Route 138 (SR-138) to four lanes with a 14-foot medi­an buffer from Phelan Road to Interstate 15. The project will also upgrade shoulders to current standards, ex­tend drainage (as nec­essary) and construct a wildlife-crossing structure. The $52.1 million dollar project was awarded to Flatiron Construction Corp. The project began in February 2015, and is currently 45% complete. It is estimat­ed to be completed in December 2016.

SR-138 Widening (East) Project

The SR-138 Widening (East) Project is a 2.1 mile project that will realign SR-138 from 1.9 miles east of I-15 to just west of Summit Post Office Road. It will also construct two-lane paved sec­tions of highway with outside shoulders, three wildlife crossings and an off high­way vehicle crossing.

The project is needed because the ex­isting configuration has many non-standard, steep horizontal and vertical curves and grade. There are no paved shoulders and narrow or non-existent earth shoulders, as well as few turnouts and no passing opportunities. This proj­ect will improve operational efficiency, traffic safety and will also upgrade and widen the existing lanes and shoulders to current standards.

Work began in late April 2016.

SR-58 Hinkley Expressway Project

SR-58 Hinkley Expressway Project

The State Route 58 (SR-58) project will widen and realign a portion of State Route 58 (SR-58) from a two-lane conventional highway to a four-lane expressway, extending from approxi­mately 2.4 miles west of Hidden River Road to approximately 0.7 miles east of Lenwood Road, near the unincorporated community of Hinkley in San Bernardi­no County.

The project will include construction of two interchanges on the widened and realigned portion of SR-58; one at Hinkley Road and the other at Lenwood Road. All entrance ramps (westbound and eastbound) will have two lanes at the local road and will transition to a single lane prior to merging onto the expressway. All exit ramps will have three-way stops at the exit ramp inter­sections with the local road. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant curb ramps will be included.

The project includes access to non-motorized transportation modes (e.g., pedestrian, bikes, and equestrian) by providing six-foot-wide sidewalks, as well as standard eight-foot shoulders across the two overcrossing bridges at Lenwood and Hinkley Roads. A short length of the existing SR-58 at the east end of the project is proposed to be realigned to tie in to the Lenwood Road westbound entrance and exit ramps. The widened and realigned expressway is planned to be on a fill section (elevated sections of a roadway). All locations with large verti­cal surfaces (i.e., retaining walls and bridge structures) will include aesthetic archi­tectural treatment to prevent graffiti.

The project was awarded to Skanska and broke ground in April 2015. To date, drainage features have beeninstalled in anticipation of a 100-year storm event. The major earthwork will be finished by mid-April 2016, at which time concrete paving will commence. The Hinkley Road/Bridge is open. The project is expected to be complete in February 2017.

The project team takes the needs and concerns of the Hinkley community members very seriously. Community meetings are held every two months so that the community can find out about the status of the construction, as well as report any concerns they may have about the project and/or construction activities.

US-395 Widening Project

With traffic expected to increase by as much as 90% by the year 2038, Phase One of the US-395 Widening Project aims to improve the operational efficien­cy of the highway by providing one ad­ditional lane in each direction, installing a 14-foot median and rumble strips, and modifying signals at various intersec­tions from SR-18 to Chamberlaine Way in the cities of Victorville and Adelanto. Caltrans District 8 is currently partner­ing with the San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG) to work on the right-of-way and final design for the widening of US-395. It is estimated that the project will go to construction in Summer 2018 and will be completed in Winter 2020.

Caltrans is pleased with the achieve­ments of the projects mentioned above. Each project will aid in the enhancement of the transportation infrastructure of the High Desert. Caltrans will continue to deliver quality projects that will provide a safe, sustainable, integrated and effi­cient transportation system to enhance California’s economy and livability.

General Water

Cadiz Inc Continues Work to Provide California Much-Needed New Water

Published by:

By Courtney Degener, Vice President, Communications & Investor Relations A part of the Cadiz team for over 12 years

The Mojave Desert’s Cadiz Valley in eastern San Bernardino County, Cali­fornia, is a hot, dry place. The sandy soil supports only sparse, low brush well adapted to the hot dry climate where summer temperatures reach up to 120 degrees. It’s just about the last place you’d go looking for water.

But in the 1980s, our Company found­ers did just that. Guided by early NASA satellite imagery, they postulated that the unique geology of the Cadiz Val­ley, which is about the size of Rhode Island, could indicate that groundwater had been collecting under the soil for millennia. We purchased land, drilled exploratory wells and, indeed, found plentiful, high-quality groundwater.

Later modeling and field work would show the Cadiz aquifer system holds as much as 34 million acre-feet of wa­ter – more than 11 trillion gallons and an amount equal in volume to Lake Mead, America’s largest reservoir. Our wells have been prolific, or as one drill­ing contractor said during field work in 2010, “based on 43 years of experience – I’ve been involved with hundreds, possibly thousands, of drilling projects – and without a doubt (Cadiz well) TW1 was the most productive production well I’ve ever been involved with.”

Over time we continued our land acqui­sition and began to farm, relying upon this groundwater for irrigation. Today we are the largest private landowner in San Bernardino County, with 45,000 acres and a sustainable farming operation of aquifer-watered lemon orchards and vineyards that provide a lush green spot in the sparse Mojave landscape.

Creating an Environmentally Benign Water Project

In the 1990s as California’s population grew and the State’s water supplies in­creasingly came under pressure, we also started considering the potential to make our property available for a water supply and groundwater storage project. Givenour proximity to the Colorado River Aqueduct, which carries water from the river to 19 million people from Ventura County to San Diego County, both the supply and storage concepts proved feasible. The plan has evolved with the times. Once envisioned as a groundwa­ter storage-focused project in partner­ship with the Metropolitan Water Dis­trict of Southern California, today the Cadiz Valley Water Conservation, Re­covery and Storage Project is smaller in scale and scope than earlier envisioned, but remained focused on a pledge to do no harm to the environment.

The project, which will be implemented in two phases, will actively manage the groundwater basin underlying our prop­erty to create a new reliable water sup­ply for Southern California, as well as a new opportunity for groundwater stor­age. The first phase will capture approx­imately 50,000 acre-feet of groundwater per year–enough for 400,000 people –from a wellfield on the Cadiz property and deliver that water via a pipeline to the Colorado River Aqueduct and then to local communities throughout South­ern California. Over the 50 year life of the project, only 3-6% of water in stor­age would be withdrawn and this water would be replenished over time. Ac­cording to Anthony Brown, M.Sc. En­gineering & Hydrology, who conducted an independent peer review of the proj­ect’s science, “given the low amount of proposed pumping relative to the significant size of the basin, the Cadiz project can be intelligently managed to provide a new beneficial use without any harm.”

“Conservation” is a critical part of the project’s name and objectives because all of the water in the Cadiz aquifer presently flows to desert dry lake pla­yas, where it turns ten times saltier than the ocean and evaporates. Without the project, over 10 trillion gallons of water are lost every year. The project aims to manage these outflows to the dry lakes and create integrity in the aquifer system so that in a second phase we can utilize its immense storage capacity to hold up to one million acre-feet of imported wet-year water from the Colorado River or State Water Project until needed in subsequent dry years.

When designing the project, protecting the environment was a top priority, and we worked with our project partners, San Bernardino County and best-in-class ex­perts, to ensure the project would do no harm. We plan to build our pipeline in a disturbed railroad right-of-way, rather than crossing undisturbed federal land to ensure no species are impacted. We have also committed to an 80-foot hard floor on groundwater withdrawals for the avoidance of doubt about water re­source impacts. The project includes an extensive, prescient groundwater man­agement plan regulated by the county to enforce our commitments.

Public Review & Approval

In July 2012 the project received ap­proval under California’s rigorous en­vironmental laws–generally regarded as the most protective in the nation. The Environmental Impact Report was prepared and certified, after extensive public review, by Santa Margarita Wa­ter District (SMWD). Nine water agen­cies from across the region, including SMWD, have signed up to purchase the water made available by the project. San Bernardino County, which oversees groundwater at the project area, served as a Responsible Agency in the project and separately approved the project and the management plan in October 2012.

As occurs so frequently with large projects in California, litigation fol­lowed. Cadiz, SMWD and San Ber­nardino jointly defended challenges to the project’s approvals. Some lawsuits were dropped early on and several went to trial. In 2014 all of the project’s ap­provals and environmental documents were upheld without any changes. As expected, opponents appealed these rul­ings and the matters are now before the California Court of Appeals. We remain confident in the thorough environmen­tal review conducted in accordance with California’s tough environmental laws and are optimistic the Appeals Court will uphold the 2014 trial court deci­sions.

A Big Boost for the Local Economy

As it has waded through the CEQA pro­cess and now CEQA litigation, the need for the project has not diminished and the state’s unpredictable hydrological cycles have only made it clearer that a groundwater supply and storage proj­ect in Southern California would be a benefit to the entire system. Southern California economic consulting firm Stratecon Inc. recently valued the water supply, storage, and water quality ben­efits attributable to the project at $6.1 billion. These benefits would not only be realized by Project subscribers, but experienced by all water users throughout the entire region, which has faced significant water rate increases over the last 10 years.

In addition to tremendous water supply benefits, the project is also expected to create needed jobs and local investment. The $250 million project, which we will privately finance, will create and sup­port over 1,500 jobs per year of con­struction and generate nearly a billion dollars in economic activity. Under a pledge we made to the county, 80% of the capital investment will be dedicated to San Bernardino County-based busi­nesses and 50% of the jobs to county-based workers, including 10% to local veterans.

Next steps…

To reach construction and implementa­tion, we must still complete three pri­mary tasks: (1) resolve the outstanding appeals of the CEQA permits; (2) re­solve a dispute with the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) over ac­cess to the railroad right-of-way for our conveyance pipeline; and, (3) complete final contracts for the water. We expect the appeals will be decided this summer and the contracts are expected to follow. Thanks to the support of a broad bi-par­tisan delegation of California Congres­sional members, we are in dialogue with the BLM about how we can resolve our dispute and reach a final path forward for the pipeline.

While we continue to believe that the water project would be the highest and best use of our properties and resources, we also recognize that water in Califor­nia is a tough business and can take a long time. Therefore, we’ve also recent­ly announced plans to expand farming operations in Cadiz so we can put our most valuable asset to work while we continue to pursue the water project.

The initial expansion will expand farm­ing on 2,100 acres and ultimately could reach 9,600 acres, which would utilize an amount of water comparable to our Water Project permits. Our agricultural partners will install water and energy infrastructure that later will be used by the project once final approvals are received. The well-field infrastructure and related improvements required for agriculture are substantially similar to water project infrastructure, so they can be fully integrated into the project once it is permitted.

As a long-time desert business, whether pursuing agriculture or water supply development at the property, we also intend to maintain a variety of legacy commitments in Cadiz, including a tour­ist-based steam train, cultural center, kit fox research, and the largest desert tor­toise land mitigation bank in California. We are more than the water project, and as our CEO, Scott Slater, reminds our team regularly, we will always do proj­ects that our kids can be proud of.

General Politics

Valdez appointed San Bernardino Auditor-Controller/Treasurer/Tax Collector

Published by:

Oscar Valdez

Oscar Valdez was appointed to the vacated elected posi­tion of Audi­tor-Controller/Treasurer/Tax Collector by the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors on February 17, 2016. Prior to his appointment, Valdez served as the Assistant Auditor-Con­troller/Treasurer/Tax Collector from May 2011 until his current appoint­ment in 2016 and was responsible for the management and oversight of the auditor, controller, and treasurer divi­sions for the County of San Bernardino. Valdez has over 20 years of accounting, auditing, budgeting, finance, and man­agement experience, 16 of which have been with San Bernardino County.

The Auditor-Controller/Treasurer/Tax Collector’s Office has a budget of near­ly $40 million and employs 315 county employees. The department performs the accounting, reporting, and claims of all county financial activities to ensure sound financial management. Valdez is responsible for the investment of all county and school district funds within the county investment pool and over­sees the collection of over $2.3 billion in property taxes each year for payment of over 805,000 annual secured and un­secured tax bills.

Valdez and his staff provide courteous and professional customer service to county departments, residents, and local government agencies. Valdez’s commit­ment to providing superior customer ser­vice is evident by the many convenient ways his office offers residents to pay their property taxes, including eCheck, debit card, and credit card services available online, in person, and over the phone. On March 22, 2016, Valdez was presented with a NACo Award in recog­nition of his department’s Online Bank­ing Tax Payment Project, which resulted in increased efficiency in processing payments remitted through a taxpayer’s online banking system.

Valdez’s office averages a 98% annual collection rate, meeting the established performance measures and in doing so ­supporting the Countywide Vision and Goals. Property tax bills that are not paid become tax-defaulted and subject to the Tax Collector’s power to sell after five or more years. Annual tax sale auc­tions are held each May in an effort to return these properties to property tax-paying status. Properties not sold at the May auction are re-offered in August at a reduced minimum bid. Last year 2,296 tax-defaulted properties were offered at the May and August tax sales, and 92.5% of those properties were sold, resulting in $14.7 million in collected revenue.

The Tax Collector’s tax sale auctions are hosted online. This year’s auction was held May 14-20, 2016. Each parcel list­ed for tax sale included a current parcel number, situs city, minimum bid, parcel map and Google map, and some parcels also included a photo. To maintain single ownership on undeveloped tracts, Val­dez’s office offered grouped parcels that must be purchased on an all-or-nothing basis. Developers interested in review­ing current tract maps for grouped par­cels can request a copy from the County Recorder’s Office. A complete listing of parcels scheduled for future tax sale can request a copy of the listings from the Tax Collector’s website at www.mytax­ under Tax Collector>Tax Sale Information>Current Sale Items.

Beyond his many roles for the County of San Bernardino, Valdez is an active member of the following professional organizations: Government Finance Of­ficers Association, California Associa­tion of County Treasurers and Tax Col­lectors, California State Association of County Auditors, Association of Gov­ernment Accountants, and Institute of Internal Auditors.

General Water

MWA Offers Assistance to Small Water Providers

Published by:

By Yvonne Hester, Community Liaison Officer

As California continues to experience year five of a statewide drought, hopes of a saving El Niño continue to elude the Golden State. Here in the High Des­ert, periods of drought are part of the na­tive climate, requiring the Mojave Wa­ter Agency to continually monitor and invest in plans and programs to ensure water for today and tomorrow. Among the Agency’s newest programs is the Small Systems Assistance Program (SSAP) that has been named as a finalist for an award of excellence from the As­sociation of California Water Agencies.

During the past two decades, MWA in­vested heavily in large capital projects such as pipelines and recharge facilities, but today the focus is on optimization of resources, thanks to community in­put during the 2014 Integrated Regional Water Management Plan. Increased par­ticipation in the plan’s process resulted in the committee ranking assistance for disadvantaged communities as a top pri­ority.

Unlike the larger water providers, re­sources are scarce for the small provid­ers. The new program was developed to assist disadvantaged and severely disadvantaged small water systems that lack staff, expertise, and funding to address both water quality and reliability. While the MWA region is served by 10 large water purveyors, there are also some 40 smaller systems that provide water to homes and businesses.

Residents living in disadvantaged com­munities deserve quality water, but of­ten maintaining infrastructure is costly. Many of the small systems have pipe­lines, pumps, and storage reservoirs that are 30-50 years old, resulting in a variety of water-quality issues. Many of the small water systems are challenged with naturally occurring and manmade water quality issues, including arsenic, fluoride, and Chromimum-6.

In an effort to address these concerns, a committee formed by the IRWM Plan Project team was formed, and the MWA Board of Directors approved an initial $200,000.00 program budget for a con­tract with the California Rural Water Association to provide small water sys­tems expertise. Under the MWA Small Water Systems Assistance Program, a local expert was made available to dis­cuss containment solutions including consolidation of two or more systems, blending water, or well head treatment.

As a result of the MWA program, a number of grants for small systems were submitted, and Gordon Acres Mutual Water Company in Lucerne Valley re­ceived a grant of $468,000.00 from the State Water Resources Control Board. These funds will help develop a water system plan to address insufficient de­livery, water outages, and water quality violations.

Other small water systems in the re­gion also have received assistance from the program. All requesting water systems have received on-site assistance for technical, managerial and financial challenges, as well as need assessments, leak detection audits, conservation plan assistance, and rate studies. MWA also has provided 10 free workshops and has made available wastewater expert help.

For more information on this pro­gram, contact Mojave Water Agency at 760.946.7000.

2016 High Desert Water Summit to Feature State and Local Experts

Winner of Student Essay Contest Also Featured

“Predicting Our Future by Our Own De­sign” was the theme of the 2016 High Desert Water Summit held April 13 at the Barstow Community College Per­forming Arts Center. Each speaker fo­cused on key issues and resources that serve to shape the region’s water fu­ture. Speakers included Dr. Christopher Thornberg, founding partner of Beacon Economics, based in Los Angeles. He provided an economic and population profile of the region. Ellen Hanak, Senior Fellow and Director of the Public Policy Institute Water Policy Center in San Francisco, provided a statewide overview of water management issues, as well as climate challenges. Addition­ally, Lance Eckhart, MWA Director of Basin Management and Water Resourc­es, presented water supply and demand projections included in the current up­date of the Regional Urban Water Man­agement Plan.

Also Enrique Arcilla, the 15-year-old essay contest winner, a sophomore at the Academy for Academic Excellence in Apple Valley, presented his essay titled “The Path to Sustainability” at the April 13 event. As the winner, Arcilla received a $5,000 scholarship.

The Water Summit ran from 7:15 to 11:30 a.m. on April 13 at the Barstow Community College Preforming Arts Center. The campus is located at 2700 Barstow Road.

The cost for the event was just $10 and included a full breakfast buffet.