Economy General Politics

San Bernardino County Economic Development Agency Improving the Job Prospects of Residents

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By Mary Jane Olhasso, Assistant Executive Officer, County of San Bernardino

One of the most rewarding aspects of the San Bernardino County Economic De­velopment Agency’s work is improving the job prospects of residents. Work­ing with the business community on relocation and expansion opportunities and implementing proactive workforce development programs are just some of the ways the agency makes an impact. Moreover, the department’s efforts are augmented by valuable partners in edu­cation, investment and real estate who work in collaboration to ensure job cre­ation opportunities.

A great example now being led by edu­cation partners is the implementation of a nearly $15 millon grant awarded to Chaffey College and the Inland Empire Regional Training Consortium (IERTC) in 2014. The competitive grant was awarded by the Trade Adjustment As­sistance Community College and Ca­reer Training (TAACCCT), which is co-administered by the Department of Labor and Department of Education, to improve manufacturing training for the Inland Empire. The IERTC includes 10 community colleges, 2-four-year universities, and the Manufacturers’ Council of the Inland Empire as well as several faith-based and community or­ganizations.

In March Chaffey and the consortium celebrated the opening of the Industri­al Technical Learning Center (InTech Center) located on the campus of Cali­fornia Steel Industries (CSI) that will train thousands of workers in advanced manufacturing, advanced transporta­tion, logistics, energy and utilities, as well as computer/ICT/digital media. These programs are conducted at no or low cost to employers and employees, thanks to the TAACCCT grant.

Through TAACCT funding, Barstow Community College now offers a low-cost, two-year plan in Industrial Main­tenance Mechanic Technology. This program offers National Center for Construction Education and Research(NCCER) stackable certificates. Bar­stow offers this program at a lower cost compared to similar programs offered at private colleges.

These programs and others are true job creation successes. California Steel ac­cepted five Barstow Community College students into their paid internship program over the last several years and a few have stayed on to become full-time California Steel employees. A number of other companies have partnered with Barstow Community College, either by recruitment, placement, advisory, or donations, including: NRG Energy, Abengoa Solar, Rio Tinto, Trinity Con­struction, National Training Center-Fort Irwin, Marine Corps Logistics Base, and Burlington Northern Santa Fe.

Another example of how community colleges are increasing job prospects is the work being done by Victor Valley College. The Welding Department at Victor Valley College has been an ac­tive department in the community for more than 35 years as a Los Angeles Certified Testing Facility for the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety, an American Welding Society Certified S.E.N.S.E educational facil­ity, and a Fabricator and Manufacturers Association International Educational partner. Today, the Victor Valley Weld­ing department has evolved into a robust program that has placed students throughout the years with government agencies such as NASA, the Naval Nuclear Submarine Assembly dock in Virginia, and the Marine Corp Logistics Base in Yermo. It has served as a pre-employment testing facility for Northwest Pipe and Cas­ing, partnered with local industry to create intern­ships and pathways, and is continually working to provide students with job placement opportunities.

Thanks to additional funds, Victor Val­ley’s successful Welding department will expand its training in metal forming and fabrication with the planned addi­tion of space and resources. Construc­tion will begin on their new facility, which is slated to be completed by the end of this year.

The efforts of Barstow Community Col­lege, Victor Valley College and InTech Center are all part of a collaborative solutions-oriented effort to provide an economic boost to the county by provid­ing new skills to workers who are then able to quickly fill jobs in manufactur­ing, distribution and related technology sectors.

The Economic Development Agency has also been focused on a manufac­turing initiative that builds awareness of the county’s advantages for manu­facturing businesses: it identifies opportunities for manufacturers outside the county to consider expansion or relocation to the county; identifies obstacles to expansion of existing county busi­nesses; and informs busi­nesses about workforce incentives and programs.

The team has already reached out to nearly 1,000 unique manufac­turing companies, result­ing in more than 258 direct contacts that allowed staff to share information on the benefits of San Bernardino County. More than 90 of those contacts were sent follow-up let­ters and general cost com­parisons for manufactur­ing in San Bernardino vs. Los Angeles or Orange County. This effort will continue throughout this year.

The department also hosted educational workshops in collaboration with other partners, provided resources to educate and prepare local manufacturing busi­nesses that are interested in exporting or expanding their export base, and en­gaged in business-to-business match­making meetings, both locally and in other countries. Additionally, the county is participating in the Advanced Manu­facturing Partnership’s (AMP SoCal) efforts with USC Center for Economic Development as the lead agency to pro­mote and support the aerospace and de­fense industry in Southern California.

These multiple outreach efforts and the progress to date will continue to posi­tion this region as a premier choice, especially in Southern California, for new investment and job creation.


Keeping the American Drive Alive For Future Generations

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By Victorville Councilman Ryan McEachron, SANBAG President

Last year renowned economist Joel Kotkin published a study entitled “Housing the Future,” which identified the Inland Empire as having one of the largest youth populations in the nation with approximately 180,000 millenni­als–ages 18-35 years old. As the father of two children under 10 years old, these statistics leave me with a linger­ing question: are we building enough homes to keep up with this future de­mand?

According to Kotkin, San Bernardino County and the State of California suf­fer from a chronic housing shortage which creates a lack of affordability for aspiring homeowners, including millennials. With an estimated state­wide shortage of two-million homes and coinciding affordability gap, more and more young working families will likely be forced to leave California. So how do we reverse this trend? Clearly, we need to support public policies that encourage vibrant new community de­velopment and harness the economic growth that results when we address our chronic housing shortage.

For example, a study by Mark Boud of Real Estate Economics reported that if San Bernardino County were able to address two-thirds of its current hous­ing shortage, it would benefit from over $3.5 billion in new economic ac­tivity. Other housing experts estimate that 1,000 new homes create approxi­mately 3,000 full-time jobs, $160 mil­lion in wages and $110 million in tax revenues, which can be invested in quality of life necessities such as new roads, schools, parks, public safety and water infrastructure.

Likewise, UC Riverside’s Center for Economic Forecasting and Develop­ment published a report stating that more housing is needed to sustain eco­nomic growth in the Inland Empire. Kotkin, Boud and UCR all agree that housing is a cornerstone of our econ­omy; however, during the recession, our County lost over 70,000 construc­tion jobs and has only replaced 11,000 of them over the past few years.

Like many parents, I want my children to get a great education, a good pay­ing job, and own a home to enjoy with their family. A recent article in the Daily Press (3/29/16) outlined how a majority of millennials in the National Association of Realtors’ March 2016 Home Survey said they want to buy a single-family dwelling. However 78% of millennials in California are “un­certain or doubtful” about obtaining a mortgage. This is no surprise, since California is currently ranked 49th in the U.S. in homeownership, while the average homeowner spends over 25% of their income on housings costs– more than any other state. I fear if we don’t support policies that encourage more workforce housing in California, my children will join millennials and the reported 625,000 U.S. residents who left California and moved to neighboring states between 2007 and 2014.

Fortunately, there’s reason for opti­mism in the High Desert. We remain an important destination for logistics and our elected leaders remain focused on attracting businesses, jobs and commerce to spark a thriving econo­my. We’ve also seen several excellent new residential developments come through the pipeline in recent months, so we’re on the right track. I’m con­vinced that if we continue to embrace quality housing, our children, millen­nials, dual-income families and se­niors will all find a place to call home in the High Desert, Inland Empire and Golden State.



General Politics

Energy Disclosure In California Has Bumpy Road

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By Marika Erdely, Founder and CEO of Green EconoME

AB 1103, which was in effect during 2014 and 2015, was repealed on Oc­tober 8, 2015, to eliminate energy dis­closure requirements as of 12/31/2015. As you may recall, AB 1103 required all sales, refinance and single tenant leases of buildings exceeding 10,000 sq. ft. to disclose their energy usage prior to the signing of financial docu­ments.

The California Energy Commission (CEC), who administers this law, stat­ed that one of the reasons to repeal AB 1103 was that the utilities were having difficulty accessing energy usage in multi-tenant buildings due to privacy laws. All meter rate payers own their energy usage unless they give authori­zation to release it. Therefore, a build­ing owner would not have access to tenant data in order to comply with AB 1103, and in multi-meter situa­tions (retail, some commercial) it was even more difficult to attain this infor­mation. Therefore, an accurate energy disclosure was impossible to produce. The CEC also stated that compliance was limited, most likely because no enforcement of the law occurred, and many building owners took the chance and did not comply. The CEC decided to repeal the entire law and to start all over.

AB 802, California’s new Energy Dis­closure Law, ini­tially focuses on the utilities requirement to provide aggre­gated energy usage data, also known as ‘whole building data’. This would require the entire building’s energy usage, common area and tenant meters to be downloaded into the EPA’s En­ergy Star Portfolio Manager Software as one number. This eliminates any isis­sues with privacy. The new law also eliminates the building owner’s re­sponsibility to disclose the data when involved in a financial transaction. In current form, buildings over 50,000 sq. ft., including multi-family, will be required to disclose their energy us­age on an annual usage, with it being a public disclosure within a year of re­porting.

Recently, CEC held a workshop on AB 802’s progress, and showed this timeline for implementation (see be­low):

With this tentative timeline, commer­cial building energy disclosure is be­ing delayed, yet again to April 1, 2018 and multi-family disclosure would be­gin a year later on April 1, 2019. Let’s not hold our breath anticipating these dates, as the asterisk gives a clear pic­ture that this is probably not going to happen.

In regards to enforcement, AB 802 does provide for enforcement mecha­nisms to impose a civil fine, but we have yet to see what form this will be.

Los Angeles and its Energy Disclo­sure Law is Moving Forward

The City of Los Angeles is also con­sidering an Energy and Water disclosure ordinance for existing build­ings ( We learned that the new ordinance had been drafted and sent to the City Council’s Energy and Environment Committee during April 2016 for ap­proval. Plans for implementation are set to begin during 2017.

California Tentative Program Timeline 1

The current Energy Benchmarking Compliance Proposal to include:

  • Starting 2016 – City-owned build­ings > 7,500 ft.
  • Starting 2017 – all buildings > 50,000 ft.
  • Starting 2018 – all buildings > 25,000 ft.
  • Starting 2019 – all buildings > 10,000 ft. This size building is a sticking point, and the new ordi­nance may not drop to this level.

The Los Angeles disclosure will also require energy and water efficiency retrofits if buildings do not meet a certain level of energy or water effi­ciency. LA’s energy disclosure infor­mation will also become public one year after compliance begins. There will be penalties and fines levied for non-compliance. It is assumed that the County of Los Angeles and its neigh­boring cities will also follow suit and implement their own version of an En­ergy Disclosure law once Los Angeles signs their law into place.

Why is Energy Disclosure Important and Why Should You Care?

If all you do each month is grumble about your electricity bill but have no idea if these charges are reason­able for your building and its use, why wouldn’t you want to know how your building stands compared to similar buildings? Benchmarking a building in the EPA’s Portfolio Manager Soft­ware provides this knowledge.

If you knew that the energy usage was extreme (low Energy Star score or high Energy Use Intensity (EUI)), wouldn’t you take steps to reduce these costs? It is like everything else in life: if you know you are over-spending, you make changes. Why should it be any different with energy costs?

Energy Disclosure provides this data, especially if you further analyze the energy usage data and costs and pro­duce financial graphic analysis to understand the financial metrics, like Green EconoME prepares. As every­one says, big data is valuable.

So once you know your building is inefficient, retrofitting your lighting with LEDs is the easiest way to cap­ture the ‘low hanging fruit’ and pos­sibly reduce your total energy kWh by 15-20% and your lighting kWh by 60%. Providing HVAC control with new wireless thermostats can provide even more cost savings by easily man­aging schedules and reducing con­sumption in unoccupied spaces with door and occupancy sensors. These retrofits will reduce your building’s kW demand and kWh usage and you can save big.

Utility incentives can help reduce the cost of the retrofits, along with ac­celerated depreciation and various fi­nancing methods, including Property Accessed Clean Energy (PACE).

How does the Building Code affect all of this?

California’s Title 24, the Building Code related to energy will be up­dated again in early 2017. It is impor­tant to note that the goal of Title 24 is to build to Zero Net Energy (ZNE) standards for residential construction by 2020 and commercial (including multi-family) by 2030. What is ZNE? Simply, a building’s energy consump­tion is offset by its energy generation during an annual period to have a zero net effect.

With the goal to build ZNE for com­mercial by 2030, the CEC hopes to have 50% of the current existing building stock to be ZNE by 2030 as well. This appears to be a good but lofty goal since most building own­ers have no idea how their building stands in regards to energy efficiency. Which brings us back to the question­able decision to eliminate AB 1103. Why eliminate a law that provided this knowledge to the building owner? Re­pealing the law that provides insight needed to drive towards ZNE seems to be counterintuitive. We find this step by the CEC a detriment to the goal of ZNE.

Market Valuations to Take Note

It is also important to note that Energy Disclosure is closely tied to market valuations. If a building’s operating costs are lower, this provides for high­er valuation in the market value of the building. Cap rates are obviously af­fected by operating costs. Energy Star and LEED Certifications can provide the labeling for this higher valuation.

Should you wish to know more about Energy Disclosure and how your building can consume less energy, feel free to contact Marika Erdely at 818. 681.5750 or

Marika is Founder and CEO of Green EconoME (, a full service Energy Consulting firm located in Pacific Palisades. She is a Certified Energy Auditor (CEA), a LEED AP BD+C, and holds an MBA from Pepperdine University. Marika was formerly the CFO for New Mil­lennium Homes, the master developer for The Oaks of Calabasas. Marika’s background is deep in financial analy­sis and the desire to understand how new technologies can reduce energy consumption. Green EconoME holds a License B (#10001368), is a VAR for Daintree Networks (lighting and HVAC control) and is an Energy Star Partner.

General Politics

Congressman Paul Cook Leads the Charge for National Security

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

Our nation is faced with a litany of challenges, both at home and abroad. As your representative in the U.S. House of Representatives, here’s an update on the important work I’m doing on behalf of my constituents.

Strengthening our national security in the wake of the San Bernardino terrorist attack is my top priority in Congress. My colleagues and I in the House have and will continue to pres­sure the administration to increase the screening of refugees from Iraq and Syria. The Security Against For­eign Enemies (SAFE) Act, which I supported, is an integral step towards this end. We need to remain vigilant in our screening process to ensure that ISIS doesn’t exploit weaknesses in our immigration system.

In addition to the SAFE Act, I re­cently supported the Counterterror­ism Screening, and Assistance Act of 2016. This bill, which passed in the House, tightens border security screening abroad, mandates a re­port card to assess the border secu­rity of foreign countries, establishes minimum border security standards, and withholds foreign assistance for countries that don’t meet border secu­rity standards. Improving our allies’ capacity and increasing coordination will improve our national security by mitigating potential threats before they reach our soil.

While our national security needs are significant, we must do more to put the federal government’s fiscal house in order. Put simply, the U.S .is amassing a crushing burden of debt. Under current policies, the def­icit will continue to climb to historic levels. The total debt has doubled to nearly $19 trillion since the current administration took office in 2008.

To address this troubling level of debt, House Republicans and I are fighting for the Debt Management and Fiscal Responsibility Act to be enacted into law. This important measure requires the President and his administration to appear before Congress prior to each potential debt limit increase and provide testimony and detailed reports including reduc­tion proposals and progress on debt reduction. It also establishes shared legislative-executive responsibil­ity for a clearly defined debt reduc­tion plan. If we are going to tackle the largest fiscal problem our nation faces, we must have a roadmap in place.

Recently, the House Budget Com­mittee approved a plan to reduce the deficit by $7 trillion, balance the na­tion’s budget within 10 years, and put the country on a path to eventu­ally pay off the national debt. I’m hopeful in the coming months we will see a responsible budget pass the House and Senate—one that puts our fiscal house in order and protects national security. We owe it to the next generation to leave them a debt-free, stronger, safer America. That will certainly continue to be my pri­ority as your Congressman.

If you’d like more information re­garding the work I’m doing in Con­gress, please visit my website at and sign up for my weekly e-newsletter. You may also contact my Apple Valley district at 760.247.1815 to learn more.

Education General

Victor Valley College Serving the High Desert for 55 years

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By Robert Sewell, Director Marketing & Public Information Officer/ASB Advisor/Public Relations/ASB Victor Valley College

Victor Valley College (VVC), now in its 55th year, serves an area encom­passing roughly 2,200 square miles and is located on a 253-acre campus at the center of the three major com­munities of the Victor Valley (Apple Valley, Hesperia and Victorville). VVC serves the cities and commu­nities of the High Desert: Adelanto, Apple Valley, Helendale, Hespe­ria, Lucerne Valley, Oro Grande, Phelan, Piñon Hills, Silver Lakes, Spring Valley Lake, Victorville and Wrightwood. VVC also features a 13-acre Regional Public Safety Training Center (RPSTC) in Apple Valley. In total, a population base of approximately 400,000 people with over 20 feeder high schools and diploma-granting institutions rely on VVC for their educational needs and opportunities.

Great strides have been made in the past year to complement our aca­demic programs and offerings. In addition to the degrees–Associates in Science and Associate in Arts–of­fered in 23 different disciplines, the Chancellor’s office approved, be­ginning Spring 2015, four new As­sociate Degrees for Transfer. These degrees (Political Science, English, Geography, and Psychology) pro­vide students guaranteed admission with junior standing to the California State University system.

Nursing students have three new op­portunities to affordably obtain their Bachelors of Science from Cal Bap­tist, Azusa Pacific, and Grand Can­yon University. In addition, VVC Students can now take on campus classes with Park University. TheUniversity offers degrees as part of a 2 + 2 program.


For the 2015-2016 academic year, enrollment is approximately 13,000 students with a Full-Time Equivalent Student target of 9,245. A full-time equivalent student is a person taking more than 12 credit units or three part-time students taking a single 4-credit unit class. VVC was able to offer a successful Winter 2016 Intersession, serving 3,054 students who were enrolled in 3,730 classes. Students were/are enrolled in an average of 2.5 classes in both the Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 Semes­ters, 11,860 students taking 30,499 courses in Fall and 11,375 currently enrolled in 28,845 Spring classes. VVC employs over 1,000 full and part time employees.

During the 2014-15 academic year, VVC conferred more than 1,100 As­sociate Degrees and Certificates and looks to improve on that number dur­ing the 2015-2016 academic year.

Programs featured include but are not limited to: Nursing, Liberal Arts, Science and Math, and other Transfer Courses, along with 16 Ca­reer Technology Programs such as Computer-Aided Design, Airframe and Power Plant Technology, Fire Technology, Administration of Jus­tice, Digital Animation, Respiratory Technology, Paramedics, and Con­struction Technologies, etc.

Certificates of Completion were is­sued in Administration of Justice, Child Medical Assistant, Paralegal Studies, Horticulture, Auto Special­ist, Business Administration, Build­ing Inspection, Advanced Business Real Estate, Construction Technolo­gy, Firefighter, Public Works, Weld­ing, Restaurant Management, and Pre-School Teacher.


Victor Valley College’s accredita­tion status was confirmed June 29, 2015, from the Accrediting Com­mission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) with no sanc­tions. On March 29, 2016, the AC­CJC approved a substantive change which will allow the college to in­crease access and offer more classes and programs at the Regional Public Safety Training Center (RPSTC) in Apple Valley.

Campus Updates

VVC students will have the benefit of a new interactive Student Orienta­tion Video this Fall 2016.

In the first of an ongoing collabora­tion, the trustees from Barstow Com­munity College and Victor Valley College held two joint meetings in 2015. The meetings helped to high­light existing partnerships and iden­tified new opportunities to leverage resources to benefit students in both Districts.

Victor Valley College was selected as one of nine community college districts and 14 colleges to partici­pate in the Education Planning Ini­tiative (EPI). EPI is an innovative statewide project in the deployment of a new academic advising and plan­ning platform. Community college students throughout California will soon have access to new technology that will help them identify their aca­demic goals, develop structured per­sonalized Ed Plans for success, and make informed course choices about their education.

A Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Ma­chine (NMR) was acquired by Victor Valley College, thanks to the VVC Foundation, Mitsubishi Cement, Cemex, A Family Pharmacy, the Mojave Environmental Education Consortium (MEEC), and Southern California Edison. The NMR is be­ing used for the first time in the 2016 spring semester for students in up­per level organic chemistry classes and will make a huge difference for students intending to transfer to the university system like Cal State San Bernardino. Until recently, CSUSB would only accept the theoretical work accomplished and not the prac­tical work. Because of the investment of our industry partners, CSUSB will now accept both, alleviating a bottle­neck in their system where hundreds of students are currently sitting on waitlists for Biology and Chemis­try classes requiring a lab with the NMR.

The Victor Valley College Math De­partment this year embarked on sev­eral major changes to their program that could significantly increase col­lege completion rates for area resi­dents. Math has been a hurdle for many students who were previously required to take a multi-course se­quence of remediation before ac­cessing a degree-applicable course. In Fall 2016 new practices for place­ment will begin, allowing the ma­jority of students to enter the math sequence within one class of their degree requirements instead of the up to five they previously encoun­tered. Following proven models that have worked at other institutions, in­cluding just-in-time remediation and a statistics-based alternative to alge­bra, VVC expects significantly more students to successfully advance through math. Removing the barri­ers in math will make graduation a reality for more VVC students.

In 2014 Victor Valley College was awarded a grant to facilitate career pathways pipelines throughout theregion in five key industries: Auto­motive, Aviation, Energy/Utilities Healthcare and Manufacturing. One goal of what has become known as the RAMP UP project is to maximize the input of employers by establish­ing advisory councils that include all local schools and Victor Valley Col­lege together, rather than the previ­ous practice of multiple independent meetings at individual institutions. This work was initiated in 2015, and today nearly all targeted advisory councils have been identified or are in active development for the local area. This strategy is expected to help streamline curriculum, allowing local students to complete training that more quickly meets employer needs.

Another goal of the RAMP UP proj­ect is to link schools and colleges together through technology, allow­ing them to share classes and learn­ing experiences with one another. In 2016 the installation of these class­rooms was completed, system tests successfully conducted, and the first multi-site connection allowed stu­dents at eight high schools to partici­pate in a healthcare industry lecture last month. RAMP UP also includes linkages to the Antelope Valley, Barstow and San Bernardino, where similar activities are in develop­ment.

Expanding its relationships with lo­cal high schools, VVC embarked on a new partnership with Hesperia High School in Fall 2014. In the Fall of 2014, 53 students were enrolled in predominantly General Education classes delivered by VVC’s depart­ment of Humanities, Arts, and So­cial Science (HASS) on the Hesperia High School campus. By the end of that semester, 98% of the students passed all classes with a “C” grade or better, and a total of 414 college credits were earned in courses in­cluding English, Sociology, History, and Philosophy.

In the Fall of 2015, the cohorts grew to a total of 84 students enrolled, with the results demonstrated that 95% of the cohort passed all classes with a “C” grade or better, totaling 612 college credits earned.

The Hesperia High study also re­vealed that the pass rate in the Early College courses surpasses traditional Hesperia High courses by 20% (Eng­lish) and 10% (History). It should be noted that these classes, where appli­cable, count toward the high school student’s A-G high school gradua­tion requirements.

Student Athlete Success

In 2015 Coach Dave Hoover guided the Rams Football Team to a 9-1 re­cord as they got the privilege to play in the American Division Champi­onship Bowl Game. The Rams, 19-1 during the past two seasons, had five players named to the All-California First Team and All-American DL Dougladson Subtyl was named De­fensive Player of the Year.

Veteran’s Resource Center

In Spring 2015 Victor Valley Col­lege opened a much needed Veter­ans Resource Center (VRC) located in the Student Activities Center. In addition to helping veteran students with certifying VA education ben­efits, the VRC provides counseling services, tutoring, a computer lab, and community workshops.

This could not have been possible without the dedication of the Vet­erans Services staff, VA student workers, Veterans Club, VVC Foun­dation, and Wal-Mart for their gen­erous grant which helped buy com­puters and furniture.


Victor Valley College Main Cam­pus and the Regional Public Safety Training Center are valuable com­munity resources. The college of­fers relevant programs and services to help students prepare for transfer and address workforce needs through career technical education and basic skills instruction. Over the last seven years, Measure JJ Bond dollars have touched each of these areas: the Re­gional Public Safety Training Center in Apple Valley (Spring 2012), Mu­sic Building (Fall 2014), and the Dr. Prem Reddy Health and Sciences Building (Fall 2015).

In 2016 another Measure JJ project gets under way as we turn our atten­tion to the remodel and expansion of our Vocational facilities. Ground­breaking takes place May 16, and the new additions will be ready for student use Spring 2017. The proj­ect includes a new Automotive/Diesel Mechanics lab space, new Welding Lab, public restrooms and an additional 6,240 ASF for lecture classrooms. Additional Automotive space will provide for a service writ­er program, machine shop and bay space for car lifts. Welding Technol­ogy will be equipped with an entirely new welding facility with state of the art equipment.

In July 2015 the Facilities Master Plan update was approved which identified a need for a new Student Services ‘One Stop’ Building suf­ficient to provide greater efficiency between related functions in serving our students, thereby freeing current space for reconversion to classrooms and solving the near-term classroom shortage. In addition a study was presented outlining a future Stadium and Conference Center that will seat 3,500 and 3,000, respectively.

General Politics

Prop 13 is Safe, For Now

Published by:

Assemblyman Jay Obernolte

By Assemblyman Jay Obernolte

In 2015 several ballot initiatives aimed at undermining Proposition 13 were pro­posed by labor groups and other special interests. As of today none of those initia­tives will be on the 2016 ballot. This is a victory for homeowners, small businesses and taxpayers. However, we must remain vigilant if we want to prevent any future undermining of Prop 13.

Proposition 13, or the People’s Initiative to Limit Property Taxation, as it was offi­cially named, was a constitutional amend­ment that limited the rate of property tax increases on residential and commercial properties. It also put in place protections against future tax increases by requiring a 2/3rds vote of the state legislature to in­crease taxes, as well as a 2/3rds majority in local elections to impose local tax in­creases.

Since its passage, many groups have tried to weaken the protections of Propo­sition 13. Some want to lower the thresh­old of the 2/3rds vote, making it easier to raise taxes. Others want to create a “split roll” so commercial properties have their property values reassessed annually. Both of these would be disastrous to taxpayers and negatively impact our economy.

2016 was thought to be the year in which Prop 13 would come under siege due to the fact that the number of signatures re­quired to place an initiative on the ballot is lower than it has been in recent elections because of decreasing voter turnout. How­ever, with an extension to the Proposition 30 tax increases likely to be placed before voters in 2016, it appears that the special interests who are looking to raise taxes think it may hurt their case if too many tax increases appear on the ballot.

While Proposition 13 appears to be safefor another two years, I would encourage everyone to remain vigilant against future initiatives that would undermine taxpayer protections. I pledge to do the same in the State Assembly.

Assemblyman Jay Obernolte represents the 33rd Assembly District in the Califor­nia State Legislature. Since being elected to the State Assembly, he has earned 100% ratings from both the Howard Jarvis Tax­payers Association and the California Taxpayers Association for his legislative record. In 2015 he authored AB 809, a bill sponsored by the Howard Jarvis Tax­payers Association and signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown, which required all tax increases placed before the vot­ers on a ballot be clearly labeled as a tax increase. AB 809 was widely praised as a measure to protect taxpayers from mis­leading ballot propositions.

Economy General Politics

Taxable Parcels Increase in Value Due to Existing Home Sales

Published by:

By Bob Dutton, San Bernardino County Assessor

In June 2015 the assessment roll contained 820,314 taxable parcels and was valued at $186,894,462,703, which represented a 5.077% net in­crease as compared to the 2014 as­sessment roll. Our office reported that the primary reasons for the in­crease in value were sales of existing homes, Proposition 8 recovery of as­sessed values, and the Proposition 13 Consumer Price Index adjustment. New construction also contributed to the increase but to a lesser degree.

The 2015 assessment roll finally reached and surpassed the previous high achieved in 2008 before the collapse of the real estate market. Three of the cities with the highest increases were all located in the High Desert, including Hesperia at 7.8 %, Victorville at 6.7 %, and Adelanto at 6.5%.

When looking at historic trends for the High Desert, we see that the as­sessment roll for all cities is increas­ing since the drop in values experi­enced in 2009. The upward trend is a positive sign and many of the same drivers for the County as a whole are responsible for the upward trend in the High Desert. In general, peo­ple are taking advantage of the af­fordability of homes in the market. Moreover, little of this upward trend is due to new construction. Approximately 12 % of the increase was due to construction, unlike the 2006-2007 valuations when 60 % of the value increase was due to new con­struction.

This bodes well for the High Des­ert. While I am optimistic about the region, the greatest need is for new business start-ups. Based on person­al experience over the course of my career, I think the greatest judge of a healthy economy is small business growth.

The High Desert has all the right components for healthy growth, such as low cost land, affordable homes, basic infrastructure, and a pro-busi­ness approach from the County and High Desert cities. I think the re­newable energy opportunities that are unique to the region are another benefit to business growth.

Looking back over the course of my career in both the private and public sectors, I was fortunate to have par­ticipated in encouraging: the redevel­opment of Ontario Motor Speedway, which ultimately became Ontario Mills; the development of Victoria Gardens; expansion of Ontario Inter­national Airport; and the billions of dollars invested in goods movement and transportation infrastructure for the Inland Empire, as well as help­ing to bring Amazon to our region. All of these projects are significant long-term catalysts for ongoing eco­nomic growth and development opportunity.

Now I look at the current trends and believe that the future is bright, espe­cially because our County, including the Assessor’s department, is com­mitted to delivering a friendly and fair business environment. This is all part of my work to help San Ber­nardino County be recognized as the best place to live, work and raise a family.

Values and Parcel counts By Roll Year and High Desert City

Values and Parcel Counts By Roll Year and High Desert City

Economy General Property

2016 Economic and Housing Market Outlook

Published by:

By Oscar Wei, Senior Economist


Economic Outlook

The U.S. economy ended last year with a lackluster performance of 1.4% annual­ized growth rate in the fourth quarter of 2015. While the annual increase in GDP in 2015 maintained the pace as that of 2014, it was a letdown for many econo­mists who predicted a stronger outlook for the nation last year. The subpar per­formance of the year was due to multiple factors including: 1) the sharp decline in oil and commodity prices; 2) the eco­nomic slowdowns in China, Europe, and Canada; and, 3) a strong dollar that makes American goods relatively expensive and weakens demand overseas. Despite the hiccups in recent quarters, the labor mar­ket continued to improve, with nonfarm employment averaging a gain of more than 233,000 new jobs per month in the last 12 months. The unemployment rate in March 2016 also reached a near-full employment level of 5% that we have not seen since 2007.

Meanwhile, the economy of California continued to grow at a faster pace than that of the nation as technology and tourism pushed the state economic growth ahead of much of the country. The strong per­formance in the labor market is an illustra­tion of how well the Golden State has been doing in recent years. The unemployment rate in California dropped to 5.5% in Feb­ruary, the lowest level observed since Au­gust 2007. Statewide job growth has been rising at or near 3% year-over-year since late 2012. While the unemployment rate in California remained above that of the U.S., the growth in the job market at the state level has been outpacing the nation since March 2012. Overall, the outlook for the economy remains positive with continued improvement in consumer, business, and state and local government spending in 2016.

California Housing Market Outlook

With the economic fundamentals remain­ing strong in California, the state housing market has had a solid performance since the beginning of this year. Through the first two months of 2016, sales of exist­ing single-family detached homes have surpassed the sales level at the same point of 2015 by 7.6%. When compared to the previous year, sales in February in­creased in most price segments except for those properties priced under $200K, between $300K and $400K, and homes over $2,000,000. Homes priced between $1,000,000 and $2,000,000 experienced the strongest growth—rising by 10.8% over February 2015.

Much of the growth in Southern Califor­nia in particular was driven by the Inland Empire as sales in Riverside and San Ber­nardino were 7.5% and 5.1% above last year. Orange County saw a 1.5% increase in sales last month. However, Los Ange­les, San Diego and Ventura all experi­enced negative growth in February. In the Bay Area, only Solano and Sonoma saw an increase in home sales, suggesting that tight inventories are beginning to nega­tively impact activity.

As for the statewide median home price, growth rate cooled to a 3.8% annual pace in February 2015 as the statewide median price increased to $446,460. This marks the slowest rate of growth for home price in six months and likely reflects the shift of sales activity toward the Central Valley which has lower home prices on average. As tight inventory in the Bay Area and Southern California drive a larger share of activity in more affordable areas, price growth should continue to normalize in the remainder of 2016.

The statewide housing supply remains an issue as the demand for housing contin­ues to outpace the growth in inventory. While it is a welcome sign to see steady improvement in housing demand, the lack of supply is definitely a concern. The im­balance between the two sides not only intensifies market competition and pushes home prices higher, but it also leads to housing affordability issues that will ulti­mately lower homeownership rates if the problem persists.

The supply constraint in the Bay Area is more pronounced and has led to fewer homes being sold in the high-cost region. On the other hand, demand in regions with more affordable housing continues to improve and more home sales will like­ly take place in the coming year. As such, a slow-down in home price appreciation at the state level is anticipated as the mix of sales changes in favor of lower-priced properties in 2016.

High Desert Regional Housing Market Outlook

Home sales activity continued to improve in the High Desert region at the beginning of 2016. The number of single-family detached homes sold in February 2016 increased 4.5% when compared to the same time last year. In fact, sales have been improving on a year-over-year basis for every month since March 2015. The year 2015 was also the first year since 2009 that the market experienced a year-over-year gain in sales. With the econo­my expected to improve in the upcoming year, sales in the regional housing market should continue to grow with a mid-single digit in 2016.

The median home price of the High Des­ert region remained on an upward trend in the most recent month. When com­pared to last year, the regional median price increased 8.5% to $203,600 in Feb­ruary. Over the last twelve months, the year-over-year gain in median price has an average of 9.6%, slightly higher than the statewide average of 6.0% for the same time frame. Home prices in the High Desert region have been improv­ing since 2012, with its annual median price increasing 24.5% in 2013, 16.6% in 2014, and 9.2% in 2015. Despite the upward trend in price in recent years, the regional median price in February 2016 remained 39.6% below the cyclical peak reached in June 2006 but was up 90.9% from the recent cyclical bottom reached in April 2009. For the rest of 2016, increase in housing demand in the region should put upward momentum on home prices as the economy continues to improve. The regional median price could increase year over year by a mid-to high-single digit in 2016.

Economic and Housing Market Forecast

Fig 1: Sales of single-family homes (High Desert)

Fig 1: Sales of single-family homes (High Desert)

Looking ahead, the state economy should continue to grow through 2016, as the high-tech sector remains in the driver seat. New product development may disrupt in­dustries across the globe, but it could also yield sizable revenue and have significant spillover effect in their respective local economies. The construction industry is an example that shows how the rapid ex­pansion of technology firms throughout Silicon Valley has helped to drive the con­struction payrolls to increase by double-digits over the past year. Improvement in the construction industry is expected in the upcoming year and will help to push the economy forward. The statewide non-farm job growth will increase by 2.3% in 2016, and the unemployment rate in Cali­fornia will fall from 6.2% in 2015 to 5.5% in 2016.

Meanwhile, the California housing market is expected to have a decent performance in 2016. The Federal Reserve will most likely raise the federal funds rate two to three times in 2016. Modestly higher in­terest rates, however, should not present much of a direct challenge to the hous­ing market. With the economy expected to grow, housing demand should continue its upward trend, with sales of existing single-family homes projected to increase 6.3% in 2016 to 432,570.

Fig 2: Median price of single-family homes (High Desert)

Fig 2: Median price of single-family homes (High Desert)

Inadequate supply in high-end areas such as the Bay Area will continue to exert up­ward pressure on prices, but home sales in those regions will simultaneously be constraint. The constraint in home sales in the Bay Area leads to a decline in the share of high-end homes sales to overall home sales, which could also lead to a slow-down in the appreciation in the state­wide median price. As such, the statewide median price is expected to increase at a moderate pace of 3.2% in 2016 as more homes in the affordably-priced Central Valley and Inland Empire are being sold.

Risks that Could Tip the Scales

Fig 1: California Housing Forecast

Fig 1: California Housing Forecast

Although the outlook for both the econo­my and the housing market remains posi­tive for 2016, there are uncertainties and wildcards in 2016 that could change the outcome and tip the scales the other way. Global economic issues, for example, could begin taking a toll on economic growth domestically in 2016. Slow eco­nomic growth in China and other Europe­an countries, coupled with stronger growth in the U.S., have paved the way for higher interest rates and led to a stronger dollar. As such, international trade will likely be a drag on growth with global economic slow-down and the stronger dollar cut demand for exports, while continued improvement in consumer spending will pull in more imports.

Robust increase in jobs in high-cost ar­eas could be another downside risk to the housing market. Due to the spillover ef­fect of growth in high-paying jobs, plenty of lower-paying jobs have been created, with many of these jobs being in the same geographic areas where the high paying jobs are being added. As such, income disparity in these areas could further com­plicate and deteriorate the housing afford­ability issue.

Policymakers continue to list the mortgage interest deduction (MID) as a potential tar­get in any movement toward tax reform. If MID were to be eliminated, home buy­ers would not have the tax savings benefit of homeownership, thus reducing their incentive to purchase a house, lowering the demand for housing, and thus reduc­ing affordable homeownership across the country and the State of California. The economic impact would stress the state’s already battered balance sheet and, if any of the proposed changes were to come to fruition, could amount to billions of dollars of economic output lost.

While the recent volatility of the stock market has been drawing attention in the news, it is more of a distraction rather than a disruption to the continual improvement in the housing market. The drop in values of equity in January reduces the overall wealth and may have a small negative ef­fect on the economy in general. Its impact to the housing market, however, should be minor, as solid employment conditions, anticipated increase in household forma­tions, and record-low interest rates contin­ue to provide support to the fundamentals of the housing market.


Economy General

Economic Report: Job Growth on the Horizon

Published by:

Economic Report: Job Growth on the Horizon

By Sandy Harmsen, Executive Director,

County of San Bernardino Workforce Development Board

The San Bernardino County Workforce Development Board (WDB) commissioned the Virginia-based consultant Chmura Economics and Analytics to conduct in-depth analyses of the Inland Empire’s economic vitality on an annual basis. The purpose of the analysis was to assist the Board in determining future actions that will support growing industry sectors to strengthen the workforce talent pipeline. In addition it provides an accurate guide to where the WDB should invest funds to ensure the availability of skilled workers in the projected growth sectors.

The study denotes there are positive indicators on the horizon. The employment rate is expected to rise 3.5% this year, a statistic that outperforms the state of California and the nation.

Industries are thriving and creating jobs. The Chmura analysis shows that since 2012, 88% of employment in the Inland Empire has been driven by six projected growth sectors: Healthcare and social assistance; transportation and warehousing; manufacturing; construction; utili­ties; professional, scientific, and techni­cal services.

Construction, healthcare, and utilities are the growth sectors forecasted to grow more rapidly in the near future. As a result of this new data, the WDB can efficiently allocate federal dollars appropriately to bolster the acceleration of growth for these businesses.

The analysis explains that manufacturing is the most important sector of economic activity. Average wages in manufacturing are 20% higher than the average of all other industries; therefore, this industry holds enormous employment potential for the growing population of young workers who would replace numerous retiring workers.

This information suggests a key area of opportunity for the Workforce Development Board to assist both the job seeker and employer. Young job seekers receive services such as occupational skills train­ing, counseling, internships, job place­ments, mentoring, tutoring, leadership development, and support services. Pro­grams are designed to help youth achieve academic and employment success.

Adult job seekers can access a number of services at the High Desert America’s Job Center of California (AJCC) locat­ed in Victorville, which include resume writing, interview training, job training and placement, career counseling and skills assessment. For more informa­tion, please call the High Desert AJCC at 760.552.6550.

For business owners there is a team of Business Service Representatives avail­able to provide assistance with On-the-Job Training, customized recruitment services, and easy access to a large pool of pre-screened applicants.

A free Human Resources Hotline is available to San Bernardino County businesses 24 hours a day. Advisors at the hotline deal with a variety of inquiries ,including questions on wages and hourly rates, leave laws, hiring and termination procedures, handbooks and policies, attendance, and attitude and discipline problems. Businesses can access the free Human Resources Hotline by calling 1.800.399.5331 or visiting To read more about the hotline, visit­fers-help-to-local-businesses/.

In addition to providing excellent services to businesses and job seekers, the WDB strives to ensure that employment and training services are coordinated so that job seekers acquire industry recognized skills and credentials. Riverside County has partnered with the WDB to form the Inland Empire Consortium for the statewide SlingShot initiative, a project to accelerate income mobility for the local workforce through employer-informed training and education.

The consortium works to link, align and leverage the assets and resources of economic development, education and workforce development partners. It implements a regional economic and work­force development strategy designed to ensure greater prosperity and opportunity.

For more information on the San Bernar­dino County Workforce Development Board, please visit or call 800.451.JOBS.

About the Workforce Development Board of San Bernardino County:

The Workforce Development Board of San Bernardino County (WDB) is comprised of private business representatives and public partners appointed by the County of San Bernardino Board of Su­pervisors. The WDB strives to strengthen the skills of the County’s workforce through partnerships with business-education- and community-based organizations. The County of San Bernardino Board of Supervisors is committed to providing county resources which generate jobs and investment in line with the Countywide Vision.

The Workforce Development Board, through the County of San Bernardino’s Economic Development Agency and Workforce Development Department, operates the County of San Bernar­dino’s three America’s Job Centers of California (AJCC). The AJCCs provide individuals with job training, placement and the tools to strengthen their skills to achieve a higher quality of life. The AJCCs also support and provide services to the County’s businesses, including employee recruitment and business retention programs.

Employers and job seekers who are interested in the Workforce Development Board programs may call: 800.451.JOBS or visit Also follow us on: Facebook; Twitter @InlandEmpireJob; and YouTube

City Updates General

Adelanto City Update-Spring 2016

Published by:

City of Adelanto

Adelanto-Resiliency in Progress!

By Michael Stevens

Communications Consultant; City of Adelanto

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.

Whatever opinion you might have about Adelanto, good or bad, suspend your con­clusion until after you’ve read this article. Adelanto, the third oldest of the five mu­nicipalities that comprise the High Desert region of northern San Bernardino County, has been known as the “City with Unlimited Possibilities.”

Even though the designation “City with Un­limited Possibilities” remains true, the city now prefers the slogan “Progress by De­sign.” I’ll describe how later.

For the past 46 years, the City of Adelanto has continued to attract businesses and resi­dents due to its prime location in the High Desert. Strategically located within 90 miles of Los Angeles, the city boasts five Indus­trial Parks, including one of the largest areas of industrial land available for development in the High Desert with 11.41 square miles of land zoned for industrial and business zoning, ample vacant land in its 52 square miles, and a pro-business City Council. Ad­elanto is well positioned to accommodate future growth and development.

How has the City Progressed?

Adelanto has experienced a metamorphosis since the great recession of 2008, starting with the election of three new councilmem­bers in 2014 and the appointment of a new city manager in 2016. But more important­ly, the progress didn’t end there. Not para­lyzed by fear of being condemned, ridiculed or criticized, the City Council demonstrated bold, courageous leadership and made sev­eral tough decisions to keep the city from the verge of bankruptcy.

Although the city still faces fiscal challeng­es due to the recession, decisions made that are helping to put the city on stable financial footing include:

  • staff reductions and consolidation of staffing services that resulted in approxi­mately $365,000 in salary savings plus ben­efits;
  • passed an Ordinance and Resolution that will bring prison participation rate rev­enues from approximately $177,938 per year up to $963,600 per year or an increase of $785,662 annually; these measures will also provide one additional police officer (a second when a new facility has been com­pleted);
  • using reserves created by the sale of the Community Correctional Facility to pay for General Fund Budget Deficits.

At only three-quarters of the way through the $13 million dollar fiscal year budget, revenues from permits and fees are up over budget projections by approximately $670,000; these increases are used for Code Enforcement cost recoveries, residential in­spection fees, and permits, licenses and fees related to the new Indoor Agriculture busi­ness to the city. One hundred, thirty-eight business licenses were issued between Janu­ary and March 2016.

City staff and consultants continue to work aggressively to locate other cost savings programs, grants and revenue sources with­out reducing city services.

A Comprehensive Strategy to Keep the City Solvent

As part of an overall strategy that involves aggressive economic development to ad­dress the city’s fiscal challenges, one deci­sion the Council made—that’s generated the most notoriety—was to allow for medical marijuana cultivation.

The City Council thoroughly weighed the pros and cons of allowing marijuana cul­tivation, and chose to move forward only after careful and deliberate consideration, discussions and debate, believing that the positives outweighed the negatives and that steps would be taken to mitigate any poten­tial negative consequences.

The brainchild of Council Member John Woodard, the ultimate financial impact of allowing marijuana cultivation is unknown at this time but is anticipated to create a fi­nancial benefit for the city. At a minimum each applicant (there have been 29 to date) will:

(1) Pay a $7,000 application fee for a per­mit to do business in the city;

(2) Pay a yet-to-be-determined impact fee to mitigate impacts to fire, police and gov­ernmental oversight (this fee will be based on the size of canopy area for each facility);

(3) Pay a $2,735 Conditional Use Permit ap­plication fee to allow the Planning Com­mission to impose conditions that protect both citizens and cultivators;

(4) Construct facilities to accommodate new businesses, thereby creating temporary construction employment along with pur­chases of supplies and building materials in Adelanto and throughout the High Desert;

(5) Create jobs in manufacturing, mainte­nance, marketing, sales, distribution, trans­portation (whose employees will spend and support not only the Adelanto economy but also the High Desert);

(6) 50 percent of the jobs created must tar­get Adelanto residents (assuming they meet or exceed minimum qualifications);

(7) Likely purchase products, supplies and services to be used to support the business in Adelanto or other High Desert communi­ties;

(8) Hire local security personnel who will protect the businesses around the clock and reduce calls for service for Adelanto’s Po­lice;

(9) Pay taxes already required by the IRS, Franchise Tax Board and Board of Equal­ization.

A proposed Fiscal Mitigation Impact Fee (which will turn into a tax in November if the ballot measure passes) would be used to improve: police, fire, street, park, and gov­ernments services, resulting in better servic­es for our residents.

Progress by Design—Commercial Development Continues

Several projects progressing through the de­velopment process that will help the city’s fiscal status include:

  1. Rancho Road Commercial Center —NEC (Northeast Corner) Rancho and HWY 395; Multi-Tenant Retail Center with gas station, convenience store, car wash, supermarket, hotel, restaurants, office and retail facilities all totaling 199,050 square feet of floor area on 17.98 acres.
  2. LCS Holdings, LLC—NEC of Violet Road and Emerald Road; The construction and operation of a 3,200 bed prison on 125 acres.
  3. St. Mary’s Properties—SWC (Southwest Corner) of HWY 395 & Cactus Road;16 Pump gas station, 3,500 SF restaurant, 7,400 SF retail building, 2,500 SF fast food, 5,000 SF convenient store and car wash, and an 18,191 SF medical office building on 4 acres.
  4. Lewis Retail Centers—SWC of Highway 395 and Mojave Drive: Development of a 35.35-acre retail shopping center to includeTarget, large retailers, restaurants, and a bank on 35 acres.
  5. BergerABAM for GEO Group—NEC Koala and Holly: The construction and op­eration of a 247,425 sq. ft, 1,050 bed cor­rectional facility on 22.16 acres.
  6. Clark Pacific, Inc—Holly Road between Beaver Road and Koala Road-precast con­crete fabrication plant on 80 acres.

Infrastructure Improvements will En­hance Commercial Corridor

U.S. Highway 395, a major arterial for com­merce throughout California, bisects the city and will undergo a major expansion between Palmdale Road and Chamberlaine Way starting in 2017 that will expand to four or five lanes to enhance the commercial and retail corridor of the city.

State Highway 18, which connects Adelanto to Los Angeles County and ultimately, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, will be widened into a divided highway from Highway 395 to the Los Angeles County line. Construction will also include a four foot media, shoulders widened to eight feet ,and the addition of new centerlines and rumble strips.

The much anticipated E-220, known as the High Desert Corridor, will be a six-lane freeway and High Speed Rail connecting Palmdale and the Victor Valley. It is cur­rently under environmental review and will have a dramatic impact on Adelanto once completed.

Housing growth, though not substantial, has continued to climb the last five years, increasing from 9,261 new units in 2014 to 9,342 in 2015, a 23% increase with suffi­cient units for start-up, established, or retire­ment families. Along with the slight hous­ing growth, population has increased as well from 32,476 in 2014 to 33,084 in 2015, a 1.8% jump where residents have discovered and come to appreciate the clear skies, open spaces and family-friendly environment.

Adelanto and its City Council will continue to live up to its obligation to be good stew­ards of taxpayer dollars AND ensure that the city remains solvent to serve its residents and businesses. No one believes the chal­lenge will be easy, but judging by the results of the past few years, it should be easy to conclude that Adelanto is one resilient city!

City Updates General

Town of Apple Valley City Update-Spring 2016

Published by:

Town of Apple Valley

By Orlando Acevedo

Economic Development Manager

The County Board of Supervisors re­cently approved a 249-acre project to be rezoned from agricultural to residential within the town’s sphere of influence. The Lewis Operat­ing Company’s Deep Creek Project extends from Deep Creek Road to Mockingbird Road and is divided by Ocotillo Way.

This project will require improve­ments along these three roadways, as well as Rock Springs Road, to help mitigate traffic and the risk of wash­out. Construction for Rock Springs Road improvements is set to begin in 2018.

The long awaited Yucca Loma Bridge nearing completion

The long awaited Yucca Loma Bridge nearing completion

The Yucca Loma Bridge is expected to be completed by the end of April 2016; however, there is one more step prior to opening it to traffic. The Council recently awarded a contract for major improvements to Yucca Loma Road, including widening, bike lanes and major storm drain in­frastructure from Apple Valley Road to the bridge, as well as traffic signals at the Fire Station and Havasu Road. The bridge will open at the complecomple­tion of this phase, around September 2017. The bids came in at $8.6 mil­lion, nearly $4 million less than the original estimate, according Brad Miller, Town Engineer.

The $37-million-dollar Yucca Loma Bridge project alleviates conges­tion along east/west regional arte­rials, including Bear Valley Road, and allows residents to travel to and from Apple Valley, Victorville and Spring Valley Lake with more ease. This phase of the corridor will con­nect to Ridgecrest Road and includes bikeways and barrier-protected side­walks across the bridge. The proj­ect will also pave the way for The Fountains at Quail Ridge, a 346,500 square foot mixed-use commercial center at the north­east corner of Yucca Loma Road and Ap­ple Valley Road.

The Victor Valley Wastewater Rec­lamation Author­ity is constructing a sub-regional water reclamation plant at Brewster Park. More than 20 years in the making, this water reclamation plant will produce a mil­lion gallons a day of non-potable, recycled water that can be used to keep Apple Valley’s parks and golf course green. The plant is expected to be completed by mid-2017.

After a lengthy and competitive site selection process, Apple Valley suc­cessfully attracted a major indus­trial project, a 1.35 million square foot distribution center, to the North Apple Valley Industrial Specific Plan. 32

In June 2015 the Town Council approved an Owner Participation Agreement to invest $1.2 million dollars into the construction of off-site regional street improvements. The distribution center will occupy 106 acres near Navajo Road and La Fayette Street, north of Apple Valley Airport. The $115 million project will bring 400 to 500 permanent jobs to the community and is expected to break ground this year, with another 300 construction jobs estimated during the 18-month build. This distri­bution center is expected to open in 2017.

The town is pleased to announce the Small Business Loan Program (SBLP), a business development tool designed to help eligible busi­nesses fund employee training and/or finance the purchase of new equipment or assets. The program is funded by federal grant dollars to help companies grow local jobs and increase production in targeted sectors, including manufacturing, assembly, and startups. The town will partner with AmPac Tri-State CDC to administer the program. For more information on the program, please contact Orlando Acevedo, Economic Development Manager, at 760.240.7915 or by email at

City Updates General

Barstow City Update-Spring 2016

Published by:

California Barstow logo

By Gaither Loewenstein

Economic Development and Planning Manager

Although 2015 fell somewhat short of the city’s expectations in terms of economic growth in Barstow, the pace of activity has picked up markedly at the outset of 2016 as several projects that were anticipated to be initiated or completed last year have become untracked.

Commercial Development Outlook

The long-awaited Montara Place shopping center, anchored by a new Super WalMart store, broke ground late in 2015 and project completion is now expected to occur in 2017. Recruitment of retailers for the eight out pads has begun. The city’s inventory of existing available retail space continues to be absorbed, as Marshall’s joins Harbor Freight in the former K-mart space and smaller retail spaces continue to find lessees.

After improving dramatically for several quarters, the city’s hotel occupancy rate has leveled off in the high 80s, still sufficient to draw interest from several national hotel chains. Plans for a new Best Western Plus are in the final stages of review and Home2Suites, a Hilton product, is expected to submit building plans in late March.

In the same vicinity, taxable restaurant sales have fallen somewhat from their 2015 growth rate of 8.5% in large part due to lower fuel prices nationwide. The restaurant market in the Lenwood Road area remains robust, with a 4,500 square foot Asian Food Court currently under construction and expected to open in summer 2016, and two more nationally known restaurant brands coming to the area, in addition to regional powerhouse Oggi’s Pizza, which has slated a late-spring 2016 opening.

On Main Street, Choice Medical Group is in the final stages of its new 17,000 square foot medical office facility, Foster Freeze is currently undergoing an expansion, and several existing businesses have proposed plans for expansion and/or facelifts. The city is preparing a Specific Plan for the Downtown Business and Cultural District that will be completed in early summer. Implementation of elements of the Specific Plan will commence immediately and is expected to draw additional visitors to the area, sparking downtown revitalization.

Elsewhere, continuing progress is being made in acquiring lands within the Spanish Trail Specific Plan area (located at I-15 and L Street) from the State Lands Commission and the Bureau of Land Management. Acquisition is anticipated to be finalized in the first half of 2016, and once the site has been assembled under a common ownership recruitment of national retailers and lifestyle purveyors, it is expected to begin in earnest.

Industrial Development Outlook

The Barstow General Plan identifies a number of sites suitable for industrial development, several of which are likely to experience construction activity within the plan’s 2015-2020 time horizon. Although the proposed aluminum processing facility that was previously submitted for city review did not come to fruition, the city has continued to invest in infrastructure expansion, making the Barstow Industrial Park more readily suitable for development, and prospective tenants continue to express interest in this location. Grading is nearing completion on the 60-acre Crossroads Route 66 Indus­trial Park, located on West Main Street near the onramp to State Route 58. Once completed, this site will be a promising location for logistics enterprises and has already begun to draw interest from prospective tenants.

Residential Development Outlook

Housing development in Barstow has yet to recover from the Great Recession. Although a robust potential market for new home sales exists in the city, as evidenced by its 1.2:1 ratio of jobs-to-housing, the absence of comparable new home sales has proved an impediment to the financing of new home development. Recognition of the need to jump-start the housing market has prompted the City Council and local school district to collaborate on a strategy for short-term reductions in impact fees in an effort to spur residential development. Additionally, city planning staff has compiled an inventory of existing available infill property in proximity to local utilities and infrastructure. The city remains optimistic that these efforts will help bring the long moribund Barstow housing market to life in 2016.

Infrastructure Update

By the end of 2016 Barstow will be nearing completion of its ambitious capital improvement plans, resulting in reconstruction or resurfacing of the majority of local roadways, modernization of the city’s wastewater treatment plant, circulation network improvements in the vicinity of I-15 and Lenwood Road, and construction of the $ 31.7 million Len­wood Road Grade Separation Project. The $ 71 million reconstruction of the First Street Bridge is in the final planning stages with construction scheduled to be­gin in 2017.

Through its integrated efforts at long-range planning and infrastructure improvement, Barstow has positioned itself to capitalize on the next wave of economic growth as national, regional and local recovery from the Great Recession continues. Though arriving later than anticipated, the momentum has continued to slowly build in the early months of 2016.