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Small Business Recognition Program Honors Owens’ Bistro in Chino

Chino Airport Sees Continued Growth

Retirement Shortfalls Measured in Trillions

Pension Care Required

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Main Office:
385 N Arrowhead Avenue
San Bernardino, CA 92415

Chino Hills District Office:
14010 City Center Drive
Chino Hills, CA 91709

Staff Members:
Larry Enriquez,
Chief of Staff

Joy Chadwick,
Deputy Chief of Staff

Brian Johsz,
District Director

Annette Taylor,
Executive Secretary

Naseem U. Farooqi,

Burt Southard,
Media Relations

Roman Nava,
Small Business Liason

Grace Hagman,
Field Representative

Jeanna Pomierski,
Field Representative
March 2011

Small Business Recognition Program Honors Owens’ Bistro in Chino

Every month Fourth District Supervisor Gary C. Ovitt will be accepting nominations of small businesses that are successfully working to improve our local economy and are making a difference in the community. For February 2011, Owens’ Bistro is being honored.

Owens’ Bistro opened its doors in September 2003 at 5120 D Street in Downtown Chino, California. Owners, Chef James Kelly and his wife Denise, pride themselves on good food, live entertainment, a romantic ambiance, and their personal attention to patrons.

The cuisine at Owens’ Bistro is what Chef Kelly prefers to call "progressive American, with a sense of humor". Seamlessly blending classic as well as modem techniques, the menu features almost entirely locally grown produce from the regions’ numerous farmers markets.

Mr. Kelly and his wife, Denise, live in Chino with their son, Owen, the eatery's namesake. Owens’ Bistro has occupied its current location, across from Chino City Hall, for more than 7 years.

Denise Kelly was recognized as 2009 Maitre d’ of the Year and Owner and Chef James Kelly was recognized as Chef of the Year in 2008 by the Southern California Restaurant Writers Association.

Small businesses are vital to the economy of San Bernardino County. Owners of small businesses should be commended and recognized for their hard work and entrepreneurial spirit. Their success should serve as a “best practices” model for other small businesses, particularly in these tough economic times.

Small businesses play a vital role in the economy of San Bernardino County. Over 93% of businesses in our county have 25 or fewer employees. They employ over 60% of our work force.”

Nominated businesses for the Fourth District Small Business Recognition Award need to be located within the Cities of Chino, Chino Hills, Montclair, or Ontario. Small businesses can be nominated by emailing at: SupervisorOvitt@sbcounty.gov or contacting the Ovitt District office at (909) 465-1895. Please include the name of the business, business owner’s name, address, and the reason why you are nominating that small business.

Chino Airport Sees Continued Growth

The Chino Airport continues to see increased usage and growth, despite the state of the economy. For calendar year 2010, the Airport accounted for 187,649 aircraft operations. For calendar year 2009, the Airport accounted for 172,336 annual operations, which amounts to an 8% increase from 2009.

The growing general aviation airport annually hosts one of the world’s top-ranked air shows, (according to Aviation.com), continues to have a positive impact on the County and the local community. These facts run counter to downward trends in aviation and the current economic troubles around the country. This news is continued validation of the bright future for Chino Airport. The Chino Airport continues to have a positive impact on the region and the County’s efforts to increase the use of the Airport will provide jobs and opportunities.

To further enhance the Chino Airport, the County is updating the Airport Master Plan. The plan is available for public review and comment via the Internet at www.chinomasterplan.airportstudy.com. The continued growth of the Chino Airport is positive, encouraging and confirmation of the projections and vision for the future of the Airport.

About Chino Airport:

Located minutes from Los Angeles County and Orange County, the County of San Bernardino’s Chino Airport is a preferred destination for general aviation and corporate aviation in Southern California. The historic airport, which once trained World War II pilots as Cal Aero Field, is home to unique aviation museums, an acclaimed air show and excellent facilities for private and business aviation. To learn more, visit www.ChinoAirport.org or www.SBCountyWings.com

Retirement Shortfalls Measured in Trillions

Despite recent attempts to mitigate the crisis, the unfunded debt for public retirement benefits poses a massive and growing problem in California and throughout the nation. A study by the Pew Center on the States captures the gravity of the issue in its title: "The Trillion Dollar Gap."

Rising costs of promised public-sector employee pension and retiree health benefits in 50 states now are more than $1 trillion in the red, Pew calculated. Other studies estimate even greater deficits, including a Free Enterprise Nation study this year that put the combined state and local government unfunded liability at $3.5 trillion.

According to a Stanford study this year, California taxpayers face a half-trillion-dollar unfunded obligation, which, ultimately, is a taxpayer responsibility under the state constitution. That's almost six times greater than the state's annual operating budget. An analysis by the Foundation for Education Choice estimated California public retirement systems' unfunded liabilities at $326 billion, more than three times the state's own estimate.

Whichever amount of retirement overhang you choose, these dire projections all agree there is a huge obligation in benefits owed to present and future government retirees that far outstrips the amount of money public agencies have set aside and anticipate receiving to meet those obligations.

It is encouraging that Pew reported 19 states, including California, have taken action in the past year to reduce their pension liabilities, "either through reducing benefits or increasing employee contributions." Further cost savings may be achieved the rest of this year and into the 2011 legislative session, according to Pew. An interactive, online map is helpful charting the efforts of all 50 states over the past 10 years in either cutting benefit levels or requiring higher employee contributions. Pew's map can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/28xcc9z.

Nevertheless, efforts to date are meager considering the magnitude of the problem. "It took years for states to get into their current pension predicament, and it will take years for reforms and fiscal discipline to get them out," the Pew study concluded. "California," the Pew report noted, "needs to improve how it manages its long-term liabilities for both pensions and retiree health care and other benefits." While the state's obligations are 87 percent funded overall, Pew found, "the results for individual plans vary." For example, in 2008 the California State Teachers' Retirement System "contributed less than two-thirds its $4.3 billion obligation," and "the state has set aside only $3 million to cover the $62 billion, long-term liability for retiree health care and other benefits," Pew reported.

Pension Care Required

Two of the state's largest public pension funds reported healthy investment gains of 12.5, (California Public Employees' Retirement System - CalPERS) and 12.7 percent (California State Teachers' Retirement System- CalSTRS) for 2010, the benefit of a rising stock market. But one year's strong returns will not make the public pensions' problems go away.

Prudence suggests that the pensions should not count on a resurgence of the returns enjoyed between 1982 and 1999. Yet, in noting the funds' rebound, Dave Low, chairman of Californians for Health Care and Retirement Security, a group that represents public employee unions and public retirees, said, "Unfortunately this unprecedented market downturn interrupted the slow but steady growth of the market since the Great Depression."

The market's growth has been anything but steady over the decades. Assuming investments will earn more than they do is harmful to pensioners and taxpayers. That's what got the funds in the trouble in the first place.

CalPERS today has 65 to 70 percent of the funds it needs to meet its obligations. The teachers' fund has 78 percent. Acknowledging that its assumptions were too optimistic, the CalPERS board will vote in March on revising its expected rate of return down from 7.75 percent. However, this reduction assumes higher contributions from employees, employers (local government, school districts) and the state.

Most state employees agreed in 2010 to increase their contributions to 10 percent from 5 percent of their paycheck while accepting cuts in benefits. The CalSTERS' fund has already reduced its expected rate of return to 7.75 percent from 8 percent. Still, the fund says contributions from all sources will need to increase by 15 percent.

Californians want to make good on the promises to retired employees, but they must be based on realistic expectations and full funding.