Ovitt Oulook
In This Issue...  
June 2007
Clean Air

Earlier last month, I was elected Chairman of the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) for a one-year term. SCAG is the nation’s largest metropolitan planning organization, and covers San Bernardino, Riverside, Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura and Imperial Counties. The organization designs regional plans for transportation, housing and air quality.

I’m committed to see to it that the interests of all six counties are balanced and fair and that inland counties are not just the recipient of LA and Orange County's traffic, smog and affordable housing problems. With a growing population that numbers about 4 million people, the inland counties bear a disproportionate share of highway congestion and pollution. It is the issue of air quality and pollution that needs our most immediate attention.

Our region needs relief from polluted air. Earlier last month SCAG voted to urge President Bush and Governor Schwarzenegger to declare a state of emergency in the region because of the more than 5,400 premature deaths that the state estimates is caused by health conditions linked to air pollution. That doesn’t include the thousands of hours of absences from jobs and missed school attendance.

Along with the California Air Resources Board and the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD), it is SCAG’s responsibility to make sure our region complies with the federal Clean Air Act. Earlier last month, an attempt by AQMD to restrict idling by locomotives, failed. Diesel pollution accompanies the movement of goods throughout Southern California. The movement of goods from our ports inland is an economic benefit which we appreciate, but even though this keeps us economically competitive, we pay a price in terms of air pollution and adverse health effects, such as childhood asthma. We can balance both goods movement (43% of all imports in this country come through the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles) and cleaner air.

The Environmental Protection Agency and state Air Resources Board have jurisdiction over cars, trucks, trains, ships and planes, which are the biggest polluters. A major concern is the minuscule flecks generated by diesel emissions, called particulate matter. The smaller the particle, the more dangerous it is. One leading culprit is PM2.5. It is particulate matter that measures 2.5 microns in diameter, roughly one-thirtieth the thickness of a human hair.

I also serve as the San Bernardino County representative on AQMD which has jurisdiction over factories, refineries, and other businesses, but has minimal authority over vehicles. We tried to restrict idling locomotives but a federal judge threw out the decision. Next month we hope to adopt a plan to clean the air of particulates by the federally mandated deadline of 2014. We need to meet this deadline and those standards because the current situation is a health care crisis.

By working together the various federal, state, regional and local agencies responsible for reducing air pollution can succeed in making our air cleaner. It won’t be easy, painless or cheap however.
 

 
Public Safety - Gangs

In April, the Board of Supervisors approved a program to track gang members on probation using a technology called “global positioning system” (GPS) to keep track of their whereabouts. Since that initial program implementation, a suit to disallow GPS use was thrown out of court. Now Governor Schwarzenegger has announced a new initiative to help local communities fight illegal gang activity. The program known as the California Gang Reduction, Intervention, and Prevention Program (CALGRIP) is a designed strategy of intervention, prevention, and suppression.

CALGRIP will provide $48 million in state and federal funds to help local communities fight local anti-gang activities. What I especially like is the Governor’s emphasis on gang member parolee monitoring. Parolees thought to be targets for repeat criminal activity will have to wear GPS bracelets just like our County program. That is welcome news because of the high recidivism rate of gang member parolees. They will also have to register with local police when they move into a community after their release from prison. Gang members thought likely to fall back into a gang life will have limits placed on their contacts with children and with other gang members.

CALGRIP will also protect witnesses from gang intimidation, put more law enforcement officers in gang-infested neighborhoods, make gang members pay for their crimes and make major gang areas eligible for government funding. There will also be intervention programs, job training and education.
 

 

Education

Because of the number of years I served as a teacher and coach, education is very important to me. I am currently active in a number of organizations including “Alliance For Education”, the “Safe Paths to Schools” program and the County Preschool Services Department policy Council to name a few.

In the past, I have provided funding to school programs and activities where I saw a need and could make a difference. This year, with priority policy funds, I am going to fund programs and activities at a number of low performing schools in the Fourth District. Each potential recipient school will be required to submit a request and my office will review each for its appropriateness. My emphasis will be on making things better than they currently are to enhance the educational experience and opportunities for students.
 
 
May Activities

I attended meetings last week with executives at the International Conference of Shopping Centers. We discussed business growth and expansion opportunities in San Bernardino County and the Fourth District.

We held our Ninth annual Chino Senior BBQ on May 30th. We had approximately 225 people who attended. Good food, games and fun was had by all. Thanks to all who made this year’s event a success.

We held a community forum in Montclair on May 29. We discussed County related issues including transportation, schools, crime and gangs and other topics. We had representatives from the District Attorney and Assessor who talked about elder abuse, identity theft and tax savings programs. We had about sixty people in attendance. Thanks to all who made a contribution to our forum.
 

 
STAFF SPOTLIGHT
Cody Gregg serves as an intern in our Chino District Office. His contribution to the effectiveness of our office has been outstanding. He is competent and mature well beyond his young age. Cody began with the Ovitt office in January of this year. Cody is on track to graduate high school this fall. This is his senior year.

Cody has received over a dozen awards for his achievements as Commanding officer for his high school ROTC program, as well as being recognized for his involvement in the school’s color guard. Cody currently holds the position of Cadet Captain and serves as Communications officer for his school program.

He worked as Youth Coordinator for the 2006 get out the vote effort in the High Desert. His interest in politics led him to seek an internship with the Supervisor’s office. Cody hopes to attend Victor Valley College next year and major in political science. His dream is to attend the University of Southern California to complete his bachelor’s degree.

Cody resides with his parents and two brothers in Hesperia.
 
 

Clean Air

Public Safety - Gangs

Education

May Activities

Staff Spotlight

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Main Office:
385 N Arrowhead Avenue
San Bernardino, CA 92415
(909) 387-4866

Chino District Office:
13160 7th Street
Chino, CA 91710 
(909) 465-1895

Staff Members:
Mark Kirk, Chief of Staff
Josh Candeleria, Deputy Chief of Staff
Anthony Riley, District Director
Roman Nava, Senior Field Rep
Grace Hagman, Community Outreach Specialist/ Field Rep
Naseem Farooqi, Constituent Services Rep
Burt Southard, Special Projects Coordinator
Joy Chadwick, Executive Analyst
Christy Ray, Executive Secretary
Annette Taylor, Executive Secretary