Looking back at 2018
December 28, 2018
As we look to the start of a new year, it’s good to take a look back at 2018 and recap some of the year’s highlights. There are a lot of great things going on in San Bernardino County. Here are some of the projects that are making a difference for constituents in the First District and around the County. Best wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2019.
In 2018, we successfully advocated for $1 million in additional funding for Sheriff’s operational overtime to conduct specialized crime sweeps in 2018-19. These special funds are helping the Sheriff’s Department conduct targeted enforcement operations on repeat offenders. These sweeps are a proven and effective way to keep the pressure on and deter criminals. Sheriff McMahon has added deputies to gang teams and human trafficking operations.
While communities across California continue to struggle with the effects of AB109 and Propositions 47 and 57, which reduce criminal penalties, San Bernardino County has launched several programs aimed at reducing repeat criminal offenses. The Sheriff’s Reintegration Pilot Program provides classes and supervised work assignments for inmates nearing the end of their sentences. The “Stepping Up Initiative” is helping reduce the number of mentally ill adults in jail. We also launched a program to systematically measure what programs are effectively reducing recidivism and which ones aren’t.
Earlier in the year, the Board of Supervisors provided funding for the “New Hope” program, which helps newly released jail inmates establish themselves in a new and stable life. The all-volunteer program is managed by Abundant Living Family Church in Hesperia and provides clothing, food, cell phone access and transportation to the individuals who are released. The initial results are encouraging.
The D.A.’s office started a Major Frauds Unit to investigate and prosecute large, complex fraud cases. The D.A. has also expanded its investigative work on cybercrimes and computer forensics through partnerships with other agencies.
The Board of Supervisors adopted Vision4Safety, a new campaign that aims to improve safety and emergency preparedness in San Bernardino County. The 2018-2019 vision aims to connect residents to community policing, emergency response and disaster planning programs. Find out more at www.Vision4Safety.com.
Economy & Jobs
San Bernardino County’s young and growing population will continue to attract growing businesses far into the future. The Inland Empire’s industrial sector is showing strong growth, ranking first in North America for net absorption and second for deliveries of industrial properties, according to Cushman & Wakefield’s forecast. Stirling Capital Investments started construction on a 466,255-square-foot expansion for Newell Brands logistics center at Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville. And Big Lots started work on a 1.3-million square-foot distribution center in Apple Valley, expected to create up to 500 jobs.
Residential property values in the High Desert continue their gentle rise, underscoring both stability and economic opportunity. In the past year, local home prices have risen about 6.6 percent. And between October 2014 and October 2018, values of existing homes in the High Desert have risen 41 percent.
My office hosted a fourth “Made in the High Desert” Manufacturers event, in partnership with Pathways to Success, attended by over 4,000 local students. The event connected local manufacturers with local students and classroom curriculum designers to better link local job needs with local schools.
The Board of Supervisors approved the launch of GenerationGo! It’s a new County program designed to put every youth in a career pathway to well-paying local jobs. For more information, visit http://wp.sbcounty.gov/workforce/. The Board also approved the Vision2Succeed campaign with an official Kick-Off event scheduled for January 17, 2019. This campaign initiative will focus on strengthening the career skills of our local workforce. For information on internships and other programs, visit http://vision2succeed.org/.
Throughout the year, my staff has helped to resolve problems faced by numerous business people, including assistance in navigating government rules to helping people recover property tax refunds they didn’t know they had coming.
Veterans & Seniors
San Bernardino County has an amazing Department of Veterans Affairs, under the leadership of retired Col. Frank Guevara. Our County V.A. filed service connected disability claims which resulted in veterans receiving over $45 million. This is the highest amount received by any county in California. The department filed and were granted 1,258 California college tuition waivers worth $5.9 million. College fees and tuition are waived for children of disabled veterans or children of service members who died on active duty.
In May, we hosted our fifth annual Veterans Resource Fair. The annual event is a one-stop shop for veterans to learn about a variety of health care, financial and other services.
My office supported the High Desert Association of Realtors’ Senior Resource Fair. This event provides seniors an opportunity to learn more about local resources, personal safety and senior services.
Also, we worked closely with the Regional Council on Aging to offer seniors monthly meetings on resources, safety, nutrition and services. Our Commissioners from the First District Jim Welty and Linda Titus and At-Large Appointee Margie Simpson serve on the Senior Affairs Commission and assist with assuring that senior programs within the First District receive the funding and attention they deserve.
When local homeless providers lost access to a winter shelter, we coordinated with the Marine Corps Logistics Base in Barstow to borrow two large military tents for the winter. Thank you to Southern California Edison, the City of Victorville, High Desert Homeless Services, Victor Valley Rescue Mission and the Fairgrounds for making this worthy project happen. The County Office of Emergency Services helped out with heavy-duty heaters. For two years now, the joint effort has provided a warm, dry place for homeless folks during cold winter nights.
In 2015, the Board of Supervisors supported the formation of the Homeless Veteran Community Planning Group – a group of local agencies that pooled skills and resources to find permanent homes and provide supportive services for homeless military veterans. This year, we celebrated the 1,000th homeless veteran to receive permanent housing in San Bernardino County.
We have worked year round with homeless resource providers, the Interagency Council on Homelessness, the Sheriff’s HOPE Team and local municipalities to work to solve issues within the homeless community and to secure maximum available grant money to help fund these agencies. San Bernardino County’s approach to homelessness has received national recognition by assembling coalitions of local government, private-sector and community-based agencies to identify services, housing, and funding opportunities available to assist various sectors of the homeless population. Field surveys show that practically all of our homeless people were San Bernardino County residents or had close ties to the county before they became homeless.
County Public Works completed projects on 105 miles of roads in the First District during the year. Projects ranged from Lone Pine Canyon and Needles to Silver Lakes and Newberry Springs. Paving started on Spring Valley Parkway, with a final layer of pavement to be applied when the weather warms up in spring. We have plans for continued road maintenance work throughout the First District in 2019 to ensure our roads are kept in good condition.
In 2017-18, County inmate crews cleared 433 parcels of 133 tons of trash and 3,089 tires in unincorporated First District communities. Previously, inmate crews cleared 578 tons of trash and 7,922 tires at an illegal dump in unincorporated Apple Valley.
The County opened a 16-bed crisis residential treatment facility in Victorville to provide behavioral health treatment in a home-like environment. The center fills a vital need in our community for folks in the midst of a crisis and help ease overburdened emergency rooms.
Working with the High Desert Association of Realtors and the Sheriff’s Department, our office conducted a series of Neighborhood Watch Information meetings in local communities. The goal is to teach residents basics on home and personal safety, unite neighbors and neighborhoods, and to connect with local deputies.
Throughout the year, my staff assisted over 400 local residents with issues they were experiencing and connected them with resources within the County.
I wish you and yours all the best in 2019. If you have an issue or a concern, please feel free to contact my office at (760) 995-8100 or email me at SupervisorLovingood@SBCounty.gov. We look forward to continuing to serve you.
Robert Lovingood is San Bernardino County 1st District Supervisor.