High Desert Survey Update

[vc_section][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Reposted from: https://www.vvdailypress.com/news/20190708/survey-first-step-in-attempt-save-high-desert

VICTORVILLE — Bradco Companies President Joseph W. Brady believes “something is terribly wrong” with the High Desert, and has commissioned a survey to determine what’s needed to reposition the region’s economy.

During Monday’s “Press Conference Luncheon” at the Holiday Inn, Brady introduced Inland Empire Economist Dr. John Husing and California State University, San Bernardino Professor Dr. Barbara Sirotnik, who spoke about the upcoming online survey designed to gather data on the High Desert.

With nearly 30 media representatives in attendance, Brady emphasized how the survey will allow the “voice of the people” to be heard on the “most pressing issues” facing those living in the High Desert, or what many are calling the “Mojave River Valley.”

“The survey will be available to residents in about two weeks,” Brady said. “After four weeks of the survey, Dr. Sirotnik will gather the data and present it to Dr. Husing, who will utilize the information to create a solutions report that should clearly articulate what the region needs to focus on.”

Once initiated, the survey can be taken at https://highdesertsurvey.com.

After 55 years of analyzing economic data across Southern California, and “living through” decades of change in Riverside and San Bernardino counties, Husing delivered a warning to residents of the region.

Saying he watched the cities of San Bernardino and Pomona “die,” Husing told the gathering he fears the same fate awaits the High Desert if action is not taken to fix myriad problems, including an uneducated labor force, housing, a high number of commuters, absentee home owners who rent property, and more.

Civic leaders in High Desert are expected to follow the same path of political leaders in San Bernardino and Pomona, who never worked to fix its own problems or to save its own cities, Husing said.

“One of the things I’ve learned over the years is that if you ask political leaders to take on these issues, they can’t. They can’t do it. It is beyond their abilities,” Husing said. “The governments are too underfunded, and they have too many interests in things like re-election. So if you depend on that to be the source of change, forget it.”

Residents, private groups, business leaders and members of the chamber of commerce are the only ones capable of developing and delivering solutions, Husing said.

Sirotnik will deliver a report to Husing that includes data gathered from the online survey and also gleaned from the recent San Bernardino County Annual Survey, which was conducted by phone.

In 2011, online information was gathered from readers who commented on the Daily Press article headlined “What is Hindering the High Desert’s Economy.” With comments in hand, Brady facilitated a meeting with civic and community leaders to discuss areas of concern and solutions.

Individual issues mentioned by online readers include Section 8 Housing, entitlement programs, “ghetto”-like areas, gang activity, graffiti, crime, drugs, over-regulation, higher taxes, an uneducated workforce, poor political leadership, and government corruption.

Citing the deterioration of San Bernardino, Pomona and now Hemet and the San Jacinto area, Husing said, “The dynamic in every case was the same. It starts out in a boom in housing, a crash, and all of a sudden a significant share of the housing stock becomes detached single-family renters.”

The No. 1 call for police service is generated not from apartments, but from single-family homes that are rented out, Husing said.

“The problem comes when you have a very large number of people living in a community who are renters with no particular stake in it.”

Some other issues facing the High Desert, according to Brady, include:

– The decline in building permits over the recent years.

– A high number of residents receiving some type of entitlement.

– Skyrocketing crime.

– An uneducated workforce, which is a disadvantage when competing for companies that may consider moving to the area.

– The lack of code enforcement in residential and commercial areas.

– The challenge of Cajon Pass congestion to commuters and transporters of materials through the area.

The survey cost of $16,790 and Husing’s report, estimated at $50,000, will be paid by The Bradco Companies along with Terra Verde Group/Tapestry Project Director of Development John Ohanian, and Principal Partner Randall Lewis and associate Bob Martin, both of Lewis Operating.

For more information on the survey or to sponsor the project, call 760-951-5111 Ext, 101 or email [email protected][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][/vc_section]