Adopt vision statement
By Mediha Fejzagic DiMartino Staff Writer
Created: 07/01/2011 09:11:58 PM PDT

RANCHO CUCAMONGA – When Greg Devereaux took over as top San Bernardino County executive a year ago, he noticed that its leadership did not have a clear road map to follow.

“I told them, `I don’t know how to do this job without knowing the future you are trying to create,”‘ Devereaux said. “We had a general plan for the county government and a plan for each city, but we didn’t have a vision for the entire county, for all of its residents. … You need to have a clear idea where you’re going in order to get there.”

The county listened and adopted a five-paragraph vision statement during a special joint meeting of its Board of Supervisors and the San Bernardino Associated Governments on Thursday night at the Maloof Foundation for Arts and Crafts.

“We envision a complete county that capitalizes on the diversity of its people, its geography and its economy to create a broad range of choices for its residents in how they live, work and play,” the document read.

“We envision a vibrant economy with a skilled workforce that attracts employers who seize the opportunities presented by the county’s unique advantages and provides the jobs that create countywide prosperity …”

Dubbed “a communion of shared hopes and dreams for the future,” the vision statement is a product of input gleaned from county residents at 18 community meetings and through nearly 4,000 online surveys, as well as from two-dozen expert roundtables and the county’s 24 cities.

The gathered data showed that residents are generally pleased with the county’s recreational opportunities and its relatively affordable housing but are concerned about the county’s image, the lack of good local jobs and the quality of the county’s roads.

“The vision is a general list of priorities we all agree on,” said 1st District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt. “Now we have to make an effort to live up to those goals.”

Keeping variables such as education, transportation or economy interconnected, the county is embracing a more “holistic solution,” said Randall Lewis, an executive vice president of the Upland-based Lewis Group of Companies. The county is focusing on its entire network instead of resolving one issue at a time.

“As a region we were not thinking like that 20 years ago,” Lewis said. “The real work begins now. How do we make it happen in a timely manner.”

At the gathering county officials highlighted several local programs – some started by cities, others by nonprofit agencies – that can be expanded or re-created elsewhere to help achieve goals set out in the vision.

There will be a lot of baby steps, said Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Josie Gonzales.

“We are learning to walk in the path of new county vision, to use it as a compass,” Gonzales said. “This is one of those moments when the entire county population is sharing common goals and ideas. It’s an awakening of sorts, poised to create positive ripples across the state.”

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