Janice Rutherford

Janice Rutherford

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
Posted: 06/22/15 – 8:31 PM PDT |

San Bernardino County Supervisor Janice Rutherford is spearheading an effort to align various public agencies in mountain communities within her district as a council of governments to improve collaboration on issues pertinent to the communities the agencies serve.

The first meeting of what Rutherford has coined the Rim of the World Council of Governments will be from 2 to 4 p.m. on July 9 at Rim of the World High School. Guests speakers will be county CEO Greg Devereaux, Santa Ana Watershed Authority Director Celeste Cantu, and Jordan Levine, director of economic research for Beacon Economics.

Unlike in the San Bernardino Valley, where there is typically substantial connectivity among local governments and government agencies, Rutherford said that kind of connectivity is lacking among public agencies in the San Bernardino Mountains, and she thought a council of governments would be a good way for all the agencies to get together in one room and discuss the issues.

As of now, the Rim of the World Council of Governments (ROWCOG) is an informal proposal, but should the various agencies that participate decide they want to formalize it, that decision will be theirs to make, Rutherford said.

The mountain communities, Rutherford said, present unique challenges in terms of emergency responses to fires, floods and other disasters, and better collaboration among the various agencies may help generate ideas on potential solutions to those challenges.

“The mountain communities have consistently proven how much can be accomplished through coordination and collaboration during major wildfires, and the ROWCOG aims to extend that strong spirit of cooperation year-round,” Rutherford said in a June 15 news release.

The impact of drought and how it’s changing water policy statewide is another area that should be discussed in a broader arena, Rutherford said in a telephone interview Monday.

“Water policy is really going to affect everybody‘s bottom line,” Rutherford said.

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