Point of View

Councilman Chas Kelley
Posted: 01/26/2011 07:05:36 PM PST

Two months ago, I wrote a guest column in this newspaper (“More leadership and less politics,” Nov. 11) calling on Mayor Pat Morris to present a specific plan for job creation to the citizens of San Bernardino.

Unfortunately, the response to my request from the mayor has been a deafening silence. Two months later, our city is still without any comprehensive plan for economic success.

As a result of this inaction, the Lowe’s store in the 6th Ward recently closed its doors. California Pizza Kitchen in the 3rd Ward just shuttered its operations. Hospitality Lane – the southern gateway of our city – is beginning to resemble a ghost town. How many more businesses must leave before necessary changes occur and positive action is taken?

The city of San Bernardino is facing a major leadership crossroads. Will the mayor take the hard but necessary steps to build a sound economic base for our city’s future? Or will he continue his failed policies of raising taxes on our local businesses, reducing public safety services for our neighborhoods and promoting unrealistic political fantasies like an international airport?

It’s time for real leadership from the Mayor’s Office and an end to the pathetic political games occurring at City Hall. As a step toward that goal, I believe our city should immediately begin the process of putting together a Business Development and Job Creation Strategic Plan to lay the foundation for San Bernardino’s future success.

What is a strategic plan? Simply put it is a framework that lays out a vision for the city’s future and provides a road map to turn this vision into a reality. It enables city leaders to establish goals, take recommended actions and set long-term economic priorities with specific measurements of progress. It provides an opportunity to unite our community around a common vision of shared success.

The goals of this plan should include: 1) building a larger revenue base through economic growth rather than higher fees and taxes; 2) attracting quality private sector employers by streamlining the city’s permitting process and removing regulatory obstacles to business recruitment and retention; 3) promoting the construction of quality new housing stock that will attract working professionals and higher income earners to our city; and 4) making our community safe for all residents and businesses.

A series of community hearings should be held in each of our city’s seven wards to solicit community input and ideas for the strategic plan. The citizens of San Bernardino have many worthy ideas about how to improve our city. It’s time for City Hall to start listening and make our residents a partner in San Bernardino’s future success.

City Hall should work closely with the Chamber of Commerce and the business community in developing our strategic economic plan. Local business leaders should be recruited as economic ambassadors for our city. San Bernardino has produced some of California’s greatest entrepreneurial successes, such as McDonald’s restaurants and Garner Holt Productions, which manufactures the animatronic figures at Disneyland. There is no reason we cannot do so again – if our leaders have the will and the wisdom to act.

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