High Desert Daily
(Victorville)– Dan Schnur, Director of the Jesse M. Unruh School of Politics at the University of Southern California was the featured guest at the Victorville Chamber of Commerce Public Policy Forum luncheon Friday held in the Conference Center of the Victorville Hilton Express. Dan spoke at a Chamber function last March and his appearance was highly anticipated by the crowd.
Dan held the attention of the roughly 180 in attendance, with stories of his recent experience in Sacramento serving on the California Fair Political Practices Board and current position at USC. His analysis of the political and economic issues facing business today were driven home with references to the investment of Abengoa Solar Inc. and the challenges they faced bringing their Victorville Solar project to the point of breaking ground. Beyond the bureaucracy that robs the State of California of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit, Schnur blamed the general failure to invest in new business ventures throughout the United States on an “understandable reluctance” on the part of investors. Rather than blame individuals and business with “hoarding cash”, he pointed out that investors do not spend money unless they can see a reasonable return and current economic and political policies do not engender the kind of confidence investors need. He said government must create a “climate of confidence” to expect new investments to occur.
He also spoke briefly of the Education system and a lack of accountability and spoke of his experience with former students who find themselves educated but not prepared for the job opportunities they apply for. They are left feeling that after 17 years of formal education, they should be prepared to enter the job market and are deeply disappointed with the realities. In a private conversation after the meeting he said he felt he was not successful as a Professor if he did not convince at least three students NOT to continue to post graduate education. He felt that Graduate School should only be pursued until the student knows for sure that the field of study will be proper and profitable fro that individual.
Hosted by High Desert Primary Care Group, Choice Medical, Heritage Victor Valley Medical Group, Abengoa Solar Inc., Desert Valley Medical Group, Saint Mary Medical Center, Desert Valley Medical Group/Desert Valley Hospital, American Security Bank, Sunset Hills Mortuary and Barstow Community Hospital. There were several local dignitaries in the crowd including State Assemblyman Tim Donnelley, Victorville Mayor Ryan McEachron and councilpersons Mike Rothschild and Angela Valles and Victorville City Manager Doug Roberston, Apple Valley Mayor Scott Nassif , councilperson Ginger Coleman and Town Manager Frank Robinson along with local business and professional people.
I found his answer to my question concerning RDA very interesting, and an indicator of what is wrong with politics. Money! The politicians our of “habit” and “the power of money” as Mr. Shnurr put it, allows bloated bureacracies to continue business as usual.
I asked “why it is that fiscal conservative aka “Republicans, continue to embrace a bloated bureacracy that’s only responsibility is to distribute a tax dollar that is already created, as opposed to fixing the problem with how real estate tax dollars are distreibuted in the first place.
Russ Blewitt stated that I was wrong and that Hesperia’s RDA has created thousands of jobs- With all due respect to Russ, as I admire his conservative views and positions, RDA does not create jobs, it simply redirects them to that location of the highest bidder. RDA creates a corporate conysism that plays favorites and inteferes with free enterprise and the precpt and eagerly adopted position of the right, which is smaller government and lesser taxes.
RDA does not generate additional tax dollars, it simply redirect the tax dollrs while incurring a substantial cost in doing so. Every RDA dollar is required to be allocated to various pots, if you will. A fixed percentage must go towards affordable housing, community colleges, local schools. So why cant the real estate tax dollar be allocated to those interests in the first palce without the need for another layer of government that only incurs more expense? the reason why, is that the RDA mechanism offers power to local politicians to curry favor with teir favorite business interests, favoring one business over the other and arbitrarily allcoating monies to this development and not that. The RDA effort interrupts the normal course of business practice and encourages those who would otherwise locate in a different location, to take the second or third choice. Really? Well, let’s look at the Walmart planned for Bear Valley Road and SVL Pkwy- an insane and inept decision driven by the bear Valley Road RDA’s intnention to get the tax increment in their city as opposed to directing the development to a more logical lcoation, such as Fish Hatchery Road area-
RDA relocates private residences for the purpose of buildign professional sports arenas, typically with tax payer funded bonds, that simply flow through to the bottom line for the sports franchise, who utilize a tremendous amount of public resources.
You cannot convince me that a business would not otherwise open it’s doors if there was no RDA. simply, the business will make the most prudent decision that allows hem to make a profit based upon the principles of free enterprise. Without the RDa monies, perhaps they would have less decadent showrooms, lower CEO salaries and the need for less tax breaks to payhe “Tax breaks” compensation of the RDA-
Let us simply look at the city of Victorville’s RDA contributions to SCLA-They gave the land to Stirling, valued at $56 million, pay all of Stirlings operating costs, pays CB Richard Ellis a commission, pays worsham $2 million per year, pays Poprter from Newport Beach millions, and still pays their RDA budget which is the millions annually. Dr. Pepper was going to land in southern Californai and most likely the Inland Empire- the city of Victorville with their finacnial bribes, simply allowed Striling to sell the land given to them for free to Dr. pepper at a higher price to compensate for the freebies the city gave to Dr. Pepper- In other words, D r. Pepper if given the land for free, would have build their onw roads and onwn waste water treatment facility- why did the city have to pay Stirling and everyone else along the way to achieve what was the end product to begin with? As Dan Schnur said “Habit and power”.
It is time that the Republicans take responsibility for their message of low taxes and smaller government- Modifying the the mechanism of RDA and how real estate tax dollars are allocted in the ifrst place would be a great place to start