One On One With Brad Mitzelfelt, Part 1: The Legacy

By Nolan Patrick Smith

High Desert Daily

(Hesperia) Change is in the air. It only takes a mere glance at the High Desert to see the change forthcoming: election time is here; there is no doubt about it. High Desert Daily recently sat down with San Bernardino County First District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt to talk about his legacy as Supervisor and what the future holds as he continues his campaign for the U.S. Congressional 8th District.

Brad Mitzelfelt is currently the Vice-Chairman of the Board of Supervisors for San Bernardino County. According to the San Bernardino County website, the district Mitzelfelt represents includes the incorporated municipalities of Victorville, Apple Valley, Hesperia and Adelanto in the Victor Valley, as well as Needles on the Colorado River. The First District also includes unincorporated communities measuring more than 15,000 square miles from Wrightwood in the San Gabriel Mountains to Trona to Baker, four military bases and two national park units, and bordering Arizona and Nevada. With so much land to govern, the legacy Mitzelfelt is leaving behind as he finishes out his last year as Supervisor and goes forward in the race for Congress is one of major significance.

“I feel very good about many of the changes that we’ve made. I accomplished a lot of what I set out to do,” Mitzelfelt said.  “One thing that we have done is completely change the leadership of the county, and overhaul its management and budgetary practices.”

“We are looking much more long term and we are putting ourselves on a more sound financial footing than we have been. We have cut our non-public safety general fund discretionary spending by 50% since the recession started. We are taking assets that are losing money and we are converting them to assets that are making money. It is not an easy process, but it is necessary. Sound fiscal management, along with good, strong executive management.”

Mitzlefelt continued, “We have changed from a time when the board of supervisors micromanaged the county to a time where the board focuses on making policy and having good, professional leadership implement that policy. I have seen it done both ways: I have seen board of supervisors’ micromanage the county, and I have seen the county professionally managed. I think the latter is much better for the people. It results in a more predictable, stable environment for businesses to be able to work with the county, to know that there is no political consideration in dealing with the county. It is a forthright, straightforward organization that is very professional and is guided by ethical principles.”

Looking at the High Desert, one can see the major advancements in transportation that have moved forward as of late. Some of these projects, like the Nisqualli interchange, have been in development for over 20 years, and are now moving full steam ahead. “We advanced a lot of the regional transportation projects: the Nisqualli interchange, the Yucca Loma bridge, the Ranchero interchange, these projects have been languishing for years, and with improved regional cooperation, we brought money to bear from the state and other sources. We worked cooperatively and we are moving them forward,” Mitzlefelt explained.

“Nisqualli interchange is under construction, Ranchero interchange will be in construction by next year, the Ranchero underpass, thanks to the City of Hesperia, is under construction now, and the initial phases of the Yucca Loma Bridge are starting this year. We also advanced the High Desert Corridor, which is really our future economic engine in the High Desert, by probably twenty years. We did this by creating a joint powers authority, which I convened with Supervisor Antonovich from Los Angeles County, and now we have the LA MTA as the lead agency. I think we can build the High Desert Corridor in 5-10 years instead of 30 years, as it would have been if we waited for Cal Trans or SANBAG to build it.”

A major issue in any area, but especially the High Desert, is employment. Mitzelfelt spoke on job growth and the efforts he has put forth in creating a better economic landscape for the future. “We have supported job growth and job training with the A & P School for Aviation Technicians on SCLA. We have invested in numerous programs through the mining industry, nursing and more recently for highly skilled manufacturing technicians,” Mitzlefelt said. “This is important to support the economic future, which is that much more difficult now that the state has taken away redevelopment as an economic development tool.”

“So there are certainly challenges, some of the challenges materialized very recently, like the redevelopment issues, but I feel during my time I have certainly proactively dealt with issues and moved the High Desert forward.  I’m not a believer in sitting back and letting people bring issues to me and ask me what I think about it, I’m proactive.”

In the second part of the interview with Supervisor Mitzelfelt, we will speak to him regarding his future, which includes his run for Congress for the 8th Congressional District.

For more information on Mitzelfelt’s campaign for U.S. Congress, visit his website at http://votebrad2012.com/.

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