“SPOTLIGHT” interview with Assembly Member Cheryl Brown

Hello Rialto Now readers we come to you today with another “SPOTLIGHT” this one comes from our newest Assembly Member Cheryl Brown. I have been working with Assembly woman Brown and her staff on this interview for the past couple weeks and I am super excited to finally see it complete.

I find it important and vital to our local community that we know our elected leaders as to see them as more human and less like people that are on a pedestal so high we fear asking them questions or interacting with them at all. I found it exciting to know where Mrs. Brown went to school and that it was right here in the Inland Empire. I think that shows our youth that a local education doesn’t mean you can’t still be GREAT.

What excited me the most is this was the first time readers went the extra step and submitted questions and were willing to put their name behind them. It is our goal here to bring the most information to the people seeking it. We created relationships with the people that matter to you in hopes that your voice will reach their ears.

Enjoy!!!!!!!

Assemblywoman Brown, how long have you lived in the Inland Empire? Where did you attend High School?

 

I have lived in the Inland Empire since the late 50’s. I attended San Bernardino High School, Class of 1961.

 

Are you a college graduate? If so, where from?

 

Yes, I completed my BA degree in Geography (urban planning) at California State University, San Bernardino, Class of 1974.

 

What did you enjoy most about working with the Black Voice Newspaper?

 

I enjoyed writing stories of major interest to our community.

 

Do you have any connection to the Black Chamber of Commerce? What is the biggest value you see in supporting our African American business owners?

 

I’m a founding member of the Inland Empire African American Chamber of Commerce.  Our biggest value is investing in African American businesses to build stronger communities.

 

How involved do you think a local Assembly Member should be in local politics that fall in those members boundaries?

 

It’s imperative for local elected officials to have a close working relationship with their Assemblymember. We have to work together as a community to effect change.

 

I was in attendance when the outgoing San Bernardino city manager, Charles McNeely, was a guest speaker at the African American Chamber meeting. He spoke about how local and regional leaders coming together have shown to make strong resilient communities. What are your thoughts on city councils and school boards with strong connections with state elected officials making for better unified communities?

 

I support the notion of working with our district’s leaders to unify our communities. In fact, over the past month, I met with educational, local political, legislative, and community leaders in our district to discuss how we can work together to support one another and resolve our district’s most critical issues. We’re working together to generate new ideas and draft legislation and/or seek administrative solutions that will promote educational opportunities and economic growth.

 

What are the biggest hurdles you see in your districts future? Do all cities share the same hurdles or does one city have a hurdle that currently isn’t affecting others?

 

The biggest hurdle I see for our district is creating and sustaining economic growth and stability. This issue affects every city in the district. In order to get over this hurdle, we’re going to have to address the district’s economic uncertainty, high unemployment rates, school dropout rates and public safety issues.

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Unemployment is a massive issue here in the Inland Empire. What are the greatest tools we can give our young people to allow them to succeed in today’s job market?

 

Academic, technical and vocational education and training are the greatest tools that we can give our young people. In order to increase our economic growth, we need to make sure that our students are successfully completing their education. We must look at job training programs to prepare our youth for work.

 

Although reports show the Inland Empire communities are experiencing a small growth trend economically, one thing that stands out to people in your district are the empty buildings. Where once we had a business, it is gone and we lack the ability to sell new businesses to fill existing spots. This makes the economic rebound of our area hard to see. What are your thoughts on this and is there a solution?

 

I’m currently evaluating the issue of blighted buildings that depreciate our district’s cities economic property values. As it stands, there’s no legislation that supports cities in forcing property owners, who personally allow a building to become blighted, to comply with current building standards. There’s a need for legislative and administrative solutions. It is my desire to  establish a special select committee to address the issue of blighted city buildings.

 

READER QUESTIONS:

 

Trisha Vincent, small business owner:

Under new legislation directed by President Obama, is there any way to justify or stop skyrocketing health care premiums before the legislation takes effect?

 

We can help stabilize health care premiums by covering the uninsured. Californians who cannot afford health insurance or lose their coverage due to a job loss, are usually forced to access our health care system at the hospital emergency room. This is a costly practice. By ensuring that Californians have access to affordable health care through Covered California insurance exchange and the expanded Medi-Cal program, we can reduce the high use of emergency room services and help curb health care premiums costs.

 

Jorge Acosta, general construction worker:

I have a young family, what can be done to make sure the Rialto area remains a safe place to live? How can we help you, help us support our local police?

 

Local residents can help support their local police by personally engaging their community’s safety. Community activities such as neighborhood watches and community meetings are necessary to help neighbors look out for one another. Keeping your neighborhood safe could mean asking for a street light on a particular corner or speed bumps on busy residential streets, therefore it is important that you and your neighbors communicate regularly with each other and with your elected officials about your safety needs.  It’s also important to establish a good working relationship with your local police department so that residents feel comfortable reporting crimes and coming forward when they witness a crime.

 

Rick York, school teacher:

Not every child is going to go to college and those that do are finding it hard to find spaces in our UC system. What can you do to help support our Regional Occupation Program (ROP) and Adult Studies classes?

 

Funding for our state’s Regional Occupational Programs and adult education programs have been subject to categorical program flexibility, which means our local school districts can spend the money that was once specifically set aside for these programs for any purpose. I will work with the leaders in our local districts to help ensure that these programs remain a priority and receive the funding they need to continue their work. I will also work with my colleagues in the Legislature to improve our state’s education funding system and make sure that our curriculum prepares students for both college and career.

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