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Office of Community and Economic Development

2019 Q3 Partnership Board Meeting Recap


On September 20th, OCED convened the Board of Directors for the California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley (Partnership) in Bakersfield, CA. Board Chairman, Vito Chiesa (Stanislaus County Supervisor, District 2) opened the meeting with welcoming remarks offered by President of CSU Bakersfield, Dr. Lynnette Zelezny, as well as Jessica Wojtysiak, Dean of Bakersfield College, Representatives from the Kern County Farm Bureau, and RJ Valentino from the Grimm Family Education Foundation. CSU Bakersfield's hospitality included waived venue fees for the site of the Board meeting, as well as AV equipment and technical assistance. 

The meeting commenced with the first call for board and public comments. Board member Louisa Medina provided an update on the 8th Annual San Joaquin Valley Affordable Housing Summit, which convened the day prior. A question was posed to CSUB President Lynnette Zelezny regarding enrollment and she indicated that there is increased enrollment and the University is working to address housing and class availability concerns related to that increase. There was a brief discussion regarding supporting a new CSU campus in the valley. Ismael Herrera, of California Forward, announced a series of meetings to focus on region priorities, as well as the 2019 California Economic Summit and invited board members to attend. 

The Sustainability Subcommittee updates were provided by Eduardo González and Ismael Herrera.  Assembly Bill 1274 (Arrambula/Salas) to codify the Partnership in State Statute permanently so that it would not be dependent upon executive order, is still in the Senate under review. 

Chairman Chiesa then welcomed a 7-person legislative panel to provide updates to the Board and public. Legislative updates were provided by Matt Rogers for U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, Mia Cifuentes for Assemblymember Vince Fong, Michelle Garcia for State Assemblymember Rudy Salas, Gilbert Felix for U.S. Representative T.J. Cox, and Larry Salinas, Executive Director, Governmental Relations, Office of the President, CSU Fresno, who requested a letter of support for AB 48. The board supported this request.

Chairman Chiesa welcomed Dr. Glenda Humiston of UC Cooperative extension, who introduced University of California as a land grant university system with research centers, programs, and institutes throughout California. One fact she shared from the Integrated Pest Management Program is that a new pest is discovered in California every 5 weeks! UCANR encompasses many programs that provide a variety of services, including research of ecosystems, water quality and efficiency, sustainable food systems, identification of endemic and invasive pests and diseases, and outreach to youth through 4-H. Her presentation is available online. Secretary Ross recommended letter of support for UCANR, and the motion was seconded.

Prior to lunch, the Board and public received a presentation from Rupal Patel of California Harvesters. Their organization is a Farm labor trust that collaborates with service agencies to benefit agricultural workers with a vision of ultimately populating their board with agricultural workers. Because of this programming, workers are empowered and feel valued by working for California Harvesters. Their presentation is available online. 

The board recessed to a Panera Bread lunch that was generously provided by Bakersfield College. 

After lunch, the board received an update about Valley Fever from Dr. Duc Vugia, MD, MPH, Chief, Infectious Disease Branch, California Department of Public Health and Kimberly Hernandez, MPH, CPH, Assistant Division Director of Health Services, Kern County Public Health Department. They shared with the board about how their organization is working to dispel common myths regarding the disease and train local doctors to recognize the symptoms of Valley Fever. It can take around 30 days after making initial contact with a physician for a person to receive a diagnosis for Valley Fever. 

The meeting concluded with a presentation about the Kern County Groundwater Subbasin regarding Groundwater Sustainability. Presenters included Patricia Poire, Planning Manager, Kern Groundwater Authority, Eric Averett, General Manager, Rosedale Rio Bravo Water Storage District, Jason Gianquinto, General Manager, Semitropic Water Storage District,  and Mark Mulkay, General Manager, Kern Delta Water Storage District. The Subbasin presentation is available online

After some brief comments from the Board and public, Chairman Chiesa adjourned the meeting and reminded those in attendance that the next Partnership Board meeting was scheduled for December 13th in Stanislaus County.