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Economic Development a Theme at Redlands State of Community Luncheon

The event was presented by the Redlands Chamber of Commerce and First California Bank. Lunch reservations were $30 and there was room for people who did not want lunch to sit in the back.

Promoting a "business-friendly environment" and touting the city's quality of life were themes Wednesday at the annual Redlands State of Community luncheon at University of Redlands.

"Robust economic development is among the highest priorities of this city council as a means to create jobs for our residents, invigorate our community, enhance our tax base and provide a healthy revenue source to fund the services and activities that make Redlands a special place to live and work," Councilman Paul Foster said in prepared remarks.

A catering supervisor estimated more than 100 people were in attendance at the Orton Center.

Videos produced by the city of Redlands emphasized a business friendly environment with office, retail, and industrial spaces available, as well as local shopping, boutiques and family-owned businesses.

Approximately 10,000 people attended recent June is Jumpin' events downtown, which included Surfin' State Street, the Wine, Beer & Music Festival, and the city's first food-truck event, Foster said.

"During the fiscal year that just ended over 400 business licenses were issued in our city," Foster said. "This is a 10 percent increase over fiscal year 2010-2011. So while we saw property taxes decline we saw healthy growth in our sales tax revenue . . . .

"We are working diligently with city staff and our community business leaders to continue to turn around the negative image of being anti-growth and business-unfriendly," Foster said. "This reputation has hurt our community in the past and we are committed to ensuring through streamlining our planning and building process, that we will turn that negative image into a positive one. . . .

"Carry the word that Redlands is 'open for business,'" Foster said.

Other videos produced by the city of Redlands focused on quality of life, health care, public safety, volunteerism, Smiley Library, the Redlands Bowl, and local festivals and events such as the Redlands Bicycle Classic.

Mayor Pete Aguilar listed three priorities during his remarks: invest in physical infrastructure including roads and public safety vehicles, continue work with youth and family services and programs, and continue information technology investments in city offices to increase city responsiveness to residents' needs.

Aguilar and other members of the Redlands council also addressed questions about a possible "" from the city of San Bernardino's decision Tuesday night to seek bankruptcy protection.

State Assemblyman Mike Morrell, state Sen. Bob Dutton, and Third District Supervisor candidate James Ramos of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians attended the luncheon.

The event was presented by the Redlands Chamber of Commerce and First California Bank. Lunch reservations were $30 and there was room for people who did not want lunch to sit in the back for no cost.

Eric Shamp July 12, 2012 at 12:47 AM
I was in the cheap seats this afternoon. No lettuce for me. Anyway, there was one Councilman who seemed to focus on that particular kind of economic development that improves quality of life, provides true living wages, invites innovative people, and promotes a live-work community. Guess which one? Another Councilman seemed to think that "open for business" means we'll bend over backwards or forwards to welcome any business, no matter if we turn into Moreno Valley in the process, just so we can Foster more minimum-wage jobs for non-residents. I'm not saying we should try to shut out low-wage businesses, but why waste a dime of effort on luring them here, when we should be focusing exclusively on living-wage businesses?
Eric Shamp July 12, 2012 at 01:56 AM
Also, did anyone notice that the "Shopping in Redlands" video started and ended with images of national chain big-box stores that are actually located in the Doughnut Hole, and not in the City of Redlands? I wonder why they did that.
B.C. July 12, 2012 at 06:02 AM
What is a living-wage business? I've never heard of that term. I think Redlands has room for different types of businesses regardless of what workers will earn. I would like to see businesses that are able to employ the youth since the unemployment rate of that age group is high. They will not able to gain work experience if there are no opportunities for them. They are traditionally "low-wage" earners since they have little experience and skills.
Eric Shamp July 12, 2012 at 06:18 AM
A living-wage business is one that pays its adult employees enough money to afford a place to live, a means to get to work, a means to eat, and a means to support a family. You like families, don't you? A living wage means that people are paid for the time they sacrifice, without having to turn to the public dole to get by. You hate the public dole, don't you? I'm also not suggesting that we shut out businesses that provide sub-living-wage jobs. I am only suggesting that we don't spend a dime trying to bring them to Redlands.
Angela Bartlett July 12, 2012 at 06:20 AM
B.C., a living wage means that someone should be able to sustain themselves in the same community in which they work. Generally, a person making minimum wage is not going to be able to live in Redlands (and therefore will contribute much less to the local economy). We need jobs, yes, but it would make sense to be mindful of what kinds of jobs we create here in our city and the long-term impacts this will have.
B.C. July 12, 2012 at 08:11 AM
I don't get the concept of paying someone based on what is needed to support a family. I always thought a person is paid according to the value of the labor provided regardless of where a person lives. How much a person needs to live varies significantly. A person with a larger family needs more to support them. A single person with no family needs less. Are both these people doing the same job paid differently based on need? If I were an employer, I would hire the person who needs less. The person with a larger family would be at a disadvantage. Also, the cost of living in Redlands is higher than, say, San Bernardino. Are living wages different in both cities even for the same type of job? I think this type of wage system causes more unemployment because some businesses, especially small businesses, will not be able to pay these kinds of wages and will hire less people. I also don't consider time worked as "sacrificed." People aren't volunteering, they are getting paid for their time.
Eric Shamp July 12, 2012 at 04:43 PM
Sure, that concept is great in theory, but it completely ignores the externalized costs that fall onto the rest of us: taxpayers, vicitms of crime, and future employers. If a person has to work two or three jobs to support a family, who is teaching their kids the difference between right and wrong? If a person has to rely on foodstamps because their paycheck doesn't go far enough, who pays for that? If they don't have access to health insurance and visit the emergency room for non-emergency care, who pays for that? When a company doesn't properly compensate a person for their time so that they have to rely on forms of public welfare to survive, then that company is benefiting from a form of indirect corporate welfare. A "living wage" is an ideal and can't (and maybe shouldn't) really be mandated, for all the reasons you describe in your post. This is sort of beside the point: I wasn't arguing that we should shut out sub-living wage jobs from Redlands, or attempt to set up a "wage system"... just saying we should spend all of our taxpayer-funded economic development efforts to attract businesses with a record of good pay and benefits.

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