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Government & Regulations

Inland Empire Community Foundation Launches New Office of Policy & Engagement to Focus on Regional Priorities Together

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The Inland Empire Community Foundation announced on Thursday, July 22, 2021, the launch of its new Office of Policy & Engagement at its virtual event entitled Policy & Engagement Launch: Leading Together in the IE. With over 300 attendees, this unique gathering brought together elected officials, community partners, and philanthropic leaders on the opportunities to build policy capacity to ensure policymakers hear the needs of the IE at the local, state, and federal levels.

“IECF is incredibly thankful to our elected leaders for sharing this platform with us to advocate for a better IE,” said IECF President & CEO Michelle Decker. “This is a time of celebration, yet an important moment for action. Of particular importance is making sure this work is done in partnership with our communities and with a lens of equity.”

Leading with remarks were Assembly Majority Leader Eloise Gómez Reyes (D-San Bernardino), State Senator Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh (R-Yucaipa), and Assemblymember Jose Medina (D-Riverside) who presented IECF with an Assembly Resolution.

“One of the critical areas for impact is directly felt through public policy. Policy that incorporates our shared experiences, our hopes for the future, and solutions to problems that are unique to the Inland Empire,” said Majority Leader Reyes.

Participants also heard from a panel of nonprofit leaders on how tables and coalitions are growing to help different sectors work together on policy issues.

Shared Karen Suarez, Executive Director of Uplift San Bernardino, “We’ve known for a long time that collaboration, coalition-building, and sharing resources are effective and powerful. What I see different and exciting is the energy and passion for this region and the desire to work together.”

The second panel, moderated by IECF Board Member Dr. Dora Barilla, included State Senator Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino), Assemblymember Jose Medina (D-Riverside), San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman, and Riverside County Supervisor V. Manuel Perez in discussing the challenges and opportunities with the Inland Empire, and meeting the region’s growing needs for better jobs, housing and educational opportunities for all.

Moving this work also requires investing in regional partnerships and IECF is grateful to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. As a result, grants will go to the first cohort of organizations that were announced during the program. They are: Alianza, Autism Society of Inland Empire, BLU Educational Foundation, Inland Empire Community Collaborative, TODEC, TruEvolution, Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement (COPE), Inland Congregations United for Change (ICUC) and Inland Empire Immigrant Youth Collective.

Said Julian Cuevas, IECF’s Director of Policy & Governmental Affairs, “Today’s event is just the formal beginning of this work. There will be workshops and strategy sessions announced soon as we prepare for the 2022 legislative and budget cycle. The goal is to have tangible asks by the fall, and pipelining them to our elected officials.”

The Inland Empire Business Journal (IEBJ) is the official business news publication of Southern California’s Inland Empire region - covering San Bernardino & Riverside Counties.

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Career & Workplace

City of San Bernardino Names Nathan Freeman as Director of Community and Economic Development

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The City of San Bernardino Announces Nathan Freeman as its new Director of Community and Economic Development. His starting date is May 16.

An experienced professional with almost 25 years working in economic development in the Inland Empire, Freeman comes to San Bernardino after spending the past sixteen years with the City of Riverside, where he served as the Economic Development, Redevelopment, and Real Property Services Manager.

“Nathan Freeman has extensive experience successfully negotiating major development agreements while at the same time creating opportunities for small businesses and startups,” said City Manager Robert Field. “He has played a critical role in the recent and upcoming development in downtown Riverside and is a great addition to the San Bernardino team.”

In the role of Director of Community and Economic Development, Freeman will oversee the functions, programs, and activities of the Planning Division, Building Division, Code Enforcement, Economic Development, and Housing.

“I am looking forward to the opportunity to work alongside an amazing team in San Bernardino, under the leadership of the City Council and City Manager, who are dedicated to building a stronger and more economically resilient community,” said Freeman. “I’m truly excited about the City’s long-term potential and am grateful for the opportunity to lead the Community & Economic Development Department as we encourage job creation, business development, and a better quality of life for all residents.”

In Riverside, Freeman played a key role in major development projects, including the revitalization of downtown. He negotiated approximately $1 billion in private investment throughout Riverside, including the development of over 250,000 square feet of Class A office/commercial space, worked to attract many new businesses to the city, and facilitated the development of the Riverside Food Lab, the Inland Empire’s first urban food court.

Previously, Freeman served as Business Development Officer for the City of Hesperia and Economic Development Project Manager for the County of Riverside.

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Government & Regulations

San Manuel Elects Lynn Valbuena as Chairwoman

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Tribal Ceremony Ushers in New Tribal Council, Leadership

The newly elected Chairwoman and Tribal Council members of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians were sworn in today and now have begun their terms in office.

Lynn ‘Nay’ Valbuena begins her term as Chairwoman with a focus on serving her tribal community and continuing efforts to strengthen the Tribe’s Serrano culture, governmental sovereignty, and service obligations to San Manuel citizens. 

For nearly 50 years, Chairwoman Valbuena has held numerous elected and appointed positions within San Manuel tribal government. Her role as the Tribe’s first housing commissioner set her on the path to leadership. She has held several officer positions on the Tribal Council, including Secretary/Treasurer, Vice Chairwoman, and now her fifth term as Chairwoman. Valbuena also has a lifetime of service and leadership with regional, state, and national organizations, including the Tribal Alliance of Sovereign Indian Nations (TASIN), where she is currently serving her 27th year as Chairwoman.  

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Valbuena also served as Vice Chairwoman for the California Nations Indian Gaming Association, Secretary for the National Indian Gaming Association, and delegate to the National Congress of American Indians. She previously served as a Trustee for the National Museum of the American Indian, which is a part of the Smithsonian in Washington, DC. She continues her trusteeship for the Autry Museum, and Advisory Council Member for the American Indian Chamber of Commerce of California since the organization was founded more than 20 years ago.

“I express my deepest gratitude to all Tribal leaders and citizens for serving our people,” said Chairwoman Valbuena. “Chairman Ken Ramirez and Business Committee member Alexis Manzano have served our community with great effect, producing results that will benefit our Tribe.”

Latisha Casas was re-elected to the office of Treasurer for the Tribe. As Treasurer, her responsibilities include protecting the Tribe’s overall financial interests and establishing generational financial stability for the Tribe by way of strategy and oversight of treasury management, economic growth and investment portfolio.  She begins her fifth term on the Tribal Council as Treasurer. Casas has also been a member of the Investment Board since it was established in 2008 and is Chairperson of the San Manuel Gaming and Hospitality Authority, the Tribal instrumentality that owns and operates the Palms Resort Casino.

Laurena Bolden was elected to her first term on the Tribal Council as a Member-at-Large. Bolden is a three-term member of the San Manuel Education Board and currently serves as its secretary. She is active in several other citizen-led planning groups, including the Cultural Advisory, and Reservation Masterplan Working Groups, which steer various development projects and cultural initiatives. 

Continuing in their elected positions are Vice Chairman Johnny Hernandez, Jr., Secretary Audrey Martinez, and Members-at-Large Edward Duro and Karina Torres.    

The Tribal Council is the elected seven-member body that oversees the day-to-day operations on behalf of the General Council, the Tribe’s governing council that establishes policy and makes decisions on all significant matters on behalf of San Manuel. 

The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians is engaged in important relationships with other governments as well as partnerships with nonprofit organizations and community groups across its vast aboriginal territory that takes in the majority of present-day San Bernardino County.

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Government & Regulations

San Bernardino Names Darren Goodman as New Chief of Police

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(San Bernardino, CA – April 1, 2022) – After a nationwide search, the City of San Bernardino has announced that Upland Police Chief Darren Goodman has been selected to be the next Chief of Police. Goodman has been in law enforcement for over 31 years, and comes to San Bernardino from the City of Upland, where he has spent the last four years as its Chief of Police.

“Chief Goodman brings to San Bernardino a wealth of experience, leadership, and knowledge of this region,” said City Manager Robert D. Field. “We are very pleased that he will be joining us.”

Goodman, whose starting date will be June first, joins a department with 262 sworn officers and 150 civilian staff. He will be the first African American police chief in the San Bernardino Police department’s 116-year history.

When asked about why he chose to come to San Bernardino, Goodman said, “During the early years of my career, several of my assignments were in San Bernardino. I am very familiar with the city, many community members, and the high caliber of police officers that work at the San Bernardino Police Department. I am not oblivious to the challenges the city has had in the past, but I believe in the potential of San Bernardino.”

“I am humbled and excited about the fact that as a Police Chief, with a team of dedicated police officers, we play a critical role in protecting and improving the quality of life that residents and business owners of San Bernardino strive to preserve,” Goodman added.

Darren Goodman has served as Chief of Police for the City of Upland Police Department since July 16, 2018. Prior to joining Upland, he was a Captain for the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department. During his 27 years with the Sheriff’s Department, Goodman’s roles included serving as the Police Chief for the Chino Hills Police Department and Commander of the Frank Bland Regional Training Center. He also worked in Corrections, Patrol, Narcotics, Emergency Operations, Regional Gang Enforcement, Fugitive Apprehension, and SWAT.

His law enforcement philosophy includes a commitment to data driven policing principles, civic partnerships, and community engagement. Chief Goodman has implemented holistic approaches to addressing crime and quality of life issues within by reducing gaps between police specific services and other service providers dedicated to public safety such as public works, code enforcement, mental health services, and homeless advocates. A strong advocate of community policing, Chief Goodman regularly facilitates community forums to engage citizens and increase stakeholder inclusion.

Goodman holds a master’s degree in Public Administration and Doctor of Education in Organizational Change and Leadership from USC. He earned a Bachelor of Science from Southern Illinois University. Goodman has also completed law enforcement and leadership programs at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security, and POST Command College Program.

Goodman also serves as an Adjunct-Professor at California State University San Bernardino.

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