Black Chamber welcomes Mayor Ledford
State of the City address
PALMDALE, Calif.—At the Hilton Garden Inn on Monday afternoon, a banquet room packed with Palmdale city workers and Antelope Valley Black Chamber of Commerce members, heard Mayor Jim Ledford make his annual State of the City address.
The City of Palmdale has recently undergone many improvements as well as budget cuts and program reductions, however Ledford emphasized the importance of looking forward to the future, despite California’s declining economy.
“Despite the economy, Palmdale has had a very successful year,” the mayor explained, however, he enumerated the source of budget cuts. “And of course this year, we’ve had to deal with the state robbing cities. The state took $11.6 million from city redevelopment agency money and they took another $2.4 million this year. That’s on top of $29 million they already stole since 1992-1993; and the state still has a $20 billion deficit they still have yet to fix. That sets the stage for us … to support Prop. 22.”
But despite these challenges—including reducing staff from 355 to 203 and cutting employee benefits—Mayor Ledford pointed out accomplishments: Over the past year, Palmdale has cut crime by 8 percent; increased the number of neighborhood watch groups; created a youth television show called ‘Our Voice’ produced by young people; instituted job academies; and completed upgrades for the library. Also, residents may have noticed an increase of summer activities this year, including concerts in the part, Thursday Nights on the Square, and Dry Town promotions. Several businesses including the opening of Embassy Suites and Macy’s are also notable points of growth for the city.
Ledford and his staff are optimistic and are looking forward to further development. This includes projects such the high speed rail, solar panel installations, and the opening of the Palmdale Medical Plaza, the city plans to bring in several hundred new jobs and business opportunities.
“Despite our economy, I am a huge optimist … we will be stronger fiscally, when this economy does recovers,” he said. On the east side he said small business owners have a great opportunity with the Enterprise Zone, located between Avenue R and S, to improve and grow their companies. He said this area is the most densely populated in the market.
The Enterprise Zone was designated by the State of California in 1997 as a sector within the city where any company located there may benefit from tax incentives. Hiring tax credit, sales and use tax credit, business expense deduction, net operating loss carryover, and interest deductions for lenders are among the available breaks business owners may use. Contact the city for more information.
Ledford also emphasized the importance of the community being active as volunteers, neighborhood, business, and park watch, as well as shopping locally.
Finally, addressing the issues of the disproportionate numbers of arrests of Latinos and African Americans in Palmdale (based on the recently released Merrick Bobb report by the Sheriff’s Department), Ledford said he is currently speaking with the department’s captain, Bobby D. Denham.
“All I’m doing is talking to our Sheriff captain, Bob Denham; he’s a good guy. He’s certainly focused on this. There are probably two sides to this issue. In his case, his statement is people do not need to impede the sheriff’s department from accomplishing their mission, because they will be arrested. But at the same time, we want our deputies to know that we are an incredibly diverse community, and we want to make sure they are sensitive to those issues so we don’t create problems for ourselves. So there’s dialogue with that.”
The power luncheon also included a brief information session led by Craig Perkins of the Energy Coalition, an organization dedicated to empowering and teaching communities about ways to save and conserve energy. It also educates home and business owners about ways they can save money on their monthly utilities by simply upgrading and retrofitting their homes and businesses. With incentives and rebates offered by Southern California Edison and Southern California Gas, families and business owners can afford to save thousands of dollars annually. With this initiative, contractors will have an opportunity to work with either of the companies. Information on how to utilize the rebates and opportunities is available at Energyupgradecalifornia.org.
The Antelope Valley Black Chamber of Commerce hosts a monthly luncheon every third Monday at 11 a.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn. For more information, visit avbcc.org.
Economists say the recession is over. Recent national job reports illustrate an upward climb to the recovery. Yet these accomplishments have not effectively reached the urban communities of color—neither Black nor Hispanic.
This is according to the National Urban League’s 2011 “State of Black America” (SOBA) released recently. To combat this painful State of Black America in 2011, the NUL has declared a war on unemployment.
Keller Williams Realty, in conjunction with Palmdale and the Antelope Valley Mall, announced the results of their recent Red Day events.
Between their food drive and Red Day Walk, the groups raised $12,645 in cash and more than 10,000 pounds of food for local charities including South Antelope Valley Emergency Services (SAVES), Grace Resources, the WAVE Foundation and the American Cancer Society.
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — High surf pounded the coast and fierce winds howled across the Southland today, with gusts topping 70 mph whipping the Saugus area and 50 mph in Lancaster.
Owners of single-family homes in Lancaster may be required by January 2014 to have solar power systems in operation. It is a unique proposition posed by Lancaster Mayor Rex Parris to position the city as the nation’s foremost “green” community. This motion will be taken up for debate at the March 26 meeting of the Lancaster City Council.
Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford was presented with the prestigious North Star Award from the Boy Scouts of America for distinguished service to youth at the Feb. 6 City Council meeting.
Ledford was presented with a certificate and the medal by Bill Norris, advancement chairman of the Antelope Valley District of the Boy Scouts of America and Troop 444, and George “Bud” Reams.