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Rialto Mayor Robertson – Why I Run

Newly retired, Deborah Robertson drove around Rialto and quickly decided what she would do with all that “free time.” She put all her efforts in running for mayor.

Four years later and one term as mayor, Mayor Robertson is still working to keep Rialto moving in the right direction. During her first term, which began in 2012, economic opportunities went up while crime went down. Her collaboration with neighboring cities along the Interstate 10 corridor will result in better traffic flow, even as more industrial jobs take root in the area.

“I feel the role of mayor is a calling, not just a title,” said Mayor Robertson, who was a three-term city councilwoman before her first term as mayor. “When I took office, my goals were to stabilize our financial future, improve the economic and business development in Rialto, create greater job opportunities, hire the local workforce and make Rialto a safe place to live, work and play.”

“Today, our businesses are on the rise, a greater number of residents are part of the local workforce, crime statistics are down and we as a community have made a tremendous commitment to improving our streets and roads.”
In working on the needs of the city, Mayor Robertson leaned on her vast experience. A native Californian, Mayor Robertson holds an undergraduate degree in Urban Planning and a master’s degree in Public Administration. Before retiring, she was the Deputy District Director of External

Affairs for the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). Partnering with the cities of Fontana, Colton and San Bernardino, the focus has been on economic development and the creation of jobs in the fields of technology, transportation along with commercial endeavors.

“A major accomplishment has been attracting businesses to this city and the surrounding communities,” Mayor Robertson said. “We focus on where we are (geographically). The footprint has been cast. Anything that goes from the ports to the rest of the United States – 90 percent of it has to pass through the Inland Empire. We need to see the technology of moving goods and make sure the skill sets for these jobs are transferred into our community so our people are competitive.”
The biggest project for the city is the Renaissance at the north end of Rialto, formerly Rialto Airport. Through legislation, the city was able to redirect aviation activity to San Bernardino International Airport (Formerly Norton Air Force Base). More than 1,500 acres are being redeveloped into housing, commercial, industrial and entertainment areas, also bringing tax revenue and jobs.

“Rialto is the jewel of the Inland Empire,” Mayor Robertson said. “I have a plan and I want to continue to execute the plan to move Rialto forward.”

For more information about Mayor Deborah Robertson go to www.DeborahRobertson.org.


About Rialto Mayor Deborah Robertson

Deborah Robertson was elected Mayor of Rialto in November 2012 – the latest achievement in a distinguished public service career that has included 12 years on the Rialto City Council, leadership positions at the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), the San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG), and more than 20 years with the California Department of Transportation. Under Mayor Robertson’s leadership, Rialto has gained regional and national recognition for innovation in the areas of public-private partnerships, business development and job creation. The City’s refinancing and restructuring of its water and wastewater operations has become a model for other communities in California, pumping millions of dollars into the local economy.

Mayor Robertson retired from Caltrans in 2011, as Deputy District Director of External Affairs. A native Californian, she holds an undergraduate degree in Urban Planning from the University of California, San Diego, a Masters Degree in Public Administration from the City University of New York Bernard Baruch College and is a National Urban Fellows recipient. She is also a scholarship recipient and past participant of the Southern California Leadership Network.
Mayor Robertson has two children and six grandchildren, that are the joy of her life.

Community Gathering Continues Building a Shared Vision

The fifth annual Community Gathering for Excellence will bring together about 1,000 people representing diverse agencies to use collective impact principals to develop a plan that will help today’s youth and young adults compete in tomorrow’s job market.

The gathering, held at the National Orange Show Events Center in San Bernardino, will set a course of action for how local government, higher education, and community partners can help local youth succeed beyond high school. Key partners include the University of California, Riverside; California State University, San Bernardino; Loma Linda University; San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools; San Bernardino Valley College; San Bernardino County; and the City of San Bernardino.

These organizations are already working together to lay the groundwork for a skilled regional workforce that will bring about a thriving and adaptable economy. During the gathering, keynote speaker Jim Clifton, CEO of Gallup <http://www.gallup.com/home.aspx> , will address the coming jobs war. Clifton believes that with the increasingly global economy, when today’s students are ready to enter the workforce, they will be competing against people from across the country and the world for the best jobs. As technology improves, work and collaboration are less and less restricted by physical location, especially in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, which offer high-paying jobs. That means obtaining a good job will be less about where you live and more about what you know.

SBCUSD and its partners believe the best way to prepare students is to increase the graduation rate  and the college preparation rate, as well as make sure all students are on a pathway towards a viable career <http://ca-sanbernardinoschools.civicplus.com/index.aspx?NID=639> . An example of this is the Academy of Manufacturing and Product Development at Indian Springs High School where students apply the math, technology, and business skills they learn in class to design and create products using industry-approved software, including CNC (Computer Numerically Controlled) machining devices. Salaries in the high-tech manufacturing industry are competitive with salaries in many fields that require a four-year degree.

San Bernardino City Unified School District (SBCUSD) Superintendent Dr. Dale Marsden launched the Gathering for Excellence in 2012 as a way to engage parents, employees, and community members in meaningful dialogue about local educational reforms. Among the ways education and instruction has evolved in SBCUSD since then has been a focus on Linked Learning, which provides opportunities for students to explore careers from manufacturing to medical that are integrated with their academic lessons.

“We are stronger when working in unison rather than in isolation,” Marsden said. “The power of collaboration allows us to have a greater impact that will benefit members of our community for generation to come.

“Developing a shared vision means we have a greater collective impact that leverages the best that each of our partners has to offer. When we engage in mutually reinforcing activities, our entire community reaps the benefits,” Marsden added.

Spots at the Community Gathering for Excellence are still available for members of the community who want to contribute their ideas. Attendance is free, but you must register by October 31 at http://bit.ly/2bq526s. Doors open at 8 a.m. on November 10 for a continental breakfast. The program is from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

“The SBCUSD Gathering of Excellence has focused in on the fact that education is the path to success for our youth,” said San Bernardino Mayor R. Carey Davis. “The partnerships forged in developing this program have benefitted our students by creating a network of support for our students.”

If you plan to attend and require reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act, please contact the SBCUSD Affirmative Action Office at (909) 381-1122 or mike.medina@sbcusd.com at least 10 business days before the Community Gathering for Excellence.

Spanish interpretation will be provided during the event. Daycare will not be provided.

Black Student Group Hosting Forums to Teach Youth Civic Engagement, Leadership

By McKenzie Jackson | California Black Media

Seventeen-year-old Ariel Parker has looked beyond Instagram, Snapchat and “Juju On That Beat” and envisions being a leader one day.

The Fresno County teenager isn’t sure what type of leader she wants to be when she gets older, but the Clovis North High School senior sees a national landscape that features African-American students struggling in school, and black people being gunned down by the police, and wants there to be change.

Parker said if she and other young, black millennials feel a call to incite change, they should heed it—especially with cognizance of the injustices that take place.

“We are looking for opportunities to change things,” she said. “We are always talking about possibilities to bring awareness to situations like Black Lives Matter.”

Black Students of California United (BSCU) held three Senatorial District Leadership Forums this month, and will hold one more in November. BSCU envisions African-American youth receiving quality education, training, tools and experiences to become engaged participants in California’s civic and economic life.

Fresno County Office of Education Coordinator Angie Barfield, one of BSCU’s founders, said the three-month-old group’s forums are being held to bring youth leaders together to talk about issues they are experiencing and form solutions.

“Our black students are not satisfied with how things are in our schools, communities,” she said. “The idea of the forums is to talk these things out – student union issues, school district issues – and come up with plans to deliver back to their authority figures to progress things.”

Barfield, Dr. Angelo Williams, retired educator Jacky McFadden and California Alliance of African American Educators Founder, and Executive Director Debra Watkins founded BSCU in August. The group’s values include instilling excellence and self-determination, independence and perseverance, critical cultural consciousness and active mental and physical health maintenance habits and practices in black youth.

The idea for BSCU sprang from an African-American youth rally earlier this year, and since its beginnings the group has established links with African-American clubs and student unions in various parts of the state.

Williams said BSCU wants to teach black students about advocacy and civic engagement.

“Youth are facing significant challenges in education and economically, but they are organizing,” the college professor said of some black youth. “They are one of the most active groups that I have seen. The beautiful thing is these young people are fired up and ready to go.”

The Oct. 29 forums were held in Stockton, Sacramento and Fresno. The fourth event, Nov. 19, will be from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Santa Teresa High School in San Jose.

The discussions on what is working right for black youth in their communities and schools and what is going wrong. There will be a guest speaker and a lunch.

Parker, the Clovis student who wants to attend Pepperdine University in Malibu or Baylor University in Texas, is a member of BSCU’s student advisory board and a forum attendee —along with student’s affiliated with the program from schools in Sacramento, San Jose, Stockton, Oakland and Los Angeles.

She said anything she learns at the event will be beneficial.

“It’s very important for black kids my age to want to be leaders because we are such a powerful people,” Parker said. “We have such influence in everything – music, art. Black people have so much power, so black kids should strive to be leaders in the community and eventually on the national level.”

Barfield said the African-American community can’t have excuses to address economic, education, and civic issues.

“We don’t want another generation of disengaged, uninformed youth,” she said. “We are going to allow the students to formulate their voices and go after elected officials and board members and let them know these kids have a voice and hear is your solution.”

Williams said in a year BSCU hopes to have expanded to more students across the state and have an annual civic engagement program running.

“We want to have students in the 40 Senatorial Districts across the state,” Williams said. “We are trying to produce future leaders. We want them to study those districts, so if they decide they want to be an official they are starting early in getting that knowledge.”

The student Parker said learning leadership is important and bringing her generation of black millennials together is a part of that.

“There seems to be a lot of division in our generation,” she said. “We need to come together.”

Around 60 students will be admitted to each event.

RSVP is required for the Senatorial District Leadership Forum in San Jose.. . Contact Watkins at 408-829-0590 to register.

For more information, email blackstudentscaliforniaunited@gmail.com.