Friday February 22nd the chamber hosted the first open Membership Lunch at the Life Center facility here in San Fernando. The event was sponsored by several of our members and included our featured guest speaker California State Senate Majority Leader Bob Hertzberg.
over 50 members and guests were treated to a great lunch by Stonefire Grille in the beautiful main hall of the Life Center. Outfitted with the latest audio and video technology, this room was a showcase for our speakers and guests. Chair of the Government Affairs Committee Tom Ross acted as host for the program, and opened the event with a list of the chambers accomplishments and plans for the future. Key among these is our close relationship with the city of San Fernando and helping to steer the business agenda, the establishment of our Business Explorer post 1911 for educating youth about business, and our involvement in starting the process of forming a Business Improvement District (BID) here in San Fernando.
Chamber President Adriana Gomez spoke about the importance of creating a cohesive business advocacy group through the chamber. As we reach 90 members and growing we are taking seriously the responsibility of business leadership and passing that on to our members encouraging their involvement as well. The future is a bright one if we all are moving forward.
The lineup included short talks from our Mayor Joel Fahardo, and our new City Manager Nick Kimball. Joel pledged his support for the chamber, and the chambers efforts on the BID, and he expressed his optimism that we as a city are moving in the right direction. Our newly appointed City Manger Nick Kimball mentioned that his experience as the finance director of San Fernando along with his over 7 years working in the city gives him great insight and allows him hit the ground running as city Manager. Nick understands the importance of a healthy and diverse business community and has pledged his support for the Chambers efforts. Were glad to have both of these people behind our membership and San Fernando’s businesses.
Senator Hertzberg took the stage and gave us a great talk on the state of our Sacramento government, how it impacts us here, and some key ways he can help us in our efforts. San Fernando is the only city that is completely surrounded by his district. He sees the great possibilities and potential of our city and has recognized the rapid growth of the Chamber as a sign of our maturity as a business community. Sen Hertzberg has already provided over five million dollars in funds for the renovation of our water systems in San Fernando that will allow us to keep our Water Independence. Many in the audience were unaware that San Fernando is the only city in Los Angeles that is not purchasing all its water from the Metropolitan Water District. While we are a customer of MWD, by renovating and modernizing our water infrastructure, we can assure our future independence and reduction of total costs. He also pledged to support the BID efforts to help grow and support the business in town, and looks forward to working with the city staff and Chamber staff on building San Fernando. One of his important projects that will help us in many ways is his commitment to the homeless and helping to find housing and care for those on the streets. He sees this problem as a ‘human” issue, not a political one. Cleaning up our off-ramp leading into town, and the streets and back alleys must involve seeing that those who populate these areas are given an opportunity to transition back into society in a respectful and humane manor. In this way we have more investment in the neighborhood, we have cleaner streets, less crime, healthier conditions, and everyone wins.
After his remarks the Senator took photos and presented the chamber board with certificates of recognition, and spent time with many in the audience discussing their issues. We are truly privileged here in San Fernando to have the attention and interest of one of the states most influential elected officials. We thank him and his staff for being our guests, it was a pleasure!