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Board of Supervisors

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Applications for Sheriff appointment go online tomorrow

Applications will be available online tomorrow morning for qualified San Bernardino County residents interested in being appointed by the Board of Supervisors to serve as the County’s Sheriff.

Sheriff John McMahon announced on Friday that he will retire on July 16 after more than 36 years of public service. His current four year term does not end until Jan. 2, 2023. A special election to fill the vacancy is not a viable option.

“Although the new county charter created a special election option, the timing of this vacancy would not allow a special election to occur until June 7, 2022, which is the date of the next regular election for sheriff,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman. “The county should not go that long without someone serving in the office of Sheriff.”

“The process we will use for this appointment will be fair, transparent, and guarantee meaningful public input,” Hagman said.

The Board of Supervisors will conduct a special meeting on July 7 to identify finalists for the appointment, conduct public interviews, and consider appointing a new Sheriff to complete Sheriff McMahon’s term.

Starting at 8 a.m. tomorrow, June 23, persons who meet the qualifications to serve as a sheriff in California can apply for the appointment by visiting the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors website.

Applications and supplemental materials will be received until 5 p.m. on June 30. On July 1, the application materials will be provided to members of the Board of Supervisors.

Board adopts 2021-22 County budget with eye toward economic recovery

The Board of Supervisors adopted the 2021-22 County budget on Tuesday, which invests in San Bernardino County’s communities, residents and businesses to help them recover from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year, the $7.6 billion budget recognizes the relative stability of County revenues and plans to keep significant resources available to address any possible future economic challenges.  The Board has maintained its long-standing fiscally prudent approach by setting aside an additional $41 million towards its General Purpose Reserve and is projecting to end 2021-22 with a $19 million General Fund operating surplus.

“We are being fiscally responsible with your tax dollars and we are listening to your priorities,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman. “We are putting resources in the right direction and this budget gives us the opportunity to move this county forward.”

While not included in the initial recommended budget, the Board also took action today to adopt a plan for the use of $423.5 million of federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA).  This significant resource will help the County continue to respond to the pandemic, help with economic recovery and infrastructure and improve government operations.

“The 2021-22 Recommended Budget represents a significant step toward recovery from the pandemic,” Chief Executive Officer Leonard X. Hernandez wrote in a letter to the Board. “Through the investment of available financing sources, this budget will both strengthen the County’s fiscal stability while expanding and enhancing the County’s ability to provide high-quality services to our residents and investors.”

To address community concerns, the Board allocated $10.4 million over the next several years to help combat illegal marijuana cultivation, short-term rental oversight, illegal dumping and graffiti abatement, snow play nuisance abatement, illegal vending in problem areas and illegal trucking activities.

“This budget reflects your commitment to public safety in the county,” said San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon, citing the issue of illegal marijuana cultivation in the county.

The post-pandemic desire for outdoor activities prompted an additional $5 million investment in the County’s Regional Parks with capital improvements planned at Glen Helen, Yucaipa, Prado, Guasti, and Mojave Narrows regional parks.

Fighting homelessness remains a priority in the County budget. There is a renewed focus and staffing added to the Homeless Strategic Plan, which aligns the county’s homeless population with health and housing services provided by the County and its partners.

In addition, technological upgrades are due for County systems and online services that help residents and businesses receive a necessary and evolving level of service that is timely and convenient and helps the County generate revenue to continue serving the public’s needs.

Board applauds ‘American Idol’ winner Chayce Beckham

American Idol Winner Chayce Beckham of Apple Valley

The Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution Tuesday congratulating Apple Valley’s Chayce Beckham for becoming the first San Bernardino County resident to win ‘American Idol.’

The 24-year-old is a native of the High Desert and the first winner of American Idol from Southern California.

“I am extremely proud to hear that our first ever Southern Californian American Idol winner comes from San Bernardino County,” said First District Supervisor Col. Paul Cook (Ret.). “Congratulations Chayce, we are all proud of you and excited to see you embark on this new journey.”

Beckham was born in Victorville and lived in Hesperia and Apple Valley where he attended Vanguard Preparatory School and Sitting Bull Academy. He got his first guitar when he was three years old. Before Idol, Beckham and his friends formed a band called the Sinking Sailors performing punk, reggae and funk music and they frequently played local gigs. He last worked as a heavy machine operator for United Rentals.

The gravel-voiced country singer and songwriter wowed Idol judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan and ultimately viewers at home who voted him the winner of the popular singing competition. As the 2021 American Idol winner, Beckham takes home a cash prize and most importantly, a record deal of his own.

While on American Idol, Beckham wrote and recorded his own hit single, “23” which rose to No. 1 on iTunes Country charts and No. 2 on iTunes Top 10 songs.

A year ago, Beckham decided to audition for American Idol at the urging of his family.

Flags lowered to half-staff for fallen Sheriff’s sergeant

Sgt. Dominic Vaca

Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman has ordered flags at all county government facilities to fly at half-staff in honor of Sheriff’s Sgt. Dominic Vaca, who was killed in the line of duty on Monday.

Chairman Hagman encourages all county residents, businesses and government agencies to do the same.

“Sgt. Vaca lost his life bravely protecting the people of this county. He made the ultimate sacrifice so that someday all of us can live our lives free from the fear of violent crime,” Hagman said.

Sgt. Vaca was a 17-year veteran of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. He was killed when a motorcyclist opened fire on deputies who had been pursuing him in Yucca Valley. The gunman was killed during the gunfight with deputies.

“Our hearts are broken. Sgt. Vaca was a true hero and a beloved member of our Morongo Basin community,” said Board of Supervisors Vice Chair Dawn Rowe, a resident of Yucca Valley. “Our thoughts, prayers and support are with his dear family during this tragic time.”

A memorial fund has been established to assist Sgt. Vaca’s wife and children.

The County will keep flags at half-staff until sunset on the day of Sgt. Vaca’s interment, which has yet to be determined.

County launches redistricting website; Commission meets Tuesday

San Bernardino County’s 2021 supervisorial redistricting effort is underway with the launch of an interactive website and the scheduling of the County Redistricting Commission’s first meeting.

“The Board of Supervisors is looking forward to utilizing the latest technology and in-person meetings throughout the county to involve every county resident and each of our communities in the 2021 redistricting process,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman.

Every 10 years, upon the release of new U.S. Census data, the county is required to redraw the boundaries of the five Board of Supervisors districts to ensure each has very close to the same number of residents and that the new districts comply with the Voting Rights Act and meet other criteria. The process will begin in earnest when detailed U.S. Census data is released by the federal government in the fall.

Today the County launched a website,, that contains information about the redistricting process, alerts visitors to upcoming meetings, allows them to view live and archived meetings, submit questions and other feedback, and read the latest news on redistricting.

The site also allows visitors to become familiar and experiment with a map-drawing tool that will allow anyone to create and submit their own redistricting plans incorporating the latest data on population, demographics, and city boundaries. The data on which the 2021 redistricting will be based won’t be available until the federal government releases it in the fall.

“Our goal is to make the redistricting process transparent and to provide many opportunities for public input. The new website is a great way for the public to stay up to date on the redistricting process and to have their voices heard,” said Second District Supervisor Janice Rutherford, who with Chairman Hagman comprises the Board of Supervisors Redistricting Subcommittee.

The redistricting website also includes information about the County’s new Advisory Redistricting Commission.

In compliance with a new County Charter approved by voters in November, the board in March created a seven-member Advisory Redistricting Commission to receive comments and suggestions from the public and recommend at least two supervisorial district boundary maps for consideration by the board.

In April, each board member appointed one commissioner and one alternate commissioner, who will join two members appointed by the presiding judge of the Superior Court of California, County of San Bernardino, to sit as the commission.

The commission will be sworn in and conduct its first meeting at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, May 11, in the Covington Chambers on the first floor of the County Government Center in San Bernardino. The public can view live and archived meetings on the County’s redistricting website. The commission will conduct many of its future meetings at various locations throughout the county.

Board of Supervisors appoints Thomas Sone as Public Defender

The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday appointed interim Public Defender Thomas Sone to serve as the county’s new Public Defender.

Public Defender Thomas Sone

“We are very fortunate to have someone with Tom’s credentials, experience, and dedication on our team,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman.

Sone has served as interim Public Defender since December and previously served as Assistant Public Defender. He joined the Public Defender’s Office in 2001 after briefly working for a private law firm in Los Angeles. Sone began with the County as a Deputy Public Defender I and worked his way up to the position of Lead Deputy Public Defender V before being named Chief Deputy Public Defender in 2013 and Assistant Public Defender in 2018.

Along the way, Sone litigated serious and complex felony cases, trained and mentored newer attorneys, assigned cases, participated in community programs, and collaborated with various agencies to develop programs that better deliver services to our community.

“The Public Defender’s Office and this county hold a very special place in my heart,” Sone said. “For the past 20 years within the department, I’ve grown not just professionally but also as a person. Both the leadership of this department as well as this county have shaped who I’ve become. I am humbled and honored by the appointment.”

Sone is the county’s first Asian American and Pacific Islander Public Defender. He received his Juris Doctor from the University of San Diego, School of Law and holds two Bachelor’s degrees from Washington State University. He is also a graduate of the San Bernardino County Management and Leadership Academy.

The Public Defender provides legal representation to criminal or civil commitment defendants who cannot afford to hire an attorney. The office represents adults and juveniles charged with misdemeanor or felony crimes, and persons facing involuntary civil commitment for mental disorders or commitment under the Sexually Violent Predator statute.

In addition to attorneys, the San Bernardino County Public Defender employs investigators to fully investigate cases handled by the department. The Department also has a staff of social workers and support staff to provide the best representation for clients.

Using a holistic approach, the Public Defender seeks to increase client opportunities for achieving self-sufficiency. In addition to providing legal defense, the office also seeks to arrange client access to social service programs and assistance with receiving alcohol and drug rehabilitation services and counseling for mental health issues.

Supervisor Joe Baca, Jr. Hosting SheRoes of the 5th District

In recognition of Women’s History Month, San Bernardino County Fifth District Supervisor Joe Baca, Jr. will honor phenomenal unsung women from his district at the upcoming virtual event “SheRoes of the Fifth District” on March 18 at 6 p.m.

The women were selected from throughout the community for their accomplishments in their respective fields and for their dedication to improving the lives of others. The recipients are:

  • Farah Mohamed of Rialto, founder of Smile America Abdi Foundation
  • Kenesha Boyd of San Bernardino, co-founder of the VRP
  • Joyce Washington of Fontana, retiree and community leader
  • Amanda Maldonado-Arroyo of San Bernardino, branch manager at Wells Fargo and community activist
  • Angela McClain of Bloomington, founder of The Olive Branch Development & Empowerment Services
  • Nellie Cortez of Colton, retiree and long-time community activist

“The women who were selected for this recognition are selfless community advocates who inspire us every day and work tirelessly to improve the lives of those in our community. It is an honor to recognize them for their commitment and leadership,” Supervisor Baca said.

This event will be broadcast via Facebook Live @supervisorbacajr and YouTube Live at Please visit to RSVP. For more information, please call Supervisor Baca’s office at (909) 387-4565.

The Fifth District includes the cities of Colton, Fontana, Rialto, and San Bernardino, and the unincorporated communities of Arrowhead Farms, Bloomington, Devore, El Rancho Verde, Little Third, Rosena Ranch, and Muscoy.

Board approves Starlink test to explore satellite internet

Starlink and San Bernardino County were seemingly made for each other.

The low-flying satellite constellation that will one day cover the globe, a product of engineer and entrepreneur Elon Musk’s SpaceX, was designed to provide fast, reliable internet connectivity to underserved areas of the planet. Places far away from the closest landline, Wi-Fi, and cellular services many people in urban and suburban areas take for granted. Places like some of the most remote areas of San Bernardino County.

That’s why the Board of Supervisors today approved an agreement with Starlink to test a beta version of Starlink. If the test goes well, the county could begin using Starlink to provide connectivity to remote Sheriff’s deputies and other county personnel serving the public in remote areas.

“Starlink holds the promise of making high-speed internet available to students, home businesses, seniors, and other county residents who have never imagined service could be possible in their communities,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman, a constant and consistent champion for identifying and employing cutting-edge technology to improve government services.

Much larger than all of Switzerland as well as nine U.S. states, at 20,105 square miles San Bernardino County is by far the largest county in the country (Alaska has four that are larger, but they’re called “boroughs”). As a result, many small desert communities are an hour’s drive away or further from their nearest neighbor, and considerably out or range for most technologies.

Connecting these communities to information from the world around them has long been a priority for the county. For instance, there are places in San Bernardino County that can’t be reached by television signals beamed from Los Angeles. For decades, the county has operated mountain-top relay stations to grab those faraway TV signals and throw them across sparsely populated desert valleys.

Starlink is a constellation of small satellites in low Earth orbit that work in combination with ground receivers.  Because Starlink satellites are closer to Earth than traditional satellites, signals get to their destinations more quickly than those from other higher-flying satellite internet services.  Starlink is offering beta testing of this satellite-based internet service while it continues a planned expansion to achieve near-global coverage in 2021.

If the county’s beta test is successful, the county would be uniquely positioned to take advantage of this service for the many remote and infrastructure-challenged areas throughout the county.

“The county has a duty to those we serve to think outside of the box and not do things just because that’s the way we’ve always done them,” Hagman said. “By applying new technologies we can maximize the quality and efficiency of our serves and improve the lives of our residents.”

San Bernardino County to become first Southern California Topgolf location

The Board of Supervisors has placed San Bernardino County at the top of the leaderboard toward becoming the first Southern California home of Topgolf, an internationally renowned technology-enabled entertainment experience.

“Topgolf will be an outstanding entertainment asset that will attract people from all over Southern California to San Bernardino County,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman, whose Fourth District includes the future Topgolf site on county-owned land in Ontario. “The Topgolf concept appeals to all ages, and everyone will benefit from the revenue that will be directed toward the betterment of the county’s Regional Parks system.”

The county and Topgolf, a hugely popular sports and entertainment attraction with locations around the globe, entered into a 20-year lease agreement in 2019. Delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the deal is now set to go forward with construction activities beginning this month and completion anticipated for early 2022. The development is on 13.7 acres of undeveloped county-owned land adjacent to Cucamonga-Guasti Regional Park at the corner of Archibald Avenue and Fourth Street in the City of Ontario.

The agreement will bring in more than $625,000 a year to support the county’s system of regional parks.

Topgolf plans to build a nearly 600,000-square foot facility at the county site, which will be similar in size and scope to other multi-level Topgolf venues. The new location will feature 102 hitting bays on three floors, plus a full-service restaurant and bar and event space for corporate and social events.  The venue also plans to incorporate a mini-golf component at a later date for all to enjoy.

In addition to the jobs that will be created during construction, Topgolf will hire more than 400 employees once the venue is completed and operational.

Chairman Hagman came up with the idea of using the land for a golf-related attraction and shared that with the County Real Estate Services Department, which approached Topgolf.

“The County Real Estate Services Department deserves a lot of praise and credit for reaching out to Topgolf with the idea of making county-owned land the company’s first Southern California location,” Chairman Hagman said.

“Topgolf chose the County of San Bernardino due to its convenient regional location to the Inland Empire, strong retail performance, and large and growing population base,” said Chris Callaway, Chief Development Officer with Topgolf.  “Being positioned just north of I-10 and west of I-15 enables our Topgolf venue to connect with and entertain many communities and businesses throughout the region.”

“San Bernardino County has been great to work with and has been very business-friendly. Throughout the deal process, they solved issues as we progressed in finalizing the transaction, and we look forward to continuing our strong partnership together,” Callaway added.

The Topgolf concept is built on a foundation of community, inclusivity and fun, and is truly a game for everyone.  The technology-driven experience is centered on guests hitting patented, microchipped golf balls into targets on the outfield while playing classic Topgolf games. Guests can also enjoy a chef-driven food and beverage menu in their outdoor hitting bays while safely enjoying the outdoor fun. What started as a simple idea to enhance the game of golf has now evolved into a best-in-class hospitality entertainment venue centered on a game that is accessible and appealing to all, regardless of skill or ability. The dynamic atmosphere, engaging staff, and innovative games combine to provide a truly unique experience.

Over the course of the initial 20-year ground lease, once construction is completed and Topgolf is open for business, the county will receive more than $625,000 in annual revenue, benefiting the San Bernardino County Regional Parks system,, which includes nine regional parks throughout the county and several other recreational attractions.

The County Real Estate Services Department first approached Topgolf more than four years ago. Given the location of the land coupled with the socio-economic demographics of the area and recreational use restrictions, the county believed that Topgolf was an ideal fit for the site and developed a strategy to attract the company.

Part of the county’s initial outreach strategy to Topgolf included the county retaining the services of JLL Retail Group in Ontario. On the county’s behalf, JLL made contact with Topgolf’s brokerage representatives from The Retail Connection out of Dallas, Texas. Those connections facilitated the county’s introduction to Topgolf, which led to initial discussions and negotiations for Topgolf to lease the land from the county. This strategic initiative by the county resulted in the ground lease deal with Topgolf that was approved by the Board of Supervisors on April 30, 2019.


Board re-elects Hagman as Chair; appoints Rowe as Vice Chair

Supervisor Curt Hagman has been unanimously re-elected by his Board of Supervisors colleagues to serve a second two-year term as Board Chairman. The Board unanimously elected Supervisor Dawn Rowe to serve as Vice Chair. The appointments took effect immediately.

Chairman Curt Hagman

Citing Chairman Hagman’s able and accomplished leadership of the County during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Board on Tuesday, Jan. 5, also unanimously waived for the first time a 50-year-old County policy precluding chairs from serving two consecutive terms.

“Our Chairman has done an exemplary job during COVID,” Vice Chair Rowe said in proposing the policy waiver. “During a pandemic is not the time to change leadership.”

Rowe pointed to Chairman Hagman’s long-standing relationships with international business groups, which have resulted in the county being able to secure shipments of personal protective equipment and other supplies for the county, cities, and local businesses.

Vice Chair Dawn Rowe

She also pointed to his development of the COVID-Compliant Business Partnership Program, which has provided cash grants to more than 5,000 county businesses, and the establishment of the Skilled Nursing Facility Task Force during his watch.

“The one thing you have to be very, very careful of when you’re in the middle of a crisis and you have a leader who is handling the situation and everything is well in hand is changing leadership unless you have a very good reason,” said First District Supervisor Paul Cook, a retired Marine Corps Colonel.

“Maintaining leadership will help keep our County on course as we continue working to protect public health and support our communities during the ongoing pandemic,” Second District Supervisor Janice Rutherford said. “Since she joined the Board in 2018, Supervisor Rowe has proven her mettle when it comes to dealing with the many challenges facing our County, and I have no doubt she will be an excellent Vice-Chair.”

“Chairman Hagman, during the short period of time I’ve gotten to know him on the Board, has done a great job,” said Fifth District Supervisor Joe Baca, Jr., who was elected in November and took office last month.

“I would like to thank my colleagues for their vote of confidence and we will keep working as a team with county employees and our residents to deal with what 2021 brings,” Chairman Hagman said. “Hopefully it’s not as eventful as 2020.”

The Board Chair presides over Board of Supervisors meetings, works with the County executive leadership to set the Board’s agenda, and acts as the Board’s executive agent and representative.

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