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Around Town: Trends and a prediction

January 15, 2013

By Pat Orr
APPLE VALLEY REVIEW

State population estimates from the Census Bureau were released not long ago for 2011-12 with few surprises.

The fastest growing state is sunny North Dakota because of its “fracking” oil boom. No, I’m not swearing. Fracking is the new technology that gets oil from shale and sand deposits which are in abundance in North Dakota. Wages there are high and unemployment almost non-existent.

At the other end of the scale, the states where folks can’t pack up and leave fast enough were New York, Illinois, New Jersey and California, in that order. Where are these people going? They seem to be headed for Texas, Florida and Arizona. Imagine people leaving high tax business unfriendly states for ones that greet them with incentives, open arms and low tax rates. What a concept. Perhaps someone in California may try it again one day.

My first prediction for this year: Watch for a ballot initiative to raise the tax on smokes by a dollar per pack to be launched by year end. Assistant Gov. Gavin Noose-em will jump on board to burnish his image for a run at the Governor’s Mansion. The money would purportedly go to support the university and California State systems.

I suppose that means in the near future we will see academics in California encouraging folks to smoke more. Like the big bad tobacco companies, the elite educational institutions may have to depend on this deadly habit for their own prosperity. As always, if I’m right, remember this. If I’m wrong forget about it.

Good idea, poor execution?
I’ve been a vocal booster for a valley-wide chamber of commerce to help replace the loss to all local cities of their economic redevelopment departments and promote valley-wide business solidarity. This valley needs to present itself to the world with one voice and that voice should be from the people who already do business here.

To work, this plan needs leadership buy-in from all the existing chambers and a study group to determine what to do with companies that have multiple memberships, the existing staffs, programs and offices of all current active chamber of commerce entities.

My idea may have left the launch pad without a flight plan.

We see that the Victorville Chamber has quietly changed their name to Victor Valley Chamber of Commerce and recent pronouncements appear to indicate they intend to re-brand themselves as a “regional chamber.” Sorry folks, a name change doesn’t replace a sound plan to execute such a shift. Any attempt to “go it alone” will only result in more inter-city squabbling and attempts to poach members from one another.

I hope I’m wrong about their intent and that the board of the Victorville Chamber realizes to succeed this has to be a joint effort with mutual goals and expected outcomes.

‘Mr. Holland’s Opinion’
For those who’ve ever worked with our departing newspaper editor, Don Holland, you never had a doubt where he stood on a story. He could argue, cajole, demand and threaten to make a story or the story writer better.

He was a major force in our family because he gave our son his first job out of journalism school and launched him on a professional communications career.

Don also gave me the opportunity — which maybe he often regretted — to vent my opinions in the Apple Valley Review weekly. Now that he is moving on, I’ll attempt to remember the guidance he gave me and restrain myself from straying too far from the ethical standards he expected from all the people in the newspaper profession.

I hope his very strict code of ethics won’t suffer too many critical challenges now that he speaks for an elected official.

We wish him good luck.

Pat Orr is a local business owner, community volunteer and political junkie.

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