Written by Alyssa Burley.
Project Cornerstone held its quarterly meeting at the Kings Inn on May 23rd, 2014. Speakers included an Assemblywoman, a representative from Habitat for Humanity and Project Cornerstone members. Industry topics that were discussed included SB1270, Project Cornerstone’s progress and the City of San Diego's proposed infrastructure budget and future efforts for funding.
Assemblywoman Diane Harkey spoke to the group for about an hour covering her background in finance and how it led her to the State Assembly. She discussed California’s economy and the struggles small businesses face in the State. Harkey is running for District 4 of the Board of Equalization, which includes San Diego, Imperial, Riverside and Orange Counties, plus a portion of San Bernardino County.
Lori Pfeiler, Executive Director for San Diego Habitat for Humanity, briefly spoke about the importance of the construction aggregates industry with regards to affordable housing in San Diego County. Habitat for Humanity is working on a Blitz Build of eleven homes in Escondido. Three of the building foundations were poured on Wednesday, May 21, 2014 by two local producers, Robertson’s Ready Mix and Superior Ready Mix Concrete, L.P. Some material was donated while the remainder was provided at a reduced price. Habitat for Humanity will complete the second phase of the Blitz Build in July where additional local producers will contribute concrete for the foundation of each home.
Crystal Howard, Executive Director for Project Cornerstone, intended to discuss the recent changes to SB1270, a Senate Bill that would significantly alter the existing Surface Mining and Reclamation Act (SMARA) by substantially increasing regulatory burdens for the construction aggregates industry. Thankfully, earlier in the day, SB1270 did not pass the Senate Appropriation Committee and a detailed summary of the bill was no longer needed.
Project Cornerstone staff have been busy over the last three months. Crystal Howard and Alyssa Burley met with Crystal Howe from the California Regional Environmental Education Community (CREEC) to discuss how best to present Project Cornerstone’s educational program to local schools. Project Cornerstone member and President of EnviroMINE, Inc., Warren Coalson, met with geologists from the California Geological Survey (CGS) and other industry representatives at the County of San Diego to discuss the update to the Mineral Classification Study for San Diego County. Members have also been busy organizing the inaugural golf tournament; however, the event initially scheduled for July will be postponed until later in the year.
Crystal Howard also addressed proposed City of San Diego's proposed budget for infrastructure projects for 2015. The budget proposes spending of $297.7 million. A $120 million infrastructure bond would be used on streets, facilities, storm drains and other assets, according to a presentation by the City of San Diego Public Works Department. The City of San Diego has a tremendous amount of deferred maintenance and other infrastructure projects that need to be completed; however, there is a lack of funding. The City is considering a general obligation bond that would require a public vote. The City will hold workshops to educate the public about the need for the bond. If the bond is successful, the demand for construction aggregates will grow in the region. Ms. Howard promised to keep members up to date on the workshops and general obligation bond status.
The next Project Cornerstone quarterly meeting is scheduled for August or September of 2014.
Alyssa Burley is the Director of Marketing and Community Outreach for Project Cornerstone, Inc. Contact her at Alyssa@Project-Cornerstone.org.