Adelanto Chamber Of Commerce Will No Longer Meet In Adelanto

The Adelanto Chamber of Commerce will no longer hold its monthly meetings in Adelanto, but rather across the city limits in neighboring Victorville.
Until last month, the chamber held its regular confabs in the conference room at Stater Bros. Stadium. Going forward, the 82-member chamber will get together at the Old George School at 17738 Nevada Avenue on the former George Air Force Base.
The base property, much of which has been converted to Southern California Logistics Airport, is located within the City of Victorville.
Adelanto has long been under challenge, economically, socially and governmentally. Over the years, a significant number of Adelanto officials have had hard falls from political grace. Some have seen their political careers implode under criminal charges. There has been divisiveness and personal attacks. In 2014, the city council underwent a wholesale transformation when then-Mayor Cari Thomas was ousted in a four-way race by Rich Kerr, and incumbent councilmen Steve Baisden and Charles Valvo were replaced by John Woodard and Charley Glasper.
Since then, the city, which had declared a fiscal emergency in 2013, has utilized what the current council characterizes as creative and the city’s critics call desperate ploys to shore itself up financially. One of those was to permit massive-scale cultivation of marijuana in warehousing located in the city’s industrial park. Another was to disengage itself from the minor league baseball team, the California League’s High Desert Mavericks, which played its home games at the city’s major outdoor venue, State Bros. Stadium. City officials maintained that the arrangement with the Mavericks was one that was entailing maintenance and subsidization costs that had the city hemorrhaging red ink.
While virtually all of the businesses in the chamber of commerce are geographically wedded to Adelanto, some of the owners of those businesses do not see eye-to-eye, precisely, with the city’s political leadership. Some disapprove of the move to turn Adelanto into an agricultural center through which the city’s major produce is cannabis. Sending the Mavericks, who drew crowds from elsewhere in the Victor Valley to the city, packing has displeased other businesses, particularly those that catered to the baseball fans during their presence in the city. Others are less than enthusiastic about the city having embraced four separate prisons in the city, qualifying incarceration as the city’s second ranking industry, such that some eight percent of the city’s population consists of convicted felons, which some say tarnishes the city’s image.
The chamber’s contract with Stater Bros. Stadium for the space it used there elapsed as of December 31. Last summer, former mayor Cari Thomas, who is now the chamber president, tried to find terms upon which the chamber might stay in place. When that did not take immediate hold, she sought to shepherd the chamber to a different meeting and operational venue.
The San Bernardino County Fair Board had moved into the position of marketing and leasing available space at the stadium. But confusion between the fair board and City Hall delayed the timetable for cementing a lease going forward. Faced with having to find a definite meeting place, Thomas jumped at the chance to move the chamber into Old George School, digs which represented a lower cost without the hassle of having to go eyeball-to-eyeball with the fair board.
Some see in the move a slap at the city, brought on, perhaps, by Thomas’s political severance two years ago.
City officials now wistfully regret having not facilitated the chamber staying in place at the stadium. There have been suggestions the chamber will return, but that homecoming will not be until June or later.

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