Leaders look ahead to 2013 goals, challenges

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

If the Mayan prophecy failed to accurately predict the end of the world in 2012, last year did at least mark a time of unprecedented uncertainty and change.

After long debates about the implications of the Fiscal Cliff, Congress failed to implement a compromise that would buffer the sagging economy from fallout that concurrent tax hikes and spending cuts would have on our nation’s fiscal recovery. Both sides of the political divide have braced for the impact of that double whammy, scheduled to begin this month.

At the state level, conservatives ponder their voice in politics as the power of the Democratic Party increased after the November election to a solid two-thirds majority in both houses of the legislature. Republicans, who already had difficulty getting bills past committees, have now also lost the power to block a tax increase. (Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown has also lost his power to veto.)

In Kern County, the board of supervisors has seen a rare majority changeover. Ridgecrest maintained its local voice on the board with the election of Mick Gleason to the 1st District seat, but the flavor of the new board will not be revealed until it holds its first meeting this month.

Meanwhile, counties and cities continue to buckle under the pressure of national and state fiscal crises. Local governments have been particularly impacted by realignment, which shrank our already crowded prison system to squeeze criminals out onto the street en masse.

The city of Ridgecrest also saw majority changeovers in two local boards — the city council, which continues to struggle to balance the structural deficit between revenues and expenditures; and the IWV Airport Board, which has been leading an effort to have Inyokern Airport named as a test site in a highly competitive process to usher in the incorporation of unmanned systems into federal airspace.

But even as our leaders are preparing for the worst, our leaders still hope for growth and positive change in the New Year.

This year our community celebrates our city turning 50 and our naval base turning 70. The educational community is still celebrating a $57-million grant to rebuild and renovate two schools.

Here we share with you some of the hopes, goals and challenges of 2013.

Story First Published: 2013-01-02