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Wieder, Bradley, Lakeside Get Awards at Annual VICA Meeting

Two longtime Valley community and business leaders and one healthcare company were honored on Dec. 18 by the Valley Industry and Commerce Association at its annual meeting. The event also included remarks by California Insurance Commissioner and gubernatorial hopeful Steve Poizner. Former Los Angeles Valley College President Tyree Wieder was presented with the 15th Annual Harman Ballin Community Service Award. John Bradley, former vice president of finance and CFO at Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Inc., received the third annual President’s Award and Lakeside Community Healthcare was awarded the Robert E. Gibson Corporate Award of Excellence. Wieder said she obtained her interest in community service from her grandparents, who brought her up. Bradley, in accepting the President’s Award, said that he had been involved in VICA since the 1970s and that both he and his company had seen the organization be very effective over the years as an advocate for business. Keith Richman, executive vice president of Lakeside Community Healthcare, accepted the award for his company. Lakeside is a healthcare provider with a network of physicians and services throughout the San Fernando, San Gabriel and Santa Clarita valleys as well as parts of Ventura and San Bernardino counties. In his address, Insurance Commissioner Poizner focused on the achievements of his department since he assumed office two years ago as well as the severe financial problems the state is experiencing. Poizner said his No. 1 goal has been to reduce insurance fraud in the state. Poizner also said that his department has also been focused on helping victims of the several wildfires that have swept the state in the past few years. He said he has tried to make sure people get their claims processed quickly in part by making his department more efficient. He said the rest of the state government needed to do the same to solve the current severe budget crisis in which California is expected to reach a shortfall of $41 billion in the next 18 months. “We are in a complete meltdown,” Poizner said. But he called the crisis a “fantastic opportunity” to change the way the state is run. He said that California’s anti-business attitude is causing the state to fall behind the rest of the world as a competitive economy. “People running the state are oblivious to these changes,” he said. Poizner added that the state needed to overhaul its regulatory and tax structure completely so it can become more competitive. He said there also needed to be an overhaul of the “jobs-creating climate” here by implementing specific programs and plans such as enterprise zones and forming “SWAT” teams to keep business in the state. “This has everything to do with the $40 billion budget deficit,” he said explaining that the state’s tax base has eroded because it has lost so many businesses.

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