SUPERVISOR 5TH DISTRICT COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO
November 5, 2009
Building Bridges over Troubled Water
One of the keys in local government is to maintain open lines of
communication with elected officials at the state level. Much of what
goes on in Sacramento has a direct impact on San Diego County and
unfortunately, the dysfunction 400 miles to the north is increasingly
adding to our problems at home.
Recently, I met with 73rd Assemblywoman Diane Harkey, whose district
includes portions of North County. She is Vice Chair of Housing and
Urban Development and serves as a member of the Appropriations
Committee, Budget Committee, and Revenue and Taxation Committee. I am
working with Diane and other members of our local delegation to forge
an effective voice for North County in Sacramento.
Diane asked to see me after reading my thoughts on the water crisis
in the state and my hope that legislative leaders can find, what so
far has been, an elusive solution. She agrees with me that our
regulatory environment and tax burden are discouraging the economic
recovery that is so needed to not only improve our quality of life and
that of future generations, but to maintain what we have. Water,
power, and basic necessities must be upgraded to allow our state to
return to the California of years past.
Now the legislature has passed a sweeping package of policies and
along with Governor Schwarzenegger will ask voters to approve $11.14
billion in bonds to pay for a range of projects, including reservoirs,
desalinization, and environmental protection programs. I’m glad the
State is finally taking action, however, the water problem remains
political and finding balance with the Delta Smelt could save
taxpayers untold millions in the long run, while helping to solve our
Diane voted in favor of the bond measure, however, she has
reservations about many of the policy provisions. She was pleased that
existing water rights laws remain in tact; however, she says it is
vital to make sure bureaucracy does not grow and increase in power.
I agree with Diane that putting the state further in the red is a
bad idea unless much needed water is truly on the horizon. And while
general obligation bonds are being considered as a long-term financing
strategy to ensure our future water supply, the reality is that due to
our declining revenues, the state may have trouble finding buyers for
the bonds. In addition, only $3 billion would be set aside for
building new reservoirs and $2.25 billion for a campaign to restore
the vital Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta that provides a third of San
Diego County’s water and two-thirds of Southern California’s. Of
concern to me is that the Delta would be managed by a new and powerful
oversight council which could influence whether or not a canal should
be built to bring water to our region.
As we wait to see what voters decide on the bond measure for
long-range solutions, there is positive news about the near future.
After eleven years of bureaucratic and environmental red tape,
Poseidon has been given the go-ahead to begin construction of a
desalination plant in Carlsbad that will provide 50 million gallons a
day of drinking water (enough for 100,000 homes) by 2012. I have been
and continue to be a strong supporter of desalination as an important
step that will hopefully one day bring water independence to Southern California.
While the political divide in Sacramento is huge, Diane told me that
as tax receipts continue to fall, Republicans and Democrats in the
state are beginning to recognize that we have common goals. There are
signs that Democrat legislative members in Southern California realize
there must be a change in North-South relations.
I am a businessman and (avocado and citrus) grower. I know that to
survive I must use basic business principles. In my years as North
County Supervisor, I have applied that same fiscal discipline to how
the County of San Diego operates. The result is that unlike most
government bodies, we remain fiscally strong, even in the face of
unprecedented cuts from the state and other financial challenges.
Diane and I share the opinion that the downturn in our economy did
not just happen last fall. The fact is that our state has been living
on credit cards for years and now their credit line has flat lined.
In many respects, the County of San Diego is at the mercy of
decision makers in Sacramento. I continue to foster a collective voice
of common sense from North County that while it is at least being
carried to the halls of the state capitol, let’s hope it is not going
in and out of the ears of those people who could bring true reform.
In this edition of the “Word,” I’ll be sharing an easier way for the
public to connect with our County Planning Commission, a proactive
step in controlling gang activity in Fallbrook, the exciting ground
breaking for TERI’s state-of-the-art campus, and a bigger, longer, and
better bookmobile for North County.
As we move closer into a season of Thanksgiving, we have much to be
grateful for including the heroic service of our military Veterans. I
will be riding in the Veterans Day Parade in downtown San Diego. It
begins at 11 a.m. on Pacific Highway and Cedar and then continues
south to G Street. I hope you can attend and promise you a wave and
maybe a Marine Corps salute since the Corps 234th birthday will have
been the day before on November 10.
I count it a privilege to have both served our country and to be
your County Supervisor.
We Tore Down that Wall!
In some neighborhoods there are things that stand out like a “sore
thumb” and are more than an irritation. Such was the case with a wall
located in the 1100 block of South Vine Street in Fallbrook. The wall
was the scene for drug use, assaults, stabbings, graffiti, gang
related crime, in addition to being a gang hideout.
There are times when the best way to handle a problem is to literally
take a jackhammer to it, which is why I supported demolishing the
wall. We did that thanks to the efforts of the Sheriff’s Fallbrook
Substation and civic leaders including Al Gebhart, CSA 81, and Mike
Peters, Executive Director of the Fallbrook Land Conservancy. On a
Saturday morning, the cinder block wall came crashing down.
I commend Sheriff Bill Gore for his leadership and appreciate his
being there for the event along with Deputy Andrew Brumfield of the
Fallbrook Substation who heads up the Problem Oriented Police (POP) project.
Planning Commission Meetings Accessible Toll-Free by Phone
Keeping the public fully informed on County business has been made
easier with a new toll-free telephone line that lets citizens listen
to San Diego County Planning Commission meetings without having to
drive to the commission’s hearing room in Kearny Mesa.
Our County Department of Planning and Land Use (DPLU) also enabled
people who have computers and Internet access to see the reports and
presentations that are shown to the Commission during the meeting by
way of a WebEx page.
The Planning Commission is made up of seven members appointed by the
County Board of Supervisors and meets every other week to discuss land
use issues in San Diego County’s unincorporated communities.
Callers can hear the meetings over the “listen-only” line by calling
1-866-356-7389 and punching in the pass code, 9209146#, when they are prompted.
To access the WebEx site visit www.sdcounty.ca.gov/dplu/pcnext.html
and click the red, “New Service, Listen to Live Proceedings” link.
Information on Planning Commission meetings and agendas can be found
One of the most satisfying moments in recent years took place late
last month when I was privileged to take part in the groundbreaking of
a first-of-its-kind campus for the Training, Education & Research
Institute (TERI, Inc.) in Twin Oaks Valley, just east of San Marcos.
TERI’s future home will bring special services to people with autism
and other developmental disabilities on 20 acres of land in an area
that once was the route of the Butterfield Overland Stagecoach line.
The campus will include state-of-the-art facilities for fitness, arts
and education, life quality planning, applied research, childhood
development, equestrian therapy, horticulture, culinary arts,
extensive vocational training opportunities and a 23,000 square foot
recreation and aquatic center.
The first phase of construction has now started and was launched with
a traditional “Barn Raising” celebration in which we lifted one of the
walls off the ground.
The campus is named for Charles Cono, a local property developer and
entrepreneur who donated $5 million for its construction. Mr. Cono
passed away in June of this year.
I especially appreciate the leadership of Cheryl Kilmer, Chief
Executive Officer and founder of TERI. She and her board persevered
with us as we had to overcome a myriad of environmental and community
hurdles, most of which were either bogus or based on unfounded fears.
Unfortunately, the delays added unnecessary and enormous costs to the
project. However, that is behind us and now building has begun on what
will certainly be a shining national example of love and care in North County.
Books on Wheels
North County’s library outreach is getting good mileage following the
dedication of the new North County Bookmobile. Along with our County
Library Director Jose Aponte, we held the ceremony at one of its
regularly scheduled stops in the parking lot of Foothill Oak
Elementary School in Vista. After the ribbon-cutting, I checked out
the first book, a book about (what else?) San Diego.
The North County Bookmobile is 36 feet long and at ten feet longer
than its predecessor has more than twice the capacity of the older
vehicle. It holds 7,400 items and has computers and a printer for
Our books on wheels serves the already-established 19 sites
throughout much of unincorporated North County that include schools,
Native American reservation sites, mobile home parks, shopping
centers, retirement residences and other key points that have no
access to a library branch. Nineteen thousand people use the County’s
The North County bookmobile has vibrant art on all four sides
created by San Diego muralist John Whalen, the man who did the
landmark mural of Charles Lindbergh on the Commuter Terminal at San
Diego International Airport.
Respecting and Saving Our History
History defines who we were and its lessons often determine what we
will be. This is why it was important to me to support the Fallbrook
Historic Registry and get official recognition for the first set of
historical landmarks in Fallbrook.
Through the efforts of Bruce Dennett and Jack Story of the Fallbrook
Historical Society and local resident Tom Casey, along with Don
McDougal, representing the Fallbrook Village Association and Fallbrook
Area Visitors Bureau, individual plaques have been made and donated
and will be placed at each of the 21 historical sites.
Others who made this possible include Eileen Delaney of the
Fallbrook Community Planning Group, Marge Yackey, Anne Burdick,
Beverly McDougal, Sandy Baxter, Thea Moore and the late Liz Yamaguchi.
Special thanks to Robert Borst of Borst Designs for donating all of
For a list of the historic sites, go to the Fallbrook Historical
Society’s web page at http://www.fallbrookhistoricalsociety.com/.
When the Rubber meets the Recycler
More than 500 used tires are now off cars and out of empty lots
following another successful community clean-up event in Fallbrook.
The tires were collected by our Public Works Department and taken to a
tire recycler located in Los Angeles.
Soon, future tire recycling will be done locally through a company
that shreds and converts whole tires into buffing and crumb rubber.
This will mean diverting 13,000 tons per year of waste tires (the
equivalent of a million passenger tires) from landfills. Buffing and
crumb rubber tire products can be used in landscaping, playgrounds,
asphalt overlays, and sports fields.
Our County’s commitment to excellence is often recognized by others,
so here are a few recent honors:
- Alfredo Aguirre, Mental Health Director for the County of San
Diego, has been chosen as President of the California Mental Health
Alfredo has worked in the mental
health community for more than three decades and has provided
tremendous leadership in programs for mental health assessments,
individual, family and group therapy, special services for children,
crisis intervention, and psychiatric emergency care.
- Dr. Jeffrey Rowe, a psychiatrist with the County of San
Diego Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) was named one of San
Diego’s Top Doctors according to the San Diego County Medical
Society. Dr. Rowe has worked for HHSA for more than ten years and is
President of the San Diego County Academy of Child and Adolescent
Psychiatry and a representative to the San Diego Psychiatric
- Neighborhood for Kids, an initiative
of our HHSA was named the winner of the 2009 California State
Association of Counties (CSAC) prestigious California Counties
Innovation Award, the top honor in their annual Challenge
The program strives to keep abused and
neglected children in safe, familiar environments and in their same
school when it is not possible to keep them with their parents. The
most recent award was for results in East County; however the
program was modeled after a county initiative that began in North
County through the leadership of HHSA Director Nick Macchione.
County Administration Center 1600
Pacific Highway San Diego, CA 92101 tel: (619) 531-5555 fax: (619) 685-2662
North County office: 325 S. Melrose
Ave., Suite 5200, Vista, CA 92081 tel: (760) 806-2400 fax: (760) 806-2404
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