July 11, 2007

A Victory for the Majority


America is a nation of law and majority rule. That’s what our founders intended, but sometimes you wonder when judges and lawmakers ignore the clear will of the people.

This is why last month’s procedural vote in the U.S. Senate that killed the immigration reform bill proposed by the White House, Democrats and key Republican leaders was a victory for America. Most national polls show the majority opinion of Americans who opposed the bill was not just a shade over 50%, but a resounding 80% or more. When you consider that some polled were undecided, that’s not a majority, it’s an avalanche!

The tally fell 14 votes short of the 60 needed to cut off debate, leading to a final vote that would have required only a simple majority. Now, President Bush and members of both parties on Capitol Hill agree the topic is unlikely to be considered again until after the 2008 presidential election.

Immigration is almost entirely a federal issue. Nationally the estimated number of illegal aliens in the U.S. ranges from 12-to-20 million. For the County of San Diego, the ramifications of people who are here illegally, impacts nearly every department. In just one area, the cost of law enforcement is millions of dollars more than what the federal government reimburses us.

The proposed immigration reform bill that went down in flames had many things I did not agree with, including retirement benefits for illegal aliens, and a requirement that taxpayers foot the bills for lawyers who defend illegal aliens working in agriculture. There was also an amnesty provision for illegal alien gang members if they promised to give up their gang status.

We have federal laws on the books right now to have an impact on illegal immigration that are not being enforced. I disagree with those who say the laws are unenforceable.

With that said, I believe we need additional state and federal legislation to strengthen existing laws and also a measure that protects our democracy at the polls. For many years, I have urged lawmakers to require photo identification before a person can vote. If you must show a photo to rent a movie, what’s the big deal about showing your photo at the polls?

I also think something must be done to ensure that family members in our country must establish legal residency over a prescribed period of time in order to receive benefits.

While federal officials haggle over building a border fence, I think our Border Patrol should receive more funds and be allowed to step up aerial surveillance and use other high tech devices to spot people entering the U.S. illegally. If you can see satellite close ups of your neighborhood on your home computer, surely, we have the means to do a better job of spotting people crossing the border.

We also need to learn from past mistakes. The 1986 law that granted amnesty for more than three million illegal aliens who had entered the country was a failure. Employer sanctions either were not enforced or did not work and people who were hiding in the shadows did not come forward and assimilate into our society.

We must control our borders. The fight for our nation’s survival begins there.

The American people made their voices heard loud and clear by phone, on the radio and over TV and their thoughts equally forceful by E-mail.

There were enough of our federal legislators who listened and acted. While the vote that brought the immigration reform bill to a halt was in the Senate, there was hard work that went on in the House, including efforts by Congressmen Duncan Hunter and Brian Bilbray. I’m grateful to them and all of you who stood up at such an important time in our nation’s history.

I would welcome your thoughts on this. Please E-mail me at bill.horn@sdcounty.ca.gov. Thanks!



In this edition of the “Word,” stories include honors for the County in how we do business, big financial boosts for Fallbrook, an overdue help to give North County Veterans a place to meet, support for two cultural icons, and personal thoughts on people, places and things connected with July 4.


It Never Gets Old!


Here’s another story that will likely be greeted with a “ho-hum” yawn by the local media. However, it’s something we never get tired of hearing and reporting.

The County of San Diego has once again received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for its annual financial report for fiscal year 2005-2006.

The County was honored by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA), which serves 16,000 government finance professions in the U.S. and Canada. Our County was praised for its constructive spirit of full disclosure, ability to clearly communicate the County’s financial story and motivate the public and stakeholders to read the County’s financial report.

Oh, and by the way, the County of San Diego has received the annual award 22 times.

I appreciate the tremendous work of our Chief Administrative Officer Walt Ekard and his top-notch team; including Chief Financial Officer Don Steuer and County Assistant Chief Financial Officer/Auditor and Controller, Tracy Sandoval.



Award-winning County


Once again, the National Association of Counties (NACo) has honored the County of San Diego with a shelf full of awards; 41 entries were selected for NACo Achievement Awards. All five of our County groups were recognized for being innovative and successful, for promoting quality and efficiency, as well as being responsive.

I’m especially pleased that our Family Disaster Plan/Public Awareness Campaign, organized by our Ron Lane and our Office of Emergency Services was one of the programs honored. Also recognized was our Department of Environmental Health for its Agroterrorism Response Training and our Department of Planning and Land Use Fire Services Program.

Improving our disaster preparedness was a key priority for me last year during my term as Chairman of the Board.

While awards are certainly a morale boost for members of our outstanding county team; they also should remind residents of San Diego County how well they are being served and why the County of San Diego is looked upon as a national role model.

(By the way, the County of San Diego submitted 68 applications in the NACo competition. Bringing home 41 awards is a batting average of more than .600—which would be Hall of Fame credentials for any ball player!)



North County Veterans


Now hear this! Now hear this!

North County is home to at least 80,000 military veterans. Most do not have an appropriate place to meet or conduct veteran-related activities.

That is about to change with the formation of the Veterans Association of North County (VANC), a newly formed non-profit organization created to sponsor activities and programs for veterans in North County, along with the creation of a Veteran’s Center in Oceanside.

To help purchase office and interior lighting equipment and furniture at the VANC Center, $100,000 has been designated from our district Community Projects Fund to that organization.

Warren Altstatt, a retired U.S. Air Force Master Sergeant with 26 years distinguished service (1949-1975) is one of the veterans who have worked to create the center. Warren is a Vietnam veteran with an avionics maintenance background and served at Squadron through Major Air Command levels. He also retired from Northrop Aircraft Corporation where he worked on the F-18 and B-2. He then formed and managed three small businesses, is a member of American Legion Post 146 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10577.

Warren has a Master of Business Administration degree from Cal State Dominquez Hills and is the Secretary and a Trustee of VANC. He has lived in Oceanside since 1994.

I’ll keep you up to date on progress with the project.

If you’d like to help, contact Warren at 760 433-4122 or E-mail at warrenaltstatt@cox.net.



On Cue and On Key


One of San Diego County’s treasures is the Old Globe Theatre. In its 72-year history, the Globe has earned critical acclaim as one of the most famous and recognized arts institutions in the world.

The Old Globe produces a year-round season of 14 plays and musicals on its three stages, including the highly-regarded Shakespeare festival. Productions here have gone on to garner numerous Tony Awards.

The Old Globe is attempting to secure funds for the “Capital and Endowment Campaign”, in an effort to pay for the design and construction of a new theatre facility at the Old Globe campus in Balboa Park.

Recognizing the cultural impact the Old Globe has on our County, I’m pleased to allocate $150,000 from our Community Projects Fund for the design and construction of the new theatre.

* * * * *

Another non-profit group that contributes to the cultural well-being of San Diego County is the Mainly Mozart organization. It produces a variety of classical orchestral and chamber music programs, as well as educational outreach programs that reach thousands of children’s eyes and ears in San Diego County each year.

To assist this worthy organization, I have allocated $100,000 from our Community Projects Fund to cover costs associated with the “Spotlight Series” and “Public Benefit Concert” events, as well as educational programming throughout North County.

The “Spotlight Series” will have concerts in Rancho Santa Fe and Carlsbad, while the “Public Benefit Concert” at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido will benefit 10-15 charitable organizations. The education programs will enhance existing musical appreciation at North County elementary schools.



Big Boosts for Fallbrook


I’m pleased to report the following distributions from the County’s Capital Projects and our District 5 Community Projects Funds to non-profit organizations in Fallbrook:

  • Nearly $96,000 was moved into capital improvements toward the construction of a new library facility at the current site of the Fallbrook Library. (To date, we have designated $882,000 from our discretionary Community Projects Fund for this project. Note: On July 19, it will be my honor to give the word for demolition crews to tear down the old Ellis-John’s House on the site—moving us closer to giving Fallbrook-area residents a new library.)
  • $30,000 from our Community Projects Fund to the Fallbrook Historical Society contingent on the Society raising matching funds to construct a barn to display farm equipment and provide a community meeting space
  • $14,500 from our Community Projects Fund to Fallbrook Land Conservancy to purchase trees and plants and build a brick-lined pathway in Palomares Park, and to cover costs associated with the “Stage Coach Community Event”


“Use it again, Sam”


Three North County companies in unincorporated communities have been honored for their outstanding efforts to reduce waste, use recycled products and divert trash from landfills in 2006.

Congratulations to the Fallbrook View Apartments, the Helen Woodward Animal Center in Rancho Santa Fe, and the Tierra Miguel Foundation Farms in Pauma Valley. They recycled approximately 831 tons of material last year.

The companies have shown an overall commitment to diverting materials from landfills and complying with County recycling regulations. Criteria was based on reducing waste, finding workable solutions including overall waste reduction, reuse, recycling and buying recycled content products for the workplace.

Business waste makes up two-thirds of materials potentially headed for landfills each year.

Award recipients were recognized during ceremonies held during the Enviro Fair at the Del Mar Fairgrounds last month.


New Look Logo


Our new North Regions Health and Human Services Agency has a new logo which will fit in with a way to honor the great people on Deputy HHSA Director Nick Macchione’s team.

Although the North Coastal, North Inland and North Central regions already operate as one entity, it now has one unified symbol; the “North Star” that includes the basics of Leadership, Innovation, Quality, and Excellence.

The North Regions logo was developed through a contest open to all staff and the person who designed the winning logo was Nina Constantino who works in North Regions Administration. Nice going, Nina!

In the coming months, North Regions will be honoring an employee with the “North Star” award, a new way to recognize an individual who goes above and beyond the call of duty in serving the people of North County.


Zip Code 92084 Tax Alert!


If you live outside the City of Vista in an unincorporated area of the County and have as your residence the zip code 92084, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) may have improperly charged you Vista’s recently passed half-cent sales tax increase for renewing vehicle registrations.

Anything sold within the City of Vista city limits or sold to a City of Vista resident, can be legitimately taxed the half-cent per dollar rate, but not if a person lives in an unincorporated part of the County, even if they have as their zip code 92084.

If you believe you’ve been unfairly levied taxes, contact:

Michelle Steel (San Diego County’s representative on the State Board of Equalization)

Third District
Rolling Hills Estates Office
550 Deep Valley Drive, Suite 355
Rolling Hills Estates, CA 90274
Phone (310) 377-8016
Fax (310) 377-5731

Sacramento Office
450 N Street, MIC:77
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone (916) 445-5713
Fax (916) 323-0546


Independence Day Thoughts


America’s 231st birthday should have been greeted by a nation with grateful hearts. Freedom and liberty are ours because of great cost and sacrifice.

It seems fitting that some people were born on the 4th of July, such as George M. Cohan who wrote “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” and famed songwriter Stephen Foster who penned “Oh Susanna” and “My Old Kentucky Home.”

There was a modern day Yankee born on July 4; New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner and also a current rebel; Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis.

July 4 was chosen as Independence Day following the final draft of the Declaration of Independence, although some thought July 2 was a better date, including John Adams who became America’s second president in 1797. He looked into the future about how America’s independence should be celebrated when he wrote the following to his wife Abigail on July 3, 1776:

“It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more. You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States.”

What John Adams could not have envisioned was all that would be required to celebrate Independence Day today as was done in his time. For example:

  • A parade? You might need a permit, traffic barriers, law enforcement, porta-potties, etc.
  • A shew (show)? The content may need to be reviewed by authorities.
  • Games? You better have insurance if someone gets hurt.
  • Sports? You may need permission to play in a park.
  • Guns? Licenses, shooting restrictions, etc.
  • Bells? You may have noise abatement issues.
  • Bonfires? Expect air pollution control and brushfire questions.
  • Illuminations? Heavy restrictions on fireworks.
  • Acts of Devotion to God Almighty? That sacred ground is a bit shaky today.

John Adams would likely be pleased with much of what America has become. However, I’m sure he would be disappointed with other parts of the fabric of our society, and because of that, Adams and his frequent political opponent Thomas Jefferson may roll over in their graves each Independence Day. An irony of history is that both Adams and Jefferson died within hours of each other on the same day, July 4, 1826.

Happy Birthday, America, you are 231 years old. I just hope no one files an age discrimination suit for that disclosure.


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


Visit Supervisor Horn's Website