Vista Puts the Brakes on Speed
The City of Vista has now joined our countywide effort to combat methamphetamine abuse. Last month, Undersheriff Bill Gore and I led a news conference to kick off a joint effort between law enforcement, drug treatment professionals and members of the community.
With the cooperation of Vista Mayor Morris Vance and the Vista City Council, it’s hoped that meth users will be encouraged to voluntarily seek treatment before they become a law enforcement problem. Vista’s participation in the program is a continuation of the coordination that began with the creation of the Meth Strike Force by Supervisor Dianne Jacob in 1996.
Speakers at the news conference included Susan Bower, the County’s Director of Alcohol and Drug Services as well as Supervising Medical Examiner Investigator Paul Parker.
Sheriff’s deputies joined drug treatment/health workers to distribute bilingual refrigerator magnets in a Vista neighborhood with known drug problems. On the magnets is the Meth Hotline (1-877-No2METH) where residents can call to make anonymous meth-related crime tips, or get referrals to meth treatment. The magnets will be distributed throughout the County by the Sheriff’s Department Crime Prevention and COPPS Units.
Speed still kills and meth deaths know no age boundaries with fatal overdoses happening to people from infants to the elderly. Since the year 2000, 1,462 people have died in local incidents related to having meth in their system.
_______________________________________________________________________________________The Best Bottom Line
Excuse me if this sounds like a broken record; however, when it comes to the financial condition of the County, I’m always pleased to pass along our “business-as-usual” honors.
Despite confusion and financial uncertainty in Washington, D.C., Wall Street, Sacramento, and across the nation, the County of San Diego has received the highest credit rating possible by Standard & Poor’s. The ratings agency raised the County from AA+ to AAA, making San Diego the only county in the state with a AAA rating.
In 1994, the County of San Diego faced bankruptcy. Tough decisions were made then and today, despite annual raids by Sacramento on local property taxes, we have our financial house in order. I’m committed to the same approach since we anticipate significant reductions in funding from the State for programs it mandates.
According to Standard & Poor’s RatingsDirect report, “the stable outlook reflects the County’s deep and diverse economic base, strong reserve levels, formalized policies, manageable debt burden and long track record of conservative budgeting where actual results typically exceed initial projects.”
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More good news came when the County of San Diego was honored as one of only seven California counties to receive the Government Finance Officer Association’s (GFOA) Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for the fiscal period that began in 2007.
Congratulations to our Chief Administrative Officer, Walt Ekard and
our Chief Financial Officer for Finance and General Government
Services, Don Steuer and the entire County team. This is the sixth
consecutive GFOA award for the County.
The County of San Diego is regularly recognized for excellence. Recent honors include:
- The County’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) unit was awarded the California Emergency Services Association – Southern Chapter’s Silver Award for outstanding service during the 2007 Wildfires. EMS was praised for maintaining safety and security while minimizing trauma for evacuees.
- Challenge Award and three Merit Awards from the California State Association of Counties (CSAC) including its Rapid Response to Local Emergencies, referring to the four Local Assistance Centers (LACs) the County opened to help fire victims within 72 hours of last October’s devastating wildfires
- The County’s revamped website www.sdcounty.ca.gov was the only California county to receive an honor in the Center for Digital Government’s Best of the Web Awards
- County Television Network (CTN.org) took five awards from the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA)
- San Diego County Adoptions received a 2008 Adoption Excellence Award from the Administration for Children and Families, Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau in Washington, DC
- The County Department of Purchasing and Contracting (P & C) received its eighth consecutive Achievement of Excellence in Procurement award from the National Purchasing Institute
Sometimes you can beat City Hall—or in this case, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). For awhile, it looked as if North County residents and businesses would be saddled with an enormously expensive and terribly inconvenient change in telephone area codes. However, just when 760 looked as if it was on the endangered species list, an effort was mounted that rallied the will of the people.
Our office sent letters of protest from the County’s point of view to the CPUC, 74th District Assemblyman Martin Garrick carried the fight from his perspective and North County Chambers of Commerce made their collective voices heard. The result was the CPUC voting unanimously (5-0) in support of the Administrative Judge’s proposed decision to implement an overlay for North County and allow the region and its residents to keep their 760 area code. This was one for the books as the decision voided an earlier mandate creating a new 442 area code for North County residents.