October 5, 2007



Supervisor Horn speaks out on Fox Network News

Last month I was given the chance to speak out for the legal residents of San Diego County during a live interview on “Your World with Neil Cavuto” on the Fox News Channel. This followed the Board of Supervisors approval of my recommendations for action based on a report we received on the cost to the County for providing services to people who are in this country illegally.


The following is a portion of the exchange I had with Mr. Cavuto:

Neil Cavuto: “San Diego officials today demanding the federal government pick up the tab . . . it’s a big one, estimated at $101 million a year for its crackdown on illegal immigration. With us now is County Supervisor Bill Horn. The Supervisor is a Republican, essentially though what you’re telling the President—the feds aren’t doing anything on this and we can’t afford to do this on our own.”

Supervisor Horn: “Neil, it’s turned out to be a major problem for us. In the last ten years, the illegal population has doubled and the cost of handling services for them has tripled. Before, when it was a $10 million problem, it was something the County of San Diego could handle. Now, it’s reached $101 million, just out of our general funds. If the federal government is going to have a policy of a failed immigration policy—and that’s what they have—I’ve been around this for 13 years and I think they should foot the bill for this.

The cost alone for incarceration for that $101 million is $49 million a year for the County of San Diego. The feds give us back $2 million to handle the costs.”

Neil Cavuto: “You’re a hop, skip and a jump from the Mexican border, so it’s a bigger problem for you. Now the issue is whether you’re responsible or the federal government is responsible. The federal government is essentially saying the $2 million you get is all you’re going to get. So how do you make up the difference or do you?”

Supervisor Horn: “Neil, I’ve got people on probation costing me $10 million a year. They committed a crime, they’ve been convicted, they were not deported and I think they ought to be deported. I’m asking the federal government to do three things. They’ve got a ‘suspense file’ in Social Security for people whose numbers did not match and monies that were paid in. I’d like to see them take some of that money and pay us back. We’re losing $101 million a year on this.”

Neil Cavuto: “Have you gotten any action?”

Supervisor Horn: “I’ve been working with Brian Bilbray . . . he’s a Congressman from the County.”

Neil Cavuto: “What reaction have you gotten?”

Supervisor Horn: “He told me he would carry this. I would like to see ICE (Immigrations and Customs Enforcement) . . . and all of law enforcement agrees in this . . . if they get somebody convicted in Denver and they deport them to Mexico, my sheriff’s deputies ought to know that in their vehicles—there should be a national network that we have arrested somebody that has already been deported. We don’t have that coordination.”

Neil Cavuto: “All good points. Bill, I wish we had more time. I want to see you back. Thank you very much.”

Supervisor Horn: “Thank you.”



I wish we would have had more than two minutes and 14 seconds of air time, however, in the fast-paced world of TV news; that actually is a big chunk of the broadcast. I’m grateful to Fox Network News and Neil Cavuto to speak for County taxpayers who are having $101 million stolen from them by people in the country illegally and with the tacit blessing of our federal government.

I will keep you informed on our progress and that of Congressman Brian Bilbray who is your point man in Washington for this serious issue.

There are other things happening within the district and I hope you’ll enjoy reading about them in this, the latest edition of “The Word.”


Ten-Year Turnaround


At a recent Board of Supervisors meeting, our Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Walt Ekard was able to share with the public how the adoption of the General Management System (GMS) 10 years ago is benefiting taxpayers today.

Essentially, the GMS can be compared to a GPS (Global Positioning Satellite). We use our system to keep track of where we are and where we are going.

In 1997, our Board, facing the real possibility of bankruptcy, made the decision to run our county like a business. We rethought the way we did things and now the public is benefiting from the hard choices we had to make. Here are a few numbers from 1997 to the present:

  • Even with a half-million additional County residents, the County of San Diego has 1,019 fewer employees than in 1997
  • $338 million has been redirected to front line services
  • Nearly a hundred County services are accessible to the public on-line
  • County libraries have increased hours of operation by 41%
  • We have 63% more parkland now than in 1997

Our County GMS requires staff to complete five activities each fiscal year.

    1. Strategic planning for long-range needs
    2. Operational planning on how to most efficiently use funds
    3. Monitoring and control to keep tabs on what we’re doing
    4. Functional threading to see how departments can work better together
    5. Motivation, rewards and recognition for our many employees whose ideas are turned into a better way of doing business

The result of this is that the County of San Diego has one of the highest credit ratings of any California county and is a national model of efficiency.



Ready for You!


After a year-long assessment, the Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP) has granted national accreditation to San Diego County’s system for disaster preparedness and response.

The EMAP assessors evaluated our region’s emergency response plans, policies and procedures, based on 58 standards of excellence. Our county is the third local government in the U.S. to meet the tough standards, and the only local government in the Western United States to successfully complete the voluntary accreditation process.

San Diego County was praised by the assessment team for best practices in three areas: training, public awareness campaigns and interoperable communication.

I’d like to give a special salute to Ron Lane, our director of Emergency Services and his team at the state-of-the-art Emergency Operational Center.

I appreciate the cooperation from cities and agencies in our county. Working together is the key to being ready for major disaster when it comes; and preparing the three-million people in our county to hold on until help arrives.





San Diego County is part of the 211 national dialing code for free, 24-hour community, health and disaster information. Like 9-1-1 for emergency service, 2-1-1 has been set aside by the Federal Communications Commission for the public to easily access community information. Callers receive personalized information from a live phone specialist who can answer questions about a variety of nonprofit services and agencies. Phone specialists can also help callers find out where to go to volunteer or donate to their favorite cause.

Every corner of the community is touched by 2-1-1, from the businessperson who uses 2-1-1 to help an employee find drug treatment, to the family who calls 2-1-1 about financial scams against an elderly grandparent. Military families use 2-1-1 to contact their various service branch's family service hotlines. Law enforcement agencies now can have scarce resources freed up when inappropriate calls to 9-1-1 decline because the public has another easily-remembered number to call for non-emergency needs.



Front Line Mountain Heroes

I can’t think of any group or agency in our County that has more dedication, community service and enthusiasm than our volunteer fire departments. One of those is the Palomar Mountain Volunteer Fire Department (PMVFD) under the leadership of Chief George Lucia.

This summer we allocated $10,000 from our discretionary Community Projects Fund to purchase 43 buckets and 43 applicators of fire-resistant gel for the “Fire Barricade” project. The gel can be applied using a garden hose when a fire is approaching and will remain fire resistant on between 1,000 and 2,000 square feet for about 24 hours.


The Palomar Mountain Volunteer Fire Department distributed the kits to residents and is also making more kits available to the public for a $250 donation, exactly what the department pays for them. Request for additional kits have come from as far away as Rancho Penasquitos. The money will go directly toward buying more gel.

Over the years, with help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters program, we have been able to equip the PMVFD with new fire engines and other live-saving equipment.

Last month I spent the afternoon with Chief Lucia, Battalion Chief Cliff Kellogg and the outstanding team of volunteers at their 30th annual barbecue fundraiser. When all the donations were counted, about $12,000 went into the PMVFD’s life saving account. As I drove down the road with my honorary Fire Chief’s helmet, I knew the residents of Palomar Mountain were in good hands.



Hot News about the Borrego Springs Library


Last month we allocated $114,000 from our discretionary Community Projects Fund to expand the Borrego Springs Library. Seven years ago I was pleased to work with the people of Borrego to convert an empty bank building into the current library; but now they need more space.

Our grant will enable library staff to move to a larger space in the immediate vicinity of the existing library and allow for tenant improvement costs associated with expanding the library.

The Borrego Springs Library serves a year-round population of nearly 3,000 people and a seasonal population of more than 10,000 people, and the expansion will help in the higher demand for books and other educational materials.

Over the years, many people have helped make the library a key resource in the community. Here is a timeline of some of that “tender loving care.”

  • May 10, 1949: Borrego Springs Branch of the San Diego County Free Public Library opened at Bill and Virginia DeMarais’ Hacienda Borrego Motel. Two tall shelves were in the motel office; that was the library. The County paid the DeMarais’ $3.39 a month to run the library. Virginia was the librarian.
  • 1951: the library moved into Margaret Jackson’s Marg-A-Reta shop where she served as librarian until the books were moved to Lee’s Laundromat in the Borrego Pharmacy Building
  • 1970: the library was moved to The Plaza behind the old post office and Valerie Guelke was the librarian in the 1990’s and 2000
  • October 2000: the library moved to its current location at the west end of The Mall
  • December 2000: Friends of the Borrego Springs Library (FOL) formed, including John Guelke, Betsy Knaak, Paul Schessler, Richard Hamilton, Suzanne Schwake, Valerie Guelke and Kathleen Kaiser (County Librarian)
  • 2006-2007: Representatives of the FOL met with County Library Director Jose Aponte, his staff and representatives from our District 5 office about the future of the library
  • June – August 2007 – FOL, working with Director Aponte and Assistant Director Betty Waznis, plus Principal Librarian Wynne Weiss, Marlene Barker, Jack Cameron, owner of The Mall, and my staff, brought about the latest expansion



District 5 staff members at the site of the Borrego Springs library expansion
From left Bill Wright, Courtney Berlin, Caroline Smith, Rebekah Wahlen,
Gwenn Marie, Abby King, Dustin Steiner, Chris Champine

I greatly appreciate the community leaders in Borrego, especially FOL Director Sally Lindemann, President Jim Roller, Director Deborah Sperberg and Vice President Betsy Knaak—along with Gwenn Marie, President of the Borrego Chamber of Commerce.

I know the expanded library is essential to the growth and economic plan for this special community.



Reinvesting in our Community


I’m pleased to report other grants from our discretionary Community Projects Fund. They include:

  • $25,000 to San Diego Symphony for the cost of a free public concert in North County
  • $5,000 to Trauma Intervention Programs of San Diego County, Inc. for costs associated with the annual “Heroes on the Scene” dinner event
  • $20,000 to Patriotic Hearts for costs associated with the “Marriage Enrichment Weekend”, a marriage counseling seminar for military veterans and their spouses
  • $5,000 to Classics for Kids for the development of a musical education program for 2nd grade students
  • $15,000 to the Vista Fire Safe Council, contingent upon the council first raising funds of $15,000 to purchase fire-proof gel and applicators to protect homes in the Vista area from fire emergencies
  • $5,000 to San Diego Futures Foundation for costs associated with the “Holiday Tribute Party” event
  • $100 to Fallbrook Youth Scholarships for a scholarship for Pop Warner Football or Cheerleading


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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