09/27/10

A Word From Supervisor Bill Horn Sep27, 2010

SUPERVISOR 5TH DISTRICT COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO

September 27, 2010

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Milestone for San Diego County Regional Fire Authority
Implementation of Citygate Fire Deployment Study Recommendations

The County of San Diego continues the business of fire protection. In addition to providing $15.5 million for the San Diego County Regional Fire Authority each year, I asked to add the Board to add $5 million to implement recommendations made in Citygate’s Fire Deployment Study that assessed the delivery of fire and emergency medical services in the San Diego County region. Specifically, the $5 million will pay for building two new training centers in the unincorporated area and enhancing an existing training facility, as well to make numerous improvements to volunteer fire stations and provide personal equipment in order to help retain and recruit more volunteer firefighters. The money will also pay for improvements to the Fire Authority’s GIS mapping technology.

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While two of our largest cities, Oceanside and San Diego, are cutting fire services; we are bolstering ours as the Citygate report points out. Although the report offered largely good news about the state of regional fire protection, we were given suggestions on how to improve the County’s piece of the regional fire protection puzzle. All twelve recommendations made by the Chief Administrative Officer were approved. The plan breaks down the Fire Deployment Study’s recommendations and offers an approach to implementation in the following areas:

  • Transferring County Fire Authority administration and personnel from the Department of Planning and Land Use (DPLU) to the Public Safety Group (PSG), which allows for closer coordination with the Sheriff and the Office of Emergency Services (OES).
  • Centralizing Fire Authority leadership under one person in order to maximize efficiency and reduce overlap.
  • Allowing PSG to apply for grants to purchase additional assets, equipment, and training facilities. The County has been very successful in securing grants for new engines, facilities, and public outreach programs since 2003.
  • Permission to enter into a Joint Powers Authority (JPA) agreement that would include the Fire Authority, potentially CAL FIRE, and another fire protection agency. We believe that in time the JPA will add additional members and could one-day encompass all fire protection agencies within the County.
  • On my recommendation, the County will provide $5 million to the Fire Authority for improvements.
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The continued importance of volunteer fire departments is highlighted in this plan. Rather than working exclusively with unionized firefighters, we have instead dedicated ourselves to training and retaining volunteer firefighters. Instead of paying large sums of money to career firefighters, the County believes that taxpayers can get a better bang for their fire-protection buck by utilizing well-trained volunteers. This saves taxpayers a great deal of money. I have always believed that volunteer departments need to be bolstered, and that they should remain a vital cog in the County Fire Authority’s fire protection machine.

The other half of the Fire Authority relies on our continued partnership with CAL FIRE for fire protection assets, equipment, and the ability to keep fire stations open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year with increased staffing.

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In this edition of the “Word,” I’ll be sharing important news about a move to ensure fair and open competition for County contracts and two key public forums set for next month on the General Plan Update and Crime-Free Housing.

Thank you for the honor of serving as your advocate for efficient and responsive government.

Bill Horn

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Fair and Open Competition

My fellow Supervisors supported my recommendation to place Proposition A, the Fair and Open Competition measure on the November ballot. This measure would prohibit the County from requiring contractors to enter into Project Labor Agreements as a condition of performing County construction projects, unless overturned by the voters.

Since Prop A is an important ballot measure to the County of San Diego, I am including below an informational impartial analysis that was prepared by our County Counsel and which appears in the Voter Pamphlet to help you better understand this measure.

PROPOSITION A: PROPOSED SAN DIEGO COUNTY CHARTER AMENDMENT TO ENSURE FAIR AND OPEN COMPETITION FOR COUNTY CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS
COUNTY COUNSEL IMPARTIAL ANALYSIS

You are asked to vote on a proposed amendment to the San Diego County Charter. This proposed amendment, if approved, would add Section 705.4 to the San Diego Charter. Proposed Section 705.4 would prohibit the County from requiring contractors to enter into project labor agreements as a condition of performing County construction projects unless a project labor agreement is required by State or federal law, or the project labor agreement is a condition to receive State or federal funding.

A project labor agreement is a type of collective bargaining agreement entered into between labor organizations and a contractor that applies to the contractor’s construction project. The agreements can cover a wide variety of matters, but typically limit strikes, lockouts and other types of work stoppages in exchange for concessions from the contractor regarding wages, benefits and other terms of employment in connection with the construction project.

The proposed Charter amendment language only applies to County construction projects. Construction projects are defined as County projects for the construction, rehabilitation, alteration, conversion, extension, maintenance, repair, or improvement of any structure or
real property.

This proposed Charter amendment, with two exceptions, prohibits the County from taking action that would require a contractor to enter into a project labor agreement as a condition of performing a County construction project. The two exceptions are: (1) If State or federal law requires a project labor agreement in connection with a particular County construction project, the County would be able to require such a project labor agreement in order to comply with State or federal law. (2) If the receipt of State or federal funding is conditioned upon there being a project labor agreement applicable to a County construction project, the County would be able to require such a project labor agreement.

It is important to note that the proposed Charter amendment would not restrict contractors and labor organizations from voluntarily entering into project labor agreements on their own, independent of any County requirements. A contractor and a labor organization will continue to be free to agree between themselves to enter into a project labor agreement on a County construction project even if the proposed Charter amendment is approved by the voters.

A “YES” vote is a vote in favor of amending the San Diego County Charter that would prohibit the County from requiring project labor agreements on County construction projects unless required to do so by State or federal law or to receive State or federal funding.

A “NO” vote is a vote against the adoption of this proposed Charter amendment.

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General Plan Update Public Workshop

One of the most important documents in our county’s history is the General Plan Update (GPU), a blueprint for how the unincorporated portions of the county will look for decades to come. The plan is moving toward completion.

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In October I will be hosting two public workshops on the GPU. The first is on Friday, October 1st from 2-4 PM, at the Fallbrook Public Utilities District, 990 E. Mission Road in Fallbrook. The second will be on Thursday, October 14 from 2-4 PM, at the San Diego County Farm Bureau, 1670 E. Valley Parkway in Escondido. I encourage property and homeowners to attend the event to learn what is in store for their property under current proposals.

Planners from the Department of Planning and Land Use (DPLU) will be present with maps and the latest information on the GPU. I will be sharing my concern about land use provisions in the proposed GPU and will consider carrying change requests forward for property owners.

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User-friendly Scheduling

Our Department of Planning and Land Use (DPLU) now offers customers another option in scheduling appointments. In addition to making appointments over the telephone or waiting in line, customers can schedule two appointments online. They are:

  • Appointments to submit applications for discretionary permits at DPLU’s Zoning Counter
  • Appointments to submit applications for Department of Public Works major grading permits at the Land Development Counter

Here’s how to do it:

When customers first log on at the appointments link at: www.sdcounty.ca.gov/dplu/qmatic/luegappointments.html, they need to fill out a registration form to receive their ID number. After that, they type in their ID number and e-mail address in the appropriate boxes to schedule their appointment, and print out a copy of the barcode that is displayed when the appointment is set. When they arrive at the county’s permit center at 5201 Ruffin Road, San Diego, they scan their printed barcode in at the lobby’s self-serve kiosk, which automatically notifies county staff that they have checked in for the appointment.

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Crime-Free Multi-Family Housing Public Forum

On Wednesday, October 6 at 5 pm, I will be hosting a public forum to gather input about the County’s crime-free multi-family housing program. It will be at the Fallbrook Public Utilities District, 990 E. Mission Road in Fallbrook.

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This summer, San Diego County adopted modifications to its crime-free multi-family housing program operated by the Sheriff’s department. The modification applies only in the unincorporated areas of the County of San Diego. It mandates participation in the program when a property has 10 or more calls for service (crime or disorderly behavior related) in a 90 day period. Participation requires a $150 fee, owner/manager training on crime prevention techniques and periodic inspection by the Sheriff to avoid significant fines.

The San Diego County Apartment Association raised concerns about the new program being confused with a pre-existing voluntary program.

Owners that voluntarily participated in the program do not want prospective tenants to think there are crime problems on their properties.

The Sheriff is currently working on outlining changes and updating the program manual projected to be in use this fall. I encourage apartment property owners to be at the public forum.

For more information: http://www.sdcaa.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=137&Itemid=30

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North County Community Center Milestone

Congratulations to the Fallbrook Community Center (FCC) for 30 years of incredible service to North County. When it opened its doors, FCC was the first community center the County ever built.

Over the years, the FCC has been the heartbeat of the community by bringing together people of all ages for reasonably priced classes and programs including preschool, computer, Tai Chi, after school, senior lunches, yoga, guitar and science classes.

A challenge for the FCC is to retain traditions the community wants while keeping area young people interested and engaged. To do that, the Center has brought in computers, “battle of the bands” competitions, healthy cooking classes and bridge groups to address a younger generation as well as senior citizens.

I appreciate the dedicated service of Gordon Stone who has been the Center’s director for the past 28 years. It’s not likely that Gordon expected this to be his life’s calling; however, the success of the FCC shows how fortunate we are to have had Gordon’s longtime leadership.

For more information, visit http://www.co.san-diego.ca.us/parks/centers/fallbrook.html or call (760) 728-1671.

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Fallbrook Healthcare District

This month, it was good to visit the Fallbrook Healthcare District and share the latest about what the County is doing to meet the health needs of our citizens and answer questions. We honored Nathan Sneller whose project before achieving Eagle Scout status was to create a break area for the hospital.

I appreciate the dedicated service of the Fallbrook Healthcare District Directors, Gordon Tinker and Hollis Moyse, board trustees Milton Davies, Daniel Goldberg, Roy Hiscock, Sharon Mullin and District Administrator Vi Dupre.

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The Fallbrook Healthcare District works to assess, educate and provide solutions to the healthcare needs within Fallbrook. Using collaborative community involvement, the District allows approved 501(c) 3 non-profit organizations to apply for grant funding. In the past two years, more than $600,000 in grants have improved the health and well being of local residents and established a solid Facilities Reserve of $450,000. The grants are meant to assist organizations and not fully fund them; however, without the grants, some organizations could not survive.

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Sign of the Times

Fallbrook has a new look along the Del Rey Avocado property. The first Gateway sign is now up at the intersection of Main Avenue and South Mission Avenue, inviting motorists to turn on Main Avenue and travel to the Historic Downtown Business District.

The project dates back several years and came from a County Community Enhancement Grant to the Fallbrook Village Association.

Many volunteers put in long hours to make this possible, including Fallbrook Village Association Board Members Vince Ross, Jerri Patchett, Don McDougal, Craig Grimm, and Gordon Tinker.

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My Buddy

Last month, I shared thoughts about my friend Bud Lewis, who is retiring as the longtime mayor of Carlsbad. Although I am sure he will remain active in North County activities, things won’t be the same without him leading the City of Carlsbad.

Here’s a recent photo I had taken while visiting Bud at his home. By the way the classic car is Bud’s 1939 Graham. The Graham-Paige Motor Company had ties to the Hupp Motor Company (that built the famous or infamous Huppmobile).

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