September 20, 2007

Illegal Alien Costs to the County of San Diego:
Documenting the Undocumented

This month, I received the results of a called-for study detailing the costs of services delivered to illegal aliens. The estimated drain on County services and community medical providers is more than $250 million a year.

The numbers only confirm my suspicions, but the findings are worse than I could have imagined because the estimates are likely on the low-side. While more than $100 million in taxpayer’s dollars is drained from our budget every year to provide services to people who are in this country illegally, there is another $154 million in costs for un-reimbursed emergency medical care. This is not a direct County cost; however, it is a huge hit on the community.

I asked for action to determine the financial impact of illegal aliens to County services in my State of the County Address as Chairman of the Board in 2006. Now we have the numbers that show how much money is being diverted that could be used to do such things as fix roads and provide better public safety. This is a hidden redistribution of taxpayer’s dollars amounting to $100 for every citizen in our County.

I am preparing a response to the study and will present findings to the entire Board of Supervisors at our meeting on September 25, 2007. I would welcome your comment any time and at that public meeting. If you would like to have a copy of the Undocumented Immigrant Study, please go to our website at http://billhorn.cloudapp.net.



We have a wide range of things to report on in this edition of “A Word from Supervisor Bill Horn.” It’s my privilege to keep in touch with you this way.


New Fallbrook Library falling into place

This month, I’m pleased to report another $350,000 has been committed by the County toward building a new library in Fallbrook.

$250,000 will come from our Community Project’s Fund to help the Friends of the Fallbrook Library raise additional funds for construction and furnishing of the new library.

$100,000 in capital project funds will be used to prepare design-build documents, identify remaining necessary funding and return to the Board for authority to solicit design-build proposals.


Supervisor Horn, Jerri Patchett, Community benefactor Arlene Ingold and
Library Director Jose Aponte with a community ready for a new library

The action comes six weeks after the demolition of the Elder-Johns house at the corner of Alvarado Street and Mission Road, the future site of Fallbrook’s new library. It was a tremendous thrill to be with community leaders such as Jerri Patchett, President of Fallbrook Friends of the Library, Jack Story, President of the Fallbrook Historical Society, Arlene Ingold, Fallbrook’s Hall of Fame benefactor, and our super star Library Director, Jose Aponte.


Supervisor Horn and Library Director Jose Aponte as operator Greg Federico
of Hidden Valley Back Hoe & Trenching, Inc. gets ready to tear down the house

What a great moment it was to tell the demolition crew, “Tear down that building!”

We continue to identify funding and with the help of community leaders, Fallbrook will have the new library it so richly deserves.



Historic Agreement


In what could set a precedent for the future, I’m pleased to report the County of San Diego and the Pala Band of Mission Indians have approved an agreement which will provide around $38 million of improvements for State Route 76.

Highlights of the agreement include:

  • $20 million to widen Highway 76 between the Rosemary’s Mountain quarry and the Pala Casino
  • $13 million for widening and realigning Highway 76 between Interstate 15 and Rosemary’s Mountain
  • $5 million for improving the state highway along the casino frontage
  • $200,000 annually for Sheriff’s Department services
  • $6,000 a year to the San Diego County District Attorney’s Tribal Liaison project for prosecuting crime related to casino gambling
  • $15,000 annually for the costs of additional criminal prosecutions
  • $150,000 per year for gambling addiction treatment programs

In addition, the tribe will provide fire protection and emergency medical services through the Pala Fire Department and also will enter into a contract with the County’s office of Emergency Services for Hazardous Incident Response Team services.

This is an excellent example of how governments can work together and I appreciate the cooperation of the leaders of the Pala Band of Mission Indians.



Money Matters


I’m pleased to say that the County of San Diego has once again been recognized for maintaining healthy financial operations. Here are three recent examples:

1. Credit Rating Upgrade: Fitch Ratings issued the County an overall credit rating of AA+, making the County of San Diego the highest rated urban county in California. Fitch also upgraded the County to AA from AA- on several long-term debt issues, which include pension obligation bonds and funding for a variety of capital projects.

Fitch praised the County for prudent spending and adherence to sound financial policies marked by consistent operating surpluses, disciplined pension system funding, positive actions to limit retiree medical care expenses and conservative debt management practices.

Congratulations to Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Walt Ekard, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Don Steuer and our entire County team!

2. Treasury Report: The Government Finance Officers Association of the U.S. and Canada awarded the San Diego County Treasury its Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting—the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting. Congratulations to CAO Walt Ekard and County Treasurer-Tax Collector Dan McAllister.

3. Outstanding Cash Handling Program: The Treasurer-Tax Collector also was honored by the Association of Public Treasurers of the U.S. and Canada for its Cash Handling Training Program—calling the program exemplary and noting that reviewers made no suggestions for improvement.



Volunteer Savings


We all know how important volunteers are in our society—people who donate their time, money and gifts. What you may find surprising is the number of people who do this in San Diego County and the value of their efforts, just in terms of money saved or donated.

Each year, our Clerk of the Board compiles his County of San Diego Volunteer Report and for fiscal year 2006/07, 27,600 volunteers made themselves available for programs. The estimated value for that was nearly $33 million! Monetary and tangible/intangible gifts donated to various volunteer programs were just under $1.1 million.

It’s impossible to list all of the volunteer areas, however, they include:

  • Public Works—16,102 volunteers--$2.7 million value
  • HHSA Aging & Independence Services (RSVP)—2,095 volunteers--$9.2 million value
  • Farm and Home Advisor—848 volunteers--$3.9 million value
  • Sheriff—712 volunteers--$3 million value
  • Public Defender—426 volunteers--$7.1 million value
  • Library—1,894 volunteers--$1.3 million value
  • Parks and Recreation—2,409 volunteers--$2 million value

To each and every volunteer, thanks a 33 million!



More Open Park Space


There’s more “elbow room” in Valley Center. This summer, the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) added a little more than 43-acres to the Hellhole Canyon Open Space Preserve.

The parcel was purchased from the Pulver Family and is located on the east side of Cochita Road, abutting the north side of Santee Lane. The price of $616,000 came from General Purpose Revenue.

Thanks to everyone involved in getting this done, including our DPR director, Renee Bahl and the Friends of Hellhole Canyon.



Getting the low-down on Bonsall’s Osborne Street


Osborne Street near Hutchison Street in Bonsall is an intersection that is about to become safer. A hill blocks the sight of oncoming traffic.

So, we’re going to lower the hill.

Lowering the hill’s crest, building side slopes and relocating overhead and underground utility lines will cost the county about $1 million; and when finished, the improvement in safety will be priceless.

I appreciate the input from the Bonsall Sponsor Group, led by Chairwoman Margarette Morgan.

The project will cause traffic delays; so look for detours. We hope to have everything done by mid-January.



Tire Clean-Up


For the first time ever, the County of San Diego and Indian Nations have collaborated on a campaign to remove old tires from reservations and portions of the unincorporated County.

The California Integrated Waste Management Board awarded an $84,000 grant to conduct tire clean-up programs with the Indian Nations of Pala, San Pasqual and Campo. Three tire clean-up events and seven tire amnesty events will take place.

The County events in North County are tentatively scheduled for Valley Center and Fallbrook, in addition to the Indian Nation locations. For more information, contact Donna Turbyfill at 858 505-6470.



Hazardous no more


You wouldn’t think that the Fallbrook area could contain more than 100,000 pounds of hazardous wastes—but it did—and now all that is safely disposed of.

Our County Department of Environmental Health had another successful one-day household hazardous waste, electronic and universal waste collection event this summer.

Included in the total were 50,000 pounds of paint and paint-related materials, 25,000 pounds of electronics, 5,000 pounds of motor oil, and 2,500 linear feet of fluorescent lights.

I’ve always wondered how they determine the poundage—certainly it’s more than bringing a bathroom scale to the event—and it is. Some of the material is actually weighed; some is estimated on historical averages and all is taken away and properly disposed.



Check it Out

We now have a Sheriff’s storefront office inside the Vista library. This is a great collaboration that brings deputies into closer contact with the public in a setting unlike anywhere else in the county—because it’s the first of its kind!

County Library Director Jose Aponte brought the idea to Sheriff Bill Kolender and Captain Ed Prendergast in Vista and today the “user-friendly” storefront is open for community business. Deputies and senior volunteers staff the office—providing a great place for the public to learn about crime prevention and interact with officers.


Janice Twyman, mother of Wade Twyman, cuts the ribbon with Supervisor Horn,
Undersheriff Bill Gore and Mayor Morris Vance

Dedication of the Wade Twyman Library office was last month and it was my honor to be part of the ceremony and meet Wade’s family. Wade grew up in Vista, graduated from Rancho Buena Vista High School and after being in the Sheriff’s Explorer program, went on to fulfill his dream of becoming a San Diego County Sheriff’s Deputy before moving to Arizona where he also was a deputy sheriff. Motivated by the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Wade joined and served with distinction in the U.S. Army. On March 4, 2005, Wade was killed while patrolling in Iraq.

The Sheriff’s office at the library honors Wade Twyman’s remarkable life and memory.



More than a Job


Congratulations to everyone who made the Hirepatriots.com Job Fair and blood drive at the Oceanside Pier Amphitheater this month a huge success.

There were 93 registered companies with booths and several hundred job-seekers. Many recruiters were so impressed with the quality of candidates that they signed up for HirePatriots.com’s next Job Fair November 15 at the South Mesa NCO Club at Camp Pendleton.

I appreciate the terrific cooperation that HirePatriots.com received from the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce and the City of Oceanside. Some of the costs for the event were defrayed by a $25,000 grant from our discretionary Community Projects Fund.

In addition, a group of Republican women volunteers helped escort job-seekers to the kinds of jobs that each company was offering and introduced them to recruiters.


HirePatriots.com will also be hosting Military Marriage Enrichment Weekends; the first is scheduled for November 9-11 at the San Luis Rey Mission. This is a tremendous outreach to help with the challenges that come when family members are deployed and when they return.

I’ve shared with you many times my support for HirePatriots.com. Mark and Tori Baird are true patriots who saw a need to give active and former military personnel part and full-time employment. They turned that need into a job-finding website.

What I haven’t told you is that I and a member of my staff have hired several Marines from the website. We can tell you with whole-hearted enthusiasm, the guys who showed up were tremendous workers. They did what was needed exactly right and also got the job done way before we thought it would be finished.

For more information about upcoming Job Fairs and the Military Marriage Enrichment Weekends, please contact www.hirepatriots.com or call 760 730-3734.

OOO-rah and double Semper Fi!



Staff Changes

There are three new assignments on our District 5 staff:

  • Dustin Steiner, who served as our transit policy advisor is now our land policy advisor.
  • Chris Champine, who kept in touch with you as Director of Constituent Services is now our transit policy advisor, taking that over from Dustin. Chris will continue keeping track of our District 5 Community Projects Fund.
  • Courtney Berlin, our Community Liaison now has the added responsibility of being our Director of Constituent Services

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