04/07/10

A WORD FROM SUPERVISOR BILL HORN

SUPERVISOR 5TH DISTRICT COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO

April 7, 2010

Questionable Cut

Last month, four of my fellow Supervisors voted to slash $5 million from the Neighborhood Reinvestment Program. I voted against this reduction.

Every year, each Supervisor has been able to return $2 million to the tax payers through non-profit groups; something made possible by the fiscal stewardship of the Board of Supervisors. These funds represent less than 1/5th of one percent of the County’s total budget.

During difficult times, the County has been able to find ways to provide services despite the continued cuts in revenue by the State for mandated programs. The same economic challenges we face have severely impacted non-profit groups, many of which serve the poor and care for seniors and children. Our Neighborhood Reinvestment fund has often been a life-saving bridge that includes keeping families together, helping kids stay away from gangs, building libraries, and equipping volunteer fire departments to protect us.

I represent a vast area of unincorporated communities that pay sales tax, but do not receive their fair share of this money reinvested in their communities. These communities depend on this money, their money, for capital expenses.

Many government bodies ‘reinvest’ in their communities, but often this happens by burying these dollars in a general fund.

In contrast, this Board’s process is completely transparent. Each grant comes before the Board for discussion and a vote and all organizations receiving funding can easily be found on our County website. In addition, the application process is open and on the website.

During these difficult times, non-profits and community organizations are serving more and more people.

I have helped improve public safety by supporting Fire Safe Councils, volunteer fire departments, and the Sheriff’s Department, among others. I have allocated over $2.4 million to such groups over the last decade.

I have been able to support libraries and after-school programs in our communities. In total, I have allocated over $4 million to libraries and educational groups.

I have also allocated over $5.6 million to organizations that promote healthy living, as the overall well-being of my constituents has always been a top priority.

Open space is another valuable resource in our County, and I have allocated over $3.5 million to support parks and recreation organizations throughout my district.

In tough economic times, organizations that support business growth and development are crucial to our region’s economy, which is why I have allocated nearly $4 million to chambers, visitors bureaus, and business-oriented groups.

Many of these groups have raised matching funds or otherwise supplemented these grants making this truly a community partnership.

I believe this program is valuable to the communities we represent. I understand tough budget times, but it is important to remember that this is their money and this Board is simply returning it to these communities.

I have never thought public policy should be dictated by a media editorial and I do not intend to start doing things that way now. I believe this discussion should be held in conjunction with the budget.

Abuses of this program should be dealt with on an individual basis…there is no reason to scrap the program altogether. Cutting this program takes dollars away from our constituents and places them in the hands of the bureaucracy, not the hands of those elected by the people.

I appreciated the many community leaders who came to our Board meeting, many from long distances and shared how important the grants have been to the people they serve.

Since my colleagues agreed to a temporary reduction, I want to see this issue revisited in next year’s budget deliberations.

While I appreciate my colleagues attempt to save money, I don’t believe it is right to balance our political budget on the backs of our communities. While cutting our Neighborhood Reinvestment Program funding by 50% has done almost nothing to help our County’s bottom line, the Board’s decision will surely make life that much more difficult for groups and individuals whose sole purpose is doing good.

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In this edition of the Word I’ll be sharing the latest about progress on a campaign to keep dollars from leaving North County, our new library in Fallbrook, a great safety event designed for teenage drivers and a brand new airline that is coming to Palomar Airport.
Bill Horn

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True North

Last month I was part of the launch of a campaign to encourage local residents to identify, advocate for, and help bring regional meetings, conferences and events to North County. The program was organized by the San Diego North Convention and Visitors Bureau as a local economic stimulus effort.

I encouraged attendees to remember the wide spectrum of attractions in the Fifth District that extends from the ocean to the Borrego desert and a whole lot in between. Regional meetings with extended overnight stays can generate millions of dollars in visitor spending for North County businesses.

There is also a charitable connection to True North with Outdoor Outreach, a local charity that helps at-risk children. Each person who provides information about an association or organization meeting or event will bring a contribution to Outdoor Outreach in the participant’s name for up to $50. There are other incentives and for information on that you can call Larry Kaufman at (858) 764-8302 or lkaufman@sandiegonorth.com or www.sandiegonorth.com

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Fallbrook Library Progress

We are on track for opening our new library in Fallbrook. The photo above shows recent work on the library at Mission Road near Alvarado Street. According to County data, the library’s temporary location on Main Avenue had its circulation increase by 50 percent over the same month in 2009. Monthly check-out totals have climbed steadily each month since September, when the library moved to a small storefront nearby. About 6,000 of the library’s most popular books are shelved at the temporary location. Customers who want a book not on the shelves can request a book online or in person and it will be at the Fallbrook branch within a few days.

Special thanks to branch manager Ceci Rincon for her leadership and the great work of her staff.

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Child Support Award

Congratulations to Jeff Grissom, Director of our Department of Child Support Services (DCSS). His outstanding team has been recognized again as the “Top Performing County” in the Very Large County category by the State DCSS Director. The award considers five federal performance measures.

Adding to the honor was recognition for the County DCSS as the “Most Improved” in overall performance for a Very Large County. This is a tremendous achievement and reflects the distinguished leadership of Jeff as no County has ever been acknowledged as the top performer in both categories in one year.

The awards validate the quality work that Jeff’s team does everyday. The ultimate beneficiaries of our performance are the children and families we serve.

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Another Miracle Season

I had a lot of fun being with more than 600 people who attended Opening Day of the Miracle League of San Diego last month. The Miracle League which offers safe and enjoyable baseball facilities for children with mental or physical disabilities is now in its 7th season. There are 175 players, 220 buddies and 36 coaches on 12 teams. In just three years, the league has doubled the number of participants.


President Dan Engle, Former San Diego Padre Mark Loretta,
Supervisor Horn & League players Frankie Loretta and Sam Burt
enjoy Miracle League of San Diego’s Opening Day

I remember how exciting it was when Dan and Suzie Engel’s dream became reality at Engel Family Field, a Little Padres Park, in San Dieguito Park. I was honored to give part of the funding for the park out of our district’s discretionary Neighborhood Reinvestment fund.

Games are played Saturdays from 10 AM through 4 PM at 1628 Lomas Santa Fe Drive. For more information call (858) 964-2222  or www.miracleleagueofsandiego.org.

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New Trail for Vista

I was pleased to help open the latest trail addition in Vista, part of the Vista Conservancy’s leadership in preserving our natural resources. It was a great turnout of Vista City leaders, members of the faith community and high school art students. The trail connects Wildwood and Brengle Terrace parks and is at the former Sycamore Creek Mobile Home Park in Vista.

I was happy to provide funds for the project from our 5th District discretionary Neighborhood Reinvestment Program. The Conservancy cleared out dead vegetation, installed fences and fixed an asphalt road that runs through the former mobile home park, to get the trail ready.

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The trail includes a 100-foot segment of the “North County Walk of Fame,” an exhibit on the trails open-air gallery. The exhibit displays murals of notable North County people, such as Grammy winners Sara Watkins and Patti Page and Olympic Gold Medalist Shaun White. The unveiling for the open air gallery's first exhibit, the North County Walk of Fame, is Sunday May 30th right after Vista's Strawberry Festival.

Special thanks to Brooks and Stephanie Cavanaugh, Bob Baker, Mike Villegas, Jorge Vaca, Eric Moore, Gail Stram, John Conley, Rod Krugger, David Lowen, Larry and Jennifer Alcorn, David Nilson, Mac MacFarlane and all the great people with the Vista Conservancy.

For more information please contact Mac MacFarlane (760) 996-6964 or macdad1@aol.com.

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Teens Driving for Life

It was important to me to provide discretionary funds in the amount of $15,000 for Teens Driving for Life, held at Qualcomm Stadium March 20th. I appreciate Sheriff Bill Gore and his deputies who coordinated the event and the hard work of community leaders Bob Gerard and Cheri de Lacy.

In the wake of last year’s tragic series of teen deaths in automobile crashes, an idea came from the Board of Directors of the Fairbanks Ranch Association. It led to a grassroots effort supported by volunteers within the community of Fairbanks Ranch. Their vision was to create a hands on learning forum called “Teens Driving for Life.” The forum involves parents participating with teens in an interactive program designed to teach teen drivers safe driving practices.

This event featured a driving control clinic and 60 teens were selected from seven North County coastal high schools to participate. The teens were required to bring at least one parent.

Local government agencies, corporate sponsors and private donations, support this event, which also includes classroom training.

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A New Airline Coming

California Pacific Airlines (CP Airlines) is scheduled to fly daily non-stop jet service to six regional cities from Carlsbad’s Palomar Airport later this year or early 2011.

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Aviation legend Ted Vallas, President and CEO of CP Airlines, made an introductory presentation of the new carrier and introduced the board of directors and management team at a reception on March 31st.

I’ll keep you informed about the new airline as we move closer to the start of service. For more information please contact Margie Holmstrom at (760) 710-0401 or mholmstrom@flycpair.com.