SUPERVISOR 5TH DISTRICT COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO
August 2, 2010
Ensuring Fair and Open Competition
One of the most important ballot measures approved by the people of California was Proposition 13 (the People’s Initiative to Limit Property Taxation). The 1978 amendment to California’s Constitution mandated that the maximum tax on real property shall not exceed 1% of its full cash value. The law provided a sense of security for homeowners and added a measure of fiscal control for the people over politicians.
Last month, the County Board of Supervisors proposed another landmark measure that one day may result in the same opportunity for the public to control its elected officials and ensure that millions of dollars will be saved on county government projects.
The Board approved my recommendation to place on the November 2010 ballot a proposed Charter Amendment relating to fair and open competition in the County of San Diego.
Currently, a simple majority of the County Board of Supervisors have the power to require, prohibit, or remain neutral on Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) for county contracts. If the ballot measure is approved, that power would be transferred to a majority of voters in San Diego County, and a majority vote of the people would be required for the Board of Supervisors to do anything other than allow all qualified contractors the opportunity to compete for county contracts.
Project Labor Agreements exist on the federal level. In Executive Order 13502 issued by President Barack Obama, a PLA is defined as “a pre-hire collective bargaining agreement with one or more labor organizations that establishes terms and conditions of employment for a special construction project.”
This Board has never been an advocate for requiring Project Labor Agreements. Those agreements often drive up the cost for projects. Several studies have shown that construction costs are 10-20% higher if a PLA is used. When that happens, the best financial return for the taxpayers’ dollar is not delivered. Union or not, people deserve the opportunity to control their own destiny and ensure that they, and their children can compete for the jobs paid for by their tax dollars. While the County has resisted Project Labor Agreements, we know that the make-up of the Board will change. Now the voters will have the opportunity to codify an existing ordinance, which I believe will save taxpayer dollars and resources for years to come.
Currently, the cities of Oceanside and Chula Vista have laws prohibiting the city from imposing Project Labor Agreements.
If approved, this is an investment in the region’s future. The County Grand Jury just pointed out that we’ve saved $80 million by using open competition.
The proposed action will not prevent any business, whether they use PLAs or not, from being awarded county contracts.
Future Boards will manage more projects worth millions of dollars. Those contracts should be given to whoever can build a project better, faster, and cheaper than the rest.
In this edition of the “Word,” I will be sharing another step in strengthening our disaster preparedness, the County’s ten-year vision for improving the health of our citizens, the opening of a state-of-the-art clinic for veterans in Oceanside, and the opportunity to salute America on her 234th birthday. I am honored to be your Supervisor.
Our highest priority has always been public safety and part of that involves being prepared and responding to disasters. The County of San Diego is now part of the California Volunteers Disaster Corps, a first-in-the-nation effort to professionalize, standardize and coordinate highly trained disaster volunteers.
The program is intended to bring together the power and passion of Californians to make their communities safer, stronger and more resilient. We are linked in partnership with the California Emergency Management Agency to integrate volunteer resources in the state’s emergency management system.
Right now the program is designed for the Certified Emergency Response Team (CERT) programs in San Diego County.
We learned many lessons in the tragic wildfires in 2003 and 2007 and have used those experiences to strengthen our disaster preparedness and upgrade our Emergency Operations Center. Our county is now among five founding members of Disaster Corps and we will be able to receive $1.5 million in federal homeland security funding in the state. The money will be used for the initial implementation of the program, which will support training and credentialing a thousand members as well as one volunteer coordinator each for San Diego, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Francisco counties.
A Healthier County
Last month, the Board of Supervisors approved a groundbreaking Health Strategy Agenda, which aims to improve the physical well-being of its own County employees and the community. This is a 10-year program that uses what is being called a “3-4-50” concept. The 3 behaviors—poor nutrition, lack of exercise and tobacco use are the main causes that lead to 4 diseases: heart disease/stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes and respiratory conditions, such as asthma, and account for more than 50% of deaths in San Diego County.
As hard as it is to believe, the life expectancy for parents in America is now higher than for their children. One of the reasons is childhood obesity. Sadly, preventable chronic diseases account for 57 percent of deaths in San Diegans.
Our Director of the County Health and Human Services Agency, Nick Macchione says, “By changing your diet, exercising more, and not smoking, people would live much longer with a better quality of life. And healthcare costs to taxpayers would be significantly reduced.”
Over the next few years, our County Plan focuses on four major areas:
To find out more about the plan, visit, www.sdcounty.ca.gov/hhsa/programs/sd/health_strategy_agenda/index.html
More Medical Help for North County Veterans
San Diego County is home to more veterans than any other region in the nation and 75,000 veterans reside along the Highway 78 corridor. Last year, the San Diego Veterans Administration logged about 54,400 outpatient visits at the Vista and Escondido vet clinics. Veterans who need special care will no longer have to go to the veterans medical facility in La Jolla because there is a state-of-the-art $40 million clinic in Oceanside.
The 65,465-square-foot clinic has been open since May. The facility provides primary care in mental health, audiology, optometry, women’s health and laboratory services, with future services to include radiology, dentistry, rehabilitation therapy, dermatology, orthopedics and urology.
Once the Oceanside site has everything in place, the clinic will have the capability to serve up to 100,000 outpatient appointments a year.
For more information you can go to: www.sandiego.va.gov.
Miramar National Cemetery Avenue of Flags
The long-awaited Veterans Cemetery at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar is a month away from opening and it has been my honor to provide a grant to fund the Avenue of Flags at the cemetery entrance.
The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved my recommendation to allocate $103,300 from our Neighborhood Reinvestment Fund to cover the cost of construction, installation, equipment, flagpoles and flags. This will be the first impression visitors have of the cemetery.
Miramar National Cemetery will be on 313 acres on the northwest corner of MCAS Miramar. The main entrance will be on Nobel Drive between Miramar Road and Interstate 805.
The new facility will include gravesite and columbarium facilities, providing a full range of burial alternatives to approximately 235,000 veterans in San Diego County. Nearby Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery closed to interment casketed burials in 1966. Until now, the nearest national cemetery offering full burial options is Riverside National Cemetery, located about 90 miles from Fort Rosecrans.
Phase 1 construction will include approximately 11,500 conventional gravesites; 4,500 in-ground cremation sites; 10,000 columbarium niches; an administration building and maintenance complex, two committal service shelters; and a public assembly area.
The project will develop about 42 acres of the site and provide 10 years of burial services. For more information please go to: www.cem.va.gov or call 1-800-827-1000. To make burial arrangements at the time of need at any VA national cemetery, call 1-800-535-1117.
10,000,000 and Counting
In 1994 when the McDonald’s Corporation reached the 100 billion hamburgers sold mark; it stopped posting the numbers on their signs. There’s a way to go in San Diego County before our 33-branch library system hits that number; however, we are now at the ten million mark for checkouts.
Our new Fallbrook Library is in the final stages of construction and promises to help increase the circulation in North County even more. We did a study and found that Margaret Mahlum of Fallbrook has checked out more than 14,000 items since she started going to the library 20 years ago. Margaret says she personally reads a book every two or three days and likes the availability the DVDs of movies she missed in the theater. She has helped the county library system reach record circulation numbers. Among the reasons for our library’s success are self checkouts, and new programs, such as housing and employment help. And even with budget challenges our dedicated staff has been able to do this without cutting operational hours at any of our libraries.
There’s more information on our libraries at: www.sdcl.org.
I appreciated receiving a Paul Harris Plus pin from the Rotary Club of Fallbrook. The honor is given to individuals who meet high professional and personal standards set by the founder of Rotary, Paul Percey Harris. Mr. Harris was a Chicago attorney who founded Rotary as a way to have businessmen come together for fellowship and also to reach out and assist their communities.
Harris and three other business friends named their new club “Rotary” because members met in rotation at their various places of business. From that meeting, Rotary has grown to 27,500 clubs and 1.2 million members throughout the world who adhere to the principle “service before self.”
At one time I was the President of the Valley Center Rotary Club, so the honor of Rotarians in Fallbrook was extra special. Meeting the needs of my constituents in North County is a continuing commitment for me and my staff and I appreciate the recognition by the Rotary Club of Fallbrook.
Congratulations to the Fallbrook Beautification Alliance (FBA) for a spectacular July 4th fundraising event at the Grand Tradition.
The food was tremendous, the entertainment by the Corvettes Show Band first rate, and the fireworks rivaled any display in the world. It was great fun watching those who took part in the Rubber Raft Regatta. The Rotary Club of Fallbrook “enlisted” four local Marines for their team who then won the $300 prize money and donated the money back to the FBA. Semper Fi!
Many of Fallbrook’s beautification projects are initiated and maintained by community organizations. Included are graffiti removal, playground equipment, and landscaping. Several non-profits put time, effort and devotion into making Fallbrook the gem that it is. The Alliance was formed as a result of the Fallbrook Revitalization Council’s desire to have an organization to improve collaboration between groups involved in beautification and maintenance efforts.
The event is the only fundraiser for the FBA, so it was important for me to recommend and receive unanimous approval from the Board of Supervisors for a grant of $30,000 to help defray expenses. This year, there was a record turnout of an estimated 2,250 people and most importantly, the most money ever for the FBA: about $50,000. More than a thousand chicken and barbecue dinners were sold and the Village Rotary Club donated all the proceeds from the hot dog and hamburger sales. The Woman’s Club Dessert Booth was a sweet place to be with 528 slices of apple pie, 550 scoops of ice cream, and 552 cookies served.
I want to thank all those who made the event a great success. They include Jerri Patchett, Vince Ross, Karen Feyler, Jackie Heyneman, Wendy Larkin, Shirley Fender, and Ed and Yolande Jackson. This was the sixth year the entire Jackson family and their friends from the Methodist Church took care of the Cotton Candy booth with all proceeds benefiting FBA.
It was good to see Fallbrook benefactor Arlyne Ingold and her family and a new major contributor for the event, Northgate Market. I also offer a special word of gratitude to Don McDougal and his family who own and operate the Grand Tradition, one of the premier facilities in North County.
I appreciated once again being part of the festivities in Rancho Santa Fe as the people of the Ranch celebrated Independence Day with their annual parade. It was a great opportunity to drive my 1932 Auburn Cabriolet to the Ranch and greet hundreds of people on our nation’s 234th birthday.
The turnout for the parade was sensational. Among those in the parade were Assemblyman Martin Garrick and current Masters golf champion and Rancho Santa Fe resident Phil Mickelson.
The Rancho Santa Fe Community Center, Golf Club and Rotary Club were among many who made the parade one to remember.