Oceanside Rotary Club, Oceanside, California - January 30, 2009



Our previously praised Program Person LAWSON CHADWICK had the honor to introduce our speaker for the day, County Supervisor BILL HORN, a San Diego native and former Marine Corps Officer, who is currently serving on 25 different committees in San Diego.


BILL’s first comment showed how in tune he was with his audience. He gave DICK HIGH the task of throwing a napkin in the air like a penalty flag (an appropriate choice for Super Bowl weekend) when he had 15 minutes left in his time to cut him off so we could ask all the questions we wanted.

BILL was proud to report that San Diego is the #1 most financially sound county in California. But the State of California’s finances he is NOT so proud of. He was quoted in the Union Tribune as saying what the State is doing financially is criminal, especially in their spending $50 billion more than they have at the same time they are cutting money out of human services.

Due to their budget woes, the State wants San Diego County to pick up $28 million worth of mandates the State is supposed to pay. (Food stamps, children welfare, to all kinds of human resources.) Based on past history, BILL has no confidence that the State will ever pay the County back. Therefore the County will say no. One program the County will take over is foster care and food stamps. The Feds can pay County directly for food stamps rather than passing the funding through the State. Supervisor HORN is also in favor of continuing assistance to the 350 people in San Diego County that have NO money at all. They get just 300 dollars per month. This program will shut down unless State pays for it.

The City of San Diego has offered the County to become one and join forces. BILL thinks that is a ridiculous proposition. For starters, the County has great credit rating while the City’s rating is deplorable. Plus to make that work the County would also have to merge with all of the other municipalities in the region. To coin a phrase, “That dog don’t hunt.”

The renovations at Palomar Airport were plugged. With its new and improved terminal and having Avis & Hertz onsite, Palomar has become more attractive as a regional airport. Right out of Carlsbad you can fly to LA and then to anywhere you want to go.

BILL would like to see the County purchase or at least lease a few of the water tanker planes that were so instrumental in putting out the Camp Pendleton fires last fall. The planes were here for 3 months and put out 9 major fires. However the County needs to find $2 million to cover that cost.

Some bits and pieces that BILL snuck in before the napkin was thrown. There are still sanctions on gangs in Oceanside and the County has appointed a Gang Commission to work further on these issues. DICK HIGH serves on that important commission. And Supervisor HORN assured us that the Highway 76 project will go forward. An encouraging development on that front is that Pala & Pauma casinos have put up $38 million towards this highway extension.

At that moment, Referee DICK HIGH tossed the flag and sounded a rather feeble whistle to call and end to the presentation and on to Q & A.

DEAN ANDERSEN volunteered that if citizens of North County were worried about where the County should stash its cash, they could always put money in his bank.

TOM NUNAN wanted to know how to go about getting a bigger piece of the Supervisor’s discretionary fund pie in Oceanside. BILL described the history of how each supervisor is budgeted $2 million to give toward special projects in their districts. In the past he has given money to the Surf Museum, Women’s Resource Center, local clinics, the Oceanside Museum of Art, and establishing a dental clinic for the indigent folks on the reservations. Applications for funding can be obtained through his office, but they give preference to programs and projects that lack other sources of revenue.

LARRY O’HARRA asked about his thoughts on the prospects of a new constitutional convention here in California. BILL doesn’t trust the idea. He says that he just wants the legislature to follow the existing law. They don’t need to change the rules.

RUDY VAN HUNNICK got specific and asked about veterans projects and asked for help with our refurbishing project at the veteran’s kitchen in Oceanside. BILL says to submit an application through the proper channels and they’ll look at it. He noted that he hasn’t spent any of his discretionary money this fiscal year yet because he is waiting to see what the State is not going to pay for that might need help with funding. The State’s budget is woefully overdue at this point.

OLLIE SPERAW asked when his term would be expiring and what his plans were. Bill affirmed that he will run again in 2010, and that he had no interest in serving in the State Legislature. (What a politically convenient question to close the Q&A session, huh?)

To thank Supervisor HORN for sharing his time and his insights with us, President DEAN gave BILL a gift (not a bribe, and not expensive enough to even bother declaring).