Oceanside Rotary Club, Oceanside,
California - January 30, 2009
HE PUTS THE “VISOR” IN SUPERVISOR
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
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).