TR Robertson …. The monthly Government Affairs Committee meeting, sponsored by the Vista Chamber of Commerce the first Thursday of every month, began meeting with a series of informative presentations from a variety of organizations.
First up was Andy Hall, from the San Diego Workforce Partnership, a non-profit group that works with the county, government agencies and school districts, in creating opportunities to connect disconnected youth, ages 16-24, with job and career opportunities.
According to Mr. Hall, there are over 53,000 young people in San Diego County alone that fall into the disconnected youth category. These young people are not in school or working in any capacity.
There are numerous barriers these young people face on a daily basis, poverty, racial issues,disabilities, domestic violence in the home, crime, and the list goes on. The Workforce Partnership is set up to try and reach as many of these young people as they can to help them. Using the concept of Be Aware + Prevent + Reconnect to try and get solutions in how to reach out to these young people, the organization reaches over 3,000 young people each year. They set up job fairs, go into schools and present informational programs about job availability.
Recently, the Vista School District, along with the Vista Chamber of Commerce, selected 25 middle schoolers from the 5 middle schools, and took them to Solatube, a growing company in Vista, to learn about job skills, job opportunities and more.
Currently, San Diego County ranks 31 st , out of the 98 large metro areas in the U.S., in the number of disconnected young people. Mr. Hall said the 3,000 reached reach year only represents 12% of those they need to reach. He said more helpis needed, more communities and school districts need to get involved and more financial investment is needed to keep this program successful and to reduce the number of young peoplein need.
Next on the agenda was a presentation by Mike Lee, the Senior Public Affairs Representative for the San Diego Water Authority. In a short power point presentation he went over the future of the water authority in this area and what is on store for 2017. He said this wetter winter will aid in bigger water allocations, but much more is needed to help out. The San Diego Water Authority serves 3.3 million people and provides 80-90% of water used in San Diego County.
Our water, over the last 5 years, comes from 3 sources – 68% from the Colorado River, 15% from local supply and 17% from the State Water Project.
He said the amount from the State Water Project was actually less last year. With the recent snowfall, the Sierra Range is slightly above average and more is expected this week. San Diego county water use has gone down 40% from 1999-2015. The San Diego Water Authority currently invests 3.3 billion dollars in supplies, water storage and conveyance.
One project completed was raising the San Vincente Dam 100 feet to create additional water storage space.
Proposed long term projects include more water audits, irrigation meters in commercial projects to measure businesses and water usage and working to continue to conserve water. SDWA also wants to continue to reduce water coming rom the Bay Delta areas. One state project SDWA is questioning is the state project proposed for the northern section of California that includes digging and building 2 40 foot wide tunnel pipelines that would run 30 miles. SDWA questions the cost to the San Diego area, how much this project would benefit us and the overall impact of the project. He also touched on a recent lower judicial court decision that awarded $244 million of a requested $524 lawsuit against the Metropolitan Water District for over charges. If this goes through, after fees are paid, money would be redistributed to homeowners according to overpayment. SDAW continues to research ways to offer incentives to businesses and homeowners who are water wise.
Interested citizens can also apply to take part in the Citizens Water Academy by going to SDCWA.org/Citizens- Water-Academy to sign-up for a program to learn more about SDWA.
The third presentation for the new business portion of the meeting was from Mr. Jeff Bott, from The Toll Roads, who gave an update on the various toll road projects in Southern California. He touched on the recent litigation and compromises involving the proposed toll road, 241, which was originally scheduled to run through portions of Camp Pendleton to connect to Highway 5. Environmental issues raised by Surfrider, the Sierra Club and others has kept this project on hold. Recent compromises and agreements give new hope to alternative routes for this toll road. Updates that followed these presentations included: Lenna Wright from Congressman Issa’s office – Power bill charges Marine families have recently received; co-sponsor of Online Freedom of Speech Bill; re-introduction of Midnight Rules Relief Act which would allow Congress to overturn with a single vote regulations finalized in the last 60 days of an outgoing Presidential term or office; re-introduction of legislation to help stop the outsourcing of American jobs and to reform the nation’s high-skilled immigration program.
Report from Senator Bate’s office and Assemblywoman Waldron’s office waiting as thelegislative branch just returning to work after holiday break. Michael Hadland from Assemblyman Chavez’s office reported he is now serving on the Education Committee. Haley Peterson, from Supervisor Horn’s office reported that he has contributed $50,000 to fund a tattoo removal machine to be used in assisting former gang members in removing gang affiliated tattoos. There will be a fundraiser to assist homeless vets, “Stand Down”, held at Green Oaks Ranch. Tony Winney from the City of Vista gave up dates on projects in Vista – art work on the Shop Vista campaign; cities recent purchase of property near Pala Vista Dr. and removal of buildings in disrepair; Hire a Hero – Honor a Vet project where 570 veterans made connections for employment with 90 employers who attended; a Federal Highway & Safety program grant has been received for the City of Vista to study and improve various intersections in the city. Bret Schanzenbach, CEO for the Vista Chamber of Commerce, gave an update on some new restaurants coming or proposed for Vista – When Pigs Fly soon to move into downtown Historic Vista, a new sushi restaurant proposed for the existing Art Beat location, possibility of restaurant interest in empty buildings in and around the downtown area (like the new building located in the former location of Tom Fleming’s Shoe Repair).
The next Government Affairs Committee meeting will be Thursday, February 2 in the Vista Chamber of Commerce Office. The State of Community Luncheon will be on Monday, January 23 rd , at the City of Vista Administrative office building. There is a charge for this luncheon. vistachamber.org