County Supervisor Jim Desmond Speaks to Vista Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Members
TR Robertson — A packed agenda and a packed room at the Vista Chamber of Commerce was the scene Thursday for three guest speakers at the September meeting of the monthly Vista Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs meeting. County Supervisor Jim Desmond, Guajome Park Superintendent Kevin Humphrey and Vista Traffic Engineer Sam Hasenin each gave presentations covering a variety of topics.
Jim Desmond, former Mayor of San Marcos, said he has been “on the job” for 8 months and he and his 9 person staff are beginning to make headway and have been prioritizing issues they want to concentrate on. He said the County Offices employ over 18,000 employees working in 52 different departments. HE said the departments will be dealing with $6.2 billion used for various departments. His department has prioritized main issues they want to deal with first. One of these is focusing on working with the infrastructure of SANDAG and the projects that were supposed to have been started. A tax was passed eleven years ago that was designated for maintenance and repairs of highways. The tax is in place for 29 more years. Some of the projects included the creation of HOV lanes on Highway 78 and the revision of the interchanges for Highway 78 and Highway 15 and for Highway 78 and Highway 5. Another area of concentration is working with SDG&E in partnering for the purchase of an additional helicopter for fighting fires. Also a concern is affordable housing. It is projected that by 2028 171,000 additional homes will be needed in San Diego County. Supervisor Desmond also pointed out that there is still a need for addressing the mental health issues surrounding the need for behavioral health bed facilities and a crisis stabilization unit. He pointed to Tri-City Hospital’s planned construction of a 16 bed facility in the near future as a positive sign of what is needed. Supervisor Desmond also said there is still a strong need for transitional housing once individuals move out of the other facilities. County Parks are also on the Supervisor’s list and it was pointed out that the former San Luis Rey Golf Course will soon become a County Park and they are looking into the development of bike trails that would go from Oceanside to Highway 15.
Speaking next was Guajome Park Superintendent Kevin Humphrey, who presented a look at the charter school system. This is his 4th year as Superintendent. The Charter Schools Act was passed in 1992. In the act a number of reasons Charter Schools are in existence. There are currently 1,275 Charter Schools in California with over 630,000 students attending. There are 135 Charter Schools in San Diego County and 90% of these have been approved by the local school districts. Currently Guajome Park School has 1,400 students and of these close to 600 are in the high school. He pointed out that Charter Schools are not private schools and they are up for renewal every 5 years. Guajome Park is up for renewal this school year. The school was the 50th charter approved in California in 1994. The school opened its doors in 1997 in Downtown Historic Vista. In 2004 they moved into the new building they are now in, which is owned by the Vista School District. In 2012 new portables were built for an Elementary program. They were named a Distinguished School in 2013. The school has a graduation rate of 99%. They also have an International Baccalaureate Program at the High school. He also said that 62% of the students are on a free and reduced lunch program.
Next up was Sam Hasenin, Vista’s Traffic Engineer. His department is responsible for maintaining, constructing and monitoring roads and traffic flow in Vista. HE said they concentrate very strongly on trying to come up ways to ease traffic congestion. They gather data on traffic flow throughout the day. He said one of Vista’s biggest issues is the traffic that crosses thru our city from areas outside of the city. Sam said road capacity is an issue so they have tried to ease the problem with the additional of more lanes in some areas of the city. He listed a number of projects that are underway and have been completed recently in Vista, for example on North Melrose. Their department also has implemented changes in light times to assist traffic flow. Sam said call him at 760-643-5411 if you have complaints or suggestions or access the Vista App to report any issues.
From the City of Vista – John Connelly – work on Paseo Santa Fe will be completed in October; Citizens can go to the City web site and take part in an online Outreach Survey until Sept. 30; anyone with issues involving homeless in our city should call the Sheriff’s Department to report the problems.
From Supervisor Jim Desmond’s Office – Shaina Richardson – Sept 23 a Veteran’s Forum will be held at Cal State San Marcos – “The Power of a Story: Building Resiliency for Veterans through Community and Conversations”, 5-8 pm.
From Senator Patricia Bates’ Office – Matthew Phy – A number of Senate Bills are under consideration for signing – SB 141 – Sexually violent prisoner risk assessment prior to parole, SB 679 – Licensing of healing arts, therapists and counselors for marriage and family therapists. SB 589 – Licensing adult alcoholism and drug abuse recovery and treatment facilities. Also spoke about the funding to stabilize the cliffs that have recently slid with tragic results along the coast.
From Assemblymember Tasha Boerner Waldron’s Office – Cori Schumacher – support of the request to the White House budget office to approve funding that would help stabilize local bluffs from further erosion. This would include the repair of the bluffs and structures along the train tracks throughout the area.
- Upcoming Events:
- Sept 11 – Business Mixer – Carlsbad Ranch Market – 5-7 pm (wear Patriotic clothing)
- Sept 14 – Vista Historical Society Pit Barbeque – 3-7 pm –
- Sept 18 – Lunch & Learn – Military Auto Assistance Program – Noon – Chamber Office
- Sept 24 – Lunch & Learn – Bocannaco – What is CBD? – Noon – Chamber Office
- Sept 25 – Lunch Mob – Nucci’s – Noon
- Oct 3 – Government Affairs Meeting – Noon – Chamber Office
- Oct 4 – Meet the Leaders – Rancho Buena Vista Adobe – contact the Chamber for Information