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Calendar >  June Government Affairs Committee

June Government Affairs Committee

By   /  June 1, 2023  /  No Comments

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Hears from San Diego County Water Authority and U.S. Chamber

TR Robertson -The Vista Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee recently listened to a presentation from Efren Lopez, Water Resources Specialist from the San Diego County Water Authority and Jennings Imel, Vice President Western Region of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The S.D. County Water Authority was formed in 1944, now consisting of 24 member agencies that serve 3.3 million people in San Diego County. The recent drought of 2020-2022 has been part of the 3 driest years in the county. If the drought continues California could lose up to 10% of the water supply due to climate change. During this time recycling, establishing desalinization plants, expanding the water storage facilities have been some of the ways to deal with less rain and snow. Some areas of the state have had to issue multiple emergency proclamations including rationing water use. Fortunately, during 2023 31 atmospheric rivers have produced significant amounts of rain and snowpack. The Northern Sierra snowpack is 270% above its normal rate. California reservoir water storage is up, Lake Mead and Lake Powell are now 30% higher than what they were prior to the unusually wet winter season and the melted snowpack run off is predicted to positively affect the amount of water in the Colorado River. San Diego County gets 26% of its water locally and 74% from the Colorado River. One of the main efforts is to reduce the dependance on imported water. Some of the efforts underway to get to this point is the increase of local surface water storage, using the water from the Carlsbad Seawater Desalinization plant, and pipeline relining. The Carlsbad plant produced 54 million gallons of water daily. Other projects underway are the All American and Coachella Canal Lining Project, the Conserved Agricultural and Water Transfer, raising the San Vincente Dam in 2014 and working with Potable Reuse Projects like Pure Water Oceanside and San Diego. Water use in San Diego has declined more than 40% since 1990. Lopez said supply diversification is the key to success with water usage. Go to www.watersmartSD.org for more information. Attendance at the Water Academy will soon be opening up as well.

Jennings Imel, from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, gave a short report on the importance of the House passing the Debt Ceiling Bill and sending the bill to the U.S. Senate. He said the bill is intended to hold spending levels through a variety of ways, including rescinding COVID relief funds and requiring repayment of college loans. A multitude of other steps have been agreed on to reach agreement on the Debt Ceiling Bill. The U.S. Chamber has also launched the Liberty Campaign concerning legal immigration, border security, redoing the asylum program and dealing with the current work force crisis. There is a significant shortage of qualified workers in a variety of areas, such as the current nursing shortage. Imel said there is a grid lock on a variety of legislative fronts in dealing with the idea of immigration reform.

Government Updates

Jessica Ramirez from Congressman Mike Levin’s Office – The Congressman voted to pass the Debt Ceiling Bill. One of his current bills is HR 3738 dealing with veteran disabilities benefits and assistance with transitioning to civilian life and various issues arising with obtaining assistance.

Chamber CEO Rachel Beld reported from State Senator Catherine Blakespear’s Office that on June 10 there will be an open house from 3-5 pm at their Encinitas Office at 159 Saxony Road.

Ryan Ewart from Assembly Member Laurie Davis Office – Four of the bills the Assembly Member co-sponsored have passed – AB 76 – public safety, AB 303 – illegal firearms, AB 882 – funding assistance for dealing with coastal erosion and AB 966 – evaluating beaches in need of assistance. The Assembly Member will also be hosting an Open House, from 2-5 pm, locally on June 30th.

Kristal Jabara from Supervisor Jim Desmond’s Office – The $8.11 billion budget is currently under consideration. June 12 & 15 – public hearings will be held on the budget. Relating to the vacant Supervisor seat for one of the districts – August 15 will be the primary. The Supervisor sent a letter to the other Supervisor’s stressing the need for suicide prevention efforts in understanding the causes of the increased suicide rate by use of guns. 86% of the suicides in the county are by use of a gun. The Supervisor is also concerned with the use of marketing and packaging cannabis products through the use of making the products look like candy. He is supporting AB 1207 that would restrict this. The Supervisor also voted against the purchase of two hotels for housing the homeless, saying that purchasing the hotels without providing wrap-around services for the homeless to deal with addiction, prevention, counseling and job placement is not beneficial to the homeless.

Angie Baggett from the City of Vista – The City Council will hear from the workshop dealing with the Homeless Strategic Plan for the city. Citizens are asked to respond to the Community Survey Vista General Plan Update. Go to www.Vista2050.com for more information. From the Planning Commission there is a proposal for a 96-housing unit to be built at 1070 S. Santa Fe and a 36-unit project at 952 and 958 Postal Way. The Vista Chamber will soon be receiving a proclamation from the city concerning the 100th anniversary of the Chamber. Some of the upcoming issues the City Council will be hearing about and dealing with include District 1 lighting and maintenance programs, Food vending vehicles in the city, and the city operating budget. “The Wedding Singer” opens next week at the Moonlight Amphitheatre.

Vista Chamber CEO Rachel Beld – The recent Strawberry Festival was a success with the most vendors and booths ever seen at the festival. The Chamber will be hosting a 100th Anniversary Birthday Party on the 14th at the Vistonian from 4-7 PM. On July 12th there will be a Business Mixer at the North County Food Bank, partnering with the Oceanside and Carlsbad Chambers. The summer internship program will pay 100 students to work in a variety of businesses. The Chamber is currently looking for sponsors to assist with this program.

The Vista Firefighters will once again host a Hops Highway Brew-off on June 4th, this year at the Belching Beaver Brewery on Park Center Drive. The Brew-off will benefit two firefighter families.

The Vista Irrigation District will be hosting a 100th Anniversary Open House on Sept. 9th, more information later.

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