The annual State of the Community Luncheon hosted by the Vista Chamber of Commerce and presented by Tri-City Medical Center featured a number of speakers, all of whom used power point presentations to show what 2015 was like for the city of Vista.
After a series of introductions by Bret Schanzenbach, CEO of the Vista Chamber of Commerce, of various dignitaries in attendance, the Mayor of the City of Vista, Judy Ritter was introduced. Ms. Ritter began her comments by pointing out that this is Vista’s 53rd year as an incorporated city. She described Vista as a “City on the Move”. Our current population is 96,413 with a current low unemployment rate, 4.1% as compared with 4.6% for the State of California and 5.5% for the U.S. In her power point presentation attendees saw there has been a 10% increase in Fire calls in 2015, 13,327 calls, and 41,215 police calls. The city has had an 8 million dollar upgrade in parks with the addition of 15 miles of new bike lane and over 3,054 pot holes repaired. There has been $10 million of improvements with the Paseo Santa Fe interchange and street improvements, soon to be completed.
Photos by Winifred Meiser
Next on the agenda for improvements is the Oceanview to Terrace Streets as the city has received a $5.7 million grant from the state. The 13 parks in the city have gone through a number of playground improvements. Also added in 2015 to the Moonlight Amphitheatre is synthetic turf to the seating area as well as synthetic turf to the Wave and Raintree Park. Over 51,478 people attended the Moonlight summer season productions. Ms. Ritter pointed out the addition of more Moonlight Amphitheatre productions such as Club M and the Cabaret nights, as well at the current 14 breweries in town, soon to increase to 15 once the Belching Beaver Brewery opens in February. In a survey conducted by the city 83% of the citizens surveyed are satisfied with the services the city provides and 53% of the citizens have visited the Historic Downtown area of Vista. A handout provided points out all of the accomplishments in the year 2015 the city has had. This handout is available in the city offices.
As Ms. Ritter finished she introduced Danny Villasenor, owner of Pepper Tree Frosty, winner of the 2015 Vista Person of the Year. Villasenor was honored on Wednesday with the day being proclaimed “Danny Villasenor Day”. He further received an honor from a close friend he graduated from Vista High with, Paul Anderson. Anderson’s father, Brad, was the creator of the “Marmaduke” comic strip and Paul took over the publishing of the comic strip after his father passed away. Paul loved Villasenor’s Pepper Tree Frosty, a Vista landmark since 1953 and run by the Villasenor family since 1960. On Monday, the Marmaduke comic strip featured the large dog ordering a bacon sundae from a store window with the Pepper Tree Frosty sign clearly pictured in the background. Anderson said he had been planning for 18 months to honor a Vista landmark since it was a place he has many fond memories and a place he visits when his family returns to Vista for vacations.
Next at the State of the Community was Margo Cobian, Chairman of the Board of the Vista Chamber of Commerce. Ms. Cobian pointed out the activities of the Chamber such as the Strawberry Festival and Heroes of Vista. The Strawberry Festival had over 350 vendors and 6 stages of activities. One of the new Chamber activities coming up will be the addition of the Vista Beer Run. More details to follow.
The first keynote speaker for the luncheon was Mr. Tim Moran, CEO of the Tri-City Medical Center, having spent 35 years in the health care business. Again, using a power point presentation, Mr. Moran went through 5 key points of growth of the medical services Tri-City is providing and expanding. He pointed to an affiliation with the U.C.S.D. Health Systems as U.C.S.D. will be using the 3rd floor of the Medical Office Building as they work with Tri-City in expanding and improving the Acute Recovery Unit, Telehealth, Cath-Lab Expansion and Cardiac Surgery Technology. As for Campus Redevelopment Tri-City will be looking to add a new parking structure, a new emergency department, new operating rooms, decreasing double occupancy rooms to single occupancy rooms and additional office space in the Medical Office Building. He pointed out that Tri-City currently services over 70,000 patients a year in their current emergency room and it is just too small. The fourth key point Mr. Moran alluded to was the settlement of the Stark Law Violations Tri-City self-reported in 2011, with the payment of a fine of $3,278,000. The final point in his presentation was that Tri-City will have a $20 million positive cash flow by the end of the year and is very financially stable and Tri-City is an active supporter of Vista events. They currently are involved in over 16 events spending some $95,000 in the city.
The final speaker for the luncheon was Mr. Dan Wray, CEO of BioFilm Management. He described the company as on the cutting edge of research and development as they develop products that enhance our environment and promote a healthier standard of living. Mr. Wray and his wife are former residents of Vista who moved to Nevada, along with a part of their business, but still maintain a business in Vista at Executive Ridge. They have a 105,000 square foot building in the business park. He pointed out that he started his business with an $8,500 capital outlay and the business grossed $600,000 the first year. In 2014, BioFilm took in $3 million. Mr. Wray went through a short power point presentation that pointed out some of the problems business people have in both California and Nevada with laws governing providing health care services for employees as well as the tax laws that restrict business and are forcing some companies out of the state.
All in all, an interesting and informative luncheon as attendees were able to see how Vista has changed throughout 2015 and what we can expect in the near future. Those in attendance represented a wide selection of the business, educational, artistic, and community members who had an opportunity to hear how the city is doing and what the future holds our community.