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Calendar >  Supervisor Desmond -Fire Safety, Solving Homelessness & Mandating Fentanyl Education

Supervisor Desmond -Fire Safety, Solving Homelessness & Mandating Fentanyl Education

By   /  November 8, 2022  /  No Comments


Can you believe it? It’s already November and it’s starting to feel a bit like Fall!

We have an important election coming up on Tuesday and I want to encourage everyone (if you haven’t already done so) to go out and vote. I say this often, but we win the lottery by being born in the United States and part of that honor is being able to vote freely in our elections. So, no matter what side you’re on or who you support, it’s our American duty to get out to the polls!

It’s been a busy past few months in North County and I just wanted to give you an update on some of the initiatives that I’ve been working on.

Solving Homelessness

A few weeks ago, we broke ground on a new 13,560-square-foot psychiatric health facility. This will serve those experiencing a mental health emergency by providing them a safe environment. Once inside, individuals will be provided treatment, medicine, and whatever else they need to help stabilize them. They will then be provided help on the next steps, including housing, jobs, benefits, etc. 

This comes just a few weeks after we awarded the City of Oceanside over $3 million for a navigation center that will help individuals get off the street and into services and housing. This 50-bed center will be open 24 hours when it opens in December. 

The San Diego Rescue mission will operate it on behalf of the City of Oceanside and provide trauma-informed healthcare care services, public benefits, and connections to permanent supportive housing. 

These are two major assets that will provide help to those experiencing homelessness. However, a major part of the overall solution is affordable housing.

When I was elected, I set a goal to build more affordable units in North County. I am happy to report that we have added 376 housing units, with 235 more on the way!

Fire Safety in North County

We continue to be fortunate that no major wildfires have occurred in San Diego County for several years. But we can’t be complacent. The threat is constant, which is why I have been committed to upgrading our fire safety arsenal. 

We have added new helicopters, increased brush clearing, and just last month established Heli-Hydrants & Helopods. We’ve established a HeloPod at the Rainbow Fire Center in Fallbrook, and we’ve installed a Heli-Hydrant at the San Marcos Fire Department. 

Heli-Hydrants are stationary water tanks connected to a water source, which allows helicopters to quickly capture water. Helopods are portable, tactical helicopter dip sources that can hold about 5,000 gallons of water. Currently, firefighting helicopters must sometimes travel long distances to refill for water drops, which can be the difference between a minor fire becoming a major fire.

We are going to continue to look for more areas where we can station helicopters to protect North County. The biggest difference in the last few years is now when a fire breaks out, we can get to it immediately to put it out!

Fentanyl Education for Students

Every day my office receives calls and emails from concerned parents wanting to know what they can do to stop their kids from getting their hands on fentanyl. It’s scary! Kids can get drugs on their phones through Snapchat and other apps, which could be laced with fentanyl.

I’ve stood next to parents who have tragically lost their kids because they took an Adderall or Xanax that they didn’t know had a small amount of fentanyl in it. That small amount killed them.

While a bigger conversation needs to be had about protecting our borders, at the County level I’m doing all I can to bring awareness to the dangers of fentanyl. 

Last month, I passed an initiative at the Board of Supervisors that does three things. 

  1. Works with education officials and the California State Legislature to require fentanyl awareness education in San Diego County classrooms.
  2. Increases Narcan distributions and pieces of training across the County to parents and student first responders.
  3. Allows the County to explore opportunities for additional funding to support on-campus drug and alcohol awareness programs.

In 2009, the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities was eliminated and the mandate for school districts to use prevention curriculum was removed and defunded. At that time, illicit fentanyl was not on the mind of anyone, but we are facing a crisis. We need to confront this with our young people, and I want San Diego County to lead the way.

I’ve been amazed at the outpouring of support for this initiative. I have received dozens of emails from former drug users and people who want to be involved in this program and help share their stories with future generations. 

Public Safety is a Top Priority!

Public safety HAS to be a top priority for any government. Without it, you have chaos.

A few months ago, I led the effort to recruit and retain more law enforcement officers to San Diego County. Applications with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department have decreased 25% during the past year and decreased 36% between 2018 and 2021. I believe a major part of that is because of the unnecessary negative publicity law enforcement has received over the past few years. 

As long as I’m Supervisor, we will never defund the police, in fact during my time on the Board we have only increased their budget for training and more deputies.

In the coming months, it’s our goal to have more deputies out in our communities protecting North County.

As always, if you have any suggestions, questions or issues please reach out. I try to make it out to all of the communities in North County, but sometimes I don’t hear of an issue until many months later. We are here to help, I have a great staff that will respond quickly.

You elected me to be your representative and I am honored. So, please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions. 

San Diego County District 5 Supervisor Jim Desmond


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