TR Robertson –The May Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee members were introduced to new Vista Economic Development Director Larry Vaupel and heard from Vista Irrigation District Water Conservationist Specialist Brent Reyes. Larry Vaupel, Vista Economic Development Director, takes over from Kevin Ham, who recently stepped down, and comes to Vista from last working as the Big Bear Management Director. He has an extensive background in economic development having worked in a number of cities in the U.S..Vaupel said he plans, at the present time, to maintain the Economic Development Strategy the city has set-up and evaluate what is working and what may need to be changed. The positive attitude of City Hall employees, the importance of businesses for the city and the belief that the Downtown Historic District is the heart and soul of the community impressed him when he arrived in Vista.
Brent Reyes, Vista Irrigation District, was also on the opening agenda and gave a power point presentation about the status of the Water Supply and Drought Update for North County. He said that at the present time there is adequate water supply for the region for the foreseeable future. He said that drought conditions are a huge issue in the state, outside of San Diego County, will be subject to extreme shortages and restrictions. He said the extended drought conditions will remain throughout the state as far as forecasters can tell. In July of 2021, the Governor issued Executive Order N-10-21, a voluntary reduction of 15% in water use, from the 2020 levels. Last March of 2022, Executive Order EON-7-22 listed a Level 2 Water Shortage Contingency Plan as a Mandatory Stage for various regions in the state. There is also a ban of irrigation of “Non-functional Turf” in commercial and industrial sectors in some locations in the state. Water days, listing specific days residential and commercial sites can water is a possibility in a variety of regions. May 24th is an important date as the state will consider the adoption of emergency controls in those areas hardest hit by the drought. San Diego’s efficient water saving programs, the Desalinization Plant in Carlsbad and the Oceanside Wastewater Plant are examples of ways San Diego County has dealt with the ongoing water issues.
Imelda Huerta from the City of Vista – An upcoming Design Review will go before the Planning Commission at a May 17 meeting dealing with a proposed 181 units off Guajome. On the 24th, the City Council will hear about proposals for the Community Church property. The city is looking at joining the Clean Energy Alliance dealing with renewable energy programs. On the 10th , the EdCo franchise agreement concerning organic waste will be heard. Several upcoming issues the City Council will hear about deals with a proposed outdoor smoking ban at restaurants and the upcoming outdoor emergency dining permits. On May 11th North County Lifeline will be giving an update on the area’s homeless issues. Seasonal job applications are now available for Parks and Recs and for the Wave Waterpark. Campaign sign info is now available for upcoming elections. Ambassadors have been hired for the Downtown area. These people will be on bikes and will assist providing hospitality, information on the Downtown area and will be recording information relating to graffiti and other issues.
From Kristal Jabara, Representative for Supervisor Jim Desmond – Additional body cameras will be supplied to authorities in detention facilities. Evacuation plans available in case of a wildfire event in North County. On June 6th there will be a virtual budget meeting. A $9,000 grant was awarded to the Vista Arts Foundation. There are 600+ affordable units being built in District 5.
Jessica Ramirez from Congressman Mike Levin’s Office – The Congressman recently hosted the Veterans Affairs Secretary and the Energy Secretary. The Congressman is working to secure funding for bluff stabilization. Small Business Loans are now available but are due on May 6th. Veteran’s Affair legislation has passed dealing with veteran entrepreneurship. The Congressman recently toured and met with local veterans. The spent nuclear waste storage question is still an ongoing problem. He has invested and supported an act for funding to train and retain police officers. A young man named Ryan Hickman, from San Juan Capistrano, was recently recognized for his recycling efforts for the April Volunteer Month. The Oceanside Museum of Art currently has displays of student art from North County. The winning art piece was from a La Costa Canyon High School student. Rancho Buena Vista H.S. students also have art on display.
Max Wernher from Senator Patricia Bates Office – SB 904 and SB 1191 is a priority in dealing with educating people about the epidemic and danger of fentanyl and opioids. SB 925 dealing with drug testing after fatal accidents is moving through the Senate. Other bills either in committee or in the process of moving through the Senate are SB 1224 dealing with water shed programs, SB 1342 dealing with older adult care, SB 1155 dealing with proper medical treatment. SB 1283 dealing with reforming mental services has died and will be discussed and possibly rewritten and reintroduced.
Suleyma Balderas from Assembly Member Tasha Boerner-Horvath’s Office – The Assemblymember has been holding and attending meetings concerning affordable housing, the environment, water quality, homelessness, and more issues. She is currently working on 13 pieces of legislation currently. AB 1713, dealing with cyclists stopping at 4-way intersections is in committee. AB 1672 and 2593, dealing with lifeguard training and employment is moving through the Assembly. Part of San Diego County water saving success is due to the Oceanside Recycling Plant. The Women of Impact Event was recently held, and 10 women received awards for their community work. Young Women of Power applications are now being accepted for women 18-24 years of age. On May 12th, a California Housing Finance Agency relief program will be details.
John Osborne from AT&T – affordable connectivity is now offered that will offer low-cost internet for homes.
Representative from SDG&E – SDG&E has a goal of 0 greenhouse gases by 2025. Go to www.sdgenews.com for information.
Aaron Byzak from Tri-city Medical Center – June 13th there will be a presentation of the proposed Psychiatric Health Facility that will be built on the Tri-City Medical Center site. The Medical Center will soon be hosting a golf tournament at Vista Valley Country Club.
Rachel Beld, CEO of the Vista Chamber of Commerce – The Chamber has received a grant for a paid internship program and applications are now available. The Strawberry Festival will be held in Downtown Vista May 29th. The Rising Stars Scholarship Breakfast will be held Friday, May 13th at the Film Hub and 20 scholarships will be awarded to area students.
The next Government Affairs Committee meeting will be June 2nd.