Pomerado News - Government leaders outline priorities in coming year
Elizabeth Marie Himchak - The economy, infrastructure, education, drought, fire protection and health are among issues elected government leaders representing locals at the city, county, state and federal government said they plan to focus on during this year.
“In 2015, my top priority continues to be rebuilding San Diego,” said City Councilman Mark Kersey, whose district includes Rancho Bernardo. “Maintaining and improving our streets and sidewalks, water mains and sewers, libraries and fire stations is what city government must do and what our constituents expect us to do. I will remain hyper-focused on this issue in the new year.”
He said the citywide sidewalk assessment will be completed early in the year and the infrastructure committee he leads will work on revising the city’s sidewalk policy so it can improve neighborhoods’ walkability.
“In Rancho Bernardo specifically, I am looking forward to completing the Pomerado Road Bike Lane and repairing damaged streets throughout the district,” Kersey said.
As for other infrastructure needs, Kersey said the city is on schedule to release its inaugural long-term comprehensive infrastructure investment plan in early 2015. The multi-year plan will guide the city in a long-term approach by focusing on funding sources, project prioritization and streamlining opportunities.
He said public safety is another key priority for this year and he will continue advocating for more fire and police resources, including more brush management and a Fast Response Squad to serve the San Pasqual Valley. Its implementation will be important to Rancho Bernardans because it will help Fire Station No. 33 better serve the community at large, Kersey said.
“I will also be advocating for more lighting on Rancho Bernardo Road where the community has expressed safety concerns,” he added.
As for other goals, Kersey mentioned getting more city services online through Open DSD, which is set to provide residents with online access to permitting and contracting data. “I will work to get even more services online in 2015,” Kersey said, adding he also plans on expanding his constituent and business outreach this year.
At the county level, Supervisor Dave Roberts, who represents Rancho Bernardo and 4S Ranch, and Supervisor Dianne Jacob, who represents Poway, listed similar goals for 2015, including fire prevention and Alzheimer’s research.
“The county will add a third helicopter to its firefighting fleet,” Jacob said. “Since 2003, the county has spent nearly $320 million to bolster fire protection across the region and it continues to make improvements. For example, 2015 will be the first full year that Poway and other communities will have access to San Diego-based night-flying helicopters for water drops and other emergencies.”
Roberts said he plans to continue strengthening his relationships with city and regional fire officials to protect communities that interface with wildland areas.
The supervisors said they will work together on The Alzheimer’s Project, a regional initiative started last year to help the elderly. This will include launching a ratings system for residential care facilities, which will give families a new tool to find quality care for their elderly loved ones. They also plan on ramping up efforts to find a cure and help Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers.
Also in the healthcare realm, Roberts said he will continue to advance improvements to the county’s mental health system.
Roberts said he plans to continue working closely with the North San Diego Business Chamber to promote economic development in Rancho Bernardo and along the Interstate 15 corridor through methods like the chamber’s Think Local First initiative. He also wants to continue providing networking opportunities for small-business owners to connect with purchasing officials from government agencies and big companies.
He also wants an expansion of the county’s Property Assessed Clean Energy initiative, saying some of the private companies most-involved with it are based in Rancho Bernardo and they provide good jobs.
In 4S Ranch, Roberts said he plans on continuing his work with residents to install traffic safety controls, such as the resident-requested stop signs installed last year to keep neighborhood streets safe.
He also mentioned being pleased that a county park is to open in 4S Ranch, offering modern ballfields with artificial turf, and said he is working with the community’s homeowner’s association to negotiate a possible expansion of the 4S Ranch Library.
Jacob said among improvements that will affect Poway residents is the county completing its purchase of 100 acres for the Sycamore Canyon/Goodan Ranch Preserve near Poway.
“The acquisition is part of a broader county effort to preserve native habitat and create a network of regional trails for the public,” she said. “The preserve will host events throughout the year, including nature hikes and stargazing.”
She also mentioned the county’s $375,000 contribution toward remodeling the Poway Library, which is set for completion this spring; and funding it giving to local organizations, including the Poway Historical and Memorial Society, Poway Performing Arts Company, Friends of the Poway Library and the Poway Center for the Performing Arts Foundation.
At the state level, Assemblyman Brian Maienschein — who represents Rancho Bernardo, 4S Ranch and Poway — said he will be focusing on higher education, public safety, the economy, jobs and drought.
“The rising cost of a college education is becoming an increasing burden on our students,” he said. “That is why I’m supporting Assembly Bill 42, which would relieve the financial burden on working students and families by freezing the cost of tuition at schools like San Diego State and Cal State San Marcos while the Proposition 30 education tax increases remain in effect.”
Maienschein said his constituents are fortunate to live in one of the safest areas of the state, but San Diego County still faces significant public safety challenges, such as human trafficking.
“Last year, I authored a new state law to double the maximum sentence for those soliciting minors in prostitution,” he said. “I am committed to continuing that work of protecting our youth and strengthening public safety locally and throughout the state.”
Like Roberts, Maienschein said he also supports the Think Local First initiative and plans to promote similar policies to grow the economy in San Diego and communities throughout the state while chairman of the assembly’s Local Government Committee. “Protecting California jobs will continue to be a top priority for me,” he said.
Regarding the drought, he said experts agree that will be California’s norm for the foreseeable future and he is advocating conservation. “Every drop of water we can save today is a drop we can use tomorrow,” he said.
At the national level, Rep. Scott Peters, who also represents all local communities, said in 2015 he sees three areas ripe for action — making Congress work for the country again, creating jobs and promoting the region’s innovative sectors, and honoring promises to veterans.
“Congress is broken, and needs reform so that it gets back to working for you,” Peters said. “I will be focused on making No Budget, No Pay — the idea that if Congress doesn’t pass a budget, it shouldn’t get paid — permanent.”
He also mentioned reducing inefficiency, waste and unnecessary spending in the federal government; and reviewing regulations to make sure they are helping spur growth instead of delaying or stifling it.
“While the economy continues to recover and job-creation picks up, Congress must get its act together, look to the future and avoid the self-inflicted crises that have kept our country from its full potential,” Peters said. “Reducing the national deficit, passing common-sense tax reform, making college affordable, building resiliency against wildfires and other natural disasters, and upgrading our nation’s crumbling infrastructure will help the economy grow.”
Regarding veterans and their families, he said the country “must honor the promises we made.” He said one of 2014’s highlights was a package of reforms to the Department of Veterans Affairs that he helped pass.
“But that must only be the beginning of a sustained effort to reform the culture of complacency at the VA,” Peters said. “Our veterans deserve better.”