Here is a space to introduce the section on Supervisor Jim Desmond's key issues.
A balanced transportation system is critical to meet 21st Century needs. Freeways and roads are the backbone of our transportation system and essential to our economy. A commonsense approach to a future transportation system includes a functioning road network. While public transit works in some areas, our highway system allows North County to thrive and is a necessity.
In 2004, San Diegans voted to extend a half-cent sales tax for 40 years starting in 2008. In exchange SANDAG promised to relieve traffic congestion by making critical highway improvements to the 78, 67, 94, 125, 805 and 52, and many other major San Diego County highways. Those promises have been unfulfilled while public transit has received the majority of the dollars. In order to relieve traffic and make everyone’s commute faster, the freeway projects that have been promised to all San Diegans, must be finished!
SANDAG, the State of California and the Federal Government are looking at a new tax that will affect all San Diegans. Their proposal is a ‘road charge,’ which if approved, San Diegans would be charged a set price for every mile traveled within the State of California. The money collected from vehicle drivers would then be used to pay for public transportation.
Currently, the push from SANDAG and the State of California is to fund trains and trolleys, a transportation method that peaked in the 1800’s. Instead, we should be focusing on future technologies that will make our commute easier and safer.
Self-driving cars are closer than they’ve ever been, but to make them a reality, we must invest in technology that allows the cars to “speak” to each other. As an airline pilot for 33 years, we’ve had this technology for a long time; aircraft letting each other know where they are positioned, thus avoiding collisions. That technology exists in cars right now and is being tested through pilot programs in cities across the country. San Diego County should be at the front of the line looking at the latest means of transportation.
Also, as a Board member for the North County Transit District, one of my biggest worries is the Del Mar Bluffs and the adjacent rail line. This is the 2nd most traveled rail line in the Country and it’s a huge transporter of goods and items, along with people. We have already seen several bluff collapses over the years and it’s only a matter of time before something devastating happens. SANDAG is putting dollars towards temporarily fixing the issue, but this needs a permanent solution, the tracks need to be fixed.
Americans like freedom. Families need flexibility. We like going where we want to go, and when we want to go there. Public transportation, while useful in some areas, doesn’t work for the entirety of San Diego County, which is why only 3.5% of San Diegans use it. When it comes to spending billions of taxpayer dollars we should be investing in our future, not the past.
San Diego County and the State of California have spent hundreds of millions of dollars helping those who are experiencing homelessness. However, we continue to see the problem expand with no visible results. In fact, it seems more widespread and worse. So, what can we do?
I believe that the majority of those who are experiencing homelessness struggle with substance abuse. As a society, we have gone from one extreme – the war on drugs, by incarcerating anyone using or selling drugs- to the other extreme of allowing people to abuse drugs on our sidewalks.
Many people are fed up with this situation, as it’s impacting their businesses, recreation areas, freeway onramps and overpasses, and the blight from the incredible amount of garbage that is produced by encampments. I don’t blame them!
A lot has been made about the “Housing First” model which promotes putting those on the street into free housing, but this allows them to continue their drug and alcohol abuse. Shelters and free housing should not be a revolving door. We must have accountability, with treatment and incentives, to get people out of the addiction cycle. San Diego County needs to be willing to enforce removing people out of encampments and into treatment.
It’s simply inhumane to allow people to live like this on the streets. As a society – we can do better. Some may say it’s inhumane to force people off the streets and into treatment, but I think it’s more inhumane to keep people on the streets.
On April 6th, 2021 I initiated action to provide 15 new staff members to support North County cities and those experiencing homelessness. This developed a pilot program for North County, which provides an outreach staff and highly qualified social workers in each city. This has provided those needing assistance with the help they need.
On September 30th, 2021 I led the effort along with the City of Vista to build a Crisis Stabilization Unit. Many living on the streets are suffering from behavioral health issues, often from addiction and this is a place where families and the police can take someone that is having a mental health issue, because the emergency room is not for them.
When it comes to homelessness in North County, we don’t need more expensive programs; we need more effective programs!
San Luis Rey River Park
The San Luis Rey River Park is a master plan which will include two park sites and a multi-use trail that will go from I-15 to Oceanside. The two park sites are located in Fallbrook and Bonsall.
The Fallbrook Park site is 68 acres and is located off of Dulin Road next to I-15. The Park will include recreational ball fields, trails, a frisbee golf course, dog park, and picnic areas.
The Bonsall Park which is located at the former golf course San Luis Rey Downs off of Camino Del Rey. The Bonsall Park Plan includes: 2 basketball courts, 3 baseball fields, 2 tennis courts, 4 soccer fields, a tot lot playground, a youth playground, a bike course, a skate park, a dog park, picnic areas open space, shade structures, restrooms, miles of trails, and landscaped areas.