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Kevin’s Corner                                                February 2020 - Volume 8, Issue 2

The Judge Wants You!  Superior Court Presiding Judge John W. Vineyard has put out the call for citizens who are able and willing to serve on the 2020-2021 Grand Jury in Riverside. Are you a good listener? Perhaps some inquisitive investigator-like skills? Simply want  good government? Go online to complete the Grand Jury application at:  www.riverside.courts.ca.gov.   While you are thinking about Volunteering, also consider volunteering to serve as a Poll Worker during the upcoming March election. For more information, visit the Registrar of Voters at: https://voteinfo.net/EOapp.asp. You actually get paid a little for helping make the democratic process work! See page 7 for more  information on these opportunities.

 

Pensions Costs Hit Home!  As CalPERS once again misses its investment return target to fully fund its guaranteed pension checks to retired employees, local governments all across our state will feel the financial pain of having to fill the financial void.  Riverside County will be one of those local governments feeling the pain as it writes an even bigger check (approximately $300 million more by 2023) to fill the CalPERS gap and broken promises. While many, including some in the media, wag their fingers at the local city councils and county supervisors for not “fixing” the problem, the fact is they cannot fix it. It (investment  policies and priorities and guaranteed retirement benefits) can ONLY be fixed or adjusted  by the CalPERS Governing Board, State Legislature and/or California  Supreme Court. Even though I do NOT accept a pension for my service as a County Supervisor, this growing issue has everyone concerned – both those who write the checks, those who receive the checks, and most certainly all of us taxpayers and residents who depend on affordable government services to keep our communities safe and  prosperous.

 

Cannabis Industry Taking A Nap?  In 2016, California voters (including a majority of  voters in Riverside County) gave the green light for legalizing and regulating cannabis retail facilities and cultivation.  That was immediately followed by hundreds of future cannabis entrepreneurs seeking approval from the State and County to open new retail facilities  and cultivation sites. In October 2018, the Board of Supervisors approved a regulatory framework and ranking system for the first round of applicants. Over a year later, a way forward in allowing the second round of applicants will likely be considered in March or April. At the same time, there are signs that the cannabis entrepreneurs are perhaps pulling back a bit.  A number of local cities have permitted retail facilities, and cannabis  deliveries to your home now cross city and county boundaries. But quite a few of those  applicants chosen to move forward last year haven’t aggressively pursued receiving their final permits, and surprisingly few have attempted to obtain cultivation and manufacturing permits. Has the lure of instant riches given way to the realities of steep business  regulations, high state taxes, and permitting challenges? The majority of us on the Board of Supervisors have shown little interest in relaxing zoning regulations and allowing new cannabis cultivation or retail facilities in any residential areas, so the potential for new sites remain pretty limited in our rural communities. Stay tuned as we all work our way through this new business sector.

 

Wildfire Escape Routes.  The First District office has been working with the Fire Department, Transportation staff and our Emergency Management Department to help the rural residents of  DeLuz, Tenaja and La Cresta (all located west of Temecula, Murrieta & Wildomar) prepare for large scale wildfires and the evacuations that follow (and the sometimes confusing or limited ways out to safety).  Many of these rural communities also have short-term rental (aka: special event) homes that can literally attract a hundred guests and their vehicles on very narrow brush-lined rural roads. This could be a recipe for disaster. If you live in one of these rural communities, please stay in touch with your HOA and/or our office for upcoming community meetings.

 

Respectfully,

Kevin Jeffries

First District Supervisor

 

 

Local District #1 Events

During the January Temescal Valley Municipal Advisory Council meeting, residents and local elected officials joined the Waste Management El Sobrante Landfill to congratulate the winners of the 7th Annual Temescal Valley America Recycles Day Calendar Art Contest.

Sponsored by a Waste Management Think Green Grant, the contest challenged children who live in the Temescal Valley area to depict the positive effects recycling has on the community.

During the contest awards ceremony, Supervisor Kevin Jeffries presented personalized certificates to the  winners and congratulated them for their environmental stewardship. Waste Management also gave the children prize bags and awarded a combined total of $2,000 in school donations to the top winners.

1st place and winner of $800 school donation: Amanda Long, El Cerrito Middle School

2nd place and winner of $600 school donation: Isabella Esquivel, Temescal Valley Elementary School

3rd place and winner of $400 school donation: Ashley Mosley, Todd Elementary School

4th place and winner of $200 school donation: Adeliz Lopez, Todd Elementary School