09/20/19

Newsletter September 2019

                                                        SANDAG Reality Check

SANDAG Reality Check

On September 6th, SANDAG laid out its 2020 Capital Improvement Program highlighting the projects it will fund over the next seven years. Most of those dollars come from the 2004 TransNet half-cent sales tax. In July, I successfully advocated to prioritize important projects promised with that extra tax, like highways 67, 78 and 52. However, the amount of funds SANDAG allocated for them fell far short of what it would cost to improve and repair them so I asked for a larger portion of money for the construction phase. 
 
I have been a tireless advocate for double tracking rail service and increasing the frequency for the Coaster since my days as an Encinitas City Council Member 10 years ago. Funding for two tracks was another important project specified in the 2004 TransNet initiative but shockingly, there was no money earmarked for the trains themselves. For this piece of the transportation plan to move forward, it's crucial that we also designate money for the trains. I strongly believe we must have a balanced transportation strategy that includes highways and public transportation improvements.
 
I shared more details on the flawed 7-year funding plan in my interview with 760 AM's Mark Larson: CLICK HERE
 
Thank you to those who attended the SANDAG meeting and those who spoke out on StopTransNetRaid.com. We successfully showed where we stand on the plan and laid out our expectations for the next steps. This item will come back for a final vote and for a budget amendment to initiate these changes. I will continue to champion for our roads and work to make sure the final plan includes our highway projects. 

                                                   Restoring Mental Health Services 

The SANDAG Sage Continues

After more than a year of difficult conversations and negotiations, the County Board of Supervisors reached a tentative agreement with Tri-City Medical Center to restore its inpatient psychiatric unit at its Oceanside campus. The deal was approved at the September 10th Board of Supervisors meeting and involves building a new 16-bed facility.

While this is a step in the right direction, if we are to truly evolve the entire system, we must provide more access to behavioral health services throughout the region. I am urging city council members from our 18 municipalities across San Diego County, to step up and help facilitate siting these critical services in their communities. We need preventative care. Let's not wait for people to hit that point of crisis. Let’s invest in a coordinated system that has a therapeutic approach rather than one that reacts to the crisis. My fellow Supervisors and I look forward to seeing a final agreement with Tri-City in January. I would like to thank Supervisor Jim Desmond and County staff for their help in making this tentative partnership a reality. 

                                                    Rucking for Our Veterans 

Helping Rescue Sex Trafficking Vicitms

What better way to honor our military and say thank you than to hike 6 miles in their boots... strapped with heavy backpacks filled with supplies like they do. Hundreds of high school football players from Rancho Bernardo, Westview, Torrey Pines, and Mt. Carmel sacrificed their Saturday morning to hike with active and transitioning veterans in the 8th annual Team Red, White and Blue San Diego Ruck for Veterans. The supplies will be donated to Veterans Village of San Diego who will then distribute them to homeless veterans. What an incredible collaboration! Go Team RWB! 

                                                Local Teen Uses Nanoparticles to Win 1st

Helping our Transitioning Veterans

Westview High School freshman Kara Fan is a force to be reckoned with! She wanted to find a way to kill bacteria in a minor wound without using antibiotics. Kara's idea involved using copper or silver nanoparticles in the form of a liquid bandage. The teen entered her project in the Greater San Diego Science Fair and the judges loved it so much she won first place in the microbiology category. Kara was also one of 10 finalists in the 3M Young Scientist Challenge 2019. I was so impressed with this ambitious young lady, I wanted to thank her for her innovation with a certificate of recognition, presented at her school by my community representative, Anthony George. Congratulations Kara!