District 1 Supervisor Kevin Jeffries provided the following updates in his August newsletter:
Some Good News! Well, Sort Of. Let me start by saying this one is a little awkward to celebrate because it comes from our pocketbooks, but in a world that seems upside down a little too often lately, at least one segment of our Southern California economy is not faltering. Mr. Peter Aldana, your elected Riverside County Assessor/Tax Collector reports the taxable value of all property in Riverside County for the current year grew to $320 billion, an $18 billion increase. This year’s tax roll—a list of all taxable property, its owner, and its value as of January 1—will generate more than $3.2 billion for local government services, about 20 percent of which goes to county government. While those figures are based on property values pre‐COVID, the other good news is that according to the Realtor’s Association, median home prices are up six percent over last year at this, even with the COVID effects. Good news is, with Prop 13 protections all in place, existing property owners will not be hammered with big increases in taxes as a result. www.asrclkrec.com.
The New County Fire Chief is Chief Bill Weiser. Chief Weiser has enjoyed a long Cal Fire career in our growing County. During his 39‐year career, he worked his way up through the Cal Fire ranks in Moreno Valley, Perris, Temecula, and the Training Bureau to name just a few. Riverside County (and many cities) contract with the State of California/Cal Fire (formally CDF) to provide our county with a professional all‐hazards fire service. The firefighters and chiefs are state employees, while many of the admin, support, and dispatch employees are county employees. The entire fire service is feeling the impacts of COVID, budget challenges, social changes and of course our never‐ending fire seasons. I’ve known Chief Weiser starting way back in my volunteer fire service days and I believe he will be a great Chief for our entire county and contract cities. Rest assured, Chief Weiser will be earning his pay! Congratulations Chief. For more information see www.rvcfire.org.
The Glorious Fireworks Fiasco. I’ve been a resident of Riverside County since 1971 (estimated population at the time 460,000. Today 2.4 million). I’ve never in my life seen so many airborne fireworks as I did this past July 4. And they did not come from the professional shows that were mostly canceled all across the county and state. Our local sheriff and fire department leaders both reported to the Board of Supervisors an unprecedented record‐breaking (in a bad way) level of 911 calls and fire‐related emergencies. This was on top of the routine fires and medical emergencies that occur every day. Many residents reported long delays getting through to 911 or the non‐emergency lines. The fire departments across our county reported well over 100 fires going, with a few wildland fires near Lake Mathews and not having any available fire engines to respond for a period of time. On July 14, the board of supervisors agreed that it was necessary for our county to reevaluate our countywide practices, prevention programs, and fines in order to discourage future illegal fireworks. This could result in stronger enforcement and confiscation, larger fines, enhanced public awareness education, and maybe, just maybe, designating certain improved community parks and facilities for families to enjoy Safe and Sane fireworks that won’t scare the family pets or endanger nearby homeowners.
COVID Updates. I receive emails and phone calls nearly every day regarding COVID. Many are demanding that the orders imposed by the state need to be strengthened, while others insist they be loosened or eliminated. Sometimes it’s that the COVID stats seem askew or are under‐reporting or over‐reporting key information. Much of the population of the First District seems very engaged in this issue, but also very much on complete polar opposite sides when it comes to what the government should be doing or should not be doing. And just about everyone is mad! There is an incredible amount of raw emotion being shared by all sides. I have a friend of the family who also serves as a county supervisor in Arizona and she reports that the situation and emotions are nearly identical in her state. People are worried about their health or the health of a loved one, about their jobs, their kids’ education, and their rights. If you want to keep an eye on all the County statistics, simply utilize the following Riverside County Public Health link: www.rivcoph.org/coronavirus. And may I boldly suggest, turn the TV off for a while and get outside and enjoy some walks or hikes, or perhaps even the company of some family or old friends in a safe manner. And yes, I know I will get nastygrams for even suggesting this.
The Annual U.S. Census. Let’s say your community needs a flood control channel, perhaps a health care clinic, or some funding from Community Development Block Grant funds to help build a senior center or a child care facility. Perhaps you live fairly close to the boundaries of an elected official (city, county, state, or federal) that you would like to have represent you, well completing the census just might be able to help with some of these examples. The flow of your federal tax dollars, the boundaries of elected officials, and a host of other government-related programs and services depend in large part on how many people fill out and return the census questionnaire. Go online to: www.2020census.gov.
As always, feel free to write and offer suggestions to improve county services. I read nearly all of them! Please note that the really vulgar emails don’t make it to my desk. They enjoy a special filing cabinet next to the printer.
Kevin Jeffries represents District 1, which includes about 450,000 residents and encompasses the cities of Wildomar, Lake Elsinore, Canyon Lake, and most of the City of Riverside. The district also covers the unincorporated communities of DeLuz, Gavilan Hills, Good Hope, Lake Hills, Lake Mathews, LaCresta, Mead Valley, Meadowbrook, Spring Hills, Temescal Valley, Tenaja, Warm Springs, and Woodcrest.
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