County Supervisor Kevin Jeffries updates community on Perris Fairground, political contributions, trash, fire hazards

Riverside County First District Supervisor Kevin Jeffries. Photo by Canyon Lake Insider.

The following updates were provided by Riverside County District 1 Supervisor Kevin Jeffries. District 1 encompasses the cities of Canyon Lake, Wildomar, Lake Elsinore, most of the City of Riverside, and several unincorporated communities.

Not So Fair?
Have you ever enjoyed activities at the Perris Fairgrounds? Perhaps caught a concert or a sprint car race at the Perris Auto Speedway? The sad news is that all the wonderful family activities at the fairgrounds are reportedly in danger of being lost for the next eight plus or minus years.

The fairgrounds are located adjacent to the Lake Perris Dam, which needs improvements. The CA Department of Water Resources is reportedly in charge of the project and has received hard-hitting criticism for its alleged poor communications and/or lack of concern for the businesses, tourism, jobs and revenue that will be lost if the construction site footprint temporarily (for 8 years?) takes over a large portion of the fairgrounds.

The County obviously has no control over State-owned facilities, but we are promptly engaging with the state in an effort to preserve this important regional facility (and improve dam safety). Stay tuned!

Political Contributions
The flow of campaign contributions is about to undergo a big change, maybe for the best, but maybe not. We all pretty much subscribe to the view that large campaign contributions to political candidates can be corrosive if a candidate does not have a good moral compass to guide them.

A new state law (SB1439) was recently passed that will “sort-of” limit contributions from some sources to $250 or less to local government candidates. I say “sort-of” because candidates can still accept the larger contributions, but if they do, they will not be able to vote on matters involving either licensing, permits or other entitlements from the big donor for 12 months. This change will undoubtedly have a notable impact on big-money players with large developments.

The one downside to this change is that it will likely drive the large contributors underground. How would that be legal, you ask? They are called PACs (Political Action Committees), or IEs (Independent Expenditures) from business and/or
union groups that have different (read: less) timely public reporting/disclosure standards compared to individual candidates. The money may still flow, we just won’t be able see it so clearly or timely. Welcome to Political Whack-a-Mole!

Trash and Graffiti
Last month, I reported on the continuing efforts by community and church groups to help with community clean-ups in our communities. If you want to see a neighborhood take a quick nose-dive, just let the graffiti and illegally dumped trash go unchecked.

Residents quickly become discouraged (and outraged) when it appears that nobody cares. Business/property owners have a legal responsibility to keep their properties clean, and the government has a responsibility to keep its roadways
and facilities from being trashed. In our First District Office, we aim to hold the taggers and illegal dumpers criminally accountable, in addition to having all parties (property owners and county government) accountable for staying on top of the clean-up efforts (we do not have a say within city boundaries).

Just a week or so ago, the rural community of Good Hope (near Perris) had a community clean-up day. Church groups, volunteers, and county and trash company workers all pitched in to help clean up. Almost 700 discarded tires were
collected and over 200 residents brought trash and discarded items in their trucks and trailers to the drop-off site.

Another community clean-up will be held in the rural community of Mead Valley on November 19. Our communities are worth fighting for, so lend a hand when you can!

Fire Hazards
Suppose for the moment that you live in an unincorporated community and located directly behind your home is a field full of dried-out weeds that pose an immediate fire hazard to your home and property. The odds are the owner of the field would be promptly cited, and if the weeds were not cleared, a contractor would be hired by the county to mow down the weeds.

Now, change out that field of weeds for a field of illegally stacked wooden pallets, hundreds, perhaps thousands brought in by a pallet business with no permit, no spacing, and no fire hydrants. That is a tinder box waiting for a tragic spark.

You can stop imagining because that is actually occurring in a handful of communities. I cringe when I drive by those locations because every neighboring house is at risk.

The next problem is that our County Ordinances are so inadequate that it can take the county years to force the landowner to clear away the pallets. I have publicly challenged our County Counsel, Fire Marshal, and Code Enforcement to find a new legal path to speed up the process and protect adjacent homes. Let’s see if they
collectively step up and make a difference before a tragedy occurs.


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