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Riverside County Supervisor Kevin Jeffries updates community on county news

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.

By Kevin Jeffries

Trash Getting Expensive
The state (via Senate Bill 1383, passed in 2016) is mandating that cities and counties implement new trash collection standards specifically for food/organic waste. Once fully implemented, many of us could have yet another trash bin at the curb for discarded food and other non-recyclable organic waste.

The local trash haulers are under the gun to put together their food pick-up plan and to tell the cities and counties exactly how much more they want (or need) to increase our monthly rates in order to accomplish this statewide mandate. Any city or county that fails to implement the new plan will receive substantial fines from the state. Details are all pending but stay tuned.

Homeless Getting Wired?
One of the many bridges serving the City of Riverside has some major telephone/cable lines hidden within the bridge structure that provides phone/internet service to large swaths of the city. Despite ongoing efforts to find housing and/or to move them along, some of the homeless prefer camping out under the bridge in the river bottom.

Unfortunately, copper wire has a cash value on the street, and the homeless are reportedly cutting the phone lines to cash in on the copper. This ongoing criminal conduct has gotten the attention of local law enforcement agencies and social services, but nothing is ever as easy as it ought to be. So, if you live or work near the downtown area and your phones go dead, it might not be that you failed to pay your bill.

Less-than-Lethal Needs Special Approval
For many years, local county and city law enforcement agencies have been utilizing Less-Than-Lethal weapons and tactics to help control riots, looting, and some stand-off situations. The California Legislature recently adopted AB 481 which lists various law enforcement materials (rubber bullets, tear gas, bullet-resistant vests, drones, armored vehicles, etc.) that now must be specially authorized by the local elected legislative body for continued use by law enforcement. 

This itemized public hearing and vetting process could result in some pretty rancorous public hearings when pro-Law and Order and Defund the Police folks both show up to speak their minds. 

Crawling Freeways
Two local freeways are getting some important help. For those of you who travel I-10 through Banning/Cabazon, you know that when the 10 shuts down due to a major traffic accident, you are STUCK. Well, the good news is a bypass road (next to the freeway) is now officially in the hopper to be approved and constructed. It will offer a long-overdue alternate route should the freeway be shut down. It’s going to take some extended time to obtain all the approvals and construct, but it’s looking better. 

And, for those of you who travel south on the 15 Freeway from Corona towards Temescal Valley/Lake Elsinore, the “temporary” addition of one southbound I-15 lane from Cajalco to Weirick is one step closer to beginning work in a month or two and should be done by the end of this year. The longer-term bigger fixes may take decades to obtain approvals and construct.  

Wall Time Gets Worse
Last month, I mentioned the very significant impact at a handful of local hospitals that have been and continue to be overwhelmed with incoming patients who are being brought in by ambulance and how those ambulances are being held up (for hours) waiting for the patient to be accepted (admitted) by the hospital.

When this matter was taken up at a recent Board of Supervisors meeting, nearly every single fire chief from across the county attended to express how gravely the situation has become (occasionally some medical emergencies have NO ambulance available to respond). The California Hospital Association has also weighed in to explain/defend the situation and our regulatory environment in California ties the hands of hospitals.

I don’t personally know the answer yet, but I do know that several of our local hospitals that have high patient loads (including our county hospital/RUHS) do NOT have the same problems as others, so someone has figured out how to make it work. Stay tuned.

As always, feel free to write. I do read nearly every email sent to me (except the vulgar nasty ones that have a special file for them).  Just remember that I have roughly 480,000 constituents in the First District to listen to.

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