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.
Happy HolidaysFirst, let me start on a happy holidays/merry Christmas note. Pretty much all the traditional toy collection efforts to help under-served kids will be continuing again this year in western Riverside County. Many fire stations will continue to participate in the Spark of Love toy collection efforts, as well as the California Highway Patrol with its CHiPs for Kids efforts. The Cops for Kids collection and distribution is a big one in portions of western Riverside County, and the board of supervisors and your county employees will have toy collection boxes in the 5th-floor lobby at the County Administrative Center in downtown Riverside.
For those of you who enjoy a live Christmas tree for the holidays, please remember that those beautiful trees can act like match sticks once they start drying out. Nearly every year, my wife and I obtain our live tree, with roots in the bucket, from the big tree farm near Woodcrest and we really enjoy the pine tree smell in the house. However, 24 hours after Christmas Day, it is out the door and into the ground. During my time as a volunteer firefighter, I saw far too many tragic house fires, so please be safe and keep them watered and then out the door as soon as possible.
Staff ChangesIn my First District office, my Director of Land Use Development Mr. Bob Magee is leaving our office and will be filling an interim position heading up the county’s Code Enforcement Department. Before coming to work for my office, Bob had significant experience in both the public and private sectors related to land use and code enforcement. With possible budget cuts coming next year, it’s going to be a tough job.
Moving over into Bob’s land use position will be Tom Ketcham from my staff. As well as having worked with Bob for the past eight years on development issues. Tom also has some private sector experience on land use items and should be able to fill Bob’s shoes.
On the county staff side, county CEO George Johnson will be retiring in a few weeks. Juan Perez from the Transportation Land Management Agency is serving as the interim county CEO. Charissa Leach has in turn bumped up within TLMA to head-up that organization as interim director. Patty Romo is retiring as the director of county transportation. Her position is being filled by Mark Lancaster, whom we stole away from the Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC). I’m a big stickler on getting dirt roads paved in our unincorporated communities, so now I have to start all over again twisting arms to continue with those efforts.
The VirusIt won’t go away, it won’t stop, and it keeps taking a toll on all of us (some more than others). For many, they, fortunately, will never experience it, but for some, it’s like any other nasty flu, for others it’s downright serious and requires hospitalization (our beds are rapidly filling up again), and for others it is deadly. As far as its economic impact, it has hit the lowest-income workers the worst, and for small business owners, it’s been everything from a troubling inconvenience, to a serious and expensive blow, to outright board-ups and/or bankruptcy.
I caught some grief last month when I speculated that we (Riverside County) would be locked in the state’s Purple Tier penalty box through Thanksgiving. Now I’m wondering if we are looking all the way to Valentine’s Day? I still believe the foreign country where this all started and spread from should be held accountable for this worldwide health and economic crisis – but I’m clearly in the minority on that one. CNN (news) did an opinion piece about that back in June 2020 and it was largely ignored. I just don’t get it.
In the meantime, while we all wait for a safe and effective vaccine to bail us out of this mess, let’s be careful out there! Can we more the show? As I wish you all a Merry Christmas, my parting question is: With all the professional Fireworks shows that were canceled back on July 4th, can we move them all to December 31st and celebrate with enthusiasm the end of 2020? Please!
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