SUPERVISOR DIANNE JACOB
DATE: January 25, 2000
CONTACT STEVE SCHMIDT AT 619-531-4766 or 619-206-9108
SAN DIEGO -- A wide array of new Internet-based services and improved access to health insurance for County residents were among the initiatives outlined tonight by Chairwoman Dianne Jacob of the County Board of Supervisors during the annual "State of the County" address.
Jacob, addressing a crowd of more than 500 at West Hills High in Santee, said, "I am proud to report to you tonight that the state of San Diego County in the year 2000 has never been better."
In recent years, Jacob said, the County has strengthened its financial position, now boasting reserves of more than $300 million, and an A+ credit rating with Wall Street analysts.
One theme of the address was the County's pioneering contract for information technology services, which will put government at the fingertips of County residents and business owners any time of the day or night. In fact, the State of the County address itself was available over the Internet through a Webcast, a first for a government agency in San Diego County.
The County's information technology contract with Computer Sciences Corp. and the "Pennant Alliance" will mean dramatic improvements in services for County residents, Jacob said.
"This will enable San Diego County to become the first truly e-government. Residents who use the Internet will avoid driving, parking and waiting in line," Jacob said. New telephones, desktop computers and networks will make County workers more efficient, saving time and money for taxpayers. New software will improve such systems as payroll, human resources, accounting and property tax collections. Finally, the County will expand its offering of on-line services, which currently include permit applications, property tax payment and animal lost-and-found.
One of the biggest challenges facing the County, Jacob said, is meeting the transportation needs of a growing population. A regional planning process dominated by special interests deserves much of the blame for the region's traffic woes, Jacob said, and this system must be fixed. She said a proposal by State Sen. Steve Peace for a new regional planning agency headed by an elected board deserves serious consideration.
On the health care front, Jacob pledged to work in the coming year with providers to develop "pooled" group insurance rates for one-person businesses, and to expand coverage for families, foster parents and people who provide child care and elder care.
Jacob also said she wants to work with other local governments and the state Public Utilities Commission to avoid future area code "splits," which have proven frustrating for consumers and costly for businesses in San Diego County.
During the coming year, Jacob said, she will seek board approval to allocate $1.5 million for a countywide expansion of the sheriff's Gang Suppression Unit, which currently operates in North County. Regionwide, there are an estimated 8,000 members of some 80 different gangs.
Jacob's address also touched on initiatives to provide transportation for welfare recipients entering the workforce, an Intergenerational program to link seniors with kids and increased economic ties with Mexico.
Editor's note: The State of the County address will be broadcast on the County Television Network (CTN) at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 25; 2, 7 and 11 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 26; noon Thursday, Jan. 27; noon and 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 29; and 9 a.m. Friday, Feb. 4. CTN can be seen on Cox Communications, Channel 17, Time-Warner, Channel 22, and Daniels Cablevision, Channels 51 & 66.