News Release


DATE: February 4, 2004

CONTACT STEVE SCHMIDT AT 619-531-4766 or 619-206-9108



SANTEE - The horror of the October 2003 Firestorms should persuade the County's 64 separate fire departments to put aside parochial interests and work toward one regional unified firefighting entity, Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Dianne Jacob said Wednesday night in the 2004 State of the County Address.

"Some don't agree. They say, 'Why should I care about the under funded fire district miles away?" Jacob told the packed crowd at West High School Performing Arts Center in Santee. "I say, 'You have to care. You've seen the consequences of the status quo.'"

Jacob devoted much of the annual address to measures aimed at improving regional fire protection. She also elaborated on ways the County plans to withstand financial challenges brought about by the State financial crisis. She expressed faith in two lawsuits the County filed against the State yesterday for failing to reimburse local taxpayers for more than $31 million in mandated programs as required by the California Constitution.

In addition, Jacob took aim at the March ballot initiative Proposition A, the highly-addictive stimulant methamphetamine and the State of California for failing to make its registry of convicted sex offenders available to parents over the Internet.

"The single most important thing we can do for the people of this region is to keep County government financially sound," Jacob said responding to a State budget proposal that would take $55 million in local property tax dollars. "Like any family facing lean budget times, we are reordering our budget priorities. We will direct our resources to places where they have the ability to do the most good for the most people," Jacob said.

Jacob said she would ask her colleagues to support State Propositions 57 and 58 on the March 2 ballot and said the County must help the Governor Schwarzenegger to "keep the State alive."

"We either get on the bus to a more disciplined financial future. Or, we get run over by the bus of bankruptcy and despair," she said.

Jacob renewed calls to increase brush management in the Backcountry. She said she would work to change onerous State and Federal environmental rules that she said were preventing the proper management of wildland areas.

"Over-zealous regulations have cultivated a Backcountry full of overgrown brush. Getting rid of this dangerous kindling takes years bureaucratic paperwork, just to get started," she said.

Jacob announced plans to ask her colleagues to officially oppose Proposition A, a land-use ballot measure that Jacob said would undermine the County's community-based General Plan 2020 update.

"Prop. A would rip land use planning out of the hands of communities and stuff it into a one-size-fits-all ballot box," Jacob said. It "...thwarts the desire of rural residents to shape their own communities. It doesn't even give GPA 2020 a chance to succeed or a chance to fail."

As founder of the County's Methamphetamine Strike Force, Jacob said she was concerned about the increasing number of female lawbreakers testing positive for the stimulant.

"I will join forces with District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis to explore the dangerous bond between meth use and female lawbreakers. We will convene a summit and develop an arsenal of calculated aways to target meth fueled crimes by women," Jacob pledged.

In addition, Jacob promised to "relentlessly badger" State officials to post its registry of convicted sex offenders on the Internet.

"The U.S. Supreme Court says parents are entitled to view this information over the Internet," Jacob said to much applause. "Moms and dads in some 40 States are busy using this powerful tool to keep their kids away from predators. California's database is incomplete and not on-line!"

In addition, Jacob discussed the proposal to extend TRANSNET, the half-cent sales tax used to reduce traffic congestion as well as Indian gaming issues.

The Address was underwritten by Allied Waste Industries, Cox Communications, EDCO, the Hartford Life Insurance Company, and SAIC.

The following businesses donated treats to a "Desserts of East County" reception after the event: Alpine Bread Basket, Annie Oakley's Cowboy Café, Branded Oak Restaurant, Experience Coffee, Golden Goose Coffee, Hooleys Irish Pub & Grill, Lake Cuyamaca & Edelweiss Restaurants, Mary's Donuts, Pat & Oscar's, Starbucks of Fletcher Hills, The Brigantine Family Restaurants, The Incredible Cheesecake Factory and the Julian Pie Company.