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By Miriam Raftery

Photos: Supervisor Dianne Jacob spells out her goals for future; Dave Roberts, left, prepares to take oath as his children look on.

January 8, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – For the first time in 19 years, a new County Supervisor, Dave Roberts, has been elected.  At yesterday’s swearing in ceremony,  East County Supervisor Dianne Jacob also made history, becoming the longest serving woman on the Board. 

Jacob made clear that she hopes to have an ally in the newly elected Supervisor—particularly on energy issues and protection of the backcountry. Roberts pledged support for preserving open spaces and working to develop a county utility as an alternative to SDG&E.

“I’m really looking forward to working with Supervisor Dave Roberts and Mayor Filner on energy issues , bold proposals,  in a way that is smart and best serves the people and our businesses,” Jacob said. “Clean efficient solar panels -- added to rooftops in our communities -- would help make us energy self-sufficient without ruining our backcountry.  This month, I’m having solar panels installed on my home in Jamul.  I really look forward to not having to pay another SDG&E bill -- this year or ever.” 

Jacob also cited the importance of working to “retain the beauty and character of our backcountry communities while planning for responsible growth.”

She pledged to also make strengthening fire protection a priority, while praising progress that the County has made on fire protection, including formation of a County Fire Authority and keeping 50 rural fire stations open.  Other priorities for Jacob include making neighborhoods safer , providing more parks and hiking trails, and building a library in Alpine.

Dave Roberts, who replaces retiring Pam Slater-Price, listed his goals for the year.  Noteworthy for East County, where open spaces are under assault by a barrage of big energy projects, among his goals are “working to protect and sustain our fragile environment” including preserving open spaces such as the San Diego River Park and Mission Trails. He also voiced support to “protect neighborhoods from over development” while supporting wise land use planning.

In addition, he pledged to work toward improving “quality of life” and voiced his intent to “invigorate our county’s solar industry and reduce dependence on fossil fuels” by building a solar industry that will create good jobs. 

He also made clear that he supports “investing in a county utility alternative to provide 100% green alternatives,” a reference to a local energy alternative also supported by Mayor Bob Filner that would purchase power from locally-produced rooftop and parking lot solar—not remote projects in rural, mountain and desert areas.

Roberts, the first Democrat elected to the Supervisors board in decades, also promised “strong fiscal discipline” and vowed to protect taxpayers and defend ratepayers, while also assuring that those eligible for county services have the opportunity to receive them. In addition, he pledged  a review of the county’s foster and adoptive services to assure protection of children, as well as support for veterans.

He pledged to show respect for county employees including visiting their workplaces to say thank you. He also promised to represent the interests of the county as a whole, in addition to constituents in his district.  “You can always count on me and trust me to do my very best for the public good,” the new Supervisor said.

Also sworn in yesterday following his reelection was Supervisor Greg Cox, who quipped that he felt “like a mosquito at Black’s Beach—I don’t know where to begin.” Cox is likely to be the swing vote on many key issues impacting our region. 

Cox said his goals include making safety of homes and families a top priority, citing the state’s shifting of responsibilities for prisoner monitoring and incarceration onto the county.  He ants to create good jobs to foster economic recovery, adding he believes that our region “will overcome economic recession.”  He views our region’s high tech and biotech industries as strengths, along with our many small businesses. 

He pledged “good stewardship of public  resources” citiy a Californai Coastal trail segment and the Bayshore Bikeway as examples. He also said he wants to “strengthen the health and  social services safety net” particularly for abused children. 

Cox thanked Mayor Filner for his commitment to “partner closely with the County for the good of all people” such a the Mayor’s pledge to coordinate communications systems, noting the importance of that particularly during disasters. 

The inauguration was held at the new County Operations Center conference room, where the planning commission normally meets, to accommodate a standing-room-only crowd.  The facility includes LEED certified gold and platinum buildings, with features such as solar panels atop a parking garage and a rooftop garden as part of the County’s commitment to meet the state’s renewable energy mandates and support sustainability.




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