SUPERVISOR NATHAN FLETCHER DELIVERS MESSAGE OF UNITY & ACTION DURING 2ND ADDRESS, OUTLINES NEW OPPORTUNITIES TO TACKLE HOMELESSNESS, OFFER CHILDCARE & SUPPORT FAMILIES
Tonight Nathan Fletcher, Chair of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, delivered an inspiring message of unity, progress, and commitment to tackling the region's greatest challenges while never losing sight of the goal to build a better, brighter future that San Diego’s working families deserve.
“The State of San Diego County is strong. And getting stronger every single day,” Chair Fletcher said. “I’m not going to let anyone take us backward. I choose progress. I fight forward. And I hope you will join me because I know we can do it.”
Chair Fletcher talked about the difficulties the COVID-19 pandemic caused, the soaring costs of housing, gas, and food that affects working families, along with some past accomplishments, but he spent the majority of his approximately 40-minute address introducing a series of new, tangible actions the County of San Diego and its partners are pursuing. Chair Fletcher made more than 20 significant announcements:
Homelessness / Behavioral Health
- New Tent Shelter for Homeless at the County’s Rosecrans Complex: The County of San Diego, in partnership with the City of San Diego and Lucky Duck Foundation, will open a new 150 person shelter located at the County’s Rosecrans complex. The anticipated open date is July 1, 2022. The County is providing the land, public health, behavioral health, and eligibility services, the City will manage operations at the shelter, and the Lucky Duck Foundation has generously donated the tent structure.
- Standard Agreement for Partnership with 18 Incorporated Cities to Help Unsheltered: The County has created a standard agreement to streamline partnerships related to homelessness between the County of San Diego and incorporated cities. This agreement outlines what roles the County and the cities will perform for agreements related to a variety of homeless solutions including safe camping, safe parking, and tiny homes. The County will provide services such as behavioral health and public health services and the city will provide a location and operations.
- $10 Million in Grants to Support 18 Incorporated Cities for Service for the Unsheltered: In recognition that some cities do not have the resources available to acquire locations to provide services to those experiencing homelessness, the County will make $10 million available to help cities jumpstart more robust homeless services programs. More details will be announced.
- New Safe Haven Facility: A new low-barrier addiction treatment facility location will be announced in the near future in partnership with the City of San Diego. This effort is a continuation of the harm reduction efforts launched by the County’s Community Harm Reduction Team (CHRT) and the City’s operation of a harm reduction shelter at the old Pier One location in the Midway District. The County provides the CHRT team and addiction treatment services and the City manages the facility.
Working Families / Jobs / Economy
- New Warehouse Safety Ordinance for San Diego County: In partnership with Vice Chair Nora Vargas, Chair Fletcher this year will introduce a policy to ensure individuals working inside warehouses in San Diego County are protected against unsafe and unfair practices. This policy will help prevent corporations from creating dangerous working conditions and breaking health and safety laws.
- Overturn an Illegal Ban on Project Labor Agreements: Currently, the County of San Diego has a law on the books banning Project Labor Agreements, this ban is out of step with state law and exposes the County to lawsuits. The County’s current ban is illegal and Chair Fletcher will push to overturn the outdated County practice.
- Explore Living Wage Ordinance: San Diego County will ensure that contractors and partners are finding ways to balance profitability with the creation of good jobs that keep workers out of poverty.
- Hiring More Veterans in County Government: Chair Fletcher, a Marine combat veteran, announced he wants to double the number of veterans the County of San Diego hires and will work with Supervisor Jim Desmond, who is a Navy veteran, to create a new strategy to increase veteran hires. Currently, 6% of the County workforce are veterans.
- Regional Surplus Land Master Planning Initiative with $10 Million in Philanthropic Support: Chair Fletcher called for government agencies to work together to create a master plan for their surplus land and has recruited The San Diego Foundation and the San Diego Regional Policy & Innovation Center to lead the efforts. The $10 million from the San Diego Foundation will be used to launch this initiative. More details will be announced at a later date.
- Nearly 50% More Building Permits for New Housing: The County of San Diego is on track to issue more than 1,600 building permits for new housing this year, which is nearly 50% more than in 2021.
- Green-lighting Housing Development Free of VMT Fees: Balancing our priorities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with the need to maximize the supply of new housing development in the region, the County will open capacity for up to 4,000 units of housing development free of Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) costs.
- $100 Million From Opioid Settlement to Fight Addiction: The County of San Diego is on the verge of a settlement with Purdue Pharma that is expected to bring $100 million to the County that will be invested in more harm reduction, and addiction treatment services.
- Host County Opioid Addiction Convenings: Chair Fletcher announced he will work with Supervisor Joel Anderson – whose East County District has been hit hard by the opioid crisis – to determine the best way to leverage the $100 million settlement.
- Drug Deactivation Disposal Bags: Chair Fletcher wants to do more to help individuals properly dispose of leftover prescription drugs. He is seeking a way to provide drug disposal bags to households across the region. A person can clean out their medicine cabinet of old prescription drugs, put them in the pouch and add water for them to dissolve. Albany County currently requires new opioid prescriptions are accompanied by a drug disposal bag for leftover pills.
Childcare and Child welfare
- Regional Conference to Build A Framework for the Future of Childcare: Chair Fletcher has recruited the San Diego Chamber of Commerce and the San Diego Labor Council to serve as Co-Chairs and work with the County of San Diego to develop a coordinated regional plan for quality childcare.
- $10 Million for Childcare Workforce and Facilities: The County of San Diego has committed $10 million from federal COVID relief funds to increase the supply of childcare options in our region. This will come before the Board of Supervisors in Spring of 2022.
- First Childcare Center for County Employees: The County has dedicated $2 Million in funding to build a childcare facility on one of its properties to support its employees. The County employs more than 18,000 people.
- 88 Child Welfare Recommendations Completed for Improving Welfare Services & Reorganization of Department Underway: In 2018 a comprehensive audit created 88 recommendations to reform Child Welfare Services. Under Chair Fletcher’s leadership, all 88 recommendations have been implemented. To better serve our community this work will be continued in the creation of the Department of Child and Family Well Being. The new Department will streamline our family strengthening efforts with a focus on improving healthy equity for children and families.
- New Reenergized Commitment to Recruiting Foster Parents to “Faith in Motion” Program: Faith in Motion partners commit to working with their congregations and community to creatively support children, families, and care providers by utilizing resources and services available within their congregation. Meet with the Faith in Motion Coordinator and Schedule a presentation for your congregations. 1-877-792-KIDS (5437) www.sdcares4kids.com. Nineteen local congregations have signed up and Chair Fletcher is seeking more applicants.
- New Dual Engine Firefighting Helicopter: Chair Fletcher will introduce an emergency action to appropriate $15 million to purchase a dual-engine firefighting helicopter. Currently, the County relies on single-engine helicopters which cannot fly at night and carry as much water – former Supervisor Dianne Jacob originally introduced the idea of the County purchasing these helicopters over a decade ago.
Parks and Outdoors
- New Outdoor Experience Program at County-Run Regional Parks: The San Diego County Parks and Recreation Department will help facilitate “first-time” experiences in the County’s 25 regional parks by covering admission costs, providing the gear, instruction, and providing transportation assistance to individuals and families who may need. The program is designed to break down barriers to fun outdoor activities such as day and night hiking, fishing, kayaking and canoeing, bird watching, camping, and horseback riding.
What Others Are Saying about the State of San Diego County:
“I look forward to continue working with Chair Fletcher to keep moving our County forward after an incredibly difficult period,” said Nora Vargas, Vice Chair, San Diego County Board of Supervisors. “I appreciate and share the Chair’s commitment to providing our communities access to healthcare and resources to come back healthier. We also share a deep commitment to providing our small businesses and residents with economic opportunity so that we can build an even stronger economy that looks out for all San Diegans, not just some.”
“These encampments are not a humane or safe way for people to live. Unfortunately, they’ve become a part of the local landscape in Midway so I am pleased Chair Fletcher, city leaders, and the philanthropic sector are collaborating to bring a new 150-person shelter to the area,” said Dike Anyiwo, Chair, Midway-Pacific Highway Community Planning Group. “We look forward to working with them as this project moves forward to ensure our community understands our civic duty to help these vulnerable San Diegans.”
“Chair Fletcher has been a strong and vocal supporter of our region’s small businesses and creating local jobs,” said Jason Paguio, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Asian Business Association San Diego. “We appreciate and support the County’s efforts to continue supporting small businesses during the last couple of years, and strengthen our local economy by prioritizing worker health and safety.
“The cost of housing for San Diegans has skyrocketed, and Chair Fletcher is actively working to help hard-working individuals and families get into an affordable home,” said California State Assemblymember Chris Ward (D-San Diego). “His idea to bring together government agencies to create a master plan to build more affordable housing is necessary and an important step toward addressing the housing crisis in San Diego County.”
“Housing availability and affordability is crippling our economy, causing current generations of San Diegans to slip into poverty and homelessness, and forcing future generations to leave,” shared The San Diego Foundation President & CEO Mark Stuart. “We have partnered with Chair Nathan Fletcher and the County of San Diego to advance this initiative and are calling on corporations, foundations, and philanthropists to join us in our goal to raise $100 million so our nurses, teachers, technicians, and other working families have the opportunity to prosper, thrive and feel like they belong.”
“Chair Nathan Fletcher and the Democrat-led majority of the Board of Supervisors is driving a new culture at the County of action, accountability, and accessibility,” said Will Rodriguez-Kennedy, Chair, San Diego Democratic Party. “Chair Fletcher’s determined not to allow divisions that have formed in our Country and region to take us backward, he’s charging forward to build a brighter future for every single San Diegan.”
“Our County is headed in the right direction with Nathan Fletcher Chairing the Board of Supervisors, and in a short period of time, we have driven solutions on many challenging issues,” said Supervisor Terra Lawson Remer, San Diego County Board of Supervisors. “I am excited to work with him and our regional partners on creating an evidence-based regional master plan for tens of thousands of affordable, environmentally-friendly homes. It will be an important step toward solving one of San Diego’s most vexing issues.”
“Chair Fletcher is a strong advocate for our local union members. He appreciates the value they provide to San Diego County businesses and government agencies,” said Brigette Browning, San Diego Labor Council Executive Secretary-Treasurer and Unite Here Local 30 President. “We’re proud to collaborate with him on bringing more affordable childcare to the area, and making the jobs in that industry good-paying. Expanding our region’s childcare facilities & increasing the number of childcare workers is a win-win all-around.”
“The San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce is excited to serve as Co-Chair of Nathan Fletcher’s childcare expansion initiative,” said Jerry Sanders, President & CEO, San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. “It’s important our region’s workforce has access to quality childcare, and we help expand the network of childcare facilities available to employees. This effort will bring all of us together to identify solutions and deliver results to support businesses and families.”
“Nathan Fletcher got it right tonight when he said more unionized workers means our economy will be stronger, and San Diego’s families will benefit,” said Carol Kim, Business Manager, San Diego County Construction and Building Trades Council. “He’s fighting to help transition good-paying union jobs in the fossil-fuel industry to the clean energy jobs of tomorrow, and working to expand opportunities for new prosperous jobs in childcare workers – that’s the type of leadership required today.”
Chair Fletcher’s second State of San Diego County Address was delivered in front of an audience of more than 250 people at San Diego Community College’s Educational Cultural Complex Theater, along with those watching at home. San Diego Community College District Chancellor Carlos Turner Cortez delivered the introductory welcome. Pastor Terrell Fletcher from City of Hope International Church delivered the invocation. Chairwoman of the Jamul Indian Village Erica Pinto delivered a Land Acknowledgement. The national Anthem was performed by Mariachi Nueva Tradición San Diego.