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First District News
Weekly Board Update
March COVID-19 Special Edition
Chapter Closes – You may have read that our County Chief Executive Officer, Mr. George Johnson, has announced his retirement. George has been working in government services for roughly 30 years. If you have ever worked with George, you know he is one of the nicest, most polite individuals you could ever meet. And being the County CEO has significant challenges: Managing over 20,000 employees, a half dozen or more labor groups, roughly $6 billion budget, complying with State mandated programs & spending, working with nearly 30 cities, and of course 5 elected County Supervisors, 1 elected Sheriff, 1 elected District Attorney, 1 elected Auditor-Controller, 1 elected Asessor-Clerk Recorder, and 1 elected Treasurer Tax Collector. What could go wrong? George will be missed by all. His departure of course opens another chapter for the next County CEO. The Board will soon be selecting a firm to conduct a local and nationwide search for a permanent replacement.
COVID – With COVID hospitalizations having fallen to April levels, and Riverside County having moved into the improved Red Tier level, many local businesses have reopened and/or moved back indoors, albeit with limited indoor seating in most cases. Many local residents have called upon the Board of Supervisors to “lift” the remaining restrictions on businesses, churches and others. The Board will hold a follow up discussion on this matter on Tuesday October 6th (sometime after 9:30am). For those advocating to lift the restrictions, the single biggest hurdle for such an effort is that the County of Riverside has NO county issued restrictions to lift on businesses, churches, schools, etc. All the restrictions are imposed by the State of California. Local counties and cities cannot legally lift restrictions issued by higher level government agency (only the courts can do that), and the school districts will determine when they will open their own schools once the Governor allows them to do so—not the county. If the County did tell business owners that they could fully open and to disregard state orders, local cities (where 70% of businesses are located) and the State could still enforce their own regulations. Additionally, for any professionals or businesses who are licensed by the State or have an ABC license, the personal or business licenses could be revoked or suspended by the State. Cal/OSHA is another potential legal hazard for employers defying state orders. Numerous lawsuits have been filed across the State to challenge the restrictions, but to date, no rules have been overturned in California. I believe a brief review of the lawsuits and their merits will occur at our meeting on Tuesday. It is important to note that there is no proposal before the Board to lift mask, social distancing or sanitizing requirements. The entire COVID response issue has our residents pretty well divided.
VOTING – Voting this year has been made a lot easier, but will it be better? Will it take longer to get results? Below I have listed some of the changes that you should expect this election season. Unfortunately, the State changes will not stop you from likely receiving campaign robo-calls the minute you sit down for dinner (only voting early can help get you off the call list of some big campaigns)!
The November 3, 2020 General Election model will be different this year, offering more ways to vote, and I have heard from many who have had concerns or questions. Here is information on the election model.
· All registered voters will receive a ballot by mail beginning Monday, October 5, 2020, whether you have requested it or not, as ordered by state law.
· Voters can verify their voter registration at www.voterstatus.sos.ca.gov or register to vote at www.registertovote.ca.gov.
· Your Vote-By-Mail ballot may be returned at any of the 80 secure “Ballot Drop-Off” locations that will be available beginning October 5, 2020 or via the postal service (no postage required).
· We will also be operating nearly 130 “Voter Assistance Centers” throughout Riverside County. You can vote in-person at any location from October 31 - November 3, 2020.
· A list of the Ballot Drop-Off locations and Voter Assistance Centers and other Riverside County election information will be posted at www.voteinfo.net. (1st district locations are listed on pages 9 & 10)
· You may track your ballot and when it has been received and when it has been counted by registering at https://california.ballottrax.net/voter/ .
· Contact the Riverside County Registrar of Voters at (951) 486-7200 with any questions or concerns.
An important recommendation that I would like to make is that IF your preference is to vote in person, please try to bring your (Vote-by-Mail) ballot to surrender to the poll workers and they will give you a new ballot. If you do not bring your Vote-by-Mail ballot with you, you may still vote, however, you may be given the option of a Provisional Ballot, and that will take longer (weeks) to be counted, as the Registrar’s office will need time to verify that the Vote-by-Mail ballot originally sent to you was not submitted.
Cajalco Construction Continues.....
The Cajalco widening project continues along Cajalco Road from Day Street to Brown Street. Pictured below is the new intersection at Day Street and Cajalco Road which will encompass a new traffic signal. The Cajalco & Clark intersection will be widened as well and will also include new signals and turn lanes. Not pictured is the Brown Street and Cajalco Road intersection, which is also being improved.