Photo by Kristen Huyck
About 120 residents turned out for the March 12 town hall meeting sponsored by county 1st District Supervisor Kevin Jeffries and the Temescal Valley Municipal Advisory Council (MAC). The event is held each year to update residents about what’s happening in the Valley and to explain county services available to them.
Below are key points discussed at the meeting by each county department representative and how to reach that person if you have a question. We’ve also included links to the department websites.
Riverside County Supervisor, District 1
Welcomed the audience and gave a quick review of his 15 months in office. He addressed future development in the Valley with the two questions he asks developers. 1. Is it compatible? 2. When are you going to present it to the MAC?
MICHELLE MARTINEZ BARRERA
This office is responsible for all property value assessments and is the keeper of all types of vital records — marriage, birth and death certificates. It also issues fictitious business name affidavits.
You can look up property values in your neighborhood by visiting the property sales viewer on the website and typing in an address. Here’s the link to that tool: http://www.asrclkrec.com/Assessor/AssessorServices/PropertyInformationCenter.aspx
This department collects all county taxes. Each year it mails 960,000 tax bills and receives 300,000 phone calls. The treasurer also is responsible for investments in the Treasurer’s Pool Investment Fund. Our fund totals $5.4 billion and has a triple-A rating. Remember the Orange County bankruptcy? Non-performing Investments in its fund eventually caused the bankruptcy.
CAPT. SHELLY KENNEDY-SMITH
Riverside County Sheriff
LT. ZACH HALL
Capt. Kennedy-Smith announced she had been with the Lake Elsinore station for about two years and had enjoyed working with Valley residents, but is joining the executive team for Sheriff Stan Sniff and will be leaving the local station. She said her replacement will be Capt. Leonard (Lennie) Hollingsworth and that Lt. Zach Hall will continue in his role as our community liaison. She said crime statistics just released for 2013 showed a decrease in Part I crimes — homicides, robberies, assaults, etc. She also noted the department continues to hire new deputies to reach the goal of 1.2 deputies per 1,000 people.
CHIEF TONY MECHAM
Riverside County Fire/ CalFire
Photo by Glen Nelson
Div. Chief Mecham apologized for County Fire Chief John Hawkins, who was ill and couldn’t attend the town hall. In the past and with his obvious love for what he does, Chief Hawkins has always been a “tough act to follow.”
Mecham explained that CalFire is the agency that serves as the Riverside County Fire Department. It employs about 2,000 people — 1,200 from state, 250 from county, 250-300 volunteers and an inmate crew of 300.
He said he is extremely concerned that the drought poses a serious threat this fire season and that 95 percent of the vegetation in our hills is dead. He also noted that the department is working on fuel modification for Sycamore Creek and Trilogy, and an evacuation plan for Dawson Canyon.
The department’s five-year plan calls for the reopening of Station 15 and moving it somewhere south of Weirick road. He said this could happen in two to five years.
Transportation Land Management Agency
The department is responsible for building, safety, roads and code enforcement, as well as transportation and land management. Currently, the environmental impact report is being prepared for the Cajalco Expressway widening project which will run from Temescal Canyon Road to Interstate 215. According to the county website, “project approval is anticipated by early to mid-2017. Construction would be scheduled to start following project approval, subject to securing funding.”
Perez urged Temescal Valley residents to attend MAC meetings. He said it was a MAC request that brought about the barriers on the 15 freeway along Knabe Road. The barriers reduce freeway glare for motorists on Knabe and offer some protection from freeway accidents that could impact homes and drivers on Knabe.
Starkweather said the department handles all types of enforcement issues including graffiti, illegal dumping and weed abatement. The Valley is served by the office at 17650 Cajalco Road — phone: 951-776-3233. He said once an enforcement complaint is filed, it takes the department 15 to 30 days to respond, unless it’s an emergency or public safety issue. “And we will cite,” Starkweather said. Violators will pay fines between $100 to $500 depending on how quickly the violation is remedied.
This department deals with issues such as hazardous materials, trash and sewage complaints, swimming pool inspections, vector control, standing water, and permanent year-round permitting for food trucks.
Registrar of Voters
The registrar’s office is responsible for voter regiastration and administering public elections. It also handles maps, precincts, polling places and petition signature verification, as well as recruiting and training election officers. Tinoco said that in even years the department oversees seven to 10 elections, but in odd years there could be anywhere from four to seven elections. He said the office currently is gearing up for the June 3 primary and recruiting the 3,000 volunteers needed on election day.
Photo by Glen Nelson
Riverside County Transportation
The commission is comprised of 34 members from each of the county’s cities and all five county supervisors, and administers the transportation funds.
Mayer said motorists should start noticing work on State Route 91 through Corona as the $1.3 billion widening project gets under way. The widening will add two lanes in each direction, plus an additional lane. She said by this summer the restriping of the westbound lane at the 91/15 interchange should be complete, easing the merging problems experienced at main street. The entire project should be finished in 2017 and will roll into the 15 freeway widening which will add two toll lanes from Cajalco road to State Route 60. She said the EIR for that project is being prepared now and people should check the public notices for the comment period.
Office of Aging
This department is dedicated to providing an enhanced quality of life for the county’s elderly and keeping people independent. Most of the programs offered are free of charge and the department deals with an annual 40,000-call volume. Services offered include support, nutrition, transportation, case management and employment. Support is also available for care givers and family members. The information call center phone number is 1-800-510-2020.
This department was formed in 1930 and has generated $18 million for veteran services. Popular programs include VA home loans, education, rehabilitation, life insurance and burial. Gautsche said he likes to think of the department as a “one stop for veterans’ needs.”
Economic Development Agency
This department with its 20 divisions has a huge task — improve the economy of Riverside County. A few of those divisions are workforce development, housing authority, library system, aviation, real estate service, and foreign trade.
Brandl said the Western County Bookmobile is at Deleo Park from 9 to 11 a.m. on Tuesdays. She said with a county library card people can download language courses and books, as well as check out books online.
Exhibitors at the town hall included:
Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez
Contact: Deni Horne
California Highway Patrol
El Cerrito Library
Contact: Nancy Reiter
Lee Lake Water District
Riverside County Flood Control
Riverside County Office of Emergency Services
Contact: Sandy Isom
Riverside County Park and Open-Space District
Riverside County Waste Management
Southern California Edison
Contact: Louis Davis
Southern California Gas Company
Contact: Lea Petersen
Waste Management Inc.
Landfill: (951) 277-1740
Contact: Miriam Cardenas
Hauling: (951) 280-5400
We are Temescal Valley
Contact: Eliza Echevarria