New county supervisors join the board, Jacob named chair


Supervisor Kristin Gaspar passed the gavel as Dianne Jacob was voted chairwoman of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors at the Jan. 8 organizational meeting. The board also named Supervisor Greg Cox to serve as vice chairman and new District 5 Supervisor Jim Desmond as chairman pro tem.

Now serving in her seventh consecutive term, Jacob has held elective office longer than anyone in San Diego County government history. This will be her seventh time serving as chair of the board she was first elected to in 1992.

As Gaspar passed the gavel, she took an opportunity to look back on the accomplishments of her year as the chair. In her 2018 State of the County address, the District 3 representative had expressed her goals for the county to be “bold and innovative” in doing its part to solve major social problems and fund programs that empower people to transform their own lives.

“As I take time to reflect on 2018 and my first time being chair of this board of supervisors, I’m thankful for the people that I’ve met along the way,” Gaspar said. “The stories of resilience and hope, hearing about the lives that have been transformed from a place of darkness and despair to one of opportunity and self-determination, will forever be in my heart.”

Gaspar spoke about 2018 accomplishments such as the county committing over $600 million to behavioral health services, expanding the substance abuse treatment program and piloting a rehabilitation center that is an alternative to juvenile hall. She also praised the county’s efforts to improve its emergency response teams by providing tools needed to detect fires early and promoting rapid response that saves lives and limits property damage.

“It’s sad to pass along the gavel, I’m happy at the same time but wow, what an incredible year,” Gaspar said. “I thank you for your confidence in me chairing this board.”

As new chairwoman, Jacob will outline the county’s 2019 goals at her State of the County address on Feb. 6 at the County Administration Center.

Supervisor Jim Desmond speaks after being sworn-in on Jan. 7.

On Jan. 7, San Diego County held a swearing-in ceremony for new Supervisor Jim Desmond, who represents Rancho Santa Fe and District 5. Desmond was sworn-in with new Supervisor Nathan Fletcher as well four incumbent county officials.

“I feel like today I’ve been given a great gift, it’s a gift of opportunity,” said Desmond, the former mayor of San Marcos. “The opportunity is to make positive changes and positive difference in the lives of over three million people that call San Diego County home.”

Desmond said locally he wants to ensure that District 5 and particularly the unincorporated areas of San Diego County get the roads, the parks, the infrastructure, and the health and human services that they need. Regionally, he said he would be concentrating on public safety, transportation, housing and behavioral health and homelessness.

He said he would be a vocal advocate for improving freeways and transit to make roads and freeways much more efficient. “Our housing problem is an infrastructure problem,” he said.

In his remarks, Desmond thanked the outgoing Supervisors Bill Horn and Ron Roberts for leaving the county in “great financial shape with strong reserves” and the voters for giving him the opportunity to serve.

“I accept the challenge and I’m thankful for the opportunity to learn, challenge the status quo and push the boundaries of county government,” Desmond said.