2012: “Kevin’s Seven” Proposals for Reform in Riverside County
Change at the top is only three weeks away!
With Election Day a mere three weeks away, I wanted to focus this week’s message on governing, and what I plan to do to change the status quo in Riverside County, with “Kevin’s Seven” proposals for reform. If you agree that we need change at the top in Riverside County, please pass this along to your friends, neighbors and family members in Western Riverside County:
1. Repeal Job-Killing Fees, Taxes, and Regulations:
• While fees are necessary to ensure that development pays for its own impacts, and that county expenses are covered for services provided, they should not be used as ways to extort cash from those who want to create jobs. First item on my list is to repeal the “sun tax” the county has placed on the solar industry, stalling the creation of thousands of jobs here in Riverside County.
• Regulations are frequently necessary to protect the health and safety of the public, but too often are overly burdensome and stifle small business creation. One example of a little known antiquated rule unique to Riverside County is the out-right prohibition of gourmet food trucks selling their products in many of our communities. Our rules need to be more reasonable!
2. “Fast Tracking” for Small Businesses to Create Jobs:
• Large, politically connected businesses in Riverside County frequently can seek special “fast track” treatment from the Board of Supervisors, but small businesses cannot qualify. We need to streamline the review and approval process for all those who wish to build or expand their business in Riverside County. Waiting as long as 5 years for an approval from the county for a small or simple expansion project is unacceptable.
• County agencies need to improve transparency and accountability in the permitting process by providing Supervisors with a monthly summary report. By outlining the time frames and fees that individuals and small businesses are encountering when attempting to obtain permits and final approvals to build or expand in the county, problems can be identified before delays and unreasonable requirements kill a project (and the jobs they bring).
3. Make Public Safety the First Priority of our County Government:
• Reverse the recent cuts to front line Deputy Sheriff Patrols in our communities and neighborhoods, to return to acceptable Deputy staffing ratios as soon as possible.
• Promptly work to mitigate and reduce the early release of thousands of convicted criminals from our county jails and back into our neighborhoods. We need to find low cost options such as the utilization of “road crew” and “fire crew” camps for low level offenders, expanding our existing jails, and exploring partnerships with neighboring counties who have surplus space and/or facilities available.
4. Improve Transparency and Accessibility in County Government:
• Constituents are entitled to adequate and timely responses when they have contacted the First District office. They will also be assured assistance in dealing with unresponsive or heavy-handed county departments.
• Whether you are a constituent, taxpayer, or employee, you will be treated with respect when meeting with the First District Supervisor or staff, and/or when addressing the full Board of Supervisors during a Board meeting.
• Propose a schedule for occasional evening meetings of the Board of Supervisors (particularly when controversial items are on the agenda) to ensure that residents with full time jobs can exercise their right to attend occasional meetings in person.
• Establish the ability to accept “E-Comments” on-line for specific agenda items, whereby the E-Comment can be entered into the public record, so those unable to attend a Board meeting can still have their voice heard via the internet.
5. Cut Supervisor Benefits:
• Supervisors are paid $143,000 per year and can certainly afford to pay for their own retirement. Eliminate taxpayer-subsidized pensions for elected Supervisors, replacing it with a self-funded 401-K program that taxpayers won’t be held responsible for.
• Stop paying Supervisors a per diem for attending meetings that are a part of their job. Giving “per diem” payments that can add up to thousands of extra dollars per year for attending meetings even in the same building as their office is indefensible.
6. Lobbyist and Political Reform:
• Stop paying lobbyists $700,000+ a year for ineffective work in Sacramento and Washington DC. Riverside County needs to be engaged at the state and national level, but we should rely on our own internal expertise and staffing first, and re-evaluate the terms of our lobbying contracts.
• Require immediate, year-round, electronic public disclosure of any contribution of $1,000 or more to an elected county official or any candidates for county office.
7. Reform Political Slush Funds Controlled by Supervisors:
• Taxpayer funded “Community Improvement Funds” are utilized by individual County Supervisors to assist non-profit organizations, many of which perform vital community services at significantly less cost than Government agencies. In the First District, we must reform the current system that enables political favoritism when determining who gets taxpayer dollars, and replace it with a merit-based application and evaluation system, possibly utilizing an independent volunteer committee that will consider grant applications, eliminating undue political influence.
• Prohibit Supervisors from directly distributing these taxpayer dollars to private organizations within 90 days of his/her re-election bid to prevent the appearance of vote-buying and political corruption.
Visit the campaign website to learn more about Kevin or to volunteer at www.KevinJeffries.com. You can also keep up with campaign news and updates by “liking” us at www.facebook.com/JoinKevin or “following” us on Twitter @AsmJeffries.
Kevin Jeffries has been endorsed by the California Small Business Committee, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, the Riverside County Farm Bureau, and many other small business owners, community leaders, and families in Western Riverside County.