Open letter: Thank you, Mayor Faulconer

By Supervisor Dave Roberts

Dear San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer,

Thank you for your letter of Friday. I couldn’t be happier that you have budgeted $254,000 for the 2014-15 fiscal year to pay for an additional year of San Diego’s membership in the San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority. I am confident that the city’s annual investment in this regional asset will pay great dividends for many, many generations.

The San Dieguito River Park follows the river’s course from the beach at Del Mar past Lake Hodges, through the foothills near Ramona and up the slopes of our local mountains to the headwaters on Volcan Mountain.

While much of the park is open to the public, some gaps remain. The city of San Diego’s position on the park’s governing board strengthens our hope that before long, the park’s full, 55-mile-long Coast-to-Crest Trail will be open to hikers, cyclists and equestrians.

The city is one of the biggest landowners within the river park, and under the river park’s management, city residents have gained access to many miles of trails near the city-owned Lake Hodges, as well as a pedestrian bridge that spans the lake near Rancho Bernardo.

A decade-long, $90 million restoration of the San Dieguito wetlands east of Del Mar took place almost entirely within San Diego city limits.

I hope the public will join the JPA next week for the grand opening of the Birdwing Outdoor Educational Center. The open-air center overlooks the thriving river valley, a large basin of the lagoon and the river itself. What a great place to get kids excited about nature.

Access to open space, clean water and habitat for increasingly-rare plants and animals – it’s hard to estimate how much that contributes to human wellness. My guess is a lot. I applaud the JPA’s determination to promote safe and healthy neighborhoods in San Diego. Your investment in River Park membership is a positive step.

In your letter, you present nine points for negotiation related to the city’s membership on the Joint Powers Authority. For the most part, they address the procedural and bureaucratic workings of the JPA and, through negotiation, can be reconciled.

Thank you, Mayor Faulconer, for giving the River Park the consideration and funding it deserves. I look forward to working further with you and to operating the River Park, in your words, “for the enjoyment of all San Diegans.”

Supervisor Dave Roberts is Chairman of the San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority and represents the Third District on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.