San Joaquin County is entering a new era of growth and innovation. Our people are on the rise. Our communities are on the rise. San Joaquin County is on the rise. The state of our County is strong.
The strength of our County comes from its people. We are 720,000 residents strong, and currently growing at the fastest rate in California. As we address future challenges, careful planning and responsible leadership will be integral to our success. The Board of Supervisors adopted five strategic priorities that will guide us for the next three years:
uImproving public safety and enhancing the overall criminal justice system;
uPromoting economic development;
uEnsuring fiscal responsibility;
uPromoting good governance; and
uStaying informed and proactive in dealing with water issues.
Our County’s strength begins with keeping our communities safe.
Through the implementation of a validated, evidence-based Pretrial Assessment and Monitoring Program by our Probation Department, we are identifying and reserving detention for those individuals who pose the greatest safety risk to the community or who are at risk for failing to appear in court. Of the defendants who were on the Program last year, nearly 91% attended their court hearings and 97% did not reoffend while going through the Court process.
Through our collaboration with Google, we are developing technologies to create “virtual” youth probation teams which bring together family members, guardians, healthcare providers, teachers, clergy, and social workers to improve outcomes for at-risk youth. We are also improving our foster care system by developing an electronic database that will consolidate information from foster homes in order to better assist the placement and safety of foster children.
Our County’s homeless population — which includes veterans, children, and the elderly — is on the rise. While the causes of homelessness are complex, there are solutions. The Board has recently created a Homelessness Taskforce to serve as a convener among local non-profits and local agencies to help address the region’s homelessness crisis.
Turning to the economy, the County is projected to lead the State in job growth this year.
Our growth is the result of our region’s investment in our workforce, innovation, strategic planning, common sense government reforms, and local incentives programs to attract businesses.
We are continuing to develop Airpark 599, a planned multi-use business and industrial park, strategically positioned at the core of the Central Valley. With direct access to highways, the Port of Stockton and the Stockton Metropolitan Airport, it will be a powerhouse for attracting businesses and new jobs. This also compliments recent public and private investments at the Stockton Metropolitan Airport which include: expanded air travel from Stockton to San Diego, daily air cargo operations, and initial plans for international air service.
There is an economic relationship between the Bay Area and the Central Valley Region. As our interdependence grows, there is greater need to coordinate planning, particularly with transportation, which will help increase mobility and improve the quality of life of those who live, work in or visit the Tri-Valley area.
Our growth and innovation wouldn’t be possible without a commitment to strong financial stewardship and good government. It’s our obligation to fiscal responsibility that has allowed the County to maintain a prudent reserve, fund our current service levels, and commit that any future growth be sustainable.
San Joaquin can solve many of our challenges by ensuring that our children have access to and receive a quality education. From pre-school, to college-prep high schools, apprenticeship programs and higher education, our community is working to prepare students to become part of the 21st-century workforce.
We are greatly encouraged by the work of our State representatives to establish a California State University campus in our County, which has the potential to transform our region. Additionally, we hope to adopt a local Children’s Bill of Rights, which will help guide community organizations in making children a top-priority. It’s vitally important that as a community, we work to build pathways that lead from our schools to local careers, so that we can keep more of our “homegrown” talent here in our County.
Two of the County’s highest priorities are agriculture and water. Few other places in the world rival the bounty of San Joaquin County’s agriculture. For the fourth consecutive year, we set an all-time record of $3.2 billion in agricultural production. In spite of an historic drought, our productivity demonstrates that San Joaquin agriculture continues to thrive by using innovative farming practices and techniques.
With over half of the Delta’s agricultural land located in San Joaquin, the health of the Delta, its environment, and its multi-billion dollar economy, are tied to the health of the economies of San Joaquin County, the region, and the State.
However, the single greatest threat to our water supply is the twin tunnels. San Joaquin County speaks with one, united voice on this issue: we oppose the tunnels. It will cost California billions of dollars without producing a single drop of additional water and it will devastate prime farmland and degrade our water quality. We favor a common sense statewide approach that supports local storage, increased conservation, water reuse, recycling and desalination, reinforced levees and restoring the Delta.
In closing, we must remember that our County’s greatness is measured by the success of the people we serve. From developing solutions to address homelessness, to supporting at-risk youth, to improving our children’s education and opposing the twin tunnels, our mission is clear. We need everyone to put on their work boots and contribute in order for our County to continue to rise together and remain strong.
There are many seeds of opportunity in San Joaquin County. Our potential is powerful, our possibilities are great, and our success story is just beginning.