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High Speed Rail is Slowing you Down

As I enter my second year as your County Supervisor, I find myself reflecting on what I have learned about the communities that I represent.  I have learned that we have a community of people in Rio Linda/Elverta who love where they live and constantly want to help pitch-in to improve things.  I have learned that people are passionate about keeping Rio Linda/Elverta more rural than surrounding communities.  And I have learned that people here are generally happy if the roads are in good condition.  Unfortunately, the roads are in a horrible condition and Rio Linda/Elverta residents are rightfully upset.

I get it because I am upset myself.  I see the deterioration of the streets that have needed repaving for years, and just last month I had to pay $500 for new tires that my mechanic directly attributed to poor road conditions (tires I bought only 2 years ago).  Because of this frustration, the question I get more than any other lately from residents in Rio Linda/Elverta is, “why can’t you prioritize road repairs in our community?”  I wish it were that simple, because if it were I would have done it many months ago.  So I wanted to take this opportunity in my monthly article to explain to you why it’s not so simple, and what we can do to change things.

What many people do not understand is that the vast majority of funds that are spent on local roads are from the state and federal government.  Not only that, but many of these funds are competitive dollars, meaning we are only going to win those funds for major projects that have nothing to do with resurfacing, like the road widening happening right now on Hazel Avenue.  So even if I wanted to prioritize local road resurfacings, the money Sacramento County could divert towards roads would be insignificantly small compared to what the state and federal government have the ability to do.  And this completely ignores the fact that Sacramento County has virtually zero reserves in our budget (if we had to rely solely on reserves, we would only have enough money to last us eight days).

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The problem Sacramento County is experiencing with our roads is not localized to just our county or even region.  This is a problem afflicting the entire State of California, as of last count our state had over $57 billion in road maintenance that has been postponed due to not having enough money for our roads, highways, and bridges (also called deferred maintenance).  This enormous deferred maintenance bill would feel more understandable if California was broke, but at the same time we have this bill we are spending outrageous amounts of money on California High-Speed Rail (CAHSR), which in my opinion is only a fraction as important as having reliable roads. CAHSR has the potential to benefit a small fraction of the population, specifically those that would use it to commute. Meanwhile, roads are used by everyone, including passengers, freight, fire service, police service, etc.  To top it off, the train doesn’t even come close to Rio Linda/Elverta, as the furthest north it goes is San Francisco.

When voters approved CAHSR, it was supposed to cost $40 billion.  As of today, the current estimate has risen to $79 billion, and experts are now expecting that by the time the project is completed it will cost nearly $100 billion.  The first segment of CAHSR is currently being constructed – it is 118 miles through the Central Valley from Merced to Shafter and is supposed to be the easiest part of the construction.  Just how easy is the “easy” part?  It was expected to be done this year and cost $6.4 billion, but is now expected to be finished in 2024 and will cost $10 billion.

Even if we let CAHSR continue to build the central valley line and we abandoned CAHSR after that, we would save enough money to pay for every cent of deferred maintenance for all roads, highways, and bridges in California.  Not only that, but we would also save enough to pay for all deferred maintenance in every department across the State, including things like water systems, courts, parks, colleges, fairs, etc.  The California Legislature and the Governor have the capacity to fix our roads, they just need to change their priorities and focus on what California needs the most.

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County Approves New Contracts for Homeless Outreach

This past month, the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors authorized the County to pool $5,092,500 to support contracts with qualified nonprofit agencies for the provision of intensive case management services (ICMS) and property-related tenant services (PRTS), under the Flexible Supportive Rehousing Program (FSRP). The FSRP is a new approach and program adopted last year as part of the County’s homeless initiatives and will support 250 people experiencing long-term homelessness transition to permanent housing and stability.

The goal of FSRP is to engage and support people who frequently use County systems, including County jail and Behavioral Health Services, but who have not been able to resolve their chronic or long-term homelessness.  A preliminary study showed an average annual cost of more than $42,000 for the top 250 individual most frequent recipients in Sacramento County.  Success of this program will be measured by the number of enrolled individuals who are housed and retain housing within one year of housing placement.

FSRP is modeled after Los Angeles County’s Housing for Health Program, which permanently housed 890 individuals over two and half years. A recently concluded Rand Corporation study reported 96 percent retained housing for at least one year with a nearly 60 percent drop in the use of public services within that first year.  LA County has pointed to the flexibility within service contr acts to provide whatever it takes to engage and support re-housing participants as critical to replicating this success in Sacramento County.

Visit the website for more information on the programs and services offered by the Sacramento County Department of Human Assistance.

For more information on the state of homelessness in Sacramento County, visit the Responding to Homelessness website.

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In This Issue

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Rio Linda/Elverta Father Daughter Dance

The Mini-Valentine Father Daughter Dance will include a Pizza Dinner, Dance Activities, and a Photographer to capture your special night! Don’t miss out on a night of unforgettable memories with your little girl! Semi-Formal Attire Encouraged.

Pre-Registration is REQUIRED. Tickets can be purchased online, by calling 916-991-5929, or at the RLE Community Center during business hours, no later than Thursday, February 15th. Community Center Hours: (8am-5PM/ M-F). Address: 810 Oak Lane, Rio Linda, Ca 95673.

Father Daughter Couple Ticket: $18

Additional Daughter Ticket: $8

Additional Adult Family Member Ticket: $10

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Meet Author of “20th Century Fox Studios”
at Rio Linda/Elverta Library

Celebrate the centenary of 20th Century Fox Studios with Michael Troyan, author of the studio’s newly published first official history: 20th Century Fox: A Century of Entertainment. Michael will share movie clips and several behind the scenes stories that span from Shirley Temple to Star Wars, Will Rogers to the X-Men, Marilyn Monroe to the Planet of the Apes and The Grapes of Wrath (1940) to Hidden Figures (2016).

A reception and book sale will follow this memorable presentation. This program is sponsored by the Friends of Rio Linda Library.

Date: February 6th

Time: 6:00pm to 7:15pm

Location: Rio Linda/Elverta Library

Cost: Free!

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New Veteran’s Commission Approved

I am proud to announce that the County-wide Veterans Commission I have been pushing for was passed unanimously by the Board of Supervisors in January.

We needed this Commission because at the County we have lacked a centralized body that advises the Board of Supervisors on veterans issues. This new Commission will be comprised of 5 Commissioners appointed by the County Supervisors, and will represent all veterans in Sacramento County by not only advising the Supervisors and County staff on matters pertaining to veterans, but also by holding public meetings.

You can read more about it by clicking here.

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Will you Serve on a Board or Commission?

Sacramento County has dozens of boards and commissions that you can serve on (with several from the Rio Linda/Elverta area), and I very much want you to apply!  Right now there are 36 different boards and commissions with vacancies that you can apply for.

To see the list of vacancies, please click this link.

After you find one that interests you, apply here.

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