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San Diego County Supervisor | District 1

2024 State of San Diego County Address
Chairwoman, Nora E. Vargas

February 21st, 2024


Are you ready? I am ready to share our year of #GSD (Getting Stuff Done) for the people of the County of San Diego. 

I am thrilled to be here with you today. My heart is full. 

Welcome everyone to District 1 and to Southwestern College, the jewel of the South Bay. It’s heart-warming to be back where it all started in more ways than one. This is like coming home to me.

I want you to know that as I stand before you today, I stand on the shoulders of so many trailblazers who have made their own imprint on our community, and in doing so made it possible for me to serve the community I love. 

I am grateful to all those who came before us. Those that pushed open those doors, broke that glass ceiling and paved the way for me and everyone after me.

To them I say thank you, mil gracias, desde el fondo de mi corazón. The world is a better place because of you and the sacrifices you have made.

This is a privilege and an honor that I don’t take lightly. 

Looking out at all of you tonight, I’m seeing some young faces here – and I want you to know that you are also the reason I am here – you are the reason for the work we are doing. 

You are not just the future, you are “the now,” and I learn so much from the young people I get to connect with.

As you know I have two brilliant and fearless nieces, Fatima and Farah, who welcomed you this evening. And of course, Fatima has been doing a fabulous job as our MC (applause)

I love them. They are my inspiration, my north star. They remind me every day that we are working to build a more equitable world for young people and future generations. 

Like many of the young people here, I worked two jobs to support myself through college, and the experiences I had here at Southwestern College shaped me into the person I am today.

To the students who took time out of their busy academic schedules to be here today: I want you to know that I see you. I was you. And I am working for you.

I also want to thank the more than 20,000 employees of the County of San Diego and my colleagues on the Board of Supervisors who work day-in and day-out to make this a better place for all of us.

Thank you for leading with your heart in these uncertain times…

We are living in extraordinary times. The difficulty, need and devastation that our community is facing is all too real. But adversity reveals character, and I want to say how incredibly proud I am of our community for coming together in our hour of need. 

Our community has shown character, resolve and, above all, Corazón!

As you all know, I postponed this State of the County because of the devastating storm and floods that occurred a few weeks ago in San Diego County. 

After declaring it an emergency, I knew I couldn’t stand up here and give a speech, knowing that our communities were in need. I needed to be on the ground doing everything possible to ensure that those who lost their homes, their cars, and their most precious belongings knew they were not alone. Our county team came together and worked around the clock to create solutions. 

That’s why instead, I hosted a Day of Service to help those who have been devastated by the storms.

I’m so proud of our community because on that day, we had 1,000 volunteers come together to help more than 1,000 families get through difficult times and start to rebuild their lives. 

We also partnered with local community groups to collect much-needed donations at four locations across the county.

And like you always do, our amazing community really showed up! You dropped off donations, put together food kits, and helped fill sandbags in preparation for yet another storm. Thank you for showing up.

Our tireless county team also showed up to support our community.  Honestly, I’m so proud of our county staff, who stepped up and have prioritized the people who live here above all else. Many volunteered after hours and took time away from their own families to support those in need. 

I also want to thank  ALL of the individuals and community groups that showed up too, especially Pillars of the Community; the San Diego County Foundation, the Jackie Robinson YMCA; The Positive Movement Foundation; the Hip Hop Health and Wellness 5K and Festival; the Harvey Family Foundation; the Urban Collaborative Project; the Emo Brown Foundation; the Sherman Heights Community Center; the National City Family Resource Center; Exhaling Justice and so many others.

You are all truly a reflection of who we are as San Diegans, we step up con todo el “Corazón” – the literal translation of that means with all of our “heart.”  

The people, the culture, and the life we have created here are FULL of heart. Service with heart!

Nowhere was this more apparent than on our Day of Service. De todo Corazón, thank you to all of you who continue to show up!

Now - make no mistake - we still have a lot of work to do to help people regain their footing and rebuild their lives – but I’m really proud of how we have come together as a community. 

I want to thank my colleagues and Supervisor Montgomery Steppe for helping me lead the efforts in our community recovery. Count on us, to be there fighting for you.

To that end, I’m thrilled that our request for individual assistance under FEMA has been approved. These funds will help us rebuild vital infrastructure damaged by the storm for our residents and our business.

And the state will reimburse the county for up to 75% of all damages related to infrastructure.  

I’ve always known the incredible strength and character of San Diegans, and the past few weeks have only proven to me what I already know - when we work together, there’s nothing we can’t overcome or accomplish. 

There will always be more storms and challenges ahead that we cannot predict. But we will come together, with leadership and resolve, to build back stronger and better, like we always have. 

It has been quite a year…

But despite the many challenges, it is an honor to lead this county as your Chairwoman. 

I am thrilled that once again we have a full Board and that the voters of District 4 help make history by electing the first Black woman to the San Diego County Board of Supervisors– my colleague and friend, Monica Montgomery-Steppe.

And boy has it been a breath of fresh air to have a social justice champion to weather the storm with–no pun intended.  Seriously though - it’s been such an honor to work with Supervisor Montgomery-Steppe, and we’re just getting warmed up…

I am also grateful for the 25 remarkable years of work Helen Robbins Mayer dedicated to the County. Her leadership is unmatched. 

Moving forward, my colleagues and I are committed to a transparent process in our search for our next County CAO. And I’m confident we’ll recruit a CAO that understands our values and vision.

We have made progress on so many fronts, and I am looking forward to building on the work we have started.

For me, leading with heart/ Corazón is also about having the compassion and strength to stand up for what you believe in.

As your Chairwoman, I’ve prioritized building a more equitable society for everyone in San Diego County; making our government work for ALL, not just for some; fostering a sustainable future; and ensuring everyone has access to the health care and resources they need.

As a first-generation immigrant to this country, the struggles that San Diego is facing to try and accommodate thousands of immigrants and asylum seekers that have come here strikes close to my heart.

This is personal for me. 

Since the implementation and lifting of Title 42, San Diego continues to be uniquely impacted by this unprecedented global human migration.  

As we all have experienced, San Diego County has seen a significant increase in the number of asylum seekers trying to cross our border – on average 700 to 900 a day, sometimes bringing thousands in a single day and overwhelming our capacity to help them. 

In September of last year, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection began dropping off individuals at transit stops throughout our region, commonly known as “street releases” – putting additional pressures on our already strained resources and services. 

That’s why, the same month, my colleagues and I declared this a humanitarian crisis in the County of San Diego. 

As the crisis escalated, I led efforts to allocate $6 million total of non-designated funds to support a Migrant Transitional center ran by SBCS which is delivering badly needed and compassionate services to asylum seekers entering the United States for the first time here in San Diego.  

I want to thank my colleagues on the Board of Supervisors for stepping up during this humanitarian crisis. Thank you to SBCS and the numerous local immigration advocacy groups for their tireless efforts. Thank you for providing desperately needed resources for families seeking asylum.

Ignoring the issues doesn’t make it go away, and I appreciate that my colleagues voted to support this emergency aid.  

I want to emphasize; asylum seekers have a legal right to be here under U.S. Immigration law and that our FEDERAL government has an obligation to address this global humanitarian crisis. 

And while we know that immigration is a FEDERAL issue, San Diego is seeing first-hand the devastation of asylum-seeking families that come here with no resources.  We have stepped up as a county so that these families aren’t left out in the cold. 

Unfortunately, this temporary funding for the Migrant Transitional Center has exhausted all County funds and ceased operating THIS WEEK until the federal government steps in and provides additional funding. 

That’s why I sent a letter to President Biden asking that the Administration provide the needed $1.5 million per month that it costs to operate this center. It is critical to recognize our important role here in assisting asylum seekers and refugees.   

I cannot overemphasize the urgency of this situation - people are being displaced as we speak, and the time for the federal government to step up is now. 

The County of San Diego has led the way and done its part. WE are putting people first in unprecedented ways. WE are creating a better county for ALL - and by ALL, we really do mean ALL people! Now it’s time for our federal partners to step up too.  

As an immigrant, I will not turn my back on human beings seeking asylum and working to build a better life for their families.  And as a nation of immigrants, we can and must do better. 

So let’s talk more about the work we’ve done this year and the work that lies ahead.

Last year, anchored by the community, we unanimously passed an $8.1 billion dollar budget, the largest in the County of San Diego, which I’m proud to say passed in a BIPARTISAN effort.  

The budget we passed is a reflection of our community's values and it prioritized vital concerns --  including housing, homelessness, behavioral health, environmental equity, and the expansion of health and human services programs.

The budget stands as a testament to our commitment to supporting the well-being of our hardworking families.

We know that in order to truly thrive, we need to make sure that everyone, from every corner of San Diego, has a shot to build a better life for themselves and their families.

Now let’s talk about some of our specific investments.

We know that more than any other issue in our county, addressing the homelessness crisis in our region continues to require all hands on deck – with state, county and city leaders working together. 

I often say that no one person can tackle this issue alone.  

That’s why I convened a first of its kind gathering of our 18 incorporated cities in partnership with the Regional Task Force on Homelessness. Bringing together experts, stakeholders, and regional leaders to formulate a plan of action to address homelessness in the San Diego Region. 

Our communities expect us to think outside the box. That is why our innovative region-wide approach led us to secure $22 million in funding from Governor Newsom to address encampments in San Diego County. 

That included a $5 million dollar investment in the South region to address the Sweetwater Riverbed area – an area known as the “Jungle,” that for decades has been home to many unsheltered families. Securing this investment was a true collaboration with the Cities of National City and Chula Vista, as well as Caltrans. 

In addition, with the City of Santee, the City of San Diego, and Caltrans, we invested $17 million for the San Diego Riverbed, which stretches from Ocean Beach through Mission Valley, Santee and Unincorporated communities of Lakeside and Alpine. 

We're continuing to implement innovative funding approaches countywide and throughout our region.

It is a shame that in the 4th largest economy in the world, we continue to have fast-growing numbers of SENIOR and VETERAN populations experiencing homelessness for the first time.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – NOT ON MY WATCH!

We cannot - we WILL NOT – continue to leave seniors and veterans on the streets. 

That’s why we have invested $5.2 million through the Shallow Rental Subsidy Program. We need to prevent seniors from falling into homelessness in the first place. I’m proud to share that we have successfully kept 382 seniors across San Diego County housed through this program. 

We have to remember these are our ninas, our tias, our grandparents. These are real human beings. 

It warms my heart when I hear of people like Marjorie who at 76 benefited from this program. She shared that despite doing everything right, if it weren’t for this program she would’ve been unhoused. 

This is how we truly make government work for all, not just for some. 

We will continue to do everything we can to take care of those who have taken care of us. 

As a Board we invested $10 million in the Recovery Action Fund for Tomorrow – RAFT – a direct one-time payment program intended to support families and seniors. This program provided a $4,000 one-time direct cash distribution to these vulnerable groups to meet their most urgent needs.

Keeping people housed is imperative to preventing this cycle of homelessness. We know that once a family is displaced, it is 3 times as challenging to regain stability.

Now let’s talk about our veterans - the people who have served our country so that we can be here tonight.

In July, we launched the Leave No Veteran Homeless Initiative, in collaboration with more than 20 community organizations including the City of San Diego, the Regional Task Force on Homelessness, the VA, landlords and countless others throughout San Diego to ensure our heroes have a place to call home. 

I’m happy to report that out of the 800 veterans who were homeless back in July, 415 of them have been permanently housed. 

That’s more than half of all our homeless veterans. We're not backing down. 

We're sticking to our promise: no veteran gets left behind.

We continue to care for those who have sacrificed so much for our freedom. No one level of government can do it alone. And we need to come together to reach functional zero and continue to build a better county for all.

Transparency and accountability are important in this type of work – which is why I proposed an assessment of homeless services and contracts in San Diego County to address the ongoing homelessness crisis. 

In addition, we have to acknowledge that providing mental health services is crucial to supporting a portion of our homeless population. 

That’s why on October 1, 2023, the County of San Diego was one of seven counties in the State to implement the CARE Act pilot program to address the behavioral health needs of those who have untreated schizophrenia spectrum or other psychotic disorders through a new civil court process. 

As evidenced by our early implementation of the CARE Act, I’ve never been afraid to make San Diego a leader on issues like this. I’m not afraid to go first when it comes to implementing smart policies to address our toughest issues. 

But I also insist that when we do something, we do it right, and we do it well.

That is why after hearing from behavioral health experts, the medical community, and justice advocates, we are committed to creating the right infrastructure to implement SB 43, the reform to conservatorships. 

When individuals are in need of emergency mental health services, we want to make sure we have the right treatment options available so that we can connect them to care. 

Together we are setting a comprehensive plan to fully implement SB 43, one year before the deadline. 

The system we create will be thorough, community based, and sustainable. 

As someone with more than 25 years of experience being a healthcare advocate, I’ve seen first-hand the challenges and barriers that exist in getting access to healthcare.

That is why I’m proud that as a Board we passed a resolution to champion Governor Newsom’s Proposition 1, Rebuilding California's mental health care systems that is on the March ballot.

This measure brings new mental health treatment capacity and housing opportunities to those who have been forgotten for too long. 

We need all options on the table to address the mental health needs of people in all corners of our community because mental health care is healthcare.

We know that one of the things that makes San Diego County so special is that we are one of the most diverse places in our country, economically and culturally. 

But that also brings challenges in ensuring that everyone has access to the healthcare resources that they need.

I see the hard work of our clinics, community centers, and organizations doing outreach to our vulnerable communities like the unhoused, the LGBTQ community, the Latino community, and more to ensure better health outcomes.

I also see leaders in our community making real change – those are our Promotores – our community health workers. I see the power of these trusted messengers and community partners.

In just one year, our Community Health Workers helped thousands of San Diego residents connect with community resources and information necessary to improve the health and well-being of residents.

These workers from our communities participated in 762 events across the county, touching the lives of over 49,000 San Diego residents.

To my Promotores - you are the unsung heroes, the bridges that connect communities to healthcare, education, and resources. You are the Corazón and the glue that keeps us together 

Your dedication, compassion, and tireless efforts have created ripples of positive change throughout San Diego County.

Let’s take a moment today to express our deepest appreciation for the vital role of our Promotores in removing barriers and building healthier and stronger communities here in San Diego.

Que Vivan los Promotores!

May the bridges you build continue to stand strong, connecting hearts and minds for many years to come. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you do. 

Now let’s talk about something else that our community needs to become stronger: housing.

I believe housing is a fundamental human right, a cornerstone of dignity, stability, and opportunity.

Housing is not just about shelter, it’s about roots, belonging and the very essence of what it means to call San Diego home.

It is the foundation where individuals and families can thrive, pursue their aspirations, and contribute to our community.

We worked hard to ensure that San Diego received a "Pro Housing" designated jurisdiction from the state, which unlocks additional funding to remove barriers and build housing faster.

Last year, the Board allocated $14.5 million to the “Removing Barriers to Housing” initiative and developed 22 promising actions to help renters and home buyers struggling though our region’s housing crisis. 

These actions will help speed up building homes faster and easier, cutting through bureaucratic obstacles. Allowing for innovative solutions is the only way we are going to address our housing shortage.

As we take these drastic and critically important steps, it is also important to recognize and celebrate stories of resilience and triumph. 

When the County partners with equity-driven and community-focused housing innovators, we can bring affordable housing projects to our communities! 

For example, working together with Ethos Real Estate and the Vistria Group LP, we brought the permanent preservation of 151 units of affordable housing for the Chula Vista community at Vista Lane apartments to stay affordable for at least the next 50 years! And residents will have access to services provided by Casa Familiar.

That means more than 151 families will have a roof over their heads and a community they can help build as well as access to resources they need to plan and eventually buy their own homes.

This is a REAL world solution!

Let me tell you about more innovators in this space. In San Ysidro, the County embarked on a transformative endeavor at the Milejo Village where we built 64 new affordable rental apartments for families experiencing homelessness. 

With each unit, a new chapter begins creating a sanctuary where 64 families have a place to call their own. 

In 2023, 750 units started construction, 500 units were completed, and more than 1,100 homes were built in San Diego County. For the record – this is how we G-S-D! 

We have invested more than $45 million in county funding toward community infrastructure projects like these and we will continue to step up, because this is where we are making a real difference in people’s lives.

And we’re just getting started. Together, we are committed to creating lasting solutions and building a community where everyone has a safe and secure place to call home near transit and job centers. 

We know that transportation is the second highest expense individuals and families face in our communities. 

As we invest in our future, supporting our youth as they get to school and to their jobs is a critically important part of expanding our infrastructure.

I’m proud to say that as Chair of SANDAG, we were able to expand our Youth Opportunity Passes –that means all riders 18 and under get to ride San Diego public transportation for FREE!

Happy to report that we have blown past all expectations in ridership, including surpassing 11 million rides countywide in youth ridership since its launch. 

We have extended this program for an additional two years, and I am committed to supporting this program’s growth and expansion if we are serving the needs of our youth. 

As of October 2023, the numbers speak volumes: over 150,000 youth have embraced the Pronto card—a testament to the impact this initiative has had on our community. 

Behind each transit card lies a story of opportunity, empowerment, and hope - a reminder of the transformative power of investing in our youth. 

As I stand here at Southwestern College today, nothing makes me happier than to see young people taking advantage of this program as they build their lives.  Keep on riding! 

Inclusion is very important to me, and we will not leave anyone behind. Together with my colleague Supervisor Joel Anderson we added a new advisory seat to the SANDAG Board of Directors representing the unincorporated communities. 

Representation matters!

That is why I spearheaded the RideFACTNow initiative, a transportation service that is a vital lifeline for our communities with mobility challenges so they can connect to the places they need and want to go in a timely manner. 

Ensuring public transit inclusion for people with disabilities is crucial for creating a more equitable San Diego. By making transportation more accessible, we empower ALL individuals to participate fully in community life and get where they need to go to live their most productive lives.  

This is also how we can start to build a greener, more sustainable future in San Diego County.

But we’ve got our work cut out for us to create a better environment for all. My District has the highest air pollution, including high levels of diesel particulates in the air, and the most sites with air toxins.

I acknowledge that a lot of work needs to be done to clean up our region’s cross-border pollution, but I want to let you know that my fight for cleaner air has only just begun.

That’s why I’m very proud to announce significant efforts aimed at ensuring cleaner air to breathe for everyone in our communities. 

In October 2023, we strategically deployed air sensors in the Tijuana River Valley to help gather crucial data on its impact on our residents' air quality, a crucial step in ensuring that clean air is accessible to all.

In addition to this, we are actively working on deploying five more sensors to expand coverage in environmental justice communities such as San Ysidro, the City of Imperial Beach and the Tijuana River.

The main goal of these sensors is to collect data that we can share with the community as well as research institutions for potential studies. 

Recognizing the pressing need to safeguard the health and well-being of our communities, the San Diego Air Pollution Control District Board, which I am also a part of, took a bold step by adopting requirements aimed at reducing potential health risks by a staggering tenfold. 

This monumental decision has resulted in 1,629 residences, 1 park, and 59 businesses being shielded from elevated health risks, including hidden dangers that can cause cancer. 

This isn't just about data or statistics—it's about the health and safety of our families, our neighbors, and our future generations.

That’s why I’m thrilled to announce that the San Diego Air Pollution Control District just launched the Electric Landscape Equipment Assistance Funding Program or E-LEAF. This program aims to further reduce emissions by assisting small landscaping businesses in replacing gasoline lawn and garden equipment with zero-emission alternatives. 

And one of my favorite projects – one that I’m incredibly proud of – is upholding our promise to plant more trees throughout San Diego County. 

Last year, I committed to planting 5,000 trees and challenged all of you to help me plant another 5000 more. I am thrilled to share that we surpassed 10,000 trees. 

I got to plant our 10,000th tree in Spring Valley Park back in December. We named her ‘Esperanza’ because she is a symbol of the hope, we have for a better future for all.

My commitment to climate and environmental justice is unwavering. 

Last summer, in partnership with Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, we took significant actions to support community infrastructure to address climate-related emergencies including storm surge, flooding, and emergency evacuation infrastructure. 

As we saw with the storms last month, extreme weather events affect communities of color and low-income communities first, and worst.

My primary goal is to enhance our local capacity to adapt and build resilience, starting with a pilot project in my district. 

The success of this work will set a precedent for the entire County, ensuring that the benefits of our climate adaptation strategies reach all communities. 

That means that everyone has the ability to recover equally from climate change catastrophes.

Moving beyond climate resiliency, we know that access to clean air and water is fundamental to healthy communities. Unfortunately, communities of color continue to be disproportionately impacted by a lack of access to clean air and water. Your zip code continues to determine your ability to breathe clean air and water.

Nowhere is this more evident than in our South Bay communities. For too long, our coastal communities have been impacted by sewage flows into our ocean. Our beaches have been closed for 805 consecutive days!

Our families and children deserve to swim in clean water and should not have to risk their health to enjoy the beach. And local businesses need to be able to rely on open beaches, as well.

That’s why we are continuously working with residents, community organizations and the state and federal government to secure the additional funding needed to clean up our beaches and our water.

To address this, I was proud to partner with Vice Chair Terra Lawson-Remer to declare a local state of emergency over cross border pollution.

We won’t back down until we have clean water and beaches for the families and visitors of San Diego County.

Ya basta!

As a fronteriza, I also have been working hard to uplift and promote our Bi-National Region. The fact is our economies and our environment for the San Diego-Tijuana region are forever intertwined.

Our binational region remains a dynamic and promising force for economic prosperity, both locally and nationally.

That is why I'm excited to tell you about something that truly has a “vision” for what our future could look like here – a project near and dear to my heart called The Gateway to the Californias. 

The initiative aims to transform the Tijuana River Valley Regional Park into a world-class sports complex and active recreation destination, bringing a wave of positive change to the region.

Communities across the Tijuana River Valley deserve access to green spaces, accessible bicycle and walking trails, and clean parks where kids can play. 

Creating these innovative spaces will be a crucial step toward addressing the underdevelopment of historically neglected communities and also strengthening our bi-national community.

It’s time that everyone has access to these kinds of natural resources that strengthen a sense of community and allows people to thrive.

This project will create a regional binational landmark and replace a vacant area with a new community park and green space for the residents of South Bay.

For decades, the beauty of the Tijuana River Valley Regional Park has been reduced to the transboundary pollution crisis. While the County will continue working to solve the cross-border sewage pollution and mitigate its impact on ocean waters, creating a regional active recreation space for its adjacent communities will breathe new life into the area.

This project will be a source of pride for our binational community.  Which we hope to showcase during the world design capital 2024

This is exactly the kind of innovative thinking we need to engage in to move our communities forward and create more economic opportunity and prosperity for all.

From championing major infrastructure projects like the East Otay Mesa Port of Entry and the Border to Bayshore Bikeway, which connects the world’s busiest international land border crossing – our commitment to fighting for economic prosperity for ALL remains steadfast.

This includes championing economic prosperity through workforce development, Childcare for All, and strengthening our county workforce.

We also need to revisit our funding formula for small business grants and explore more inclusive policies for microenterprises.

Because childcare is an obstacle for so many working families, we adopted the Childcare Blueprint. This invests $1 million to support childcare workforce development and infrastructure.

We also created a pilot program that provides three emergency flex days for County employees, because we know how important it is to provide working families with the flexibility needed to do their jobs and to take care of their families.

We also launched the new Child and Family Well- Being Department, which will integrate First 5 and Child Welfare Services, along with other essential resources for families. 

Public Safety continues to be a priority. We want to provide prevention services that keep families together.

We must protect our young people from the dangers of human trafficking.

I was proud to stand with Supervisor Desmond and District Attorney Summer Stephan to continue our efforts to increase education in our schools about this issue.

The more education we provide to our parents, guardians, students, and educators the better chance we have of disrupting the cycle of violence.

By ensuring that our communities have their basic needs met, we provide hope for better opportunities.

There’s nothing more important than ensuring that families are able to provide a safe and nurturing environment for their children to grow and thrive. 

We have a responsibility to future generations to do the right thing!

As we invest in our young people, I’m also thrilled to tell you about the first ever Youth Supervisors’ Academy, born out of my commitment to establishing a Youth Talent Pipeline for the County.

I’ve already learned so much from the youth I’ve worked with as part of this project, and for the young people here today, I hope you’ll participate with us in this professional development program! We have so much to learn from each other!  

I’m proud to say the first ever cohort from this academy recently graduated in January. Mostly students from my district, who helped draft board letters and learned about how our county government works. 

This is only the beginning – as someone who went through the MAAC Projects Hire-a-Youth program back in the day.  I am really looking forward to partnering with the San Diego Workforce Partnership and local partners to launch the Youth Empowerment Workforce Initiative in the County of San Diego, and as we talk about investing in our future, in the 21st Century, it’s critically important that everyone, regardless of zip code, has access to the internet.

We won’t allow the gaping digital divide that exists to foster more inequities in 2024.

In some areas of my own district, approximately 20% of households lack internet connectivity. I won’t continue to allow that to happen – NOT ON MY WATCH. 

That’s why we successfully launched the County of San Diego’s Affordable Connectivity Program. Being a part of this federal program provides up to a $30 per month subsidy towards reliable wireless internet service for eligible, low-income households.

There is one thing I know for certain: there is nowhere I’d rather be than right here in San Diego County.

We are a strong, vibrant, and inclusive community, with a booming economy.

But the reason I love this place is because of it’s beating heart – its Corazón - its culture and its remarkable people.

We have a lot of work still left to do in accomplishing our goals – but I won’t stop until we make these dreams a reality.

So, to my friends in this room, I ask – will you stand with me to help make San Diego a healthier, stronger community for all?

I can’t hear you – are you ready to build a healthier and stronger San Diego for all? Are you ready? 

Me too, friends! Let’s get back to work!

Thank you and Good Night. Buenas Noches


- Nora E. Vargas, Chairwoman

San Diego County Board of Supervisors

District 1