San Joaquin County 5th District

Presidential Primary election March 5th 2024

Robert Rickman

Tracy Press Op-Ed 2024

As we step into a new year, let us reflect on the journey behind us. In facing challenges, we found strength; in moments of joy, we discovered gratitude. Let us carry these lessons forward, embracing the opportunities that lie ahead. I am honored to serve as your County Supervisor, and I would like to take this moment to share some of the many accomplishments we had as a county. Fiscal Optimization The fiscal state of our County is as strong as ever. Among our most important priorities is delivering a Structurally Balanced Budget. In fact, Standard & Poor’s (S&P) recently upgraded the underlying credit rating of San Joaquin County’s 2017 Certificate of Participation from A+ to AA-, with a stable outlook. The improved S&P credit rating upgrade demonstrates our county’s commitment to fiscal responsibility. Quality of Life As a community and society there are certain support systems, services, and comforts that the County provides that residents rely on to make day-to-day life better. Highlights include: n Established an Elections Advisory Committee of local residents to incorporate voter input into how the Registrar of Voters can best serve the community. n Opened the Jack J. Williams, M.D. Public Health Building providing a new administration building and lab facilities. n Commenced a Master Service Agreement with Dignity Health that is resulting in clinical, operational, and fiscal best practices at San Joaquin General Hospital. n $74 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding for housing, veterans, behavioral health, and illegal dumping prevention. n $6.4 million in facility repairs and upgrades at the eight community centers located throughout the County, which includes the Larch Clover facility in Tracy. n $5.2 million to strengthen the mental health workforce by offering paid opportunities and student loan forgiveness in exchange for service commitments within the County. n $2,593,919 for facility repairs, upgrades, and equipment purchases at six local Veterans Service Organizations. n The Board of Supervisors approved one million in total matching funds for the Delta College Student Career Internship Program. n Expanded funding for local non-profits. Examples of funding in District 5 include $10,600 for Tracy Interfaith Ministries, $42,500 for Escalon Strong, $70,000 for the Grand Foundation, $1,500 for the Escalon Chamber of Commerce, and $115,700 for Bread of Life. Homelessness Housing is only one component of the overall issue. People are experiencing homelessness for a variety of reasons including substance abuse problems and those who have serious mental health issues and lack available resources. In the past two years alone, the County invested over $200 million for countywide projects ranging from permanent supportive housing, emergency shelters, responding to calls for service, hospital treatment, and enhanced care management. These investments will result in the addition of over 700 new units of permanent supportive housing and an increase of shelter capacity countywide by 166 percent. Efforts include: n The development of the San Joaquin Be Well Campus. Phase one will include dual diagnosis point of entry, a sobering center, medical detoxification, a psychiatric health facility, and a crisis stabilization unit with a completion date of FY 2025/2026. n Opened Victory Gardens, through a partnership with the Housing Authority of San Joaquin, providing permanent housing for forty-nine formerly homeless veterans and their families. n I brought forward and the Board allocated $7,167,798 for the completion of the emergency shelter in the City of Tracy. This funding follows the Board’s July 2021 allocation of $3,661,113 to support initial construction and related development costs for the emergency shelter. Public Safety The first priority of government is to keep our citizens safe. For close to 28 years, I worked as a Sergeant for the CHP and have worked in every city in the County. I want to thank those in law enforcement, our firefighters, and medical responders, for all that they do and the sacrifices they make each day to keep the public and our communities safe. Highlights include: n The District Attorney’s Office increased the charging rate of crimes from 53% in 2022 to 80% in 2023.

The Board of Supervisors approved funding to support the establishment of the District Attorney’s Fentanyl Intervention and Response Safety Team (FIRST). Know this, if you are going to deal in this poison that are killing our children, then we are going to use every available resource at our disposal to make sure you will spend time in prison. n The Board of Supervisors committed more than $12 million in funding to sixteen fire districts, which includes Tracy, Mountain House, Ripon, and Escalon. Economic Development A vital economy keeps our County moving forward, growing, and innovating. Highlights include: n The latest crop report showed San Joaquin’s gross value of agricultural production increased to more than $3.2 billion in 2022 with agricultural commodities exported to ninety-four countries! n The Port of Stockton had its second busiest year ever including 278 vessel calls transporting nearly 4.5 million tons of cargo to and from locations worldwide. The Port provides over 10,000 jobs, generates $1.6 billion in economic activity, and nearly $78 million in state and local taxes annually. n Stockton Metropolitan Airport is currently expanding their cargo ramp space and conducting pavement rehabilitation of their taxi lanes to attract prospective cargo operators and increase flight services. n The Employment and Economic Development Department and Economic Development Association was awarded $987,685 from the State to provide 316 microbusinesses with a grant of $2,500. The Board of Supervisors matched the grant making San Joaquin County the only County to provide $5000 in grant funding to microbusinesses. Water Management and Emergency Response The past year showed us that nature remains unpredictable and powerful. However, our county’s emergency response to the floods were swift and prepared, mitigating impacts significantly and keeping residents informed of changing conditions and evacuation plans, when necessary. The Office of Emergency Services (OES) activated their Emergency Operation Center on New Year’s Day, operating 24/7 and the Board of Supervisors ratified a Proclamation that declared a local state of emergency on January 4, 2023. San Joaquin County was added to the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) major disaster declaration for the State of California and the County opened a Disaster Recovery Center to assist county residents. The Sheriff’s Office spent over 2,100 hours between January and April conducting evacuations of five separate locations and provided 24-hour a day security for each location to protect the homes and possessions of residents. Public Works oversaw repairs totaling $1.27 million on critical transportation infrastructure, and $1.1 million in repairs when the MacArthur Drive bridge and Kasson Road washed out. It took Public Works less than one month to repair and reopen those roadways. Raising the importance of OES, the Board of Supervisors transitioned OES back to a stand-alone department reporting directly to the Board of Supervisors. OES partnered with a Northern California non-profit, Hold Your Horses, to provide critical support to local livestock during natural disasters and emergencies in San Joaquin County. The County, in partnership with the Delta Counties Coalition and our state and federal legislative delegations, defeated the Governor’s highly controversial and outrageously expensive Delta Conveyance Project. The County has been fighting various forms of this tunnel battle that would ship the Delta’s water south and we are not going to stop until the proposed project is dead in the water. Again, I am honored to serve as your County Supervisor. Happy New Year and God bless you and your family.

Nancy Young

Tracy Press Op-Ed 2024

The much anticipated, elegant, sold-out Second Tracy Mayor’s Ball, hosted by Dr. Nancy Young, was held on Sept. 2, 2023, at the I.P.F.E.S. Portuguese Hall. It was a Black and White Ball theme that brought together many people of diverse backgrounds who had the single focus of supporting “Behavioral and Mental Health” in our community. Thanks to the numerous generous sponsors, more than 100 complimentary tickets offered online were given to anyone who asked to remove barriers and provide everyone access to celebrate together. With the additional profits of $18,425, eight non-profits were highlighted for their service in this arena. On the evening of the Ball, five organizations — Tracy Tree Foundation, AAAMOTIVATED, Tracy Educational Excellence Foundation, The VOIC, and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority of Tracy — were each presented with a $2,500 donation. The following week during the Tracy Connects event, three additional non-profits — Sow a Seed Community Foundation, A-Z Psychotherapy, and Tracy Golden Agers — were each presented $1,975 from the Tracy Mayor’s Ball. Dr. Cynthia Chess of Mountain’s Hope Church and Dr. Sheena TurnerAugust of A-Z Psychotherapy both riveted the crowd with their perspective presentations on demystifying behavioral and mental health while encouraging more knowledge, action, and providing opportunities on the subject. Because work in these areas often goes unnoticed by the masses, it was imperative to also highlight larger community groups that are helping move the needle for progress in directly touching our vulnerable community. Therefore, two keys to the City of Tracy were presented by Mayor Young to the Tracy African American Association and the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) Chapter and Museum for their provision of cultural awareness and broad reaching community contributions in combating behavioral and mental health through education, activities, connectivity, and common connections. US Congressman Josh Harder and State Senator Susan Eggman also gave congratulatory certificates honoring each organization. Beyond the dazzling décor, excellent food, exquisite outfits, and nonstop entertainment; the evening was an affair to remember thanks to the charismatic Master of Ceremonies, Councilmember Dan Arriola. The ambiance was truly electrifying as music filled the room from the very talented combined jazz bands from Kimball High, West High, and Tracy High. As always, the West High JROTC excellently presented colors as Shaheen Castro and Reese Dent sang outstanding renditions of the National Anthem and the Negro National Anthem, respectively. In conclusion, the Tracy Mayor’s Ball is one of the building blocks of Tracy. “Building Community Together” is the aim and focus of Dr. Nancy Young as no one person can do this alone. From the donation given to the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority of Tracy, they held “Save our children, save our families: Let’s talk about emotional wellness” event on Dec. 9, 2023. It was a free event to the community to build on and provide resources to families as strong families make strong communities. This is one example of how investment in one can multiply to others to make a real difference. As we enter 2024, may we be more aware of and be part of the solutions to the behavioral and mental health of our community.

Wes Huffman

Tracy Press Op-Ed 2024

The voter conundrum

Which candidate to pick?  The best way would be for each voter to use first-hand information from each candidate to make the best possible selection.  What usually happens is that the candidate with the most effective advertising wins. This means the candidate with the most money to spend on advertising wins! That means Capitalism, a government controlled by money, wins.

That will change if voters make an informed vote, not one based on advertising, to make their decision.

Fiscal optimization

The county should budget only 95% of its revenue for expenses. The surplus created would provide fiscal protection against downturns in the economy or catastrophic events, as well as capital for infrastructure investment opportunities. The invested surplus would provide additional revenues. 

The accounting system needs to provide a per-unit cost on all financial and budget reports. This would provide leaders and citizens with a standard unit cost to compare the value of individual activities, departments, or the whole county.

Quality of life

The measurement of the success of the government is not what we need. What is needed is a measurement of the happiness of the citizens whom the government serves. 

The Gross National Happiness Survey measures; psychological well-being; living standards; health and culture; education; community vitality; good governance; balanced time use and ecological integration. This survey is used in numerous countries and some cities in the United States to identify areas where the government can adjust its actions to improve the happiness of the citizenry.

Homelessness

Respect is something that all of us desire. We should offer the unhoused an opportunity to obtain the Food, Shelter, Safety, and Comfort they need through their efforts. Like the WPA (Works Project Administration) or the CCC (Civilian Conservation Core) during the Great Depression, the citizens were allowed to work to satisfy their needs. In so doing, they earned the respect of the whole nation.

The unhoused don’t need a handout. They need an opportunity to work.

Public safety

The crime in our county is mostly from our neighbors, not organized crime or gangs. The most dangerous call a law enforcement officer makes is a domestic violence call. All of the participants in these calls should be required to face a civil court judge, be assigned mandatory public service, and have mandatory attendance in character building and anger management classes. They should also be evaluated by the health services department for any issues contributing to their behavior. 

This kind of support would help these families recover their lives and make all of us safer.

Ending

Our biggest obligation as a citizen is to leave a healthy democracy to those who come after us. Being an informed voter is a good way to do that.

Responsibilities of Citizenship

Support and defend the Constitution.

Stay informed of the issues affecting your community.

Participate in the democratic process.

Respect and obey federal, state, and local laws.

Respect the rights, beliefs, and opinions of others.

Participate in your local community.

Pay income and other taxes honestly, and on time, to federal, state, and local authorities.

Serve on a jury when called upon.

Defend the country if the need should arise.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen

United States of America

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, and that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.