The Coast News Group
Rancho Santa Fe

Roberts sworn in as new supervisor

SAN DIEGO — Surrounded by his family, Dave Roberts was sworn in Jan. 7 as the 3rd District representative on the county Board of Supervisors, the first new face on the five-member agency since 1995. After taking the oath, administered by retired Vice Adm. Harold Koenig, Roberts shared his five goals for the coming year.

The former Solana Beach City Councilman said he will continue the county’s commitment to strong fiscal discipline.

“I won’t be afraid to support wise investments that pay dividends into the future,” he said. “I’ll ensure that we maintain our high bond rating. I’ll always protect the tax payers, defend the ratepayers and ensure that those who are eligible for county services have the opportunity to receive county services.”

As the father of five adopted children, Roberts said he has firsthand experience with San Diego foster care.

“I’m going to review the county’s foster care and adoption programs … to ensure that they’re not only working for our most vulnerable citizens – our children – but they’re also working for both biological and foster parents alike,” he said. “It’s important that we find the right balance to protect our children.”

Dave Roberts is sworn in Jan. 7 as the 3rd District representative on the county Board of Supervisors. Holding the Bible is his eldest son, Robert. Looking on are his husband, Wally Oliver, and their four other adopted children, Natalie, Julian, Alex and Joe. Roberts, the first new supervisor in 18 years, chose retired Vice Adm. Harold Koenig to administer the oath. Photo by Bianca Kaplanek

Roberts also pledged to “protect and sustain our fragile environment” by supporting open spaces such as the San Dieguito River Park, San Elijo Lagoon and Escondido Creek.

“I’m going to work to protect our neighborhoods from overdevelopment, but I’m going to support good land-use planning,” he said. “I’ll ensure that we have sufficient opportunities for public input prior to decisions being made by the county Board of Supervisors.”

Saying quality of life “must be front and center,” Roberts also vowed to support libraries, arts and culture, animal shelters and smart transit solutions. Specifically, he said, he will seek to “invigorate” San Diego’s solar industry, which he believes could be done “with almost no government involvement” and just “a few tweaks of policy here in the county.”

“We can reduce our dependence on fossil fuels,” he said. “We can build our solar industry to create local, good-paying jobs.”

Roberts said he plans to investigate the creation of a countywide utility service initiative that provides “100 percent green energy alternatives.”

He said the still-fragile economy will present the biggest challenge when it comes to county programs.

“So much of that money comes from state and federal funding,” he said. “It’s critical that we continue to provide those services on the money we get. I’m nervous about that.”

Supervisors are each allowed to distribute $1 million of discretionary funds annually to community organizations in their district.

Money would not be available to Roberts until July. In the meantime, he said he has asked for a review of the program to ensure it is as fair and transparent as possible.

“They’ve done a good job in the past but it could be improved,” he said. “I want to make sure everyone has an equal opportunity to compete. I want to see a do-not-fund list for those organizations that haven’t followed the rules.”

Roberts prevailed over Steve Danon in the Nov. 6 election with 51.14 percent of the votes after longtime Supervisor Pam Slater-Price opted not to run for the seat she held for 20 years. District 3 includes North County jurisdictions such as Del Mar, Solana Beach and Encinitas, as well as several areas in the city of San Diego, including Carmel Valley.

Greg Cox and Dianne Jacob were re-elected to their District 1 and 2 seats, respectively, and were also sworn in during the Jan. 7 ceremony at the County Operations Center in Kearney Mesa.

The event began with an invocation by Monsignor Daniel Dillabough and the Presentation of Colors by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Honor Guard. Roberts’ eldest son, Robert, led the Pledge of Allegiance and held the Bible as his father was sworn in.

More than 300 people attended, including mayors from several cities, such as Bob Filner of San Diego, Teresa Barth from Encinitas, Jim Wood of Oceanside and Chula Vista’s Cheryl Cox, who administered the oath to her husband.

Roberts said he was told it was a record crowd for the event. “That made me feel really good,” he said.

Also on hand were Solana Beach City Councilwoman Lesa Heebner, council members Lee Haydu and Don Mosier from Del Mar and representatives from the 22nd District Agricultural Association, including President Adam Day and General Manager Tim Fennell.

“I believe I’m bringing a new activist perspective on some issues and a shared vision on other issues,” Roberts said. “To all my new colleagues on the board, I pledge I’ll work with you to make our county even better. We may disagree on occasion but I pledge that I will not be disagreeable.

“You can always count on me and trust me to do my very best for the public good,” Roberts said. “I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work.”