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Fallbrook Chamber collaborates with the community

Lucette Moramarco

Associate Editor

At the beginning of the Fallbrook Chamber of Commerce's State of the Chamber event, CEO Lila Hargrove said she wanted to put a spotlight on "connecting our community; I am a huge collaborator," which is why she invited the leaders from the Community Forum to come and speak that night at the Vista Valley Country Club, Sept. 19.

After Supervisor Jim Desmond led the salute to the flag and Rick Koole of LifePointe Church gave an invocation, North County Fire Chief Keith McReynolds gave an update on emergency services. He noted that they recently had two 2-alarm fires and a hurricane to deal with besides being an "agency on the move."

They renovated Station 2 (Winterwarm), are in the planning stages of renovating Station 3 (Rainbow) and are going to be building a new Station 4 (Pala Mesa). They will also be adding a fourth ambulance as well as talking about buying property for a Station 6.

Fallbrook Community Planning Group Chair Eileen Delaney talked about the need to be more collaborative, to contribute to the chamber, and to pay attention to what is going on in Sacramento. She pointed out that more than 300 bills have been handled in the legislature, many of them eroding local control. For instance, cannabis is coming to our area.

Delaney also talked about Measures A and B to approve the water districts' detachment from the San Diego County Water Authority as a way to have fair water rates, help growers and farmers, and maintain the rural character of our area. She also said the county has found funding for Fallbrook's new park.

Before the next speaker, Hargrove said, "Thank you to our sponsors, Arlan Knutson Insurance, Beach House Winery, Costello's Auto Repair, EdCo, CR Properties and Fallbrook Village Rotary."

She then brought up Desmond for an update on county business. He started with some bad news, homelessness is still here. "You can take people off the streets and get them help, but the problem is those who don't want to be off the streets," he said, adding that the good news is the county is spending $6.1 million for affordable housing on Alvarado Street.

LAFCO passed the detachment request in a 5-3 decision and the City of San Diego is suing over it, Desmond said. In the vote for residents to approve the detachment, Measure A is for FPUD customers and Measure B is for Rainbow Water customers in the November election.

The bad news is SDG&E is starting a fixed rate bill in January 2025 when every electrical provider in the state will be allowed to charge a fixed rate fee based on each customer's income. Some good news is that Village View Park is having its groundbreaking Thursday, Sept. 28 at 10 a.m.

More bad news is the the federal government is dropping off migrants/asylum seekers at transit centers with no help, no direction, no plan. On a lighter note, Desmond announced that he is now a member of the Fallbrook chapter of the Civil Air Patrol out of Fallbrook Airpark.

More good news is that after a loud outcry, the emergency clause was taken out of AB399 so it will not go into effect until Jan. 1, meaning that Measures A and B will allow local control over the detachment. Other small water districts will not have that choice in the future as the whole county will vote on any new proposed detachments.

Hargrove then explained all of the services the chamber has to offer the community, including being a visitor center, tourism center and a government advocate. The chamber website has a list of resources, a calendar with over 395 events through April, a job posting board, county information, veterans resources, maps and trail guides.

The chamber holds more than 12 events a month to make the community better, including seminars, coffee breaks, sundowners, sunuppers, lunch mobs, networking, etc. "The chamber is the front door to our community," Hargrove said. It has over 566 members so is in the top 5 for membership in the county.

She then thanked outgoing Honorary Mayor Tami Donnelly and explained the new way of choosing the next Honorary Mayor. The board decided that whoever is chosen as the Chamber Ambassador of the Year should be the new mayor. So, Hargrove announced that Joan Eberle is the Honorary Mayor of Fallbrook.


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