In response to your memorandum, the following is a list of issues that the Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods (PS&LN) Committee should consider this coming year:
Citygate Implementation Plan: Since the Citygate Working Group’s implementation plan was approved by the City Council, a number of vital public safety issues have been successfully addressed, such as ending the fire engine brownouts and funding a new fire alert system, but the city has a long way to go in funding the remaining items in the plan. The PS&LN committee should continue to monitor and revise the implementation plan as needed, as well as monitor the progress on the fire stations currently (or soon to be) in design or construction in 2014, including the following locations: Home Ave, Mission Valley, Skyline and Paradise Hills.
Brush Management Program: The city’s brush management program is vital to minimizing the risk of wildfire in our canyon areas. The current drought conditions in California make our brush management efforts even more critical than ever before. This program should be monitored closely to ensure that adequate staff and resources are allocated to allow for an appropriate amount of brush to be thinned each year. I request that the committee be updated on the programs’ progress and the outlook for calendar year 2014.
Lifeguard Five-Year Plan: The city needs a five-year strategy moving forward on how best to provide adequate lifeguard services to our beaches and bays. The committee should be provided with an update on the progress of the plan and any related financial analysis early in 2014. The plan should move forward in time to be incorporated into the FY 2015 budget. Additionally, it is critical that the plan address staffing for the Boating Safety Night Unit.
Lifeguard Fire-Rescue Boat: The purchase of a new fire-rescue boat was funded in previous budgets, however I understand that the city has yet to acquire it. Procurement of this vessel is vital to meeting the public safety needs at our beaches and bays. As such, I would request that the City be updated on the status of this issue.
Implementation of Police Five-Year Plan: The Police Department has suffered through years of underinvestment and lack of recruitment and retention efforts. The Five-Year Plan provides the city with the framework to build the department back up to acceptable staffing and funding. The committee should receive regular updates on the city’s progress on implementing the plan.
I look forward to the work the PS&LN Committee will do in the coming year and working with each committee member to ensure that the city develops policies and procedures that keep our citizens safe and provides equally high levels of city services to all neighborhoods throughout San Diego.