Benoit Bulletin - August 2016 Issue
In This Issue
Welcome to The Benoit Bulletin. This e-report provides updates and information on what’s happening in Riverside County and, especially, here in the Fourth District. I trust you will find it informative, and I invite you to share it with your friends.
Grants Available for Air Quality Improvement Projects: Nonprofit organizations, tribes, school districts and other government agencies with ideas for enhancing air quality in the Coachella Valley can apply for up to $50,000 for their projects. Please see my website for more details about this grant opportunity for projects that improve our valley’s environment and make our air cleaner to breathe, for our communities, families and children.
It was nice to have this year's National Association of Counties hosted so close to Riverside County.
National Association of Counties: I represented Riverside County in Long Beach at the National Association of Counties annual conference July 22-25. This event brings together more than 2,500 county officials from across the nation. On behalf of the county, I presented two resolutions for national adoption supporting the Export-Import Bank and EB5 programs, which support economic development in our communities.
Mental Health Funding: Each year our region is shortchanged in mental health funding due to a formula established in 1991, when our county population was 1.1 million. I have been working with my colleagues and State Senator Richard Roth to address this funding disparity. Please see the Press-Enterprise column which details our efforts to change this.
County Budget Update: While the economy has made up a lot of ground and Riverside County’s discretionary revenues are starting to recover, there are still challenges to the county’s bottom line. Recognizing this, the Board of Supervisors approved a budget plan on July 26 that delivers core county services while keeping spending at fiscally sustainable levels. Recently, the District Attorney’s Office has requested $12 million in addition to a budget that was already increased by $11 million. Given the financial challenges, the Board declined to add money to the department’s budget. We are conducting an intensive evaluation of public safety departments, and will continue to work with the District Attorney’s Office, to increase efficiency and find appropriate, long-term savings in these departments.
Salton Sea Management Program Workshops: The California Natural Resources Agency will wrap up their series of workshops, focused on providing information and soliciting public input on the state’s Salton Sea Management Program, this month. Locally, the last meeting is scheduled for Aug. 11 in North Shore. For meeting locations and additional information, visit http://resources.ca.gov/salton-sea.
Audubon Magazine: The National Audubon Society, whose mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, placed a spotlight on the Salton Sea in the summer issue of their magazine Audubon. Click here to read this story which discusses the momentum for change that the Salton Sea has gained recently.
The students of the 2015-16 Youth Advisory Council.
I would like to introduce the newest member of my team, Sophia Felix. Sophia serves as a legislative intern, coordinating and overseeing high school students on the 4th District Youth Advisory Council (YAC).
YAC is a great group to join and be a part of if you’re in high school, looking to prepare for college and a career, and interested in building your skill set for public speaking, planning, responsibility and teamwork.
YAC is currently recruiting high school students throughout the Coachella Valley and Palo Verde Valley. You can find more information on my YAC page.
It was an honor to stand alongside survivors, Desert Regional Medical Center staff and Palm Springs Mayor Moon (left) to dedicate the plaque.
25th Anniversary of Tram Road Bus Crash: Desert Regional Medical Center hosted a memorial dedication marking the 25th anniversary of the Tram Road Bus Crash. As the Indio CHP commander, I was on the scene the day of the crash and assisted with the rescue effort. The CHP helicopter I had worked to acquire a few years earlier proved critical that day. On August 1, I joined local leaders and surviving crash victims to honor the lives of those we lost and the community’s response to this tragic event. The Desert Sun published a descriptive and well-written account of this heartbreaking day in Palm Springs history.
Harrison Street Maintenance Project: Construction is expected to begin this fall on an approximate 13-mile span of Harrison Street, through the Thermal and Oasis communities, to enhance the road’s condition, safety and pavement life. READ MORE
Grand Opening of Small Business Development Center: The community will soon have access to three business development centers in one new central location. The County of Riverside will hold a grand opening for the Coachella Valley Small Business Development Center, the East Valley Coalition and the Coachella Valley Business Center on Aug. 29. You can learn more about this exciting venture here.
Appointment Vacancies: Coachella Valley and Blythe area residents who are available and willing to share their time and dedication are encouraged to apply to serve on boards, councils and commissions for the County of Riverside. These appointed positions are wonderful opportunities to serve and shape your community. A full list of openings can be viewed on my web site. If you would like to apply for one of these councils, please download an application. You can email Joe Pradetto for more information.
Make a Difference Day Nine Weekly Walks, Aug. 20 – Oct. 22: United Way of the Desert is hosting a series of nine Saturday morning walks in all nine Coachella Valley cities. The free weekly community walks promote exercise and healthy living while supporting local charities. For a schedule of events, visit my events calendar.
Benoit Pet Adoption Event, Sept. 9 - Sept. 10: My wife, Sheryl Benoit, and I are proud to host a pet adoption event at the Coachella Valley Animal Campus. We will pay the adoption fees for the first 50 dogs and cats over 6 months old. After the adoption of the first 50 dogs and cats, there will be a special event fee of $20 for each pet to cover the costs of spaying and neutering. More details about our efforts to find 50 new pets a home are available on my events calendar.
Valley-wide Employment Expo, Thursday, Sept. 15 – 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Thousands of job seekers are expected to attend the 21st Valley-wide Employment Expo, held at the Riverside County Fairgrounds in Indio. This job fair has proven to be a tremendous resource to the community, giving individuals the opportunity to connect directly with potential employers. More information can be found at www.desertjobexpo.com.
Desert Board of Supervisors Meeting, Tuesday, Oct. 18 – 9 a.m.: I am excited to announce a Riverside County Board of Supervisors meeting has been scheduled to take place in the Coachella Valley. This is the second time I have requested that one of our regularly scheduled board meetings be held outside of Riverside. I look forward to bringing this meeting back to the 4th district and invite you to join us on Oct. 18 at the Palm Desert City Hall.
Thank you for taking the time to read these periodic updates. It’s an honor to be your representative on the Riverside County Board of Supervisors.