By Tommy Hough
I was honored to be selected by District 3 Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer as her office's appointment to the San Diego County Planning Commission earlier this month. Following a unanimous vote on consent approving the appointment by the Board of Supervisors on Feb. 9th, I was sworn in to my new position on Feb. 19th.
In the wake of last fall's election and subsequent political realignment on the Board of Supervisors, we've already seen a great deal of positive leadership and change at the county. One of the most notable is the supervisors' unanimous vote to move San Diego County to zero carbon emissions by 2035, making it the largest county in the U.S. to commit to achieving this important, and tangible, goal.
We've also seen the county decisively draw a needed leadership line on social justice by declaring racism a public health crisis in San Diego County. With violent attacks on elderly AAPI neighbors and community members increasing in California and around the nation, including an egregious incident this past weekend on the San Diego Trolley, this declaration comes not a moment too soon, with the county administrative officer tasked to deliver an actionable plan to the board within 90 days.
On the conservation front, a marvelous watershed was reached when the board voted to purchase 98 acres of land declared surplus by the Helix Water Board in the El Monte Valley near Lakeside for recreation and conservation, with the intent of tying local trails into nearby El Monte County Park along the south side of the valley. With new leadership in place, this too passed the board with a unanimous vote.
As an environmentalist, I'm exceptionally proud to also mark a change in the approach to the planning commission as Supervisor Lawson-Remer's appointee. With rising sea levels and more frequent wildfires in wildland-urban interface zones, San Diego County is already fighting a two-front war against climate change.
But we also have issues relating to preserving biodiversity, endangered species, wildlife corridors, and the need for more holistic approaches to wildfire prevention as the most biodiverse county in the lower 48 states. This too is part of what makes San Diego County such a spectacular locale and desirable place to live and work. I pledge to fully balance and weigh our various community, economic, and environmental interests in the pursuit of the highest quality of life for our neighbors and communities in San Diego County.
I'm eager to get started. Thank you again to Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer for her trust and support in this role, and thank you to my neighbors, community, and family for their ongoing support. May you and your loved ones be safe and well.
A San Diego County planning commissioner and former radio host and media personality, Tommy Hough works as an environmental consultant and communications professional, and is a California Democratic Party delegate and the co-founder and former president of San Diego County Democrats for Environmental Action.