By: 5th District Supervisor, Debbie Arnold
With Halloween behind us and the Thanksgiving Holiday rapidly approaching, it is a busy time of the year. The very cold mornings, and the unseasonably warm daytime temperatures in the North County have created very dry conditions. Although we really need the rainy season to start, it is hard to not enjoy the warm sunny afternoons we have been experiencing. Spending time outdoors in November to enjoy the many beautiful venues our County has to offer reminds us how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful place.
The dry conditions do present a safety risk for our region. This year the County’s electrical utility, PG&E, has created a “Public Safety Power Shutoff Plan” to shut of transmission lines in the event of unsafe weather conditions. Dry conditions combined with gusty winds that present a high risk of power lines falling and igniting fires will trigger a power shutoff. In San Luis Obispo County, two main power lines provide the power for the entire County. If either of these lines are shut off, large portions of the County could experience power outages which could last for hours or even days. PG&E promises to give as much advanced notice as possible, but the weather and the risk will determine whether the power shutoffs are necessary. In response to this situation the County has been doing generator live load testing at county facilities to ensure services would continue at the Government Center, County Jails, County Health facilities, and Emergency facilities. At the Board of Supervisor’s meeting on November 5th, there was a request to approve budget adjustments in the total amount of $500,000 from General Fund contingencies to fund emergency expenses related to preparation for a Public Safety Power Shutoff event. The request was approved by the Board. The County Administrative office and the Office of Emergency Services are prepared and ready to continue vital services in the event our County experiences an emergency power shutdown. If we don’t need to respond to an emergency power shutdown, the money will remain in the General Fund.
The expansion of the San Luis Obispo Regional Airport (SBP) has not only increased services to and from the County, it has provided opportunities for security training for our four legged partners. SBP recently hosted a California State Parks K9 team training. The dogs and their trainers were comprised of teams from throughout the state. They trained in the terminal for narcotics and explosive detection and response. Our newly modernized terminal provided a great place for the training, and the training teams will provide enhanced security throughout the state for people traveling by air.
Lastly, the Paso Basin Aerial Groundwater mapping Study took place last week. Some may have seen the helicopter hovering low in the sky with a hula hoop looking device hanging from it. This is a new technology, aerial electromagnetic measuring designed to map aquifers in the area and give us a better understanding of the groundwater levels and soil types under the ground. This information will greatly improve the accuracy needed to understand the safe yield of our largest North County groundwater basin.
I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday. It is an honor to serve as your Fifth District Supervisor.