By Steve Dreyer
Although separated by a generation, the two men who spoke at Friday’s “State of the City” breakfast in Poway share much in common.
Both were raised in “The City in the Country.” Both attended Poway middle schools (one attended Meadowbrook, the other Twin Peaks,) and graduated from Poway High School. For many years they both lived in the Summerfield neighborhood. The older man’s three sons played with the younger man and his siblings. The older man remembers taking a math class at PHS taught by the younger man’s father.
Both men finished college and earned college and law degrees.
Both are local elected leaders.
Don Higginson, a 27-year City Council veteran, and newly minted state Assemblyman Brian Maienschein agreed Friday that Poway is a special place.
“It’s a tremendous honor to represent the community you grew up in,” Maienschein told the 80 business and civic representatives attending the annual Poway Chamber of Commerce-sponsored breakfast.
Poway’s track record at being a well-run city makes being mayor “A great, easy job,” Higginson added.
Elected in November to represent the new 77th District, Maienschein told the Maderas Golf Club audience that he’s introduced three bills during his first 90 days in office. The first would freeze tuitions at state colleges and universities for five years. The second bill would allow the spouses of transferred members of the military to work in their new state under the provisions of licenses granted by their previous state of residence. The third bill, Maienschein said, would require criminal background checks on adults working with youth sports teams.
A Carmel Mountain Ranch resident, Maienschein represented District 5 of the San Diego City Council for eight years. After being termed out, he worked for the United Way where he specialized in coming up with governmental solutions to ease the homeless problem. The result was a new program where the 35 homeless people who were costing the most in government support (a total of $12 million) were assisted by local agencies at a cost of $7 million.
More programs like that, where money is saved while a major problem is addressed, are needed in Sacramento, he said.
The assemblyman said he understood the significance to cities of the loss of local redevelopment agencies, but expressed doubt that Gov. Jerry Brown would be doing anything to ease the financial hits taken by Poway, San Diego and other affected cities.
Higginson departed from past practice of repeating the “State of the City” speech he gives during the first March council meeting. Instead, he noted that Poway’s crime rate continues to be the lowest among cities that contract with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and that the city will soon see several new businesses moving in, including Grocery Outlet, Five Guys Burgers and Fries and the Mainstream Bar and Grill. The Poway Business Park continues to thrive, he said, and has a vacancy rate of only 4.3 percent. Meanwhile, Toyota of Poway has opened in its new location, planning progresses for a new Lowe’s home improvement store and ground had been broken on the Walmart expansion, the mayor said.
Higginson shared with the group a few slides from the San Diego Association of Government’s 2050 population report. Most of the region’s growth will come not from new residents moving in, but by additions to families already here, he said. The report projects a need by 2050 of 479,000 new jobs and 333,000 units of housing.