By Supervisor Joel Anderson
East County is a special place to live, but it is challenging to support yourself, afford adequate housing or raise a family without a good-paying job. Our community has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. San Diego County has lost approximately 100,000 jobs in the last year as a result of pandemic-related business shutdowns, with some of the economically disadvantaged areas of East County being impacted the most. We must pursue every opportunity to create jobs and jumpstart our economic recovery as we begin to emerge from the pandemic.
I am proud of leading the Board of Supervisors’ unanimous approval of a new long-term lease for County-owned property that will allow for the creation of a “last mile” e-commerce distribution center near Gillespie Field in El Cajon. This action is expected to bring 400-500 new jobs to East County. The lease will provide the County $420,000 in annual rent, a minimum of $21 million, and requires the developer to invest at least $20 million in improvements that will revert to County ownership at the end of the lease.
For many years, we have worked tirelessly to develop the business potential at Gillespie Field. This lease is an important first step in bringing more, good-paying jobs to East County and I am confident it will serve as a springboard for future economic growth as business leaders recognize that East County is open for business.
I also teamed with my colleague, Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer, to allocate a minimum of $30 million in small business stimulus grants to help local business recover from the pandemic. Our proposal, which will assist small business owners throughout San Diego County who are struggling to keep their doors open and their employees working, was unanimously approved by the Board of Supervisors.
I am also pleased that the California Department of Public Health recently announced relaxed guidelines allowing breweries and similar alcohol manufacturers to operate without the added requirement of having to serve food—a restriction that had been in place since last year. When I met with members of the San Diego Brewers Guild, I was surprised to learn of this arbitrary and discriminatory requirement. It was an unnecessary rule preventing many brewers from operating during the ongoing pandemic. I co-authored a board letter with my board colleague, Vice-Chair Nora Vargas to request the elimination of this requirement to restore a level playing field and provide vital relief for San Diego’s 150 independent craft brewers and their 6,500 employees.
These are just a few of the areas where I have been working for job creation and economic development in East County. Please visit my website at www.supervisorjoelanderson.com where you can view the Board Letters I mentioned and see other areas where I am working to serve you and our community.