SAN DIEGO — A week after officially being sworn into office, Kristin Gaspar and two other county supervisors were honored at a ceremonial swearing-in ceremony Monday morning at the County Administrative Building.
Gaspar, who recently unseated incumbent Dist. 3 Supervisor Dave Roberts, was flanked by her husband, Paul, and their three children — Addison, Payton and Carson — as San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer administered the oath of office.
Gaspar’s official first day in office was on Jan. 2, however, the Jan. 9 ceremony was a chance to celebrate the elections of Gaspar, Dist. 1 Supervisor Greg Cox and Dist. 2 Supervisor Dianne Jacob.
In addition to Faulconer, County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, Chula Vista Mayor Mary Salas, Sheriff Bill Gore and former mayor and media personality Roger Hedgecock were in attendance.
The former Encinitas mayor outlined her goals for her first term on the board, including what she said would be her top priority: addressing homelessness in San Diego County.
Comparing the looming tasks to Florence Chadwick’s historic swim across the Catalina Channel — her first attempt aborted just a mile away from the shore due to heavy fog — Gaspar admonished the crowd of dignitaries from across the region to never lose sight of the goal.
“As we try to take on some challenging issues throughout the region…we won’t always be able to see the land, but the main thing is that we have to keep our goal in sight, and before we ever enter the water, we have to establish our goal,” Gaspar said. “We can’t let the fog (obstacles) stop us short of reaching our goal. We have too much at stake.”
Gaspar said the her priority will be to “create accountable plans to define a goal and produce results in the challenging areas of homelessness and regional public safety.”
In order to combat the rise in homelessness, which has been seen both anecdotally and in recent homeless counts, Gaspar said the county must build on the existing network of individuals and organizations committed to addressing homelessness through collaboration, advocacy and careful allocation and realignment of resources.
“We have to define the goal before we ever enter the water,” Gaspar said, continuing with the Chadwick analogy. “We have to keep pushing and we have to keep swimming because we have to meet that goal.”
Gaspar said that since she was declared the victor in December she had reached out to Faulconer, whose role, she said, is critical in her vision of getting a handle on the county’s homeless issue.
“Any plan that has to deal with homelessness has to involve the city of San Diego,” Gaspar said.
Faulconer, who called Gaspar’s energy and drive “contagious,” said he shared Gaspar’s passion on the homeless issue, calling it critical to the county’s stability.
“For us to succeed the county and the city have to be working close together,” said Faulconer. “The focus is now providing help to the women and men and families who need it.
“There are a lot of well meaning, great providers and institutions. How do we weave all that together? How are we making sure that we are providing the dollars and the wraparound services, mental health in particular and substance abuse, that really not only gets people off of the street, but in permanent and supportive housing.”
Gaspar’s speech capped a ceremony that saw Jacob and Cox sworn into office for the final time in their lengthy careers on the board due to term limits.
Cox was sworn in by his wife, former Chula Vista Mayor Cheryl Cox, and Jacob was sworn in by Gore.
Jacob, in a nod to Gaspar’s joining the board, which was previously composed of four men and one woman, said she was looking forward to having the junior member aboard.
“It’s not just me and the boys anymore,” she said.
The ceremonies began with the Gaspar children reciting the pledge of allegiance.