A look at the issues facing Stanislaus County. For the full text of the State of the County click the link to the left.
- Challenge: Skeptics say the link is weak between a funding source and a future Family Justice Center for abuse victims.
- In the works: In a narrow decision, county supervisors last week voted 3-2 to pursue charging $2 extra for copies of vital records, with the money going to a nonprofit group that would run the center.
- Grover: "Currently, a victim and their family must visit multiple and widespread agencies as they seek medical care, counseling and the prosecution of the crime. This effort would bring all of those services to one place in an attempt to ease the suffering that the crime has caused."
- Challenge: State and local officials hope to build a smoothly flowing freeway linking Highway 99 at Salida to Highway 108 east of Oakdale. Dozens of critics include people who own farms and country houses in the expressway's path.
- In the works: An environmental study nears completion
- Grover: "There are few better examples of regional collaboration than the North County Corridor by Oakdale, Riverbank, Modesto, Stanislaus County, StanCOG and Caltrans. Accomplishing something now that should have been demanded by the citizens of this county 30 years ago will positively impact future citizens."
- Challenge: Unemployment is at 17.5 percent, more than double the rate a decade ago.
- In the works: A lawsuit brought by Patterson challenging the county's hope for a huge business park near Crows Landing, left, could be resolved soon. Many West Side residents and officials vociferously oppose the project.
- Grover: "Stanislaus County must do something that will distinguish it from all the other valley counties that are battling the same challenges. Maybe more than anything we've attempted in the past, the opportunity at Crows Landing to partner with the Port of Oakland and the Union Pacific Railroad offers that distinction."
- Challenge: Voters upset with growth patterns two years ago wrested from county supervisors their control over housing developments in unincorporated areas.
- In the works: A countywide growth management plan will be developed this year by elected leaders from the county and its nine cities, Grover says.
- Grover: "This county is a leader in forging forward in the fight against misplaced restrictions and inappropriately managed population growth that has crippled or killed agricultural communities in the past."
- Challenge: The county faces a public relations problem because its retirement system richly rewards some former employees while the system reels from past mistakes and recession losses.
- In the works: Already facing a $20 million deficit, the county may be forced to pay the pension fund an extra $17 million.
- Grover: "Certainly there are policies that need to be altered and practices that need to change for the long-term health and integrity of the county's retirement system. I ask you not to lose sight of the fact that the vast majority of Stanislaus County's employees and retirees are and were hardworking, honest, diligent members of our community who will spend their retirement years living on very modest pensions."