SAN DIEGO – Three county supervisors — including two with combined 54 years of service — were feted Tuesday at a farewell ceremony during their second-to-last board meeting.
Greg Cox and Dianne Jacob are leaving due to term limits, while Kristin Gaspar lost her re-election bid in November.
Jacob has been representing District 2 since 1993, while Cox joined the board in 1995 to represent District 1. Gaspar’s term as District 3 supervisor started in 2017. All three are Republicans.
Democrat Nora Vargas was elected to fill Cox’s seat on the technically nonpartisan board, while veteran Republican state lawmaker Joel Anderson will replace Jacob. Terra Lawson-Remer, a Democrat, defeated Gaspar.
Both Cox and Jacob are credited for their work on a county conservation plan; expanded recreational opportunities, including the Waterfront Park; establishing a 211 information system and better law enforcement and fire safety programs.
Cox has also served as co-chair of the county’s COVID-19 subcommittee.
Gaspar received praise for her work to improve mental health care and addiction treatment in the county.
Jacob said she Cox and “aren’t riding off into the sunset quite yet,” as the next few days will be busy.
“Serving the people of this district has been one of the greatest honors of my life,” said Jacob, who thanked her staff for their efforts over the years.
Cox, board chairman, said 26 years went by “very, very fast,” while “this last year seems like it’s taken forever.”
When 2020 began, there was certainly a lot of excitement, Cox said. When he assumed the board chairmanship, Cox had several goals, including more housing, helping foster youth and more renewable energy options.
However, “life changed dramatically” with the arrival of the coronavirus in February, he said, saying “2020 has been the most difficult (year) that we’ve faced in this region in our lifetimes.”
Cox also thanked staff members “who stuck with me, through thick and thin, good and bad.”
Helen Robbins-Meyer, the county’s chief administrative officer, played a tribute video to Cox and Jacob, both of whom are credited for helping the county recover from a massive financial slump in the early 1990s.
Robbins-Meyer described it as a bittersweet day, and said she she’s grown to respect all three outgoing supervisors.
“Saying goodbye to all three of you at once, over Zoom, is incredibly difficult,” she added. “I truly believe you have made San Diego one of the greatest counties to live, work and play.”
Jim Desmond, also board vice chairman, said Tuesday’s meeting “marks the end of an era” with the departure of Cox and Jacob. Desmond also credited Gaspar for her efforts to ensure a balanced transportation plan and making sure North County had a mental health crisis center.
Gaspar said Cox is “proof that nice guys don’t always finished last,” and described Jacob as “an institution in East County for decades.”
Supervisor Nathan Fletcher credited Jacob for advocating “passionately and fiercely for her beliefs,” and said Cox will “always be known as someone who brought class and grace to his role.”
The board approved renaming the Santa Ysabel Nature Center as the “Dianne Jacob Nature Center at Santa Ysabel Preserve,” and the Bonita Civic Complex as the “Greg Cox Civic Complex.”
Fletcher said renaming the buildings is a fitting tribute to both outgoing supervisors.