Valley News -

By Alex Groves
Associate Editor 

Temecula mayor focuses on safety for State of the City address


Last updated 6/7/2018 at 11:45am

Shane Gibson

Temecula Mayor Matt Rahn presents the 2018 Temecula State of the City Address at Pechanga Resort and Casino.

Hundreds filled the Pechanga Resort and Casino's brand-new event center on Thursday, May 31, to hear Temecula Mayor Matt Rahn deliver his State of the City Address.

Every year, Temecula's mayor picks a theme to focus on. Rahn, serving as the city's mayor for the first time this year, picked the theme "Temecula SAFE."

Rahn said the city's highest priority is ensuring public safety and that has helped the city to have a prosperous economy and maintain its well-manicured look.

He credited the men and women of the Riverside County Sheriff's Department and Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Department for their role in protecting and helping the public.

"Police and fire are the most obvious component and single largest investment in safety," Rahn said. "They are our first responders and our insurance policy, making sure that we have the right coverage when we need them most. They are the backbone of any community, and really, our most fundamental obligation in managing our city."

Rahn touted the city's Measure S spending. The voter-approved 1 cent sales tax increase became effective on April 1, 2017.

A video played during Rahn's speech showed that over the last year the city has hired 10 new sworn police officers. Four of those officers are dedicated to dealing with homeless issues within the city.

Rahn reported that comparing first quarter 2017 with first quarter 2018, there were 19 less injury traffic collisions, graffiti was down by 47 percent and the Temecula Police Department's response times for Priority 1 calls -- their most important calls -- were on average 3 minutes and 7 seconds faster, roughly a 33 percent reduction in waiting time. Rahn attributed an increase in policing to the change in those statistics.

The funds were also used to open the long-vacant Roripaugh Ranch fire station and staff it with eight firefighters, a ladder truck and four new fire vehicles.

"It's already relieving tremendous pressure off the other fire stations and improving response time throughout our city, and especially that northeastern portion of Temecula," Rahn said.

The video showed that the funds were also used to improve amenities used by city residents. They were used for upgraded technical equipment, paint and furnishings at the Ronald H. Roberts Library as well as for new equipment at playgrounds throughout the city.

Rahn said that cities tend to be reliant on state and federal funding, but Measure S represented an independent stream of revenue for Temecula.

"Measure S cannot be funneled away by Sacramento," he said. "That extra penny of sales tax and every penny of it stays right here in the city of Temecula."

Rahn said roughly half of the sales tax revenue the city receives comes from city visitors who shop and stay in Temecula.

He noted that Temecula is a hub for business and economic activity, citing studies that rank the city among the top five percent of cities with the lowest cost for businesses in California and the top 10 percent of cities with the lowest costs for businesses within the entire Western United States.

He noted that Temecula has a strong tourism economy, with Visit Temecula Valley reporting that in 2016, annual travel spending in the area had risen to $712 million.

Rahn said that Temecula Valley Wine Country continues to grow and is poised to add numerous wineries over the coming years.

People who visit will have plenty of hotel options to choose from, he said, including Pechanga Resort and Casino, which recently completed a 300 million expansion.

Rahn said eight more hotels were either in the process of being approved or getting ready to start building, including the luxury hotel from Truax Development on Third Street in Old Town Temecula and a four story Hilton Home2 to Suites in the business park area.

Rahn also took time to talk about roadway infrastructure project such as the Western Bypass, a roadway expected to extend Temecula Parkway to the west and connect it with Rancho California Road; and the Temecula Parkway Interchange Project, which is intended to smooth the flow of traffic coming on to and off of the freeway at Temecula Parkway.

Part of the speech focused on emergency preparedness. Rahn said a "Temecula SAFE" 3 minute emergency bag will be delivered to all 34,000 residences within the city and comes complete with a 12 page special edition newsletter provided by the city with emergency preparedness information and safety tips. The city coordinated with local organizations to create the bags.

Rahn concluded his speech by noting that Temecula is the 15th safest city in the country according to FBI statistics as well as one of the best 50 cities to live in the country.

"Now is better than any other time to be invested in Temecula," he said. "As we build upon a safe community together and protect our most precious resources: our people."

Alex Groves can be reached by email at [email protected]


Reader Comments

tomsuttle writes:

Hello KennyMayes, No snub of the fine young city of Wildomar intended. Nor, for the equally excellent youthful burg of Menifee. As regards law enforcement/crime stats excellence; perhaps both will eventually merit a long enough (timewise) track record of notability to be included with the likes of Temecula, Murrieta, and Canyon Lake. I, for one, would like to see that happen. It would be wonderful, in fact, if all areas (including unincorporated) of SWRC would one day merit such recognition.

KennyMayes writes:

Interesting that Tom left out wildomar when mentioning new cities.

tomsuttle writes:

Good article. As someone who has been around SWRC since the beginning of time (when the 15 freeway came thru the area in the early 80's), I've been blessed to be present at the births of several local cities... three of which have risen to prominence as being among the safest in America. Temecula, Murrieta, and Canyon Lake are all extraordinary in this regard. The people of these communities have elected (usually) very competent leaders, resulting in great public protection. Well done, all.


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