Originally published April 3, 2013 at 10:32 a.m., updated April 3, 2013 at 2:24 p.m.
Bill Horn, San Diego County Supervisor District 5
Dave Roberts, San Diego County Supervisor District 3
Carl Morgan, CEO San Diego North Economic Development Council
San Diego may be the biggest city in the county, but it's certainly not the only one. San Diego County is home to 18 different municipalities and 9 of those cities make up what we typically call North County. About one million people and 22,000 businesses live there. Now there's an effort underway for the cities that span from Del Mar and Poway, north to Oceanside and Vista to develop some common economic goals and a regional identity.
San Diego County Supervisor Bill Horn, who's just launched his re-election campaign for his final term, has been the major proponent behind the initiative called Prosperity on Purpose. It lays out a regional visionary plan and economic development strategy for North County. The goal is to attract developers, business and investors to the region.
"We have a great future and rather than we do it piece by piece we need to do it as a team, " Horn said.
The San Diego North Economic Development Council is leading the effort and so far has drawn up a comprehensive economic strategy, which is needed for federal funding. Some North County cities feel they lost out on millions of dollars in tax money for transportation improvement when the regional planning agency, SANDAG, divvied up TransNet money.
The SDNEDC has also created a map on Google Earth for developers to use as a tool to determine if they want to invest in the region.
Branding North County is the next step.
But that could prove to be the most challenging. And it's not the first attempt at trying to brand North County either. The region is made up of coastal affluent cities, rural and unincorporated areas with individual goals, needs and interests.
For example, the cities of Carlsbad and Oceanside are currently on opposite sides of the aisle when it comes to Carlsbad's controversial Quarry Creek Housing project. And the Gregory Canyon Landfill has also been a point of contention.
The region is also split politically. Horn, a Republican, represents large unincorporated areas while Dave Roberts, the first Democrat to be elected to the county board in decades, represents coastal cities and towns along with part of Escondido.
Roberts and Horn don't see eye to eye on every issue, but they are collaborating on giving North County a new identity.
"Now that I'm one of the two North County supervisors I want to be a part of this, we have a very diverse county and my district is very diverse, " Roberts said, "and I want to be a part of that success to really help create economic opportunities for my district."
Horn agrees and said this is the first time two North County supervisors are representing a unit.
"We may differ on various issues, but when it comes to Prosperity on Purpose, which we call this, and it comes to the rail lines, when it comes to the freeways, it's really nice to have two of us. We've got a tag team here rather than just one person screaming in the dark. And I've been screaming for a long time."