Stanislaus supervisors chairman delivers State of County
MODESTO, Feb 05, 2013 (The Modesto Bee - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
With the region lagging behind the nation's economic comeback, the leader of the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors said Tuesday that creativity and innovation are the county's road to recovery.
Board Chairman Vito Chiesa proposed using private industry leaders and community teams to tackle problems such as unemployment, gangs and school dropout rates. He delivered his State of the County address to community leaders and local officials in the board chambers at Tenth Street Place.
Chiesa, recently appointed to lead the board in 2013, said community actions and responses to the crisis will be watched by future generations. Despite improvements, the local jobless rate is 15 percent and the county contends with rising crime and budget shortfalls.
"I strongly believe that as powerful as they can be, our circumstances do not control us," Chiesa said.
During his speech, he shed a tear in praising the work ethic of his father, Aroldo Chiesa. The senior Chiesa moved from Italy to the U.S. for a better life, living in a small room on a farm where he worked. "He was paid $200 a month and after only one year had saved enough to buy his first car," Chiesa said.
The county's problems are daunting: More than 35,000 people are out of work, lives are destroyed by gang violence and a poorly educated work force stunts efforts to attract high-paying employers.
Chiesa said he wants to use the skills of industry leaders and organize community teams to work with government, education, nonprofit organizations, churches and private-sector groups.
Modesto businessman Jeff Burda has agreed to lead an employment expansion initiative, and county Office of Education Superintendent Tom Changnon has promised support, Chiesa said. The county board chairman is recruiting other community leaders for an integrated effort to help students who are falling behind and to come up with a strategy for tackling gang problems.
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