November 1994: Bill Horn elected to San Diego County Board of Supervisors.
March 1996: Horn makes enemies by voting against an ordinance to require gates around swimming pools. He argues that it’s too costly for landlords, citing his own experience when a similar rule passed in Phoenix, where he owned apartments.
November 1998: Details emerge that Horn put one of his campaign consultants, Scott Taylor, on the county payroll for more than three months. According to the Union-Tribune, “no one could verify he’d ever set foot in a county office.”
May 1999: Horn stomps all over the separation between church and state by using his county e-mail account to invite more than 8,000 employees to join him for a prayer circle, according to U-T reports.
December 2000: “Major-felony stupid” is how one community leader described Horn to the U-T after Horn replaced a much-loved community activist with a land-development consultant on the county Planning Commission.
June 2000: Horn staffer Giovanna Vinsconi says she was ordered to secretly coordinate a National Day of Prayer event on county time, using county resources. Horn fires her. She sues.
March 2001: After filing a lawsuit to force the county to release records regarding a $17,000 settlement with Vinsconi, the Union-Tribune reports that her lawsuit contained allegations that Horn regularly made offensive comments about “gays, women, Jews and blacks.”
July 2001: Horn angers minority groups by redrawing his district to include wealthier parts of the county.
September 2001: According to the U-T, Horn eats dinner at a steakhouse in Rancho Santa Fe to promote post-9/11 economic recovery but then allows the restaurant to pick up his tab.
September 2003: A U-T story reveals that Horn’s chief of staff, Joan Wonsley, is moonlighting as his paid campaign fundraiser.
July 2004: A Horn appointee to the Civil Service Commission swears at other commission members. When they ask for an apology, Horn calls them “girlie men,” according to the U-T.
January 2005: After his fellow supervisors refuse to second his motion to give themselves a $28,000 pay raise—prompting his now-infamous “We’re not Franciscans” comment, Horn refuses to approve funds to rehab a run-down hospital and walks out of the meeting.
November 2006: Horn compares his battle against medical marijuana to Rosa Parks’ struggle for civil rights.
March 2006: KFMB Channel 8 breaks the news that Horn’s chief of staff, Joan Wonsley, is living in a $1.3-million home Horn owns in Carlsbad. Neighbors tell Channel 8 that they often see Horn’s SUV parked at the residence overnight. Wonsley and Horn deny a romantic relationship.
May 2006: Horn proposes spending $40,000 to find out how much money illegal immigrants cost the county.
May 2006: A KFMB helicopter gets shots of Horn’s avocado-farm workers relieving themselves on his property. It’s later revealed that the workers were living in a dilapidated trailer for which Horn lacked a permit. But by the time county inspectors show up, the trailer’s gone.
September 2007: Horn presents the findings of the illegal-immigration study to his colleagues. Even though the study’s authors warn that it’s based largely on anecdotal evidence, Horn trumpets it as fact and sends a bill to the federal government for $101 million.
September 2007: The state’s Fair Political Practices Commission fines Horn roughly $13,000 for failing to properly disclose campaign expenditures—including a shopping trip to Nordstrom Rack for which he was reimbursed twice, according to voiceofsandiego.org—and personal income from the home he was renting to Wonsley. The FPPC says the violations “reflect a level of inattention and negligence.”
April 2008: A North County Times story reports that Horn’s constituents find him to be “unreachable and inaccessible.” Horn says he’s simply too busy to meet with them. His calendar, however, shows 71 free days between July 2007 and February 2008.
May 2008: Horn meets with representatives from Cricket Communications, which wants to build a cell-phone tower in his district, but not with the residents who oppose it. He downplays the meeting to the North County Times and says the same reps met with all five supervisors. Two—Dianne Jacob and Pam Slater-Price—tell CityBeat they have no idea what he’s talking about.
August 2009: The Union-Tribune reports that Horn’s chief of staff, Joan Wonsley, and her three children were paid more than $23,000 between July 1, 2008, and June 30, 2009, for work on Horn’s 2010 re-election campaign.
December 2009: Regarding a vote on a controversial development in his district—Merriam Mountain—Horn tells a North County Times reporter, “I told the applicant, ‘You should put this off until a little later.’” Since county policy says that giving this sort of advice to a developer is a big no-no, the U-T’s Jeff McDonald presses Horn on the matter. Horn says he misspoke. “I refer to the county as ‘I’ many times,” Horn tells McDonald. “I use ‘I’ a lot, whether I’m talking about my staff, the county or myself. It’s unfortunate that I used ‘I.’ I’ll try to be more accurate in the future.”
February 2010: In response to questions from a voiceofsandiego.org reporter about problems with the county’s social-welfare programs, Horn says, “My parents would never take public assistance. My father wouldn’t even take the GI bill. I could’ve taken a lot of those benefits. If I could live without it why would I take it?”
March 2010: A lawyer for the Golden Door Spa in Escondido, the owners of which opposed the Merriam Mountain project, sends a letter to the Board of Supervisors with copies of cell-phone records showing that Horn had made calls and sent text message to Merriam Mountain developers and representatives, a violation of county policy. The letter demands that Horn recuse himself from voting on the project. He doesn’t, but the project fails to get enough votes to move forward.
March 2010: Amid budget cuts to social-service and public-safety programs, Horn is the lone vote against cutting $5 million from the county’s Neighborhood Reinvestment Program, a discretionary pot of money that critics say is a slush fund used by supervisors to shore up political support.
May 2010: On KPBS’s These Days Horn says the 14th Amendment to the Constitution should be re-written to deny citizenship to children born to parents who are in the U.S. illegally. “We are the only country in the world that allows this to happen,” he said. Voiceofsandiego.org fact-checked the statement and found it to be untrue—several countries grant citizenship to children of nonresidents.
To be continued……