Updated: Jan 21
ICYMI a number of social justice issues were on the agenda at the Sacramento Board of Supervisors meeting on September 22. Here’s a roundup of the action from the fantastic SJPC member Michelle Wright.
Agenda item 44: Report on Covid-19 Response (Health Services)
What did they talk about? This was a report from the Department of Health Services about how the County is addressing the pandemic. Public Health Officer Dr. Kasirye and Department of Health Services Director Dr. Beilenson provided updates on COVID-19 cases, related spending, and unhoused encampments. No votes, but a lot of discussion.
Why does this matter? Research has found deep disparities in the impacts of COVID-19. Black and Hispanic respondents are feeling the effects of the pandemic most dramatically here in Sacramento. We’ve already talked about how the County spent 85% of the CARES Act funds on law enforcement, so every penny is needed.
Let’s talk money
The County Department of Health Services has about 2 pots of money - approximately $68M - available to support COVID-19 efforts according to Dr. Beilenson’s report. The county has already spent about $12.6M.
$8.2M is encumbered for business reopening navigators, contact tracers, COVID testing, and community-based testing
Approximately of $17.995M is encumbered for communications, media, isolation quarantine, and working with community-based org’s
What are they doing to address the pandemic?
More testing: The county is stepping up COVID testing with up to 25,000 tests that can be processed per month. (Compare to 6,000 per month previously.)
More staff: 64 on-call staff have been hired for contact tracing, primary care, and assistance for the unhoused community. They are still training and recruiting.
Contracts with local organizations to provide mobile integrated health units to fight the spread and more. This includes a contract with La Familia to support ag and food service workers, Sierra Health Foundation to work with community based organizations such as Sacramento Food Bank and Harvest for Health
Support for unhoused encampments: The county is providing port-a-potties, hand-washing stations, and dumpsters to various encampments.
Sue Frost is at it again. She advocated to allow the Sheriff’s Department to act on their own discretion to remove homeless encampments without prior authorization from County staff, to disregard CDC “considerations,” and to go back to our “normal guidelines.”
Beilenson: There are public health reasons not to move unhoused encampments
Nottoli: Ummm...Housing is needed to move people into.
Frost: Well the 9th Circuit Court says you can move people for vegetation, public health, and criminal activity reasons. The Sheriff’s Department can handle unhoused encampments. Think about residents (clutching her pearls) and how this impacts them.
Beilenson: We need a real housing solution.
Nottoli: Let’s find a solution for the winter and get to work on a longer-term fix
Bruce Wagstaff (Deputy County Executive): Stay tuned. We’ll talk more about this on October 20. County Executive staff plan to use current resources, and expect additional state funding.
Peters: If we want to complete more removals the “damaging infrastructure” definition should be considered.
Beilenson: Unhoused encampments are increasing due to a loss of jobs as a result of the pandemic, and a reduction in shelter capacity due to COVID guidelines.
Frost: We need to open it up and let them get back to work.
Social justice issues: Equitable housing, Health equity
Housing is a basic human right. (It’s at the base of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.) Yet here in Sacramento, rents and home prices are soaring. Equitable housing leads to greater health and economic security for all.
Health equity means everyone has an equal opportunity to live the healthiest life possible. And the pandemic has demonstrated the disparity across our communities.
Agenda Item 48: Ordinance Amending Campaign finance contribution limit
What did they talk about? A new ordinance was introduced to amend various sections within Sacramento County Code Chapter 2.115. This would change election campaign contribution limits, and delete Articles 5 - Campaign Reform Fund and 6 - Public funds. Read: Public finance of elections.
Skip to the end: Stay tuned. To be continued at the October 6 meeting.
Social justice issues: Criminal justice reform, campaign finance
Agenda Item 49: Response the 2019-2020 Sacramento County Grand Jury Final Report
What did they talk about? The findings from the 2019-2020 County Grand Jury Final Report. It covers a lot: gentrification, increased incarceration via CA Senate Bill 1022, high school drop out rates, Sacramento Police Department staffing, and more.
What happened? All members voted yes to adopt the findings and recommendations. This means that the board rejected the $80M in CA Senate Bill 1022 funding which would have allowed increased incarceration within Sacramento County.
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