Updated: Jan 21
Here’s a rundown on what happened at the January 12, 2021 Sacramento County Board meeting. New supervisor, new chair, and COVID-19 updates.
1. Rich Desmond is Sworn in as New Supervisor
Rich Desmond was sworn in as the Sacramento County Supervisor for District 3 during the County Board of Supervisors meeting on January 12, 2021. As a reminder, District 3 includes portions of the county like Carmichael, Arden Arcade and Fair Oaks. Check out this map for reference.
Desmond is a former commander with the California Highway Patrol and he was former Supervisor Peters’ pick to be her replacement. He received endorsements from plenty of “law and order” interests including DA Schubert, the Sacramento County Alliance of Law Enforcement, and the California Association of Highway Patrolmen.
During his swearing-in, Rich gave a shout out to addressing the unhoused with dignity and compassion and stated his interest in prioritizing partnerships with the nearby cities to better address the crisis.
We’ll be keeping an eye on the new Board member. If addressing homelessness is really a priority for him, let’s see if he can put his money (or really, the County’s budget) where his mouth is. Are you in District 3? If so, you can sign up for his newsletter here and help us keep him accountable.
2. Winter is coming, y’all. Supervisor Sue Frost is Elected as Chair
This year’s Chair for the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors is none other than Frosty Sue. Serna handed the virtual gavel over to Frost during the Board hearing on January 12, 2021. Nottoli will serve as the Board’s Vice Chair.
According to this County news release, the Board Chair responsibilities include presiding over Board meetings, recognizing a member of the Board wanting to speak on an item, and acting as the point of contact for questions from the public. So while this position is mostly procedural, it does mean a little bit more power and a little bit more time on the mic for Frosty. #BuckleUp
3. Speaking of mic-dropping moments…
This election took place just days after Frost led an in-person conference and protest called “Re-Open Cal” in violation of state and local health orders.
When asked about the event Frost said,
“Our understanding is that there are increased deaths, increased hospitalizations, due to people who have chronic illnesses or they didn’t take care of their preventative testing. What I like to tell people is, ‘There’s more than one way to die.’”
Utterly bone-chilling. Other attendees included Scott Jones and Tom McClintock (of course). And just in case you forgot, Frost was the single “no” vote on the Resolution declaring racism as a public health crisis. Check out our write up on that here.
4. County COVID-19 Update
On January 12, the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors received their regular “Report on COVID-19 Response” from the Department of Health Services. As promised, we are going to keep you in the loop on all things COVID response and CARES Act funding. See below for some highlights.
Emergency Rental Assistance: Jim Hunt, the new Acting Director of Health Services, kicked off the report with some much-needed good news. Health Services has applied for Emergency Rental Assistance from the Federal Government and the County could receive $31 million which could be available as soon as the end of January! Much like the CARES Act funding, these funds come with fast-approaching deadlines for allocation. We’ll be watching closely to make sure that these funds are spent equitably and transparently.
CARES Act Funds: As we mentioned in this post about the December 30, 2020 meeting, staff presented a plan to spend two pots of money - one with $14 million and another with $8.8 million. Since that time, Hunt reports that there is a remaining balance of $16 million.
Vaccine Distribution: Sac County is currently in Phase 1a, which includes people at risk of exposure through their work in health care. Dr. Kasirye shared that Sac County has allocated almost 45,000 doses (both Pfizer and Moderna).
COVID-19 Data by Race/Ethnicity. Dr. Kasirye pointed out disparities in cases and deaths. The Hispanic population is experiencing a rate of 3,000 cases per 100,000 people, which is one of the highest rates. Similarly, the rate of death for Pacific Islanders is higher than any other ethnicity.