March 24, 2020 – Despite the many ominous clouds looming about, spring has officially sprung. I wish I had good news to discuss, but in addition to District 1 not having a runoff for Supervisor, we’re facing what will likely become known as one of the most trying times in local, state and federal history. I strongly believe a runoff for District 1 Supervisor would’ve not only allowed the important conversations we started to continue, but also would’ve provided a solid platform for the many new conversations that need to take place during this current global health emergency.
Have you had a chance to read the recent Board of Supervisors meeting agenda (https://bit.ly/NC-BOS-March-24-2020)? Amidst the coronavirus outbreak, the Board of Supervisors seems willing to make decisions on their own with limited public input. In a recent article in The Union, staff writer John Orona writes that while Governor Newsom’s executive orders suspend some of the provisions in the Brown Act, this is still a very gray area (https://bit.ly/NC-BrownAct2020). Rather than running meetings without us, our Board of Supervisors should be finding ways to run meetings with us using modern technologies that keep remote meetings open to active participation in real-time. This type of remote-engagement can easily be done through software such as Zoom, which many businesses are currently looking to in this new, unprecedented climate (https://zoom.us/webinar). The Board’s request that public comments be submitted by email, U.S. Mail, or through the County’s eComment system severely limits constituents’ ability to actively participate. That being said, things are rapidly shifting and seem to be moving in a more positive direction that supports public input. As of this morning, the Board of Supervisors agenda as well as YubaNet stated that public comment for the scheduled Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, March 24, 2020 needed to be submitted prior to 8:00 am in order to be entered into the administrative record. As of this afternoon, this timeline seems to have shifted. If you wish to comment on a specific agenda item as it is being heard, YubaNet now states that you’re able to submit a comment in real-time through the eComment system (https://bit.ly/NC-BOS-March2020). Now more than ever, the leaders of Nevada County need to not only act quick on their feet to address the current health emergency, but also make sure they’re finding ways to keep the public actively participating in their conversations.
You may have also heard, or seen on Facebook, that upwards of 70 of our local business owners and community leaders met online without sending out a public invitation or incorporating some other way to ensure there was active public participation. It’s my understanding that this meeting wasn’t even recorded so that it could be shared or reposted later for public oversight.
While, yes, these are trying times and the current coronavirus crisis is requiring us, and our community leaders, to act quickly on several different issues simultaneously, I still don’t believe that our leaders (and the Board of Supervisors in particular) should be engaging in meetings behind closed doors. Now more than ever, we need public input, public involvement, and public participation. During my campaign for Supervisor, I made it publicly known that there is a major breach of trust between Nevada County residents and the Community Development Agency (CDA). This is a deep-rooted problem that needs to be addressed at all angles and our Board of Supervisors needs to start taking that seriously more so now than ever during this time of incredible hardship.
While none of us have all the answers now, together, we have a unique opportunity to come up with solutions that will keep our community safe and create financial solutions for residents during this current crisis, and beyond! I challenge you to rise to the occasion during this time of hardship and make your voice heard now while the stakes are at an all-time high. In the face of this public health emergency, let’s work together to stave off worst-case scenarios, make moves towards smart, sustainable growth, and put an end to Nevada County’s economic stagnation.
I’m more passionate than ever about improving the economic and housing trajectory of Nevada County. If you feel strongly about issues related to providing immediate and long-term financial relief to residents, please reach out to me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m working to build a coalition of concerned citizens. Together, we’ll ensure our voices get heard in Nevada County.