The Bee published a story today, August 10th, about how the County used most of its Covid-19 relief money from the federal government to pay salaries and benefits for the Sheriff’s personnel. We said the same thing a week earlier. (Did The Bee get its information from us? LOL!) Our story was about local leaders asking the County for transparency. And it looks like there might be some now, because the senders got a response back from the County (!) saying that the issue would be on the agenda for the Board of Supervisors meeting - tomorrow. Now, we realize there isn’t much time between when this article is posted and 10am tomorrow morning when the Supervisors will take up the item. But if anyone cares to, you know, “share their thoughts” with the Supervisors, all you have to do to make a public comment during the meeting is dial (916) 875-2500 and follow the prompts to be placed in queue for agenda item #38. You can also send email to the Clerk of the Board at email@example.com, but you’ll never know if anyone on the Board paid attention to your questions.
What kind of public comments might you wish to make? Here are some things to consider:
- Why was there no community involvement or accountability in how the County’s $181M of federal Covid-19 relief money is spent? Was it right to let County staff who operate with zero community oversight - and without public health professionals at the table - treat the Covid-19 money from the federal government as some kind of money-fell-from-the-sky County budget bonanza?
- Why is the Sheriff getting Covid-19 money when he won’t enforce health directives because he considers them “minor”?
- Can’t the Sheriff figure out how to lead in ways that don’t result in lawsuits against the County so the Supervisors wouldn’t need to prop up his budget by dipping into COVID funds?
- With over 10,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases and over 100 deaths, and with communities of color experiencing the most deadly effects, why is the Public Health Department slated to get less than 1% of what they requested to fund essential and life-saving services like contract tracing, testing, behavioral health, and urgently needed infrastructure?
- How come other jurisdictions are using the federal Covid-19 relief money for things like financial aid to small businesses or aid to renters facing eviction but the County won’t?
- Why are so many homeless people living on our sidewalks and in our local parks when the County has received megabucks from the federal government that could be used for Covid-19 relief housing and service solutions for those homeless people?
- Did the County really spend $7K dollars to let restaurants offer outdoor dining?
- Is the County money spread around to meet needs within the various communities of the vast UnCity and cities in the County not named “Sacramento”, or is it being used to supplement the City of Sacramento’s own $89M allocation from the same federal law?
Or, maybe you think the County is doing an absolutely outstanding job of dealing with the pandemic for all of us by spending roughly 70% of its $148M on salaries and benefits for Scott Jones’ departmental budget last fiscal year. If so, let the Supervisors know that. We’re not here to tell people what to say, we just want people to know they have a right to say whatever they want to - online or over the phone at 10am tomorrow.