The people of San Joaquin County are a vibrant and diverse collective of people who deserve a Board of Supervisors that respects and values the totality of its people and not just the small percentage of constituents who represent an extreme activist agenda. Unfortunately, when it comes to San Joaquin County, our public health and how we address the Covid-19 pandemic, the only voices that seem to matter are those that hold protests while carrying guns in Sacramento, or those constituents who carry golf bags locally.
Currently, anyone can drive through San Joaquin County and see that neither the majority of those out in public, nor essential workers outside of health facilities, are wearing masks. As our County considers re-opening, protecting the public should be priority number 1, which means the Board of Supervisors should move to mandate mask wearing while in public. Media reports are citing studies that show if the majority of people wear masks, infection rates drop 60%.
However, instead of the Board working the details of such a resolution, in a cheap, illegal, and theatrical protest, a minority on the Board of Supervisors continues to try to strip away authority from our public health director, so that the minority has the power to re-open our County without the right protections being set in place. None of the members of the Board of Supervisor are health experts, and we the public demand that they stand down and let the professionals do their job. If our Public Health Director wasn’t being pressured by this Board and community minority, what would she want to see in place? Furthermore, we also call on the reasonable members of the Board to voice their good judgement more clearly and loudly. Meetings cannot continue to be dominated by a minority of the Board with a set agenda that does not reflect the views of the majority of the County’s constituents.
Why is the Board of Supervisors worried more about the views and actions of tea party extremists dressed in militia and/or golf enthusiasts? The Board needs to actively show it cares for working men, women and folk on the front line to make sure they have the proper PPE they need to be protected. The Board in March failed to create a stay-at-home policy, when asked, so that essential county workers, who qualified, could work from home. Even more problematic, they had refused (pre-pandemic) to negotiate pay increases for our nurses, lab technicians and hospital staff for three years straight with a minority of the Board stooping to name calling of union workers.
To make matters worse, the County Administrator, Monica Nino, is now requiring all county employees to return to work on Monday, May 11th. She, according to a letter sent to employees, is doing this without providing county workers with masks and not requiring the public to wear masks when conducting in person business with county staff. Plus, the roll out plan for bringing employees back cannot possibly be executed effectively in two to three business days by management. It will take some additional days, maybe a week or two, to create new work schedules, install plexiglass walls, deliver adequate PPE to needed sites, and reconfigure workstations for proper social distancing because many employees work in small and confined spaces. Bringing all employees back without such support in place fails to protect employees, the public, and sets a bad example for area businesses working on their own re-opening plans.
We the people have had enough and we demand that the Board of Supervisors take the following measures:
1) Stop the political showmanship and let the Public Health Director do her job;
2) Pass a resolution that states masks are to be used by all people while out in public;
3) Give notice to Monica Nino that her term as County Administrator is over, and start the process of recruiting a leader who actually works for the people of our County by pursuing all health, safety, environmental, homeless, mental health, and business opportunities offered by the State to the County in an efficient and timely manner;
4) Commit to proper protections for all county employees, and delay the return to work date until management is able to implement logistics that protect county employees and the public they serve.
It’s time that the County Board of Supervisors start acting like they care about all its constituents. In particular, we call out Supervisor Tom Patti for his callous and mean-spirited attempts to co-opt the extremist agenda for his own political gains and ignoring that his district has the highest rates of coronavirus infections and deaths. The seriousness of this pandemic deserves serious leadership, and Patti has failed at all levels with his childish and erratic behavior. San Joaquin County deserves good public health mandates that will support workers and a strong local business economy. San Joaquin County deserves better.
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The People of San Joaquin County Who Have Had Enough