As we turn from 2017 to the New Year, I want to thank you each for your commitment to our communities and for your friendship over the past year. In the bit of quiet that comes this time of year, the District 2 team has reflected on our many partnerships in service to the people of Yolo County. We have gathered 17 items that highlight results of District 2 focus and efforts during 2017.
(By the way, don’t forget to join us on January 25 for the 14th Annual Soups On benefit – this year to support the family strengthening work of the non-profit Family Hui. Click here to learn more.)
While our work will continue to make Yolo County a more just and sustainable place for all, I am heartened by the progress and collaborative spirit that is the “Yolo Way”. I am grateful to be of service to you. The District 2 Office wishes you the happiest New Year!
Stay tuned for a preview of 2018.
In shared service,
1. Valley Clean Energy Alliance (VCEA)
In December 2016, Yolo County and the City of Davis created the Valley Clean Energy Alliance (VCEA); the City of Woodland joined this partnership last summer. It was my privilege to serve as the inaugural Chair of the VCEA Board in 2017. The VCEA goal is to provide residents and businesses of Woodland, Davis, and unincorporated areas of Yolo County lower electricity rates, cleaner energy, local energy production, and local accountability and decision making. We are on track to provide this option to our 67,000 customers starting in June 2018.
Click here, for more information.
2. Yolo County Social Services coming to Davis
For years, Davis residents had to travel to Woodland or West Sacramento to access county health and human services. In 2015, we were able to open a Service Center in the City of Winters, thanks to a partnership supported by then Mayor Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, then Social Services Director Joan Planell and our District 2 team. For the past two years, we have been working hard to bring county health and human service resources to the Davis community. By July of 2018, the Davis Health and Human Services Center will offer employment training, food nutrition assistance (WIC and CalFresh enrollment), Medi-Cal enrollment, CalWORKs enrollment and mental health services at 600 A Street. This will allow local access for the 10,000+ Davis residents currently enrolled and more who have not yet accessed needed services due to the challenge of travel. Click here for more information.
3. Yolo County Safe and Welcoming County Resolution
Thanks to efforts of countless community advocates, the Board voted unanimously to support the Yolo County as a Safe and Welcoming Community for All resolution. This resolution emphasized our County’s commitment to being safe, tolerant and welcoming to all individuals in our community regardless of their national origin, ethnicity, immigration status, religion, race, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, political affiliation, marital status, age, or disabilities. Click here to read the resolution.
4. Emergency Medical Services Agency (EMS) - Improved Health Impacts
Another highlight of 2017 was the success of our ambulance services. After years of unsatisfactory ambulance service for the residents of Yolo County, in 2013, we broke away from a multi-county agency and established our own Yolo Emergency Medical Services Agency (YEMSA). I am proud of the efforts of then Health Director Jill Cook, EMS Director Dana Carey and Winters City Manager John Donlevy in helping make this change and to current YEMSA Director Kristin Woivoda and her staff for making it work. This change has literally saved lives. During the 2016-17 year the survival rates of patients suffering from cardiac arrest being delivered to hospitals rose to 70%, while the survival to hospital discharge was 40%, higher than the state average of 34%. Click here to read the 2016-17 Emergency Medical Services System Report.
5. Office of Refugee and Resettlement - Changes in Due Process for Unaccompanied Youth
In partnership with community members, in 2017 Yolo County reviewed our contracts and interactions with the Federal Office of Refugee and Resettlement (ORR) and demanded changes in due process for youth served by our Juvenile Hall. We are holding ORR accountable to our expectations and ensure that the youth placed in our secure facility receive due process. I will continue to advocate for these young people to have a fair and just opportunity to hearings, access to legal counsel, and appropriate medical and mental health services, and educational opportunities. Thanks to Chief Probation Officer Brent Cardell and his team and to the many Yolo County residents who volunteer and monitor our efforts. If these young people must be housed somewhere, let’s make sure we do right by them. Read more here.
6. Oral Health Strategic Plan
In 2017, we adopted the Yolo County Oral Health Strategic Plan. We received $200,000 to implement this plan from Proposition 56: Tobacco Tax Increase funds. This was a multi-year effort. Many thanks to Yolo County Health Officer Dr. Ron Chapman, Dr. Richard Kennedy, Dr. Kim Wallace, the Yolo County Health Council, the members of the Oral Health Committee and District 2 staff Emily Henderson and Jessica Jones who all worked to improve access to quality dental care. Click here to learn more about Yolo County’s Oral Health Plan.
7. Broadband- Knights Landing
In 2017, the Yolo County Broadband Task Force was thrilled to announce that Wave Broadband is bringing high-speed internet to the 1200 people in the rural community of Knights Landing. This community is a priority area for the Yolo County Broadband Task Force. Thanks to Kevin Yarris, Tara Thronson and the other members of the Task Force for this incredible advance. We continue to actively seek high-speed internet solutions in other underserved parts of Yolo County.
8. Public Defenders Office
Adequate funding for the Public Defender’s Office continues to be a priority budget item for me. Low income individuals deserve to have equal access to justice. We made progress in the 2017-18 budget but have more work to do to achieve parity of staffing with the office of the District Attorney. Click here to read more about the approved 2017-18 budget.
9. Farm worker Research/Outreach
Farm workers are the backbone of our local agriculture economy. This year the County conducted outreach with this population and learned that fear of deportation, lack of access to important social services, and affordable housing are among the top concerns. In response to this research, the Board approved funding for a Farm Outreach Coordinator to assist farm workers in accessing and connecting to available services. Click here to read the County’s Agricultural Labor Report.
10. Cannabis Policies
Yolo County is developing and monitoring Cannabis regulations. I am seeking a sensible cannabis regulatory framework that reflects the will of our residents, improves public safety, improves safe access and effective use of medicinal cannabis, and captures the economic benefits of this emerging industry. I look forward to continuing the dialogue with my colleagues and our community as we move forward to find the best solutions for Yolo County.
11. Yolo County New Hope Housing Project
This year we broke ground for an affordable housing project in Woodland that will provide resources to our most vulnerable residents. We anticipate opening in October 2018 with 20 units designated for adults who have a serious mental illness and 11 units designated for individuals who are currently experiencing homelessness. This is truly an example of a regional and community-wide effort. Thanks to Health and Human Services Director Karen Larsen, Yolo Housing Director Lisa Baker, Deputy County Administrator Mindi Nunes and their teams for this significant new resource.
12. Resources dedicated to the Homeless
There are roughly 459 homeless individuals in Yolo County and 146 homeless in Davis. To date, the County has dedicated $6.3 million to address the short and long-term causes of homelessness. We are engaged in several approaches across the county, including:
- Partnering with the City of Davis, Yolo County Housing, and Davis Community Meals to fund the New Pathways short-term supported housing project in Davis. Following the Housing First philosophy, New Pathways provides beds for chronically homeless adults and connects them to services including case management and behavioral support.
- $2.2 million program for the CalWorks One-Time Homeless Assistance, which provides homeless assistance to CalWorks families experiencing homelessness including 16 day hotel voucher, first and last month’s rent and security deposit for housing.
- Extended Hope grant for $799,776, which is a contract with Fourth and Hope to provide intensive wraparound care to people experiencing homelessness with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders.
For more information, click here.
13. Refusal to acquire a Mine- Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle (MRAP)
Thanks to the advocacy efforts of many community members, Yolo County defied the trend toward militarization of local law enforcement and did not acquire an MRAP vehicle. When this came before the Board in February, I voted against acquiring a third Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle in Yolo County based on an unclear need for it, absence of fiscal analysis, and my concern that such equipment has often driven a wedge between law enforcement and the communities they serve. For more information, click here to read my blog post. Click here to read the statement from the Sheriff.
14. Senior Services coming to Winters
This year the Board approved an agreement with the City of Winters to provide support and guidance to the City for senior services delivery planning. This work will be extensive and include: a 10-Year Plan for older adults to address needs and services; formation of a Winters Senior Services Steering Committee; the development and implementation of a community input process; research of best practices and innovative models; creation of an activities program; collaboration with existing community-based organizations; implementation of welcoming congregate meals and community dinning vouchers; and a sustainable transportation plan. Are you a Winters resident? Click here to take a survey on senior programs and services that you would like to see happen in Winters.
15. PG&E Gas Training Facility
We celebrated the grand opening of the PG&E Gas Operations & Technical Training Center in the City of Winters. At this center PG&E gas field employees will receive training on the aspects of “construction, maintenance and operation of the PG&E gas system.” Click here to learn more about the center.
16. Resident-led Justice Movements
Over this past year I’ve had the opportunity to participate and support new resident-led justice movements in Yolo County.
Safe Yolo “works to ensure that all communities in Yolo County enjoy a sense of safety and belonging as stated in the Yolo County Safe and Welcoming Community resolution.” Safe Yolo has focused on advocacy efforts around unjust deportations, the need for community input and due process for youth detained by the Office of Refugee Resettlement, as well as the sharing of resources for immigrants.
Democracy Winters is a “non-partisan network of volunteers working in the City of Winters to preserve democracy and uphold constitutional freedoms through community outreach and local, state, and national political activism.” Democracy Winters holds discussions on local policy issues such as the juvenile justice program in Yolo County and on local and national civic engagement.
17. Davis Fire Relief Support
A huge thank you to all who volunteered and donated to support our neighbors in need from the fires in Sonoma County. Following the “Yolo Way,” our County deployed firefighting resources to neighboring counties, UC Davis Medical Hospital has treated burn victims, and teams from UC Davis Veterinary Hospital helped displaced animals from the fires. Together we were able to give thousands of dollars via the Redwood Credit Union North Bay Fire Relief Fund, $11,000 worth of gift cards to Sonoma County Supervisors to be distributed to residents and over $1,500 worth of gift cards to Santa Rosa Junior College students affected by the Sonoma fires. This is truly an example of Yolo County community support