County Insights from Moke Simon, Chair of the Board of Supervisors
LAKE COUNTY, CA (April 24, 2020) – Tuesday’s meeting of the Board of Supervisors brought truly significant action that will support Lake County’s needs in the near- and long-term. A major theme was partnership – Lake County’s agencies and community groups working with state and federal entities and others for a better tomorrow.
With Item 5.2, the Board approved the Community Development Department’s (CDD’s) application for Local Government Planning Support Grant Program Funds. This non-competitive Grant will support work to update the County’s Housing Element. With all of the recent changes to Lake County’s landscape brought by recent disasters, and the resulting loss of 5.5% of our housing supply, this is an urgent matter, and of consequence for every County resident. Having a current, certified Housing Element in place is also required for most types of federal and state grant and loan funding.
Moke Simon, Chair of the Board of Supervisors, a proponent from his earliest days on the Board of long-term planning efforts that will help us truly reimagine Lake County and act on the community’s priorities, expressed his excitement:
“This is a huge step forward for Lake County, and I appreciate Assistant County Administrative Officer, Susan Parker, and CDD staff for stepping up to get this done. We need to make significant progress with Economic Development, it has never been a higher priority. In order to do that, we need all funding opportunities to be on the table, and this Planning Grant and our Housing Element and General Plan are key pieces of the puzzle. It’s great to see we’re making progress!”
On a related note, Interim Community Development Director Scott De Leon introduced Ms. Toccarra Thomas as the new Deputy Director of Community Development.
According to De Leon, Ms. Thomas brings broad experience with Economic Development, affordable housing, and community development, and she will be a welcomed addition to the Department.
The Board also acted to submit two letters that could improve Lake County’s flexibility to respond to emerging needs associated with the COVID-19 impacts.
Extra Item 4.1 authorized a Letter urging the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) to adopt proposed Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) Amendments to the 2015-2020 Consolidated Plan and 2019-2020 Annual Action Plan. The amendments, collectively, show HCD’s clear intent to take considered action to help our businesses and communities during this challenging time. They include allowance of CDBG Coronavirus relief dollars for Economic Development, and provide for streamlined delivery of funding to “Non-entitlement” jurisdictions, such as the County of Lake.
“We have been hearing from local businesses that they have missed out on some of the early rounds of Coronavirus relief funding, and this is one tool that could help us support some local businesses,” stated Simon. “It’s not the answer to every problem, but our Board has to be proactive and stay involved, and do everything we can to support measures like this, and advocate for policies that provide timely funding to smaller and rural communities.”
Mid-meeting, District 2 Supervisor, Bruno Sabatier, introduced another Extra Item, 4.3, a Letter to Governor Gavin Newsom, encouraging State officials to provide a baseline of safety guidelines, but allow local governments to determine how best to reintroduce activities and restart local economies following the statewide “Stay at Home” Order.
District 4 Supervisor, Tina Scott, urged, “We need to protect ourselves. I would like to see Governor Newsom set Public Health benchmarks,” noting that if control is entirely local, other Counties may make decisions that place Lake County residents at undue risk. The Board was unanimous that there were many considerations that should inform lifting of restrictions, and local Public Health Officers should have a central voice in that conversation.
“This was another example of the different perspectives on the Board leading us in a positive direction for the County,” remarked Simon. “[Supervisor Sabatier] put together the letter while we were meeting, and we were able to approve it, and make Lake County’s needs known to the Governor.”
Asked for any final comments, Simon offered the following:
“With the loosening of restrictions beginning this week, we have to work even closer together. Our local economy was hurting prior to COVID-19, and this crisis has brought deeper challenges. Businesses are going to need to adjust to social distancing for an even longer period, and doing that successfully will require investment by people that have already taken a lot of hits.”
“I want people to know we are in this together. Together, we will make progress. County leaders are continuing to work on many fronts to ensure are ducks are in a row, and we can access as much funding as possible to support local businesses and our communities. We are committed to having the hard conversations to ensure we are taking the right steps, at the right timing, and those are community conversations. We appreciate hearing from our constituents, we need to know where you are at. Your voice matters a lot, and we are working to [represent] your best interests.”
Live video of all Board of Supervisors meetings, including Dr. Pace’s valuable weekly COVID-19 updates, is accessible through the County website and Lake County PEG TV (TV8).
Agendas, including instructions for participating in Board meetings via Zoom, and live and archived video are available at:
To comment on any Board of Supervisors Agenda Item, write to the Clerk to the Board of Supervisors by 4pm the day before the meeting, [email protected].
Lake County-focused COVID-19 information is accessible through the County’s homepage, http://www.lakecountyca.gov/, and at http://health.co.lake.ca.us/.
If you have public health-related questions about COVID-19, please direct them to [email protected], or call Public Health’s COVID-19 line, at 707-263-8174.