Tami's Priorities as Butte County Supervisor

- Public Safety/Emergency Preparedness

- Housing/Homelessness/Behavioral Health

- Protecting the North State's Water

- Regulation of Cannabis

Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness are of the utmost importance, as we learned in 2017. Constituents need protection from fire, flood, and natural disasters. We need to implement greater collaboration between Butte County cities, nonprofits, faith-based groups, and the private sector to ensure evacuation plans, shelters, supplies, and communication systems are in place.  


The County also needs restored fire coverage, maintained roads for escape routes, and updated evacuation plans.

Position Paper on Public Safety/Emergency Preparedness

  

Public Safety/Emergency preparedness is at the top of my priority list and includes both police and firefighters, as well as other emergency responders, outreach workers, public works, and a variety of other community partners, working together. When we look at a comprehensive plan for what our community will need in the event of a natural or human-caused crisis, we must include countywide communications, evacuation planning, emergency shelter/supplies, as well as transportation, accommodations for individuals with disabilities, and battery backup for those dependent upon medical interventions which require power sources. 


Because of the varied terrain and remote communities in our County, we must have plans in place to reach residents in rural and mountain communities that lack adequate cell coverage. Grassroots networking will be the best way to ensure that everyone is accounted for in the event of an emergency. Our local community of Cohasset currently has only one road in and out of the foothill community. This makes maintenance and up- keep of that one road even more critical. Alternate routes for evacuation must also be explored and included in the community planning process. 


Emergency planning includes road maintenance and road crews to ensure that roads are passable from downed trees, power lines, and other obstructions. Additionally, prioritizing tree care and the services of an arborist is an important part of keeping our roads safe and passable. Our tree crews, who maintain the health of our urban forest, assess trees that may be diseased or dying and remove hazardous trees which helps to keep citizens safe. 


Emergency planning also means making sure we have sanitation measures in place prior to a catastrophic event. The City of San Diego recently found themselves in the heart of a preventable emergency public health crisis. By providing adequate restrooms and sanitation the City of San Diego could have circumvented a Hepatitis A outbreak that spread to over 580 people and hospitalized over 400. I feel very strongly that Butte County needs to have a sanitation plan in place right now while our county is experiencing a housing crisis. Addressing the needs of the community prior to a Hepatitis outbreak ensures that our hospitals do not become overburdened with infection cases, that public health does not need to hold emergency immunization clinics, and that our public workers do not need to spend time decontaminating streets and sidewalks. Butte County needs to prioritize the provision of bathrooms and wash stations in their urban cores. Additionally, in collaboration with non-governmental agencies, the public health department should work with the Cities of Chico and Oroville to coordinate immunization clinics for at-risk populations.


Public Safety/Emergency Preparedness is a very broad topic and will require a great deal of collaboration between governments and non-governmental agencies and programs. The only way to effectively deal with these various issues is through effective collaboration. Using my skills as a professional Mediator as well as knowledge gained from serving four years as an elected Chico City Councilmember, I will effectively facilitate collaborative efforts and partnerships to provide the best possible services to our County’s constituents.

Housing Crisis and Homelessness

It is essential to address the current housing crisis and evaluate services for those with behavioral health issues. Prevention services and rapid rehousing services are crucial.  We need increased collaboration between county and city governments to facilitate cost-effective solutions to these very serious issues.  


Tami is the only candidate with direct experience in this area, as the prior Executive Director of the Torres Community Shelter and of Habitat for Humanity, 

Position Paper on Housing/Homelessness

If you live in Butte County you have undoubtedly heard of or seen the effects of our current housing crisis. As an example, the city of Chico has less than a 1% vacancy rate for rental units. My experiences as the Executive Director of The Torres Community Shelter and of Butte County Habitat for Humanity have informed my position that Chico needs to build up and infill to provide more housing stock. 


When housing stock is unavailable, especially for lower income individuals and individuals with behavioral health issues, the issue of homelessness becomes more pronounced. There are many reasons why individuals may find themselves without stable housing. Currently there is a narrative that suggests being homeless is related to a moral failing, however, statistics don’t support this concept. Poverty is without a doubt the single most significant factor. Loss of a job, physical health issues, behavioral health issues, legal issues, loss of a loved one, all of these can lead one to homelessness. Without effective social safety nets, we see more and more people literally on the streets.


Butte County's Continuum of Care (COC) is a group comprised of area service providers and local governments. COC is the entity that receives the funding from the State to support homeless prevention services, outreach, and direct client services. As your County Supervisor, I would like the see the COC receive ALL the funding that is available for our County. Currently, the COC is being penalized $50,000 annually due to the City of Chico's Sit/Lie & ‘Protection of Waterways’ ordinances. The Department of Housing and Community Development withholds funds from any jurisdiction that passes ordinances that they deem as criminalizing homelessness. I would like to see that rectified by promoting ordinances that are proven effective and that don’t cause the County to lose funds. 


Professionals in the housing field know that such criminalizing ordinances are ineffective and costly to the jurisdictions that implement them. To effectively administer services throughout the county we must coordinate between all the cities and prioritize together where the county-wide resources should be allocated. One city within the Continuum of Care should not be permitted to negatively affect the funding available to the county as a whole. 


We must also begin to look at the intersection between our housing crisis and public safety. When an individual doesn't have a fixed address, they are much more likely to have contact with law enforcement and emergency services. As the Founding Executive Director of the Torres Community Shelter, I demonstrated how providing housing and social services is effective in moving individuals from a state of homelessness to being housed. Housing First and other harm-reduction services are effective ways to reduce homelessness as well as to reduce costly and ineffective interventions by law enforcement and those are the types of ordinances and projects I will support. There is a significant cost to our community when our focus is on penalizing rather than housing homeless individuals. We will save not just lives but considerable resources when we shift our focus from criminalization to housing.


As the Founding Director of Circles of Justice, a local Restorative Justice non-profit, I am well versed in approaches such as Restorative Policing, Community Circles and Family-Centered Decision Making. These approaches alleviate the burden placed on law enforcement and our judicial system for low-level offenses. By transferring the responsibility for addressing these harms back to social service entities which are better suited to deal with such issues, public safety personnel are freed up to deal with significant crime.
 

http://chico-ca.granicus.com/MetaViewer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=587&meta_id=46347

http://www.davisvanguard.org/2017/10/what-is-restorative-policing/

https://www.nlchp.org/documents/Housing-Not-Handcuffs-Litigation-Manual

https://www.chicohousingactionteam.org/

Protection of the North State's Water Interests

  

Water is and will continue to be the single greatest issue in Butte County. It is critically important that Butte County protect itself against State and Federal agencies that would like to export both ground and surface water from our region. As environmental protections are being systematically dismantled by our current administrations, it becomes even more important that we have the political will on the local level to take a stand for the North State’s water. 


Position Paper on Protecting Our Water

  

Water is and will continue to be the single greatest issue in Butte County. It is critically important that Butte County protect itself against State and Federal agencies that would like to export both ground and surface water from our region. As environmental protections are being systematically dismantled by our current administrations, it becomes even more important that we have the political will on the local level to take a stand for the North State’s water. 


 As Butte County enters relicensing discussions regarding the Oroville Dam, we must be represented to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. I support the actions of the previous Board of Supervisors which filed a CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) lawsuit regarding the analysis of the Environmental Impact Report against the Department of Water Resources. The suit is still pending in the Court of Appeals. 

The urban and rural tree canopies that we treasure in our region have shallow root systems. The native trees and urban canopy that we depend upon to filter our air and water, conserve energy, provide habitat and shade, and control storm water are extremely vulnerable to groundwater loss.


 Working with agricultural interests (both large scale and small farmers), private well users, and all of those with an interest in our region's water (all of us who use water have an interest, not the least of which includes our environment) is critical to planning for our future. We currently do not have shallow aquifer monitoring anywhere in our region. DWR and the large water districts have stated (Sacramento Valley Water Resource Monitoring, Data Collection and Evaluation Framework, 9/07) that there should be monitoring of shallow aquifer levels including a regional shallow well monitoring network. Without baseline measurements of shallow wells, we do not have a good way to track or demonstrate decreasing levels of ground water, over pumping, or other conditions related to seasonal changes. Our region includes Butte, Glenn, Tehama, and a small section of Colusa County. 


As a Chico City Councilor, I co-facilitated multiple Groundwater Forums bringing together city, county, agricultural, and public interests. The citizens of Butte County deserve to have access to ALL the information that is available regarding our groundwater, specifically to the available scientific data, to what issues are still unknown, and to the threats that exist to our water systems. As your Supervisor, I will continue to stay at the forefront of this issue and to include the public in decisions that are made on the local, state, and federal level.

Position Paper on Cannabis

  

Butte County, like many counties in California, is at a crossroads when it comes to cannabis policy. The State has established the laws, allowing counties the ability to set their own policy. In Butte County we have two choices: 


1) We can continue to do things as they’ve been done, restricting all sales, which costs the county general fund in enforcement efforts,

2) We can regulate sales (and the associated industry) so that we have control over it and can raise the revenue to oversee it. See below for further explanation.


Timeline of Cannabis in CA:

1996: Voters approved the Compassionate Use Act, allowing for the medical use of marijuana

2003: California’s legislature expanded the state’s medical marijuana law to allow patients and caregivers to collectively or cooperatively cultivate marijuana

2015: California’s legislature enacted a licensing and regulatory system for medical marijuana businesses

2016: Voters approved a ballot initiative legalizing marijuana for adults and establishing a regulated marijuana market

In June of 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Senate Bill 94 (The Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act, aka MAUCRSA). MAUCRSA merged medical and adult-use cannabis activities under one regulatory regime and empowered three state agencies to license and regulate the commercial cannabis industry. Those entities include The California Department of Food and Agriculture (to oversee cultivators, processors, and nurseries); the Department of Public Health (to oversee manufacturers); and the Bureau of Cannabis Control (to oversee distributors, retailers, delivery-only retailers, microbusinesses, and testing labs). 

In January of 2019, the above law will go into effect, essentially replacing current cannabis laws/regulations. 


Regardless of anyone’s opinion of cannabis, the reality is that the voters of Ca voted to legalize it, and the State is now regulating it. We know from history (and the repealed 18th amendment) that bans/prohibition do not work. Bans do not change behavior, they simply deny us the ability to have control over a substance while simultaneously preventing us from collecting revenue. Butte County deserves to have policies that work, and I support enacting comprehensive cannabis policy that will be of benefit to the County rather than draining its resources.


Like all our county planning, we must be looking 10, 20, 30 years into the future. By setting regulations in Butte County which allow farmers to grow legally, we make it harder for those who do not wish to respect our laws and environment to operate. Legitimizing cannabis grows would regulate what substances (pesticides, herbicides) could be used as well as preventing water theft and terracing. Policy could help ensure that any product grown is pure, clean, and as consistent as possible. Legitimate growers would be more inclined to point out growers that were not abiding by regulations which would benefit law enforcement. Local regulations could be administrative or could require a higher level of oversight such as a conditional use permit. Those areas remain to be explored.


My conversations with local law enforcement have illuminated the fact that our current system does not keep out drug cartels, does not protect our land or water, and does not benefit the County financially. Butte County can learn from other jurisdictions what has worked and what has not and implement what has proven effective. There is no need to recreate the wheel on this issue. The State of Ca is currently putting into place Metrc, a track and trace system that is continuing to evolve. I support learning more about this system at both the City and County level so that all jurisdictions can work within State law.

 

https://www.metrc.com/california