CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CA (Apr. 26, 2022) — As we close in on the June 7 election, the Pioneer asked the candidates for the District 4 seat on the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors: “What is the job of the county supervisor?”
To read the Pioneer’s previous questions for the Contra Costa County 2022 Supervisor candidates, click here.
Contra Costa County supervisors are responsible for the efficient operation of all county government services and programs. They shape public policy and establish priorities to ensure all residents receive essential services needed to maintain quality of life. They oversee a $4 billion annual budget.
Supervisors have broad powers of appointment to their own advisory committees, as well as other important boards and commissions like the pension board, assessment appeals board, health services and planning commission.
Supervisors represent Contra Costa’s interests on other regional, local and state policy-making boards to shape policy covering a broad range of issues affecting our county, including transportation, the environment, air quality, water, housing, labor and economic development.
Supervisors must first serve residents with integrity and high ethical standards and be good stewards of the taxpayer funding they receive. Decision-making should be done for the good of the people, not special interests and politics.
It is far better to talk about the duty of an elected official than the doldrums in the details of what they are called upon to suffer through, be its origin in the Byzantine labyrinths of bureaucratic wordsmithing or the outrage and excitement of public comment on topics not exactly on the agenda but what matter when there is a good (or bad) story to be had.
The foremost duty is to establish themselves as role models for the advancement of the public trust, while at the same time leaping over tall buildings of ordinances in a single bound determined to achieve truth, justice and the American Way. Well maybe at least the California Way, which is to confound all moderate means of approach to a problem so that in frustration the two most opposite extremes come to fore and drown out all degrees of common sense.
First and foremost, a county supervisor represents the residents off their district. It is the supervisor’s obligation to listen to their constituents and represent them in the decisions of the Board of Supervisors. It means engaging with their communities to know their thoughts and positions on the issues that come to the board. These are things like the budget, social services, health care, fire service and criminal justice.
There are many issues that can come before the board, from environmental to housing, economic development and beyond. Currently, the county is updating their General Plan, which sets the framework of the future look, feel and growth of the county.
The Board of Supervisors can have a significant impact on the quality of life for all who live and work here, and they must execute their responsibilities in partnership with all of our residents.
The pandemic drew attention to the health policies the Board of Supervisors effect, yet there is so much more. The county website lists nine duties outlined by law. Each requires the supervisors to set the direction of countywide policies that impact access to vital safety net services, community safety, and general government needs like libraries and infrastructure.
They will approve a budget over $4 billion this year. I plan to ensure that there is discussion at board meetings and in my district on these policies and that it includes the voice of communities and individuals most impacted by decisions. I’ve attended multiple public meetings where the community is asking to be heard, only to be told by politicians that they know best simply because they are elected. I will change that because I see the most important responsibility of our elected representatives is listening to residents.
Many of the biggest issues we face in Contra Costa County – such as homelessness, crime and housing insecurity – are too big for individual cities to tackle alone. The role of county supervisor is to solve regional challenges, while being transparent and accountable. The supervisor must be responsive to the residents of District 4, while working with fellow supervisors to make policy on public health, transportation, water infrastructure, supportive housing, economic growth and so much more for the good of the entire county.
Since 2016, I’ve helped to lead Concord, the biggest city in the district. I’ve also served on regional bodies devoted to transportation, parks and economic development. As supervisor, I will use that leadership experience to build partnerships and collaborate with cities and the state to successfully address the county’s challenges and make Contra Costa an even better place to live, work, raise a family and retire.
Read more from our local candidate questions series for the 2022 election: Click here.