June 30, 2020 Update from Supervisor Connolly

District 1 Supervisor Connelly Banner Image

In This Issue
  • COVID: Increase Incidence and Slower Reopening 

  • Schools: Conversation on Guidelines with Public Health and Marin County Office of Education

  • Budget Hearing:
    COVID and Black Lives Matter

  • Public Safety Power Shutoff

  • Sustainability, Energy, and Health  

Dear Friends,

Marin Recovers is working diligently to ensure a safe and measured reopening of business in Marin, a data-driven process, led by Public Health and in partnership with local businesses. We have seen a spike in cases in Marin. While we are now testing 600 to 1,000 people every day, the increase in cases is both due to increased testing and due to real increases in positive cases, measured through the positivity rate. Recent spikes in COVID cases are cause for delay in the reopening of some business sectors. June 25 marked the highest recorded case count in a single day in Marin, with 54 new cases. As of today, there are 13 people hospitalized and 5 in intensive care. 

For the health and safety of our community, some businesses originally scheduled to reopen on June 29 have been delayed. Personal services, hotels, motels, and short term rentals, gyms and fitness studios, nail salons, and other high-risk activities have been postponed. The following businesses may reopen, campgrounds and RV parks, picnic and barbecue areas, outdoor vehicle-based gatherings, indoor dining, and hair salons. You can see a list of open business sectors on Marin Recovers

The State of California has granted Marin County a variance that allows more local control over when some activities may resume. The variance allows Marin County to move ahead with opening the economy at a pace that is appropriate for local conditions. It is important to note that even with the variance, there are still several business sectors and activities the State will not allow counties to open.  

We are dedicated to addressing COVID in our underserved communities. In the Canal neighborhood, cases continue to grow. Free testing is available for Canal residents and is open to uninsured, underinsured, undocumented, and homeless individuals. You can make an appointment at https://lhi.care/covidtesting or call: (888) 634-1123. The County is working with community-based organizations on outreach and education, and offering opportunities for isolation and quarantine. 15 new contact tracers are being hired to continue to detect and deter the spread of COVID.

The County of Marin has an immediate need for those who are interested in being on the front lines of serving the community during this COVID-19 pandemic. The County is seeking temporary County Services Workers (CSWs) to serve in a variety of assignments as the County’s emergency response continues. The work of CSWs is integral to ensuring that Marin County residents can access the care and resources needed to navigate current circumstances, and to provide vital services to our communities.  Read the full job posting online and find out more.

As of June 29, there are 1,105 cases in San Quentin Prison. Our Board has asked the State to establish on-site capacity to manage the care of inmates sickened with COVID-19 and establish an Incident Commander at the facility. The increase in cases in San Quentin and throughout our community impacts our local hospital capacity and gives us reason to pause. 

It is more important now than ever that we all adhere closely to physical distancing and face-covering guidelines. I know that the progress made has come with great sacrifice from each of you. I ask that when you reach for your car keys, that you think of your mask, your neighbors and loved ones, and our local businesses. We are all responsible for the health and safety of our community. Check out this video from Dr. Matt Willis, Public Health Officer, talking about the San Quentin outbreak.

Dr. Willis Update

Schools: Conversation on Guidelines with Public Health and Marin County Office of Education

We know that school is going to look different in the fall. A great deal of thought and planning is going into what school will look like, and you are invited to participate in those conversations.

Marin County Public Health and the Marin County Office of Education continue to host conversations on school reopening guidelines.  I encourage you to look at the June 25 video of Dr. Willis and Dr. Santora as they discuss reopening schools, pilot sites, and research. The PowerPoint slides can be found here.

Today at 1 pm, Public Health will answer questions for middle and high school students. You can check it out through this Zoom link here.

Below is the schedule for upcoming webinars about Reopening guidelines:

  • July 2 at 9 am, Guidelines 1-7. Zoom link.
  • July 9 at 9 am, Guidelines 8-15. Zoom link.
  • July 16 at 9 am, Guidelines 16-23. Zoom link.
  • July 23 at 9 am, Guidelines 24-30. Zoom link.

Each session is recorded, and Spanish audio translation is available by calling (866) 866-2244 and enter 6292696#. Call-in numbers, webinar ID’s, passwords, and recorded webinars can be found on the Rethinking Schools website

Reopening schools is an important and challenging mission.  We appreciate the planning that our teachers and administrators are putting in this summer.  I'm happy to see parents and community members invited to the reopening guidelines discussions. The situation is fluid and constantly evolving. We will continue to evolve with it, addressing health and safety first.

Budget Hearing: COVID and Black Lives Matter

Budget hearings this year were held with the economic impact of COVID and the voices of hundreds of community members, mostly youth, supporting Black Lives Matter. The County balanced a $10.5 million shortfall in the $619.8 million budget. We are expecting a 2.5% reduction or $15.2 million, in reduced revenues as a result of the COVID's impacts on the economy. Our departments provided important updates on how they have supported our communities through COVID and begun to take critical steps to address race equity.

Headlines were made in the Marin IJ as the Board of Supervisors reduced the Sheriff’s proposed budget increase by $1.7 million. The Marin County Sheriff provides an invaluable service to our community. We continue to need those who protect and serve. But, over the decades, communities have called upon local law enforcement to address non-violent societal issues where there is no need for a badge and a gun.

The decision reflects the much-needed change in how we do business, and what we choose to fund, as a board and community.  Additional cuts and changes will be considered beginning in July. We have asked the Sheriff to report back to the board in mid-July with an update on proposed changes. In my statementI have asked for:

• Reducing the Sheriff’s budget by $1.7 million, by not filling the equivalent of 8 FTE positions, vacant positions, and using those funds as a one-time savings to further race equity initiatives.

• The Sheriff will work with HHS and law enforcement agencies from our cities and towns to find solutions and re-allocate resources to respond to non-violent social issues: like mental health, substance use, and homelessness. This needs to be concrete.

• The Sheriff will work towards the permanent closure of one pod of the Marin County Jail and will report back to us in July.

• Probation will present long term options for Juvenile Hall. I want to see safe community-based alternatives to the detention of youth by promoting restorative justice, resilience, and mentorship.

• I want to see the Sheriff end the warm hand-off policy to ICE; in fact, and let me be clear, I expect this policy to end by mid-July.

• I want to see the demilitarization of local law enforcement, and

• Address use of force policies, including a duty to intervene, de-escalation, and force continuum principles, starting with the workgroups being proposed by the Sheriff and the City of San Rafael.

Budget Hearing

Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS)

A Red Flag warning on June 28 was something none of us wanted to see, but it's a reminder that fire season is upon us. The Office of Emergency Services has been working with county agencies such as Health and Human Services, Marin County Fire, Marin County Sheriff’s Office, and cities and towns, to develop a coordinated response to Power Shutoff events. In focus are residents who are especially vulnerable due to power-dependent medical conditions. The County is actively working to address community needs to PG&E, and push PG&E to better plan and communicate Power Shutoff events to mitigate any adverse impact.

We have added limited backup power generation to some of the most critical county facilities – including the Marin Center (for shelter & alternative care site usage) and a number of Health and Human Services buildings (to provide critical medical & other services). Shelter and evacuation plans are being modified with COVID and social distancing in mind. An additional public alert system was built based on weather radios. The system will be able to function in the event cellular providers stop working. Planning and preparation are ongoing. 

Large scale, multi-faceted emergencies serve as a reminder of the personal responsibility we all have to our community. Please remember that defensible space is essential to improve your home’s chance of surviving a wildfire. To register for emergency alerts, visit www.alertmarin.org. To learn more about preparing for wildfire, visit www.firesafemarin.org.

Sustainability, Energy, and Health

Harnessing Home Performance: Ways to Improve Home Health and Comfort
When: Saturday, July 25 from 10 am to 11 am
Description: Learn about how energy efficiency is tied to indoor air quality and home comfort, projects that can solve common home health and comfort issues, and programs that provide technical and financial assistance.
Sign up: https://marin_county_home_health_and_efficiency_webinar.eventbrite.com
Solar + Batteries for Homeowners
When: Saturday, August 8 from 10 am to 12 pm
Description: This free class is designed for homeowners interested in learning about using solar power generated at your home coupled with an energy storage system (battery) to potentially lower your utility bill and help you become more resilient during a power outage. You will also learn about energy efficiency and energy storage incentives, particularly for low income and baseline medical customers and those in high fire risk areas.
Sign up: https://pge.docebosaas.com/learn/course/external/view/webinar/517/solar-batteries-for-homeowners 
Solar Webinar

Let's keep talking.  



Marin County Board of Supervisors, District 1
3501 Civic Center Drive, Suite 329, San Rafael, CA 94903
Direct Tel: (415) 473-7331

District Aide: Mary Sackett
Direct Tel: (415) 473-7354 
Email: msackett@marincounty.org

District Aide: Gustavo Goncalves
Direct Tel: (415) 473-7342 
Email: ggoncalves@marincounty.org

Newsletter: https://www.marincounty.org/depts/bs/district-1/newsletters
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SupConnolly
Twitter: https://twitter.com/damon_connolly?lang=en