Signup for Nathan's News Signup for Nathan's News

COVID, behavioral health top new priorities proposed for county



Nathan Fletcher, the new chair of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, said the county’s legislative agenda is out of step with the new board’s progressive values.

The legislative agenda describes its policy priorities and values that it will advocate for in laws and other government actions.

Fletcher is suggesting significant revisions to the agenda in a proposal that will go before the board next Tuesday.

The old agenda, he said, “really perpetuated old practices, outdated ideas, and things that frankly need to change. And coming in, I just decided it was a new day in county government. We’re going to wipe the slate clean.”

The proposed revisions to the agenda would more clearly identify the county’s top priorities: COVID-19 response and recovery, behavioral health services, homelessness, affordable housing, environmental justice and protection, and equity and racial justice, he said.

Fletcher has served as a supervisor since January 2018. Until this week he had been the only Democrat on the five-member board.

That changed Monday with the swearing in of fellow Democrats Terra Lawson-Remer and Nora Vargas. Republican Joel Anderson also was sworn in.

Fletcher was named board chair Tuesday.

Included in the legislative agenda is the “legislative program”, a 118-page document that provides guidance to the Office of Strategy and Intergovernmental Affairs, which takes positions on state and federal legislation and other actions that could impact the county.

Fletcher said the agenda documents have grown too unwieldy and are outdated.

“It was like 118 pages of the worst conservative hit songs of the 1970s,” he said.

The Board of Supervisors approved its 2021 legislative program on Oct. 27 — a week before the November election — with Fletcher casting the only no vote.

Fletcher said the agenda includes sections that make it harder for people to vote.

Some sections support denying public assistance to immigrants and people with criminal records.

“We ought to be helping people get back on their feet so they don’t reoffend,” he said.

Among the items that Fletcher said do not reflect the new board’s values is a section that says the county supports legislation allowing federal border agents to detain drivers suspected of being under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol until local law enforcement conducts sobriety checks.

He also said the documents perpetuate an antagonistic relationship between the county and the state, which he said should be an ally. READ MORE