The Nevada County Board of Supervisors, in its regular meeting on March 9th, tabled a resolution widely referred to — and just as widely misunderstood — as the “Open Nevada County Resolution,” despite the fact that it would have no immediate legal effect on local businesses. The following are District 1 Supervisor Heidi Hall‘s comments concerning this resolution.
“Nevada county, like the State, country, and world, has suffered for a year under the need to address a dangerous, and real virus. My heart goes out first to those who have been sickened by it, who are suffering long haulers symptoms, and those who have lost loved ones. I also stand by our public health and the health care workers everywhere – like my brother – who are working endless overtime to care for us, and who themselves have become sick. Over 525,000 lives have been lost to this virus, more than any other country in the world, both in numbers and in percentage. We all know our kids, our business owners, and our workers are also suffering from loss of income, isolation, and grave uncertainty about our futures. The good news is that we are coming out of this dark tunnel and we will see much return to normal in 2021, barring any unknown factors.
“Unfortunately, none of this is addressed in this resolution, and I’d like to speak to the origins of it, as well as its current status. As it stands, it simply states what we are already doing, takes a few jabs at the State of California and its Governor specifically, and does nothing new for our County. Moreover, people writing in to support it believe it will require us to reopen our businesses, which it decidedly does not. However, it is important to understand the origins of it because of how our community is already perceiving it and how it will be used by others for nefarious purposes.
“The original “Healthy Communities Resolution“, on which this is based, called for an immediate opening of the County, in defiance of any and all public health expertise and mandates which is illegal. It was developed by 5 Republican legislators from our Region and has been shopped around to the Board of Supervisors throughout the North. Its intent is to declare that the Counties will not follow the State public health mandate, couching it in “local control” language, but then also dictating to school boards – who are not under BOS jurisdiction – to open now. It declares that Counties will defy the mandate, for no purpose except to create political theatre and poke a stick in the eye of the Governor. And although we have rewritten it, the public will see this as a vote on re-opening now, and our own State representatives will use it as a political weapon.
“Note that our Resolution, as rewritten, is linked to our monthly Public Health attestation, which states SPECIFICALLY that we will “Adhere to federal guidance and the state’s stay-at-home requirements and other health requirements as directed in gubernatorial Executive Order N-33-20, any subsequent EO or statutes, and all California Department of Public Health orders, directives, and guidance in response to COVID-19 emergency.” It further says that we “Certify that the County has not adopted an ordinance or resolution inconsistent with the public health orders, guidance, or other directives.” That means this Resolution is meaningless in substance and yet divisive and political in that it is here at all. This is pure political theatre and has no place on our Agenda.
“The original, and our, Resolution also lays the blame of the Covid-19 response here squarely on the State government. The authors are Legislators who have never publicly challenged the Trump Administration’s horrific lack of leadership, deadly misstatement of facts, and complete lack of a national strategy, actions which explain why the State is in this place of having to create, from whole cloth, its own pandemic response in the first place. No doubt, there have been missteps and slips in the way the State has rolled out its response to this virus – including making confusing changes to a tier system that it developed, getting our numbers incorrect, and bypassing some of the rural county needs. But what can we expect when the previous Feds required that 50 States come up with 50 unique systems, costing literally billions of our taxpayer dollars, to individually tackle an airborne virus that does not recognize State, or County, boundaries. Much of this has been fixed thanks to the efforts of our Calif. State Association of Counties partners throughout the State, who have done what always works best – educate and negotiate with the Governor and our State partners for a better system. And we now have relief from our new Federal Administration, and Congress, who are following the science and providing vaccines and economic relief for small businesses and workers.
“It is a fact that we are stuck in this extremely long shut-down due to the lack of compliance by too many people regarding these very simple measures, and this is the same group of people that wants us to open up now, regardless of what science, data, and the experience of the rest of the world tells us.
“Our infection rates here in Nevada County are still not stable, and we have unknown variants showing up, and now is not the time to let up. But our vaccinations rates are rising daily, schools are now on track with re-opening plans, and a new package of Covid relief funds has just been passed to get us through this final stretch. This package will bring unemployment extensions, cut child poverty in half, provide relief specifically to restaurants, provide money to reopen schools, and even provide broadband and PILT funding, being a perfect bill to address our very rural issues. Our own Congressman voted no on this. This Healthy Communities resolution is part of the politicization of this virus, and people writing in to support it actually believe it is a call for us to open. It is not but it will cause confusion and work against what we need to do and helps nothing.
“As you have heard from every County medical doctor and our public health department from day one, this virus is real, the science is solid, and politics do not belong here. Our attempts to control it have been difficult and complicated. But the simple acts of wearing masks, socially distancing, and following the public health mandates will get us there. Regarding business openings, about 99% of our businesses are following the mandates, and bringing good old American ingenuity to pivot as needed. That is what is needed to get us to the end of this, not passing divisive and partisan Resolutions that continue to muddy the waters of how to end this.”
District 1 Supervisor
First term began: 1/2017
Current term ends: 12/2024
Served as Chair of the Board: 2020