I was sworn in to represent District 2 for a 6th term last night at the County Board's Organizational Meeting. We elected Supervisor Patrick Miles as Chair of the Board. I am excited about his collaborative approach and extensive Board experience and lived experience. Unfortunately, my friend and strong progressive leader Liz Doyle fell one vote short of being elected First Vice Chair. I know she'll continue to lead on important issues in the coming term and I look forward to working with her. Thanks to Supervisor and former Chair Analiese Eicher for her service as Board Chair over the last term. She did a good job getting us transitioned to remote meetings, supported my efforts to fund tinier homes early in the pandemic, and was thoughtful in her review of proposed procedural rules changes.
On those rules changes: A number of proposals I made to amend Chapter 7 of our rules were successfully adopted last night. I want to thank Supervisor Chawla for his help with many of them, particularly in advocating for a special meeting to give them due consideration and pursuing modest changes to secure support in committee. The following changes were adopted last night.
(1) Removal of Prayer from the County Board agendas (note: prayer will not be ruled out of order and was explicitly included in a new definition of inspirational message in the ordinance);
(2) The County Board is now required to take public comment and registrations at our fist budget meeting following the Personnel & Finance Committee's action on the budget. (THIS IS A BIG WIN AND SECURED THE SUPPORT OF A NUMBER OF NEW SUPES. I've tried to get this done in prior terms, but was unsuccessful. Thanks to Supervisor Smith for talking with me and moving an amendment to get this through);
(3) Requiring staff to provide supervisors with online registration lists for registration on items before the board and standing committees prior to action on the items; and
(4) Requiring committee action to limit time for public testimony instead of just allowing the chair to limit time without committee action.
I felt short, as expected, on my proposal to remove the Pledge of Allegiance from the Board Agenda, but got several votes, including many from new supervisors. Thanks to Supervisor Dana Pellebon for seconding the motion to amend and Supervisors Huelsemann, Kigeya, Ritt, Wright, Doyle, and Glazer for their support. I think this was an important conversation on the pledge and has already changed the practice of the chair of not assuming the supervisor giving the inspirational message wants to lead the Pledge. We have elevated the voice of dissent and are making more space for free speech.
All in all, a pretty good night. It's an honor to continue to serve and write legislation to increase transparency, accountability, and inclusion in our County Board processes. Thanks to all of you for engaging in local politics and providing me support over the last month when I faced hateful, sexist vitriol and death threats for proposing certain changes, and thanks for all the support over the last 10 years of service.
I can't want to get my committee assignments! Stay tuned...
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