Board President Mike Wasserman delivered the 2021 State of the County Address virtually on Monday, February 22nd during which he spoke about the effects of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic on the region’s collective health and economy, saying:
"I want 2021 to be a year of healing, and restoration of some sense of normalcy.” He thanked the healthcare workers who give up days off, much-needed sleep and their own well-being to care for strangers and put the County’s collective health before their own.
President Wasserman focused on vaccination rollout challenges, stating: “We are dramatically challenged by state and federal systems and policies that have thus far restricted the funds and vaccines we are fully prepared to utilize and administer.”
He stated that an important goal for 2021 is to focus on the County’s mission and on the services counties are designated to provide such as Social Services, Public Health and Hospital Systems, Jails, Medical Examiner, Clerk Recorder, County Libraries, Parks, Sheriff, District Attorney, Public Defender and County Communications.
President Wasserman reviewed some of the noteworthy County accomplishments and milestones during his decade as a County Supervisor, including:
- The purchase of O’Connor Hospital, Saint Louise Regional Hospital, and De Paul Health Center -- a prescient acquisition that not only preserved access to healthcare, but also saved the County from running out of critical ICU hospital beds due to COVID-19.
- The opening of the new County Animal Services Center that takes in more than 4,000 stray and abandoned animals annually from Palo Alto to Gilroy.
- The Santa Clara Valley Habitat Conservation Plan, which protects endangered species and natural resources.
- The Human Trafficking Commission created to eliminate human exploitation in our County.
- The Community Plan to End Homelessness, which has helped more than 14,000 individuals find permanent housing.
- The 287-acre Martial Cottle Park in San Jose that preserves the County’s agricultural heritage.
- The Santa Clara Valley Wine Trail, which puts local wineries on the map.
- The Renewables for Revenue energy project, which has a capacity of 11.1 megawatts and will generate approximately 20 million kilowatt-hours of renewable electricity per year.
- The establishment of the Division of Equity and Social Justice to address inequities in the community.
- The 2016 Measure A affordable housing bond, which is well on its way to creating 4,800 affordable housing units.
“2021 will be the year of seizing our County from the jaws of a virus that has crippled our health, our economy and our well-being for too long,” he stated. “And vaccinating as many people as possible as quickly as possible are the key components to this happening.”
President Wasserman stated that in January 2021, the County set the goal of vaccinating 85% of the eligible population by August 1st 2021, which is 1.3 million people.
A goal that he said can be accomplished only if the County is given many more vaccines: “Thanks to our partnership with the San Francisco 49ers, we created California’s largest vaccination site at Levi Stadium,” he stated. “The Levi site is able to vaccinate up to 15,000 people a day – again, assuming we are given the doses to do so.”
President Wasserman thanked those watching for being an important part of the solution. He called on the community to work together to create a thriving and healthy post-pandemic era and to get vaccinated as soon as eligible, directing them to www.sccfreevax.org.