Greetings and wishing you and your loved ones the best in 2023. The new year is a time for hope, and a time for reflection. 2022 was a big year as we gathered at events and celebrations for the first time since the pandemic’s outbreak. By prioritizing our health, we shined locally and achieved many big successes for our families. Looking back on how our community stepped up to help one another swells an already full heart. Your spirit emboldens the honor I have to serve and represent the people of District 3 and Santa Clara County. We did a lot to care for one another, especially on housing and safety, and I want these additional highlights from 2022 with you.
We cared for our health, especially our mental and behavioral health.
Our signature policy of the year, in partnership with Supervisor Ellenberg, was to declare mental health and substance abuse a public health crisis. Our declaration called for an all-hands intensive approach to address mental health and substance use. We are rapidly working to implement multiple strategies to expand access, treatment, and the workforce. This includes increasing the number of beds for mental health treatment and substance detoxification. We are also increasing awareness of available resources and reducing stigmas to seeking help, because we all go through tough times. We are so grateful to our health care workers, but we must hire more mental health professionals and expand our facilities if we’re going to fully tackle this crisis. That’s why we are excited that construction for the adolescent behavioral health facility at Valley Medical Center has finally broken ground.
We said enough was enough.
Gun violence has become the leading cause of death for America’s children and costs our local community more than $1.2 billion annually. While Congress still debates this issue, we’re acting locally to save lives. We partnered with our County District Attorney’s Office and Sheriff’s Office; and local law enforcement, including Police Departments from Milpitas, Morgan Hill, and Gilroy, to hold two gun buyback events in 2022 that collected over 700 firearms that were voluntarily turned in (and which included 26 assault-style weapons and 7 ghost guns). By unanimously passing proposals to crack down on ghost guns and increasing suicide prevention services, we are acting aggressively to invest resources to reduce gun violence in Santa Clara County.
We acted to save our environment.
Climate action was a big theme in 2022 as we started the year with a resolution in support of the Bay Adapt Plan to address sea level rise and closed the year laying the groundwork for creating our new County Sustainability Commission. Our innovative Silicon Valley must fully engage and lead on this urgent matter to tackle wildfires, air pollution, and extreme weather events. Adoption of sustainable practices, such as installing more electric vehicle charging stations or replacement of wood burning fireplaces will help improve our air quality. I’m looking forward to recruiting commissioners so we can get right to work on these exciting ideas.
We unified communities and empowered voices.
The 2021 redistricting reunited Sunnyvale to be represented in District 3. A very insightful, engaged, and thorough process drew the new supervisorial district lines that reassigned Evergreen into District 1 and Los Gatos into District 5. It’s an honor to serve our diverse and vibrant district, which includes Milpitas, Sunnyvale, Alviso, Berryesssa, and North San José.
We stood up against war.
Our last reflection is how foreign affairs impact the daily lives of families across Santa Clara County, especially as so many are connected to immigrants and refugees. In response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine we officially ended our Sister Commission’s ties with the Moscow government. Shortly after the outbreak of the war, I traveled to Poland to witness the plight of the Ukrainian elderly, women, and children at a refugee food distribution center. They suffer the psychological trauma of war and will need our assistance to resettle temporarily. As an immigrant myself, I am so thankful to Santa Clara County and my colleagues for standing up to this war and continuing to be a welcoming home for those seeking and deserving to be free and live without violence.
This is a brief synopsis of our work, please visit SupervisorLee.org to read more about the work we did in 2022, and the work ahead for 2023.
I also want to thank our awesome District 3 Staff for making everything we do possible. Thanks for being my good neighbor, and again best wishes and good health to all in 2023.
– Supervisor Otto Lee, County of Santa Clara – District 3