[The following piece was submitted by Mr Eddie Garcia of the SOJ Steering Committee. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tomorrow in the Rood Center the Board of Supervisors will hear a presentation of the county budget from Mr Haffey.]
Last Friday, while I was planning my usual attendance to The Board of Supervisors meeting tomorrow June 7th, I realized that it was a special meeting for a Public Hearing for the purpose of hearing written and oral comments from the public concerning the Budget for next Fiscal Year and a friend pointed out that the budget itself was preceded by a “MESSAGE FROM THE COUNTY EXECUTIVE OFFICER”, the opening paragraph of which reads (I’m quoting but the emphasis is mine):
“In contrast to Nevada County, there are a very few areas in the State of California that have not recovered from the Great Recession. These are mostly areas that have supported the ill-fated State of Jefferson movement. This movement has virtually nothing in common with Nevada County either socially or economically. Nevada County is doing better than almost all rural counties. Unemployment in Nevada County has dropped to 4.7% from a high of close to 10%. The Bay Area, Southern California and the Inland Empire have now seen multiple years of stronger and sustained economic expansion with unemployment rates at 3% or lower. There are indications that their economies may be becoming overheated, which is a precursor to a recession. We are almost a year to 18 months behind what happens with the more prosperous areas of the State. Here is the County’s unemployment rate since the Great Recession: ..."
To say the least, I was flabbergasted that a County employee, high ranking as he may be, would publicize his opinions in a public document. That prompted me to send Mr. Haffey the following email:
I cannot begin to tell you how shocked I was to read the first paragraph of your “Message from the County Executive Officer” that accompanies the Budget proposal for next Fiscal Year.
While you have made your negative feelings about the SOJ well know to me, I think that it is totally inappropriate for you to have included them in your Message. I really feel that you have exceeded the bounds of your position in the County.
While, as a private citizen, you are perfectly free to hold and express whatever opinions you like, I think you have to agree with me that they are not to be expressed within an official document of the County.
Secondly, I think you have, through your comments, made our case (probably unwittingly!) by pointing out that “…there are a very few areas in the State of California that have not recovered from the Great Recession. These are mostly areas that have supported the ill-fated State of Jefferson movement.”! Have you thought that these areas you mention might not have recovered because their economies have been decimated by the policies of the State of California?
Finally, I also object to your stating erroneous information about the State of Jefferson movement. I guess your mind has been made up about our movement from day one. I remember having been given some time by you to meet in your office to talk about the State of Jefferson and being greeted by: (I have to paraphrase here) “Eddie, I am not going to discuss your movement, I just think it is the worst idea ever!”!!!
I am still very interested in finding out what your reasons are for so strongly opposing our movement and try to explain to you what we feel our reasons are for supporting it.
Some sort of an apology from you would be a good first step towards a possible dialog.
[7jun16 update] Subsequent to today's BoS meeting on the county's budget, Mr Eddie Garcia sent the following in an email -
Thanks to all of you who showed up at the BOS meeting this morning, there were enough green t-shirts to make the Chairman (Dan Miller) come over to tell us that the only public comment he would allow would be the one directly related to the Budget figures not on the CEO’s message! However, he said that the CEO would be proffering an apology. Sure enough when the meeting started, right after the Pledge, the Chair announced that before proceeding with the Public Hearing the CEO Mr. Haffey had something to say. Then Mr. Haffey proceeded to apologize to whoever felt offended or hurt (I’m paraphrasing here so …) by his remarks; the whole time he was speaking he was looking directly at me. After he apologized to us, he proceeded to apologize to the Board for the “angst” he may have caused them.