Ensuring Public Health is a core mission of the County of Santa Clara. The County directs over $5 billion of its $8 billion annual budget toward improving community health, disease control and prevention, and hospital and clinic operations.
We must ensure access to public hospitals. The County purchased O’Connor Hospital, Saint Louise Regional Hospital, and DePaul Health Center out of bankruptcy in early 2019. Our challenge moving forward is to ensure these hospitals run efficiently and stay open.
We must improve care for the mentally ill. Mental illness is brain illness that affects the whole body. Mental illness drives many other problems that tax our county resources: homelessness, foster care, substance abuse, domestic violence, and criminal activity.
We must encourage all cities to promote responsible development and neighborhood integration. Shifting community sentiment by providing development safeguards is critical to expanding the housing supply.
The County of Santa Clara needs to operate with more transparency, fiscal accountability, and focus on its core mission. Every dollar spent outside the county’s core responsibilities should be treated like a budget cut to those core missions. We must be careful stewards of public resources in good and bad times alike.
Addressing homelessness is the responsibility of the County, tied to other issues like mental health, substance abuse, and criminal justice – all county responsibilities. It’s time to change our approach and insist on clean communities, clean streets, and compassion and recovery for those living on the streets.