Tag Archives: Solano County Supervisor Monica Brown

Solano Supervisor Monica Brown – COVID news and the Board’s failure to mandate masks and vaccines

[Editor: I commend our District 2 Solano County Supervisor, Monica Brown, and I highly recommend her latest advisory on COVID-19, below.  To subscribe to her weekly newsletter, click here.  – R.S.]

Solano County Header
SUPERVISOR MONICA BROWN SEPTEMBER 17TH, 2021 UPDATE

Hello Benicia, Fairfield, and Vallejo,

Welcome to my most recent update. I can be reached at mebrown@solanocounty.com.

CORONAVIRUS

We are still in a pandemic. Our hospitals are overwhelmed, our residents are catching this virus, and we are seeing consumers pull back on activities because of the continuing pandemic. It is devastating to see the impacts on our community.

However, as I have said many times and as we have heard from many people, this is a pandemic of the unvaccinated. According to the most recent data, 77.5% of those in Solano County testing positive for COVID-19 are unvaccinated. Data has also shown that those who are vaccinated are much less likely to have symptoms, even less likely to have a severe illness, and to have a statistically small chance of dying. You have a 17x higher chance of being hospitalized if you are unvaccinated. Vaccines work and they are the key to beating this pandemic.

I plead with our entire community to get vaccinated. This is the easiest and most effective way to keep all of us safe. It is also protecting our most vulnerable residents, children under 12 and those who are immunocompromised, from the disease. Please get vaccinated if you have not already. If you have been vaccinated, please encourage everyone you know to get vaccinated. We are all in this together and we will only success together.

Solano County has many opportunities for you to get vaccinated. The county is offering all three COVID-19 vaccinations at the Solano Mall (1350 Travis Blvd in Fairfield on the second floor across from the Applebee’s) and rapid COVID-19 testing every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 10am-7pm. No appointment is necessary, but you may make an appointment by calling 707-784-8655.

At this past Tuesday’s Board meeting, the subject of a mask mandate and a vaccine mandate was brought forward. While I wanted both, there was not enough support on the Board for either. The Board did mandate that if a local jurisdiction in the county has a mask mandate, then any county buildings in that jurisdiction must follow it. The two jurisdictions in Solano County with mask mandates are Benicia and Vallejo. I sent a letter to the Governor asking him to implement a statewide mask mandate. Please wear your masks. This pandemic is not over.

I want to thank Dr. Bonnie Hamilton from the Napa Solano Medical Society for speaking in support of a mask mandate. The Napa Solano Medical Society represents over 1,200 physicians in the Napa Solano area. I also want to thank Dr. Seth Kaufman, who is the chief medical officer for NorthBay Healthcare, for speaking in support of a mask mandate. Their testimony, along with the guidelines from the Center for Disease Control, make it abundantly clear that the science supports mandating masks.

The California Department of Public Health is looking for partner organizations to set up on-site rapid testing for employees, guests and/or community members. The state will provide test kits, training, and other support. This is free to organizations. For more information, please contact testing.taskforce@cdph.ca.gov.

Monica Brown, Solano County Supervisor, District 2
Monica Brown,
Solano County Supervisor, District 2

First elected in 2016, Monica represents District 2 on the Solano County Board of Supervisors. District 2 encompasses the city of Benicia, the portion of Vallejo south of Georgia Street, Mare Island, Cordelia, Green Valley and a portion of Fairfield.

Open Letter to Solano Supervisors: Call for a Civilian Oversight Board for Sheriff Department

Civilian Oversight for Sheriff’s Department

Open letter by Jean Walker, May 30, 2021
Jean Walker, Benicia

On September 22nd, 2020, the Solano County Board of Supervisors listened to our county’s employees as they described how Solano County’s hiring and promotions system was bogged down by institutional racism. After much discussion, the Board, on a 5-0 vote, created a Subcommittee on Diversity and Equity. On a 3-2 vote, the Board approved funding of $150,000 to support the work of the Subcommittee.

The members of the Subcommittee on Diversity and Equity, including chair Erin Hannigan and Board Chair John Vasquez, have most likely met a few times since last year. I imagine the Subcommittee has hired an equity consultant, as planned, to assist with the process of focusing on internal human resources operations and delivering equitable services to the County’s residents.

As a constituent I am pleased to see that when an important issue like institutional racism in the County’s hiring practices must be addressed, the Board is capable of coming together as a team.

The Board of Supervisors now has another opportunity, via Assembly Bill 1185, to create a Citizens’ Oversight Board for the Sheriff’s Office.

Civilian oversight benefits the public AND benefits police and sheriff’s departments, by …

    • Improving community relations through more open communication between the Sheriff’s Office and the public;
    • Reassuring the community that misconduct is investigated, and that appropriate discipline and training will occur;
    • Increasing the public’s understanding of law enforcement policies and procedures;
    • Improving those policies and procedures; and
    • Assessing liability management, thereby reducing the likelihood and cost of litigation.

Please, Supervisor Brown, I hope you will once again raise the motion to agendize the proposal of discussing a Civilian Oversight Board. I hope one of the two members of the Diversity and Equity Subcommittee will be a good team member and second Supervisor Brown’s motion.

Jean Walker
Benicia

Benicia Black Lives Matter calls on Solano County Supervisors for sheriff oversight

[BenIndy editor: reaching for “balanced coverage” and controversy, this Times-Herald article allows a right-wing conspiratorialist too much latitude in framing the discussion.  Benicia Black Lives Matter members’ substantive Tuesday comments are covered only briefly in one paragraph (#10).  The article then gives 5 paragraphs to the Sheriff’s defenders, including an outrageous and unsubstantiated attack on BBLM.  The article then concludes with 4 paragraphs highlighting two BBLM members’ responses to the wild and crazy off-topic charges.  The discussion at Solano BOS is a serious one, and our coverage should focus primarily if not exclusively on real issues.  – R.S.] 

Solano County Supervisors hear opposition, support for sheriff oversight

Vallejo Times-Herald, by Katy St. Clair, May 12, 2021

Far-right ideology was linked to department

In the wake of revelations that members of the Solano County Sheriff’s Department has shown support for far-right ideologies, several county residents called in the supervisors meeting on Tuesday.

Some expressed their opposition and others voiced their support for agendizing a discussion about creating an oversight board to monitor the sheriff’s office.

In an internal email obtained by the Times-Herald, the Solano County Republican Central Committee organized its members to call into the meeting with talking points in support of the sheriff’s office. Members were told not to identify themselves as Republicans, but several callers expressed the points covered in the email.

According to an investigation by the nonprofit newsroom Open Vallejo, a deputy and two sergeants of the Solano County Sheriff’s Office promoted a far-right militia “for years” that is linked to terrorist plots and the Jan. 6 insurrection on the Capitol in Washington D.C.

After Open Vallejo’s story, which featured far-right Three Percenter symbols taken from public social media accounts and other online sources belonging to members of the sheriff’s office, Benicia Black Lives Matter wrote a letter to the supervisors asking for a “full investigation both at the county level and at the city level” to make sure that “policies and procedures — including those focused on recruitment and disciplinary actions — are in place to actively expel these extremists from the ranks of law enforcement.”

The letter was also sent to Solano County Sheriff Thomas Ferrara.

The Three Percenters have been dubbed a “radical anti-government group” by organizations such as the SPLC and the FBI. The FBI also claims that many members of these groups are in law enforcement, according to CBS News.

In February, BBLM asked the board of supervisors to condemn right-wing extremism and conduct a full investigation into Open Vallejo’s allegations. They also asked the board to consider creating an independent oversight committee, citing a new law that went into effect in September of last year.

Assembly Bill 1185 makes it easier for supervisors or voters to establish independent oversight boards to oversee activities within the sheriff’s department. Such boards would also have subpoena powers — something that many independent police oversight boards do not.

On Tuesday, several members of BBLM called in to support the creation of an oversight board, or the very least have a discussion about it. One member said that learning that there were people who supported Three Percenter ideology in the sheriff’s department “caused alarm for me” and said this was a public safety issue. Another caller said there is now fear and suspicion about the sheriff’s office and therefore civilian oversight is warranted.

Callers who opposed agendizing any discussion of oversight said it would create more government bureaucracy.

“Since when has government solved anything?” asked one caller.

Two callers referred to BBLM as “left wing anarchists and Marxists.” A man who identified himself as ex-law enforcement, said that “out-of-town forces are trying to bring their dysfunction to Solano County and to disrupt the peace that we’ve had here.”

Another caller named Steve said that the mass media makes it “almost impossible” to get all the facts.

“We have seen cops everywhere get charged with violations of protocol… Some cops are incompetent and get removed. Most of the time the accusations are inaccurate,” he said.

According to Bay City News and confirmed by the Times-Herald, Benicia Black Lives Matter received a response from Sheriff Ferrara. In the letter, Ferrara said he was “sickened” as he watched the Jan. 6 attack and that he can confirm that none of his employees were present on that day.

However, the sheriff’s letter did admit that the far-right images posted on social media by his officers were “disappointing” but were “not in themselves a crime…or in violation of (then current) policy.”

Further, Sheriff Ferrara said he had arranged for extremist ideology training for all of his staff, including himself.

Ferrara also told BBLM that he consulted with the FBI, which he claims, “confirmed none of my employees are members of any extremist organizations.”

When Open Vallejo attempted to verify this, the FBI instead called Ferrara’s statement into question. In a statement, spokesperson Gina Swankie told the newsroom that “a group which may espouse domestic extremist ideology is not illegal in and of itself, no matter how offensive their views may be, and membership in any group is neither tracked nor is sufficient basis for an FBI investigation.”

Former special agent for the FBI in San Francisco John Bennett told Open Vallejo that it is possible that the FBI would inform the head of an agency that there was an inquiry into their organization, and that “a disciplined and honorable leader of an agency would not make a public statement contrary to what they know is the truth about the status of an FBI inquiry.” He also added that “if the Bureau comes out later with contrary statements, that department and its leadership will lose credibility.”

Supervisor Monica Brown made a motion at a previous meeting to agendize discussion of oversight of the sheriff’s department but no one seconded it. Brown could not be reached for comment at press time.

BBLM members dispute the idea that they are “Marxists” or far left radicals. One caller from the organization said that she is “not a Marxist, I am a mother of two” and said she called in because of her children.

“I’m confused why we are not having a conversation (about this),” she said, adding that they are just asking for a discussion to be raised about oversight.

BBLM member Brandon Greene, a civil rights attorney, told the Times-Herald that he too is concerned about public safety and security for residents and he is not an “out-of-town Marxist.”

“My property tax bill says otherwise,” he said.

Solano Supervisor Monica Brown – update on vaccines and more

[Editor: I highly recommend Supervisor Brown’s newsletter.  Go to solanocounty.com/depts/bos/members/brown/default.asp and click at top right on “Get e-mail updates when this information changes.”  – R.S.]

February 11, 2021

SUPERVISOR MONICA BROWN CORONAVIRUS UPDATE 42

Hello Benicia, Fairfield, and Vallejo,

Welcome to my most recent coronavirus update. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at mebrown@solanocounty.com or at 707-784-3031.

VACCINES

I know the vaccines are important to everyone. We have, as of February 8th, vaccinated 35,500 people in Solano County. We have had mass vaccination events in Vallejo and Benicia and are planning on more. The subject of vaccinating teachers to allow reopening schools is something I have received many emails about. I wrote a letter to the Governor asking that teachers be vaccinated with all deliberate speed.

I also requested that our school districts be given funding to operate a voluntary summer school program. I believe this is necessary to offer an opportunity to make up for lost time in the classroom. The Fairfield-Suisun School District has informed my office they are planning a summer school program.

I know we all want the vaccine rollout to move faster, but the hard truth continues to be that we simply do not have enough vaccines for all those eligible to receive the vaccine. We will hopefully be able to open vaccine eligibility to those 65 and over in the next couple of weeks. Please remember that eligibility for the vaccine does not necessarily equate to availability of the vaccine. Availability continues to be constrained by our supply.

The Johnson and Johnson vaccine will hopefully be approved soon on an emergency basis. Since this vaccine will only require one dose, its approval will dramatically increase the nation’s capacity to vaccinate. Also, the production of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines is also expected to increase.

The state has vaccinated about 10% of our population. Solano is at about 8%. I encourage everyone to sign up for the vaccine interest form. This list is where the county will pull names from when we have mass vaccination clinics.

CVS is offering vaccinations to those eligible and lists Vallejo as a participating pharmacy. Although the Vallejo site is listed as full at this time, please keep checking back here to see if they have availability. https://www.cvs.com/immunizations/covid-19-vaccine

This weekend (Friday the 12th and Saturday the 13th), the county will have a vaccination site at the fairgrounds. While the appointments have probably filled up by now, you can call or fill out the form to see if there is still availability.

For more information about vaccine numbers, tiers, signing up for the interest form, or seeing if there is still space this weekend, please visit: https://solanocounty.com/depts/ph/coronavirus_links/covid_19_vaccines.asp

COVID NUMBERS

While our coronavirus numbers are still too high, we have seen much improvement from the holiday surges. We will see in the next week or two whether we will have a surge from Super Bowl gatherings. For more information about our numbers and other coronavirus information, please visit: https://solanocounty.com/depts/ph/coronavirus.asp

EVICTION PROTECTIONS

I want to remind everyone that Solano County’s eviction protections extend until 90 days after the state lifts the emergency order. Evictions cannot happen until 90 days after the state order is lifted in Solano County.

The county has approved a plan to administer the funds we received for rental assistance at the February 9th Board meeting. We will be looking for an administrator to oversee the distribution of the funds. Once we have the administrator and the application process, I will be providing that information in an update.

BLACK HISTORY MONTH RESOLUTION

On Tuesday February 9th, the Board of Supervisors approved a resolution recognizing February as Black History Month.

BENICIA CITY CEMETERY

The Benicia City Cemetery has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This honor recognizes Benicia’s historic character.

FAIRFIELD GENERAL PLAN UPDATE

The city of Fairfield is updating the General Plan. This will govern development in the city for decades to come. There will be zoom community workshops tonight (Thursday February 11th) at 6pm and Saturday Feb. 13th at 10am. For more information, please visit: https://www.fairfieldforward.com/

VALLEJO NATIVE PERFORMS AT SUPERBOLW

Vallejo native H.E.R. performed “America the Beautiful” at the Super Bowl. This was a major accomplishment. Solano County, and Vallejo specifically, is extremely proud. https://www.timesheraldonline.com/2021/02/08/photo-vallejos-h-e-r-performs-at-super-bowl/

SUPPORTING SMALL BUSINESSES FOR VALENTINE’S DAY

As Valentine’s day approaches, please consider supporting our local businesses if you plan on doing something special.

Sailor Jack’s in downtown Benicia has outdoor dining and a wonderful menu. Bookshop Benicia on First Street has an excellent collection for that perfect gift.  The Napa Deli in Fairfield has a fine selection of foods available. Liled’s candy shop in Vallejo has amazing ice cream and incredibly tasty chocolates. Liled’s is located at 1318 Tennessee St in Vallejo. Liled’s has been in Vallejo since 1936 and is a local treasure.

Our local businesses are essential to our community and they need our support now more than ever.

The above businesses are examples of local businesses. There are many local businesses in Benicia, Fairfield, and Vallejo that need our support. For more information about local businesses for your special Valentine’s day treat, here are some links:

Thank you for reading my most recent update. Please continue to wear your masks, socially distance, follow all health guidelines, and spread kindness in our community.

Sincerely,

Monica Brown,
Solano County Supervisor, District 2

First elected in 2016, Monica represents District 2 on the Solano County Board of Supervisors. District 2 encompasses the city of Benicia, the portion of Vallejo south of Georgia Street, Mare Island, Cordelia, Green Valley and a portion of Fairfield.