The last of the Board of Supervisors’ “listening sessions” to gauge the breadth of economic turmoil in Riverside County stemming from the coronavirus public health lockdowns, as well as determine how to adjust county services to better meet residents’ needs overall in the future, will be held Saturday.
“We have had two listening sessions, in which we are hearing from our residents on what is important to them, especially when it comes to county programs and services,” Board Chairman Manuel Perez said. “I’m looking forward to listening to more suggestions and comments, (and) I encourage the public to please participate in this session.”
It is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday in the board chamber at the County Administrative Center on Lemon Street in downtown Riverside. The session also can be viewed in real time at livestream.com/rivcolive, or www.facebook.com/RivCoCOB.
In August, the board unanimously approved holding three sessions, in what Supervisor Kevin Jeffries described as an attempt at “listening and trying to get a grip on the challenges we face.”
“We need to build a consensus and have thoughtful, deep discussions,” he said. “We will be moving slowly and carefully on this.”
The board requested assistance from the UC Riverside School of Public Policy to monitor the sessions, tracking the primary complaints and most pressing needs of speakers, then drafting a report containing the main themes, which will be submitted to the board in the next few months.
“Unemployment, economic distress, loss of life, business closures, rental and mortgage difficulties, children distance learning with working parents and many other impacts will have a lasting effect for years to come,” according to a board statement. “For these reasons and more, the intent of the board listening sessions is to hear directly from those most affected.”
Possible racial inequities in policing, health care delivery and education were among Perez’s principal concerns when he called for the sessions.
The first one was held on Sept. 29, and another was held on Oct. 6.
During its regular meeting on Nov. 10, the board will discuss whether additional sessions may be needed.