The Riverside County Board of Supervisors is holding a series of three listening sessions for the community on county services and budget priorities, including public safety, behavioral health, and social services. The board unanimously approved the series of listening sessions on August. 4, the same day it approved a resolution declaring racism a public health crisis.
The listening sessions will provide an opportunity for residents to share impacts and difficulties resulting from the pandemic, ranging from loss of employment to in-person school closures, as well as lived experiences with systemic racism and social injustice that impacts healthy communities.
“We have heard from the public loud and clear that they seek to have a voice in the county’s budgeting process, including how to further fund social services,” said Board Chair V. Manuel Perez. “We have also heard loud and clear that the public seeks to have a voice in how our county will fight against systemic racism. The listening sessions will allow for an inclusionary process and that is why I wholeheartedly agree.”
As part of the process, the county is partnering with the School of Public Policy at the University of California, Riverside to prepare a report identifying and discussing the main, recurring themes and topics emerging from the listening sessions. The report will inform county officials as they shape the county’s organization, budget, and services for the next year and beyond.
“Our School is excited to work with the County of Riverside on this important and timely initiative,” said Anil Deolalikar, founding dean of the UCR School of Public Policy. “Our public policy faculty and students, who already partner extensively with County agencies on several policy initiatives, look forward to further engagement as the County develops informed policy solutions to the multiple crises now confronting our region.”
The listening sessions will be held on September 29 from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m., October 6 from 5:30 to 8 p.m., and October 24 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the County Administrative Center, 4080 Lemon St., Riverside. The sessions will also be streamed live on Facebook at www.facebook.com/rivcocob. Any member of the public may comment virtually by registering 24 hours in advance at www.rivcocob.org/comments. Community members may also submit comments for the listening sessions by emailing [email protected].
After the three listening sessions are completed, the board will discuss the next steps during its November 10 meeting.
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