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Representative Democracy - Transparency/Access FACTS

Updated: Dec 26, 2021

The founding principals of our American Democracy are predicated on fair, open, and equal access to the governmental process. The Nevada County Board of Supervisors represent approximately 100,000 citizens. Those constituents make their concerns known through a myriad of methods. Some email or call their Supervisor, some call the County, some send letters, some come to public meetings. Each and every voice counts whether they attend a public Board of Supervisors meeting or not, their voice is represented within the meeting by their respective Supervisor. This concept is the foundation of representative democracy - Our American way of life. There is a stream of outreach hourly, daily, weekly, and monthly encouraging people to get involved, make your voice heard, access the governmental process and tell your elected leaders how you feel about an issue. Here are a few examples:

1. Myth: The Board of Supervisors is not committed to transparency and public participation.

Fact: The Board of Supervisors’ regular meetings are set in a resolution that is passed at the first meeting of each year in January in accordance with the Nevada County Administrative Code. The Board can hold special meetings as needed, but regular meetings are rarely canceled, as doing so negatively impacts the County's ability to carry out its business. Meetings can be viewed live on TV at Channel 17 (Comcast) and Channel 17 and 78 (Suddenlink) and on the live stream on the County website. Anyone not able to attend in person can provide public comment via eComment (this tool is available from the time the agenda is posted until 4 pm the day before the meeting), or by phone (see the meeting agenda for the call-in number).

Before a forecasted storm, Facilities arrives on location between 3 and 4 am. At the Rood Center, staff and hired contractors use heavy equipment to remove snow from the parking lot, walkways, and entrances. Around 5:30 am, the Facilities Director, IGS Director, and CEO assess the situation and determine whether the facilities are safe to open for staff and the public. This is based on progress clearing the lot, sidewalks and entrances, local road conditions, and the current and forecast snowfall rate. The building closure public information line (530-470-2641 for Western Nevada County) is updated. If closed, the media is notified. The County does not coordinate closure decisions with local schools, as different factors affect our ability to operate.

2. Myth: The County continues to withhold relevant requested data.

Fact: The California Public Records Act (“PRA”) guarantees the public has access to records of governmental bodies. Anyone can make a PRA request, and the County is legally required to respond to that request. Over the past 18 months, numerous citizens and groups have made PRA requests for records related to COVID-19. The County has complied with its legal obligation and responded to all these requests. In doing so, the County has provided requesters with thousands of pages of records. These records include every Board of Supervisor action related to COVID-19. The County has also provided public health records and financial information, including transaction-level data for the County’s Coronavirus Relief Fund expenditures and summaries of how the County compiled that data. Where the County could not legally release records to the general public (e.g., confidential records such as death certificates), the County has assisted requesters by directing them to other entities that may have those records, or informed them of other processes through which the records may be obtained.

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