I hope the Board of Supervisors will reconsider its recent self-defeating decision to deny Building Healthy Communities Kern a contract (“Kern supervisors reject nonprofit for million dollar COVID-19 contract over support for defunding police,” Oct. 20). This contract would have provided substantial coronavirus outreach to Kern County’s most vulnerable populations at a time when our COVID-19 cases are exploding, and we are at risk of slipping back into the most restrictive tier. From what I have gleaned, this organization has a good track record and is uniquely capable of working with the communities being targeted at the required scale.
It is unfortunate that the phrase “defund police” has gained so much traction. It is used as a blanket covering everything from completely dismantling police departments (very few adherents) to shifting local government budgets toward mental health and social services. I hope our supervisors will reflect on this well-established nuance, respectfully honor other perspectives and reconsider their decision. After all, county administrators identified this contract as Kern County’s best strategy to save lives, reduce horrendous illnesses and open the economy.
Mark Evans, Bakersfield