When I was sworn in as CSAC President last fall, I declared that I wanted my term to be known as the “Year of the Child.” I emphasized that all our actions as an Association and as leaders in our respective counties needed to be put in the context of how they impact our children. For an Association such as ours, this can be complex; while we work on a variety of issues of importance to our members, the actual impact on our children can be perceived as indirect yet still critically important.
Congratulations, San Diego and Sonoma counties! At the CSAC Annual Conference yesterday, both counties were honored for their sustainability achievements. Each received Beacon Spotlight Awards for their leadership to save energy and reduce greenhouse emissions. Their efforts demonstrate the effectiveness of voluntary action at the local level.
County staffers have a lot on their plates, especially in this era of under-funded legislative mandates, reduced revenue and budget shortfalls. It’s hard for most county employees to find time to catch their breaths, let alone investigate new, innovative solutions to long-lasting problems. Yet when they do implement a new way of doing things — say, a new way of incorporating mental health services into the county prison system, a new incentive system for reducing energy consumption, or the creation of a cross-departmental innovation task force, to name a few examples — the rewards can be great.
Innovation is alive and well in our counties. Yesterday, I had the honor of presenting at the Tulare County Board of Supervisors meeting, recognizing the county for two outstanding, innovative programs.
The presentation was part of our annual CSAC Challenge Awards road show. Other presentations are on tap: Mono County next Tuesday, Nevada County the following week, followed by Sacramento and Stanislaus Counties. The list goes on. Overall, we will be presenting awards at 11 board meetings over the next two months.
There’s a story circulating today on the MSN news site that lists the 10 counties across the country where people live longer on average than elsewhere. Three of them, Marin, Santa Clara and San Mateo are here in California. These are not necessarily the places where individual people live to be the oldest—rather, these are the counties where the median age at death is the highest—in other words, more people are living longer there.
The story points out that most of the counties that made the list—including the three from California — generally have better access to health care — but the article points out another factor too.