Santa Clara County’s Board of Supervisors has nominated Dave Cortese for a second year as board president. The unanimous vote Tuesday also extended Supervisor Joe Simitian’s term through 2016 as board vice president.
Last month, supervisors decided to allow board presidents and vice presidents to serve two consecutive years to provide greater continuity.
“I will be honored to serve again as the president of the board,” Cortese said in a statement Wednesday. “We have accomplished a lot this year, but another year … will allow us to continue the momentum.”
Cortese focused his efforts this year on short-term solutions for homelessness as well as long-term plans to build more affordable housing. In September, supervisors approved $17 million for immediate shelter and support services for some of the estimated 6,600 in the county with no homes. Part of that action added 585 year-round beds by expanding emergency shelters and funding vouchers for hotels and motels.
The board president spearheaded a coalition of schools, social service providers, police and community groups to work in neighborhoods with high juvenile crime rates. The $800,000-a-year Neighborhood Safety Unit is modeled after a similar program in Richmond, a city that in 2014 reported its lowest crime rate in 33 years.
Cortese teamed up with Supervisor Ken Yeager to launch a public health campaign—featuring billboards and bus ads—to curb the increase in diabetes. A 2013-14 survey found that 8 percent of county residents have been diagnosed with the disease, while another 10 percent are at risk of getting it. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the illness costs the nation about $243 billion a year in health costs.
This past spring, Cortese also worked with county parks officials, the Sheriff’s office and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to offer educational boat tours—a “floating classroom”—from the Alviso Marina. The tours, which run from April through September, take visitors around the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
Board presidents run meetings, set direction for initiatives each year and assign colleagues to subcommittees.