Sup. Cindy Chavez Highlights County’s Stark Inequities, Unique Strengths in Annual Speech

In her first public address as president of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, Cindy Chavez—wearing white to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of women’s suffrage—highlighted the region’s stark inequalities as well as its unique ability to address them.

“We are a place of great beauty and great wealth,” she told a standing-room-only crowd at the County Government Center Wednesday evening. “And yet, when we look at our valley, what else do we see?”

She said she sees one of the most well-educated communities in the nation, yet a high school dropout rate that exceeds the statewide average. She sees one of the most diverse places on the planet, yet one prone to the kind of hate that prompted a gunman to murder innocent bystanders at the Gilroy Garlic Festival.

She sees one of the wealthiest regions in the country that’s become ground zero for California’s affordability crisis. A region celebrated for its agricultural bounty, yet at risk of losing valuable industrial land to rising sea levels.

“The convergence of income inequality, violence and climate change is potentially cataclysmic for Silicon Valley and this planet,” Chavez told the audience. “And here, in this extraordinary valley we do—we seek to do—what others think is impossible or is not their job or is just too hard.”

The newly inducted board president then enumerated some of the ways she plans to tackle some of the county’s most intractable problems.

In the months ahead, Chavez said she plans to ask her fellow supervisors to fund an effort to confiscate guns from people accused of domestic violence and to create a task force to study methamphetamine use. With projects related to the $950 million Measure A housing bond on schedule and plans to add another 1,000 units to the pipeline by the year’s end, she said the county will now prioritize transitional shelters for the homeless as well as specialized housing for the disabled and abuse survivors.

Chavez also called for expanding child care and mental health screenings for youth and addressing the “opportunity gap” perpetuated by the growing wealth gap.

“If there’s a central theme to my comments tonight, it’s a call to action,” Chavez said. “That we act while we are making plans, that we pay attention to individual struggles while we implement broad policies. What I mean is that we want to be able to see the forest and the trees and that we succeed at both the micro and the macro level.”

The stakes are too high for anything less, than to be “incredibly audacious,” she added.

“We don’t have the option of changing the world anymore,” she said. “We have to save it.”

The full address is recorded in the video below. 

Jennifer Wadsworth is the news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Email tips to [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.

7 Comments

  1. > “We are a place of great beauty and great wealth,” she told a standing-room-only crowd at the County Government Center Wednesday evening.

    Neither of which Cindy Chavez had anything to do with.

  2. Vote these lunatics out of office…they continue to ruin San Jose as much as Gavin Newsom is ruining our once great state.

  3. > “The convergence of income inequality, violence and climate change is potentially cataclysmic for Silicon Valley and this planet,” Chavez told the audience.

    RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!

    Don’t trample any progressives, and grab some tax dollars on your way out!

  4. Am I the only one that is creeped out by this photo of all these women dressed in the same outfit, same color? It’s like backstage at the tabernacle and everyone is wearing prairie dresses.

    I suppose it makes sense though. Seems like people worship elected officials and ostricize those that don’t share those beliefs, just like backstage at the tabernacle.

  5. Cindy Chavez is a sorry reason to be a politician. Here moto is don’t work hard the taxpayers will bail you out.

  6. Cindy CHAVEZ not even has the skills to organized an event. She invited more people than room in the chambers to sit them. Some invitees were told at the door if they were public officials to actually enter the same room where Cindy CHAVEZ was. If they were not a public official they could watch her via TV on another room. Some invited left while others stayed to watch her on TV. TALK ABOUT HUMILITY AND EQUALITY. Cindy this community does not trust you or your clowns. Arm yourself of community members Santa Clara County community knows and respect. Those that had done the talk and the walk, not those wanting a picture by your side.

    • > Cindy this community does not trust you or your clowns.

      Can anyone identify the clowns in the photo along with Cincy Chavez?

      Or, should we just call them Prop 1, Prop 2, Prop 3, etc.

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