Last week, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to explore new County policies that would encourage and facilitate telecommuting (working from home) for County employees and expand telecommuting options for everyone in the County, even after the COVID-19 shutdown period is over. Please use the form below to email the Supervisors to thank them for their vote!
With all the hardships and suffering of the COVID-19 shutdown has come at least one benefit: reduced air pollution and clearer skies as a result of significantly reduced traffic. Studies have found that this has resulted in lower levels of asthma and respiratory issues, and even fewer preterm births. In addition to these public health benefits, the reduction in nitrogen oxide pollution benefits the natural environment, as nitrogen deposition from vehicle exhaust is a primary threat to native California serpentine plant habitat — the plant community that produces the spectacular wildflower displays we see every spring on Coyote Ridge.
The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve the proposal from Board President Cindy Chavez, which requires County staff to create a workplan to analyze how best to expand telecommuting options for County staff, as well as collaborating with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District on a “Clean Air Telecommute Challenge” for large employers.
We’re extremely pleased that the Board of Supervisors is aspiring to return, not to “business as usual,” but to something better — to a world where we have learned the hard lessons of this time and determined that we can and will improve. That means refusing to accept that frequent “Spare the Air” days should be the norm, or that hours-long commutes that rob workers of precious time spent with their families are simply the price we pay to live in the Bay Area. It means prioritizing the ability to see clear blue skies overhead, and to hear the sounds of nature without being drowned out by traffic noise.
The COVID-19 epidemic is devastating to our economy and our families, but it gives us a glimpse of what could be possible in terms of environmental, societal and human health benefits if we simply encourage less vehicle travel, especially for daily commute trips. This time has taught us that remote working can be a viable option more often than we had previously thought. By introducing more flexible telecommuting options, we can make a real difference in everyone’s quality of life, as well as reduce future expenditures on road repairs and improvements.
Please use the form below to thank the Supervisors for taking this bold action to expand telecommuting options across the County.