Shirlee is passionate about improving the quality of life for all those living and working in Sonoma County. By working together with her constituents and colleagues on the Board of Supervisors, Shirlee has been able to deliver for Sonoma County, including many accomplishments in the following areas:
Affordable Housing -
- Established a public-private partnership to create housing for homeless veterans at the Palms Inn with work underway to provide more housing options for at-risk individuals and families.
- Spearheaded the creation of a Veterans Village of tiny homes on publicly-owned land, allowing formerly homeless veterans who served our country to access the permanent supportive housing they need (photograph above).
- Instituted housing programs and homelessness prevention initiatives for older adults including housing workshops, emergency housing programs, housing stabilization, support for legal issues involving landlords & tenants, and shared housing solutions, among others.
Fire Recovery & Resiliency -
- As Chairwoman of the Board of Supervisors during the October 2017 wildfires, Shirlee provided top leadership to declare a local emergency, secure state and federal recovery funds and establish the Resiliency Permit Center – so Sonoma County residents could rebuild and heal.
- Collaborated with city officials in the aftermath of the fires to streamline resources and the recovery & rebuilding process for all fire survivors.
Mental Health Services -
- Advocated and created the Mobile Support Team that provides support to Sheriff's Deputies and Police Officers when there is a mental health emergency call for law enforcement. The Mobile Support Team has saved lives.
- A staunch advocate for establishing a mental and behavioral health unit at the county jail to reduce recidivism in the criminal justice system, reducing costs while improving outcomes.
- Fighting for improvements in the private healthcare industry. Shirlee, along with other patient advocates, have been meeting with top executives of Kaiser Permanente to discuss an overhaul of the system's mental health division, part of a broader effort to rethink the handling of mental health services at the public and private level to save lives and address this growing quality-of-life crisis affecting countless families throughout Sonoma County.
Environmental Sustainability -
- Influential in the creation of Sonoma Clean Power, one of the state's first publicly-owned community providers of clean, green renewable energy that has lowered energy bills for customers and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
- Leading the expansion of advanced technologies for more accurate forecasting of atmospheric rivers, facilitating better use of water resources for the benefit of both the environment and our community.
- Authorized and supported a voter-approved ballot measure to provide stable funding to improve and expand our world class Regional Parks system.
- Led the charge to provide full public access, when appropriate, on Open Space District lands, including Taylor Mountain.
Economic Vibrancy -
- Supported and fought for a living wage for our county’s working families.
- Enacted policies that contributed to record low unemployment, a high number of local jobs and a bright economic outlook.
Budget Sustainability -
- Despite the financial burdens of the Great Recession, Shirlee collaborated with all County Departments to balance and pass 11 annual county budgets, enact sweeping pension reform plans and provide economic stability for the county organization.
- Co-authored Sonoma County’s pension reform plan to both ensure the county's long-term fiscal vitality as well as the sustainability of the pension system.
Investments in Roads & Transportation -
- Led the charge on establishing Sonoma County's long-term road improvement plan. As a result, Sonoma County now invests more discretionary dollars into its road system than any other county in California after decades of deferred maintenance.
- As a SMART Board member, Shirlee helped leverage local dollars to secure state and federal grants to advance build-out of the rail line.
Supporting Seniors & Other Vulnerable Populations -
- Launched Aging Together, an initiative designed to address challenges facing older adults in our community.
- Founded the Family Justice Center, a one stop shop for victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse and elder abuse.
- Restored hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding for the Meals on Wheels program, ensuring seniors in need continue to receive nutritious meals in their homes.