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October 23, 2020

Supervisors Deny COVID-19 Contract with Nonprofit Over Political Views

Supervisors of the Kern County Board meeting Tuesday, October 19th in Bakersfield. They moved not to contract with two local organizations. This was based on what supervisors said were political messages for defunding the police.

Supervisors Promote COVID-19 Outreach

Chairperson Leticia Perez said the Kern County Department of Public Health was in its eleventh hour during the meeting. They teamed up with local organizations in an effort to promote COVID-19 outreach. Moreover, this was because the supervisors chose not to support the contracts.

The contracts were slated to offer $1.2 million. They were from a state grant to Building Healthy Communities. This organization is a community-based nonprofit. Another firm, Adelante Strategies, had expected to receive $250,000 from the same grant source. Moreover, this was to conduct a multicultural marketing campaign in support of Building Healthy Communities Kern.

Defunding the Kern High School Police Department, Bakersfield Police Department

However, Supervisor Zach Scrivner would not support the contract based on what he said was a “political agenda” by the firms. It was in support of defunding the Kern High School Police Department and the Bakersfield Police Department. Scrivner listed 10 Facebook posts the organization put over June and July.

“I think how our sheriff’s department, our deputies and our law enforcement would feel if the county of Kern contracts with an organization that is calling for their defunding,” Scrivner said during the meeting.

In turn, Scrivner was joined by supervisors Gleason and Maggard in not supporting the contracts.

Perez said she supported Scrivner and Gleason in their views to remain politically unbiased. Yet, she was concerned as to whether the board holds every contractor to the same standard brought up Tuesday.

Political Analysis of Any Group That Wants Money From Kern

“What behavior is politically acceptable to you and to this board and to others? Because I look at people who have an interest in this money, they are extremely controversial, extremely partisan, extremely ideological, which is their right to be,” Perez said. “I’m going to want a full political analysis on any group that comes before here and wants some money from Kern.”

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