by Jackie Frey

Many of us are either retired or able to work from home. We are hunkered down these days, frustrated, a little lonely and fearful, but protected from much of what is going on around us. If you are not retired or working from home, life is quite different. If you were working in hospitality, your livelihood disappeared overnight. If you were working in agriculture, you are an “essential worker” and staying home is not an option. Having to go out to work, and living in overcrowded conditions are two of the reasons that the infection rate in Salinas is 30 times higher than in Monterey.

St. Mary’s membership in COPA gives us a way to learn about lives of people in our extended neighborhood, and to stand with people who don’t have all the protections and support that most of us have.

On Sunday, October 4th, COPA is hosting a Supervisor Candidates Forum via Zoom. COPA doesn’t endorse candidates; we want to have a relationship with whoever is elected. To initiate that relationship, we invite all the candidates to get to know COPA and what our concerns are. The upcoming Candidates Forum will include both candidates for District 4, the seat currently held by Jane Parker and both candidates for the contested Supervisor’s seat in Santa Cruz County. We will present stories about what life is like for many working people on the central coast, what COPA is trying to do to make life better, and ask each candidate whether they are willing to support us. One example of the pressing issues we are facing is finding a gradual path down from the cliff created by deferring rents during the pandemic.  We need a way to avoid making thousands of people homeless, while still keeping landlords afloat. That is only one of the issues you will hear about. We will see how each of the candidates respond to COPA’s proposals.

I don’t live in District 4. Most of you don’t live in District 4. You might ask why I care about this and why I am encouraging you to participate. I feel grateful for the blessings in my life and that makes me want to be a good neighbor. I am deeply moved by the stories I hear in COPA. We are in a time when there are so many pressing problems; I watch the news and feel overwhelmed. It gives me hope to work together with a rich mix of people who know we can’t solve all of the world’s problems, but who still have the courage to do what can be done. Come and join us on Sunday, October 4th, at 4:00 PM.

If you are interested in being sent a Zoom link for this forum or want more information please contact Jackie Frey at 408-602-0098.