Jerica's COVID Recovery Plan

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What’s At Stake To Get This Right?

We face a common threat to our livelihood and sense of safety. At this point in time, our families, including my own, have experienced incredible strains, and local governments across the country have had tough decisions that normally do not fall within their jurisdictions. Every month seems to bring with it a new challenge against the backdrop of a global pandemic never seeming to retreat.

Simply put, today, we don’t feel safe, nor do we feel connected -- not in any sense of the word. 

No one seems to take the full lead and inspire the nation to come together. There is inconsistency from our once stoic agencies, and in many cases, the buck has been passed down to local governments.

So far, we have only gotten this response partially right. Everyone seems to agree that greater coordination was needed in advance to make sure that we would avoid the fate of countries abroad. Incredible steps were taken a few months ago, but premature re-openings negated a great deal of potential progress.

While we may all agree January was the month to get this right, and April was the month to execute flattening the curve, this is essay is not meant to rehash the happenings of the past or find blame to place. If we do not get this right by September, what we will experience pales in comparison to what we see now.

Below is an illustration of what we are already starting to experience:

By not addressing the core public health issues, we will take on additional harm to our economic fluidity. With a rise in hospitalizations, and the subsequent impact on our healthcare workers, a trend of massive deaths, limited resources, and broken families, will emerge. If we cannot recognize the human problem here, we will be subjected to permanent losses in all areas of our society.

As families have had to choose between their health and their livelihood, corporations have refocused on managing expenses through hiring freezes, layoffs, and stagnated career mobility. As a result, we are witnessing the dreams deferred of the American worker, and the potential for spikes in long-term unemployment. This leads to a further decline in consumer spending and lowered consumer confidence. Newly purchased assets will be put at risk with difficulty in assuring banks that demand can return to normal.

With decreased disposable income and increased unemployment, we are seeing an increase in evictions, foreclosures, and a decrease in property values as people find it harder to meet their mortgages or pay their rent. Such risk can only be secured and guaranteed to a point before having a cascading impact to our underlying economy.

Overall risk and level of confidence play a great role in the motions of the market alongside our money market movers. A shift to sell all too quickly will result in heavily impacted 401Ks and IRAs.
Areas with heavy senior populations will find increased difficulty making ends meet, and with health already in a precarious position, the qualities of the virus pose a real threat to their well-being and ability to contribute to the community. Such impact will result in community trauma -- emotionally, financially, and physically.

Commercial real estate will be negatively impacted with devastating consequences on municipal budgets relying on property taxes.The only silver lining is the chance to innovate on how we utilize our spaces.
Fewer people making purchases or using services means an overall decline in sales tax revenue, which supports the major projects that a community has decided are promising and necessary. Local governments will grapple with filling these gaps, and the remark “the timing was bad,” while accurate, will be insufficient.

Knowing that what we share in common as a people is our desire to live and be, we must get this right.

What Can Cobb Do Right Now?

We are not in a shortage of opinions detailing the problems that we face or missteps everyone can justify. Hindsight is 20/20, but what I would like to provide is a summary of what our local Cobb government can do today. Some of these things have already been instituted, but I am adding my recommendations in the hopes that it may influence our current leadership or at least allow the community to understand what I would bring to the table as a County Commissioner.

School & County

I recognize that though the Board of Commissioners and the School Board are separate and sovereign entities, they both must oversee the logistics of the county. So, I am offering such recommendations for both entities.

The uncertainty of the economic impact is too great and so adjustments to the rate would only increase concerns. It is on the county to enact a budget which includes expenses that can be covered under federal funding and county tax revenues with anticipated deficits undetermined. The millage rate decision should be postponed until January when the economic impact to the tax digest is more evident.

Restock PPE {$5M}

PPE stockpiles should be prioritized for county services on the front lines with both the school and county working to purchase in bulk amounts.

Procure and Distribute “STEAM kits” {$30M over 6 months}

A collaborative effort to secure and subsidize a $45/kid/month kit that enables every student and teacher the ability to connect to the internet, learn, and complete their class requirements for 6 months. (33% per grouping).

Leverage Media Infrastructure {$200K}

As proposed by several, the use of CobbTV to enable in-home learning opportunities that do not require a portable electronic device.

Engage Non Profits for Family Check-ins

Families have additional pressures they are facing, and we should ensure that our go-forward plan involves partnering with organizations to do proactive outreach to families and identify specific needs.

Reserve Funds for Essential Working Families In-House Care {$400/kid/month over 6 months}

Establish a joint fund between school boards and the board to subsidize in-home care needs for all qualifying essential workers for the next 6 months. Qualifying in-home care includes daycare, tutoring, special needs, and wellness.


One Cobb, One Message

Clear logistical hurdles by instituting a full testing and tracing mechanism for residents; work with other metro counties to install similar measures. Counties are primarily responsible for ensuring living logistics are in working order so that other facilities can continue (business, education, etc.) The following list details activities that fall under this scope:

A) Send one message indicating the importance of this virus and the seriousness of its impact.

B) Work with vendors to set up mobile clinics for each precinct location with at least 2 testing protocols, and trace all those tested and marked positive. Exclude citizenship requirements.

C) Publish testing quarantine rules (distribute hotline to provide for specific needs while in test quarantine).

D) Track community spread and issue transparent reports on progress.

Cross-county Collaboration

Monitor inbound/outbound county traffic for incidents.

Personnel Management

Temporarily hire for county services and reduce personnel for non-essential services.

Greater Accommodations & Rental Assistance

Lower threshold for Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) recipients to expand rental assistance options.

Offer tax holidays or deferments for landlords offering rent holidays to bring help for renters. 

Establish Enforceable Viral Outbreak Prevention Code

Pass “viral outbreak prevention” safety code for property management with code enforcement during the conditions of an interstate pandemic OR permit tax assessment office to create an incentive for meeting the new safety code inspection:

Cleaning protocol in accordance with Cobb & Douglas Public Health Guidelines

Gathering protocol in accordance with Cobb & Douglas Public Health Guidelines

Testing Protocol in accordance with Cobb & Douglas Public Health Guidelines

Employment, Economic and Small Business Relief

Engage CobbWorks and the Chamber of Commerce to launch a Georgia Ready Retraining and Placement (CobbWorks, Inc & Chamber of Commerce). {$15M}

Reissue the $50M in grants for small business.

Protecting Our Vote

Fund mail-in ballots and additional ballot boxes to secure the right to vote.

Think Ahead with Community Projects

Commission the business community and residents to suggest public works projects and investments to get people back to work in post-recovery.

Example projects include expanding broadband or transportation options.

Ensure Transparency and Oversight

Appoint a Community Oversight Committee to monitor and review issued and remaining CARES funds.

Take Care of Those Who Care for Us

Issue hazard pay for those working on our frontlines to keep our communities safe.

Why We Need A Comprehensive Plan Beyond Cobb County

Cobb County has experienced its share of logistical and health issues posed by this pandemic. Incident rates are on the rise while testing rates have not increased dramatically since May. One must also consider the 3-7 day delay in symptom appearance, testing, and testing results with almost little to no quarantine pre-test. It is this quality that leads to effective community spread.

It is not a vaccine that will make this go away, but rather a logistical approach to account for the leading and trailing indicators.

All that being said, viruses and the resulting pandemics pay no mind to boundaries, and thus a comprehensive plan that involves the coordination of multiple agencies, local and national, is required.

We are restricted from traveling to other countries due to our high infection rate and lack of containment. This fact alone should be alarming to us.

While today is marked in hyper-partisanship, we can all agree that we must pull through this as a community empowered with the data and information that can quite literally save our lives. We will get through this the moment we choose to get through it together. Then, we can begin picking up the pieces and repairing the damage left by a global pandemic.

It is our common bond as Americans who come together when we must that gives me hope.

Our President has indicated that the responsibility to resolve this falls to the states, and the states have called on their respective jurisdictions to make unrestricted decisions to solve this in our communities. In that effort, I am attempting to answer such a call by demanding precisely what we will need in our communities from the Federal Government and the State Government to make that happen.

I have included the full COVID Recovery Framework in the following link.

See the Full COVID Recovery Framework

What Is The Big Idea I Am Proposing in the full COVID Recovery Framework?

There are three primary things I am asking for within an end-to-end plan that covers some primary areas of concern:

Commissioning a Nationally Sanctioned Viral Outbreak Prevention Certification Program which will enable local and state code enforcement

Creating the Floor & the Ceiling to Prevent a Recession which was executed decently in the months of March and April

Future Public Works Investments to Prevent a Recession which is in anticipation of the economic damage that will permeate through every community.

What Concerns Does The Full Framework Address?

COVID Budgets

I refer to them as COVID Budgets because they are budgets that are heavily impacted by the economic downturn and leave states, counties, and cities with very difficult decisions to make and gaps to fill.

Accounting for Specific Community Logistics

Reopening schools, handling transportation needs, care for vulnerable populations, creating economic stability, civic awareness such as voting, short-term recovery and post-pandemic recovery are all important logistical issues that this plan addresses.

Flattening the Curve

This plan orients milestones that locales can meet in order to properly and consistently flatten the curve.

Addresses Flexibility Needs for Diverse Communities

This plan provides a loose framework by which locales have the flexibility they need to expand resources to the communities hardest hit.

Read the full plan here: See the Full COVID Recovery Framework

Chip in $5 and add your name in support of having a plan

To discuss further, please email me at or text/call at 404-969-5116

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