News


Santa Clara County becomes first nationwide to establish office of LGBTQ affairs

Office will provide training, guidance for best practices in serving community

Santa Clara County has become the first county nationwide to establish an Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Affairs, county officials announced Thursday.

"I am proud to say that Santa Clara County is now the first county in the nation with an office exclusively dedicated to serving the LGBTQ community," a statement from Supervisor Ken Yeager, the first openly gay official elected in the county, said.

"While our country and this County have come a long way in recent years, it is clear we can be doing more to serve LGBTQ individuals and ensure improved outcomes for this community."

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. have their own offices that address concerns of the LGBTQ community, but Santa Clara County is the first to represent them at a county level, county officials said.

Many jurisdictions across the country have staff liaisons and advisory commissions comprised of people from the LGBTQ community. There is no dedicated office at the state level, according to county officials.

The Santa Clara County's new office will provide training and guidance in serving the LGBTQ community, county officials said.

The office will also make sure county departments use best practices in serving LGBTQ people and identifying needed services to serve them, among other duties, county officials said.

Maribel Martinez and Ashley Scarborough will serve full-time in the office as manager and management analyst. They will start their jobs on Jan. 19, county officials said.

Martinez has been the founding director of San Jose State University's Cesar E. Chavez Community Action Center for the past eight years. She also worked with nonprofits on issues including health care, education reform, mental health services and neighborhood safety, county officials said.

"Access to resources and a responsive government are essential to the longevity and well-being of LGBTQ communities, especially those whose identities intersect multiple areas of marginality," Martinez said in a statement.

"Over the years, the County has led efforts to address the needs of many communities, including the LGBTQ community," county Executive Jeff Smith said in a statement.

"Under Maribel's leadership, we are confident the new office will support the needs of the LGBTQ community."

Scarborough is coming to the county from the California STD/HIV Prevention Training Center in Oakland where she helped raise awareness on health issues in order to avert and deal with HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, according to county officials.

Comments

17 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 10, 2016 at 1:25 pm

[Post removed.]


9 people like this
Posted by @Nayeli
a resident of another community
on Jan 10, 2016 at 2:00 pm

[Portion removed.]

If you were LGBTQ in this community, you would know that this is a necessary step -- because there are pockets of bigotry and intolerance in this "tolerant" county.

It would behoove you to see things from someone else's perspective for once.


29 people like this
Posted by Vigilant Electorate
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 10, 2016 at 2:27 pm

Vigilant Electorate is a registered user.

I am all for LGBTQ support but this sounds like a big waste of tax dollars. When I see a full time management resource allocated to advising, liaising and coordinating within the government bureaucracy rather than allocated to delivering services then I can't help but feel skeptical. I am sure it won't be long before this person recommends additional Program$ to spend tax dollars and requests more people to flush out the "Office".

Surely there are more pot holes that need to be filled or schools that need new books or hungry kids that need lunches before this head count would become a priority. By the way, there are several new tax hikes being planned for this election season at the state and county level so get ready to hang on to your wallet!


1 person likes this
Posted by @Vigilant Electorate
a resident of another community
on Jan 10, 2016 at 2:31 pm

Admit it -- if this office were involved with something other than LGBTQ matters, you wouldn't object nearly as much. Correct?

And as for your point -- that "Surely there are more pot holes that need to be filled or schools that need new books or hungry kids that need lunches before this head count would become a priority" -- I have a sense you and many others would object to those programs *if tax monies were needed*.

Just a hunch.


9 people like this
Posted by Vigilant Electorate
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 10, 2016 at 2:48 pm

Vigilant Electorate is a registered user.

[Portion removed.] My concern is hiring a permanent middle management layer rather than prioritizing service delivery. Managers or Offices in government rarely remain individual contributors. Predictably, the next step will be for the government to say they don't have enough service delivery resources so they need to raise taxes.

Sounds like you would rather use these dollars for intra-government advocacy and communication rather than delivering LGBTQ services to the community?


Like this comment
Posted by @Vigilant Electorate
a resident of another community
on Jan 10, 2016 at 2:52 pm

"Sounds like you would rather use these dollars for intra-government advocacy and communication rather than delivering LGBTQ services to the community?"

I would prefer that both be done -- it's not an "either-or" issue here. Without proper advocacy and communication, providing services would not work out as well.

I do wonder if you would want either to be done, ever.


19 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 10, 2016 at 8:50 pm

[Portion removed.]

No one should target ANY person and lash out against them. This includes those various groups that make up the "LGBTQ," Latino migrant farm workers, African Americans, Pacific Islanders, religious groups, political groups, immigrant groups and other groups.

[Portion removed.]


17 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 10, 2016 at 8:59 pm

@ "@ Nayeli" - Are you seriously questioning whether I understand what it feels like to be on the outside looking in?

I've been called [insert ugly name], mocked for my accent, laughed at because of my skin color, ridiculed because of our economic conditions, and questioned because I was a young Hispanic woman wanting to go to college. I have been treated as a lesser person by teachers and employers. I've been treated as an "object" by a couple of men who thought that they could have emotional power over me.

Regardless of that, I never saw a county agency that was specifically assigned to me or my "group."

So, yes, I can see through the perspectives of others. I do wonder if you think that it is worthwhile to see through the eyes of those with whom you disagree.


6 people like this
Posted by juan olive
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 11, 2016 at 10:31 am

Palo Alto has to be one of the richest counties. What's a few more tax dollars for a cause going to hurt anyone? Come on people, wake up.


7 people like this
Posted by fcservices
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jan 11, 2016 at 11:42 am

At Family & Children Services of Silicon Valley, we look forward to partnering with the Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Affairs through our award-winning LGBTQ Youth Space and new LGBTQ Wellness programs. We're excited that the county is making this pioneering commitment to LGBTQ communities.


Like this comment
Posted by @Nayeli
a resident of another community
on Jan 11, 2016 at 1:53 pm

[Post removed.]


8 people like this
Posted by Sarah1000
a resident of Los Altos
on Jan 11, 2016 at 4:23 pm

Thanks to Supervisor Yeager and the SCC BOS for the establishment of this office. Santa Clara County should be leading the nation in the development of supportive and compassionate services and this is one big step in the right direction.


12 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 11, 2016 at 4:59 pm

[Post removed.]


4 people like this
Posted by People aren't as dumb as you think they are
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jan 11, 2016 at 7:56 pm

Yes, we get the extreme concern about bloated government and spending around matters you dont personally agree with.


14 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 11, 2016 at 10:19 pm

@ People aren't as dumb...

I'm a young Hispanic woman from an impoverished background. I don't want the county spending taxpayer money to open an office for young Hispanic women from impoverished homes. There is no need to cater to any group over any other group -- including by race, gender, religion or sexual orientation.

Is it a waste of money? I don't know. However, it is dividing up funds toward a specific group without opening up other offices for other groups.


14 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 11, 2016 at 10:23 pm

Does anyone know if there is an editor that we can contact or meet in regard to the deletion of posts?

[Portion removed.]


2 people like this
Posted by Reader
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jan 11, 2016 at 10:43 pm

Nayeli, you can click on "Email Town Square Moderator" on your post to ask your questions.


6 people like this
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 11, 2016 at 11:18 pm

"Cater to any group" = LOL! You're the product of groups that have been "catered to", as am I - we are both women. But as straight women, guess what? This isn't about us.


9 people like this
Posted by Vigilant Electorate
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 12, 2016 at 10:15 am

I am sure the Office will have a well crafted charter and mission statement but what exactly will it do and how will it be measured?

As an example, a fully loaded manager headcount with a modest program budget costs about $300K per year. To put that in context, those dollars could fund about 60,000 school lunches, 6,000 textbooks, 3,000 vaccinations or four full time assistants for special needs kids.

I am sure the Family & Children Services of Silicon Valley could do much more good for the LBGTQ community with a grant for those monies. Personally, I prefer tax dollars to go to delivering tangible benefits directly to those that need them rather than creating PowerPoints and attending conferences.


3 people like this
Posted by Elderly White Guy
a resident of Mayfield
on Jan 12, 2016 at 12:50 pm

"I'm a young Hispanic woman from an impoverished background. I don't want the county spending taxpayer money to open an office for young Hispanic women from impoverished homes."

As an elderly white guy from a moderately impoverished background who's gotten his, I fully support the county spending taxpayer money to open an office for young Hispanic women from impoverished homes. Also anyone else from such a background.

[Portion removed.]


5 people like this
Posted by HUTCH 7.62
a resident of Portola Valley
on Jan 12, 2016 at 1:01 pm

I thought the term "Queer" was an offensive and derogatory term?


Like this comment
Posted by A Weakened Vocabulary
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 12, 2016 at 5:04 pm

[Post removed.]


2 people like this
Posted by AllYouCanEat
a resident of Mountain View
on Jan 13, 2016 at 9:48 am

[Post removed.]


Like this comment
Posted by The Words They Are A Changin'
a resident of Mayfield
on Jan 13, 2016 at 12:02 pm

"I thought the term "Queer" was an offensive and derogatory term? "

You're living in the past. Targeted groups are taking possession of their epithets, like the geeks did a few years back.


5 people like this
Posted by Dan
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 13, 2016 at 2:54 pm

This is great for the administrator(s) who will get to draw the salary and the very small number of people who directly have new funding diverted their way as a result, but I'd expect very poor ROI on the taxpayer dime.


Like this comment
Posted by It Never Ends
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 15, 2016 at 12:19 pm

It Never Ends is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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