We’re applauding Sutter County supervisors for awarding a contract last week for reconstruction of the Casa de Esperanza building -- partly because it’s just good that the ball is rolling to get this vital service back where it belongs.
But let’s admit it: part of the celebration comes from the relief you feel after holding your breath for a very long time -- it was a years-long situation in which nothing much was done at all. Casa de Esperanza, as an entity, was treated poorly ... and now it’s over! We don’t say that to disparage the county for such a long stall in working out a deal for the facility for the care of victims of domestic violence -- mainly women and children. We say it because we feel it behooves us to remember that this can’t be the end of it.
Sutter County (as well as Yuba County and our various city governments and agencies) needs to stay on point to help Casa in the future. The refurbishing of the shelter, badly damaged by a fire in April 2016, won’t be enough in the long run.
Not that supervisors shouldn’t be patted on the backs right now. They voted unanimously to award the bid, after a month of talks between insurance personnel (who weren’t convinced the bid wasn’t too high) and construction contractors. In the end, the county isn’t exactly clear whether the insurance company will reimburse them for the entire cost of the rebuild . The county may have to find a way to cover a portion of it. And so be it.
But there will be more to do and we hope supervisors are fully aware and willing.
Eventually, Casa de Esperanza will need to expand. It may take many years, but there’s no denying that the demand is high and they could use more space. And Casa’s executive director, Marsha Krouse-Taylor, explained after the vote last week that when the building is finally fixed up, they’ll be short on furnishings.
We call on all local government boards and agencies, as well as private citizens and service organizations, to be ready to help out.
We take a look, periodically, at domestic violence incidents reported in our police blotter -- a record printed on our page A2 most days of the week where we report any felony arrests we become aware of made by any agency in our two counties. We find that domestic violence -- battery, abuse, assault -- seems to be the single most reported crime, ranging from a quarter to a third of all felony crimes.
The latest look we had was for a two-week period ending July 16. Of the police blotters printed in that time, there were 56 felony arrests reported and 20 of them were related to incidents of abuse and domestic violence. (And we all know that for each incidence of abuse reported and dealt with by officers, there are several that go unreported.)
We make a point of checking in on priorities -- we ask leaders and citizens at each new year and periodically through the year what they see as the top priorities for the community. The most common responses are: economic development; homelessness; public safety; housing; PERS (public employee retirement system) unfunded liabilities; rising medical costs; etc.
All important and vital issues, we know. But we’re thinking it’s time to start expecting domestic violence to be just as often mentioned as a top priority.
Our View editorials represent the opinion of the Appeal-Democrat and its editorial board and are edited by the publisher and/or editor. Members of the editorial board include: Publisher Glenn Stifflemire and Editor Steve Miller.