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Quality of Life

San Diego County supervisors OK plan to improve data access

Nora Vargas.jpg
Alexander Nguyen
San Diego County Supervisor Nora Vargas speaking at the Board of Supervisors meeting, March 14, 2023.

The county Board of Supervisors Tuesday unanimously approved a policy that advocates say will help community residents better access data as a way to improve their quality of life.

In a news release, proponent and board Chair Nora Vargas said she firmly believes that removing barriers and providing greater access to data is a key factor in dismantling systemic racism.

She said better data access will also "empower community leaders and organizations with the information they need to effectively carry out their mission."


Supervisors directed Helen Robbins-Meyer, the chief administrative officer, to return in 120 days with a plan that will:

  • improve user access to the county's data portal;
  • create an outreach strategy plan for better data-sharing opportunities among groups, coalitions and county departments, and;
  • seek sustainable funding for training programs such as resident leadership academies and increase the pipeline of community leaders.

Before the board voted on Tuesday, Vargas described her proposal as equity in action.
"When we collect data by ZIP codes, we really see where some of the gaps are," Vargas said. She added that she wants to ensure that all communities, especially those of color, have a greater voice at the table.

During a public comment period, several people spoke in favor of the proposal, including Ellen Nash, chair of the county's Leon L. Williams Human Relations Commission.

"To take the data approach and also training community leaders in how advocate across the county is definitely the way go," Nash said.

She added that the county's data-driven decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic saved lives.