Common Ground - How We Respond

In an excerpt from the book “How To Be A Stoic” - a Vietnam war survivor, James Stockdale, organized his fellow prisoners inside a prison camp after being captured, creating and enforcing a code of conduct to regulate their behavior. He had this to say in an interview about who did not make it out of the camp:

“Oh, that's easy, the optimists. Oh, they were the ones that said, 'We're going to be out by Christmas.' and Christmas would come, and Christmas would go. Then they'd say, 'We're going to be out by Easter.' and Easter would come, and Easter would go. And then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again.  And they dies of a broken heart.... This is a very important lesson.  You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end – which you can never afford to lose – with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”

Common Ground, along with the rest of the world is trying to figure out how to respond to the crisis at hand. What can we do to help in the moment and in the months after this crisis is over?  We could just rest on optimism and trust that the powers that be will do their work, and that the crisis will in fact be over on Easter... Or we can be realistic and realize that not only will this crisis continue, the repercussions will be disastrous without protections for the common good.

So what is Common Ground doing right now:

There are any not significant new protections for renters due to COVID-19. The Federal government has only prohibited eviction in a very small set of circumstances; after the federal government purchases a home at a foreclosure auction. The Governor's initial March 4th emergency declaration prohibits property owners from increasing rent over 10% what was charged before March 4. The Governor's March 17 order did not prohibit evictions; it merely allowed local jurisdictions to pass their own ordinances that would only stop landlords from evicting tenants whose income has been directly reduced by COVID-19. So far, Vallejo, Benicia, and Suisun City have enacted such ordinances. Other jurisdictions have prohibited evictions for any cause during the current outbreak. Please encourage tenants who have been laid off or had their hours reduced to apply for unemployment insurance immediately. Common Ground will be working with the city to expand the time limits/provisions for eviction moratoriums and discussing enhancing tenant protections, including no late payment fees, allowing renters to break their lease, and allowing late payments to not ding the tenants’ records.

We are also working with both the North Bay Regional and the Napa County Community Organizations Active in Disasters (COAD) – to form a COAD for Solano County. We will be collecting resources and info of who can help in areas that are critical in times of disaster. The COAD will be formed with representatives from each area, i.e. healthcare, construction, housing, utilities, animal care, communications, volunteers, etc. Napa County ( has a great COAD that we are speaking with to get the process started here.

Now is the time to organize and confront these items head on, the consequences of not doing so are unthinkable.