Community News

Supervisor Slocum's Bulletin 12/18/2020

Community Affairs
2020 - what a year it has been. Never could I have imagined a more poignant time to serve as President of the Board of Supervisors. 
I’ve heard 2020 called “the year that was not” – and certainly, the pandemic has made us all wish for a safer, healthier and more prosperous 2021. But I have seen the goodness within our community. Here in San Mateo County, as soon as the pandemic hit, we came together in important and meaningful ways to ensure that our most vulnerable residents, non-profits, small businesses and much more could survive. We did not know that the pandemic would be with us for this much time – but generosity and kindness has made a true impact in our community.
My priority this year has been to focus on equity. And 2020 has been a turbulent year nationally where race and inclusion has been at the forefront of our conversations. We will continue to review County processes through the lens of equity – and in doing so, become a leader in inclusive government. As always, your input is valued.
During this holiday season, it is still important to stay vigilant to protect our loved ones and community from the coronavirus. Please stay safe and continue to wear your mask.

I hope you enjoy this Holiday newsletter and I wish you and your families good health and a brighter 2021.
Warren Slocum  
When I was elected President of the Board by my colleagues in January 2020, I set my priority and focus on equity – to filter all County activities through the lens of equity. Given all that 2020 has illustrated to us, this work is timely and important for this moment. And work towards this goal has been accomplished this year, including measuring our communities’ social progress to analyze what fundamental change needs to occur. During this unprecedented year, we have asked our County Manager to establish an Office of Equity and Social Justice and will soon be hiring a director to head this office and effort. It will be a paradigm shift in the way county government is run – and all our departments will participate to ensure that equity is at the forefront of our decision-making.
Changes also came to our local city councils. I’d like to thank the city councilmembers who have retired from their posts after the elections results were in. And I’d like to welcome a new and involved group of councilmembers – they are passionate about their communities, and the hardships faced by residents during this year. These include 5 councilmembers in District 4 – Lissette Espinoza Garnica and Michael Smith, along with returning Councilmember Jeff Gee were elected to the Redwood City Council; Antonio López was elected to the East Palo Alto City Council; and Jen Wolosin was elected to the Menlo Park City Council. And congratulations to the Mayors in District 4, including Carlos Romero in East Palo Alto, Drew Combs in Menlo Park and Diane Howard, who will continue to serve as Mayor of Redwood City. We look forward to these new and continuing working relationships.
Arrival of the new COVID-19 Vaccine
It’s clear that COVID-19 cases are on the rise throughout the state and the nation – we are seeing a surge as a result of gatherings, particularly during Thanksgiving.
The good news is that COVID vaccines are beginning to arrive here in San Mateo County. We have been allotted 5,850 of the Pfizer vaccine and expect to receive up to six times that amount of both Pfizer and Moderna doses by the end of December. Essential workers who help those fighting COVID-19, such as our healthcare workers and those who work in or are patients of nursing homes, will receive the first vaccines. Most of us will not be in this first group, and will receive our vaccines next spring or summer.
To counter the surge in cases now, Governor Newsom has issued a new order that divides the state into 5 regions, and when a region reaches ICU capacity of 15% or lower, that region is placed in new lockdown orders. The Bay Area region has just entered into this new stay-at-home order with our ICU regional capacity hitting 12.9%. The order will take effect at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, December 17 and stay in place for at least 3 weeks until January 8, 2021.
In short – this means we are required to stay at home except for essential activities, close operations for certain business sectors and require 100% masking and physical distancing. Restaurants will only be open for take-out and delivery, hair salons and barber shops will close, retail will be limited to 20% capacity, and schools who’s reopening plans have already been approved can remain open but schools who have not been approved cannot reopen to in-person instruction. Essential activities still include going to the doctor, buying groceries, picking up take out, going on a hike, or worshiping outdoors.
Holidays at Home
This year, we will celebrate our holidays at home to protect our loved ones and our community. We can stay connected while being apart! Host a virtual family holiday dinner, have a holiday movie marathon at home, make a special holiday recipe that you get from a relative you will not see this holiday, drive to see holiday lights in your neighborhood, or host a virtual holiday sing-a-long. Yes, it will be different – but it will be meaningful as well and keep us connected.
Shop Local!
Given all that our small businesses have faced this year, and with Christmas next week – please consider shopping local at some of our wonderful small businesses. You will be supporting them, our community and also help save the jobs of many residents here. For a list of local small businesses, please check out your local Chamber of Commerce website. For District 4 businesses, see the Redwood City-San Mateo County Chamber or the Menlo Park Chamber websites.
Happy holidays to you and your families! Remember to stay home, stay healthy, and remember to wear your mask when out in public!
If you want to get more insight into what my staff and I are working on, please connect with us on social media. It’s also a great way to interact with the office and to get notifications on upcoming events. Click the icons and like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.