Community News

Supervisor Slocum's Bulletin Jan. 2021

Author: 
Community Affairs
Greetings!
 
January is traditionally a time for making good on New Year’s resolutions, a time for new beginnings, a time for reflection.
 
The first few weeks of this month have definitely needed the latter as we witnessed horrifying events at our nation’s Capitol, and watched the continued rise of coronavirus cases, particularly in California, and had a very confusing rollout of the vaccines.
 
But there have been some illuminating moments – the courage of many of our local lawmakers during the Capitol riot, the peaceful transition and swearing in of a new President and the first woman, person of color and Asian-American Vice President, and our own transition in San Mateo County – as Supervisor David Canepa became our Board President for this year.
 
And on the horizon – there is much to be hopeful about. The Biden Administration’s goals to meet this pandemic head on, implementing a mask mandate for the first 100 days, a defined program to get vaccines in the arms of everyone, and a more compassionate approach to our immigrants, particularly preserving DACA.
 
So – here’s to hope and new beginnings for the new year!

Best,
Warren Slocum
 
 
STATEWIDE REGIONAL
STAY-AT-HOME ORDERS LIFTED
 
This Monday, Governor Newsom announced that the restrictive regional stay-at-home orders were lifted, effective immediately. What this means is that with conditions improving statewide, counties will now follow the Blueprint for a Safer Economy – and San Mateo County will return to the purple tier. 
 
This is good news for many of our small businesses, including restaurants who can now open for outdoor dining, and hair salons, barbershops and nail salons may also open. Gyms can open outdoors only with modifications.
 
The bottom line is that the pandemic is far from over. We must continue with the safety protocols including wearing your mask, social distancing, do not mix households, and most important, get vaccinated when you are eligible.
 
VACCINES – WHEN DO I GET MINE?
 
When do I get my COVID19 vaccine? It’s the biggest question on most people’s minds. The rollout nationally, in the state and yes, even at the County has been less than ideal. And while many in our community are ready to receive the vaccine when available because we are hopeful that it is a critical step in returning to normal, a great many people are still unsure and apprehensive.
 
Right now, under current state guidance, those individuals in Phase 1a – our health care workers, medical first responders and long-term care residents – are in the process of receiving vaccines – some 50,000 people. Next up in Phase 1b will be adults 65 and older, and essential workers in education, childcare, emergency services and food and agriculture. Phase 1b accounts for about 167,000 people in San Mateo County.
 
There are about 619,000 adults in San Mateo County who will eventually receive vaccines. Most will receive vaccines through their existing healthcare providers who will reach out to their patients on this process. San Mateo County Health is the safety net provider for those enrolled in their programs or for those experience challenges getting vaccinated through their providers. For more information regarding your specific provider’s process, click here.
 
Governor Newsom just announced a pilot program to help counties, cities and other entities schedule vaccine appointments, and dependent on availability of doses. This has been one of the greatest challenges facing state and local governments - an inconsistent and scarce vaccine supply coming from the federal government.
 
Also, if you live or work here in San Mateo County and have questions regarding the vaccine rollout, email CovidVax@smcgov.org for answers in English and Spanish!
 
So – although it could take many months to get all in San Mateo County vaccinated, we will continue to keep you updated on this critically important issue. 
 
COMMUNITY DINNERS & LEARNING HUBS:
A MEASURE K INVESTMENT
Boys and Girls Club of the Peninsula is one of our incredible non-profits who is doing such meaningful work for youth and families in vulnerable communities, particularly during this pandemic. This month, with approval of the Board of Supervisors, I funded a district-discretionary Measure K grant to them to help defray the costs of both their Community Dinners program and their Community Learning Hubs.
 
For the Community Dinners, the numbers are staggering and shine a light on food scarcity. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Boys & Girls Club volunteers prepared an average of 350 meals each day – now they are providing nearly 1300 dinners a day and since March, a total of 300,000 dinners have been served. It is heartening to know that most of the meals are being prepared in their East Palo Alto clubhouse’s kitchen that a prior 2016 Measure K grant helped to renovate!
 
When schools closed at the beginning of the pandemic, Boys & Girls Club of the Peninsula saw a need to support their partner school districts and help K-12 students “stay in the game.” They opened Community Hubs at their clubhouses to provide students with in-person learning during the school day, access to wireless internet, technology, in-person academic support and tutoring, breakfast and lunch, and critical opportunities to socialize outside of their homes, safely distanced. This program has given a sense of relief to many parents in vulnerable communities, knowing that their children are in a safe environment, learning and getting meals.
 
Thank you Boys & Girls Club of the Peninsula for all you do in our community!
 
 
A New Year - A New Poem
 
 
At our January 12 Board meeting, our San Mateo County Poet Laureate Aileen Cassinetto read her poem, “Time to Heal in America: A Found Poem”. This poem came about from workshops for over 100 high school students who exhibited an interest in submitting their work to the Academy of American Poets’ 2021 Inaugural Poem Contest. One of the exercises they did was craft a poem, inspired by the words of Joseph R. Biden, John F. Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln, Barack Obama and Martin Luther King, Jr. I hope you enjoy reading it here.
 
Poetry – the spoken word - really got a boost this month, after we all heard Amanda Gorman, the youngest Inaugural Poet read her inspirational poem “The Hill We Climb” at the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. You can watch her here.
 
It's Redistricting Time!
 
 
Every 10 years, based on the U.S. Census, we are asked to consider district lines. This year, the Board of Supervisors will look at the district lines for our five supervisorial districts. The way in which we consider this will begin to take shape over the coming weeks and months, and I will keep you updated as this process is defined and moves forward.
 
 
Happy New Year to you and your families! It’s so important to follow safety protocols as we inch closer to getting our vaccines. Remember to stay home, stay healthy, and continue to wear your mask when out in public!
 

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