Community News

Board of Supervisor Slocum's April 2023 Newsletter

April 2023 Newsletter

Dear Friends,


April brings us significant flowers blooms that we haven’t seen for many years– after a very wet winter. And it is this month we celebrate, among other things, Earth Day. It’s hard not to think of Earth Day, the annual event to demonstrate support for environmental protection, given our warnings over the past decade of our climate in crisis. First held on April 22, 1970, it now includes a wide range of events coordinated globally by including 1 billion people in more than 193 countries.


I’ve written about this before. Our planet – the only home we have – is at a breaking point. Two thirds of our earth’s oceans and three quarters of its land have been damaged by humans. One million species could vanish by 2050 – accelerating the global extinction rate potentially hundreds of times faster than over the last 10 million years. One fifth of all nations could see their ecosystems collapse completely.


Clearly there is nothing more important than addressing climate change. It’s critical that we reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century to keep the global temperature below 1.5°C. We need solutions that will help us deliver the greenhouse gas reductions needed by 2030 to meet the Paris Climate Agreement and help save planet earth. Everyone can do their part – and I encourage you to do so!


Highlights of the D4 April newsletter:

  • The opening of the state-of-the-art San Mateo County Navigation Center;
  • Updates to our Fireworks Ordinance;
  • Celebrating the Arts; and
  • Board of Supervisors update


Please share this newsletter.



Warren Slocum

Visit our website for more news and information!


Soon, the San Mateo County Navigation Center will open – and it is a source of tremendous pride for our County. This state-of-the-art center for people experiencing homelessness is much more like a home than a shelter – and it is key to our strategy to end homelessness as a steppingstone for up to 260 residents towards permanent housing.

Our Navigation Center will be a model for other counties across the state and the nation. It will provide 240 safe temporary living spaces for individuals and couples along with intensive on-site support services. Unlike a traditional shelter that use cots or bunk beds and provide little privacy or dignity, the Navigation Center allows couples to room together, pet owners to bring their animals and clients to store many of their belongings. The Center is architecturally modern – it contains outdoor plazas, lush landscaping, a dog run, and a basketball court. Perhaps the thing that most makes it a home is that each individual units have doorbells.


This $57 million Navigation Center will be the first in the nation to have a dental clinic for residents, as well as on-site medical facilities. The County has contracted with LifeMoves, a nonprofit with experience providing housing and support services for homeless families and individuals, to operate the Navigation Center.


All said, this has been a collaborative project with funding from California Homekey Grant, philanthropic donations including $5 million from John Sobrato and $1 million from Vinod Khosla (for on-site health care), $500K federal grant secured by Congresswoman Jackie Speier, $450K from Sequoia Healthcare District (for dental services), $75K from Kaiser and $125K from Health Plan of San Mateo (for dental services) and a land swap with Redwood City to allow for the site.


It will be a place for many to call home until they find permanent housing.



For some 35 years, our County Fireworks Ordinance has remained unchanged. Then, back in May 2021, the Board of Supervisors updated our County Fireworks Ordinance. We did so because much had changed in our region with devastating fire seasons due to Climate change and the danger unpermitted fireworks posed to our community both in personal injury and property damage.


The 2021 updates helped but they did not go far enough in protecting our residents. In the last 2 years, after the July 4 holidays, I have heard from my constituents about the number of unpermitted fireworks going off near and during that holiday. They are very concerned for their safety and that of their neighborhood.


And national statistics support this concern. According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, in 2021, the most recent year for which statistics are available, there were an estimated 11,500 injuries caused by fireworks throughout the United States, and 74% of those injuries occurred during the one-month period between June 18, 2021, and July 18, 2021. Children under the age of 15 accounted for 29% of all fireworks-related injuries in 2021. The Commission also found a 25% increase in fireworks injuries over the last fifteen years, between 2006 and 2021.


This is why Sheriff Christina Corpus and I collaborated to refine the Fireworks Ordinance which already calls for strict liability of social hosts and increased and meaningful fines to deter people from using unpermitted fireworks. The new ordinance, approved on a 4-1 vote at the April 11 Board of Supervisors meeting, has strengthened protections including spectator liability, clarify that a parent or guardian will be held strictly liable for a minor’s violation, provide for violators to bear the response costs, and more. You can read the new expanded Fireworks Ordinance here.


April is National Poetry Month which highlights the extraordinary legacy and ongoing achievement of American poets, introduces Americans to the pleasures and benefits of reading poetry, and brings poets and poetry to the public in immediate and innovative ways. San Mateo County has had a Poet Laureate since 2013 and each has worked tirelessly to celebrate the spoken word here. Our current Poet Laureate, Jorge Tetl Argueta’s poem “Water, Little Water” was read at our April 25th Board meeting. At that same meeting, the Board recognized National Poetry Month. You can read Jorge’s poem and the proclamation here.


In April, we also celebrate Arts, Culture and Creativity Month – and Supervisor Corzo and I also presented a proclamation for this at our April 25 Board meeting. Here in our County, we established an Office of Arts and Culture which houses the San Mateo County Arts Commission and works to complete programs and initiatives outlined in the Board of Supervisors adopted Strategic Arts and Culture Plan. We were honored at the Board meeting to have this proclamation accepted by former Poet Laureate Aileen Cassinetto – who worked tirelessly promoting and highlighting the arts, including poetry, in this County. This proclamation can be read here

New District 4 Arts Commissioner: District 4 has a new Arts Commissioner – Farah Yasmeen Shaikh! She is an internationally acclaimed Kathak performer, choreographer and instructor, and Founder & Artistic Director of Noorani Dance. In addition to training students of Noorani Dance, Farah’s teaching experience includes ODC School and Along King LINES Ballet in San Francisco, India Community Center in the Silicon Valley, and various academic and arts institutions throughout the U.S. in addition to being a guest choreographer for the World Dance Program at Alvin Ailey Extension in New York City. Farah will work with our other District 4 Arts Commissioner Jeanne Heise to champion the arts for our district and for the County, ensuring access to arts and culture for all.


One of my new assignments this year is as a Governing Board member of the San Mateo County Library System Joint Powers Authority. I have always been a big fan of libraries and the important work they do for our community – so much more than lending books. And as you know, my wife Maria is a long-time librarian, and I see the meaningful programming and work being done by her and her colleagues.


And now, the San Mateo County Library System is being recognized for their great work. They have been selected as a 2023 National Medal finalist by the Institute of Museum and Library Services – and are amount 30 finalists nationally for this special award – the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries that demonstrate a significant impact in their communities. A thank you to Congresswoman Anna Eshoo and former Congresswoman Jackie Speier who nominated SMCL. Some of the specific contributions recognized in this nomination include programs to support critical community needs such as summer learning, early learning, meals service, mindfulness and wellness supports, workforce development and access to technology.


And there is more good news from SMCL: earlier this month, the East Palo Alto Council voted unanimously to approve purchase of land next to the EPACenter for a new library. This is the first step to bring about a symmetry with the programming ongoing at EPACenter for teens and youth – and to give this community a new library that is long overdue.


County ICE Ordinance: At the April 11 Board of Supervisors meeting, our Board passed an ordinance on a 4-1 vote that calls for no County resources be expended in cooperation with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). After hearing both moving and at times heated discussion and public comment, the second reading of the ordinance was approved on a 4-1 vote at our April 25 Board meeting. For me – it is a question of separating families and the harm it does to children to be parted from a parent once they have served their term of incarceration. You can read this ordinance here.


Update from Sheriff’s Oversight Subcommittee work: Supervisor Dave Pine and I, as the Board’s Sheriff’s Oversight Subcommittee, have been hard at work on this topic. We continue to meet with stakeholders and have hired the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement to serve as consultants in this work. Our next big step is to convene focus groups led by Stanford University’s Gardner Center around the county. We want to listen to those whose voices are not normally heard – and get their pulse on this important issue.

The North Fair Oaks Library will hold its first annual Books and Bikes on Sunday, April 30 (Dia de los Ninos) from 11am-2pm at the Library. This event will feature a bike rodeo, concert by Lucky Diaz, free lunch, a Red Cross disaster preparedness pillowcase program, and more. Partners include Redwood City Together, Safe Routes to Schools, and the Fair Oaks Community Center. For more information, click here.


For East Palo Alto residents – there will be a shred and e-scrap event sponsored by ReThink Waste on Saturday, May 6 at Cooley Landing Park from 9am-1pm. E-scrap includes TVs, computers, printers, monitors, laptops, cables/cords, cell phones, MP3 and DVD players, and more (working or not). For more information, click here.


Cinco de Mayo is just around the corner – and there will be a celebration sponsored by Comité Latino at Bell Street Park in East Palo Alto on Sunday, May 7 from 12 noon to 6pm. For more information, see Comité Latino Facebook page.


The San Mateo County Veterans Commission in partnership with the County Veterans Service Office and the Veterans Administration will host a S.A.V.E. Training and Resource Event to understand and prevent suicides. It will take place on Tuesday, May 16 at 5:30 p.m. at the Redwood City Main Library. Limited seating is available so please register via the flyer here.


The 2023 Take A Hike Challenge by San Mateo County Parks has begun! There are seven hiking routes in our parks to introduce you to the variety and beauty of your San Mateo County Parks. To learn more and participate, click here


Serve on a County Board or Commission: There are a number of Boards and Commissions that have vacancies and could use your experience and expertise to help in County initiatives and efforts. For more information or to apply – click here.

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 our office and to get notifications for upcoming events. Click the icons and like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. 

Finally, if you would like to see back issues of this newsletter, they can be found on my website here. They certainly reflect the long way we have come!

Warren Slocum

District 4 Supervisor

San Mateo County

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