Community News

Board of Supervisor Slocum's April Newsletter

April 2022 Newsletter

Dear Marci,


As I sit down at my laptop to write, I am enjoying the heavy rain and focused on the fact that today, April 22 is Earth Day. Earth Day is an annual event to demonstrate support for environmental protection. First held on April 22, 1970, it now includes a wide range of events coordinated globally by EarthDay.org including 1 billion people in more than 193 countries. The official theme for 2022 is “Invest in Our Planet.”

 

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.

 

And while we are on the subject, the draft San Mateo Community Climate Action Plan is ready for public feedback. Through the end of April, all are invited to a virtual open house to review the plan and share comments. Learn more about the County’s climate goals and how we can achieve them together here.

 

Highlights of the D4 March newsletter:

 

  • COVID19 update and the new booster;
  • Helping our students;
  • National Poetry Month;
  • Board of Supervisors’ update, and more.

 

Please share this newsletter.


Regards, 

Warren Slocum

Visit our website for more news and information!

HELPING STUDENTS IN NEED 

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The Gardner Center at Stanford University just published a new report, in partnership with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and 22 San Mateo County school districts. The report explores the ways in which local students experience housing instability and suggests strategies on how to better identify and serve these students.

 

The bottom line is sobering: over 2,600 adolescents in San Mateo County experienced housing instability over the course of the three school years before the pandemic. And students experiencing housing instability were also disproportionately Latinx, Black, and/or English language learners and likely to miss more days of school than their housing stable peers. But the report also lists concrete actions that state policymakers, local and county leaders, school district leaders, and leaders from youth-serving organizations can take to help ensure more positive and equitable outcomes.

 

At our April 19th Board of Supervisors meeting, the Board unanimously passed a resolution offered by myself and Supervisor Canepa to support Senate Bill 893, authored by State Senator Josh Becker, and co-authored by Assemblymembers Kevin Mullin and Marc Berman. This bill seeks to enhance access to and support for community college students in need in San Mateo County. Specifically, the bill would allow the San Mateo County Community College District (SMCCD) to use local funds to support students’ basic needs and to have the flexibility to charge less than the currently required state fee rate of $46 per credit unit. Right now, SMCCCD can only fund 2,000 of the 6,000 eligible students for its Promise Scholars Program even though SMCCCD has local revenue to provide financial assistance for all eligible students. SB893 would make attending college less financially burdensome for so many more students who live here in San Mateo County – helping their pathways to a successful future.

HOPE & RESILIENCY:

WORKING TOGETHER TO END HOMELESSNESS

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We are calling 2022 “Our Year of Working Together to End Homelessness.” To achieve that goal, all of us – businesses, cities, faith communities, non-profit and service organizations, and individual community members – must work together.

 

This month – we celebrated the ground-breaking of our new Navigation Center – a place that will bring hope to those individuals and couples experiencing homelessness.

It will provide 240 living units in a state-of-the-art shelter with intensive supportive services. All in, the project will cost some $57M, of which the State is providing $55M through Project Homekey Funding, and a $5M donation from John Sobrato. You can watch the video of the groundbreaking here.

 

The Navigation Center will provide a safe and dignified atmosphere that will serve the needs of the clients and social services operators for decades. It is key to our strategy to end homelessness. Right now – we are on track for this center to open around Christmas 2022.

 

On April 22nd, the County hosted the virtual kickoff event for “2022: Our Year of Working Together to End Homelessness” with a discussion about why homelessness is a countywide issue. The next two webinars will be on May 20th and June 3rd. To learn more about this effort and programming, and to watch the first webinar, click here.

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Covid-19 Update: Please Remain Vigilent!

There is good news on the COVID front but it comes with a word of caution. The good news is that San Mateo County is categorized as “low” Covid-19 community level according to the Center for Disease Control’s measurement. The cautionary news is that as seen in other parts of the world, we are experiencing an uptick of cases locally, and the majority of these cases are from the BA2 variant. But with hospitalizations very low and our vaccination rate for those 5 and older at 94.6%, we are in a better place than earlier this year.

 

The County continues to focus on getting those who are not yet vaccinated, particularly children from 5-12 years old, vaccinated and boosted. And there is now a 4th shot – another booster – available to those who are 50 years and older. Appointments can still be made thru My Turn.

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National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month. 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, Aileen Cassinetto’s poem “Take Heart” was commissioned by the San Mateo Medical Center’s Wellness Team, with support from the County Executive, the Office of Arts & Culture, and the San Mateo County Health Foundation. Read at our April 5th Board meeting, “Take Heart” honors the families and loved ones of those we lost to COVID19. At that same meeting, the Board recognized National Poetry Month. You can read Aileen’s poem and the proclamation here.

BOARD OF SUPERVISOR UPDATES
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Here are some of the updates and decisions our Board of Supervisors made since the last newsletter:

 

A Pilot to Allow for Off-Leash Dogs: on April 5th, the Board of Supervisors voted to approve the Coastal Development Permit to allow for an off-leash dog pilot program at Quarry Park on the Coast. However, we did not approve the pilot for Pillar Point Bluff due to community concern for the wildlife and sensitive habitat, as well as public safety.


A Potential Land Swap with East Palo Alto: on April 19th, the Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution to explore the possibility of a land swap between the County and the City of East Palo Alto. The City would like to expand Martin Luther King Park acquiring County land on Beech Street. In turn, the County would like to develop more affordable housing by acquiring City property located on University Avenue zoned for medium and high density residential and close to transit. It would be a win-win for both of us, and for the residents of East Palo Alto. A big shout out to East Palo Alto Mayor Ruben Abrica and the city council for helping bring this to our agendas.

Did you know that you can sign up for updates on the Middlefield Road Improvement Project? And the first Middlefield Road Improvement Project Newsletter is available here.

 

The Office of Community Affairs now has office hours for questions and information on the Middlefield Road Improvement Project. Drop in on Wednesdays from 9am-3pm at Casa Circulo Cultural, 3090 Middlefield Road in North Fair Oaks. And you can park for free at the lot at Second Avenue and Middlefield Road!

 

The San Mateo County History Museum will be open without admission fees on May 6th as part of its continuing “FREE First Fridays” program. For more information on this and other programs at the Museum, click here.

 

The Port of Redwood City is hosting Rock the Dock” – a free spring concert series every Saturday from 3-6 p.m. now through June 18. It’s a great way to spend a day on the bay – with live music, fresh air and fresh fish from local food vendors.

 

The June 7th Primary is just around the corner. Are you registered to vote in San Mateo County? If not – as the former Chief Elections Office, I encourage you to do so. This goes to the heart of our democratic values and rights. You can register to vote here.


Residents 50 and over and those who are immunocompromised are now eligible for a second COVID-19 booster, four months after their first booster. Eligible residents can also book an appointment through the state’s My Turn or County Health’s community clinics.


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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