Community News

Board of Supervisor Slocum's December Newsletter

December 2022 Newsletter

Dear Marci,


District 4 hopes you and your loved ones enjoy a peaceful holiday season. We’ve all been through a great deal in recent years and added to that are the jarring tragedies that have taken place across our great nation recently.

 

Through it all we should collectively remain hopeful.

 

This newsletter represents our last of 2022. We hope you’ve found some value in our periodic updates and if you have improvement suggestions, do let us know. 2023 will bring new challenges and opportunities and you have our promise to continue to work on and solve San Mateo County’s most difficult issues.

 

Wishing you and your loved one’s peace, health and happiness during this holiday season, and a happy New Year.



Warren Slocum

Visit our website for more news and information!

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE:RETIREMENTS OF SUPERVISORS CAROLE GROOM AND DON HORSLEY

The end of 2022 brings the retirement of two of my colleagues, Supervisors Carole Groom and Don Horsley. Both have been incredible public servants who championed many causes during their tenures.


Carole Groom has been an extraordinary advocate for those whose voices where often unheard – children, those with disabilities and seniors. Her work with the Big Lift to have children reading proficiently by 3rd grade has moved the needle to enhance the education of our youth. Supervisor Groom has also been a stalwart for the environment as a long-time member of the California Coastal Commission, a champion for people with disabilities, her work on the Commission on Aging and for women’s causes and priorities on the Commission of the Status of Women. Thank you, Carole, for your heart and passion that you’ve given to San Mateo County for many years-and your friendship, support and mentoring!


I’ve known Don Horsley for decades – we were both department heads in the County – he as Sheriff and me as Assessor/Recorder/Chief Elections Officer. On the Board, Don has worked hard to improve the lives of those in under-resourced communities on the Coast, most recently advocating for a Farm Workers Commission. Don has also been a strong and important voice in transportation and affordable housing – helping to increase the understanding of why we need to house those who work in our County and make it more affordable. Most recently, he championed the minimum wage ordinance (along with Supervisor Dave Pine) and oversaw the addition of Tunitas Creek Beach to our County Parks system. Thank you, Don, for your work for decades for the residents of San Mateo County!


We will welcome two new Supervisors at the Board of Supervisors Reorganization meeting on January 3, 2023. Noelia Corzo will begin her term as Supervisor for District 2 and Ray Mueller will do so in District 3. I look forward to working with each of them on issues of common interest.


Nearly every election season brings retirements of current city councilmembers and the election of new councilmembers – and this is the case this year. December is the time when city councils hold their reorganization meetings to say goodbye to the outgoing members and welcome the new councilmembers. For the cities that I represent, here are the changes:


  • East Palo Alto: We wish Regina Wallace Jones the best in her retirement from the City Council and thank her for her public service. We also welcome new councilmember Martha Barragan.


  • Redwood City: We thank Mayor Giselle Hale and Vice Mayor Diana Reddy for their tireless work on the Redwood City Council and wish them the best in their retirement from the council. We also welcome Kaia Eakin and Chris Sturken to the Council, along with newly appointed Councilmember Elmer Martinez Saballos.

A CELEBRATION FOR 40 NEW US CITIZENS

On December 2, forty immigrants from 18 nations became the newest citizens of the United States at a ceremony on the County campus in Redwood City. And what a ceremony and celebration it was! Each of these new citizens had their own special story and pathway to becoming a citizen – and all shared a commitment to democracy that was heartfelt and meaningful. Spanning the globe, these new citizens came from Belarus, Brazil, Burma, Canada, China, El Salvador, India, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Mexico, Peru, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Ukraine and Yemen. Numerous County departments were hand to help attendees navigate the benefits of becoming a U.S. citizen, including how to register to vote. Special thanks to the Office of Community Affairs for organizing the event and for providing such a welcoming environment to our newest citizens! To read more about this event, click here.

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS’ UPDATES

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

 

Challenges for the Future: In his report at the December 6 Board meeting, County Executive Mike Callagy outlined the challenges we will face in the next 3-5 years. They are:

 

1.     Recession;

2.     Homelessness;

3.     Workforce hiring and retention;

4.     Production of affordable housing; 

5.     Civic engagement; and 

6.     Preparation for the next disaster. 

 

Flood Park Design: At the December 13 Board meeting, the Realize Flood Park project cleared a critical milestone as we directed the Department of Public Works to finalize project designs and advertise the bid for a construction contractor. This project has been 10 years in the making, with many community meetings and much community input. We are excited to bring it to its next steps and then to completion so that everyone can enjoy this gem of a park by winter 2023/2024. After a contractor is selected spring 2023, Phase 1 will begin in summer 2023. Phase 1 will include construction of the new picnic and reservation areas, small multi-use sport field, pump track, tennis/pickleball courts, sand volleyball courts, basketball court, walking paths, and new utilities

 

Minimum Wage Ordinance: At our November 15 Board meeting, we voted unanimously to enact a minimum wage ordinance. We did so in an effort to assist working households achieve economic security and a higher quality of life, while acknowledging the higher relative cost of living in San Mateo County. This ordinance calls for a minimum wage of $16.50 per hour for all employers operating in unincorporated areas of San Mateo County effective April 1, 2023, and will be adjusted to from time to time to reflect changes in the cost of living. This ordinance also ensures that the County’s minimum wage will remain higher than the State minimum wage over time.

 

Draft Updated Housing Element: As the Peninsula faces an acute housing shortage, the County is exploring where to plan for growth and ways to expand and protect the supply of affordable housing into the next decade. At the December 5 Board meeting, our Planning and Building Department presented the Draft Housing Element 2023-2031. This document which reflects our expected housing needs in the unincorporated areas of the County for the next 8 years is required by the State. The primary focus of the 'Housing Element' is to ensure decent, safe, sanitary and affordable housing for current and future residents of the unincorporated areas, including those with special needs The final plan, which will go before the Board sometime in 2023, will help shape the region’s future: communities that long relied on relatively affordable housing to draw new residents who fueled job and economic growth can no longer count on that advantage. But for now, at the December 13 meeting, the Board directed staff to submit the draft updated 2023-2031 Housing Element to the California Department of Housing and Community Development for review and comment.

 

Working Together to End Homelessness Innovation Grants: at the December 13 Board meeting, the Board approved innovation grants over $2.4 million in American Rescue Plan (ARPA) funding to several cities and nonprofits who submitted collaborative proposals to support the piloting of bold and innovative approaches to assist the 1,092 individuals experiencing homelessness in San Mateo County. In short, the programs will help those homeless engage with service providers as well as help them successfully transition to interim or permanent housing. The cities and nonprofits awarded innovation grants are:

 

  • Redwood City was awarded $1,047,450 for their proposal to pilot multiple concepts to achieve functional zero homelessness within the city’s jurisdiction and build on efforts to complement the Countywide Coordinated Entry System (CES).

 

  • Millbrae has developed and piloted a program to the unsheltered population surrounding the BART/SFO transportation corridor in their city to provide after-hours outreach, engagement, and case management services to individuals experiencing homelessness. Their proposal is to expand the project to provide daytime case management and engagement in the downtown area. Their grant is in the amount of $370,572.


  • Half Moon Bay and WeHope have come together to launch a Coastside Safe Parking Initiative. The program’s goal is to provide vehicularly housed residents a safe and secure place to park their vehicles, provide use of hygiene facilities, and provide case management to assist them into interim housing and/or permanent housing. This proposal has been awarded $983,704.

 

To read the Board memo about these innovative proposals, click here.

 

Coming in the New Year: as we close out 2022, I wanted you to know about some topics on the horizon for 2023. These include updates on the Middlefield Junction affordable housing development, the opening of our state-of-the-art Navigation Center, and possibly enhanced tenant protections – all to improve the quality of life for those in our community.

SAN MATEO COUNTY NAMES A NEW POET LAUREATE:

JORGE ARGUETA

At our December 13 Board meeting, we named our next San Mateo County Poet Laureate – Jorge Argueta. As the first Poet Laureate of Hispanic descent and a resident of Daly City, he has long been involved in the arts community as a poet, author of children’s books, and promoter of literacy. Jorge is particularly interested in working with both local seniors and youth to engage them in his enthusiasm for the spoken word, and he has long highlighted the importance of poetry in creating bridges to diverse communities. An example of Jorge’s long commitment to literacy for children, he founded the Library of Dreams, a children’s library in El Salvador, to elevate reading and writing skills among indigenous children. Jorge is one of the longest recognized poets of color in San Mateo County. His term will begin on January 1, 2023 and run through December 31, 2024. We look forward to his community project working with seniors and youth.

ART IN DISTRICT 4

Healthy Community Mural Update: On November 29, the Healthy Community Mural Committee held a community meeting at the North Fair Oaks Library to help guide the project of these 16 individual murals at the 5th Avenue Underpass in North Fair Oaks. Out of 11 qualified applicants, three artists were selected by the Committee as finalists for this project: Morgan Bricca, Emily Fromm and Elizabeth Gomez. They attended the meeting to learn what “healthy community” means to those in attendance, and to hear more about the spirit of the North Fair Oaks community. The finalists will present their vision for the murals at the next community meeting on February 7, 2023 – and one will be selected to paint this mural. More information on the next meeting will follow.

 

A huge thank you for the work of the Healthy Community Mural Committee and the partners in this project, including the Culture Collective of North Fair Oaks and the San Mateo County Office of Arts & Culture. This mural is going to mean much to our community!

 

Apply to be a District 4 Arts Commissioner: If public art is of particular interest to you and you live in District 4, consider applying to become our Arts Commissioner. Serving on the Arts Commission, you will be a champion of the arts by shaping innovative cultural policies, creating inclusive and diverse programming, investing in the creative economy, and ensuring access to arts and culture for all. To apply, click here!

THE GIFT OF SAFETY: A SUCCESSFUL GUN BUYBACK

Thanks to Measure K funding and in partnership with the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office and the Redwood City and Belmont Police Departments, and Citizens for a San Mateo County Gun Buyback, San Mateo County held its last gun buyback event on December 3 in San Carlos. At this successful event, s total of 288 firearms were collected, including six assault weapons and 18 “ghost guns” – untraceable weapons. In exchange, participants were given $50 cash for non-functioning firearms, $100 cash for handguns, shotguns or rifles and $200 cash for assault weapons and “ghost guns” with no questions were asked, and the firearms will be destroyed. We look forward to additional buybacks in the coming year and continuing efforts to get guns off our streets.

HEALTH UPDATE

As 2022 draws to a close, San Mateo County Health continues to urge that you stay up to date on COVID-19 and flu vaccines. With COVID-19, RSV and flu (the “tridemic”) circulating in our area, and the holidays being a time to gather, please take steps to prevent these respiratory infections by wearing a high-quality mask indoors, staying up to date on vaccinations, washing your hands, avoiding touching your face, covering coughs, and cleaning surfaces. For the County Health’s guidance for these three diseases, click here.


COVID-19 vaccines and boosters are widely available from health care providers and pharmacies, such as CVS, Safeway and Walgreens. For County Health’s pop-up clinics, please see the online calendar or go to MyTurn to schedule appointments. These clinics will continue to accept residents without appointments. Flu vaccines are also available from health care providers and from County Health. You can also find flu vaccine locations and schedules on MyTurn and County Health’s pop-up flu clinics here.



Be careful, continue to take precautions and have a safe holiday season!  

For a celebration of the holidays for the family at our libraries: On December 16 at 10:30am, the North Fair Oaks Library will hold a festive seasonal storytime with Santa. You don't need to be a night owl to ring in the New Year! Both the North Fair Oaks Library and the East Palo Alto Library will hold “Noon Year’s Eve” at 11am on December 28 complete with storytime, music, snacks and a countdown! To learn about more library events, click here.

 

Looking for a fun and easy way to incorporate more arts and culture into your classroom, or know a teacher that is? The San Mateo County Office of Arts and Culture in partnership with Dragonfly Community Arts will support arts and culture grant requests up to $200 for San Mateo County teachers at San Mateo County Title I schools. Questions, email artsandculture@smcgov.org. Deadline for application is December 31, 2022. Click here to apply.

 

Pups at County Parks: San Mateo County Parks provides a variety of options when exploring the outdoors with your dog. On-leash dog walking is available on trails at Coyote Point, Junipero Serra, Devil's Slide Trail, Pillar Point Bluff, Mirada Surf and the Dardenelle Trail at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve. Please learn more about the program and rules before you visit.

 

Improving broadband internet maps: The Federal Communications Commission unveiled its new broadband internet maps and the San Mateo County is asking residents to check if they live in an area where coverage is available. Doing so helps the County secure federal funding to implement high-speed internet to unserved and underserved areas, closing the digital divide. Participate here by entering your address. Information will pop up on the side indicating if you have service, providers and the type of technology. If the information seems incorrect, click on the “Location Challenge” hyperlink to submit information. If the provider information appears wrong or to provide general feedback, click on he “Availability Challenge” hyperlink.

 

Do you live or work in North Fair Oaks and looking to serve your community? We are recruiting for a full-voting member and a Youth alternate member of the North Fair Oaks Community Council. To learn more about the important work of this council and apply, click here.

 

And if you do not qualify for the North Fair Oaks Community Council, there are other great ways to get involved in your community serving on a Board or Commission. Check out our openings and bring 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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