Community News

Board of Supervisor Slocum's February Newsletter

February 2023 Newsletter

Dear Marci,

I always look forward to February as a time of celebration and reflection. It is during this month that we celebrate Black History Month, Chinese New Year, Valentine’s Day and President’s Day. This last one, as we just learned that former President Jimmy Carter is in hospice, seems particularly poignant this year. We have lost some heroes over the past year – and it is a time to remember them as well.


This month our Board of Supervisors proclaimed Black History Month – as we had heard from eloquent speakers about their experiences and honored several inspiring community members.


I hope you enjoy, learn and reflect from reading our District 4 February 2023 newsletter, and share it with your family and friends.



Warren Slocum

Visit our website for more news and information!


This news comes at a critical point. The State has just awarded San Mateo County $42.8 million to spur development of three local affordable housing projects, including coastal apartments reserved for farmworkers and their families. The dollars will go towards building 212 units for low-income residents in Daly City, Burlingame and Moss Beach. Cypress Point, a 71-unit project in Moss Beach proposed by MidPen Housing Corp, was awarded $17.8 million from the state and will include 18 new apartments dedicated for farmworkers.


And there is more good news. At the February 14 Board meeting, our Board approved more help for the farmworker households affected by the January shootings. These families’ lives were hard to begin with and are now shattered by this tragic event. We will be using $750,000 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to provide emergency housing and supportive services to help these farmworkers during the next year. And a special thanks to Airbnb who will provide housing to these 19 families for the next month while more permanent housing on the Coast can be found.


As a young adult, a veteran returning from the Vietnam War, I returned home in the turbulent times of the late 1960s and at the height of the Civil Rights Movement. To be present during that time was meaningful and changed my perspective on many things.

At our February 14th Board of Supervisors meeting, Supervisor Noelia Corzo and I offered a a proclamation for Black History Month, passed unanimously by the Board. In doing so, our Board recognizes the importance of Black History Month and the value of African American residents to the strength, health, and richness of San Mateo County.


At the Board meeting, we heard from three eloquent speakers, each who shared their own moving experiences as a Black community member. Thank you to local NAACP President Rev. Lorrie Owens, President of the San Mateo-Foster City School Board Shara Watkins, San Mateo County LGBTQ Commissioner Dana Johnson and Alexis Lewis for the passion, honesty and hard truths of which you spoke. For me – Dana Johnson’s call for not just inclusion and representation, but for expansion really hit home.

I also mentioned several community members who deserve recognition and honor during Black History Month. They, in the words of the late Congressman John Lewis – made their mark on our community engaging in “Good Trouble.” Bob Hoover’s foray into “good trouble” goes back in this County to the 1960s when he headed the College Readiness Program (CRP) at CSM, designed to offer financial aid and tutorial assistance for minority students. He was instrumental back then for overcoming barriers faced by black students. He still is, at 91 years old, today. The late Dr. Faye McNair Knox left an indelible mark on the youth of East Palo Alto. As the Executive Director of One East Palo Alto she ensured that over 1,100 East Palo Alto and Belle Haven youth secured summer jobs, often when they had barriers to employment. She celebrated her community’s diversity and empowerment to enable others to attain and maintain a good quality of life – striving to make East Palo Alto better each and every day. Rose Jacobs Gibson was the first and only African American to serve on the Board of Supervisors when she was appointed in 1999, after serving on the East Palo Alto City Council. On our Board, she concentrated on long-range planning, youth-related issues, housing, health care for the under-privileged, and economic growth in poorer communities. Finally – though I did not know him personally – Sam McDonald, a descendent of slaves, was generosity personified. He gave and gave to his community, particularly to the children at the Stanford Convalescent Home for Underprivileged Children (renamed Sam McDonald Home in his honor) where he worked, planting gardens for them to enjoy. When he died in 1959, Sam left his property in La Honda to be used as a park for the benefit of young people. And thus, Sam McDonald Park, now in the County Park system now spans 876 acres.

You can read our proclamation here and I would also encourage you to listen to this part of the Board meeting here.


It’s not surprising and it’s complicated. Silicon Valley is in flux. This year’s Joint Venture Silicon Valley poll shows wealth disparities despite deepening as poverty increases, despite this being one of the country’s wealthiest regions.

Some interesting data from this year’s poll:

  • Just eight households in Silicon Valley hold more wealth than the bottom 50% (nearly half a million households).
  • Prior to the pandemic, 67,000 people road CalTrain daily but that figure has decreased some 94% to 4,100 riders daily.
  • 35% of workers continue to work remotely, and of those 60% make over $150,000. This has caused disruptions to public transportation, upended commercial real estate, and decimated downtowns.
  • Median home price in Silicon Valley is $1.53 million. However, the share of first-time homebuyers who can afford a median priced home fell to 27% and is as low as 14% for the region’s Black or African Americans and Hispanic or Latino residents.
  • There have been 11,000 layoffs since August 2022, with about 10,000 additional layoffs expected but this is still way under the high in the bust when 300,000 jobs were eliminated.
  • Pay rates for people performing necessary in-person work haven’t come close to keeping pace with inflation. This is evidenced by the growth in the daily number of meals area food banks are serving and the homeless population continues to rise.


Despite layoffs, a growing income divide and an increase in those living in poverty, the pandemic and the increase in remote work, Silicon Valley remains strong economically. According to Joint Venture Silicon Valley’s CEO Russell Hancock, “There is no way we can construe this as a crisis…The only way we can accurately depict this is as an adjustment.” But many in our community are not benefitting from this strong economy and are falling farther behind.


You can read the full findings of the poll here.


Board Retreat: On February 6, our Board held its annual retreat to set our policy priorities and discuss our mission, vision and values. For this year, we set the top priorities as: affordable housing, children and youth, emergency services and data-driven decision-making. Additionally, we will be holding study sessions at upcoming Board meetings that will include topics including mental health, homelessness, resilient infrastructure, climate changes and related issues, and economic development. Our Board believes that we can and are setting national standards for best practices on many of these topics, and we will continue to learn and push the needle to find solutions to these complex issues.


Update on the Sequoia Trailer Park in North Fair Oaks: As reported last year, the Sequoia Trailer Park, a 134-unit mobile home park located in North Fair Oaks, is home to many families. In summer of 2021, one of the units was destroyed by fire and as a result County staff began working with the residents to prevent future incidents, fix code violations in many of the trailers, exploring financial assistance programs with local non-profits to provide subsidized repairs for eligible residents, all while allowing the residents to continue living in their units.

Last week, I took a tour with the residents of Sequoia Trailer Park and what I saw was jarring. Much of the exterior code violations have been or are being repaired thanks to the work of the non-profit Rebuilding Together Peninsula. But a significant number of the units are beyond repair. We must find a way to help these residents. The County cannot solve this affordable housing issue alone – it will take the help of community partners and foundations. I will continue to keep you updated as we work to find a solution.


Boards and Commissions to Return to In-Person: On March 1, the state requires all County Boards and Commissions to return to in-person. Governor Newsom has announced that the COVID-19 State of Emergency will end on February 28, 2023. As a result, Brown Act bodies will no longer be able to permit remote attendance by Board and Commission members, although public participation can remain virtual. Our Board is scheduled to approve both resolutions to end the local COVID-19 emergency and related health emergency at our upcoming February 28 meeting. There will be more on this topic as local government looks to support legislation to modify the Brown Act for more flexibility in the use of remote meeting options. To listen and participate in the February 28 Board meeting, click here.

Registration is open for the OYE Conference: the 11th Annual OYE Conference will be held on March 25 at Canada College and is for local teens and young adults ages 12-22. OYE gives youth and their parents the opportunity to explore questions of identity and purpose, and build community through hands-on workshops, inspirational speakers, artistic expression, community resource sharing and networking. This year’s conference will be in-person and will focus on “Honoring Our Roots and Launching Into the Future!” To register, click here.


Exciting news from the San Mateo County Transit Authority, Caltrans and C/CAG of San Mateo County! Starting March 3, the San Mateo County 101 Express Lanes from Whipple Avenue in Redwood City to I-380 in South San Francisco will be open to all FasTrak Flex users.


As part of their celebration of Black History Month, the City of Menlo Park and the Menlo Park Libraries curated a youth poster exhibition of original artwork from K-12 students who live in or go to school in Menlo Park. They are wonderful and creative and can be seen online – it’s definitely worth your time!


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 lawyers, realtors and accountants consider applying to the Assessment Appeals Board that hears appeals of property tax assessments. If you are a veteran interested in public service, there are two openings on the San Mateo County Veterans Commission – which does important work in our veteran community! If you live or work in North Fair Oaks and looking to serve your community, consider applying to serve on the North Fair Oaks Community Council. For more information or to apply – click here.


For those affected by the January storms, a Disaster Recovery Center has opened to help  you learn about available assistance from local, state and federal agencies. The center will operate daily through March 14, at the San Mateo County Event Center. 

Looking for enriching after-school activities for your children? Every weekday the San Mateo County Libraries are offering a new activity and a chance for school-aged kids K-12 to connect and make friends while activating creativity, innovation and learning. Upcoming activities may include zine making, food preparation, wellness activities, maker tool creations, and more! North Fair Oaks Library will hold this Monday-Friday from 3-5pm; East Palo Alto Library on Monday-Thursday from 3:30-5:30pm and Friday from 3-5pm.


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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