Community News

Board of Supervisor Slocum's March 2023 Newsletter

March 2023 Newsletter

Dear Marci,


In March, we move from winter to spring. Many of us can’t wait! It has been a hard winter here in San Mateo County – with massive and unprecedented rain and wind storms and even snow, and heartache as a mass shooting hit our community. But spring is traditionally the time that signifies rebirth and regeneration – something we as a community could use.


This month our Board of Supervisors proclaimed Women’s History Month – and I have been honored to work with many incredible women who helped shape our County.


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




Warren Slocum

Visit our website for more news and information!



At our February 28 Board of Supervisor meeting, we approved a resolution officially ending the local COVID19 state-of-emergency, nearly three years after it began. The state did so as well.


On March 14, the Board was given a presentation on the County’s pandemic recovery programs – and they were extensive. From the beginning of the pandemic, San Mateo County began to engage our community and advance equity and created the Recovery Initiative. This initiative, which included 168 members from County staff, private sector partners, cities, community-based organizations and non-profits, developed 37 strategic recommendations for pandemic recovery.


Recovery funding, which included local, state and federal funds, totaled over $400 million. Some of the highlights that these recovery funds assisted include:


  • $188 million towards addressing housing security through rental assistance. 7400 households were able to pay rent over a significant amount of time. This helped to prevent homelessness.
  • $76 million toward food security which funded programs such as Great Plates and Second Course, both which helped feed homebound seniors and more, and dollars invested in food banks.
  • 16,017 individuals were given $1000 grants was through our Immigrant Assistance program.
  • Broadband for all so that families and youth were able to stay connected.
  • Some 7000 small businesses and non-profits were assisted with $33 million in grants so that they could continue working in our communities.
  • 368 childcare providers were assisted through a relief fund and grants.
  • 58 new learning hubs were put up to help our youth with learning loss during the pandemic, along with funding 68 summer enrichment programs last summer and 53 for this summer.

To listen to this comprehensive presentation, click here.


We certainly needed the rain after the extreme drought conditions the state and region has faced over many years. But no one expected the deluge of rain events we would face since December 31. And, as of this writing, we are facing continuous atmospheric rivers pounding our County with rain and wind and blasting the Sierras with heavy snow. Thousands of residents have had power interruptions and that caused one community, East Palo Alto, to have a special community meeting with representatives of PG&E. Given this winter weather, it is so important that everyone sign up for SMC Alert so that you receive notifications immediately during urgent or emergency situations. Another tip is to know your zone where your residence is located with Zonehaven. Sign up and you can see problem areas within your neighborhood. If you live in the unincorporated areas, our Department of Public Works website has a list of locations where you can pick up sandbags (up to 15) free of charge. If you live within city limits, check with your city’s website for locations.

Bottom line: be prepared and stay safe.


Both in February and this month, we experienced weather events with wind gusts topping 40-55 mph, knocking down trees and power lines. Around the Peninsula, some 41,000 households were left without power for days and in freezing temperatures - twice. My own family experienced 48 hours without power in Redwood City also twice. This is unacceptable in modern times!


On March 15, I participated in a Community Forum in East Palo Alto with State Senator Josh Becker, Assemblywoman Diane Papan, East Palo Alto Mayor Lisa Gauthier, representatives from the County Department of Emergency Management and PG&E. We listened to the frustrations and rightful anger voiced by the residents of East Palo Alto about what they went through during these wind and rain storms. And we also demanded from PG&E to know the steps that will be taken to ensure an event like this does not happen again. They must be adequately staffed and prepared to assist our residents. It is important to note that the PG&E representative apologized to the residents at this meeting and promised to engage with schools and others as events are occurring – improving greatly on past communication shortfalls.


Did you know that Women’s History Month started as just a day-long celebration in Sonoma County in 1978? Then in 1987, it became a nationally recognized month of celebration. And we have so many remarkable women here in San Mateo County.


I have had the honor of working with some incredible elected leaders including Congresswoman Anna Eshoo and former Congresswoman Jackie Speier; former County Supervisors Rose Jacobs Gibson, Carole Groom, Adrienne Tissier and current Supervisor Noelia Corzo; and many community leaders doing impactful work for our residents including Sister Christina Heltsley. I know there are others who are unsung heroes, whose significant work continues to benefit our community. We honor them all. On March 14, our Board recognized Women’s History Month and you can read the Board proclamation here and I would also encourage you to listen to this part of the Board meeting here.

I also wanted to give a well-deserved shout out to my wife Maria Diaz Slocum during Women’s History Month. Maria was spotlighted in a Redwood City Pulse article for her two decades of dedicated service on the Redwood City School District Board of Trustees, serving as President five times during her tenure. She is also a long-time beloved librarian at the Redwood City Library where she works with both young and old and loves every minute of it.

I’m so proud of you Maria!


After several community meetings to get input on this project, I’m excited to announce that the Healthy Community Mural Committee has selected artist Emily Fromm! She will complete the 16 murals at the 5th Avenue underpass in North Fair Oaks – and we couldn’t be more excited. Let me tell you about Emily.


Born in Los Angeles in 1991, Emily moved to San Francisco in 2009 to study painting and art at San Francisco State University, graduating in 2013 with a BFA in Studio Art. Emily paints contemporary urban landscapes which highlight local businesses, iconic architecture, and diverse communities – a style that deeply moved the Healthy Community Mural Committee. Emily’s works have been exhibited locally (one of her paintings is in the Harvey Milk Terminal at SFO Airport) and internationally. One of Emily’s proposed murals for our project that she shared at the community meeting is reflected above.


One thing that really touched the Committee was Emily’s idea to engage local youth in the actual painting of the murals, perhaps over this summer. We cannot wait to see more of her vision on those 16 panels! Congrats Emily!


Setting Board Priorities – Measure K: First – a huge thank you to the voters who in 2016 overwhelming approved the passage of Measure K which has allowed our County to have the funding for critical services for our most vulnerable – especially during the COVID pandemic. The original sales tax (Measure A) would have sunsetted this month after 10 years.


At our March 14 Board meeting, the Board unanimously approved the Measure K priorities and allocations for FY 23-24. This was a result of continued discussions at our February Board Retreat and a Measure K Study Session at the end of last month. Here’s what we approved for the $22 million in unallocated Measure K funds:

A Farewell to Assistant County Executive Peggy Jensen: this month we give a heartfelt farewell to Assistant County Executive Peggy Jensen. She has spent the good part of her career in County leadership, working to improve the quality of life for our residents. Before coming to the County Executive’s office, Peggy served as Director of the Department of Child Support Services and as Interim Parks Director. I have worked closely with Peggy for many years – she is a dedicated public servant, a true leader and has worked tirelessly on the past 3 years on COVID recovery efforts and the work to end homelessness. We wish her the best in her retirement.

New Assistant Director of Human Services Agency: Claire Cunningham has been named the new Assistant Director of the County’s Human Services Agency. Claire began her work with the County in 2007 as a Deputy County Attorney. And since that time, she has represented school districts and County departments admirably. In fact, for the last decade, Claire represented the Human Services Agency and has in-depth knowledge of the Agency. Claire last served as Chief Deputy County Attorney and we congratulate her on her new position!


The San Mateo County Veterans Commission is recruiting for 2 alternate commissioners. Created in 2015, this Commission addresses the needs of the over 27,000 veterans and their families living in San Mateo County. If you are a veteran or work with veterans in this county, consider applying to this important commission. Applications are being accepted through April 14.

Some good news to help veterans. Assembly Bill 2949 was signed into law effective as of January 1 giving eligible veterans free tolls on California toll bridges, including the Dumbarton, Bay and Golden Gate bridges. Eligible veterans include veterans who have a vehicle license plate with a Congressional Medal of Honor, Disabled Veteran, Legion of Valor, Pearl Harbor Survivor, ex-Prisoner of War or Purple Heart designation. For more information, click here.

Although Black History Month has ended, you can still learn about their rich history and contributions here in San Mateo County. The Domini Hoskins Black History Museum in Redwood City has extended its opening through March 31! With a mission to educate youth about the rich history that African Americans have contributed to the American Experience – a visit is a must for families.


Great news for book club lovers! San Mateo County Libraries is now on Fable, a new virtual book club app. Click here to get a one-year free account – which includes free author events and free book club ebooks and join the conversation.


Our San Mateo County Libraries is doing amazing work with English conversation and English Language Learning (ESL) with adult learners accomplishing significant goals such as advancing to the intermediate level in their English lessons, receiving praise for their gains in English pronunciation, and beginning college-level coursework with the help of their tutors. Over 500 people attended their weekly English conversation groups since last August across six locations and online. This video highlights some of these accomplishments and worth a watch!


There is a new member of the North Fair Oaks Community Council: George Saman. He was appointed by the Board of Supervisors on March 14. George owns Shawarma Palace on Middlefield Road in North Fair Oaks and has a background in technology, working for the Department of State for 13 years in a variety of roles in the Middle East. He moved to Redwood City in 2016 to plant roots here and support his three young nephews. We look forward to working with you George!


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.


Did you know that there is a program to help cover transportation costs for qualifying individuals? The San Mateo 101 Express Lanes Community Transportation Benefits Program will give either a $100 credit on a Clipper Card or a $100 credit on a FasTrak transponder. For more information, 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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