October 30, 2013

Rebel Mouse Can Be Your Social Front Page: Check It Out!

REBELMOUSE IS based on the idea that people are proud of what they share on social networks, but are starting to feel embarrassed about their websites. RebelMouse creates your social front page, building a dynamic site around what you share.

You can connect all of your social networks - including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram - and create one beautiful page of your entire online presence. RebelMouse can also be embedded on your blog or site, and it can even be used to power your domain.

Check out my RebelMouse page here.

October 29, 2013

A Random Act of Kindness

AT THE Connect 13: Strengthening Communities Through Social Media Conference, Assembly Member Kevin Mullin and I wanted to have a drawing for some kind of "thank you" gift. We finally decided to give away an iPad Mini.

The idea was to ask all the attendees to put their business cards in a fish bowl and at the conclusion of the event, we would draw one winner.

That winner was Joshua Hugg, manager of the Housing Leadership Council of San Mateo County. Mr. Hugg went home with a brand new white iPad mini.

It didn't stay with him long, however, because he donated the iPad mini to a College of San Mateo student who was a victim of the Terrace Apartment fire in Redwood City on October 17.

A big shout out to Mr. Hugg for his generosity.

October 28, 2013

North Fair Oaks Community Council Meeting

THE NORTH Fair Oaks Community Council is an advisory body to the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors. The Council meets monthly. Below is a video of the most recent meeting that took place on October 24, 2013 at the Fair Oaks Community Center.

October 26, 2013

North Fair Oaks Youth Step Up To Educate The Community

THE NORTH Fair Oaks Community Plan will guide the future development of that community. For several months outreach efforts have attempted to bring plan details to the residents and business owners of North Fair Oaks.

Today there was a unique outreach event.
The North Fair Oaks Community Plan Youth Academy sponsored a youth fair at the Community Center. The event featured booths staffed by members of the Academy who graduated from a five week program aimed at educating them about the details of the NFO Community Plan - specifically Parking, Parks, Health and Zoning topics.

There was a booth for each of those topics that featured illustrations, pictures and other related materials. I visited each of the booths and listened to the presentations and asked questions of the youth. They were well trained and knew the details of their particular area of speciality.

The idea is that these neighborhood kids, who clearly have a stake in the future of North Fair Oaks, will go out into the community and talk with adults about the plan and its details. While one of many outreach strategies, this strategy has many potential benefits.

Mayor Alicia Aguirre and I were honored to hand out commendations for each of the graduates. We also had the pleasure of saying a few words to the kids and their families.

The North Fair Oaks Youth Initiative deserves a great deal of thanks for putting this all together.

October 12, 2013

Coming Soon: North Fair Oaks Community Website

THERE ISN'T one yet, but it's in development. 

The new North Fair Oaks Community website will feature news, resources, people, information, upcoming events issues, photos, videos, meetings of the North Fair Oaks Community Council, and projects that are part of the North Fair Oaks Community Plan. News will come from all quarters - organizations, schools, arts programs, youth, the library, nonprofits, and residents. 

Arturo Samayoa of Nimbus Design in Redwood City is the developer; the site is being built on a DRUPAL (open) platform. Here's a mock-up of what the homepage might look like...but it would have fresh content from many sources. And, the header photos rotate!

Major sections of the website include:
  • About North Fair Oaks
  • Our Community
  • Community News
  • Community Events
  • Caught on Camera
  • Resources
  • Frequently Asked Questions
The site will also feature community videos, a community calendar and news features. Our hope is that the new features will inform and engage the community.

Let us know what you think. You can check out the development site here.

October 11, 2013

Republicans Announce $10 million Initiative To Lure Latino Voters

REPUBLICANS STRIVING to mend relations with the Latino voters who have largely shunned their party announced a $10-million initiative Thursday to make electoral inroads among this crucial group across the nation.

Engaging Latino voters has been a constant effort for Republicans in recent years, as the population has grown to the point it can tilt races in critical states. But party leaders say the new initiative, which will include a paid staff and year-round voter targeting in California and 16 other states, is more meaningful than past attempts.

"What's different about our effort this time is we're starting early, not just six months before an election, and we're going to stay even after the election is over," Jennifer Sevilla Korn, the Republican National Committee's deputy political director for Hispanic initiatives, said at a luncheon in Santa Ana.

October 9, 2013

Poverty In San Mateo County Much Worse Than Reported

SOME 18 percent of San Mateo County residents live in poverty, almost three times as many people as are considered poor by the federal government, according to new data from Beth Mattingly, a Stanford University researcher.

Mattingly’s research sought to construct a more accurate measure of poverty levels by including more available data — especially the cost of housing, child care and transportation. Where federal statistics show that only 49,534 county residents live in poverty, Mattingly says the actual number is 136,033.

The dramatic difference is largely driven by housing costs, Mattingly said, because the Stanford poverty measurement considers more than noncash and post-tax resources, also including expenses. The new measurement method — called the California Poverty Measure — is part of the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality’s ongoing effort to
better understand the extent of economic hardship in the state.

The high cost of housing and the high number of low-paying jobs contribute to the problem. The average rental cost of a one-bedroom apartment in the county is $2,053 a month — an 8.2 percent increase over last year, according to county Housing Department data. Homelessness has also jumped 12 percent since 2011.

October 5, 2013

Hispanic Foundation Ball

THE HISPANIC Foundation of Silicon Valley is the recognized leader in Hispanic philanthropy in Silicon Valley, inspiring Hispanic families and children to achieve personal greatness. The Foundation is dedicated to inspiring community philanthropy and engaging people to invest in the educational achievement and leadership development of a thriving Hispanic community in Silicon Valley.

On Saturday night the Foundation held its 24th annual Hispanic Foundation Ball. Over 800 people attended and enjoyed networking, good food and dancing. The crowed was also moved by the remarks of special guest speaker Mayor Julian Castro, Mayor of San Antonio, Texas.

Redwood City Mayor Alicia Aguirre was the event Co-Chair along with Xavier De La Torre.

Congratulations to the Mayor Ron Gonzales, President and CEO, the entire Board of Directors and all of the volunteers that made this year's fundraising event such a huge success.

October 4, 2013

Campaign Promises: County Gets A Poet Laureate

IN THE course of a political campaign, promises are made.

One promise I made during my year long campaign for the Board of Supervisors was to start a San Mateo County Poet Laureate program with the goals of sharing the art of the written word - promote literacy - and inspire children to read and write using poetry as the vehicle.

Now I am pleased to announce that an award-winning Montara writer and professor with a long involvement in the literary arts is poised to be the county's inaugural poet laureate.

On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors is expected to formally appoint Caroline Goodwin.

I owe a big thank you to Marci Dragun of my staff for doing so much work related to this months-long process. I also would like to thank Supervisor Carole Groom who served as committee co-chair. And finally let me recognize all of the members of the Poet Laureate Committee who did lots of home work and attended many meetings - and share their ideas and perspectives on this undertaking.

The members of the committee includes California Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera; Jackie Berger, director of the master of arts in English program at Notre Dame de Namur University; Kalamu Chaché, East Palo Alto poet laureate; Maryann Moise Derwin, chair of the San Mateo County Library JPA governing board and Portola Valley councilwoman; Anne-Marie Despain, director of library services for San Mateo County Library; Julie Fellers, president, Peninsula Arts Council; Mary Gutierrez, dean of language arts at Skyline College; Clark Kepler, local business advocate; Bardi Rosman Koodrin, literary director of the San Mateo County Fair; Donald Mulliken, San Mateo County arts commissioner; Christopher Wachlin, president of the California Writers Club, San Francisco-Peninsula Branch; and Bonny Zanardi, arts columnist for the San Jose Mercury News.

Read More >

October 3, 2013

Why I'm Going To Work This Morning

North Fair Oaks
FOR THOSE who don't know, I represent the areas of East Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Redwood City and the unincorporated area known as North Fair Oaks as a County Supervisor, 4th District.

Each week, I try to hold office hours in one of those areas.

As a County Supervisor, it's vitally important to get out into the community and hear from real people about real issues. Those issues can include noise, dirty streets, gang activities, graffiti, illegal dumping and a host of related situations. Often there are solutions - some even straightforward. At times, however, things get more complicated.

Last night (October 2), from 5 PM to 7 PM, I held office hours at the Fair Oaks Community Center in North Fair Oaks.

Sometimes at office hours 10-15 people show up to share their stories. Other times it's five people. Not huge crowds but the setting does offer the chance for quality conversations.

One family came to office hours last night - a husband and wife with three kids. They were Latino.

The family lives in a large apartment building in a one bedroom apartment. The reasons they came to office hours were to ask me to help them with their living situation. Here are the complaints they shared with me:

1. The family had just gotten notice of a rent increase (nearly double)
2. Bedbugs
3. Cockroaches and termites
4. Gang members doing drugs in the building
5. Their kids were told they couldn't play in the play yard
6. Parts of the ceiling in their apartment was falling down

Unfortunately, their story is not uncommon. I heard this kind of tale twice last night at office hours and I have heard similar stories in the past.

There are way too many people in the 4th District (and elsewhere in San Mateo County) that are living in dreadful, crowded conditions because of the economy and the cost of living on the Peninsula.

At the least, doesn't everyone deserve a clean, safe place to call home in exchange for their rent payment?

I think so and that's why I am going to work this morning. To try and correct some, if not all, of the six issues this wonderful family shared with me.

I'm working hard for them and all the other families in the district who live in deplorable conditions.

October 2, 2013

San Mateo County Officials Prepared To Weigh Supervisorial Boundaries

THE COMMITTEE charged with choosing a redistricting map for San Mateo County narrowed the list of possible district line maps to three and recommended them to the Board of Supervisors, which will weigh them at a meeting next week
The Supervisorial District Lines Advisory Committee, made up of nine officials from throughout the county, selected from more than 20 maps submitted by groups and individuals. The maps split the county into five districts.
The county was one of the few in the state that selected its supervisors at large, rather than on a district-by-district basis. But that all changed when voters passed a measure in November that changed the county charter so that supervisors would be elected for each of district by only the voters in each district.