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.

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