December 31, 2014

Slocum Has Ushered In a New Era of Collaboration in North Fair Oaks

AS YOU DRIVE North on Middlefield Road from the affluent town of Atherton toward Redwood City, the thick tree canopy suddenly vanishes from above and the lush bushes and grasses morph into gravel and cement. Iron gates fronting set-back mansions are suddenly replaced with concrete business facades, and utility wire begin to criss cross the sky above like a spider's web.

Read more from Allison McCartney of the Peninsula Press on the work that has gone into the Middlefield Road redesign project and the North Fair Oaks area in general.


December 30, 2014

Working Everyday for Better Health in San Mateo County

CHECK OUT THIS PenTV video on how the San Mateo County Health System works to help you, your family and our entire community live longer and better lives. Jean Fraser, San Mateo County Health System Director, chats with Linda Morrisey, host of San Mateo County Today.

For additional information on the San Mateo County Health System, click here. To learn more about Peninsula Television, click here.


San Mateo County Today - 13 - Jean Fraser from Peninsula TV on Vimeo.

December 14, 2014

Beyond the Rising Tide: The Case for Inclusive Growth

THE PRICE WE pay for inequities in our society measures in the billions in cities and counties and in the trillions nationally. While we can't grow our way into equity, equity can drive growth. In this talk before the National League of Cities, Mayor Betsy Hodges of Minneapolis, makes the case for developing a shared community goal of inclusive growth. She also highlights the kind of tailored policies - from early childhood development to light rail - that can help everyone participate in that growth.

I am committed to bringing the idea of Inclusive Growth to San Mateo County. It's clear that our budgeting process as well as our process for Measure A investments would benefit from this type of policy making.

November 19, 2014

Great Day for Mental Health in San Mateo County

PART OF MY campaign promise was to work to expand mental health services in San Mateo County. In keeping that promise, I voted for all three mental health items on the November 18 San Mateo County Board of Supervisors Agenda. Those projects were: Waverly Place; The Clubhouse; and, The Cordilleras Mental Health Facility. You can view the Board agenda for these items here. (Check the Regular Agenda for items 5 and 7 and the Consent Agenda for item 17).

Together, the three projects represent different approaches to our mental health issues in San Mateo County and they will individually contribute to a new, more modern approach to service delivery for those individuals and families in need of services. For additional information on mental health services in our county, click here.

The Waverly Place development is a 16-unit low-income housing project being built by the Mental Health Association in North Fair Oaks at the corner of 5th Avenue and Waverly. It will house adults struggling with mental illness who are able to live independently.

The Clubhouse is a start-up project that is based on a national mental health model. It will provide a place for adults who are recovering from mental illness to focus on re-entering everyday life, in community with others. People work together, problem-solve, socialize, seek jobs, housing and develop skills for successful living. It's current location is on Palm Avenue in San Mateo. Get more information on California Clubhouse here.

The Cordilleras project seeks to replace a building that was originally construct in 1952 for TB patients. It's outdated and costly to operate. We allocated $90 million to replace the facility with a safe, modern, more efficient treatment facility which will serve the more severely mentally ill. The new facility will create separate living quarters from the treatment center this will make some of our costs eligible for federal reimbursement dollars. Consultants have been retained to design new facilities.

The Waverly Place building will look like this facility.

Entrance to the current Clubhouse facility in San Mateo.

This is the old Cordilleras Mental Health Facility.

May 31, 2014

Trash Talking In North Fair Oaks

OVER 100 VOLUNTEERS gathered on the morning of May 31 at the Fair Oaks Community Center to "Be Seen Keepin it Clean" community cleanup event sponsored by my office and several other organizations. We are grateful to the folks who showed up to do their part to keep the neighborhoods clean - and we are thankful for our many partners and sponsors.

In all, it was a great day. Volunteers working in small teams spread out to their assigned areas to pick up trash. Preliminary information shows that around 4 tons of trash was collected. Following the work part of the morning, we served a couple hundred burritos to the workers and enjoyed a short awards ceremony and raffle.

Thanks especially to all the young people who showed up and demonstrated an interest in their community.

Join us next year at our 3rd annual clean up day. Stay current with events taking place in North Fair Oaks - check out the North Fair Oaks Forward website here.

May 26, 2014

Redwood City's Landscape is Changing

REDWOOD CITY HAS changed a great deal since the days when it was known as "Deadwood City." Take a look around these days and you'll find construction going on everywhere in the downtown area. Over 1,000 housing units are being added - primarily condos and apartments. But there is also commercial building going on too. As Bob Dylan said, "The times are a changin."




May 25, 2014

Why Does Facebook Want You To Vote?

IF YOU'RE IN the UK or the Netherlands then changes are you may have seen or be about to see a message appear in your Facebook news feed. It reminds you that it's Election Day, and has a link to where you can find your local polling station. It also tells you which of your friends have hit the "I'm a Voter" button on Facebook, to show they've voted.

Why would Facebook want to encourage people to vote?

Read more here.

May 24, 2014

Building Opportunities for Young Adults

ON MONDAY, MAY 12, 2014, the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program and Forum for Community Solutions held a discussion to explore the challenges of young adults in the labor market. The conversation highlighted ideas for expanding meaningful volunteer, on-the-job learning and entrepreneurship opportunities to help our newest generation of workers gain the experiences and skills they need to be successful in the labor market.

Panelists included John Bridgeland, president and CEO of Civic Enterprises; LaShauntaye Moore, Earth Conservation Corps, Henry Rock, executive director and founder of City Startup Labs; and Elizabeth Shuler, secretary-treasurer/CFO, AFL_CIO. The conversation was moderated by Nona Willis Aronowitz, National Reporter for NBC News Digital.

Catch the conversation in the video below.

May 23, 2014

What a Way to Start the Day

AS A COUNTY Supervisor, the normal day starts with a briefing from staff followed by appointments with constituents, lobbyists and members of non-profit organizations. Today my day started differently than most.

This morning I was visited by Bright, a Yellow Lab, who is an amazing working service dog. And notice from the picture that she even carries her own lunch in a brown recycled bag.

What makes Bright even more special is that she has her very own blog (well, she is from the Silicon Valley). It's called "Help on Four Legs" and you can check it out here.

It's amazing what these dogs can be trained to do and how much they add to the quality of life for a disabled person. 


May 22, 2014

Jobs For Youth - San Mateo County

WHAT A GREAT event the Summer Jobs for Youth Program put on this morning! Their work helps to ensure that youth in San Mateo County have an opportunity to work, to earn a little money, and more importantly, and learn what it means to contribute in the work environment. The businesses that hire youth in the summer are making an investment in our kids and in our future!

Thanks to all of them!

If you run a business, consider adding a young person to your staff for the summer! Contact: jobsforyouth@smcgov.org to learn about the program details an find a good match!

If you know a young person between 14-21 who would like to work and needs a little guidance, refer them to this program. Here's a brochure: http://www.peninsulaworks.org/documents/JFYbrochure-10.2013.pdf

May 16, 2014

New Office in San Mateo County

SAN MATEO COUNTY plans to open an Office of Sustainability to oversee and coordinate countywide stormwater initiatives and centralize sustainability efforts. Jim Eggemeyer, the County's current Director of Planning and Building, has been tapped to launch this initiative which will start July 1, 2014.

Sustainability initiatives include practices and programs to meet/exceed water quality standards, promote alternative transportation uses by employees, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, meet trash reduction targets in the unincorporated areas, and reduce energy consumption. Looking forward to the work of this new Office!

May 13, 2014

North Fair Oaks Bike Rodeo - May 12, 2014


THANKS TO ANA Angel for the great video!

The North Fair Oaks Bike Rodeo was held on Saturday, May 10, 2014. The event sought to promote bike safety in the community and improve the health and wellness of kids! Many great community organizations including the Siena Youth Center, California Highway Patrol, and San Mateo County Sheriffs Office and my office participated.

We gave away a lot of great gifts including bike helmets, bike locks, gift cards and a Trek Mountain Bike. Better yet, Aldo Contreras, who won the bike, didn't own a bicycle!

A special shout out to Lori Pastorelli of the Commute Alternatives Program, San Mateo County and Rafael Avendano, Youth Program Director, Sienna Center.

May 5, 2014

San Mateo County District 3 Supervisor's Race

VOTING BY MAIL opens today in San Mateo County. It's easy to request a vote by mail ballot - all you need to do is contact the county's election office.

One of the contests on the June 3rd Primary Election ballot is the race for District 3 Supervisor in San Mateo County. You can check out each candidate's presentation of why they are running and what the issues are in the video below.

Learn more about the ballot, the candidates and the ballot measures at Smart Voter.

May 3, 2014

New App Helps Youth Find Free Summer Meals

MILLIONS OF LOW-income students rely on free or low-cost meals. But when summer vacation starts, the school meals end. This means youth who had access to nutritious meals during the school year may be undernourished or hungry over the summer.

The good news is: there are thousands of sites serving free summer meals to low-income youth. And there's a new free mobile app called Range that helps libraries, nonprofits, faith based organizations and others working with youth locate those free meal sites this summer.

The statistics on hunger in America are startling - check them out here!

Get the app here.

May 1, 2014

iCop: A New Crime Fighting App

IN THE INNER sanctum of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Offices, there’s a display case that houses numerous department artifacts dating back to the 1800s: photographs, badges and handwritten incident logs help tell the department’s storied past. Captain Chris Lathrop likes to stop and take in the department’s rich history. But Captain Lathrop’s focus is in the future – and one mobile application in particular that is making a big difference in how the department fights crime.

The mobile app developed in-house by Ventura County’s IT Department is called iCop – and it’s been a great asset to Sheriff’s Department deputies and investigators.

Believed to be the first of its kind in the nation, this mobile application interfaces with the County’s criminal justice system, allowing officers to securely search by person, address or vehicle. Results include demographics, mug shots, tattoo images, warrant information, booking history, calls for services, arrest reports and property reports. Information is returned to the field in a matter of 20 seconds or less — as compared to the hours or days it previously took.


April 30, 2014

New County Website

SAN MATEO COUNTY'S website got a facelift. Check it out here and let me know what you think.


April 29, 2014

Affordable Housing Week in San Mateo County

FIRST-TIME HOMEBUYERS, homeowners, renters and seniors are invited to attend a "Housing Resource Fair on Saturday, May 3 from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM at the St. Francis of Assisi Church located at 1425 Bay Road in East Palo Alto.

Attendees can take part in a buyer preparedness class, get information on down payment assistance locals and energy efficient upgrades - and more.

More information at www.hlcsmc.org or 650.872.4444.

The Housing Resource Fairs are a part of Affordable Housing Week in San Mateo County. Events include a Community Housing Tour, a Social Justice Forum: Housing for All, Affordable Housing Tour and more. Additional information is available at the resources listed above.

Mark your calendar and plan to attend.

April 11, 2014

No Campaign Funds for Criminal Defense

POLITICIANS FACING criminal charges would not be allowed to use campaign funds to pay their legal bills under an amendment Senator Jerry Hill said he plans to introduce in the wake of the indictment of his colleague Senator Leland Yee on charges of corruption and conspiracy to traffic weapons.

Under current law, politicians have wide latitude on how they spend campaign funds. Expenses have to have a legislative, governmental or political purpose, but can be used for everything from hiring campaign consultants and TV ads, to travel and paying legal bills.

Read more here: http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2014/04/no-campaign-cash-for-fighting-criminal-charges-says-jerry-hill.html#storylink=cpy

April 10, 2014

North Fair Oaks Forward: A Community Project of San Mateo County

NORTH FAIR Oaks Forward is a multi-partner collaboration that is planning, designing and developing enhancements to the North Fair Oaks neighborhood and working on implementing the North Fair Oaks Community Plan. Supporting that work are county outreach specialists (take a look at their busy work area) whose job it is to invite community members to join the conversation and help make the decisions that will impact the community in the future in significant ways. 

For more info contact itorres@smcgov.org.


April 9, 2014

San Mateo County Creek Named One of America's Most Endangered Rivers

SAN FRANCISQUITO Creek has been named one of America's most endangered rivers by the non-profit American Rivers. But the designation is really focused on the future of Searsville Reservoir and Dam, a 122 year-old structure that begins the 14-mile path of San Francisquito Creek through the heart of Silicon Valley.

The future of Searsville is but one of the complex issues facing this creek. Because it divides cities and counties, the San Francisquito Joint Powers Agreement was formed to reduce a proven flood threat, enhance habitat for endangered and other species, and generally convert the creek from a divisive liability into a unifying asset.

The SFCJPA is working with Stanford and others to ensure that a decision regarding the future of Searsville, which will impact many communities downstream, is made in the context of these related regional issues.


The SFCJPA is an independent regional government agency founded by three cities and two countywide agencies divided by San Francisquito Creek and united by its watershed and floodplain. The JPA leads projects along the creek and S.F. Bay that reduce a proven flood threat, enhance ecosystems a
nd recreational opportunities, and connect our communities. Funding comes from East Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Palo Alto, San Mateo County Flood Control District and the Santa Clara Valley Water District as well as federal, state and private sources.

Read the narrative on San Francisquito Creek and why it's considered "endangered" in American Rivers.

April 8, 2014

Conclusion of the First Enrollment Period for the Affordable Care Act


MARCH 31 was the deadline to sign up for subsidized health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. At the local level, both the Health System and Human Services Agency reported high interest at enrollment sites where staff assisted many residents to complete the enrollment process with extended hours at key dates leading up to the deadline.

According to the County Manager's report, we do not have final data to share with the Board since the enrollment period just ended, we know that more than 32,000 residents have enrolled in new ACA coverage during this historic first open enrollment. This includes almost 14,000 residents newly eligible for Medi-Cal and enrolled as of April 1 and more than 18,000 residents enrolled in a private health plan through Covered California as of March 1. We look forward to updating these data with the results of the high volume of residents whom County staff assisted during the month of March.


An indication of the additional enrollments expected is that as of March 5, San Mateo County received 14,273 Medi-Cal applications. During the final week of March, HSA's call center received 5,609 calls for applications so we know the number of applications is going to rise once we have final numbers.


Covered California has announced an extension for some residents to enroll past the deadline. This is to address the problems that the Covered California enrollment system experienced during the final days as it was overwhelmed and residents had difficulty completing the process on their website. For residents who were unable to create an online account due to technical difficulties and for those who didn't complete their full application, they have until midnight on April 15 to complete their applications. 

April 5, 2014

Teen Digital Media Lab is a Winner

THE TULARE County Library now provides a new way to engage teenagers and prepare them for the future by providing digital resources and guiding them to be creative and think for themselves. It's no wonder the Teen Digital Media Lab is becoming a big hit with Tulare County teens!

April 4, 2014

North Fair Oaks Website Launched


BIG CHANGES are coming to the North Fair Oaks area of San Mateo County.

North Fair Oaks is a densely populated unincorporated area is bounded by the cities of Redwood City to the north, west and southwest; Atherton to the east; and Menlo Park to the south. Highway 82 (El Camino Real) runs along much of its western boundary. Highway 101 (Bay Road which runs parallel to Hwy 101) is provides its eastern border. Highway 84 (Woodside Road) is about 3 blocks north of the community.

Over the past 35 years, the population in North Fair Oaks has grown, issues related to high-density living have developed and predictable difficulties have arisen from the close proximity of commercial, residential and industrial land uses competing for space in an area that is only 798 acres in size.  In 2010, the Census listed the population of North Fair Oaks as slightly less than 15,000 people; 73% were Hispanic/Latino.

As the San Mateo County Supervisor for the Fourth District, it became abundantly clear to me that the community lacked a communication network to share community news and get information. That's why my office launched a new website, www.nfoforward.org -- a website designed for ‘all things North Fair Oaks.

The development of this website was and continues to be a collaborative of community partners create and post content to the website, including County departments, the Redwood CitySchool District, the Sheriff’s Office, the North Fair Oaks Community Council, Family Connections, the Siena Youth Center, the North Fair Oaks YouthInitiative, the NFOForward Outreach Team and others. The website will feature accurate and timely information, promote an exchange of ideas, and build community as partners share information.

The NFO Forward website is bilingual and was developed as part of a multi-prong outreach effort called NFOForward, to inform, engage and involve the community in these long-range decisions. The NFO Outreach Team (which is funded by Measure A), the Redwood City 2020 Workgroups, community partners and County staff are all working together to bring the community to the table to ensure that all voices have an opportunity to be heard.

By creating a site that mirrors the information in English and Spanish, nearly everyone in the community can access accurate and reliable information.  This is critical as we embark on the implementation phase of the North Fair Oaks Community Plan—the first land-use update of the area in 35 years. 

This community resource (a work in progress) was designed to give residents, community organizations, government agencies, and nonprofits an online platform to share news, calendar events, air meetings of the North Fair Oaks Community Council, and provide volunteer sign-up opportunities.  The website is also designed to promote two-way exchanges on topics under consideration in the Community Plan and provide the Council, the County and the community with different perspectives.

The NFOForward website is a place for all community partners to post information—it is truly a collaborative effort.

April 3, 2014

Where is Deadwood City?

YEARS AGO, Redwood City was affectionately known as "Deadwood City." Why? Because there was hardly anything going on in town - the downtown, if you could call it that, was living a slow death. But take a look at the area now. There's a Century Theater, a diversity of good restaurants and a growing number of retail shops.

The big news, however, is all of the housing that's being built. Over 1,600 units are being added to the housing inventory. With that comes infrastructure needs, traffic and obviously more people.

The city has changed and continues to transform itself from a sleepy hollow to a destination where it's hard to find parking.

The video below, "Where is Deadwood City?" was created by Redwood City and tells the story of the city's transformation. It was shown at the State of the City address recently at the Fair Oaks Community Center.


April 2, 2014

Stepping-Up: The Urgency for Fatherhood

THE FATHERHOOD Collaborative of San Mateo County invites you to register for the 2014 Fatherhood Conference. Join the conversation about the challenges and barriers faced by fathers in our communities with keynote speaker Ralph Harper, author of "Stepped Up: The Urgency for Fatherhood."

The event is scheduled for April 17 from 9 am to 2:30 pm at the San Mateo County History Museum located in downtown Redwood City, CA

Register for the conference here.