Redwood City – After watching flood waters rise during the New Year’s storms, Lesley Lopez, 22, wants to find ways to help local communities withstand the impacts of climate change.
Isaac Stevenson, 74, is on a mission to better connect seniors with key news and information.
Lopez and Stevenson shared their concerns and ideas Wednesday evening at a listening session in East Palo Alto. The session was one of a series organized by the County of San Mateo to learn about community needs in four key areas: Housing and Homelessness, Emergency Preparedness, Children and Families and Mental Health.
Results from listening sessions and an online survey will help inform the Board of Supervisors on where local funds can help shore up the safety net and fill critical gaps in key service areas.
The series of listening sessions continues this evening in San Mateo.
Additional sessions are scheduled next week, starting Tuesday (Aug. 22) in North Fair Oaks, Wednesday (Aug. 23) in South San Francisco and concluding Friday (Aug. 25) in Daly City. All residents are invited.
Following the conclusion of the listening sessions and the closure of the survey, staff will analyze the results and present the information to the Board of Supervisors and the public this fall.
Supervisors are then expected to consider a spending plan this fall utilizing Measure K funds. Measure K is a half-cent, voter-approved sales tax that provides local funds for local needs.
At Wednesday’s session in East Palo Alto, Marlene Santoyo, 25, said, “It’s important to have these types of meetings, to hear directly from residents and the diverse comments being made.”
“Meeting residents where they are at and practicing language justice are steps in the right direction,” Santoyo said, “and I hope more meetings like this continue to take place.”
For Lopez, concerns over flooding caused by climate change and the lack of affordable housing drew her to Wednesday’s listening session in East Palo Alto, twin issues that heavily impact a city that hugs the bay. “I want to let the County know there should be more resources in the community,” Lopez said
Each session begins with an overview of the purpose of the listening session – and the opportunities they present for the public to influence spending decisions. That is followed by small-group discussions.
Professionals from InterEthnica, a consultant that specializes in reaching diverse communities, lead the meeting and also small-group breakout discussions that encourage broad participation.
These small-group discussions are available for speakers of Spanish, Cantonese and Mandarin. Discussions in Tagalog will be available in San Mateo and Daly City.
To date, more than 1,000 surveys have been submitted countywide. Listening sessions have been held in El Granada, Pescadero and East Palo Alto.
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