Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS)

The Human Services Agency's Vocational Rehabilitation Services division held their 25th Anniversary Holiday Luncheon on December 18 for many County clients. Supervisor Don Horsley, County Manager John Maltbie, Director of HSA Beverly Beasley Johnson and I had the privilege of serving the turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing and gravy. My staff and the staff members of all my colleagues on the Board of Supervisors were on hand to serve the rest of the dinner - including pumpkin pie with whipped cream!

Sequoia Health Care District

The Board of Supervisors attended a special thank you reception to honor the donors who helped make the new Fair Oaks Health Center a reality on Monday night. A special tribute was paid to the Sequoia Healthcare District for their generous capital gift of $4.3 M this year. This one-time gift represents 50% of their annual operating budget and indicates the level of commitment they have made to improve the quality of health care in the district.

Redwood City Library earns “Five Star” rating

The Redwood City Library was one of only three in the state to receive the coveted "Five Star Rating" from the Library Journal Index of Public Library Service, the premier public library national rating system instituted by the Library Journal. The rating makes the Redwood City Public Library not only the top-rated library in San Mateo County, it is one of the top-rated in California and the country.

The First Thanksgiving Gathering at the Fair Oaks Health Center

My staff and I stopped by the soon-to-open Fair Oaks Health Center when we noticed that the door to the facility was propped open. The facility was full of staff who had gathered for a Thanksgiving potluck which is scheduled to open in a couple of weeks! It was a chance to gather the staff from the three clinics that will merge at the new Fair Oaks Health Center. It was a chance to see the new facility, participate in a safety training, and celebrate and give thanks. It was a joyous day! Can't wait for it to be open for our patients!

The First Responders to the Oakside, Hallmark House and Terrace Apartments Fires in Redwood City

At the November 5th Board of Supervisors meeting, my colleagues and I recognized the amazing people that saved the lives of hundreds of Redwood City residents this year or helped these fire victims rebuild their lives. Chief Jim Skinner of the City of Redwood City did a masterful job of coordinating the responding fire departments. The recent fires were six-alarm fires requiring complicated rescues of injured and medically fragile individuals from multi-story buildings.

Patrick Tornes, Eagle Scout

Congratulations to Patrick Tornes, a 16-year old junior at Woodside Priory, who earned his Eagle Scout badge for completing the Serenity Garden project for the Maple Street Shelter in Redwood City. The Maple Street Shelter serves single adult homeless people--about half of its residents are veterans. Patrick conceived of the idea for this beautiful garden, raised the money to build the project, and recruited the help of 24 of his scout mates and 10 adults to do much of the labor.

Joshua Hugg

Joshua Hugg, manager of the Housing Leadership Council of San Mateo County, donated the iPad mini that he won at the Connect13 conference to a CSM student who was a victim of the Terrace Apartment fire in Redwood City on Oct. 17. He contacted the College of San Mateo to find out if there were student victims from the recent fire that might need it. That's how he made the connection. So great!

The North Fair Oaks Community Plan Youth Academy

Congratulations to the 26 Youth Ambassadors who took the time to learn about the North Fair Oaks Community Plan, created learning centers to teach others, and participated in the first community education project! They set up booths in the parking lot of the Fair Oaks Community Center and invited the public to come and learn. They did a terrific job! I was so impressed with what they'd learned, how organized the event was, and that these young people will continue to be ambassadors about the plan. They are the leaders of tomorrow!

The East Palo Alto Chicas

Meet Vanessa Tostado, Ashley Davis and Margarita Tenisi, & Rose Valencia of East Palo Alto. Self-dubbed the “EPA Chica Squad,” three Eastside Prep sophomores and one Sequoia High School freshman competed in the Technovation Challenge, a global competition that uses online curriculum to guide teams of middle school and high school girls through the process of developing mobile-phone application.

Assembly Member Kevin Mullin (D-22)

Assistant Speaker Pro Tem Kevin Mullin (D-San Mateo County) strengthened human rights protections for immigrants with the passage of legislation (AB 524) that was signed by the Governor Brown. It guarantees that a person’s immigration status cannot be threatened if they report unfair or illegal working conditions. This new law will take effect on January 1, 2014.

Editorial: After the Fire

When a six-alarm fire broke out in Redwood City early Sunday morning, the emergency response was fast and thorough. With nearly 100 people left homeless, that response soon transformed into an ongoing support system that gathered resources from multiple sources...

OP ED: Just One

Imagine how you would feel if you and your family lost everything in a fire and you couldn’t find a new place to live? Now imagine your home was one of the very few affordable places to live in one of the most expensive areas of the country...We are now asking San Mateo County apartment building owners for help. We ask that you consider offering one vacant unit in your building to a fire victim. We realize this is a unique request; these people have lost their housing because of a fire and not through any fault of their own. For those people with vacant in-law units, motels with living units and home-share opportunities: • We’re not asking that the unit be free — we’re asking that it be affordable; • We’re not asking that it be forever — we’re asking that it be for as long as the tenant wants to call it home; • We’re not asking for multiple units — we’re asking for a single unit. If enough housing rental units aren’t found in the next couple of weeks for these people, the 80 fire victims will be forced to look for housing in places like Modesto, Fresno or Galt — communities that are not known, not “home.” Can’t we do better as a community? Can’t we find a way to accommodate the victims of this tragedy?