August 2022 Newsletter

Dear Marci,

Summer vacation has come and gone, and now students are returning to school. There is a traditional community greeting offered by the Maasai Tribe of Kenya and Tanzania, which asks “And how are the children?” The response to this is “All the children are well.” The thought being is that if our children are well, so is our community.


A new California law takes effect this school year with a later start time for our students at public schools across the state. Public high schools now begin classes at 8:30 am and middle schools start no earlier than 8:00 a.m. Studies have focused on the importance of sleep for students, with teenagers needing as much as 10 hours of sleep each day. And experts say that chronic sleep deprivation among teenagers has been linked to worse academic performance and mental and physical health problems as well as substance abuse and drowsy driving. 


And one last thought on back to school – a heartfelt thank you to our educators and school staff who have been tasked with so much during the pandemic and accomplished many new “jobs” during these extraordinary times. We are wishing each of you a successful new school year – hopefully one with fewer challenges.


Thank you for taking a moment to read our August newsletter. And if you have additional questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.




Warren Slocum

Visit our website for more news and information!


PASSAGE OF THE PACT ACT: As a proud veteran, and one who saw small burn pits up close while serving in Vietnam, I believed that the passage of the Honoring our Pact Act (PACT Act) was critical to our veterans. So much so that at the August 2 Board of Supervisors meeting, I gave an impassioned plea urging the U.S. Senate to do just that. And they did – later that night – expanding benefits to an estimate 3.5 million veterans exposed to toxic burn pits during our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. This bill was the culmination of a 15-year fight for veterans to get the healthcare that they earned in service to and sacrifice for their country, after coming home with a number of illnesses, including terminal cancers. The PACT Act removed this burden of proof from our veterans. President Biden signed the PACT Act into law on August 10, making it the most significant expansion of benefits and services for toxic exposed veterans in more than 30 years. If you have questions about the PACT Act or other VA benefits, contact our County Veterans Service Office.


VETERANS RECOGNITION LUNCHEON: The San Mateo County Veterans Commission will hold its 7th Annual Veterans Recognition luncheon on Thursday, November 10th at the Westin SFO in Millbrae. At the event, we will honor a Veteran of the Year, Patriot of the Year and Enterprise of the Year. The keynote speaker will be U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Thomas A. Cropper (Ret.), President of California State University Maritime Academy. We are currently seeking sponsors for the event, and if you or your company are interested, click here. Individual tickets can also be purchased here. 


I believe that justice must be equally accessible to all – and not discerned by the color of one’s skin or how rich or poor you are. That is what troubles me most about the facts known in the “Batmobile” case – where Sheriff’s deputies obtained search warrants and travelled to Indiana to retrieve a $200,000 replica of the Batmobile for a wealthy Atherton resident. We need to know the facts involved here – as taxpayer dollars were involved. And to this point, the Board of Supervisors, through the County Executive, have written to the California State Attorney General (AG) Rob Bonta requesting that he begin an inquiry into the recent criminal investigation and the prosecution of the Indiana businessman who makes and sells the Batmobile replicas. This inquiry or possible action is within the purview of the AG who has authority over the State’s county sheriffs and district attorneys in matters related to the duties of their offices. We have taken another step to independently investigate the propriety of this matter – the Board of Supervisors, also through the County Executive, has hired retired Alameda County Superior Court Judge Winifred Smith, who spent 21 years on the bench and 26 years as Deputy Attorney General in the California Attorney General’s Office. I promise to keep you updated on the outcome of this investigation.


COVID19: There is some good news to report – the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has moved San Mateo County and much of the Bay Area to the low/green tier which reflects that we are seeing a slow and steady drop of COVID19 cases in this region. It's important to note that while cases are coming down, they do remain high compared to previous periods, as do the risks for exposure to COVID19. Our San Mateo County Health still recommends being current on vaccinations and boosters, getting tested if you have symptoms, and wearing high-quality masks (like N95 or KN95) in settings where ventilation is poor or if you are at high risk for severe disease or illness. 

On the horizon, there will soon be a booster to target the original coronavirus strain as well as current omicron subvariants such as BA.4 and BA.5 – and we will keep you apprised of its availability.


And now every home in the U.S. is eligible to order a third round of at-home COVID-19 tests. The tests are completely free and orders usually ship within 7-12 days. These tests are rapid antigen at-home tests, not PCR. They can be taken anywhere and give results within 30 minutes (no lab drop-off required). Order your tests here so you have them when you need them.

MONKEYPOX: Monkeypox is latest health concern, particularly in the Bay Area. The good news is that the current risk of getting monkeypox in the general public is very low. Monkeypox spreads primarily through prolonged skin-to-skin contact and bodily fluids, such as through crowded settings or sexual contact. While monkeypox can infect anyone, many of the recent cases in 2022 have occurred among persons self-identifying as men who have sex with men. Guidance on monkeypox, current case rates, and vaccine information is available here. San Mateo County residents who meet eligibility guidelines for highest risk for monkeypox may sign up to be notified about vaccination opportunities using the vaccination request form

MENTAL HEALTH HOTLINE AND SUPPORT: This month, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) launched a nationwide SMS/text message support option for the NAMI HelpLine, a means of communications overwhelmingly preferred by young people — a population experiencing an unprecedented mental health crisis. Those seeking help can now text “HELPLINE” to 62640 between 10 a.m.–10 p.m. ET, Monday–Friday, to connect with the NAMI HelpLine. The free, peer-support service provides information, resource referrals and support to people living with a mental health condition, their family members and caregivers, mental health providers and the public. And help is available in multiple languages, including Spanish.


Here are some of the updates and decisions our Board of Supervisors made since the last newsletter:

An Advocacy Agenda to Protect Women’s Reproductive Freedom and Healthcare Privacy: At the August 2nd Board meeting, Supervisor Dave Pine and I, as the Subcommittee for Women’s Reproductive Freedom and Healthcare Privacy, offered the Advocacy Agenda, which passed unanimously. Perhaps the most important part of this Advocacy Agenda is our explicit endorsement of Proposition 1, on the November 2022 ballot, that will enshrine the right to abortion and contraception in the California State Constitution. Beyond our support of Prop. 1, lawmakers in Sacramento are considering more than a dozen bills increase access to and strengthen protections for women seeking reproductive healthcare, including abortions. We will track these bills to offer our unwavering support. We will do the same on the federal side. And we will have quarterly reports to the Board on the legislation and actions we support.

Establishment of the Office of Arts and Culture: at our August 2nd meeting, the Board formally established the office of Arts and Culture, under the leadership of Robin Rodricks. This is an important step in formalizing and expanding how arts and culture can deliver innovative and vital programming and services to communities throughout San Mateo County. It will also create pathways to equitable careers in the arts and enhance and improve educational experiences and opportunities for our youth and young adults. The promotion of the arts in this County will be beneficial to all. Congrats Robin!

Sequoia Trailer Park Update: As I reported in the July Newsletter, I promised to keep you updated on the Sequoia Trailer Park, located in North Fair Oaks. Recall that this mobile home park has 134 units and is home to many families and seniors. During the summer of 2021, one of the resident’s units was destroyed by fire. This fire brought to light the many and significant health and safety violations that the individual units had. Since then, County staff, including our office, began working with the residents to find compassionate solutions that will prevent future incidents, fix code violations in many of the trailers, explore financial assistance programs with local non-profits to provide subsidized repairs for eligible residents, all while allowing these residents to continue living in their units. As of this writing, there are still 17 units (out of 66 units identified) who have significant outstanding code violations that put at risk the health and safety of the residents at the park. Also, the County has issued a correction notice to Evans Management who manages the park with respect to their obligations for the Park’s common areas and infrastructure. We will continue to work on both fronts – with Park management and with residents – to ensure that violations are corrected in order to protect the health and safety of the residents. The work must be done in tandem in a solutions-oriented way – and not wait for one or the other to complete their obligations. The County Office of Community Affairs has been on property helping residents to complete applications for financial assistance and will continue to do so. Many of the residents have already applied.

A Survey for the Healthy Community Mural Project: Last month, I reported about a district-discretionary Measure K grant to help fund a wonderful public art project – the Healthy Community Mural, which will be located at the 5th Avenue Underpass in North Fair Oaks. This community mural is in partnership with the Culture Collective of North Fair Oaks and the San Mateo County Office of Arts & Culture.


Well – now it’s time to ask for the public to help us inform this project which will include 16 individual murals. Please take the survey to help decide the topics for the panels – the deadline is September 30th.


I am so looking forward for this important public art project to become reality – and taking this survey is the beginning! For more information, click here.

Spotlight on a Local Non-Profit: Familias Unidas 

Familias Unidas is an amazing non-profit who has received district-discretionary Measure K funding for their important work. Their mission is to create a better community one family at a time. During the pandemic, they did so by being a trusted resource to North Fair Oaks families, guiding them through the educational challenges through virtual classes. This month, they took those families to Huddart Park for a picnic in the great outdoors – to give time for reflection, play and fun before the school year begins – and a great time was had by all. Thank you for your meaningful work in our community Familias Unidas!

With the sunsetting of the State-wide eviction moratorium on June 30th, we are beginning to hear more stories about evictions of those who are struggling to make it in San Mateo County. We have put in place some tenant protections for tenants who are displaced from substandard units through the red tag ordinance that was adopted back in 2018, but I think it’s time to have a broader tenant protection ordinance as we recover from the pandemic with many other factors facing our underserved communities. We are going to look at strengthening our approach to protecting tenants. More to come during the fall, with an aim of having the Board of Supervisors weigh in on this.


The North Fair Oaks Bike/Pedestrian Railroad Crossing Study is moving forward! Thank you to all who filled out surveys on preferred alternatives for a future rail crossing in North Fair Oaks. These alternatives will soon be coming back to the community for more input. To learn more:


It’s been 10 years since the adoption of the North Fair Oaks Community Plan. Much has been accomplished during this time, including the Middlefield Road Improvement Project, which is happening now. The County will hire a consultant to help update the plan through community engagement, outreach and input.

Want to learn more about the inner workings of government, build relationships and identify different ways to engage with the County? Consider applying for the San Mateo County Fall 2022 Civics 101 Academy, a free, nine-week program that will meet Tuesday evenings from Sept. 6 – Nov. 1 at the County Government Center in Redwood City. I encourage you to apply!


The Belle Haven School field is now open to the public for neighborhood-oriented informal play, gathering, walking and exercise. This 1.6-acre green space is located at 415 Ivy Drive in Menlo Park (through the Almanor Avenue side of the school). During summer recess, it is open from 3 p.m. to sunset on weekdays and 10 a.m. to sunset on weekends. When the regular school year resumes on August 24, the field will be open from 4:30 p.m. to sunset on weekdays and 10 a.m. to sunset on weekends.

Youth Climate Ambassador program is calling on all 9-12th grade students in San Mateo County to sharpen their leadership skills by becoming a Youth Climate Ambassador. During this eight-month long program, students will attend monthly workshops that cover a variety of climate change-related topics while also developing and implementing a community or school impact project. Apply here by September 5th.


Shakespeare in the Park returns to Red Morton Park in Redwood City with a free, in-person outdoor theater performances of Shakespeare’s delightful romantic comedy, Much Ado About Nothing. San Francisco Shakespeare Festival brings this production for 3 weekends, from August 13th through August 28th, and offers 4:00pm shows on both Saturdays and Sundays. 


A great way to get involved in your community is through a Board or Commission. Check out our openings and bring your experience and expertise to help in County initiatives and efforts. For more information or to apply, click here.


Want the latest news on the Middlefield Road Improvement Project? Sign up for updates here

If you want to get more insight into what my staff and I are working on, please connect with us on social media. It’s also a great way to interact with our office and to get notifications for upcoming events. Click the icons and like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. 

Finally, if you would like to see back issues of this newsletter, they can be found on my website here. They certainly reflect the long way we have come!

Warren Slocum

District 4 Supervisor

San Mateo County

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