New State Law: Car or Booster Seats for All Children 8 and Under

December 29, 2011

SAN MATEO, Calif. – Beginning January 1, 2012, all children ages 8 and under must be properly buckled into a car seat or booster seat in the back seat.

The previous law required that children remain in a booster seat until the age of 6, or until they weighed 60 pounds.

“This new law will help protect more children from being seriously injured during a crash,” said Patrice Christensen, RN, San Mateo County Emergency Medical Services Injury
Prevention Program Coordinator. “Booster seats are necessary to make adult-sized seat belts fit a child-sized body.  A seat belt that doesn’t fit a child correctly can result in lifethreatening injuries.”

Children 8 years or older may use the vehicle seat belts if they are tall enough for the belt system to fit properly; otherwise, they should continue to use a booster seat. If your child is
placing the shoulder belt behind their arm or back, this is a sign that he or she may still need a booster. You know your child is ready to ride without a booster when:

1. He/she can sit against the back of the vehicle seat with knees bent without slouching, and comfortably stay in this position throughout the trip.
2. The lap belt is low on the hips, touching the upper thighs.
3. The shoulder belt crosses the shoulder and chest without touching the child’s face or neck.

Everyone in the car must be properly buckled up. Parents and drivers of children under the age of 16, who do not follow this law, can be fined a minimum of $475 and get a point on
their driving record.

For more information about car seats, the new law or help determining whether your child still needs a booster seat, contact Patrice Christensen (650) 573-3728, your local CHP Office
or visit cdph.ca.gov/vosp


2012 Statewide Court Fine Amnesty Program

December 22, 2011

The Superior Court of California, County of San Mateo will be participating in the one-time court fine amnesty program.

This state-mandated program, authorized by the California Legislature (AB 1358), allows individuals the opportunity to settle their court fines for a fifty percent discount. The program will run from January 1, 2012, through June 30, 2012.
Individuals eligible to participate in this program have failed to pay their court fine and, as a result, either had a DMV hold or suspension placed on their driver’s license, a warrant issued for their arrest, and/or their case referred to collections.

Qualifying fines include those involving certain Vehicle Code and non-Vehicle Code infraction violations (mainly traffic violations). Parking citations, driving under the influence, or reckless driving cases are not eligible for the program.

To qualify for the fifty percent discount on their court fines, an individual must have an overdue court fine where the amount owed was due to be paid in full before January 1, 2009, and no payments were made after that date. This program is not open to those who owe restitution to victims in any other court case within San Mateo County or those with outstanding misdemeanor or felony warrants for their arrest in the county.

The amnesty program aims to provide an opportunity for State and local governments to generate much needed revenue while granting individuals the opportunity to clear their long standing delinquent debt at a reduced rate.

More information regarding the Amnesty Program and how to apply is located on the court’s website
at www.sanmateocourt.org.

Media Contact:
John C. Fitton
Court Executive Officer
(650) 363-4516


Controller Releases Popular Annual Financial Report

December 22, 2011

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – Controller Tom Huening provides details of the financial health of San Mateo County in a report released today.

The 10-page Popular Annual Financial Report (PAFR) summarizes the essential information contained in the County’s lengthy Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, which was released earlier this month. The PAFR examines the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2011, and provides a look to the future as the County seeks to maintain services in the face of a weak economy and funding reductions from the State and federal governments.

The PAFR, titled Financial Highlights, provides the following key information for San Mateo County’s government:
· Financial Summary
· Economic Indicators
· Economic Outlook
· Financial Policies and Planning
· Major Initiatives

The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) has given an Award for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Annual Financial Reporting to San Mateo County for its Popular Annual Financial Report for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2010. The Award for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Annual Financial Reporting is a prestigious national award recognizing conformance with the highest standards for preparation of state and local government popular reports.

The PAFR can be accessed online at the County Controller’s web page located at
www.co.sanmateo.ca.us/controller/2011pafr.


Holiday Safety Tips from the Sheriff’s Office

December 21, 2011

Things often get so hectic around the holiday season that sometimes we completely forget about basic security.  Please remember to keep these tips in mind: 
  
1. Don’t leave holiday trash, such as boxes from expensive items, curbside for collection.  The boxes and trash may show a burglar what you’ve recently purchased and have inside your home.  Break the boxes down and place them inside of a bag to be put out on the day of collection. 
  
2. Be cautious about giving out family travel plans to those who don’t have a “need to know”. 
  
3. Leave your home with a “lived in look”.  Use timers for lights, TVs or radio. 
  
4. Have a neighbor collect your mail, newspapers and any holiday deliveries. 
  
5. While out shopping for the holidays, place any purchased items in the trunk of you car and out of sight.   
  
6. Be alert and report any suspicious activity. 
  
Have a safe and happy holiday season from the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office


Pillar Point Bluff Dedication Wednesday, December 21

December 20, 2011

On August 9, the Peninsula Open Space Trust transferred the 140-acre Pillar Point Bluff near Moss Beach to San Mateo County. The County purchased the land for inclusion in the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve with a $3 million grant from the Wildlife Conservation Board.

On Wednesday, December 21, community partners and public agency funders are joining the County in dedicating Pillar Point Bluff as part of the James V. Fitzgerald Marine Reserve.

Read more about the dedication under “News” on the Parks Website.


County Releases Children, Youth and Family Budget 2011

December 14, 2011

San Mateo County this fiscal year will invest nearly $250 million in programs and services that directly help children and youth, according to the 2011 San Mateo County Children, Youth and Family Budget.

The budget, which was accepted by the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, December 13, will be used by County officials and community leaders to identify gaps in services, avoid duplication and promote collaboration.

“This budget allows us to take a hard look at what we provide across all of our departments and ensure that we are investing in programs and services that truly help our children and youth,” said Carole Groom, president of the Board of Supervisors.

The Children, Youth and Family Budget includes expenditures from the Health System, Human Services Agency, Sheriff’s Office, Child Support Services, First 5, District Attorney’s Office, Public Works, San Mateo County Library and Probation. It covers from July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012.

The funds budgeted for children, youth and family programs include:

·        $32 million to prevent and investigate child abuse and neglect, recruit foster parents, adoption services and other essential services to protect children.

·        $3 million for medical care to children at the Fair Oaks Children’s Clinic, just one of several health clinics in San Mateo County.

·        $2 million for operating a 24-hour emergency shelter for older children and youth with health, mental health and other services.

·        $1.7 million for the Sheriff’s Activities League, which provides students with athletic and artistic opportunities.

The Children, Youth and Family Budget builds upon work by the Peninsula Partnership Leadership Council and the San Mateo County Youth Commission. In 2008, the Council and Commission teamed up to draft a Bill of Rights for Children and Youth. The 10-point Bill of Rights states that all children and youth have the right to a safe and healthy environment, access to health care and education and that they have a voice in matters that affect them.

The Board of Supervisors has adopted the Bill of Rights as a commitment to serving the community’s youth.

The Children, Family and Youth Budget can be viewed at www.co.sanmateo.ca.us/budget under “Budget Resources.”


Property Taxes Due Today

December 12, 2011

Today is the deadline for property owners to pay the first installment of their property taxes for the 2011-12 fiscal year.

Payment must be made by 5 p.m.  A 10 percent penalty is assessed for late payments.

The Tax Collector’s office is located at 555 County Center, First Floor, Redwood City. Payments can also be made at 1024 Mission Road, South San Francisco.

Taxes can also be paid by credit card or ECheck. Visit http://www.sanmateocountytaxcollector.org/index.html or call (650) 363-4142 for more information.


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