Register for the Aug. 5 Tour de Peninsula Bicycle Ride

July 30, 2012

You are invited to enjoy any of four scenic bicycle rides through San Mateo County during the August 5 Tour de Peninsula, one of the highlights of the Bay Area’s summer cycling season. All rides begin and end in Coyote Point Recreation Area, 1701 Coyote Point Drive, San Mateo.

The Tour offers a variety of bicycle routes on beautiful courses designed to suit everyone from young children and first time riders to serious cyclists. After the rides, a day of family fun activities takes place in Coyote Point Park, which contains an award-winning children’s playground, CuriOdyssey (formerly Coyote Point Museum), barbecuing and picnic facilities and live entertainment.

Apart from providing a great day outside in beautiful scenery, the main purpose of the Tour de Peninsula is to raise funds for the San Mateo County Parks Foundation and Bicycle Sunday – car-free biking on Cañada Road. The San Mateo County Parks Foundation funds projects that restore habitat, provide environmental education, improve trails, support volunteer efforts, and encourage recreational use of parks. Since its founding in 1998, the Foundation and its members have provided millions of dollars for San Mateo County Parks.

To learn more, visit http://supportparks.org/tdp/ or call the event hotline at 650-321-1638.


What’s Your Opinion: Are People with Mental Illness More Likely to be Violent?

July 27, 2012

The San Mateo County Health System has a question for you: Do you think people with mental illness are more likely to be violent?

Take the poll and view the results.

Learn the facts about mental illness and discover community resources.

 


Storytimes, Movies and Marionettes at Your Local Library

July 26, 2012

Discover fun events for the entire family this summer at a local branch of the San Mateo County Library.

Preschoolers can enjoy a free storytime at the Foster City Library every Friday at 10:30 a.m.

Teens and adults can learn beginning Tai Chi at the San Carlos Library.

The Pacifica Library hosts Babies and Books Storytime on Monday mornings (time varies).

Teenagers are invited to view Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol will show at the East Palo Alto Library on Saturday, August 4.

On Saturday, August 11, delight in the Fratello Marionettes during a summer reading club party and then enjoy ice cream, all at the Belmont Library.

For a full listing of events at the San Mateo County Library and its branches, visit http://www.smcl.org/en/events

Many events are also held in Spanish. Lean more at http://www.smcl.org/es/events


County Proposes Sales Tax Increase: Measure on November Ballot

July 24, 2012

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors today approved placing a measure on the November ballot that asks voters to increase the sales tax by a half-cent to fund vital services for 10 years.

If the measure is approved by voters, San Mateo County would receive approximately $60 million annually in additional revenue for general County purposes. The measure needs a simple majority to pass.

The measure was proposed by Board President Adrienne J. Tissier and Supervisor Don Horsley and was supported by Supervisor Carole Groom and Supervisor Rose Jacobs Gibson. Supervisor Dave Pine dissented, instead proposing the Board consider a quarter-cent sales tax.

“We have a tremendous quality of life in San Mateo County due in large part to the services our County government provides,” Tissier said. “We have taken huge steps to reduce our budget but we continue to face cutbacks from the state and federal governments that are truly eroding our programs and services. It’s really a local control issue. This measure would provide us with local revenue that we can use for local services.”

As approved by the Board, the measure on the November 6 ballot will read as follows:

To ensure San Mateo County quality of life by retaining critical facilities/services, such as:

• child abuse prevention
• 911 dispatch
• fire prevention
• after-school, library reading/homework programs
• keeping parks open
• maintaining seismically safe hospital/emergency rooms which may include substantial funding to replace Seton Hospital/emergency room for low-income children/seniors/disabled
• and other County services

Shall San Mateo County levy a half-cent sales tax, for ten years, which the State cannot take away, with oversight/independent audits?

“Over the past four years, the County has cut more than $70 million in operating costs and eliminated more than 700 positions, resulting in such impacts as reduced hours at health clinics and fewer services for children and adults,” Horsley said.

Employees are paying a larger share of salaries toward health and retirement benefits, new lower-cost retirement plans have been negotiated for new employees and most employees have not received salary increases since 2008.

“We have done all that we can legally do” to reduce benefit costs, Horsley said. “Now the community has an important decision to make: Are we going to continue to see the erosion of our parks and roads, longer wait times to see a doctor in our network of clinics and cutbacks in services to children or are we going to take a bold step to protect our community’s health and safety?”

The ballot measure proposes a general tax and the Board of Supervisors would retain complete discretion regarding the use of the proceeds of the tax.  The measure does list some examples of possible uses of the general tax revenues, including the possibility that the Board might choose to use a portion of the revenues to assist hospitals in the County to remain open and available to County residents, including by potentially assisting Seton Medical Center in Daly City to ensure the seismic safety of its facilities.

If approved by voters, the measure would increase the sales tax in San Mateo County to 8.75 percent from 8.25 percent except in the City of San Mateo. The City of San Mateo’s sales tax would rise to 9 percent from the current rate of 8.5 percent due to a voter-approved measure.

Supervisors said they struggled with going to the voters. But the need for vital public safety and health and social services is great, they said.

“This is the single most difficult issue and vote I have taken in my elected career,” Groom said. She said that residents need “to look deep into their hearts” and see that many of their fellow residents are struggling.

Jacobs Gibson said voter approval of the tax measure “will ensure the quality of services” that the County provides.

The report recommending the tax and supporting documents can be found on the Board’s July 24 agenda.

San Mateo County provides a diverse array of services through its 20 departments. These services include: disease prevention, restaurant health inspections, drug and alcohol treatment, housing for children and families, emergency services such as 9-1-1 dispatch, law enforcement/jail operations and fire prevention and emergency preparedness.

More information about the County government can be found at www.smcgov.org.

 


Crop Report Shows Gains, Losses in San Mateo County Agriculture

July 24, 2012

San Mateo County may be best known for growing top companies in social media, finance and biotechnology, but Brussels sprouts, leeks and flowers play a significant role in the local economy.

According to the 2011 Agricultural Crop Report, which was accepted today by the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, total agricultural production topped $137 million for the year. The value was down 4.7 percent from 2010.

Although most agricultural commodities remained stable or increased in value, there were significant reductions in Floral and Nursery Crops, which posted a loss in value of 6.6 percent.

This commodity group represents more than half of San Mateo County’s agricultural production value, or $111 million, so any reduction has a considerable impact on the overall agricultural production value for the county, according to Fred Crowder, Agricultural Commissioner.

Brussels sprouts topped the list of vegetable crops, with 655 acres planted with a value of $8.8 million in 2011, up from $7.9 million the prior year. The value for all vegetable crops rose 4.3 percent for the year. Leeks ($1.5 million) and peas ($738,000) rounded out the top three vegetable crops.

Crowder said the values do not reflect the overall economic contribution of agricultural production to the community – harvesting, processing and distribution result in an economic multiplier of between $1.62 to $3.5 for every dollar in agricultural production.

“Not only does agricultural production provide an important economic engine for San Mateo County’s coast, but residents also get direct benefits from having agriculture in our back yard.  Access to fresh local food and beautiful plants and flowers can improve our health and outlook on life,” said Supervisor Don Horsley, who’s District 3 encompasses much of the county’s farmland.

“I encourage all our residents to buy local when possible – from our flower growers, ranchers, and farmers.”  Horsley said. 

San Mateo County is the third smallest county in California by land area but in 2010 (the latest year statewide figures are available) ranked 34 out of the state’s 58 counties in terms of agricultural production, according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

The 2011 Crop Report also contains useful information such as the location and hours for 26 Certified Farmers Markets in San Mateo County.

The full report can be found at  www.smcgov.org/agwm or here.

Contact: Fred Crowder, 650-363-4700, fcrowder@smcgov.org

 


Board to Consider Sales Tax Measure for November Ballot

July 23, 2012

The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, July 24, will consider whether to ask voters to impose a sales and use tax at the rate of one half cent in San Mateo County, for a period of ten years, for general fund purposes.

Passage of the measure on the November 6 ballot would result in additional revenues to the General Fund of approximately $60 million per year.

The staff report and additional documents are available on the July 24 meeting agenda.

The meeting will be at 9 a.m. in the Board Chambers, 400 County Center, Redwood City.


Take a Free, Guided Hike this Saturday, July 21

July 20, 2012

The Sawyer Camp segment of the Crystal Springs Trail is one of San Mateo County’s most popular outdoor destinations. On Saturday, July 21, you are invited to learn about the history of the area and the plants and animals along the route from rangers and trained volunteers during a free guided hike.

Meet at 9 a.m. at the trail entrance west of San Mateo at Highway 35 and Crystal Springs Road (Google map link). The hike is part of the popular Take A Hike series that encourages residents to explore a new County park each month.

The trail parallels the Coastal Range ridge, the backbone of the Peninsula and offers spectacular views of the Peninsula Watershed and the Crystal Springs Reservoir. More than 180 different species of birds have been sighted in the area, including hawks and eagles. Hikers often see deer and squirrels along trail.

The pristine Watershed area surrounding the trail is recognized by the California Department of Fish and Game as a Fish Wildlife Refuge and is considered a Biosphere Reserve.

Come along and test your knowledge of local history. Midway along the Sawyer Camp segment you will find the Jepson Laurel, a tree that has been established to be more than 600 years old and is now the oldest and largest known Laurel in California. In 1923, this tree was named in honor of Willis Linn Jepson, a noted California botanist.

Due to the popularity of this location, parking spots fill quickly. We highly recommend sharing a ride with fellow Take A Hike participants.

Call 650-599-1009 for more information. 

Read more San Mateo County news at http://sanmateocountynews.wordpress.com


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