County Wins Court Ruling Stemming from Lehman Brothers Collapse

January 31, 2013

A state appeals court on Thursday approved the dismissal of a lawsuit brought by a dozen school districts against San Mateo County and its Treasurer over financial losses suffered when Lehman Brothers collapsed, ruling that such investment decisions are “discretionary activity which should not be the subject of scrutiny and second-guessing”.

The districts sued the County and then-Treasurer Lee Buffington over approximately $20 million in investment losses that followed the bankruptcy of the investment bank Lehman Brothers in September 2008. The funds were required by law to be invested in a pool managed by the County Treasurer.

Overall, public agencies in San Mateo County collectively lost $155 million in Lehman investments. These agencies included the 12 districts as well as the County itself, cities and numerous special districts.

In its ruling, the appeals court in San Francisco said that a Treasurer’s “decisions as a public servant investor bear the hallmarks of discretionary activity which should not be the subject of scrutiny and second-guessing by a coordinate branch of government.”

“We are pleased with the decision and that a three-judge panel essentially came to the conclusion that we have argued all along: the Treasurer cannot be sued for making complex investment decisions or for failing to predict Lehman’s collapse,” said Stuart Gasner of Keker & Van Nest, a San Francisco law firm representing the County and the Treasurer.

“What’s important to remember is that Lehman’s collapse came shortly after company executives reassured investors that the company was sound,” Gasner added.

The court’s decision will allow County officials to focus on a separate suit filed in federal court in New York that seeks to hold Lehman executives personally accountable for defrauding investors.

Read the Court Ruling.

(Note: Mr. Buffington passed away in December 2011.)

The suit was brought by: San Mateo Union High School District, Menlo Park City Elementary School District, San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools, Belmont-Redwood Shores Elementary School District, Cabrillo Unified School District, Burlingame Elementary School District, Jefferson Elementary School District, Ravenswood City School District, San Bruno Park Elementary School District, San Carlos Elementary School District, Los Lomitas Elementary School District, Portola Valley Elementary School District and Woodside Elementary School District.

Media Contact:
Stuart Gasner 415-676-2209 or


Off-Duty Deputy Passes Away in Motorcycle Accident

January 31, 2013

It is with absolute sadness we inform you of Deputy Eric Mertl’s passing yesterday afternoon as the result of an off duty motorcycle accident. Eric was rushed to Stanford Hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries.Mertl, Eric - 454

Deputy Mertl joined the Sheriff’s Office in 2005 as a lateral hire with 19 years of service at the Millbrae Police Department. While at the Sheriff’s Office, he worked various assignments until his current position in Patrol. 

Deputy Mertl leaves behind many friends and family, including a wife and twelve year old son. Though we will continue to diligently protect our community, today and for the foreseeable future, we will do so with a heavy heart.

Funeral arrangements and further information will be provided as it becomes available.


Dep. Rebecca Rosenblatt
Public Information Officer
650-363-4800 (office)
650-421-1243 (cell)

Mid-Year Budget Workshop and Key Local Economic and Safety Net Indicators

January 30, 2013

The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday held a budget workshop to review the County’s mid-year financial status, provide direction on the upcoming two-year budget, discuss the Fund Balance and Reserves policies, and review the proposed community impact measures.

The mid-year financial status section included a report on key local economic and quality of life indicators that show the local economy as well as the budget outlook for San Mateo County improving. Read the full report.

Downtown San Bruno

Downtown San Bruno

The report, prepared by the County Manager’s Office, takes a snapshot of the economy and budget at the half-way point of the current fiscal year, which began July 1, 2012. The Board reviews the budget at mid-year to ensure revenues and expenditures are in accordance with estimates and to provide direction to the County Manager regarding preparation of the next budget.

San Mateo County continues to hold the distinction of being the only county in the state with AAA ratings from Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s.

Through the direction of this Board, tremendous work by department administrators and staff, and an improving economic landscape, the County’s structural deficit has been significantly reduced over the past two years. Since 2008 the County has reduced its workforce by 727 authorized positions and held salaries flat for most bargaining units while maintaining critical services and providing outstanding public service.

The report tracks the following local economic indicators:
Bay Area Consumer Price Index (CPI)
First-Time Housing Affordability Index
Median Home Price and Home Sales
Foreclosure Activity
Property Reassessment and Assessment Appeal Filings
Building Permits Issued
Office Space Availability
San Francisco International Airport – Total Passengers
Unemployment Rate
Per Capita Personal IncomeSMC4253x

The report also tracks the following local public safety and safety net (what some call quality of life) indicators:
Jail and Juvenile Hall Populations
PeninsulaWorks Participants
Public Assistance Caseloads
Child Abuse Referrals
Emergency Room Visits
Health Insurance Enrollment Adults and Children

Read the full report.

Official Stats: San Mateo County Anonymous Gun Buy Back on Jan. 26

January 28, 2013

The following are the official statistics from the anonymous gun buy back event on Saturday, January 26, sponsored by Congresswoman Jackie Speier, San Mateo County Supervisor Adrienne J. Tissier and San Mateo County Sheriff Greg Munks.

$63,500 cash handed out in exchange for guns.
Buy Back Breakdown: 680 guns in total:
24 assault weapons
285 handguns
371 rifles/long guns


Supervisor Tissier with Sheriff Munks

Supervisor Tissier with Sheriff Munks


Hundreds of Volunteers Turn Out for San Mateo County’s Homeless Census

January 24, 2013

BELMONT, Calif. – In the early morning hours of January 24, over 200 volunteers set out on foot and in cars to count the number of homeless individuals and families in San Mateo County.  Working out of 12 deployment sites, the volunteers covered every county census tract in four hours. 

The data from the census will be used to leverage federal funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for homeless shelters and prevention services in San Mateo County. The findings are also used to design strategies to reduce homelessness through the San Mateo County HOPE (Housing Our People Effectively) Committee.

The two co-chairs of the HOPE Committee, Board President Don Horsley and Supervisor Warren Slocum, along with their staff and staff from the offices of Assembly Member Rich Gordon and Supervisors Dave Pine, Carole Groom and Adrienne J. Tissier, participated in the data-gathering effort.

“Homelessness is a complex issue that requires broad understanding and recognition. It was great to see such tremendous community support to end homelessness and to provide all members of our community, a better quality of life,” said Horsley, who counted a tract in San Carlos.
“As a new supervisor and chair of the HOPE Committee, the census gave me the opportunity to see just how difficult life is for a homeless individual. Even as our economy recovers, there are still too many who do not have the resources to afford housing,” Slocum said.
Working in trained teams, the volunteers counted all the homeless individuals, families and encampments they could see from the street. Additional data about the homeless population will be contributed by shelter providers, medical facilities and park rangers.  A full report, including qualitative survey data, will be released by the Human Services Agency’s Center on Homelessness in May 2013.

Press Contact: Wendy Goldberg, Center on Homeless Manager | | (650) 802-3378

The County of San Mateo, Human Services Agency assists individuals and families to achieve economic self-sufficiency, promotes community and family strength, and works to ensure child safety and well-being.


Turn in a Gun, Get Cash: Gun Buy Back Saturday, Jan. 26 at San Mateo County Event Center

January 22, 2013

Congresswoman Jackie Speier, San Mateo County Supervisor Adrienne J. Tissier and San Mateo County Sheriff Greg Munks will hold an anonymous gun buy back at the San Mateo County Event Center on Saturday, January 26, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Any individual can surrender weapons, no questions asked, and receive up to $100 cash for hand guns, shotguns or rifles, and up to $200 cash for assault weapons (as classified by the State of California).

Transport firearms unloaded and in the trunk of your car. The buy back is completely anonymous.

People interested in participating in the gun buy back can call 650-257-3403, ext. 9 for more information. View the Gun Buy Back printable flier.

When: Saturday, January 26, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Where: San Mateo County Event Center, 2495 South Delaware St, San Mateo. Google Map Link

You can also find more information on a common questions about the gun buy back with the answers by clicking here.

Speier stated, “Gun buybacks are a powerful tool to make our streets and schools safer. There is no reason we need 90 weapons per 100 Americans, making the U.S. the most heavily armed society in the world. Buybacks are convenient opportunities for responsible gun owners to get rid of guns they no longer want. Fewer guns also mean fewer accidents and fewer chances for guns to fall into the wrong hands.”

Supervisor Tissier stated, “San Mateo County is proud to support the gun buyback program for the safety of our residents. One gun incident is one too many.”

Sheriff Munks stated, “The overall purpose of the gun buyback program is to make the streets of San Mateo County safer for those who live and work here. There are many unwanted and unsecured guns in households throughout the county. We are providing a place for people to come and dispose of them and get some money in return. We feel this will improve public safety in our county.”

Enter the Health System’s Healthy New Year Facebook Giveaway

January 17, 2013

It’s a new year and a great time to make changes to improve your personal health and the health of our community.

Enter the Healthy New Year Facebook Giveaway. Ten winners each week through February 5th will win a reusable shopping bag, and one Grand Prize Winner will win six months delivery of local organic fruits and vegetables ($189 value) donated by Farm Fresh To You.

Enter now! 

Enjoy Your County Parks — Make a Reservation Today

January 17, 2013

San Mateo County operates 17 separate parks, three regional trails and numerous other county and local trails encompassing 15,680 acres.

They are located throughout the county and represent a wide variety of natural settings including a coastside marine reserve, a bayside recreational area, coastal mountain woodland areas, and urban sites.SMC8159x You can explore your parks here.

We have family and group campgrounds, picnic areas, horse camps, amphitheaters and other facilities available for reservation.

You can make reservations online or by phone.

Learn more on our Parks reservation page.


Human Services Agency Achieves National Re-accreditation

January 16, 2013

BELMONT, Calif. —  The Human Services Agency (HSA) has received national re-accreditation through the New York-based Council on Accreditation (COA).

HSA is the only public agency in California to be accredited across all eligible services areas, including Adoptions, Child Protective Services, Foster Care/Kinship Care, Youth Independent Living, Children’s Receiving Home, Family Resource Centers and Workforce Development Services by the nationally-recognized council.

Public and nonprofit agencies pursue and maintain accreditation to demonstrate the implementation of best practice standards in the field of human services. COA evaluated all aspects of HSAs programs, services, management, and administration.


The accreditation process is an objective, independent, and reliable validation of agency performance. The process involves a detailed review and analysis of an agency’s administration, management, and service delivery functions against international standards of best practice.

To achieve accreditation, HSA first provided nearly 7,000 pages of written evidence demonstrating compliance with best practice standards.  Then, a team of five specially-trained peer reviewers–all experts in the field of human services–confirmed adherence to these standards during three days of on-site case reviews and interviews with clients, staff and stakeholders. Based on their findings, the COA Accreditation Commission voted that HSA had successfully met the criteria for re-accreditation.

COA accreditation and the value of its review process is reflected in it being named by the US State Department as the sole national independent accrediting body under the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption to accredit intercountry adoption service providers.

In addition, COA is the only national accreditor designated by the US Department of Defense to develop accreditation standards and processes for human service programs provided to military personnel and their families.

The Human Services Agency received its initial COA accreditation in 2008 and its Vocational Rehabilitation Services program has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Services since 1991.

About the Human Services Agency
The County of San Mateo Human Services Agency assists individuals and families to achieve economic self sufficiency, promotes community and family strength, and works to ensure child safety and well-being.

About the Council on Accreditation
Founded in 1977, COA is an independent, not-for-profit accreditor of the full continuum of community-based behavioral health care and social service organizations in the United States and Canada. Over 2,000 organizations voluntary, public, and proprietary; local and statewide; large and small have either successfully achieved COA accreditation or are currently engaged in the process.

Public Meetings Scheduled for 415 Area Code Change

January 14, 2013

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has scheduled four meetings to provide information to the public regarding the introduction of a new area code to the region now served by the 415 area code. The purpose of the meetings is to obtain input from the public regarding the opening of a new area code in the region currently served by the 415 area code.415AreaCodeIcon_v1

The 415 area code is expected to use up all the available prefixes (the first three numbers after the area code in a phone number) by October 2015. To ensure that new numbers are available for customers and technology expansion, the CPUC has begun the process to introduce a new area code, 628, to the geography now served by 415.

Comments from the public can help the CPUC reach an informed decision and members of the public are encouraged to attend one of the following meetings:

Local Jurisdiction Meeting (for local and elected officials; open to the public): Wednesday, January 16, 2013, 2 p.m. CPUC Auditorium, 505 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco

Public Meeting: Wednesday, January 16, 2013, 7 p.m. CPUC Auditorium, 505 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco

Public Meetings: Thursday, January 17, 2013, 2 p.m. AND 7 p.m. San Rafael City Council Chambers, 1400 Fifth Ave., San Rafael

Visit the CPUC’s information page on the 415 area code to learn more.


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