Ride Along this Saturday with the Sheriff’s Office via Twitter

February 28, 2013

You are invited to take a virtual ride along with the Sheriff’s Office this Saturday in San Carlos from 6 p.m. to midnight via Twitter.

Follow along at twitter.com/SMCSheriff

As a deputy performs patrol duty, a public information officer will provide live updates from the passenger seat. Twitter followers can also tweet questions to the Sheriff’s Office and learn crime prevention tips.

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Sales Tax Expenditure Plan: What’s Your Priority?

February 26, 2013

San Mateo County voters in November expressed their confidence in our County government by approving Measure A, a half-cent sales tax that begins April 1.

On what critical needs and services should the funds be spent? We want to hear from you.

www.SMCSPEAKOUT.com is a virtual town hall where you can learn more about Measure A and let your voice be heard.SMC4421x

Improving public safety. Providing health care for our most vulnerable residents. After-school literacy programs.  Accessible parks.  Safe routes to schools. These are but a few examples of how Measure A funds could be invested in our communities.

Log on to www.SMCSPEAKOUT.com and tell us your priorities.


Hack Hunger: Find Creative Ways to Increase Access to Food Services for Residents in Need

February 21, 2013

WHAT IS HACK HUNGER? Hack Hunger is a one-day event for the San Mateo County community to meet, hack and collaborate on ideas related to increasing access to food services for residents in need, as well as other projects.logo

Code Across America is a national weekend of civic innovation, in conjunction with International Open Data Day and Code for America. Whether you’re a developer, designer, or just an interested citizen, a civic innovation hackathon is a space where you can come meet other people dedicated to finding new solutions to address real issues in your community.

WHEN: February 23, 2013, 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM

WHERE: Stanford University, Branner Hall, 655 Escondido Road, Stanford, CA

TOPICS: To be as inclusive as possible, we’re offering 4 different sessions people can choose from:

1) Reducing Hunger and Community Building

2) Mobile Application for Property Review

3) Bring Code for Americas open-source apps to San Mateo County

4) Brainstorming session for ideas that will improve the way the San Mateo County Human Services Agency provides services to the community

REGISTER: http://hackhunger.eventbrite.com/

CONTACT: sanmateoco@codeforamerica.org with any questions


County Settles Lawsuit Brought by Asian and Latino Voters

February 20, 2013

A lawsuit filed in April 2011 over the manner by which members of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors are elected was resolved today when the Board together with Asian and Latino residents of the County agreed to a process for drawing district lines.

The prior system, challenged as discriminatory toward minority voters, provided for “at-large” elections in which voters throughout the County would cast votes for each of the five Supervisorial seats. Under the new district system (approved by County voters last November), candidates will run from one of five districts and only voters who live in a district can vote in the election for the Supervisor from that district.

Under the terms of the settlement, an independent committee will conduct a series of public meetings around the County to explain the district system and to receive community input as to where the boundaries of each district should be placed. The committee’s recommendation to the Board will reflect input from the community, as well as from an expert on districting, to ensure that the integrity of neighborhoods and communities of interests are protected.

Applications for membership on the nine-person committee, to be composed of public officials and private citizens reflecting the diversity of the County, will be vetted by the League of Women Voters.  The Committee members will be selected by the Board of Supervisors.  The committee will present its recommendations in time for consideration by the Board at its October 8, 2013, meeting.  Following that meeting, the Board of Supervisors will make a final decision on district configuration.

It is anticipated that the district boundaries will be formally in place in time for the June 2014 Board of Supervisor elections.

San Mateo County spokesperson Marshall Wilson commented: “While the Board of Supervisors firmly believes that the existing system of elections was fair and protected the rights of all voters in the County, those voters expressed a clear preference for district elections through Measure B.  Given the change in the law, it no longer made sense to defend the prior system.   Resolving the lawsuit thus allows the County to focus its efforts on developing the district based system chosen by the voters in a sensible manner that protects the right of all citizens to vote.”

Robert Rubin, a private civil rights attorney and co-lead counsel for the Asian and Latino voters, said:  “When Measure B passed, it removed San Mateo as the last remaining county in California to conduct elections for Supervisor through at-large voting, a system that can lead to the dilution of minority votes even if not adopted for that purpose.  Now that the voters have taken this historic step,” he said, “we welcome the County’s decision to avoid the expense and risks of trial and instead to play a constructive role in the districting process.”

“The change to district elections is a positive step toward realizing a Board that reflects the County’s diverse communities,” said Joseph Otayde, a plaintiff in the lawsuit and an elected official of the Jefferson Elementary School District.  “As we move forward with creating the districts, we hope that the communities of San Mateo will take part in this important process to make sure that their voices are heard.”

Beginning Monday, February 25th, members of the public who are interested in sitting on the committee will be able to obtain an application from the County Manager’s Office, located on the First Floor of the Hall of Justice, 400 County Center, Redwood City, CA 94063 or online at:  www.smcgov.org/districtlines.

In addition to Rubin, the plaintiff voters are represented by co-lead counsel Arnold & Porter LLP (Tracy Lane, Anton Ware and, formerly, Beth Parker), as well as the Asian Law Caucus (Christopher Punongbayan and Carolyn Hsu), and Joaquin Avila of the Seattle University School of Law.


Most County Offices Closed Monday for Presidents’ Day

February 15, 2013

Most County offices will be closed Monday, February 18, in honor of Presidents’ Day.

Emergency services will be available.

County offices will open on Tuesday for regular business hours.


Applications Accepted for 2013-14 Civil Grand Jury

February 13, 2013

The Honorable Lisa A. Novak of the San Mateo County Superior Court announced today that applications for service on the 2013-2014 Grand Jury will be accepted for consideration beginning February 13, 2013 and continuing until March 29, 2013.Mission

Judge Novak made the announcement as the appointed Grand Jury Advisor for the next grand jury term, which commences July 1, 2013 and ends June 30, 2014.

Any resident of San Mateo County for more than one year who is a citizen of the United States, 18 years of age or older, of ordinary intelligence, sound judgment and good character, with sufficient knowledge of the English language is eligible for selection by Judge Novak.

Elected public officials are not eligible.

The Court encourages all interested individuals to apply. The Court strives to obtain a cross section of the county population. After the completion of an interview process by Judge Novak, jurors will be selected through a random draw.

Application forms can be obtained by writing Grand Jury Clerk, Court Executive Office, 400 County Center, Redwood City, CA 94063 or telephoning (650) 599-1210 or opening the Grand Jury Application Form.


County Adopts Whistleblower Improvements and Enhanced Ethics and Internal Controls Training

February 12, 2013

San Mateo County Supervisors today adopted measures to enhance whistleblower processes and ethics and internal controls training for county employees. The measures, designed to identify and prevent embezzlement and fraud within county government, were introduced by San Mateo County Supervisors Dave Pine (District 1) and Don Horsley (District 3).

“In the wake of recent incidents of embezzlement and fraud both within county government and other local agencies, it is critical that San Mateo County protect tax payer dollars by empowering county employees to identify and stop fraud as soon as possible,” said Supervisor Dave Pine.

The Board of Supervisors approved three specific measures to improve whistleblower reporting and employee training. Read the report approved by the Board.

The first requires the creation of a whistleblower web page that will be easily accessible and provide links to the whistleblower ordinance, various training resources, and on-line reporting pages. Currently, employees can call the County Manager’s Office, the Controller’s Office or County Counsel, but they cannot provide a tip or lodge a complaint electronically via the web.

The web portal will be complemented with a 24-hour whistleblower hotline for county employees managed by an third-party vendor to provide an independent and confidential method to report suspected fraud, waste, and abuse.

The Board also approved the implementation of continuous required employee training concerning ethical behavior, identifying and reporting fraud, waste and abuse, and internal accounting control responsibilities.

“These measures will enhance the procedures available to employees to report suspected fraud in an effective manner. San Mateo County will be in a better position to then curtail possible fraud and embezzlement earlier and reduce opportunities for theft. We would like to encourage other public agencies to adopt similar standards of training and reporting,” said Supervisor Horsley.

Visit http://sanmateocountynews.wordpress.com for more about San Mateo County.


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