Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor to keynote at 30th Annual San Mateo County Women’s Hall of Fame

February 28, 2014

This year, the Commission on the Status of Women is proud to announce that three women and one young woman will be inducted into the San Mateo County Women’s Hall of Fame on March 21st, 5:30 PM at the San Mateo County History Museum – 2200 Broadway in Redwood City.

A Supreme Court Justice who began her legal career in San Mateo County, a distinguished community advocate from East Palo Alto, a dedicated non-profit leader from the Coast, and a Mills High School Junior with an impressive history of service and volunteer work, will be inducted into the 2014 San Mateo County Women’s Hall of Fame, the county’s premier showcase for women who make a difference every day in our community.Women's Hall of Fame_Page_1

“It is the great privilege of the Commission on the Status of Women to recognize the contributions and achievements of these exceptional women and young woman,” said Christine Padilla, President of the Commission. “We are delighted that Justice Sandra Day O’Connor will be joining us this year to celebrate the 30th Anniversary, especially given that San Mateo County was the first place that she engaged in the practice of law.”

The permanent Women’s Hall of Fame Exhibit will be showcased at the event. This interactive iPad display highlights the remarkable endeavors San Mateo County women and provides historical context for understanding the significance of their accomplishments.
For information about the Hall of Fame induction ceremony, please email the Commission on the Status of Women at . A list of past inductees is also available on the website . Tickets may be purchased at

About the San Mateo County Women’s Hall of Fame
In 1984, the Commission on the Status of Women established a permanent Women’s Hall of Fame to recognize outstanding women for their contributions to the well-being of San Mateo County. Impartial judges selected from outside our county read the numerous nominations with names redacted to ensure a fair and unbiased process, before selecting the finalists. The women are honored for their outstanding contributions to their profession, their generous work as volunteers, or both.
In 1992, a second category, “Young Women of Excellence” was added to the Women’s Hall of Fame. To be nominated, “young women” must be high school juniors or seniors or the equivalent. The award aims to give visibility to young women’s accomplishments in community service, academic achievement, and acts of courage in their daily lives.

About the 2014 Women’s Hall of Fame Inductees
The information below briefly summarizes highlights of their achievements; additional information about their many contributions and photos are readily available.

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor of Arizona was the first woman to be appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1981 and went on to serve in that capacity until her retirement in 2006. After graduating from Stanford Law School in 1952, Justice O’Connor had difficulty finding a law firm willing to hire a woman. She convinced the San Mateo County Attorney to hire her — even going so far as to volunteer for a time, and worked as a deputy county attorney for a year. Following that, she served as a civilian lawyer for the Quartermaster in Germany, where her husband was stationed and went into private practice upon her return home to Arizona. Justice O’Connor was Arizona’s Assistant Attorney General for four years, served in the Arizona State Senate and was elected as a Maricopa County Superior Court Judge in 1974. She was appointed to the Arizona State Court of Appeals in 1979 and served there until her appointment to the Supreme Court. Justice O’Connor was awarded the highest civilian honor in the United States, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, by President Barak Obama in recognition of her lifetime accomplishments in 2009.

Dr. Faye McNair-Knox of East Palo Alto is the Executive Director of One East Palo Alto Neighborhood Initiative which focuses on developing the leadership skills of East Palo Alto youth. She is known as the “outreach queen of the city” and has worked tirelessly to revitalize East Palo Alto through numerous collaborative ventures including Start Up, a micro-business initiative, and the Small Business Development Initiative. A 1988 Fulbright Senior Scholar with a Stanford PhD in Education, Dr. McNair-Knox has been the recipient of numerous honors recognizing her significant role in improving the quality of life in East Palo Alto. In addition to being named the California 21st District’s Woman of the Year in 2010, Dr. McNair-Knox was previously honored with the 2007 Youth Community Service Kay Philips Award for Community Leadership and Strategic Partnership. She was recognized by Hewlett-Packard as a Bronze Level Sponsor Honoree at the 2003 National Philanthropy Day and was inducted into Stanford University’s Multicultural Alumni Hall of Fame in 2001. Through her work leading efforts to improve the social, physical, spiritual and economic health of the community, she gives hope and creates opportunity for the next generation in East Palo Alto.

Fatima Soares of Half Moon Bay has been working for the non-profit, Coastside Hope since 1977, first as a social worker and then as Executive Director for the past seven years. She helps provide critical services, food, and a safety net to low income members of the Coastside community and is passionately dedicated to her clients. In her free time, she volunteers at other Coastside non-profits including the Rotacare Free Clinic, the Seton Coastside Advisory Council, the Coastside Health Committee, and a local senior center, to name a few. This tri-lingual community leader who came to the U.S. as a young girl from Portugal has dedicated herself to a life of service and continually strives to “give back”. She has been recognized by AAUW of Half Moon Bay as a 1988 Woman of Excellence, and was honored with a 2006 proclamation from the City of Half Moon Bay for her role in the community. In 2013, Ms. Soares was recognized with a Plaque of Appreciation by the Seton Coastside Advisory Board for 18 years of service. She is referred to as one of the Coastside’s greatest assets who achieves her work with grace, humor, dedication and love.

2014 Young Woman of Excellence
Nina Luo of Millbrae is a student at Mills High School who spends the majority of her time outside of school tirelessly working for the community. During her freshman year of high school, she interned with the Office of Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, where she wrote, edited, and organized the monthly newsletter. She is presently interning with Sunset Youth Services, where she works with at risk youth, and volunteers for StarVista, as a peer counselor dedicated to crisis intervention and suicide prevention. At her high school, she is involved with the school newspaper, is a member of Model UN Club, runs cross-country, and leads the Christian Club.

Apply for Press Credentials by March 20
Members of the media from recognized print, broadcast and online outlets who wish to cover the event must register by March 20, 5 PM by emailing for a media credential. No members of the media will be permitted to attend the event without preregistering.

The organizers reserve the right to limit the number of media outlets that may attend the event.
Those requesting a media credential may be required to:
 Present a company business card with editorial title and picture identification.
 Provide a letter of assignment from the assigning editor at a recognized media outlet and two relevant, bylined articles written by the applicant and published within the past six months.
 Provide a copy of a publication or a link to a publication’s Web home page that includes bylined editorial content reflecting coverage of issues relevant to the Commission on the Status of Women’s purpose and mission or coverage of legal affairs or public affairs.
 Provide broadcast station identification and proof of assignment for camera/sound crews.

Members of the media granted access will be assigned to a designated area. Members of the media will not be permitted to leave the designated area during the event.

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor will NOT be available for interviews or questions. She will give a 30 minute speech during the ceremony. The other honorees may be interviewed at the conclusion of the ceremony at a designated location.

About the Commission on the Status of Women
The Commission on the Status of Women is a non-partisan advisory body to the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors that seeks to improve the quality of life for women of all ages in San Mateo County. Through strategic partnerships and collaboration, the commission identifies women’s needs, advises the board of supervisors, and educates the community on matters concerning women. More information about the Commission is available at .

Moss Beach resident Zoe Kersteen-Tucker appointed to San Mateo County Planning Commission

February 25, 2014

The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors has approved the appointment of Coastside resident Zoe Kersteen-Tucker as the commissioner representing the Third District.

She was recommended by Third District Supervisor Don Horsley and her appointment was approved at the Feb. 25 Board of Supervisors meeting in Redwood City. She is replacing Christopher Ranken, of Pacifica, who was originally appointed by former Supervisor Rich Gordon and had served three additional years representing Supervisor Horsley. This will be Kersteen-Tucker’s first term, through Jan. 31, 2018.

“I am delighted to have Zoe as the Planning Commissioner representing District Three,” said Horsley. “Her background in Coastal issues as well as her transportation expertise will serve the county superbly.”

Kersteen-Tucker is the owner of and principal consultant in Pacific Development Associates, a business specializing in providing nonprofit executives and boards of directors with the tools needed to build and maintain healthy organizational cultures and vibrant fund development programs.

A 20-plus year resident of Moss Beach, Kersteen-Tucker is a long-time coastal and environmental protection advocate. She served as the spokesperson for the successful countywide Devil’s Slide Tunnel Initiative, Measure T in 1996.  (The tunnel project was completed in March 2013 and the Devil’s Slide Trail Park will open in March 2014.)

She was also a principal organizer for the successful, multi-year effort to expand the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District’s boundaries to the San Mateo County Coast.  She served as both President and Executive Director of the Committee for Green Foothills, and Executive Director of the Coastside Land Trust.

Kersteen-Tucker currently serves on the San Mateo County Transit District (SamTrans) Board of Directors, and in that capacity has been a member of the Grand Boulevard Task Force.
She holds a Ph.D. in Experimental Neuropsychology from University of California, Berkeley. She is married to George Tucker, a retired NASA-Ames Research pilot, and has one daughter who recently graduated with a B.S. in Marine Biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

“It is both an honor and a privilege to be the first Coastsider ever to serve on the San Mateo County Planning Commission,” said Kersteen-Tucker. “As a Planning Commissioner I look forward to the challenge of continuing to make this County one of the best places on earth to live, work and play.”

Public Notice: Road Work to Impact Access to County Center

February 21, 2014
Please be advised that road work on Winslow Street will limit access to parking at County Center for approximately two weeks.DSC_0267
The public and employees are urged to use the driveway off of Middlefield Road to park at County Center. The work will also slow traffic on Winslow. The traffic and parking impacts are due to work by Pacific Gas and Electric.
PG&E is replacing a natural gas pipeline that runs under Winslow, alongside County Center.
View a Google map of the area.
We appreciate your patience as this work progresses. DSC_0269

Board of Supervisors Approves Donation of 478 Acres in El Granada from POST

February 20, 2014

Land Transfer Will Enable County to Expand Quarry Park

The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors  has agreed to accept a donation of 478 acres of forest and grassy hillsides  near El Granada from Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST).

The County agreed to accept the land, known commonly as Wicklow, as a gift from POST and is expected to complete the transaction within the next four months, if not sooner.  The land is located about four miles north of Half Moon Bay east of Highway 1 and will be added to the County’s 40-acre Quarry Park. SMCoParks-Logo

“This is great news for anyone who enjoys the outdoors,” said Don Horsley, a member of the Board of Supervisors whose District 3 includes the coastside. “This allows us to preserve this valuable land as open space for generations to come while improving recreational opportunities for our residents.”

“This latest addition to San Mateo County Parks will continue to enhance outdoor recreation in the Midcoast area, following the County’s Midcoast Action Plan for Parks and Recreation,” said San Mateo County Parks Director Marlene Finley. “The existing facilities at neighboring Quarry Park, including the parking lot and restrooms, make it a natural gateway to the Wicklow addition.”

POST, the County’s partner on this project, protects and cares for open space, farms and parkland in and around the Peninsula. The Palo Alto-based organization has a long record of conserving threatened natural landscapes in San Mateo County and beyond, saving more than 70,000 acres since its founding in 1977.

POST commonly works with public agencies such as San Mateo County Parks to ensure permanent conservation and public access to local open lands. POST initially preserved the Wicklow property in 2002 thanks to a generous donation of 462 acres by Mike and Margaret O’Neill and their children—at the time one of the largest and most generous land gifts ever made to POST. untitled - Copy

Mike O’Neill, a prominent Bay Area builder, and his family wanted to see the property—covered in grassy hillsides, coastal ridges and a massive eucalyptus forest—preserved forever. He purchased the land in 1994 and named it after the county where he grew up in Ireland.

Up to four luxury estate homes could have been built at Wicklow. Previously used for cattle grazing, the property was originally designed in the early 1900s as a “pleasure park” by renowned architect and city planner Daniel H. Burnham. He developed El Granada’s distinctive circular street plan as part of a seaside resort community he envisioned for visitors from San Francisco.

“It’s wonderful that, with the transfer of this land to San Mateo County, we can now fulfill the original historic intent for this land for the benefit and enjoyment of Midcoast residents and visitors,” said POST President Walter T. Moore. “POST continues to be grateful to the O’Neill family for their generous land donation in 2002. That visionary gift is what makes this project possible today. We can’t think of a better outcome for this splendid, scenic property.”

About San Mateo County Department of Parks: The San Mateo County Department of Parks provides you with amazing recreational opportunities, while protecting, restoring and enhancing the natural resources of the County. The Department operates 19 separate parks, three regional trails and numerous other county and local trails encompassing 16,183 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 forests, and urban parks. On the Web at


San Mateo County Parks: Marlene Finley, (650) 599-1394,

POST: Michelle Mellon, (650) 854-7696 x341 or

About POST: Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) is a leading private, nonprofit land trust that protects and cares for open space, parks and farmland in and around Silicon Valley. Since its founding in 1977, POST has saved more than 70,000 acres as permanent open space and parkland in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties. On the Web at


Most County offices closed Monday for Presidents Day

February 14, 2014

Most San Mateo County offices will be closed this Monday, February 17, in observance of Presidents Day.

Emergency services are always available.

Check under “Departments” for contact information and to check department hours.

Most offices will reopen Tuesday for normal business hours.


San Mateo County Hires Natural Resource Manager

February 13, 2014

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. –San Mateo County parks are the pride of the Peninsula, possessing remarkable scenery from rocky ocean shores to towering redwoods to bayside beaches.
Now, for the first time in the 90-year history of the San Mateo County Parks Department, the County has hired a natural resource manager to help ensure our parks remain gems for years to come.

Ramona Arechiga will work with County staff, parks volunteers and other agencies to do what’s best for the parks, their visitors and plants and wildlife.20140208_NRM_hire_Press release

“When I was a teenager growing up in Redondo Beach, I dreamed of working in the coast range of northern California as a forest ecologist and resource manager. The position of Natural Resource Manager with San Mateo County Parks Department provides an opportunity to realize that dream. I look forward to working with communities throughout San Mateo to continue to steward, enhance, and sustainably restore the diverse array of ecosystems found within this county.”

The Department operates 19 separate parks, three regional trails and numerous other county and local trails encompassing 16,183 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.

Arechiga comes to San Mateo County after working in the Peace Corps in Ethiopia, where in the Bale Mountains National Park she coordinated multicultural work teams to implement public planting programs in national park buffer communities. Most recently, she moved to the Bay s degree in forest resources from Oregon State University.  Her background and achievements represent a strong sense of community and service.

She honed her program advocacy skills working for nonprofits in Portland, Oregon. In this role she coordinated volunteer-focused native tree and shrub restoration events, and with the help of the community planted over 16,000 plants annually. She has worked tirelessly to provide education and interpretation to the public concerning the importance of urban forests, open-space s work and research both collaboration and stakeholder engagement has been a critical component in in her success.

Turning to a more personal note, on weekends Ramona enjoys hiking and backpacking with her husband, Tracy, and dog, Tsuga. Ramona met her husband when he began to regularly volunteer at her restoration planting events. She also has two indoor-only cats, Go and Brain, which she rescued from a restoration site when they were only three weeks old and stumbling through Himalayan blackberry.

You will likely find Ramona bent over a plant or wildflower with a camera and identification book on the trail in a park near you – and now that means a San Mateo County Park!

Free Homeowner Workshop: Increase Home Comfort with Rebates for Energy Upgrades

February 10, 2014

Homeowners are invited to attend a free workshop on Thursday hosted by the County of San Mateo on improving home comfort, saving energy, and saving money through a regional program called Energy Upgrade California™ Home Upgrade. The workshop is open to all Bay Area homeowners.

“Homeowners who have completed an energy upgrade often say one of the biggest benefits they see is a more comfortable home,” said Cara Bautista, Energy Upgrade California program coordinator for San Mateo County. “Homes are warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer when they have the right insulation, air sealing, and better heating and cooling systems. With a more energy efficient home, people often see a drop in their utility bills.”


Eligible improvements include air sealing; duct sealing; attic insulation; high-efficiency furnaces, cooling systems, and water systems; wall insulation; and more. Homeowners can be eligible for rebates from $1,000 to $2,500 with a Home Upgrade and rebates from $1,000 to $4,500, plus a $300 home energy assessment rebate, with an Advanced Home Upgrade. Rebates are offered for a limited time through the Bay Area Regional Energy Network (BayREN), a collaboration of public agencies representing all nine counties within the San Francisco Bay Area.

In addition, participating homeowners can take advantage of the free Home Upgrade Advisor service, a hotline staffed by energy efficiency experts that will provide direct assistance to homeowners throughout the upgrade and rebate process. Homeowners that are ready to undertake energy upgrades can use the Home Upgrade Advisors to help them connect with trained Participating Contractors and select upgrade options that work for their home and budget.

Homeowner Workshop Information

When: Thursday February 13, 2014

6:30 – 7:00 PM Registration and light refreshments

7:00 – 8:00 PM Presentation and Q&A

Where: Portola Valley Town Center – Community Hall, 765 Portola Road,  Portola Valley, CA 94028

RSVP online at or call (650) 363-4125.

Energy Upgrade California is a regional program available to homeowners throughout the Bay Area, so homeowners from all counties are invited to attend.

Homeowners who are ready to get started now, but unable to attend this workshop, can call a Home Upgrade Advisor at (866) 878-6008 or visit to learn more.



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