Court Cites Experience, Enthusiasm and Leadership Skills
The Superior Court today announced the appointment of John T. Keene, Jr. as San Mateo County Chief Probation Officer.
John Keene, Jr.
Keene has more than 20 years of experience in law enforcement and probation and since 1998 has served in the Alameda County Probation Department, most recently as Deputy Chief.
Robert D. Foiles, San Mateo County Chief Presiding Judge, announced the appointment following Keene’s selection by Superior Court judges.
“Chief Keene brings a wealth of experience to San Mateo County,” Judge Foiles said. “He has served as a police officer and a probation officer so he has that street-level knowledge. In addition he has proven himself as a skilled leader as a deputy chief. We believe he is the right fit for San Mateo County.”
Judge Foiles added, “His selection represents a collaborative process between the county and the court that included county input at all levels.”
Keene will succeed Calvin Remington, who has served as Acting Chief Probation Officer since January. His first day will be Monday, June 10.
Keene holds a law degree from the Southern University Law Center and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Southern University. He worked as a police officer and investigator for the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections from 1993 to 1996.
After completing his law degree, Keene began his service with Alameda County in 1998 as a probation officer. He has worked in juvenile and adult institutions, among other assignments, and has served as Deputy Chief since 2010.
As Chief in San Mateo County, Keene will play a lead role in Public Safety Realignment, the 2011 state law that shifted supervision responsibility over certain low-level offenders from the state to county probation departments.
Judge Foiles said Keene’s enthusiasm to tackle a tough challenge posed by reductions in state funding and support were among the key reasons why the Superior Court selected him.
“Where others see problems it’s clear that Chief Keene sees opportunities,” Judge Foiles said. “He has a true enthusiasm for how a probation department contributes to the safety of a community by providing proven programs so that probationers can get the assistance they need to succeed.”
Keene said he looks forward to working with the Court, Sheriff’s Office, Health System, Human Services Agency and community partners to reduce recidivism and improve public safety.
“I believe in data-driving performance and that data can tell you when a program is working and when it is not,” he said. “My goal has always been to constantly look at what’s working based on the evidence and provide those services to the community.”
As Chief, Keene will oversee approximately 400 employees and a budget of $75 million. He will earn $170,456 annually and receive an automobile allowance of $12,012 annually as he is on call 24/7.
A committee that will review the boundaries of San Mateo County’s supervisorial districts and possibly recommend changes will hold its first meeting June 6 in San Mateo.
Four additional meetings are also scheduled: June 15 in Half Moon Bay; June 18 in Daly City; June 25 in East Palo Alto; and July 11 in Millbrae. Details are below.
The Board of Supervisors created the nine-member boundary adjustment committee after voters changed the County Charter in November. The change requires that only voters within a district can elect a supervisor who lives in that same district to represent them. Under the prior system voters countywide elected all five supervisors.
With heightened interest in district-based elections, the Board of Supervisors tasked the committee with hearing public comment, studying current and potential boundaries and recommending possible adjustments.
The kick-off meeting will be held Thursday, June 6, at 6:30 p.m. at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, 725 Monte Diablo Ave., San Mateo.
The committee and public will receive a report from a demographer and then learn how to use an online mapping tool to review the current boundaries and draw possible districts. The committee will also receive public comment.
Four additional meetings will be held throughout the county. These are:
· Saturday, June 15, 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Cunha Intermediate School Library, 600 Church Street, Half Moon Bay
· Tuesday, June 18, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., War Memorial Community Center, 6655 Mission Street, Daly City
· Tuesday, June 25, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., East Palo Alto Council Chambers, 2415 University Ave., East Palo Alto
· Thursday, July 11, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Millbrae Community Center, 477 Lincoln Circle, Millbrae
At the final meeting in Millbrae, it is anticipated the committee will consider possible draft boundary changes. An additional five meetings will be held in late summer to present possible draft changes to the public for comment before any recommendation is presented to the full Board of Supervisors.
Under State election law, districts must be approximately equal in population. In establishing the boundaries of the districts the Board of Supervisors may give consideration to the following factors: (a) topography, (b) geography, (c) cohesiveness, contiguity, integrity, and compactness of territory, and (d) community of interests of the districts.”
The committee members chosen by the Board are: Supervisors Adrienne J. Tissier and Warren Slocum; Gonzalo “Sal” Torres, a Daly City Council Member; Laura Martinez, an East Palo Alto Council Member; and public members: Hayden Lee of Millbrae; Raymond Lee of San Mateo; Barbara Arietta of Pacifica; William Nack of Menlo Park; and Rebecca Ayson of Daly City.
Each public member resides in one of the five current districts.
Additional information about the process will be posted at www.smcgov.org/bos under “Supervisorial District Lines Advisory Committee.”
Marshall Wilson, San Mateo County Communications Director
Today San Mateo County and partner agencies practiced responding to a major earthquake on the San Andreas Fault.
The scenario involved a strong quake striking a few miles outside the Golden Gate, rupturing the San Andreas Fault for hundreds of miles.
Our Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services, Human Services Agency, Health System and numerous other departments came together in a command center near the Hall of Justice in Redwood City — the scenario called for the command center to be staged outdoors, away from buildings. The drill was part of a larger statewide drill called Golden Guardian.
Jobs for Youth is a year-round program designed to help young people develop their job search skills. The program provides employment services to all youth between the ages of 14 to 21 years old at no cost to them or to employers. The program is sponsored by the County of San Mateo and partner agencies.
The Jobs for Youth Fundraising Breakfast will begin at 7:30 a.m. Tickets are $45 per person or $400 for a table of 10.
The Crowne Plaza is located at 1221 Chess Drive, Foster City.
Jim Nantell, the former City Manager of Burlingame, has been appointed as interim Director of the Parks Department.
Nantell will oversee the transition of Parks from a division of the Public Works Department to a stand-alone department.
Hikers enjoy a day on the trail
Nantell has served in many executive public agency positions, including directing the City of San Mateo Parks and Recreation Department. He holds a Masters Degree in Parks and Recreation Management from San Francisco State University.
Nantell begin work as the Interim Parks Director on May 8, 2013 and continue with the County until the permanent director is in place, which we expect will be in the late fall.
For details read the Parks Staff Report presented at the Tuesday, May 7, meeting of the Board of Supervisors.
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.
Four endangered butterfly species living in San Bruno Mountain State and County Park have been granted another 30 years of protection, thanks to a conservation plan allowing limited development near the park in exchange for habitat restoration funding.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in collaboration with San Mateo County and the cities of Brisbane, Daly City and South San Francisco, has approved a 30-year extension of San Bruno Mountain Park’s original Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP), which in 1983 was the first HCP to be created under the federal Endangered Species Act of 1973.
In addition to protecting grasslands that support the endangered Mission Blue, San Bruno Elfin, Bay Checkerspot and Callippe Silverspot butterflies, the Habitat Conservation Plan also ensures survival of 14 rare and endangered plant species found in the 2,864-acre park.
The Callippe Silverspot
The park’s summit of 1,314 feet is a landmark to the north Peninsula and offers unobstructed, 360-degree views of San Francisco, the East Bay, Mount Diablo and Pacific Ocean. San Bruno Mountain’s 12 miles of hiking, riding, and jogging trails link various vista points, and a disabilities access trail, the Bog Trail, is located near the park entrance.San Bruno Mountain Park’s original Habitat Conservation Plan allowed development on 330 acres at the base of the mountain, but also added 800 protected acres to the park. Land developers and property owners near the park contribute annually to a perpetual fund for restoration of butterfly habitat on San Bruno Mountain.
The newly-approved extension of the HCP will allow approved land development to be completed, as well as grassland restoration, maintenance of service roads and hiking trails, utility maintenance and fire suppression activities.
New revenues from development will help fight the encroachment of non-native invasive plant species, which choke out the native food-source plants that butterflies rely upon. In 1983, park managers identified ten invasive species of concern on San Bruno Mountain. But today, more than 60 troublesome plant species have taken root in the park.
Currently , grassland restoration is focused on approximately 650 acres of the park, with additional work being done by San Mateo County Parks, volunteers and adjacent private property owners.
Annual Work Plans to manage vegetation and monitor butterfly populations are developed by a Technical Advisory Committee, which also makes funding recommendations to San Bruno Mountain Habitat Conservation Plan Trustees, a group consisting of the San Mateo County Manager and the City Managers of Brisbane, Daly City and South San Francisco.
San Bruno Mountain State and County Park is located at 555 Guadalupe Canyon Parkway, Brisbane, 94005.
For more information, contact Sam Herzberg, Senior Planner, San Mateo County Parks (650) 363-1823 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome to the Spring 2013 San Mateo County Employee Newsletter. We begin with a profile:
As the sun falls in the Western sky at the end of another work day, a melodic sound drifts out of the County Center parking garage. It starts out low, slow, confusing. Then it builds and echoes through five floors of concrete. That’s it– the unmistakable melody of bagpipes playing ancient tunes that stir the heart, bringing thoughts of homeland, honor and loss.
Brian Molver opens the ceremony at the County’s annual Disaster Preparedness Day
The hidden piper is Brian Molver, District Coordinator of the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services, whose dedication to public safety is matched only by his devotion to the pipes.
Molver practices his music almost daily, unpacking his treasured 1953 R.G. Lawrie bagpipes in a solitary corner of the basement in the parking structure, surrounded by Sheriff’s vehicles and supplies, or at the Mission Cemetery in Santa Clara, where he fills the historic mausoleum with the pipe’s pleasing tones. He likes the acoustics in such places.
While Molver enjoys some Irish ancestry, his love of the bagpipes stems from the instrument’s history in law enforcement. His own father came to love the skirl of the pipes as a soldier in World War II, and generations of American police officers and firefighters have embraced the instrument as an embodiment of the warrior spirit.
“Since America was founded, the Scottish regiments have led their soldiers into battle playing the pipes, they rallied the troops in retreat, and when soldiers died they instilled dignity in what had happened,” Molver said. “There’s no other instrument like it in the world. It is immensely powerful.”
Molver plays a form of music known as Piobaireachd, which is the earliest form of manuscript music. Listen to him practice:
“There are no lyrics,” Molver said. “To me it is like classical Indian or Pakistani music, where the melody begins slowly like a raga where the variations in the melody get more intricate and fantastic as the tune goes along.”
Molver has won numerous awards for his music, and even competed in Scotland as a teenager. He once played drums with the Nepali National Police Bagpipe Band during a visit to Kathmandu, and regularly performs at the annual memorial service for fallen police officers at the California State Capitol and at our County’s memorial service.
Watch a video of Brian Molver playing the pipes in the garage and learn his “Rule of 5s” for surviving a disaster by clicking here.
When U.S. military veterans land in Judge John Grandsaert’s Veterans Treatment Court, the men and women are provided with help and a mentor, not a cell.
Veterans Treatment Court has a simple goal: treat the underlying causes of a veteran’s mental health and substance abuse issues that may have contributed to an arrest. A veteran may be eligible to have charges dropped or fines reduced upon successful completion of court-ordered programs.
Veterans Treatment Court is not a get-out-of-jail-free card. Veterans are under intense supervision and must comply with all court orders or face fines, jail time or transfer out of Veterans Court to regular criminal court.
It’s tough, no doubt, staying away from the drugs and alcohol that many have used to medicate themselves from the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injuries and other illnesses. That’s why Judge Grandsaert offers veterans incentives along the road to recovery.
He often provides veterans with a gift card — $5 or $10 to Starbucks or Jamba Juice, for instance – if they have a favorable progress report. The Judge has found that minor rewards along the road to recovery can have a major influence on behavior. What Veterans Services Court needs are more gift cards.
Please consider donating $5 and $10 gift cards from establishments that do not sell alcohol to Veterans Services Court.
San Mateo County employees can send the cards via PONY to Michael Leon in Probation at PRO114. Members of the public can send the cards to Michael Leon, Probation Department, Fifth Floor, San Mateo County Hall of Justice, Redwood City, CA 94063.
County programs that have harnessed volunteer power, improved worker health and slashed the time it takes to resolve complaints are winners of San Mateo County Stars Awards.
The Board of Supervisors also granted STARS awards to two environmental initiatives and an employee suggestion.
Established in 2006, the STARS competition gives cash awards to county departments and programs that demonstrate excellence in performance and customer service. The program was expanded in 2008 to reward outstanding employee suggestions and environmental sustainability initiatives. The cash awards must be used to support the winning department’s operations.
Office of Consumer Family Affairs, Health System/Behavioral Health and Recovery Services, for slashing the time it takes to resolve grievances from 36.1 days to 22.9 days – a 37 percent reduction. $5,000.
Sheriff’s Office Volunteer Forces, for organizing volunteers who contribute more than 33,000 hours of service each year, reflecting annual savings in excess of $1 million. $20,000.
Search and rescue volunteers on the job
Human Resources Department, Employee Wellness Program, for providing health and wellness services to nearly 40 percent of the County’s workforce. The department also offered Thrive Across America, a web-based physical activity program that served 1,500 County workers. $20,000.
Health System/Environmental Health, for a Foodware Ordinance that banned the use of polystyrene foam containers from restaurants in San Mateo County’s unincorporated area. Eleven local cities have since adopted the county’s ordinance, and four others have adopted similar regulations. $2,500.
Agricultural Weights and Measures, for its Paperless Office Initiative focused on converting paper files into electronic formats, thereby saving paper, copy-machine chemicals, equipment costs, office storage space and many worker hours. County residents have also benefited from faster response times to requests for information. $2,500.
Garrett Dunwoody, an employee with the Information Services Department, who suggested that the county implement an “Innovation Day,” allowing workers to work on self-selected projects that contribute to the success of the organization. $100.
This year’s STARS awards were chosen from eleven entries submitted last fall by six county departments, and from 22 employee suggestions. The department entries were reviewed and ranked by two teams of county representatives, and the employee suggestions were vetted by the affected department to determine feasibility.
The California Legislature in 2011 passed a plan to comply with federal court orders to reduce the prison population by about 35,000 inmates. Under the plan the state’s 58 counties began incarcerating, supervising and rehabilitating non-serious, non-violent and non-sexual offenders.
This has placed a new challenge on our staff and on counties across the state. To meet the challenge, San Mateo County has launched Service Connect. When an offender is released from jail, he or she is directed immediately to get signed up for an initial assessment plus other help they need to get off to a fresh start. Learn about Service Connect and our County’s approach to what’s called Public Safety Realignment in this video produced by the California State Association of Counties:
Service Connect received a 2012 Merit Award in the California State Association of Counties Challenge Awards.
Bravery and Teamwork Save Lives at San Mateo Medical Center
When a fire broke out March 5 on the Skilled Nursing unit at San Mateo Medical Center, what could have turned into a tragedy was prevented by the bravery and skill of Medical Center staff, who risked their own safety to extinguish the fire and secure the safety of the patients on that unit.
The skilled nursing staff made sure that all 29 patients were evacuated in less than 15 minutes, and that the fire doors and doors to patient rooms were closed. As a result, not a single patient was exposed to the smoke or suffered from smoke inhalation. The Board of Supervisors on March 26 publicly thanked and recognized the employees for their outstanding efforts.
Learn how Susan Petterson, Filemon Doria, Dereck Miranda and Eldick Roth teamed with other Medical Center staff to become ”Health Heroes.”
The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, April 23, voted to create a Parks Department (read the Parks Staff Report) and invest more than $4.7 million in park operations and improvements over the next 14 months.
The funding will largely come from voter-approved Measure A, a half-cent sales tax that took effect countywide on April 1, and capital improvement funds.
A bridge at San Pedro Valley Park in Pacifica
“Our 17 County parks have been neglected far too long,” said Board President Don Horsley. “San Mateo County residents take great pride in our parks and open space and we need to invest in our natural resources for this and future generations.”
The County plans to hire seven new Parks positions, including four rangers and a Parks director, and to start to implement the San Mateo County Parks Strategic Plan, which was also approved at Tuesday’s Board meeting. That plan calls for fixing failing roads, trails, sewage systems and other infrastructure while increasing opportunities for recreation.
The Parks Department was folded into the Department of Public Works approximately two years ago to save money to help the County meet fiscal challenges.
With the passage of Measure A in November 2012, which called for “keeping parks open,” the Board moved to restore Parks as a separate department to give parks and parks visitors “the attention they rightfully deserve,” Horsley said.
Two of the new rangers will focus on the new Devil’s Slide trail, which is scheduled to open later this year. The trail is the former Highway 1 that is now bypassed by the Tom Lantos Tunnels at Devil’s Slide, which opened in late March.
Public Safety Communications and other emergency management officials are addressing an urban legend making its way on social media sites and warn the public that 9-1-1 is the number to call for emergency help in the United States. Some posts on social networks are encouraging U.S. residents to call 1-1-2 — the European number for emergency calls — in such situations.
Jaime Young, the County’s 9-1-1 director, urges the public to rely on 9-1-1. “It’s important that our residents and visitors know that 9-1-1 on a landline telephone or wireless device is still the only number to call when in an emergency situation.” National associations have gone as far as creating a ’1-1-2hoax’ hashtag on Twitter and are urging people to re-tweet the correct information and help us get the word out.
If someone in the U.S. does dial 1-1-2, some carriers treat it as an emergency call and reroute it to the 9-1-1 system. However, not all devices and carriers support this functionality, so there is a chance that dialing 1-1-2 in the U.S. will result in no one answering the call. Some of the social-media posts have indicated that dialing 1-1-2 will result in “preferential treatment” and quicker response. Not true. And please don’t call 1-1-2 to try it out — you might tie up emergency resources that are needed elsewhere.
It’s a good lesson: not all information posted on the Internet is true.
It’s often said that kids today suffer from Nature Deficit Disorder — they don’t get outside enough.
Park Ranger Steve Kraemer is doing his best to overcome that. He created a “Take a Kid Fishing” program that allowed kids enrolled in summer camp at CuriOdyssey at Coyote Point to go fishing.
Children enjoy a day of fishing along the Bay thanks to Ranger Steve Kraemer and other rangers and volunteers.
Kraemer was able to gather enough fishing equipment and supplies to get the program started, through contributions of fellow rangers, family and friends. He worked with camp counselors and other park rangers, to ensure these fishing adventures for the children were very successful. He also used this opportunity to educate the children on taking care of the environment, conservation of wildlife, and the need for clean water.
Additionally, Kraemer has been a ‘Go to Ranger’ for several volunteer projects and events. These projects/events involve a lot of pre-planning, coordination and preparation to ensure that they run smoothly and safely. He leads the volunteers in a well-coordinated, professional and safe manner.
Ranger Steve Kraemer
Kraemer joined the County in 2005 as an extra help park aide and has been promoted several times. Hehas been a job coach/mentor for the annual Supported Training & Experience Program (STEP) internships for youth emancipated from foster care. Kraemer’s professionalism, work ethic and overall determination in seeing things get done has been invaluable in helping Parks maintain a high level of service.
In recognition of his service and dedication, the Board of Supervisors named him Employee of the Month in February. Read the Board memo.
The Web redesign and Drupal implementation has begun. What is a Drupal, you say? Simply put, it is an English rendering of a Dutch word for drop. Drupal is also a free and open-source software content management system for websites. Our intent is to build an open platform for connecting, engaging, educating and collaborating with our community.
Over the next 12 to 18 months, the Web team will be intensely focused on transforming San Mateo County’s web presence. Departments hosted on the Vignette CMS will be called on to do the same during their two- to three-week migration to the new platform.
Our contractor, Phase2, will be onsite this week to meet with small groups to discuss technology, project requirements and look-and-feel. To stay informed about the project, employees can join the Web group in Yammer (http://www.yammer.com/smcgov.org) and interested members of the public can send an e-mail to email@example.com. You are also welcome to drop by the Web Team’s new digs in the former Press Room at 400 County Center and say hello to the Web team: Andrew Kenmore, Aja Bettencourt-McCarthy, Bev Thames, Jean-Francois Barthe and Rosa Ortez.
Shared Vision 2025 – Making an Impact in our Community
As public servants, we can make a huge difference in our community every day. We can help our residents get healthier and more independent, and our neighborhoods safer and cleaner. Our Shared Vision is for a healthy and safe, livable, prosperous, collaborative and environmentally conscious community.
In January, the Board of Supervisors adopted a set of Community Impact Goals to prioritize our work and measure our progress. Can you see how your work contributes to one or more of these goals? By working on the most important things together, we can make sure our shared vision for the Year 2025 becomes a reality!
Shared Vision 2025 reflects the goals and priorities for the San Mateo County community expressed during a series of public meetings and surveys. Focusing on the Shared Vision 2025 goals and priorities places an emphasis on what’s best for all of San Mateo County today and in the years to come.
Kick off spring by enjoying any number of free outdoor events taking place across San Mateo County on May 4 and 5. It’s called Streets Alive! Parks Alive!
Enjoy a bike rodeo in Belmont, kite flying in Menlo Park or a scavenger hunt in San Bruno. Skating in Pacifica and kids’ activities in Burlingame are also on the menu.
Streets Alive Parks Alive is sponsored by San Mateo County along with a host of Peninsula cities. It’s an annual event that encourages all of us to enjoy everything our communities have to offer while getting some exercise and shaking off the winter chill. Find Streets Alive! Parks Alive! on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/StreetsAliveParksAlive or call 650-363-4568.
San Mateo County Jobs for Youth serves teens and young adults ages 14 to 21 to help them secure employment in our working world. The 31st Annual Jobs for Youth Breakfast will be held on Thursday, May 23, at 7:30 a.m., at the Foster City Crown Plaza Hotel, 1221 Chess Drive, Foster City.
Please pass this information along to anyone that may be interested in attending or supporting this important program. Learn more.
Find out how to prepare for a disaster at San Mateo County Disaster Preparedness Day on Saturday June 8, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the San Mateo Event Center, 2495 S. Delaware St., San Mateo. Once again Disaster Preparedness Day is being held on the opening day of the San Mateo County Fair. You get free admission to the fair and free parking if you arrive before 11 a.m. Talk with emergency responders, learn how to put together an emergency kit, watch demonstrations and have some fun at Fiesta Hall.
A search dog shows off during a demonstration at Disaster Preparedness Day 2012
This newsletter was produced by the San Mateo County Manager’s Office with the goal of keeping employees — and the public — informed. Please contact Marshall Wilson, the communications director, at 650-363-4153 or at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions, comments and ideas.
SMC ALERT is an alert notification system used to immediately contact you during urgent or emergency situations with useful information and updates by sending text messages to your:
e-mail accounts (home, work, school)
cell phones, pagers
Sign up now!
And Save the Date:
Making friends at the 2012 Disaster Preparedness Day
Find out how to prepare for a disaster at San Mateo County Disaster Preparedness Day on Saturday June 8, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the San Mateo Event Center, 2495 S. Delaware St., San Mateo. Once again Disaster Preparedness Day is being held on the opening day of the San Mateo County Fair.
You and your family receive free admission to the fair and free parking if you arrive before 11 a.m.
Talk with emergency responders, learn how to put together an emergency kit, watch demonstrations and have some fun at Fiesta Hall. For more information, contact Office of Emergency Services at (650) 363-4790 or the Office of Supervisor Adrienne J. Tissier (650) 363-4572.
On Earth Day, April 22, 2013, the San Mateo County Reusable Bag Ordinance will launch, requiring that County retailers no longer provide customers with plastic carry-out bags. On that day, San Mateo County joins other cities and counties that encourage the use of reusable bags, promoting healthier environments for citizens through the decreased use of single-use plastic bags.
Researchers have well-documented the harmful impact to our environment and wildlife caused by single-use plastic bags. Plastic never biodegrades; instead it breaks down into smaller particles that seep into our soil and water. This “bag ban” is the result of sobering news that in California, 20 billion single-use plastic grocery bags are used every year, which end up in landfills, or as litter on land and in water.
“We are well aware that there are many on either side of this issue who feel passionately about banning single-use plastic bags in San Mateo County,” said Dean Peterson, County Health System Director of Environmental Health. “While there will likely be growing pains associated with the extermination of this harmful product from our County, I think everyone can agree that the long-term benefit of a cleaner, safer, and frankly existent environment where future families and children can enjoy the natural beauty of San Mateo County, is a more than reasonable tradeoff.”
The ban will apply to all County retail outlets, including grocery stores, convenience stores, pharmacies and other shops. It does not apply to plastic bags used for restaurant food take-outs or for produce, meats, bulk foods and prescription medicines. Shop owners are encouraged return any unused plastic bags to their vendors for repurposing and/or refund.
If retail customers do not bring a reusable bag, the retailer will charge them 10-cents per paper bag until Jan. 1, 2015, after which a 25-cent per bag charge may apply. Shoppers using reusable bags are encouraged to practice “healthy bag habits” that include washing reusable bags regularly to remove bacteria and other potential food contaminants. Other recommendations for bag safety can be found on the San Mateo County Health System website at http://smchealth.org/BagBan