HANCSM’s Letter to City Council on General Plan Process, 117 signatures!

August 19, 2019
Honorable Mayor Diane Papan and Members of the City Council
City of San Mateo

Dear Mayor Papan and Members of the City Council,

The Home Association of North Central San Mateo (HANCSM) is committed to the Vision Statement that our City adopted for its General Plan Update: 

San Mateo is a vibrant, livable, diverse, and healthy community that respects the quality of its neighborhoods, fosters a flourishing economy, is committed to equity, and is a leader in environmental sustainability.

We stand behind it and want our City to realize the values of this new Vision Statement.

HANCSM supports the inclusion of our North Central neighborhood as an area of study. The rest of the city should be studied as well, and all areas of the city that are transit-adjacent or in transit corridors should be studied in equal measure. 

North Central should not be exclusively singled out as the only residential neighborhood for study. We believe no neighborhood should be exempt from change and no neighborhood should be subjected to radical change. To do anything else shifts too much of the obligation and responsibility for change onto our most vulnerable communities. We cannot laud values such as diversity, inclusivity, and equity and at the same time undermine them from the very beginning of our planning stage by excluding all other single-family zoned neighborhoods from the areas of study. 

North Central is San Mateo’s densest neighborhood, with the largest percentage of renters, people of color, and the greatest concentration of the city’s “affordable housing” stock. Our neighborhood has already experienced significant displacement, and our residents and businesses are at the highest risk of displacement in the coming decades. Therefore, as we strive to achieve the values of diversity, inclusivity, and equity, we advocate for the protection of our vulnerable community members. When we study our city and consider changes here, countering displacement must be a key driver on par with the other values of our Vision Statement and a major focus of study for North Central. 

The City Council, Planning Commission, and General Plan Subcommittee unanimously called for “robust and meaningful” community input. The community outreach efforts to identify the study areas presented at the Planning Commission Meeting failed to yield the levels of participation or engagement that our electeds requested and that our community deserves. HANCSM advocates for expanding the formats for participation to reach a more diverse group of community stakeholders. We encourage the use of panels and round tables to promote community dialogue. The Subcommittee could bring together community leaders who hold differing perspectives to foster dialogue and education. In this planning process we must connect vision, values, and goals with community needs and implementation strategies. We have a chance to empower our diverse city through this process and map our values to measurable goals that are tied to clear, data-based metrics – metrics that tell the story of our community’s current and future needs. 

We want our homes to be part of a vibrant, livable, diverse, and healthy community where all members feel welcome and have the ability to reside in San Mateo with dignity – today and in 2040. HANCSM calls on you, our elected officials, to correct course and uphold your commitment to our stated vision and values. 

Respectfully Yours,

*****

Estimado  Alcalde Diane Papan y miembros del Ayuntamiento,

La Asociación de Hogares de North Central San Mateo (HANCSM) está comprometida con la Visión que nuestra Ciudad ha propuesto en la actualización del estudio de “Plan General”:

San Mateo es una comunidad vibrante y llena de vida, diversa y saludable, que respeta la calidad de vida de sus vecindarios, fomenta una economía floreciente, está comprometida con la igualdad y es un líder en la protección del medio ambiente.

La Asociación de Hogares de North Central San Mateo respaldamos y queremos que nuestra Ciudad se dé cuenta de los valores de esta nueva visión.

HANCSM apoya la inclusión de nuestro vecindario de “North Central” como una área de estudio.  Sin embargo, consideramos que el resto de la ciudad también debería ser parte de este estudio, así como todas las áreas adyacentes a la ciudad, y también tomar en cuenta el tránsito y los corredores de tránsito que deberían estudiarse con misma medida.

North Central no debería ser exclusivamente seleccionado como el único vecindario residencial para este estudio.  Nosotros creemos que ningún vecindario de San Mateo debería estar exento de cambios, y también que ningún vecindario debería estar sujeto a cambios radicales.  Al no hacer nada, cambiaría nuestra obligación y responsabilidad para cambio en nuestras comunidades más vulnerables. No podemos apoyar los valores como la diversidad, la inclusión y la igualdad, y al mismo tiempo quebrantarlos cuando al comienzo de nuestra etapa de planificación se está excluyendo a otros vecindarios zonales como las zonas de una familia dentro del alcance de este estudio.

North Central es el vecindario más denso de San Mateo, con el mayor porcentaje de inquilinos, personas de color y la mayor inventario de “viviendas accesible” de esta ciudad.  Nuestro vecindario ya ha sufrido un desplazamiento significativo, y nuestros residentes y negocios corren el mayor riesgo de desplazamiento en las próximas décadas. Por lo tanto, a medida que nos esforzamos por alcanzar los valores de la diversidad, inclusión e igualdad, pedimos por la protección de los miembros vulnerables de nuestra comunidad. Cuando nosotros tomamos en cuenta a nuestra ciudad y considerarnos los cambios, también deberíamos tomar en cuenta acciones para contrarrestar el desplazamiento y esto debería ser un factor clave que estaría alineado con el otros valores de nuestra Visión y ser un enfoque principal de Estudio para North Central.

Todos los miembros del Ayuntamiento, la Comisión de Planificación y el Subcomité del Plan General pidieron a la comunidad su “firmes y significativos” comentarios/críticas. Los esfuerzos de la Comisión de Planificación para conseguir la participación de la comunidad e identificar las áreas de estudio no logró los niveles de participación o compromiso que nuestros miembros del Ayuntamiento solicitaron y que nuestra comunidad merece. HANCSM pide expandir los formatos de participación para llegar al grupo más diverso de partes interesadas de nuestra comunidad. Exhortamos el uso de paneles de discusión y mesas redondas para promover el diálogo comunitario. El subcomité podría traer juntos líderes comunitarios que tienen diferentes perspectivas para fomentar el diálogo y la educación. En esto proceso de planificación debemos conectar la visión, los valores y las metas con las necesidades y la implementación de la comunidad estrategias. Queremos la oportunidad de darle voz a nuestra diversa comunidad y a través de este proceso y planear que nuestros valores sean objetivos medibles y vinculados a claras métricas que estén basadas en datos y que revelen la historia de las necesidades actuales y futuras de nuestra comunidad. 

Queremos que nuestros hogares y familias sean parte de una comunidad vibrante, con una buena calidad de vida, diversa y saludable donde todos nosotros podamos sentirnos bienvenidos y tengamos la capacidad de vivir en San Mateo con dignidad, hoy y en 2040. HANCSM exhorta a, nuestros funcionarios electos, a corregir el rumbo y cumplir con su compromiso con nuestra Visión y valores.

Respetuosamente,

Adam Nugent, HANCSM President
Binh Thai, HANCSM Vice President
Carolina Nugent, HANCSM Secretary
Joanne Bennett, HANCSM Treasurer
Amourence Lee, HANCSM Communications & Love North Central Campaign Chair
Bennito Angeles, HANCSM Board Member
Mike Caggiano, HANCSM Board Member
Dorothy Chow, HANCSM Board Member
Noelia Corzo, HANCSM Board Member
Emanuel Huff, HANCSM Board Member
Jonah Lee, HANCSM Board Member
Wesley Taoka, HANCSM Board Member
Ben Toy, HANCSM Board Member
Dianne Whitaker, HANCSM Board Member

Rev. Marlyn Bussey, Pastor, St. James AME Zion Church
Rev. Henry Toryo Adams, Resident Minister, San Mateo Buddhist Temple
Rev. Dr. Penny Nixon, Senior Minister, Congregational Church of San Mateo
Rev. Jorge P. Bautista, Associate Minister, Congregational Church of San Mateo
Marty Hoffman, President of Unitarian Universalists of San Mateo 
Shaun Collins, Vice President of Unitarian Universalists of San Mateo 
Barb Du Mond, Member of Unitarian Universalists of San Mateo
Brenda Sell, St. Bartholomew Catholic Church
Jim Sell, St. Bartholomew Catholic Church
Anita Webb, Financial Sec. of North Central Neighborhood Assoc. & Trustee of Pilgrim Baptist Church
Arnold Webb, Member of North Central Neighborhood Assoc. & Usher of Pilgrim Baptist Church
Michael Green, North Central Resident & Deacon of Pilgrim Baptist Church 
Cynthia Eagleton, 20+ year Teacher, San Mateo Adult School
Jose A. Mendez, NAACP Branch 1068, Executive Committee Member
Ethel Batiste, President of North Central Neighborhood Association

Peninsula for Everyone
Faith In Action Bay Area 
One San Mateo Steering Committee

Claire Mack, North Central Resident & Former Mayor of the City of San Mateo
Nicole Fernandez, North Central Resident & City of San Mateo Community Relations Commissioner
Dave Leecho, North Central Resident & Los Prados Community Garden Board Member
Joshua Hugg, North Central Resident & Former City of San Mateo Planning Commissioner
Tracey Kobayashi, North Central Resident & Former HANCSM Board Member
Gloria R. Brown, North Central Resident & Consultant Bay Area Community Health Advisory Council
Tony Samara, North Central Resident & Program Director of Land Use and Housing Urban Habitat
Jennifer Martinez, North Central Resident & Chief Strategy Officer, PICO California
Evelia Chairez, North Central Resident & Community Facilitator PCRC

Lionel Traubman, San Mateo Resident & Co-founder Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue
Gustavo Hornos, Owner Motion Arts Center
Jesica Hornos, Owner Motion Arts Center
Minerva Pulido, Owner Mi Rancho

& North Central & San Mateo Residents

Low Cost Internet Access for Public Assistance Clients

San Mateo County is partnering with former Supervisor Rose Jacobs Gibson to promote affordable internet access to low income families.   The State’s CETF (CA Emerging Technology Fund) is tasked with closing the “digital divide” and local service providers have affordable internet rates for our families.  Our role at HSA is to help promote the opportunities with our families and inform them that these rates are available to them.  Different internet providers have different eligibility requirements so it is best for us to refer them to either call CETF’s main number (844) 841-4636, or clients can call the internet providers directly themselves. Clients can also check out their website to learn more.  https://www.everyoneon.org/

King Park Improvements Project Update

This is to update you on the status of the King Park Improvements project. The project began as scheduled on 5/6/19, however, during demolition, two unknown conditions were discovered that require remediation outside the scope of the construction contract and requiring additional funds:

  • Soils containing lead levels requiring disposal at Class I and Class II landfills
  • Relocation of athletic field underground electrical lines

The project was suspended pending an examination and plan for each issue. These, and the request for additional funding were presented to and approved at the 7/15/19 City Council meeting. Construction is scheduled to restart by Monday, 8/7/19. This nearly 3-month delay will extend the construction period into early 2020.

Below is further explanation of each issue.

Soils Disposal

The King Park Improvements Project includes as a major feature the replacement of the natural turf athletic field with a synthetic turf field. As is typical for such projects, this requires the removal of several inches of organic and soil material, replacing it with new drainage, a rock base, shock pad, artificial turf, and infill material.   In anticipation of the soils off-haul, the City contracted with GeoCon Consultants to conduct soils testing at the King Park site.  The initial report on 5 borings revealed elevated levels of lead that exceeded those typically found naturally in soils.  In order to obtain a more complete analysis of the remaining site, an additional 68 samples were taken not only throughout the construction site but out of an abundance of caution, the test area was expanded to include the children’s play area, basketball court, and surrounding grass areas.  Additional random elevated levels of lead were found scattered throughout the field area; however, no elevated levels were found in areas outside of the field. 

The parcels that make up King Park were accumulated during a long period starting in 1902 through 1966, with most parcels acquired during the 1930’s and so the origin of the elevated lead levels is unknown. The findings of the Geocon report are such that the initial plan to off haul the top several inches of soils and organics as usable construction fill was not possible and most of the soil requires disposal in a landfill.

Field Light Electrical Line Relocation

During demolition, it was discovered that electrical lines supplying the athletic field lights traverse the field, portions of which were placed at particularly shallow depth, encased in conduit that does not meet code for that depth, and were damaged during demolition. These lines will need to be relocated to the perimeter of the field.

The additional trucking and disposal fees for the soil and electrical re-design and relocation will result in significant additional cost that was not anticipated and required an additional appropriation.

If you wish further information you may contact:

Paul Council
Special Projects Manager

Immigrant Services from SMC

Recent news articles have reported potential Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) activities in the coming weeks (to read the full article click here.)

The Office of Community Affairs Immigrant Services would like to share important community resources available to better inform our residents of their rights.

Below please find important resources to share with your networks and community

San Mateo County Immigration Tool Kit

You can find the Tool Kit on our website in English, in Spanish, in Chinese

SMC Rapid Response Hotline

In need of immigration assistance?
Visit our Immigration Legal Services Website 
to get information on your nearest legal service provider.

Strategies for creating healthy, equitable communities

Everyone is invited to join this strategic conversation with Get Healthy San Mateo County on Tuesday, July 16th at the San Mateo Main Library.

How do we keep advancing healthy, equitable communities together in San Mateo County? Register Online!

Health begins in the places where we live, learn, work, and play. Get Healthy San Mateo County is a collaborative effort helping to make the healthy choice the easy choice for everyone. We are updating our community-identified strategic plan. Join us in this strategic meeting to share your ideas for how we can continue to work together to achieve healthy, equitable communities in the coming five years.

Lunch will be provided. Childcare and translation services provided upon request. Contact: Rosa Torpis at rtorpis@smcgov.org or (650) 573-2462