Making history together as your Mayor
I am honored to serve as mayor of the City of San Mateo, the largest city in our county. This decision and our collective leadership will have generational impact. Our City made history providing representation for my North Central neighborhood, as well as my API and Jewish community for the first time in 128 years.
I want to thank the 1,350+ supporters and our multi-faith, multi-generational, and multi-racial coalition led by young people, sustainability, women's rights, housing, labor, and LGBTQ+ leaders who held San Mateo City Hall accountable in defense of our charter and the principles of good governance. You all fill me with hope and vision for the positive change we can create with all this momentum!
Sadly, the departure from our century-old tradition and failure to adhere to our charter directives opened the door to a corrosive highjacking and attempts to bargain powers of the mayor. Our community felt cheated and good candidates suffered. After an unprecedented 7 days without mayoral representation, finally order was restored. We can't get that time back or minimize the damage, but we can correct course. I hope that my council colleagues can agree to put the people who entrust us with their lives first by upholding the San Mateo Way, respecting the rule of law, tradition and fulfilling our oath to serve. We have a lot more to do on our council to earn back the people’s confidence. I’m ready to get to work and I look forward to advancing a charter review process so that San Mateo never goes another day without mayoral representation.
Our community is depending on the council to repair fractures and build collaborative working relationships. This year ahead is going to be one of learning and growing together. It is an incredibly rare occurrence to have so many new council members. As we transition to by-district elections, let us remain united in our service to the community by considering the needs and interests of San Mateo as a whole.
Selection of the Mayor and Deputy Mayor is critical for effective governance of the City and our rotational system provides everyone a turn, with fair and equal representation of all districts. Members of the council come from different walks of life and hold different perspectives — which I view as a strength that better serves our City - and that is why I supported the nomination of Councilmember Nash as Deputy Mayor. I’m also thrilled to welcome Rich Hedges to the council. He will be an outstanding leader for the entire city and finally provide the east-side it’s due representation.
This year, San Mateo made a historic transition from at-large to by-district city council elections. The intent of the California Voting Rights Act is to equalize voting power for communities of color. My family lives in North Central San Mateo, the majority minority District 2. The State designated my neighborhood an Equity Priority Community because we have been historically under-represented and under-served. My neighborhood has waited 20 years and it is our turn for leadership. I look forward to delivering the State of the City in my North Central neighborhood; I want to bring City Hall to the people.
As I reflect on the past 3 years, we should all be proud that San Mateo led on many fronts. Many say, this was the hardest time in recent history to lead. Our city government and collective leadership helped save San Mateo lives and jobs, and today we are even better positioned for economic recovery.
We allocated $1.3M in federal funding to those most impacted by COVID — issuing emergency rental assistance funds, small business grants, and support for childcare providers. San Mateo’s local businesses received 418 PPP loans and 77 child care bridge grants.
In 2020, the County reached a peak unemployment rate of 11% and has since rebounded to 3%. We diverted our staff to create a Business Outreach Task Force and helped San Mateo businesses receive nearly $325M in federal COVID relief funds, which kept our local economy afloat.
We created 30,000 square feet of outdoor dining space and we were among the few cities to match the state’s effort to keep folks housed by adopting an eviction moratorium for local nonprofits and small businesses.
San Mateo worked with the school district to stand up distance learning pods in our Senior Center and King Center for 110 students, all the while our municipal government employees kept the toilets flushing and lights on, providing continuity of services that our residents have come to rely on.
Our Police responded to an estimated 241,000 calls for service and San Mateo Consolidated Fire kept us safe here and provided mutual aid for some of the most catastrophic fires in history.
During this time, we approved 399 affordable homes, repaired 20 miles of streets, opened Borel Park and renovated King Field, Hayward Park Square, and John Lee Dog Park. Our approved development projects will generate 16.5 acres of private open spaces.
This November, we passed a second revenue enhancement measure that will realize an estimated $4.8M annually. I co-chaired the Yes on Measure CC Campaign, which passed with over 70% approval and amended an archaic and inequitable tax structure that was unchanged for nearly half a century.
Since March 2020, when the global pandemic was declared: over 174 thousand San Mateo County residents were infected with COVID and we lost nearly 850 souls. Today our City of San Mateo has some of the highest vaccination rates - thanks to the innovative partnerships with our local churches and organizations - equitable and community-centered public health strategies that I advocated for.
Our dedicated city employees are the back bone of our government. Under the steadfast leadership of our City Manager, Drew Corbett, in the past three years we welcomed many new department heads including City Attorney Prasanna Rasiah, Fire Chief Kent Thrasher, Police Chief Ed Barberini, Community Development Director Christina Horrisberger, Public Works Director Azalea Mitch, Human Resources Director Teresa Abrahamson, and Parks and Recreation Director Joanne Magrini. Across our entire organization, I am humbled by the dedication of our first responders and front line workers that serve San Mateo there are too many to name. It is profound privilege to serve and we are so fortunate to be part of this great team!
How can you help?
Public service is a labor of love. My one hundred-year-old popo (my grandmother) taught me how to love fiercely. One of the last things she said to me was, “In the end, I was defined by the way I love.” There’s no truer statement then, “Justice is love in action.“ There’s more love in our community here than ideas that divide us. We are all committed to building the community we want to be a part of and when we work together, anything is possible.
The peaceful transfer of power is a hallmark of our democracy and must be upheld.
The departure from protocol and 128 years of precedent has earned the attention of faith leaders, officials, and organizations who stood with me and issued statements of support and signed the petition, including*:
Rev. Penny Nixon (signed)
Rev. Dr. Marlyn Bussey (signed)
Rev. Ben Meyers (signed)
Rev. Lorrie Owens (signed)
Rev. Sun Hee Kim (comment)
Congressman-elect Kevin Mullin (tweet)
State Senator Josh Becker (comment)
David Chiu, Former State Assemblymember (signed)
San Mateo County Supervisor-elect Noelia Corzo (video)
San Mateo County Board of Education Trustee Chelsea Bonini (signed)
San Mateo County Board of Education Trustee Hector Camacho (signed)
San Mateo County Democratic Party Former Chair Nicole Fernandez (video)
San Mateo Former Mayor Rick Bonilla (video)
San Mateo Former Mayor Joe Goethals (video)
San Mateo Former Mayor David Lim (video)
San Mateo Former City Councilmember Frederick Hansson (signed)
San Mateo-Foster City School Board President Alison Proctor (signed)
Burlingame City Councilmember Emily Beach (signed)
Colma City Councilmember John Goodwin (tweet)
Daly City Councilmember Juslyn Manalo (signed)
East Palo Alto Councilmember Antonio López (tweet)
East Palo Alto City Councilmember Carlos Romero (signed)
Foster City Former Mayor Richa Awasthi (signed, comment)
Foster City City Councilmember Sam Hindi (signed)
Foster City Former City Councilmember Steve Okamoto (signed)
Hillsborough City Councilmember Marie Chuang (signed)
Healdsburg Mayor Ariel Kelley (comment)
Jefferson Elementary School District Trustee Clayton Koo (signed)
Jefferson Elementary School District Trustee Kalimah Salahuddin (signed)
Jefferson Elementary School District Manufou Liaiga Anoa’i (signed)
Los Gatos Council Member Marico Sayoc (comment)
Milpitas City Councilmember Karina Dominguez (signed)
Menlo Park Fire District Board Member Rob Silano (tweet)
Menlo Park City School District Francesca Segre (signed)
Menlo Park City Mayor Jen Wolosin (signed)
Millbrae City Councilmember Anders Fung (signed)
Millbrae City Councilmember Maurice Goodman (comment)
Mountain View Councilmember (and former Mayor) Lucas Ramirez (tweet)
Mountain View Councilmember Ellen Kamei (tweet)
Palo Alto Councilmember-elect Julie Lythcott-Haims (tweet)
Pacifica Former Mayor Mary Bier (comment)
Redwood City Councilmember Chris Sturken (video)
Redwood City Councilmember Jeff Gee (signed)
Redwood City Former Mayor Shelly Masur (signed)
Sequoia Union High School District Trustee Amy Koo (signed)
South San Francisco Unified School District Trustee Patty Murray (signed)
South San Francisco City Councilmember Eddie Flores (signed)
South San Francisco City Councilmember James Coleman (signed)
South San Francisco City Councilmember Mark Nagales (signed)
Sunnyvale City Councilmember Richard Mehlinger (signed)
California Democratic Party Asian Pacific Islander Caucus (tweet)
California Young Democrats API Caucus (tweet)
Carpenters Union Local 217 (comment)
IBEW Local Union 617 (comment)
Jewish Democratic Club of Silicon Valley (comment)
NAACP San Mateo (comment)
National Women’s Political Caucus Silicon Valley (tweet)
Peninsula for Everyone (signed)
Peninsula Young Democrats (tweet)
REACH Coalition Exec Board (video)
San Mateo County API Caucus (comment)
San Mateo County Democratic Party Executive Board (tweet)
San Mateo County Latinx Democratic Executive Board (comment)
San Mateo County Stonewall Democrats Executive Board (comment)
Sanitary Truck Drivers and Helpers Local No. 350 (comment)
Sierra Club Loma Prieta Chapter (comment)
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