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Yee bill in response to Richmond rape moves forward

State Sen. Leland Yee’s bill stemming from the infamous Richmond gang rape case has moved out of the Senate Public Safety Committee with a 6-0 vote.

The bill would require those who have witnessed someone under the age of 18 being raped, murdered or sexually molested to report it to authorities. This requirement currently extends only to victims under the age of 14.

“Ironically, California statute currently requires any person who, while hunting, kills or wounds a domestic animal to report the incident to authorities; yet all children are not provided the same protection,” Yee, D-San Francisoc, said in a statement.  “While SB 840 will not solve all of our problems regarding violent crime, it is certainly another important tool in the tool box for law enforcement and prosecutors.”

The bill now heads to the Appropriations Committee.

Posted on Wednesday, March 24th, 2010
Under: Crime, Democratic Party, Leland Yee, San Mateo County | No Comments »

Speier announces appropriations requests

Rep. Jackie Speier has released the 15 projects she will submit for appropriations requests in the coming fiscal year.

Speier, a critic of the congressional earmark process, came up with the list of public and nonprofit projects courtesy of a Citizens Oversight Panel  she convened to review 43 requests that came to her office.

Speier’s office touts the panel as a model of transparency and the only one of its kind in the nation. According to a press release, the panel was chaired by former Peninsula Assemblyman Gene Mullin.  The other members were: Don Griffin, chancellor of City College of San Francisco; Marland Townsend, a former Foster City councilman; Louise Renne, former SF City Attorney; Harry Low, a retired judge; Rose Guilbault of the California State Automobile Association; Bill Nack of the San Mateo Building Trades Council; Dr. Sandra Hernandez of the San Francisco Foundation and Carl Guardino of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group.

Here, pulled directly from the release, are the projects, only some of which will receive funding(Last year’s panel recommended 9 projects, and four were funded): 

 –$200,000 for Shelter Network of San Mateo County’s Maple Street Shelter Program to support a short-term emergency shelter and mid-term transitional housing for homeless adults.  In the past year, more than 550 people found support at the Maple Street Shelter and 80% of those completing the transitional program succeeded in securing permanent housing.

–$1,675,000 for the San Mateo County Flood Control District to repair the Colma Creek Flood Control Channel.

 –$2,000,000 for the U.S. Highway 101/Broadway Interchange reconstruction project.

 –$3,000,000 for the City and County of San Francisco to help find a long-term solution, supported by the community, to erosion issues on Ocean Beach along the Great Highway.

 $181,440 for the Child Care Coordinating Council of San Mateo County’s SaMCARES program that encourages quality and permanence in the child care workforce and rewards achievement in continuing education.

 –$975,000 for the Pacifica Police Department to enhance the delivery of police services among participating agencies with a goal of consolidating four or five north San Mateo County departments into a combined dispatch center.

 –$6,100,000 for the City of San Mateo to equip the Poplar Avenue storm water pump station with automatic emergency power to prevent flooding in the event of a power outage.

 –$500,000 for Caltrain to repair existing, and install new, fencing and signage along the Caltrain tracks to improve safety and security.

 –$250,000 for HIP Housing to expand education and outreach of their unique and successful home sharing program to people in the 12th and 14th Congressional Districts.

 –$1,200,000 for the San Mateo County Medical Center renovation to help upgrade the ground floor to bring it up to licensing standards and to offset transition costs.

 –$3,000,000 for the Peninsula Open Space Trust for the final installment to purchase Rancho Corral de Tierra east of Highway 1 near Montara and Moss Beach. 

 –$1,000,000 for Sojourn to the Past to enable a minimum of 1000 economically disadvantaged students in the district to experience a hands-on lesson on the history of Civil Rights in America.

 –$805,000 (total over 5 years) for the San Mateo County Sheriff’s women’s transitional facility to establish a program to transition female inmates from a locked and secure environment to one with more freedoms and education to prepare for successful release back into the community.

 –$73,000 for Samaritan House to provide a third vehicle to pick up food donations for residents in need.

 –$600,000 for San Francisco General Hospital’s Computerized Provider Order Entry (CPOE) to help the hospital meet criteria for Electronic Health Record (EHR) technology to make it eligible for maximum incentive payments.

Posted on Wednesday, March 24th, 2010
Under: Democratic Party, Hillsborough, Jackie Speier, San Mateo, San Mateo County | No Comments »

Jackie Speier on Facebook

With health care reform coming down to the wire, Jackie Speier is knocking out updates on her Facebook page, with links to two brief but fiery speeches this week on the House floor.

Posted on Thursday, March 18th, 2010
Under: Democratic Party, Health care, Hillsborough, Jackie Speier, San Mateo County | No Comments »

Speier on Toyota

Here’s video of Rep. Jackie Speier questioning the head of Toyota this week on the problems with their cars.

Posted on Thursday, February 25th, 2010
Under: Democratic Party, Jackie Speier, San Mateo County | No Comments »

San Mateo County’s woes go national

The Wall Street Journal had a front page article yesterday on all the money San Mateo County lost when Lehman Brothers went bust and how that and the terrible economy have had devastating effects on schools, cities, etc. Yay!
In case the Journal’s article times out, here’s a brief article from the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal looking at the economic report that serves as the peg for the Journal piece.

Posted on Thursday, February 25th, 2010
Under: Economy, Education, San Mateo County | No Comments »

Whither Jackie Speier?



As you probably know, Rep. Jackie Speier (pictured above at a town hall meeting last year in Montara) is pondering a bid for California attorney general after a poll showed her having an advantage over other Democratic candidates, and with the candidate filing period opening Feb. 15, a decision is expected soon.

So which way is she going to go? It’s clear she’s fed up with Washington and the Senate in particular. Being a junior member of the House at a time of partisan gridlock has been difficult for her, especially when financial reform proposals she’s worked hard to pass are being tossed aside in the Senate, where Sen. Chris Dodd is in the process of caving in to Republican demands.

On the other hand, there is still a slim chance to enact historic health care reform legislation as well as contribute to a moment of great importance for Democrats, who have as good a shot as they’re going to get to enact significant policies on climate change and other issues. San Mateo County residents need leadership from Washington as far as stimulating the economy and creating jobs. And doesn’t every newbie in Washington have to pay his or her dues before rising in influence and seniority?

But Speier, 59, doesn’t have unlimited time left in public office. So she has to figure out how best to use that time, and maybe spending five years working her way up the ladder in the House isn’t it. And perhaps Capitol Hill really is so “dysfunctional,” as she put it, and the Senate is so corrupt and useless, that there’s no legitimate hope of winning important legislative battles or making a difference there.

If she runs for attorney general and wins, Speier will be able to spend much more time with her husband and two children — Jackson, 21, and Stephanie, 15. The commute to and from Washington has been a strain for her, newly hired spokesman Nathan Ballard confirmed this week. As attorney general, she’d also be able to focus on many of the consumer protection issues that are so important to her.

The hunch here is that Speier will run for AG. Maybe she’ll decide she has unfinished business in Washington. Perhaps her family could talk her into sticking with it, if that’s what they feel. But if we had to guess, we’d say her clear distaste for what’s going on in D.C., particularly the sausage-making that takes place in the Senate, combined with the need to be closer to her family, will tip the scales in favor of leaving the House and heading back to Sacramento.

UPDATE: Wrong! Speier released a statement today saying she will not run for attorney general.

“I am thankful that so many supporters came forward to urge me to run for statewide office, but after talking it over with my family, I have decided to stay in Congress,” Speier said in a statement. “I am convinced it is the right thing to do for my family, and I believe I can best serve my constituents by remaining in Congress and working hard on consumer protection, financial reform, jobs, and health care.”

So don’t ever listen to us again.

Posted on Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010
Under: 2008 Presidental Race, Barack Obama, Corruption, Democratic Party, Health care, Hillsborough, Jackie Speier, Republican Party, San Mateo County | No Comments »

Feed me!


One of two new river otters at Coyote Point Museum in San Mateo. The museum also recently introduced two new bobcats. For information, visit or call 650-342-7755.

Posted on Tuesday, January 19th, 2010
Under: Coyote Point, San Mateo, San Mateo County | No Comments »

Werden the smooth-talker

We meant to get this into the print version of the Insider, but there wasn’t room.

So here, belatedly, are some notes from the Dec. 3 meeting of the Foster City Planning Commission, during which the commission voted to recommend that the City Council certify a final environmental impact report for Gilead Sciences’ campus expansion and approve a development agreement with the biopharmaceutical company.

Two neighbors of Gilead Sciences expressed over the “significant and unavoidable” noise that will accompany the renovation of Gilead’s campus. The women live across Mariner’s Island Boulevard from Gilead, just over the San Mateo-Foster City border. They were worried that their lives will be disrupted by the construction, which is scheduled to last 10 years, and their property values will be depressed.

Charlie Bronitsky, appearing as a planning commissioner for the last time before being introduced Dec. 7 as a new member of the City Council, sympathized with the women’s concerns and assured them that, as the project moves forward, city officials will do what they can to keep construction noise in check.

Commissioner Ollie Pattum didn’t say much, other than to note that all construction projects create noise. C’est la vie. Commissioner Bob Werden engaged the women, but he may have made matters worse.

“You moved next to a commercial area,” Werden admonished the women, who vociferously objected to that and other points Werden made while addressing them.

“Property in Foster City is worth millions of dollars,” he later added. “We can’t afford not to build there.”

One of the women, Gail Benson, said the following week that, although she moved into her condo 9 years ago, the buildings have been there for 30 years, meaning the Mariners Reef condo complex predates Gilead, which formed in 1987.

Benson told the Planning Commission she has nothing to against Gilead, but she would “like them a lot more if they were 100 miles away.”

Benson’s friend, Diane Gyuricza, told the commission she took exception to the “statement of overriding considerations” it signed off on. The statement expresses, in essence, that the project is worth doing despite its negative impacts on the city in terms of traffic congestion and noise pollution.

“I’m really offended by that term,” she said.

Commissioners Ron Cox and Noemi Avram had to recuse themselves from the Gilead discussion due to conflicts, so the final vote was 3-0 in favor of the various Gilead recommendations.

Cox didn’t return a phone call inquiring about what his conflict is. Avram, an architect, responded to an e-mail, indicating she recently did an interior residential remodel for the president of Gilead, John Gilligan.

There’s another Gilead meeting tomorrow. Here’s the Gilead page on the city’s Web site.

Posted on Wednesday, December 16th, 2009
Under: Foster City, San Mateo County | 2 Comments »

The fightin’ twelfth!

Rep. Jackie Speier appeared on “The Colbert Report” last night in the latest installment of the “Better Know a District” series.

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Better Know a District – California’s 12th – Jackie Speier
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor U.S. Speedskating

Burlingame’s Museum of Pez Memorabilia (currently embroiled in a copyright infringement lawsuit with Pez) even got a shoutout.

Posted on Wednesday, November 18th, 2009
Under: Burlingame, Jackie Speier, San Mateo County | No Comments »

Bay Area Heart Gallery

The Times ran a story Monday on the Bay Area Heart Gallery, a photo exhibit that highlights the importance of families taking in foster children.

A photo of two foster kids mentioned in the story — sisters Ann, 17, and Daniece, 12 — was originally intended to accompany the article. The photo, courtesy of Madeleine Tilin Photography, didn’t make the cut, but it’s so good we had to show it to you, and we’ve reproduced it above. The sisters live with San Mateo resident Margie Chop, a registered nurse.

Posted on Tuesday, November 10th, 2009
Under: San Mateo, San Mateo County | No Comments »