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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 »

Hill gets leadership post

Assemblyman Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, has been named Democratic Caucus chair by new Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles.

“It’s a good position and I’m looking forward to it,” Hill said Thursday.

Hill’s position will entail heading up caucus meetings and trying to forge agreement among Assembly Democrats on key issues, among other duties.

The assemblyman will be in town for two events Saturday. 

First up is “Java with Jerry” from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. . at Il Piccolo Caffe, located at 1219 Broadway in Burlingame. It’s an opportunity for constituents to discuss issues of concern with their state rep in an informal setting. 

And from 10 a.m. to noon, Hill will help out at a free child car seat safety check at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center at 725 Monte Diablo Ave. in  San Mateo.

Posted on Thursday, March 18th, 2010
Under: Burlingame, Democratic Party, Jerry Hill, San Mateo | 1 Comment »

Feed me!

Otter

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

Posted on Tuesday, January 19th, 2010
Under: Coyote Point, San Mateo, 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 »

Speier photos

Here are some photos of Rep. Jackie Speier’s recent meetings with constituents that didn’t make it into the paper. Above, Mario Pellegrin, of Montara, questions Speier about health care reform Sunday at a town hall meeting held outside at Farallone View Elemenatary School in Montara. (Jim Stevens/Bay Area News Group)

Speier at the Hot Harvest Nights farmers market Thursday in San Carlos. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

From left to right, Gail Sredanovic, of Menlo Park, Ruth Robertson, of Los Altos, and Jane Emery, of San Jose, all from the Raging Grannies, sing in support of health care reform at Hot Harvest Nights. (Nhat V. Meyer)

Howard Weisberg, of San Mateo, holds up his sign in support of health care reform while waiting for Speier at Hot Harvest Nights. (Nhat V. Meyer)

Sophia Dew, 9, left, talks with Speier on Wednesday at the San Mateo County Fair. (John Green/Bay Area News Group)

Speier signs an autograph book for San Francisco resident Leo Pribble at the fair. (John Green)

Posted on Tuesday, August 25th, 2009
Under: Democratic Party, Health care, Jackie Speier, San Carlos, San Mateo, San Mateo County | No Comments »

Accused killer of Draeger’s employee to stand trial

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Edwin Ramos, an alleged gang member charged with shooting to death Anthony Bologna, who was a night manager at Draeger’s in San Mateo, and two of his sons, will stand trial.

A San Francisco judge found there is a enough evidence to try Ramos following a preliminary hearing. Bologna’s surviving son testified in the hearing and identified Ramos as the man who opened fire on the family’s car.

Posted on Tuesday, June 30th, 2009
Under: Crime, San Mateo | No Comments »

San Mateo holds a tea party

Could the humble tea bag slingshot the Republican Party into the 21st century?

This week’s latest news frenzy, beating out swashbuckling Somali pirates and even the swirling maelstrom surrounding Bo, the First Family’s hypoallergenic new ball of fur, came courtesy of the modern-day tea party tax protest.

It’s probably the most exciting thing to ever happen on April 15 since the Titanic sank back in 1912. And the Insider was grateful that there was something to distract us from the looming task at hand, namely, procrastinating on doing our taxes until the last minute Wednesday night.

In San Mateo, it was no different. A tea party to protest excessive government spending was held on El Camino Real, on a thin strip of sidewalk in front of the Hillsdale Shopping Center. By 2 p.m., the number of protestors — many in historical-era costumes — had swelled to around 250, turning the sidewalk into a tightly packed corridor of fiscal-responsibility loving, flag-waving tax protestors.

Demographically, the crowd tended toward the older end of the age spectrum. Many seemed new to the whole “protest” thing.

“This is my first time getting involved in activism,” said Sara Dumont, a 76-year-old from South San Francisco. “I’ve always been interested but this one really got me.”

Dumont said she had gotten notice of the protest by e-mail, and advance notice of the event was posted on message boards like the conservative website Freerepublic.com.

And while there has been constant debate over the whether or not the tea parties represent a true grassroots movement or are merely a cynical political device for the Republican party, the important thing to note is that using the tools of grassroots organizers, the events organizers were able to pull in an impressive number of attendees, many in their 60s and 70s, in a predominately Democratic district.

And while the protestors’ passion was apparent (And yes, we mean you, wiry guy in the baseball cap screaming “How do you guys all like that change now!” while maniacally laughing), the thing that struck us was the sense of relief and belonging that swept over the crowd.

That everyone in attendance was thrilled to find like-minded people was obvious. Complete strangers would excitedly jump into a conversation about the dubious origins of President Obama with a comment about the broken immigration system.

It was like witnessing the simultaneous appearance of a bunch of gophers who had cautiously popped their heads out of their holes, only to be overcome with surprise … at seeing other gophers! Or like the end of that Blind Melon video, the one with the girl in the bee costume.

Back near the Hillsdale Caltrain station, we came across one lone man in a nearby parking lot, pacing in front of a black SUV. When asked what he thought of the spectacle across the street, he replied matter-of-factly, “Hey man, it’s part of what this country does, gets pissed off and then tells everyone else about it.”

And even though we knew we would be cursing the federal government later that evening as we sweated over W-2s and 1099s and piles of receipts that had faded like the summer sun, at that moment we couldn’t help but think, “God bless America.”

Posted on Thursday, April 16th, 2009
Under: Barack Obama, Economy, Republican Party, San Mateo | 5 Comments »

Speier to hold Saturday office hours

If you want to chat with Rep. Jackie Speier, just show up Saturday at her district office.

Speier will be holding walk-in office hours from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Unless there is a massive crowd, you should be able to get a few minutes to air your concerns or say hello. It’ll be first-come, first-served.

Speier’s office is located at 400 South El Camino Real, No. 410, in San Mateo. For more information, call the district office at (650) 342-0300.

Posted on Thursday, January 22nd, 2009
Under: Aaron Kinney, Democratic Party, Jackie Speier, San Mateo, San Mateo County | No Comments »

From the notebook: More local reactions to Obama win

Before Barack Obama’s election win recedes too far in the rearview mirror, here’s a couple bits of local reaction that didn’t make it into the paper.

In the photo above, Karen Cunningham, sporting a Barack Obama T-shirt, was captured celebrating the Democratic Party’s historic night at the victory party for Rep. Jackie Speier in Burlingame.

Meanwhile, Bill Stewart, 70, took in the election results at an NAACP-organized party at B Street Billiards in downtown San Mateo.

Stewart, a computer consultant and member of the Foster City Association of Black Residents, grew up in Memphis, Tenn., where he participated in sit-ins during the civil rights movement.

He moved to California following graduate school to work for the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View. Because of his race, he was not able to rent an apartment in Palo Alto.

On Tuesday night, Stewart said Obama’s victory struck him as “almost unbelievable.”

Stewart recalled living in the segregated South during college: “You were not allowed to try on clothes in certain stores … you couldn’t go to a lunch counter, buy a sandwich and sit down.”

“It’s a transition to a new day,” he said of the election. “What we need to do now is start working for economic parity for African-Americans.”

Posted on Thursday, November 6th, 2008
Under: 2008 Congressional Race, 2008 Presidental Race, Aaron Kinney, Barack Obama, Burlingame, Democratic Party, Foster City, Hillsborough, Jackie Speier, Political Campaigns, San Mateo, San Mateo County | No Comments »

Keira Knightley and Lula Lu

The owner of a local lingerie store for petite women has spoken up in response to a report in a British tabloid that actress Keira Knightley refused to allow producers to digitally enhance her cleavage for a poster promoting “The Duchess,” her new film.

Ellen Shing, owner of Lula Lu in downtown San Mateo, issued a statement through a publicist in support of Knightley’s stand.

“Keira Knightley’s far from alone in her feelings,” said Shing. “It’s often assumed that women with small breasts are constantly fantasizing about implants, padded bras and more cleavage, but here at Lula Lu we’ve found the exact opposite to be true.”

“Most of our customers are happy with their bust size … they just want flattering bras that fit their natural shape,” Shing’s statement continued.

Alas, it appears the story that appeared in the Daily Mail was’t true, as Knightley has now declared that the dispute never took place.

Posted on Thursday, October 16th, 2008
Under: Aaron Kinney, San Mateo | 1 Comment »